We’re proud to be offering an excellent example of a T206 Hall of Famer with an extraordinarily rare back. This card features one of the rarest of all the different T206 back varieties. Indeed, as of this writing, PSA has only graded 82 T206s with Drum Cigarettes backs, and between PSA and SGC only five Vic Willis cards with a Drum back have been graded.
The overwhelming majority of Drum backed T206 cards are low-grade, with just one copy achieving a grade higher than EX 5. This Willis is no exception – besides the obvious top edge trim there is back damage consistent with scrapbook removal. The purple “Drum Cigarettes” ad remains easily identifiable, however, and the card obverse, aside from exhibiting visible surface wear, is an excellent representation of Willis.
The excellent research provided by the folks at T206Resource.com indicates that the Drum Cigarettes back is the fifth most rare of all the T206 backs, behind only the impossible Ty Cobb back, the brown Old Mill and Lenox back, and the ultra-rare Broad Leaf 460 variety. There’s no question that a T206 with a Drum Cigarettes back is a very rare card. What adds even another level of rarity to the equation, however, is Willis’ status as a Hall of Famer. According to T206Resource, there are just 21 Hall of Famers in the theoretical Drum 350 checklist. Recognizing that many prewar collectors choose not to get their cards graded (and thus grading company population reports clearly do not reflect the entire population of a given card by any means), and also recognizing that PSA only recently began recognizing the back varieties on the T206 cards that they grade, the grading company population reports still reflect the extreme rarity of a Drum-backed T206 Hall of Famer: only 25 such cards are recognized on the PSA and SGC grading census combined!
With a set as common as T206, that may seem almost impossible, but it is not. SGC, who have been categorizing back varieties since the beginning, has graded more than 81,000 T206 cards. Of those, just thirteen examples are Hall of Famers with the Drum Cigarettes ad on the back. This is a truly, truly rare and important card, a quality addition to any collection, and one we are thrilled to offer in our inaugural auction next month.