After just one auction, Love of the Game has been fortunate enough to begin developing a reputation of being a place for T206 collectors to find some special material. Our auction last fall featured a number of difficult back varieties, some lovely higher-grade Hall of Famers, and individual lots containing beautiful cards.
Our second auction will continue with that trend. In addition to featuring the one-of-a-kind Josh Devore highlighted in our last entry, we’re also proud to include a collector-grade example of one of the T206 issue’s more significant rarities: the Ray Demmitt St. Louis variation.
Demmitt was a journeyman outfielder who compiled a seven-year career with five different teams. A member of the Yankees, Demmitt was traded during the winter of 1909 to the St. Louis Browns, for pitcher Lou Criger.
When producing the baseball cards for the 1910 season, most of the ATC factory issues continued to depict Demmitt as a member of the Yankees. Of all the factory issues, only the Polar Bear issue made the change to depict Demmitt with his proper team. This created a significant variation within the set. The Demmitt/St. Louis variation is considered to be one of the key rarities within the hobby’s most widely collected prewar issue.
Adding to the challenge, of course, is the fact that Polar Bear cards were not well-protected from the tobacco in the packs. Being scrap tobacco as opposed to cigarettes, the loose tobacco in the packages made contact with the cards inside, resulting in significant staining and other condition issues. Indeed, PSA has listed 130 copies of the Demmitt/St. Louis variation on their population reports, and 37 of them have attained a grade of POOR/FAIR 1.
We’re pleased to present such a collector grade Demmitt in our February auction. This Demmitt boasts minimal staining and very strong eye appeal for the grade, the primary flaw being two creases that traverse the top half of the card. Smaller creases and wrinkles mar the top left, but the card’s subject remains clear, and the color very striking and bold.
Despite the condition, the card’s rarity keeps prices high as demand continuously outweighs supply. Even the lowest-grade T206 Demmitt/St. Louis cards routinely approach $1,000. However, given that one of the few surviving copies graded EXCELLENT or better recently sold for nearly $13,000, the more commonly found low-grade examples are a better option for a more budget-conscious collector still looking to complete the set.
We’re thrilled to feature this great card in our February auction.