Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Rebirth of the T207- Brown Background Set – 100 years later

A couple years ago, when I was co-writing my first e-book, Before there was Bubble Gum: Our favorite pre-World War I baseball cards, I became fascinated by the unique look of the T207 set. The T207 set, commonly known as the brown background set, was originally manufactured by the tobacco industry giant, the American Tobacco Company, in 1912. The T207 baseball cards measure 1½” by 2-5/8”. Shortly after this set was printed, the American Tobacco Company would be dissolved due to the Sherman anti-trust legislation that broke the monopoly on tobacco.

 The T207 baseball card set is a true hobby classic. The 200-card T207 set contains 13 players that are in Baseball’s Hall-of-Fame, including Walter Johnson, Tris Speaker, Frank Chance, John McGraw, Smokey Joe Wood and Joe Tinker. Two interesting T207 cards are Eddie Cicotte and Buck Weaver, who were members of the 1919 White Sox and banned from the game for life.

 Being a big fan of reprint sets, as they give collectors who may not have the time or money to collect the original set the opportunity to enjoy the cards; I was always disappointed that the T207 cards are the most famous of the pre-war sets that has never been offered in the form of a reprint set. This is something special about being able to hold the cards in your as you go the set and look at the players. I must not be alone in my opinion, as sells quite a few reprint singles and complete sets every year. For that reason, I decided we should recreate and issue a T207 reprint set. To do so, we created a new company called Dean’s Reprints and began securing the needed images.

The T207 reprint set turned out to be quite an undertaking, and took us two years to complete! The other thing that delayed the T207 reprint set was that I also attempted to finish my first book to be issued in print form. Both projects are now complete and available for purchase.

 Due to the quality of the century old cards, almost all of the T207 images needed to be retouched. Great care was given making sure that the reprint cards remained true to the original set. The original T207 set includes eight possible backs containing the name of tobacco brands in which the original cards were enclosed. We included a variety of these backs in the reprint set including three cards containing the ultra-scarce “Red Cross” backs. We were careful to use those backs on cards, whose originals have been discovered with a Red Cross back.

 One of the most interesting features of the T207 baseball card set are the player biographies on the back of the cards. Each of these bios needed to be retyped. We were careful to stay true to the original fonts and leave the original century old misspelled words. The one “improvement” that I could not resist was suggested by my teenage son, Jonathan. Jonathan collects cards and commented what a pain it was to keep un-numbered sets organized. For that reason, we numbered each of the cards in the set. I did not feel too bad about adding this one improvement since we felt that we clearly needed to also indicate that every card was a “REPRINT” and not an original. I hope that the hobby purists will forgive us for these minor changes.

Take Care,
Dean Hanley


Dean Hanley is an authority on vintage sports cards and has written numerous articles on the topic. Mr. Hanley is the founder, and with well-over one million vintage cards in inventory, is the largest seller of vintage cards on the web. Dean is author of the new book, Bowman & Topps Baseball Card Sets of 1948-1955”, which is now available for sale at Dean has also published Before there was Bubble Gum: Our Favorite Pre-World War I Baseball Cards, which is also available in eBook form at .Please visit to purchase this T207 Set.

If you are looking to sell your cards we would be happy to hear from you. Please fill out our sell your collection form here and we will be in touch.

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