|"The Golden Age"
The T205 "Gold Border" set is considered the most beautiful set ever issued by the American Tobacco Company. Making its debut in 1911, the cards exhibited brilliant colors along with elaborate portraits framed by a unique and very condition sensitive gold leaf border.
The set consists of three different leagues: the American, National, and Minor Leaguers. The American League can be identified by the baseball diamond surrounding the portrait of the player sporting their team logo near the top. The National League displays a simple colored background with the first-ever use of a facsimile autograph of the player. Minor Leaguers are made up of 12 cards printed with noticeably different and more detailed borders. This elaborate border compliments both action and portraits with about three quarters of the player showing.
The cards measure 1 ½ x 2 5/8 and were inserted into various brands of cigarettes which included: Hassan, Polar Bear, American Beauty, Cycle, Piedmont, Sovereign, Sweet Caporal, Honest, Broadleaf, Hindu, and Drum. The "Gold Borders" were also believed to be the first issue to accommodate a bio and statistics of the player on the reverse. T205's are very hard to find in high grade due to the chipping of the edges and the fragile nature of the card.
Collectors have found this set to be filled with many short prints, numerous variations and many Hall of Famers such as Cobb, Mathewson, Johnson, Speaker, and Young to name a few. With a little effort the set can be completed minus the most difficult card to obtain, the elusive Hoblitzell no stats.