A less than average baseball manager could have put together a stellar lineup from the list of Hall of Famers in the T206 set. Imagine throwing the likes of Wagner, Young and Cobb into the same starting nine. The players in this set are that special to the heritage of baseball. So it's not surprising that this dream set is the envy of most collectors.
The T206 tobacco set is generally referred to as the most important set of all time. People outside of the card collecting world are even familiar with the set and some of the specific cards within it.
These days, there are some pretty substantial reasons why a collector would jump into the T206 game. Monetary value aside, there are other variables that intrigue collectors such as the age, design and the history factor that includes the incredible list of Hall of Famers.
While the Honus Wagner card is generally referred to as the most notable card in the entire industry, the T206 tobacco set features dozens of other prominent names from the dead ball era. Wagner was one of the Hall of Fame's five original inductees back in 1936. Wagner was once quoted as saying, "I don't make speeches. I let my bat speak for me in the summertime." The Wagner card is the most elusive and iconic piece of sports memorabilia known. A T206 Wagner sold for $2.1 million in 2013.
The other Hall of Famers in the group won't fetch nearly the amount of value a Wagner will--not even close. While high grade examples can be very expensive, there are enough cards in the market that lower end examples can be obtained for prices that make them attainable to most collectors.
Next to Wagner, Ty Cobb and Cy Young are probably the two most recognizable Hall of Famers in the set. Cobb batted over the .300 mark in 23 of his big league seasons. Three times he batted over the .400 mark. Young is the namesake for the award given these days to the best pitcher in baseball. Five times he won over 30 games during his amazing career.
Eddie Plank, Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson are guys who also ventured into the Hall of Fame after impressive careers. Plank, whose card is growing in stature because of its extreme scarcity, was a lefty pitcher who compiled 326 victories. All Walter Johnson did was amass 110 shutouts with 3,508 strikeouts for the Washington Senators. Mathewson, a pitcher for the New York Giants and Cincinnati Reds, somehow provided an amazing 37 wins for his team in 1908 and was the most dominant pitcher of his era, with consistent excellence spanning more than a decade during the first part of the 20th century.
Other Hall of Famers in the T206 set include Nap Lajoie, Tris Speaker, Home Run Baker, Chief Bender, Roger Bresnahan, Mordecai Brown, Frank Chance, Jack Chesbro, Eddie Collins, Jimmy Collins, Sam Crawford, Johnny Evers, Miller Huggins, Hughie Jennings, Addie Joss, Rube Marquard, John McGraw, Joe Tinker, Rube Waddell, Ed Walsh, Zack Wheat and Willie Keeler. A few of those guys were in our article on cheap T206 Hall of Famers and here's another story on a similar topic.
Some collectors might opt to pursue a collection of the T206 Hall of Famers. The T206, which is perhaps the most chronicled set in the history of the sport, is difficult to complete with hundreds of cards in the set, most of which will cost $25 or more, even for commons in lower grades. That's why many collectors choose to pick an element--like Hall of Famers--and collect the set in that fashion.
Many can be found at lower grade levels for $75-200 each. See T206 cards on eBay here.