1913 Fatima T200 Team Cards (An Underlooked Pre-War Gem)

September 18, 2022

t200

Most collectors eyeing an investment in the pre-war tobacco baseball cards shoot for the big time hall of famers like Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, and Christy Mathewson as a few examples.

And most without a strong familiarity of tobacco card options, head straight for the premier sets from the early 1900's such as the ever popular T206 White Borders set.

However, what if I were to tell you there's a much cheaper (and rarer) option than the T206 set, with the ability to get cards featuring multiple hall of famers on one card?

That set is the 1913 T200 Fatima Team Card set, and although there are only sixteen cards in the set, it is one that all vintage card investors need to be familiar with. 

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Details About The T200 Fatima Set

T200 cards were issued in tins of Fatima cigarettes, one per tin. Fatima was a cigarette brand of the Liggett & Myers Tobacco company. The cigarettes were advertised as a 'Turkish blend', with 'Fatima' a common Turkish or Arab women's name at the time

fatima-canister

T200 Fatima cards were issued in tins of Fatima cigarettes.

The T200 cards measure 2 5/8" x 4 3/4", wider in size than the more common tobacco issues of the early 1900's.  The cards were made on brittle paper with a glossy front that is actually covered in a clear film of gelatin.  


The cards have black borders, thus the set is quite condition sensitive, both prone to chipping and wrinkling/tearing due to the thin paper. Note that only the fronts of the cards are glossy.

Many cards were also commonly issued with a lack of clarity and can appear out of focus.

fatima-boston

T200 Boston Americans team card featuring Tris Speaker and Smoky Joe Wood

Backs of the cards feature an offer for collectors to submit 40 Fatima cigarette coupons to receive your choice of a 13" x 21" copy of any of the 16 cards in the set. 

Note that these are known in the hobby as T200 Premiums and are exceedingly scarce, selling for a significant premium over any T200 counterpart.  

I should also note that the T200 set is the first tobacco set catalogued by Jefferson Burdick in his infamous American Card Catalog, even though the set was not the first tobacco set issued.  

I'm not exactly sure why he did it that way, if anyone has any intel, feel free to shoot me a message at chris@allvintagecards.com.

fatima-back

The T200 cards were the first full set of team cards ever issued, and feature the 16 teams in baseball at the time, with eight teams from the American league and eight teams from the National league.

In a bit of a confusing twist, the card fronts omit the full team name, only including the city with the name of the league. 

For example the Boston Red Sox T200 card includes the text 'Boston Americans' at the bottom of the card, instead of 'Boston Red Sox'.

The players pictured are assembled in either two or three rows; the back row players have their last names displayed above their photo, while the front player names are shown in a white box at the bottom.

Of the sixteen cards, the T200 team cards feature 369 players, mascots and managers, including 33 Hall of Famers.  

The T200 set has started to become popular in recent years, given some of the star power in the set, including big time HOF'ers from the era such as Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb.

And while the T200 cards generally sell for a discount versus other tobacco issues from the era, the prices have been soaring of late. So, not sure how long that might last.  

Let's take a closer look at the cards from the set.

T200 National League Cards

T200 Boston Nationals (Braves) 

The Boston Braves were one of the worst teams in the National League at the time, and the card features only one Hall Of Famer, Rabbit Maranville.  

t200-braves

The T200 Boston Nationals (Braves) card is the hardest to find of the entire set.

Based on PSA stats however, the Boston Nationals card is the hardest to locate, with only 43 PSA graded copies. 

Because of the card's scarcity, collectors can expect to pay a bit of a premium for the Boston Nationals card.

T200 Brooklyn Nationals (Dodgers) 

The Brooklyn Nationals (Dodgers) card features three hall of famers - Casey Stengel, Jake Daubert and Zack Wheat. At the time, the Dodgers had just moved into the legendary Ebbetts field. 

brooklyn-nationals

T200 Brooklyn Nationals (Dodgers) card

Jake Daubert won the National League MVP that year, batting .350 for the season.

The T200 Brooklyn card has been graded about 100 times by PSA, above average for most cards in the set.

Because of the lack of big time HOFers on the card, it's one of the least popular cards in the set.  A lower grade copy can usually be found for a few hundred dollars

T200 Chicago Nationals (Cubs) 

The T200 Cubs card features HOFers Johnny Evers and Roger Bresnahan along with star pitcher Ed Reulbach.

t200-cubs

The Chicago Nationals card has 100 PSA graded copies in existence and is one the more affordable cards in the set.  A PSA 2 copy is valued at around $600 and if you hunt around, you could find a lower grade copy for under $500

T200 Cincinnati Nationals (Reds) 

One of the easier to find cards in the set, still, yet with only 130 PSA graded copies. 

The card features HOF players Heinie Groh and Joe Tinker (player/manager at the time) along with star pitcher Mordecai 'Three Finger' Brown.

Side note, did you know Brown actually had four and a half fingers on one hand?

t200-reds

The T200 Reds card is one of the more affordable cards in the set. Lower grade copies can be found for under $500 if you spend some time searching.

T200 New York Nationals (Giants) 

The 1913 Giants had quite a team, finishing first overall in the National League, yet losing the World Series that year to the Philadelphia Athletic's.

t200-giants

The card is one of the most popular in the set, due to the massive stars on the card and the quantity of stars.

The T200 Giants card features not only HOFers John McGraw, Christy Mathewson and Rube Marquard.

In addition, 'Chief' Meyers, the primary catcher for Mathewson, who was a Top 10 MVP finisher for each of the Giants pennant-winning teams from 1911-1913. However, Meyers was never elected to the Hall of Fame.

Yet the highlight is Jim Thorpe, the legendary olympic athlete, who played briefly with the Giants in 1913. 

Despite the uniqueness of the T200 Giants card, collectors might be excited to learn that lower grade copies can be found for between $500 to $1000

T200 Philadelphia Nationals (Phillies)

The Phillies finished second place in the NL in 1913, and this card features some baseball greats, including Hans Lobert, Eppa Rixey, Grover Cleveland Alexander and Sherry Magee.

The card is one of the most affordable in the set;  low grade copies sell for under $500.

t200-philly

T200 Pittsburgh Nationals (Pirates)

The T200 Pirates card is one of the more popular issues, due to the inclusion of one Honus Wagner (circled below).  There are nearly 150 PSA graded copies, one of the highest totals in the set, so still fairly scarce, but they can be found in lower grades, normally for under $1000

t200pirates

T200 St. Louis Nationals (Cardinals)

One of the tougher finds, with only 63 graded copies, yet due to the low star power here (only Miller Huggins is the only HOF on the card) it's fairly affordable

t200-cardinals

T200 American League Cards

T200 Boston Americans (Red Sox)

One of the easier to find cards in the set, PSA has graded 125 copies, the card features some key HOF players, including Tris Speaker and Harry Hooper along with Smoky Joe Wood

In my opinion, it's still a great buy if you can find one under the $500 range

t200-boston

T200 Chicago Americans (White Sox)

One of the harder to find cards in the set, it features popular players such as Kid Gleason, Ed Walsh, Hal Chase and Ray Schalk.  Several players on the card - Ed Ciccotte and Buck Weaver were later involved in the 1919 Black Sox scandal and ultimately banned from baseball.

Note that the card does not include 'Shoeless' Joe Jackson who was on the Cleveland Naps in 1913, and is featured on the Cleveland Americans card in the set.

t200-white-sox

Lower grade copies can be found for under $500, a good buy considering all of the history and star power on the card.

T200 Cleveland Americans (Naps)

The Cleveland Naps card has the highest graded population of the set, with nearly 200 PSA graded copies. The card is the most valuable card in the set, due to the inclusion of 'Shoeless' Joe Jackson, who was later banned from baseball due to his involvement in the Black Sox scandal.  Notably, the card also includes Cleveland legend and HOFer Nap Lajoie.

Even lower grade copies are selling on average for above $1000

T200 Detroit Americans (Tigers)

The T200 Fatima Detroit Tigers card is one of the most popular in the set due to the inclusion of HOF slugger Ty Cobb, along with to a lesser extent, HOFer Hughie Jennings and Sam Crawford.

The T200 Tigers card is also one of the tougher finds in the set; only 79 PSA graded copies exist. Thus, collectors can expect to pay up for this one. Still, it remains a lower cost option for a playing day Cobb card.

t200-tigers

T200 New York Americans (Yankees)

The Fatima NY Nationals (aka Yankees) card is well known as one of the scarcest cards in the set; there are only 49 PSA graded copies in existence.

T200-yankees

The Yankees were not a great team in 1913, finishing near the bottom of the American League, but there are some key players on the card.  One is Hal Chase, a great player in his day, but one with a storied past, whose actions led him to fall short of election for the Hall Of Fame

The T200 Yankees card does include HOFer Frank Chance, the Yankees manager (and breif player) at the time. 

The T200 Yankees card usually sells for a few thousand in low to mid grade condition

T200 Philadelphia Americans (Athletics)

The T200 Athletics card is a great one in terms of HOF power, the card features Eddie Collins, Home Run Baker, Chief Bender, Eddie Plank and Manager Connie Mack.  The Athletics were a powerhouse at the time, winning the AL Pennan and the World Series in 1913. 

The T200 Athletics card is still fairly affordable and lower grade copies can usually be found for around $500 or so

t200-philly-americans

T200 St Louis Americans (Browns)

Definitely one of the hardest to find cards in the set, the St Louis Browns card only has 48 graded copies via PSA. The Browns were last in the AL in 1913 by virtue of playing (and losing) two more games than did the Yankees.  They also had four starting pitchers in the top ten in losses for the season.

Due to the relative scarcity of the Browns card, mid grade copies can sell for several thousand dollars. However, for set collectors, shopping around for an ungraded copy could save you a few bucks.

t200-st-louis-americans

T200 Washington Americans (Senators)

A popular card in the set due to the inclusion of 'Big Train' Walter Johnson, the T200 Senators card has been graded nearly 130 times by PSA, so one of the higher PSA pops in the set.

t200-senators

The card also features HOF manager Clark Griffith, who won 237 games as a pitcher over 20 major league seasons. Griffith also managed for 20 seasons and compiled a .522 winning percentage.

Lower grade T200 Senators cards can sometimes be found for $1000 or less.

T200 Reprints And Counterfeits

I've never held a T200 fake but I have heard they exist. I will mention that the T200 set has been reprinted and the card are frequently found on eBay and sell for a few bucks. 

t200-reprint

The reprints are printed on regular card stock and the backs of the card are noted with 'Reprint 1998' text at the bottom of the card.  Remember the T200 Fatima cards were photographic type cards and printed on very thin paper with a glossy front.

If you encounter a suspect T200 card on regular card stock, its most certainly some sort of fake. Often scammer will take the reprint cards, erase the 'Reprint 1998' text on the back and then age the card by soaking it in tea or coffee.  

Another tell would be under magnfiication. If the suspect T200 card has a dot matrix effect under magnification, it's a fake, since the T200 cards again were photographic type.

David Cycleback notes the same in his great piece about authentication in speaking of the Old Judge photographic cards.

Most reprints of real photo cards have the halftone dot pattern The vast majority of reprints of known real photo cards are quickly identified due to the dot pattern in the player’s image. If you see a dot pattern on an Old Judge or Four Base Hits, you know it’s a reprint. A beginner with a strong magnifying glass should have no trouble identifying the average Old Judge reprint.



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