T206 Caption Printing Variations
by John Dreker
November 28, 2012 -- The T206 set has some fairly popular printing variations that involve letters missing from either the player or team names. The most famous is the "NODGRASS" version of the Fred Snodgrass batting pose, with most of the first "S" in "SNODGRASS" missing. A Red Murray portrait card encapsulated with his name spelled "MURR'Y" sold for nearly $9,000 in 2007. There are also versions with "FRED MITCHELL, TORONT," missing the last "O" in "Toronto" and Charlie Hemphill, with the first "H" missing.
Some known variations don't even have the letters missing, among them being the "SHAPPE" version of Bud Sharpe and a "DOPNER" version of Gus Dorner, which are both missing parts of their R's.
The question is, how does one of these cards go from being just a printing plate flaw that was quickly corrected to a known variation that sells for high dollars? Do multiple versions of the card need to surface, or does one card just need to be highly publicized, such as the MURR'Y, which was graded by SGC and sold in Robert Edward Auctions? There are multiple known examples of the Hemphill version missing the "H," yet this is a variation that has not caught on. However it is as rare as most of the other cards previously mentioned, and it was discussed as early as 2003 on the Net54 message board. It is neither new, nor a "one-example" version of the flaw. At least five are known and in collectors' hands.
Which brings me to a card that I have owned since 2004. It is a Clark Griffith batting pose that is missing all of the last "I" Cincinnati, as well as 90 percent of the "T" and half of the "A." After examining the card to make sure it wasn't missing paper or altered, I became interested in finding more examples. For full disclosure, the card was purchased from an auction run by James Verrill/Baseball Vintage, now a defunct site, and no mention was made of the missing letters in the title or description.
Since purchasing the card, which is in a PSA 2 holder, I have searched for others to try to legitimize the error. All I have come up with is another one that was owned by a Net54 member prior to me purchasing my example. Recent attempts to reach that person went unanswered, so part of the reason for this article is the hope that he sees it and comes forward with a scan if he still owns it. The other hope is that there are more out there. If not, I think I can still live knowing that I have one of the two known versions. The back of my card is a Sweet Caporal 350, Factory 30, so it's likely that other examples would have the same back.