There are a number of unique T206 proofs that currently reside in the Keith Olbermann collection. Keith graciously provided T206Resource.com with the following scans so their significance can be shared.
The Eddie Collins (w/ Bat) Proof
As the story goes, in the 1970s relatives of a former printer who did work with proof production found a group of cards in their attic. The find reportedly consisted of hundreds of T206 proofs and about 80 T3 proofs. The cards were taken to a show in New York at District Center 65, where the group was broken up and sold to various dealers. One of the buyers was Rob Lifson, who after going through several stacks of proofs selected the Collins because he was a Hall Of Fame player from Philadelphia, where Rob was from.
He held on to the card, and while he was attending a show in the Midwest, a T206 proof was auctioned and realized a price of $18, with Bill Mastro as the underbidder. Lifson, standing nearby, let Mastro know that he had a proof. If Mastro was interested, Lifson said that he would sell it for $17. Mastro agreed, and when Lifson handed him the card Mastro noted that the Collins was an unissued subject in the T206 set.
Lifson, who had not known that the Collins was an unissued card, didn't want to sell it, but Mastro pressed that they had reached an agreement and insisted the card was his. Lifson begrudgingly let the card go -- for the moment -- but by show's end reacquired the Collins for $1,750 in trade. Upon returning home, Lifson sold the proof to Barry Halper, who was happy to pay $2,250 for such a rare item.
In 1994, Halper consigned the card to Robert Edward Auctions with an opening bid of $50,000. The lot received only one bid and sold for a total price, including buyer's premium, of $56,000 to collector/actor Charlie Sheen. The Collins proof remained in the Sheen collection until it was again offered publicly in the Leland's April 2000 auction, where it sold for $24,930. Olbermann wrote the following in his March 2011 MLB blog regarding Sheen: "I’d like to thank him belatedly for the T206 Collins Proof card, by the way." To date, the Eddie Collins (w/ Bat) proof remains the only unissued major-league subject known from the T206 set.
Eight Unissued Southern League Proofs
In 1999, two longtime East Coast dealers looking to get out of the business consigned their remaining inventory to Mastro's auction house. During the course of sorting through the large number of cards, the following eight unissued southern league proofs were discovered. Where they originated from or when the dealers acquired them was unknown, but their hobby significance was immediately recognized. In November 1999, Mastro offered the eight proofs in one lot, with Keith being the high bidder. After receiving the cards, Keith worked closely with several individuals to determine the identities of the players. To learn more about these proofs and the research that went into identifying the subjects, read the 2000 VCBC article Eight Men In.
Simon Nicholls and Wildfire Schulte Proofs
Two other unique proofs in the Olbermann collection are Simon Nicholls (Hands On Knees) and Wildfire Schulte (Front View.) These proofs are from the same find as the unissued Eddie Collins (w/ Bat) proof and are great examples of how artwork was subject to change throughout the proofing process.
The Nicholls proof is interesting because it exhibits several art differences from the T206 that was used for production. Faint lines on the cap and a large "A" on the chest of Nicholls can be seen on the production image, but both are missing from the Type 2 proof.
The Schulte proof is a great example of a definitive artwork change prior to production. This Type 1 proof of Schulte has CHICAGO across the chest, but the artwork was changed so the production image has CUBS written across the chest.