Every once in awhile I'll try a bid on a really old baseball card on eBay. Every other time, I've been unsuccessful.
This time, I tried a bid on one of the granddaddies of baseball card collecting, a 1909-1911 T206 tobacco card. And to my wonder, I was the only bidder.
I paid $11.92, including postage, for this beauty.
We'll clearly, it's not a beauty. In fact its got some serious problems, such as 4 rounded and soft corners, several major creases and it's cut badly. Plus there is some residue on the back which looks like the remains of tape or glue. But on the other hand, it's not missing any of it's surface and the color is excellent. Considering it's almost 100 years old, it's in pretty good shape.
I have a collection of old postcards (mostly having to do with Cliff Walk in Rhode Island). A number of these date to the same era as this baseball card. But this is the oldest baseball card I own by far.
A few months ago I acquired a 1940 Play Ball card which is now the second oldest card I have.
Hooks Wiltse was a pitcher who played for the New York Giants from 1904 to 1914. His last season was in 1915 with the Brooklyn Tip-Tops. He has a career record of 139 and 90, most of that in the years 1904 through 1912. His best year was 1908 when he was 23 and 14 with an ERA of 2.24. He pitched 330 innings that year. He had a brother nicknamed Snake who was also a pitcher.
Hooks died in 1959 at 80 years of age, when I was 8 years old.
It's hard to tell from Beckett how much this card would be worth if it were in better condition. As near as I can tell, Beckett would put it in the $200-250 range. According to Beckett.com this is card #520, although I don't know how you can tell since there isn't a number on the card. There were 2 other cards of Wiltse, #519 with him pitching and #521 with a cap on.