Greg Morris Cards

1913 T200 Fatima Baseball Cards

Set Spotlight: 1913 T200 Fatima Cigarette Team Cards

Though the Fatima cigarette brand was relatively late to the party in distributing baseball cards, they made a lasting impression with their team cards issued in 1913.

Fatima was a brand of cigarettes first introduced by the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company in the 1870s. They were marketed as “an exotic blend of Turkish tobaccos” to customers, and eventually became one of the most popular brands in the 1910’s. Customers were likely drawn to their exotic sounding name, coupled with an image of a Turkish woman on the cover of the packs.

Perhaps another reason for the brand’s success was its unique set of baseball cards released in 1913.

1913 T200 Fatima: The Set

Most baseball cards issued by tobacco companies in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries featured individual players on each card. The T206 and T205 are the most well known examples, though the trend really started with the N28 (Allen & Ginter) and N175 (Gypsy Queen) in the 1880s.

But Fatima broke that trend by including only team cards. No other tobacco company had released team cards as their entire set, though team cards had been issued before. In fact, one of the first baseball cards on record was a team card called “The First Nine of the Red Stockings”, made by Havana Tobacco in 1869.

There are 16 cards in the entire set, which represents all 16 professional teams in the American and National League at the time. The set checklist is as follows:

  • Boston (National)
  • Brooklyn (National)
  • Chicago (National)
  • Cincinnati (National)
  • New York (National)
  • Philadelphia (National)
  • Pittsburgh (National)
  • St. Louis (National)
  • Boston (American)
  • Chicago (American)
  • Cleveland (American)
  • Detroit (American)
  • New York (American)
  • Philadelphia (American)
  • St. Louis (American)
  • Washington (American)

Each card also includes the last name of each player in the photo, making it very easy to identify who is who.

One confusing aspect of this set is the naming of the teams on the cards. The cards do not include the nickname of the teams, only the league that team played in. So “New York Nationals” is the New York Giants and “New York Americans” is the New York Yankees.

Unless you had a working knowledge of the leagues themselves, or of the players on each team, you might be confused which New York, Boston, or Chicago team you had in your hand.

These images were not printed on cardboard or ordinary paper stock like other cards at the time. They were high-gloss photographic paper stock, which made for a more striking and clear image. Because of this, they likely stood out from other tobacco cards of the era. This probably contributed to their popularity among collectors. Also, there were only 16 cards in the set, so it was likely easier for collectors at the time to build a complete set (other tobacco cards had hundreds of cards in each set).

1913 T200 Fatima: The Players

With the addition of player last names on each photo, the T200 Fatima set gives us a unique set of cards that represent some of the greatest baseball players of the early 20th century. Prior to this set, you had very few cards with multiple star players or Hall of Famers on one card.

For example, the New York Giants (Nationals) card features both Christy Mathewson and Jim Thorpe. This is the only card from this era to feature both of these popular players on one card.

1913 T200 Fatima Cigarettes New York Giants (Nationals) showing Jim Thorpe and Christy Mathewson

Other cards featured stars and Hall of Famers with their respective teams: Rabbit Maranville on the Boston Braves, Casey Stengel on the Brooklyn Superbas, Honus Wagner on the Pittsburgh Pirates, Shoeless Joe Jackson and Nap Lajoie on the Cleveland Naps, and Johnny Evers on the Chicago Cubs.

Packing that much star power in only 16 cards gives Fatima some of the best “bang for your buck” value you can find in early 20th century tobacco cards.

1913 T200 Fatima: Valuing the set

Valuing the T200 set is easier than most tobacco cards of this era. Again, this is because the checklist is so small.

According to Vintage Card Prices, a full set of T200 graded a PSA 1 (PR) is valued at $6,457. A full set graded a PSA 5 (EX) is valued at $24,143.

PSA’s pop report indicates it’s not currently possible to own a set with every card graded higher than a PSA 5. The highest grade known in the set is a Cleveland (American) card graded a PSA 8.

A full set graded a PSA 8 or higher would likely be above six figures, but again, it’s not likely possible to build a set graded so high. Cards from the T200 Fatima set, not unlike other tobacco sets, are very difficult to find in near mint or better condition.

Raw cards from this set usually sell for at least $100, even in low grade. Greg Morris Cards has a low grade copy of the New York Yankees card from this set up for auction now, with the latest bids at $115.

— Sources: “Game Faces: Early Baseball Cards from the Library of Congress” by Peter Devereaux; vintagecardprices.com; baseball-reference.com —

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