Thursday, March 01, 2007

Another Reason Why You Shouldn't Throw Away Your Old Baseball Cards...

Rare Wagner card sells for $2.35 million
February 27, 2007
LOS ANGELES (TICKER) -- The legendary T206 Honus Wagner baseball card was sold for a record $2.35 million Tuesday to a private California sports collector and an auction company.

The sale was announced at a news conference at Dodger Stadium. The private owner's identity was not revealed, but the company is SCP Auctions Inc., a minority partner in the purchase.

Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), the nation's top third-party grading service, gave this card a rating of 8. PSA has graded 28 known T206 Wagner cards, with just three grading at 4 or better.

Nearly 100 years old, the Wagner card is recognized by collectors and industry experts as the most famous and valuable baseball card in existence. It has nearly doubled in price three of the previous four times it has changed hands in the past 20 years.

The card last sold for $1.265 million in 2000. It once was owned by hockey great Wayne Gretzky and former hockey owner and noted collector Bruce McNall and also was the top prize in a national contest conducted by Wal-Mart.

"We are overjoyed to be able to join in partnership in the ownership of this unique collectible," SPC Auctions president and CEO David Kohler said. "The T206 Honus Wagner card is the most iconic object in the field of baseball card collecting. It has been dubbed 'The Mona Lisa of all trading cards' and its legacy has transcended popular culture."

The T206 was released by the American Tobacco Company in 1909 as part of a series that included more than 500 different cards. However, only 50 to 60 examples of the Wagner card have surfaced.

Legend has it that production of the card was discontinued because Wagner - one of the Baseball Hall of Fame's five original inductees in 1936 - either wanted to be paid for the use of his likeness or did not want children buying tobacco products to obtain the card.

Nicknamed the "Flying Dutchman," Wagner was the National League batting champion in eight of his 21 seasons and finished his career with a lifetime .329 average. He retired in 1917 with more hits, runs, RBIs, doubles, triples steals than any National League player.

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