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Honus Wagner Baseball Card Sells For $2.1 Million

honus-wagner-baseball
Goldin Auctions

A 1909 baseball card of Honus Wagner soldfor a record $2.1 million, the auction house that conducted the sale said Saturday. One of only 50 cards of its kind in existence, the T-206 American Tobacco Company card fetched $2,105,770.50 from an unnamed buyer according to Goldin Auctions in West Berlin, N.J.

Cards like Wagner’s helped create a booming — and now largely busted — industry around sports collectibles and memorabilia in the 1970s and 1980s. They also set off a pandemic of guys stopping by yard sales (without their wives or girlfriends) to ransack shoe boxes and rifle through old trunks looking for cardboard gold. Truth: Unless someone had Bill Gates or Warren Buffett chained in their attic, there was nothing quite as valuable in their house.

Known to many collectors as the “Holy Grail” of baseball cards, the Wagner T-206 was one of the few cards of its type to remain in circulation after the Pittsburgh Pirates’ future Hall of Fame shortstop asked the company to recall the card. Wagner did not consent to appearing on the collectible and did not want to encourage smoking by kids.

Its scarcity, age, condition and Wagner’s accomplishments made this particular T-206 the most valuable baseball card in the collectible world. This Wagner card last sold for $1.62 million in 2008.

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