Buyer gets a bargain on $1.32-million Honus Wagner baseball card

Date reached 3,000: June 9, 1914.

Date reached 3,000: June 9, 1914.

(Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

A Honus Wagner baseball card from 1909 was sold this weekend for $1.32 million.

Though that is obviously quite a large chunk of change for a tiny piece of cardboard, the most shocking part about the transaction might be that it did not cost the buyer even more.

Wagner cards, part of the T206 line issued by the American Tobacco Co. from 1909-11, are extremely rare -- supposedly fewer than 200 were made -- and highly coveted by collectors.

Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendricks is said to have paid $2.8 million for one such card. Another sold for $2.1 million in 2013.


The card that sold this weekend is in excellent condition, according to Robert Edwards Auctions.

“This is a phenomenal-looking card in all respects that elicits a positive and awed response from everyone who sees it,” the company stated in its listing for the card. “The colors are noticeably brighter, fresher, and bolder than virtually every other T206 Wagner in existence. The image is perfect, and it shows just enough honest wear to give it character but not serve as a distraction in any way.”

According to the auction site, the Wagner cards are so rare that they often become known by the stories behind them. This particular card is known as the “Oceanside Wagner” because it “was entirely unknown to the modern collecting world for nearly a century until it was discovered in the basement of an Oceanside, New York, home in 2008 alongside hundreds of other 1910-era tobacco cards.”

Other well-known T206 Wagners include “The Gretzky-McNall Wagner,” which the auction site calls “the most valuable and famous card in the world,” and “The All-Star Cafe Wagner,” which was once owned by Charlie Sheen and displayed at the All-Star Cafe in New York, where it was stolen by employees and replaced with a color copy before being recovered by the FBI.

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