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Honus Wagner T206 Proof Strip Won By 15 Years Old

Sports Collectors Digest
By T.S. O'Connell
(May 3, 2002)

The original "Million-Dollar Baseball Card" isn't really a card at all, but the five-card strip that features the famed T206 Honus Wagner card smack dab in the middle has surfaced once again, this time in the hands of a 15-year-old youngster in Bakersfield, Calif. The strip, one of the legendary pieces in the hobby that was owned by none other than Barry Halper for two decades, toured the country with the "million-dollar" monicker under the capable hands of master showman Alan Rosen.

Reportedly found in the pocket of an actual coach's jersey worn by Wagner, the card sold in the famous Barry Halper Collection auction at Sotheby's in 1999. Steve Verkman of Clean Sweep Auctions shelled out $85,000 for the strip, then sold it a year later in his own auction for $95,000.

The winning bidder was the Shop At Home television network, which promptly put the card to work as a promotional vehicle for its televised offerings, and ultimately used it as the top prize in a contest that afforded purchasers of various sports card offerings a chance at winning the card.

Armando Marquez, the father of 15-year-old Jordan Marquez, is technically the winner of the card because of his son's age, but dad makes no bones about the fact that the card belongs to the youngster, who filled out the contest entry form. "After we won it, we hung on to it as long as we could, but now we are faced with the tax liability, and we are looking to put it up for auction," said the elder Marquez. "We look at it as an opportunity for Jordan's future," he continued, noting the proceeds would be used for a college fund. Marquez has contacted Rob Lifson of MastroNet, who said the strip will be featured in the company's August auction.


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