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New Owner of the $1.27M Wagner

Written by T206museum.com (July 19, 2000)

Special Delivery:   PSA 8 Wagner Auction Highlight

The best-known example of the industry's most famous card, the T206 Honus Wagner, sold for $1.1 million Saturday. The final price for the PSA 8 NM-MT tobacco card, including 15 percent buyer's fees, was $1,265,000. The winning bidder was, 40-year-old Brian Seigel of Santa Ana, Calif, businessman and a collector of high-grade specimens of some of the hobby's most coveted cards. Seigel's company (Rockford Industries) went public 10 years later, then was sold in 1999 to American Express for $61 million, which would be enough to buy quite a few Wagners, with change to spare.

"I wanted to be the first one ever to bid $1 million on a baseball card, so I bid $900,000 that along with the buyer's fee would be $1 million," Seigel told the Orange County Register at a press conference at Edison Field in Anaheim Tuesday. "Then I got a call (from auction officials) that someone was about to make a higher bid and I asked my wife, what should we do? "She said, ‘You have the chance now, and it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.' She actually said, ‘Go for it,' and that made me go all the way to the $1.1 million (winning) bid."

"It's a dream come true," Seigel said yesterday, three days after winning on on-line auction for the card depicting the Pittsburgh Pirates' Hall of Fame shortshop.

"This is the Mona Lisa of our hobby, most people don't get to see it," Seigel said. "What I'm thinking of is to have a traveling compny to tour big-league ballparks to put this card on display. If I took this to my safety deposit box, nobody would ever see it"

Seigel said he began thinking about the Wagner card when it sold for $461,000 in 1991 to former hockey star Wayne Gretzky and Bruce McNall, then owner of the Los Angeles Kings.

"It was very exciting," said Lifson, who noted that there were six active bidders on the card in the closing moments, and several others who had been interested but were quickly left behind as the bidding soared. "We had hoped the card would bring $1 million, and it exceeded that. It practically doubled the old record, and we're real happy about that."


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