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T206 Honus Wagner PSA-2 sells for $7.25 Mil

Barrons (Aug 5, 2022)

A rare, authenticated Honus Wagner T-206 baseball card has changed hands for US$7.25 million through a private deal, making it the most expensive trading card of all time, according to the New Jersey-based Goldin Auctions.

The previous record was set by another Wagner T-206 card, which fetched US$6.6 million through New Jersey-based Robert Edward Auctions in April 2021.

Among other priciest trading cards sold within last two years include a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA 9 that sold to actor and entrepreneur Rob Gough for US$5.2 million at auction in January 2021; a LeBron James-Upper Deck autographed rookie jersey card that sold for US$5.2 million through a private sale at PWCC Marketplace in April 2021; and a 1933 Babe Ruth card that sold or US$4.212 million at an online auction at Memory Lane, a California-based vintage sports card auction house, in July 2021.

Another trading card currently up for auction is poised to break the record: A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card has an online bid of US$6.1 million (US$7.32 million with buyer's premium). The Texas-based Heritage Auctions expects it to reach close to US$10 million when the sale closes on Aug. 24.

Among collectible trading cards, Honus Wagner T206 cards are extremely rare. Currently, fewer than 50 copies have been certified by the leading authentication companies in the field, according to Goldin.

A total of 206 Wagner cards were issued between 1909 and 1911 by the American Tobacco Company (ATC), featuring a portrait of Wagner on the front and advertisement for tobacco on the back.

Wagner (1874-1955) was one of the five inaugural members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He played 21 seasons in Major League Baseball from 1897 to 1917, almost entirely for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

One of the earliest pro athletes to make endorsement deals, Wagner was said to not want tobacco products to be sold to young collectors of sports cards. Production of Wagner cards were paused, making the existing editions extremely rare.

"The T-206 is truly one of the hobby's greatest rarities. Since it was printed, it's taken on a life of its own," Ken Goldin, executive chairman and founder of his namesake auction house, said in an email. "The card is equal parts art and history and will forever hold a special place within the hobby."

The card last sold for US$294,338 in 2006 through Memory Lane, according to Goldin, who declined to identify the consignor or the new owner.


Periodical - T206 Honus Wagner PSA-2 sold for a record price of $236,706

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