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Legendary baseball card -- T206 Honus Wagner

Written by Keith Sharon, The Orange County Register (February 28, 2007)
Picture taken by Sang H. Park, The Orange County Register (February 28, 2007)

Cost of the card
Sept. 2007$2.8 millionPrivate Collector
Feb. 2007$2.35 millionPrivate California Sports Collector
in Partnership With SCP Auctions Inc.
2000$1.26 millionBrian Seigel, Tustin
1996 *$640,000Michael Gidwitz, Chicago
1995$500,000 (estimated)Treat Entertainment Co.
1991$451,000Wayne Gretzky/Bruce McNall, Los Angeles
1987$110,000James Copeland, San Luis Obispo
1986$25,000Bill Mastro, Willowbrook, Ill.
*In a 1995 promotional sale of baseball cards through Wal-Mart, a woman named Patricia Gibbs won the card. She auctioned it, and Gidwitz bought it.

What makes this card valuable
The highest price ever paid for a collectible baseball card was announced February 26, 2007 after a Laguna Niguel man and an anonymous partner who lives in Orange County bought it from a former Tustin resident for $2.35 million. The card, showing turn-of-the-century star Honus Wagner, is about the size of an adult's thumb. It was printed on cardboard and issued by a cigarette maker in 1909.

Why the card is so valuable
Excellent condition -- Though a century old, it is mostly unmarked by time or use. Professional graders rate it twice as good as the next best Wagner card of the time.

Comparative scarcity -- Wagner limited the number of cards with his picture. Legends about the reason for this vary. He may have had second thoughts about promoting smoking, or he may have been angry about getting too little money from the manufacturer.

Player's status -- In 1936, Wagner was one of the first five players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, along with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson and Fullerton-raised Walter Johnson.

Expanding market -- The number of wealthy collectors has grown, so this Honus Wagner T-206 card unique in its pristine condition is considered the most desirable baseball card ever printed.


Periodical - PSA-8 T206 Honus Wagner sold for $2.35M
Periodical - T206 Honus Wagner Sells for Record $2.35 Million
Periodical - T206 Wagner PSA-8 nets $1.27 Million
Periodical - New Owner of the $1.27M Wagner

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