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Beautifully Restored T206 Honus Wagner sold for $222,000

Legendary Live Auctions (July 31, 2009)

This is one of the very few collectibles on earth for which no explanatory description is required, and for which verbal inducement intended to pique interest is utterly redundant. The mere sight of a T206 Honus Wagner tobacco card is sufficient to provoke an unbelievably pleasant sensation, unique to each individual, within the emotional core of a baseball enthusiast. Wagner's legend is well ingrained, particularly as it relates to this small but majestic printed piece with the distinctive orange background, but the specifics of each T206 Wagner's singular journey remain bountifully intriguing. We recognize the likeness of the Dutchman at once, but related questions immediately ensue. "Where has this card been? What has it seen?" Those wonderings are compelling in each Wagner card's own instance. They only add even more fuel to the magnetic wish to possess it, and, in so doing, to contribute to the card's personal time-line's path.

The century-long peregrinations of the offered example are known, in part, and those segments of its travels are fascinating in their own right. In the early 1970s, a collector in the Philadelphia area, who had been searching for a genuine Wagner for several years, was made aware of this piece’s existence by – of all things – a newspaper classified ad. Following-up with the Texas-based advertiser led to the chance to receive the card through the mail and examine it in person. The seller (unaware that this type of collectible should, indeed, come equipped with “White Borders”) agreed after a bit of negotiation to sell the card for a suitably discounted price: $400.

Encapsulated and assessed "Authentic" by PSA. This Wagner specimen has undergone a journey like none other: from dramatic modification in its early life to an apparent revival of former glory in the present. At one stage, the piece was well-handled, its borders were pared, and its back conceded evidence of forcible adherence to a makeshift mounting. Today – with the most glaring of these past injustices professionally redressed – the card's aesthetic resembles that of an attractive, Very Good example.

This Wagner's appearance has been reinvigorated through a thoughtful, methodical process that involved painstaking graft-attachment of natural material (from a contemporary, T206 "donor" card), along with the application of similar strategies to the front and back surfaces. The result – which, it's fair to say, stands as a classic success story in the science of archival restoration – is a relic that has been given the opportunity to enjoy rebirth in a viable approximation of its original configuration. The procedures necessary to bring about the second incarnation of the card’s as-designed size, colors and features were, of course, carefully planned and meticulously documented.

Here is the item that has inspired the industry from its earliest days, and the artifact which continues to be the ultimate goal for every enthusiast. Honus Wagner's presence elevates any collection like no other force on the planet, and this is an opportunity for one of the industry's finest assemblies to achieve ultra-elite status!

Final Bid with Buyer's Premium: $222,000

SIDE NOTE: (New York Daily News) The winning bidder was a dealer named Chris Galbreath. Galbreath later said he purchased the card on behalf of John Rogers, the Arkansas businessman who spent $1.62 million last year on a T206 Wagner at Mastro's 2008 National auction.

This same card was in MEARS Monthly Auctions on April 29, 2010 but did not sale (reserve not met with $160,771 as the highest bid).


Periodical - Fresh To The Market T206 Wagner sold for $826k
Periodical - Arkansas man buys Wagner baseball card for $1.62M

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