World Record of $2.8 Million Paid for Famed T206 Honus Wagner Baseball Card

Sep 6, 2007

Mission Viejo, Calif. (Sept. 6, 2007) - Another Grand Slam for Honus Wagner. The finest known example of the famed T206 Honus Wagner baseball card has found another new home a little more than six months after selling for a then-record shattering price of $2.35 million in February to a California private collector. Renowned sports card and memorabilia auction company SCP Auctions Inc., the firm that handled that transaction and took a minority ownership position in the card, has brokered the latest sale to an anonymous private collector for a record price of $2.8 million.

The legendary T206 Honus Wagner baseball card, previously owned by Wayne Gretzky, and once the top prize in a national contest conducted by Wal-Mart, has long been recognized as the most famous and valuable baseball card in existence. Dubbed "The Holy Grail" or "Mona Lisa" of baseball cards, it has always been a beacon of the red-hot vintage sports collectibles market.

"The T206 Honus Wagner card is an icon, not only in the field of baseball card collecting, but in the larger field of Americana," said David Kohler, president and CEO of SCP Auctions. "We are privileged to have been involved in the sale of this card, not once but twice."

The legacy of the T206 Honus Wagner Card dates back to its creation and initial release by the American Tobacco Company in 1909 as part of a series that included more than 500 different baseball player cards. T206 tobacco cards are among the most widely collected, popular and sought after cards among current collectors. To this day however, it is estimated that less than one hundred examples of the T206 Wagner have surfaced. Numerous myths have been perpetuated and debated over the course of the last century, as to the reason for its scarcity. One of the prevailing theories was that Wagner, one of the premier players in the history of baseball, insisted that he be paid by the tobacco company for the use of his image causing the production of his card to be halted. A more common, and well-documented theory is that Wagner simply did not want children to be influenced into buying tobacco products just to get a "picture" of him, and thus forced the early withdrawal of his image on this principle. The volumes that have been written and countless tales that have been spun have made the T206 Wagner card a part of classic American Folklore.

This example, recently sold by SCP Auctions has been graded NM-MT 8 by Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA), the nations foremost third-party card grading service. PSA has authenticated, graded and encapsulated 28 of the known T206 Wagner cards. Of those, only two have earned grades of 4 (VG-EX) or better, three examples earned 3 (VG) status, with the remainder garnering either a 1 or 2 due to substantial wear or significant physical imperfections.

Said Dan Imler, managing director of SCP Auctions: "For many collectors, owning any example of a T206 Honus Wagner card is the crowning achievement of baseball card collecting. Approximately 70 collectors in the word are fortunate to own one. This example, graded PSA 8 NM-MT, is universally recognized as the ultimate baseball card treasure. We are proud to have had a hand in placing it in a good new home."

SCP Auctions, Inc. has been a leader in brokering important sports memorabilia and cards since 1979. The Southern California based firm also conducts regular auctions in partnership with Sotheby's. The Sotheby's/SCP Auctions partnership has handled some of the most significant individual items and prominent collections in their field, such as the record-setting sale of Babe Ruth's bat used to hit the first Home Run in Yankee Stadium ($1.265 million), The Original 1919 Contract of Sale of Babe Ruth From the Red Sox to The Yankees ($996,000), and the personal collections of Hall of Famers, such as Honus Wagner, Tony Lazzeri, Bob Cousy, Wilt Chamberlain, Casey Stengel, Pee Wee Reese, and Ernie Banks.