Rare Honus Wagner 1909 baseball card sold for record $2.8 million
September 6, 2007
VIEJO, Calif. (AP) -- A rare Honus Wagner baseball card has
been sold for a record $2.8 million, just over six months
after it was bought for a then-record $2.35 million.
to as the "Mona Lisa" of baseball cards, the
almost mint-condition collectible -- released in 1909
by the American Tobacco Company -- was sold by Brian
Seigel of Las Vegas to an unidentified Southern California
collector in February. SCP Auctions was a minority owner,
but David Kohler, the company's president and CEO, said
that's no longer the case.
Kohler said the new owner wishes to remain a private
collector for now, but might identify himself at a later
date. The sale was completed last week and announced
The T206 baseball card features a youthful Wagner in
his Pittsburgh Pirates uniform. At the time of the February
sale, it was displayed at a Dodger Stadium news conference.
"This has always been the holy grail, the Mona
Lisa of baseball cards," Kohler said.
Adding to its value is that only 50 to 60 Wagner cards
are believed to exist, and none of the others in circulation
are close to the quality of this one, which has been
encased in protective sheeting for decades.
"This is the finest by far per condition,"
There are no immediate plans to put the card on display,
"There's a possibility that might happen in the
future, we don't know for sure," Kohler said. "It
was displayed last month at the National Sports Collectors
Convention in Cleveland. Next year, it's in Chicago.
I'm sure we'll have it on display again. I'm sure the
new owner won't have a problem with that."
Seigel, the CEO of an asset management company, paid
a record $1.265 million when he bought the card in 2000.
Among the previous owners were hockey great Wayne Gretzky
and Bruce McNall, former owner of the Los Angeles Kings,
who paid $451,000 for it in 1991.
Wagner's card was among the first of hundreds of cards
of major league players produced by the American Tobacco
Co. and included in packages of cigarettes.
Unlike other players, however, Wagner quickly demanded
that his card be withdrawn. Theories vary as to why,
with one being that he didn't believe American Tobacco
paid him enough.
T206 Honus Wagner baseball trading card is displayed
June 6, 2000 in New York. This finest known example
of the famed T206 Honus Wagner baseball card has been
sold, a little more than six months after selling for
a then-record price of $2.35 million to a California
private collector. The auction company, California-based
SCP Auctions Inc., has brokered the latest sale to a
private collector for a record price of $2.8 million,
according to a report, Thursday Sept. 6, 2007. (AP Photo/Kathy
A non-smoker, the Pittsburgh shortstop
was arguably the second-greatest baseball player of his era,
behind Ty Cobb. Wagner hit .344 during his rookie year of
1897, and batted over .300 for 17 consecutive seasons, winning
eight National League batting titles.
One of the first five players inducted into the Baseball Hall
of Fame, Wagner retired in 1917 with more hits, runs, RBIs,
doubles, triples and steals than any NL player.
Kohler said over 1,200 items are currently up for auction
on his company's web site including the balls Barry Bonds
hit for his record-tying 755th homer and record-breaking 756th
homer last month. Those are up for sale through Sept. 15.