Arkansas man buys baseball card for $1.62
million By DANIEL J. YOVICH,
Associated Press Writer
Sat Aug 2, 7:41 PM ET
CHICAGO - An Arkansas man bought a 1909 Honus Wagner baseball
card for $1.62 million at a memorabilia auction in Chicago,
a sports auction company said Saturday.
The record price for a baseball card is $2.8 million
paid in 2007 for a near-mint condition Wagner card released
in 1909 by the American Tobacco Company.
John Rogers, 35, of North Little Rock, Ark., said his winning
bid for the T206 Wagner card is the realization of a decades-long
"I call this the holy grail of baseball cards,"
Rogers said in a phone interview. "I've looked at a number
of other specimens, sat in a few other Wagner auctions. But
this is the one that makes collecting worth while."
Rogers has collected baseball cards since he was 6. When
he was in the second grade, he said he cut out a copy of a
Wagner card and carried it around in his pocket.
"Since I was 8 years old, I've hoped and dreamed that
one day I'd be able to get one," Rogers said.
Bidders at the Friday night auction also spent $42,000 on
Ken Griffey, Jr.'s 600th home run ball and $240,000 for a
1938 Lou Gehrig Yankees road jersey, said Doug Allen, Mastro
Auctions chief operating officer.
The T206 cards are from a series issued between 1909 and
1911. Allen said the card was in excellent condition, and
said the next highest bid, $1.3 million, was placed on behalf
of a client who wished to remain anonymous.
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his card be withdrawn.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.
A nonsmoker, 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
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.
There are fewer than 100 Wagner baseball cards in existence,
said Julie Stoklosa, a spokeswoman for Mastro Auctions, and
less than ten are in excellent condition.
Allen said even the lowest graded Wagner baseball cards can
fetch more than $150,000.
"The mystique and allure of the T206 Wagner card continues
to grow," Allen said.
Among the previous owners of the card sold in 2007 were hockey
great Wayne Gretzky and Bruce McNall, former owner of the
Los Angeles Kings, who paid $451,000 for it in 1991.