Such is the craze of Honus Wagner, one of the first five members introduced to the Baseball Hall of Fame who played shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates, that a man paid staggering $1.2 million for a rare Honus Wagner 1909 baseball card in an online auction. Described as sports ‘most famous collectible’, the Wagner card was part of the ‘Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons XL‘, Goodwin & Co.’s auction of a total of 528 baseball cards from the T206 series, which was released by an American Tobacco Co. for distribution in cigarette packs, back in 1909.
Nicknamed “The Flying Dutchman” due to its incredible speed and German heritage, Honus Wagner is known for winning eight National League batting titles, and hitting career’s batting average of .327. This rare card of the iconic Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Honus Wagner received a total of 14 bids in the auction, and was finally sold to an anonymous collector from New Jersey. The card auction began with a starting bid of $300,000, which was considered to be highest in the set.
Earlier in 2000, a similar card that too in the same condition was sold for $145,000 and another went for about $950,000 in 2008, according to Bill Goodwin, president of Goodwin & Co., a St. Louis-based sports memorabilia auctioneer. However, in year 2007, Ken Kendrick, a Arizona based Diamondback owner bought another version of the same card in somewhat better condition for whopping $2.8 million, making that the world's most expensive ever sold baseball-card.
As said by Bill Goodwin, the entire lot sold for a total of $1.77 million. Further, some of the other lots in the auction included a card of Eddie Plank, former Philadelphia Athletics pitcher which got sold for $330,000, and cards of famous Hall of Fame players Cy Young, Christy Mathewson and Ty Cobb.
All of the 528 cards were owned by a Texas based collector who the auctioneers declined to disclose.