Yes, there are still collections of very old baseball cards that no one knows about sitting in homes across America. A large hoard of them just walked into Beckett, including a T206 Honus Wagner.
UPDATE: Cards came from a man in the southeast searching his house for something to sell.
Beckett Grading has spent the last month verifying and grading a collection of 550 T206 Sweet Caporal tobacco cards including a rare Honus Wagner card, from a single collection previously unknown to the hobby. This collection, submitted by a man in the southeastern U.S. who had inherited them, is thought to be one of the most extensive T206 private collections of raw, ungraded, turn of the century tobacco cards uncovered in the past 30 years. There are believed to be only 55-60 T206 Honus Wagner cards in circulation.
“The story behind this find, and the fact that the entire group is from the Sweet Caporal brand, suggests it is likely an original collection from an early 20th century collector who smoked Sweet Caporal cigarettes. There is no doubt that unearthing a T206 collection of this breadth, headlined by a Wagner, is one of the most significant trading card finds in recent memory,” said Mark Anderson, Director of Beckett Grading Services. “Having been hidden away for decades, the color on these cards is extraordinary, and a very large percentage of these cards should grade Excellent or better.”
The New York Daily News reported that the cards were consigned by a man who had "apparently fallen on hard times and was searching his house for something to sell when he remembered the card collection that had apparently originated with his grandfather. The value of the Wagner alone will likely exceed $100,000.
Claims of T206s often result in disappointment but in this case, it was all true. Beckett Auctions Director Dave Sliepka was excited when the package was opened.
"We received a partial shipment, without the Wagner. Once we saw those, we knew the Wagner he told us about had a great chance of being real. They were just amazing examples of color that verified his claims that they had rarely seen the light of day more than a few times in the last 50 years. At every stage of the process, our reaction was ‘wow’! The quantity and quality were very special. We knew this might be a once in a lifetime collection we were getting. "
The entire collection will be auctioned off through multiple auctions overseen by the Beckett Select Auctions division of Beckett Media beginning in March of this year. The single card and lot auctions will culminate with the multi-day auction of the T206 Honus Wagner ending on April 10th.
“The history and lore that surround the previous Honus Wagner cards makes this one of the most exciting announcements Beckett Media has ever made. We expect this card alone to sell for well over $100,000 at auction and based on the exceptional appearance and condition of many of the other cards in the collection we feel that many collectors will be able to enhance their T206 collections dramatically in the coming months,” said Grant Sandground, Beckett Media’s Technical Director of Hobby Development.
While many collectors take their modern cards to Beckett for grading, the company has graded 3791 T206 cards.
"The T206 set has and remains to this day, by far, the most important pre-war set of trading cards ever issued. In fact, you could make a viable argument that it’s the most important set of trading cards ever issued. Period. The set represents every element that comes to define a collecting masterpiece,” added Sandground.
"The Wagner is, of course, the centerpiece of the set. It’s gotten to the point where it’s virtually an iconic image when discussing American pop culture. The set is loaded with multiple cards for benchmark Hall of Famers like Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson and Cy Young. The artwork and images, to this day, remain universally compelling. The cards have a perfect balance of scarcity and commonality. Low grade copies are affordable for options almost any collector and high-grade cards and scarce short prints continue to grow in popularity with afficionados.”
Related content: PSA 8 Wagner Sells for $2.6 Million