One of the rarest Honus Wagner cards ever produced will soon be coming to auction. In 1909, John H. Dockman & Sons issued some of the earliest gum cards – a set of 40 that would later be cataloged by collectors as ‘E92’. The set includes two cards of the legendary Honus Wagner – a throwing and a batting pose. The Dockman Wagner cards are our Vintage Buy of the Week from Just Collect, Inc., and will be auctioned off later this year.
PSA has only graded 34 examples of the E92 Dockman Honus Wagner (batting) card, which for comparison is the same number of T206 Honus Wagner cards the company has graded. However, whereas the T206 Wagner is usually a fixture of the auction season, the E92 Dockman featuring Wagner’s batting pose has not been publicly auctioned since 2010. When this Wagner hits the auction market it is surely to attract serious attention from collectors.
The E92 Dockman throwing pose of Wagner is no slouch either, with PSA only recording 54 examples of the card – most in lower grade. The example recently acquired by Just Collect is well centered and appears in excellent condition, making it all the more desirable. Wagner’s appearance on the hobby’s most valuable and expensive card has consistently raised the price of his other issues as collectors seek to own a Wagner – including the E92 Dockman throwing, which now fetches in excess of $5,000 in mid grade.
There are only three complete E92 Dockman sets active on the PSA registry, with the remainder all lacking the Wagner batting pose. Those collectors who are serious about collecting the set are likely to have a keen interest in this example – not just because of its excellent color and condition – but because it has been more than four years since one was available in an auction. When that Wagner sold, it brought several thousand dollars, but with the increased popularity in ‘E’ cards and all things Wagner, that 2010 figure should be eclipsed.
So how did Just Collect manage to track down two of the most desirable Honus Wagner cards in existence? From a New England collector who inherited them from his grandfather. The collector is in possession of several pre-WW1 issues in addition to the Dockman’s including a sizable number of T206 and M116 Sporting Life cards. Many of these cards featured his grandfather’s notations of the player’s positions, but the Wagner cards were unmarked.
When the New England collector needed money he chose to part with two of the most valuable cards in the collection, and preserve the bulk of his grandfather’s collection – including those that included his handwriting. The sale of the two Wagner cards has allowed the collector to obtain the money he needed, and keep the vast majority of the baseball treasures that have been in their family for generations.
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