The PSA 8 Honus Wagner card went on display during a news conference at Dodger Stadium Tuesday. The seller and buyer are both from the west coast but we still don’t know exactly who the buyer is. We do know he can apparently go grocery shopping without coupons.
But….a new book scheduled for May release on the "real story" behind the high grade Wagner could open a whole new can of tobacco.
Honus Wagner never played in a big league game west of St. Louis, but L.A. is where his most famous image has resided for the past several years. The world’s most expensive card has been in storage at PSA’s Santa Ana headquarters but it’s also seen plenty of daylight thanks to collector Brian Seigel. He showed it off several times–even to some awed Little Leaguers. He’s just sold the card for $2.35 million. It’s a nice profit (less taxes, of course), but what will become of the card now is not certain.
“I received an unsolicited call out of the blue late last year from a California collector who wanted to buy it. After thinking it over for a while, I decided to sell, and the two of us agreed on a price,” explained Seigel. The President of an asset management company, he lives in Las Vegas and indicated to reporters he wasn’t originally looking to unload it. Major dealers, however, speculated last summer that a sale would likely come sometime in 2007.
Seigel said he especially enjoyed showing it off to youngsters on the occasion when he chose to remove it from it’s secure location.
“Previous owners usually kept it locked up; however, I displayed the card as frequently as possible at major sports collectibles shows around the country. When I lived in Orange County California I even took it to several Cal State Fullerton baseball games and to elementary schools to teach children about baseball card collecting.
The buyer is a businessman from Orange County who’s identity wasn’t revealed when the announcement was first made Monday night and his identity wasn’t offered during Wednesday’s Dodger Stadium news conference, which drew several media outlets, including a reporter from the Associated Press.
Here’s some video courtesy of KNBC.
If you’ve always wanted a T206 but figured they were too expensive, don’t dispair. Common cards can be found at reasonable prices, although demand continues to increase. Here’s what is currently available on eBay.
A new, tell-all book is set to be published in May that supposedly blows the lid off of the Wagner card. Persistent speculation is that it originated on an uncut sheet found at a Florida flea market and was subsequently cut from the sheet, then and more importantly, trimmed again to secure a high grade. Unlike their modern counterparts, there is noticeable size differential among the millions of tobacco cards printed in the T206 era (1909-1911) so trimming is not as easily detected.
A PSA 2 Wagner sold for $294,000 in a Memory Lane auction late last year. BMW Sports of Madison, WI is believed to have sold at least one lower grade Wagner during the Anaheim National. Owner Brian Wentz was prophetic when he told Sports Collectors Daily he suspected the high grade Wagner to reach $2 million.