Collectors who have been waiting for a horde of T206 cards to enter the marketplace, including three of the most valuable cards in the set, will see them on the market in a couple of weeks. Goodwin & Co. of St. Louis will have high quality examples of the T206 Honus Wagner, Eddie Plank and Sherry “Magie” (error) cards offer along with the rest of a completely graded T206 set in its online catalog auction. The cards have been in a private collection out of the spotlight for at least the last 25 years according to the company.
The auction begins March 27 and closes April 19.
“This really is the ʻHoly Grailʼ of baseball cards,” said company president Bill Goodwin, of the Wagner, which is graded 40 (VG) by SGC. “There is no more important baseball card in the world. We anticipate significant interest in this amazing relic, with prices expected to easily top $1 million. This is the finest Wagner to come to market in some time.”
A VG-EX PSA-graded Wagner card that was part of the Dreier Collection was most recently sold via private transaction for an undisclosed price believed to be over $1.5 million.
Among the other treasures discovered in the T206 set along with the Wagner card is a cardboard classic of Hall of Fame pitcher Eddie Plank, expected to fetch between $350,000 and $500,000 in the Goodwin auction. The Plank carries a 70 (EX+) grade.
Numerous theories about the Plank cardʼs rarity have circulated for decades, with a popular rumor stating a printing plate was broken and never replaced, resulting in the cardʼs extreme scarcity. In reality, experts believe Plank simply refused to return a consent form allowing his likeness to be used to promote American Tobaccoʼs products.
What makes this particular Plank card so valuable is the cardʼs back. The card reads “Piedmont (Cigarettes) 150 Subjects,” meaning the card was accidentally released without Plankʼs permission during the earliest days of the T206 setʼs launch. Only three other Plank cards with this designation are known by baseball experts and none have been graded as highly as this particular card.
The other great rarity offered by Goodwin is a seldom seen error card of star Philadelphia outfielder Sherry Magee, whose name was misspelled Magie on a limited number of cards. The Magie is graded EX/NM 80 by SGC.
The Magie error was corrected by American Tobacco, making the early “mistake cards” incredibly valuable. A fleet-footed outfielder and productive hitter, Magee was one of the stars of his era, but lacked the Hall of Fame numbers of Wagner and Plank. Even without a Cooperstown pedigree, Mageeʼs card with the misspelling is expected to garner bids near $75,000.
The remainder of the T206 set will also be sold including cards of Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Cy Young, the famed double play combination of Tinker to Evers To Chance and many more.
“The great thing about this auction is that there really is something for everyone,” stated Bill Goodwin. “There are cards of the greatest players of all time . . . cards that will command incredible prices. But at the same time, there are cards of stars and ordinary players that people can buy for between $100 and $200. These cards have so much history behind them. They make great conversation pieces and often become family heirlooms that are be passed down through the generations.”
While T206 cards are common on auction sites ranging from hobby portals such as Goodwin & Company to common destinations such as eBay, rarely is the entire T206 set offered at one time, making this auction highly unique.
“Weʼre hoping to exhibit the collection to the public at least once during the auction, so people can have a chance to see all of these tiny works of art at one time. For many people, this will probably be the only chance they ever have to see the Wagner card. The goal is to partner with a charity to host the show and make the event a fundraiser for a good cause,” Goodwin added.
“The Wagner card is great for the hobby and great for baseball,” Goodwin said. “Every time an example comes to market, people get excited and start rummaging through shoe boxes of cards and climbing into Grandmaʼs attic in hopes of finding hidden treasure. The excitement is contagious.”
To register to bid in the Goodwin & Company auction, visit the company’s website.