The controversial Honus Wagner card was pulled from the auction block last week by eBay, but it's owners aren't giving up.
The purported T206 Honus Wagner card scheduled for auction last week was pulled by eBay the day prior to the sale over questions of authenticity. Now, the appraiser handling the sale says more scientific tests will be done to attempt to prove the owners' card is real.
Bob Connelly was selling the card for two Cincinnati men. He put a minimum bid of $300,000 on the card and claims it's an error but members of the vintage sports card community have blasted it as a fake.
Connelly says he'll now commit to more scientific examination of the card including an ink test, in an effort to validate the claim of authenticity. He says once more document experts verify the card's age, he'll then submit the card to a professional card grading service and ask them to authenticate it.
It's believed pressure applied by the collecting community is what caused eBay to pull the card from it's scheduled sale. The card was not sold in the live auction it was scheduled to highlight in Binghamton, New York on Saturday.
Here's the story and background from the web site of the appraiser who's putting it up for sale. He says paper experts validated the age of the paper the card is printed on and expects the card to sell.
Contributors to the Network54 vintage baseball card forum don't understand why the sellers won't have the card authenticated and have some choice words to say about the whole deal.
Your editor believes it's a no-brainer.
HBO's Real Sports delved into the sports memorabilia hobby when they tackled the T206 Honus Wagner card in Tuesday night's season premiere.
An excerpt from the show (reporter: Bernard Goldberg):
Looking for proof that the card was real, the cousins came to Steve Walter, a well known card deal who said it was 100% sure it was a grade a fake. It took him 2 seconds to come to that conclusion.
"We have probably had four of those come in here in thirteen years" said Walter.
PSA's Joe Orlando was asked how many fakes are out there to every original one. Orlando said: "Hundreds, if not thousands".
Orlando has not seen the Cobb and Edwards card in person, but also says that he doesn't need to.
"Down by the lettering, everything is one consistent capital lettering. formation…and it goes into smaller…" etc.
But Cobb and Edwards have ignored the experts and have spent the last four years trying to prove that they have the real thing. Piling up a stack of research binders and a lot of sleepless nights.
"I have been obsessed to a point where I block everything out. In a relationship that can be a problem. Trying to solve the mystery." says Edwards.
"From what I see, I think this card is real" says Arnie Shwed, a master printer. "I think it was printed around early 1900…1906 to 1917…no doubts."
Shwed says that it was printed in an old fashion press and that the paper in the card is just as old fashioned.
"The way the paper was woven and manufcaturerd is far different then anything I saw printed since 1965 and suggested to have the paper anaylzed" says Shwed.
They went to the expert who helped the FBI crack the Unimbomber case. He did a 6 hour chemical evaluation. His conculsion was that the card had some fiber components that were in early 1900's and missing all paper made since then 1920's had.
"To try and counterfeit this thing. It would be impossible. You would need an antique printing press… paper sits 70-100 it will fall apart, moisture in air. The knowledge to work the press."
Armed with scientific proof, Edwards and Cobb went back to eBay to sell again and (and again) as bids got as high as $200K, not Honus Wagner money though. Not even close.
Without the support of hobby insiders, they turned to Bob Connolly, a former cable TV appraiser who told them their card was worth $1 million and he was shopping the card around. HBO Real Sports caught up with Connolly in New York City to show a card to broker Mike 'Mango'.
"Seems fine to me" Mango says. "I will want to touch it at some point but everything looks to be in order…they all the feel the same so when my fingers touch this one, I will know."
One man has a warning for him…Joe Orlando.. who has invited Cobb and Edwards repeatedly to show the card at PSA. PSA is about the only place they have refused which makes them wonder.
"If they are as confident as they say they are, they are leaving potentially hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars by not having it certfied." says Orlando.
"If they say its fake, they get nothing?" says Goldberg.
"My guess is that they don't want to face the truth" says Orlando.
"He has already made up his mind that the card is a what it is. I just want the public to look at the facts and the sceintifc proof that we have." says Edwards.
Which brings us back to where this story ends. Bob Connolly's auction house.
"I'm looking for a $300,000 opening bid….(crickets)…any interest?"
"Last call at $300,000! Pass!"
Not one bid was made.
"It was a little glossy and I didn't feel like the thickness was correct there were too many alarms and bells ringing" says Mango.
Ray Edwards and Cobb are where they started. "The fight continues…take that chance. Life is nothing but a chance" says Edwards.
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