The Sporting Life billed itself as “The Paper That Made Baseball Popular”. How true that big of boastful pride may be is hard to say but it certainly didn’t hurt. The company brought sports news to the public starting in the 1800s and in the early 1900s, produced some of the most attractive baseball cards of the pre-War era through various mail-in offers. Now, one of the rarest and most desirable cards issued through The Sporting Life is about to hit the auction block.
A fresh to the hobby example of the 1902 W600 Honus Wagner cabinet will appear in the February Platinum Night Auction. Graded 3.5, it’s expected to sell for over $100,000.
Two different portraits of Wagner were issued during the 1902-1911 run of Sporting Life cabinets. One utilizes the same Carl Horner image that appears on the famed T206 card while the other is an early photo of the Flying Dutchman in which he’s wearing a suit for Horner’s camera. It’s the latter that’s a bit more scarce with a single digit population having been graded and authenticated by PSA. This particular W600 Wagner takes that a step further, with the style of mount showing up on only one other PSA rated example.
The card has some light edge and corner wear and some minor toning on the back, but remains uncreased with no other significant wear.
An EX example of the “streetclothes” Wagner W600 sold for $83,650 through Heritage in 2016.
Bidding will open in early February.