The grade says "poor-fair" but the T206 Honus Wagner card sold over the weekend by Robert Edward Auctions was nice enough to draw heavy interest–and a record-setting price.
It wasn’t alone.
The 1909-1911 T206 Honus Wagner tobacco card, considered the "holy grail" for pre-War baseball card collectors, has reached a new milestone.
A PSA 1 (poor-fair) graded Wagner card was sold early Sunday morning for $399,500, setting a new record for the highest price paid for that condition level. The price attained in the annual Robert Edward Auctions catalog sale included a 17.5% buyer’s premium.
The Wagner card was one of ten lots that reached the $100,000 selling price in the auction, widely considered the sports collecting hobby’s most watched event. All of the top selling items were vintage baseball cards dating from the 1930s and earlier.
Total auction proceeds for the 1500+ lots exceeded $10 million.
A rare T206 Joe Doyle "NY Nat’l" error card, graded VG-EX by SGC, drew 39 bids and also set a record, selling for $329,000. The card is one of less than ten believed to exist and had been consigned by the estate of long-time collector Charlie Conlon. The highest known price paid for a Doyle in a catalog auction had been $178,598, a sale that took place over nine years ago.
The REA sale included all four of the rare cards in the T206 set. One of two Eddie Plank cards in the auction, graded PSA 6, sold for $188,000 while an ‘authentic but altered’ Plank, brought $111,625. The Plank card was also part of Conlon’s legendary collections, believed to have been possibly cut from a sheet. It was part of the discovery of cards that included the famous PSA 8 graded T206 Wagner once owned by Wayne Gretzky and former Los Angeles Kings’ owner Bruce McNall. Unlike the NM/MT Wagner, the Plank card was only recently examined by PSA.
A Sherry "Magie" error card offered by REA, one of the other rarities in the set, brought $16,450.
A near complete T206 set, including 520 of the 524 cards, entirely graded and listed #7 on the PSA Set Registry, sold for $176,250.
Perhaps the signature item in the auction was the 1915 Cracker Jack advertising poster that adorned the catalog’s front cover. One of what is believed to be only two surviving examples, the poster sold for $152,750, beating the $50,000-100,000 pre-sale estimate.
It may not be considered ‘mainstream’ but another rare vintage baseball card set caused quite a stir. A 1933 R300 George C. Miller PSA-graded complete set, rated #1 on PSA’s Registry, sold for a remarkable $246,750 against a pre-sale estimate of $20-30,000. The scarce set of 32 cards drew 30 bids including significant activity in the wee hours of Sunday morning, hours after initial bidding closed.
REA also offered yet another Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card in this auction. Graded PR-FR (PSA 1), the regional oversized card sold for $152,750. A 1932 Buttercream Confectionery Ruth card, another scarcity, turned up in the sale and found a new home for a price of $55,812.
One of the most talked-about cards in the hobby this year has been the 1869 Peck & Snyder Cincinnati Reds trade card. The ‘Fresno find’ card sold by Memory Lane Inc earlier this year has pushed more into the auction realm. It’s believed less than 15 exist. A higher grade copy sold by REA cost the winner $47,000.
The top selling post-War set in the auction was a 1952 Topps set of 407, entirely graded and averaging better than EX-NM. The set drew 19 bids and sold for $105,750.
REA handled numerous lots from the Conlon collection including a treasure trove of unopened 1975 Topps mini cases. Conlon had become the primary source of the regionally-issued minis, hoarding cases for years and selling them at premium prices. A lot of seven cases sold for $82,250 while others sold for around $10,000 each.
Prominent pieces of rare sports memorabilia included a Ruth game-worn cap dating from the latter stages of the Babe’s career with the Yankees that sold for $99,875, a game-worn 1937-1945 Don Hutson Green Bay Packers jersey ($70,500) and a 1922 New York Giants World Series ring ($58,750).
For complete results, visit Robert Edward Auctions.
1909 Kids Were Busy Chasing T206 Cards