One hundred and three years after his final game, Honus Wagner is still making headlines. A well-worn example of his famous card from the T206 set sold for $1,169,875 in Mile High Card Company’s Summer Auction early Friday morning. The price marked the first time any Wagner card graded Poor has broached the $1 million mark.
The price includes the usual 20% buyer’s premium added to all winning bids.
While they don’t come on the market all that often, examples of the hobby’s most famous card have proven to be a fairly safe investment for those with the resources to own one and hold onto it for a few years. A PSA 1 Wagner last sold at auction in June of 2017 when a buyer paid $609,294 for one offered by SCP Auctions. In 2016, an SGC 1 sold for $444,000. In 2013 and 2014, two PSA 1 examples sold for just over $400,000 each. The highest price paid for any Wagner happened several years ago at $3.12 million.
The Wagner card was the premier piece in the auction, but bidders also lined up to chase the only known unopened packs of 1948 Bowman baseball. A partial box uncovered a few years ago in the “Beer Box Find” returned to the market with the 18 packs and display box selling for $368,126.
The product of another major find from a few years ago, the highest graded example of the rare T206 Ty Cobb with a Cobb Tobacco advertising back soared to $894,250.
A jersey from Mickey Mantle’s final season–perhaps the last one he ever wore in a regular season game–was also popular with bidders. The signed road flannel from 1968 sold for $465,500.
Eight other items pushed past the $100,000 mark including a PSA 8 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth (#149), a # pair of highly-rated vintage baseball card sets and a group of 24 unopened 1971 Topps football rack packs.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” stated MHCC President and CEO Brian Drent, “We thought this auction would steer the direction of the hobby to an all-time high but were still left surprised by the intensity of the bidding as well as the results.”
In all, the auction generated a total of $6.85 million.
Among the other record-setting prices: a T206 Sweet Eddie Plank SGC 1.5 selling for $52,291, a 1933 Goudey #149 Babe Ruth PSA 8 that closed at a record price of $153,885, a pair of 1933 Goudey #181 Ruth cards, also graded 8, that now share the top sales spot at $96,976, a 1948 Bowman #18 Warren Spahn PSA 9 at $17,456, a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle SGC 7.5 NM+ that soared to $154,462, a 1956 Topps Mantle PSA 8 selling for a new high of $12,400, a 1956 Topps #33 Roberto Clemente White Back PSA 9 that went for $22,840, a 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan PSA 9 that closed at a record-setting $21,911, and a 1981 Topps #216 Joe Montana PSA 10 that sold for $17,872.
A 1961 Fleer #43 Jerry West PSA 8 NM/MT sold for $20,004, a pair of 1969 Topps Lew Alcindor rookie cards that brought in $29,821 each, and a near-complete set of 1956 Topps baseball cards, each card graded PSA 10 or 9, was broken up and sold as individual lots for a sum total of $205,737.
Complete results can be found on the company’s website.