The T206 Wagner may have to make room for a new Honus that has high-grade vintage card collectors taking notice.
Chances are you’ve read about the well-publicized recent sales of T206 Honus Wagner cards. The image of the Flying Dutchman is familiar even to those otherwise unfamiliar with the hobby. It’s considered the ‘holy grail’ of baseball cards. However, serious collectors of vintage baseball cards know that there was another Wagner issued about the same time, one with a story of its own.
Memory Lane Inc. will open bidding this weekend on a 1910 Standard Caramel E93 Honus Wagner card graded Mint 9 by Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA). It is the only E93 Wagner ever awarded the ‘Mint’ grade and one of a precious few cards from the era that survive in top quality condition. Bidding begins at $50,000.
The Wagner, along with the rest of the E93 set, was issued by the Standard Caramel Company of Lancaster, PA. Its distribution with candy meant that many of the cards wound up in the hands of children, leading to their unfortunate demise or, in the case of those lucky few that have survived the last century, a loss of quality.
The E93 Wagner card offered by Memory Lane appears virtually untouched with snow-white borders, bright colors and sharp corners. Newly discovered, it emerged from a recent find of Caramel cards that included other several other issues in similar grade that were graded recently at the National Sports Convention. Many have sold privately. According to MLI, the Ty Cobb graded near mint-mint and sold for well into six figures.
The E93 Standard Caramel set is widely regarded as the most attractive and desirable “E” set or Early Candy set in the hobby. The 30-card set features eighteen Hall of Famers including Wagner. As in any dead ball era offering, the Wagner and Cobb cards are the keys to the set. Hobby veterans consider excellent condition to be high-grade for a caramel card and near mint to be almost unheard of. A simple comparison of the number of high-grade T206s to any caramel issue will illustrate this well. Not only are the E cards much tougher in general, but in high grade, they are virtually impossible.
The Wagner card is one of the featured items in Memory Lane Inc.’s auction which begins Saturday, August 23 and concludes on September 13.
Among the other items in the auction are:
1936 New York Yankees World Series championship ring once worn by pitcher Monte Pearson. Pearson was a key player in what would become the first of four Yankee titles in the Gehrig-DiMaggio era, winning game four of the series against the New York Giants. Pearson’s share as a member of the winning team that year was $6,430. His World Series ring carries a pre-sale estimate of well into the five figure range.
Other rare pre-War baseball cards featured include an 1887 Four Base Hits James Mutire (PSA 5), an 1893 Just So Tobacco J.O. (John) O’Connor (PSA 5), a 1911-14 Brunners Bread D304 Cy Young (SGC 80) and a 1911 T3 Turkey Red #9 Ty Cobb Cabinets with checklist back (PSA 5).
Post-war cards offered include a 1951 Bowman #253 Mickey Mantle rookie card, graded SGC 96 (mint/one of three). Considering prior sales and the continuing strength of the vintage baseball card market, it’s entirely possible bidding for this card will reach $200,000.
There is always a bidding war when gems from the 1952 Topps set are in the mix. MLI offers a 1952 Topps #333 (high #) Pee Wee Reese graded PSA 10. The card is a 1/1 on the PSA population report.
MLI will also highlight a 1960 Topps Mantle All-Star in PSA 10 grade and a 1961 Topps #388 Roberto Clemente, also in PSA 10.
Vintage football cards include a 1951 Bowman Tom Landry rookie card graded PSA 10 and a 1952 Bowman Large #144 Jim Lansford, a card which has been the bane of many who attempt to piece the set together. Graded PSA 9, it is one of only two in existence. Considering an SGC 92 Lansford sold for over $30,000 in one auction last year, it’s possible the card could sell for an eye-popping price.
Memory Lane sold a high grade Babe Ruth single-signed baseball at its Spring Rarities auction and those who missed out will have a ‘second chance’ when this auction goes live. The Ruth ball offered this time carries a large black steel-tip pen signature on the sweet spot.
The Ruth ball is complemented by a personal item from another home run king; Hank Aaron’s 1973 Atlanta Braves game-worn road jersey, autographed by the Hall of Fame slugger. Manufactured by Sand-Knit, the Aaron jersey comes in its original state and MLI says it has been photo-matched.
List of E93 Cards now on eBay