The hot market for vintage cards is pushing a higher end copy of the hobby’s most famous card back into the marketplace.
Goldin Auctions will offer the T206 ‘Jumbo’ Honus Wagner card in an auction that will begin September 12. Graded PSA 5 (MC), the card is 1/16” larger in size than other T206 cards because it was improperly cut at the factory.
“Serious collectors understand that every time a card like this is offered for auction, it may be the last time for a long time,” said Ken Goldin, Founder of Goldin Auctions. “The excitement that the auction of a T206 Wagner generates, coupled with the current booming market for high-grade trading cards, creates the perfect storm for establishing a new standard for sports memorabilia. With the tremendous increase in value of key trading cards, and influx of new collectors, the market has been clamoring for a high grade Wagner to come to market. We are pleased to offer one of the three highest graded examples and what many people consider the most desirable.”
Goldin sold the same card at auction for $2.1 million in April of 2013. He told Yahoo Finance that a private businessman had purchased the Wagner at that time and intended to hold onto it for a while. However, with vintage card prices soaring thanks to an influx of new investors with disposable income, he changed his mind. Goldin estimates the card could sell for $4 million or more this time around.
“It’s a purely male-dominated hobby, and you’ve got a combination of tech-money people and hedge-fund people—they love sports but they’re not going to buy a baseball team. This is something they can afford and enjoy,” Goldin told Yahoo.
A few examples of recent sales in which high-grade trading cards reached stratospheric levels include: in April, 2013, the highest price realized for a 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle Rookie Card (PSA 8) was just under $80,000. In 2015, a comparable ’52 Mantle sold for $525,000. During nearly the same time-frame, a ’52 Topps #261 Mays PSA 9 garnered $26,500. Last month, the same card realized $478,000. Additionally, a 1916 Sporting News Babe Ruth (PSA 5) which sold for $49,500 in 2013, most recently garnered $191,200.
Only a few Wagner cards have come to auction in recent years. In 2012, one rated 40 (VG) by SGC brought $1.23 million. Most of the others offered recently have been among the hobby’s poorer examples.
The auction is scheduled to close October 1.