He was a strapping young man in his 20s, fully deserving of the “Husky Hans” moniker that had been bestowed on the star shortstop of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In fact, it was “Hans” as the nickname of John Wagner’s 1902 W600 cabinet card—not Honus.
The Sporting Life cabinets ran from 1902-1911 and Heritage Auctions is selling one of the earliest Wagner W600 cards in its new Trading Card Catalog Auction. Graded PSA 4, it’s expected to sell for $140,000 or more. It’s halfway there now, with bidding set to run through July 18. In February of last year, Heritage sold a PSA 3.5 example for $168,000.
Rarer than the ‘holy grail’ T206 card, the Sporting Life cabinet Wagner cards date to the prime of his career. The “street clothes” version is the less common of two Wagner images created for the send-away set. Fewer than ten of each are listed on PSA’s Population Report. However, the mount on the back of the card narrows the specific population to just two: the “Type 1” earliest format released only during the first of the issue’s ten-year production run. This puts the card a full calendar year ahead of the E107 Breisch-Williams card which is commonly considered Wagner’s rookie card.
The 5×7 premium shows some corner wear at the bottom and some very light staining on the reverse but has no creases or other significant wear.
The card is part of a large card-exclusive auction set to close over a three-day period.