Rare Baseball Card of Pittsburgh Pirates Legend Honus Wagner Sells for $7.25 Million

by Nick Geddes

Collectibles marketplace Goldin announced Thursday that a T-206 Honus Wagner trading card sold for $7.25 million in a private sale.

That is a record amount for a sports card, eclipsing the $6.606 million another T-206 Wagner sold for last summer. American Tobacco Co. produced the card between 1909-11, per The Athletic. Sportscard Guaranty Corp graded the Wagner card that recently sold a 2-out-of-10. The card that was sold by Robert Edward Auctions in 2021 was a 3.

The T-206 Wagner is regarded as one of the world’s rarest baseball cards. Goldin Executive Chairman and founder Ken Goldin said in a statement “there is nothing on earth like a T-206 card.”

“I’ve been in this business for a very long time and seen a lot of incredible trading cards and pieces of memorabilia, but there is nothing on earth like a T-206 card,” Goldin said. “There’s a reason why no Wagner card has never sold for less than it was previously purchased for – the card is art, it’s history, it’s folklore.

“The T206 is one of the reasons I do what I do and why serious collectors around the world love this hobby so much. To be a part of history and facilitate this record-breaking sale is an honor.”

Honus Wagner was Opposed to the Making of the Baseball Card

The Pittsburgh Pirates legend is known as one of baseball’s early pioneers. Wagner, an eight-time batting champion and Hall of Fame shortstop, however, was not in favor of the card’s production. Hence the rarity of the card. Many theories have been offered up as to why that is, but the most talked about one comes from Wagner’s family.

They claim that Wagner didn’t want to promote smoking tobacco to children and thus asked the card to be pulled from production. The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art has backed up that claim.

Wagner’s time as the record-setter will likely be short-lived, as another rare card is set to break the bank. A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card closes at Heritage Auctions in three weeks. The Mantle card is currently at $7.08 million with buyer’s premium. It’s expected to sell for nearly $10 million.