Rare T-206 Honus Wagner baseball card sold for a record $7.25 million in a private sale

The Goldin Collectibles Market announced Thursday that a T-206 Honus Wagner sold in a private sale for $7.25 million, a record amount for a sports card.

The figure dwarfed the $6.606 million fetched for another T-206 Wagner almost a year ago.

The recently sold version of the Wagner was rated 2 out of 10 by Sportscard Guaranty Corp., or SGC; the 2021 record received a 3 from SGC.

“There is nothing in this world like a T-206 card,” Ken Goldin, CEO and founder of Goldin, said in a statement. “There’s a reason no Wagner card has ever sold for less than it was previously bought: the card is art, it’s history, it’s folklore.”

The card’s folklore hinges on its super rarity (between 50 and 60 copies exist) and multiple theories as to why so few Wagners exist, including:

  • Wagner impression plate breakage during production

  • A copyright dispute between the artist and the tobacco company

  • The most popular theory, offered by Wagner’s family and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, is that Wagner did not want to promote tobacco use among children and asked that the card be removed from production.

  • The most logical theory is that Wagner realized that he would not receive fair compensation for his name, image and likeness and objected.

No matter the reason(s), so few copies have made it to 2022 that Wagner is routinely called the holy grail or Mona Lisa of trading cards.

“The T-206 is one of the reasons I do what I do,” Goldin concluded.

While the sale is currently the overall record, there is a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card consigned to Heritage Auctions that closes in just over three weeks; is sitting at $7.08 million at buyer’s premium and is expected to approach or eclipse $10 million at closing.

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