The trading card that the National Baseball Hall of Fame calls the sport's “most famous collectible” will be up for sale next month and might fetch more than $2.8 million, according to the auction house.
The 1909 card of Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Honus Wagner will be included in the February 2013 auction at Goldin Auctions, according to a release on the company's website. The card is graded Excellent 5 by Professional Sports Authenticator, and could eclipse the record $2.8 million sale price that a version of the same card attracted in 2007, the release said.
“With less than 60 authenticated Wagner cards out there, the opportunity to purchase one does not come around very often,” Ken Goldin, founder of Goldin Auctions in West Berlin, New Jersey, said in the statement. “The fact that this Wagner carries a grade of EX 5 by PSA puts it in a class with just two others that have ever been graded.”
Pre-approved bidders will be allowed to place offers online. The exact dates of the auction are not yet set, and the seller was not identified in the release.
A version of the same Wagner card with a lesser grade sold for $1.23 million last April to an unidentified man in New Jersey, and Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick purchased another version for $2.8 million in 2007, making that the most expensive baseball card ever sold.
The card that will be auctioned next month is known as the “Jumbo Wagner” because its dimensions are larger than most other T206 Wagner cards, the release said. This card sold for $1.62 million in 2008, according to Goldin Auctions.
The Wagner card was part of Goodwin & Co.'s “Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons XL,” an auction of 528 baseball cards from the T206 series released in 1909 by the American Tobacco Co. for distribution in cigarette packs.
Wagner batted .329 in 21 seasons, winning eight National League batting titles and five stolen base crowns. The second player behind Cap Anson to reach 3,000 hits, Wagner was part of the inaugural 1936 class at the Cooperstown, New York-based National Baseball Hall of Fame, and died in 1955.
The Hall of Fame has a T206 Honus Wagner available for public viewing in its museum. A plaque beneath the card reads, “Wagner's fame, the scarcity of the card and the story behind it make this baseball's most famous collectible.”