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The National Sports Card show in Chicago this weekend was highlighted by a card that many said they never even got to lay eyes on – a T206 Honus Wagner – which at the end of the day sold for a whopping $6.6 million.
The nearly seven million made it the most expensive sports card sold in the last two years in a market that suddenly has made a huge comeback after being somewhat dormant for years.
How popular is the Wagner card to real collectors? It’s known as the “Holy Grail” or “Mona Lisa” of sports cards, as there are only about 60 Wagner cards in existence.
“It’s just cold cardboard,” said Michael O’Keeffe, who co-wrote a book on the T206 Wagner.
“There’s no tangible value to it other than what someone is willing to pay.”
The Wagner card came out 112 years ago in 1909, a time when various tobacco companies would put cardboard cards of players in their product.
It was actually a way to protect the nicotine products, if you can believe that, and the cards were really an afterthought to those who purchased the tobacco products.
The set that includes the Wagner card contains 524 different illustrations, some with the same player in more than one pose.
There are more than 4,200 Ty Cobb cards from the series that have been graded, but there are only a few dozen Wagners known to exist. And apparently, they fetch a steep price.