In May 2011, a restored sample of the T206 Wagner with great eye appeal but graded only as “Authentic” reportedly sold through Robert Edward Auctions for $188,000.00 after the buyer’s premium. Based on the ‘before and after’ images, this card was given a facelift that would be like a 90-year old woman suddenly transforming into a 25-year old beauty pageant queen.
In May 2008, a graded T206 Honus Wagner was sold by Heritage Auctions for a final price of $227,050 (equivalent of a 1 out of 10 grade) and there have been over 17,600 page views of that sample as of late January 2012.
In late 2007, a very strange set of events may have single-handedly skewed the future pricing of the T206 Wagner. An order of nuns called the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Baltimore literally inherited the card and put it up for auction to support their cause. The original estimate was $150,000 to $200,000 in the sale, but a collector and card store owner named Doug Walton bid a staggering $262,000 (after a $42,000 buyer premium) to beat out other parties. In a strange twist of fate, Walton never paid up and a Philadelphia cardiologist named Dr. Nicholas DePace stepped in and paid Walton’s winning bid.
If you just want to see a real T206 Honus Wagner rather than forking over a life savings to buy one, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has a large baseball card collection and it houses one of the famed T206 Honus Wagner samples that was donated with the famed Jefferson Burdick collection.
Many investors love to ponder how much money they could have made by going back in time and buying a stock and holding it. It turns out that the T206 Honus Wagner has outperformed just about every class of investment. The third printing of The Sports Americana’s Baseball Card Price Guide (in 1981, see image below) has the price of a T206 Honus Wagner in “Mint” condition (the equivalent of that PSA 8) as being $15,000.00 and that grade’s most recent sales was for $2.8 million (186-times the money). The same guide (1981) shows a “Very Good to Excellent” price of $9,500.00, and that is the same grade as a the sample which sold for more than $1.5 earlier this month (156-times the money).
If you want a tracking of some of the famed T206 Honus Wagner sales, a site called T206 Museum lists sales that it has tracked from various auction houses going all the way back into the mid-1990s.
And what about the “PSA 2″ T206 Honus Wagner for sale by Memory Lane for $775,000 right now? If this card really sells for that sum, getting to go back in time and buying a T206 Honus Wagner would be a very nice trade indeed. The lesson is simple: if you ever get to go back to the 1980′s and you decide to buy shares of stock in Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) or Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) to get rich in the next generation, you better be sure to find out a way to purchase a T206 Honus Wagner card while you are there.
So, just who was Honus Wagner? John Peter Wagner was known as Honus, Hans, and even his nickname of “The Flying Dutchman.” He was born in 1874 and did not die until the ripe age of 81 in 1955. The stocky, barrel-chested and bow-legged right-handed played shortstop for the Pittsburg Pirates in all but hist first three years of a career spanning 1897 to 1917. He had 17 consecutive seasons batting ‘over .300′ and retired with a .329 batting average. Wagner had 3,430 hits and 722 stolen bases. Wagner went on to be a coach for the Pirates after retiring and was one of the five original members inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.
JON C. OGG