A baseball card usually measures no bigger than 2½ inches by 3½ inches, and can fit into your wallet. On Saturday one of these vintage bad boys with Honus Wagner’s mug on it sold for a whopping and record $2.1 million. Yes, $2.1 million baseball card.
Wagner, nicknamed “The Flying Dutchman,” was a Major League Baseball shortstop who spent most of his career (between 1897-1917) playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was one of the first five players to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, along with Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb. He is considered one of baseball’s greatest, if not greatest shortstops to ever take the diamond. In 1909, the year of the baseball card’s release, Wagner was on top of the game and about to nab his 7th batting title lead the Pirates to their first-ever World Series win.
Wagner’s baseball call is often considered the “Holy Grail” of sports collecting, so the hefty price tag of his card, referred to as 1909 T206 White Border Honus Wagner, isn’t actually all that surprising. What is surprising is that in five short years this particular Honus Wagner card increased in value by $500,000. The same card sold in 2008 for $1.6 million.
An anonymous business man purchased the rare Honus Wagner baseball card from an equally anonymous seller via Goldin Auctions. Bidding began at $500,000 on Saturday, and some 15 bids were placed during the auction. $2.1 million is the highest amount ever paid for a baseball card in a public auction. Wagner’s card is also the most expensive card to be auctioned off in a private auction. A similar card fetched $2.8 million in a private sale in 2007, and is considered the most ever paid for a baseball card.