An American Hobby: Baseball Memorabilia – Honus Wagner: The Most Expensive Card Ever
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Saturday, March.09, 2013
MLB Reports: We are pleased to present you with Baseball Author Lee Edelstein as the newest writer with us at the Reports. Lee will be providing us with great stories about baseball memorabilia on a regular basis.
An American Hobby
Flipping Over Cards – The T206 Wagner The Most Expensive Card of All
As a kid I wasn’t much of a ballplayer, but when it came to collecting baseball cards I was an All-Star. As a matter of fact, over half a century later, I still collect them. Of course, the hobby has changed a bit over the years.
For a five-year period, from 1954-58, baseball cards were the most important thing in my life. As winter turned to spring training, I, along with most of my friends, would bug our parents to take us to the candy store, to see if the Topps cards for the upcoming season had arrived. Each year, those first cards, sealed in that season’s unique wax pack wrapper, were objects of unbearable anticipation.
I would arrange my new stack of cards in numerical order, tossing the duplicates into a separate pile. A few minutes admiring the pictures of the players, a rubber band wound tightly around them to secure my precious items, and off I went to catch up with my friends to compare, trade from my pile of duplicates, and flip. We’d attach triplicates to the spokes of our bicycle wheels so that they sounded like full-throated motorcycles as we sped down the street. As the baseball season progressed, our piles got large enough that we employed shoe boxes to store our cache.
Wagner T206 Card mystery video
But alas! By the time I reached my teens, my interests had shifted from baseball cards to girls. The shoe boxes were moved to the back of my closet where they gathered dust until my mother threw them out during one spring cleaning. It was a common story. Everyone’s mom did the same. And that’s why those cards are so valuable today.
Miraculously, my dad managed to keep his cards which, years later, he gave to me. My proudest possession is a 1933 Lou Gehrig Goudy card that my father bought when he was thirteen years old.
His old cards rekindled my interest in card collecting. But how the hobby had changed!
In 1991, Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA) started the premier independent sports card grading company. Using rigorous standards, PSA graders, after careful examination, assign each card a numerical quality grade of 1-10, (10 equaling gem mint). This revolutionized the hobby of card collecting.
Now there existed independent, unbiased experts who could first and foremost attest to the authenticity of a card (as card values skyrocketed, fakes and counterfeits became an increasing problem) and also assign an unbiased quality grade. Since PSA keeps a population report of all cards graded, a collector could determine the scarcity of a particular graded card. Quality and condition became quantifiable. Collectors now had a much keener sense of what they were buying. Subjectivity was replaced by objectivity.
Since 1991, PSA has processed over twenty million cards and collectibles. Scarce cards – those that are hard to find in any condition and those that are more common but difficult to find in top condition – command breathtaking prices.
When it comes to price, one card stands head and shoulders above all others – the most famous baseball card in the world – the T206 “Gretzky” Honus Wagner. Can you say $2.8 Million?
Here’s a wonderful story about the T206 series, the Wagner card, and the “Gretzky” Wagner, in particular. The card last sold for $2.8 million but, as you will see, it’s not without controversy:
Honus Wagner is the greatest Shortstop of ALL – Time – #7 on the ALL – Time hits list (3,420), #7 in lifetime WAR (Cal Ripken ranks #24). He had a lifetime Batting Average of .328.
Do you have any Honus Wagner memorabilia – let us know!
***The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners***
A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Baseball Memorabilia Enthusiast’ Lee Edelstein for preparing today’s featured article. Lee was born and raised in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York. He inherited his love of baseball from his dad. The game has been Lee’s constant companion since he was seven years old – when his dad took him to see his first ball game at Ebbets Field. This was followed by a brief and largely unsuccessful Little League career. While he wasn’t all that good on the ball field he became an ALL-Star at collecting baseball cards.
His collection is still alive today after surviving many scares over the years. Lee was also much better at business than playing baseball. He was good enough that he was able to retire and pursue his other passion – writing about baseball! Chin Music is his first novel. He is hard at work on his second, Mound Music. You can read a full overview and find links to purchase here and also check out a quick synopsis in the picture below. Feel Free to follow Lee on Twitter and chat about the game of baseball. Follow @chinmusicstory
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Posted on March 9, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @chinmusicstory on twitter, babe ruth, bruce mcnall, cal ripken, chin musc the book, chinmusicnovel.com, honus wagner, lee edelstein, lou gehrig, t206 series, ted williams, Topps, wayne gretzky, willie mays. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.