Honus Wagner T206 Card with Sides Cut Off Sells for $1.5M at Auction

Doric SamApril 26, 2022

The 1909 baseball card of Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Honus Wagner is displayed for a photograph in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. The trading card that the National Baseball Hall of Fame calls the sport's "most famous collectible" will be up for sale starting Feb. 25,  and might fetch more than $2.8 million, according to the auction house. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images

One of the rarest and most famous baseball cards ever, a T206 Honus Wagner, sold for $1.5 million in an auction that closed Monday night.

Per Robert Edward Auctions, 75 bids were placed on the card before closing, with the bidding starting at $100,000. The winning bid came to $1,528,065.60.

This T206 Honus Wagner is unique because the top and sides are cut off, leaving it without its trademark white border. There are also a couple of creases in the card, but that clearly didn't detract from its value.

"While nobody will ever confuse this for one of the more highly graded T206 Wagners, the visual appeal is undoubtedly strong," the card's description states. "With so many Wagner cards coming in at the lowest levels of the grading scale, collectors have sought out and rewarded examples with the strongest eye appeal. The offered card boldly checks the eye appeal box."

The card was designed by the American Tobacco Company and distributed from 1909 to 1911. There are various theories that try to explain the rarity of the card, the most prominent of which state that Wagner was a nonsmoker and didn't want his likeness associated with a cigarette company, or he was simply unhappy with the sum ATC was willing to pay him.

In August last year, one of the T206 Honus Wagner cards sold for $6.6 million, setting the record for highest-priced sports card of all time. It is unknown exactly how many of the cards exist, but in February another auction company reportedly stated that the common estimate is believed to be "around 60."

Wagner spent the majority of his legendary career playing shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He won the National League batting title a record eight times and helped lead the Pirates to the World Series title in 1909. Wagner was one of the first five members to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame after ending his career with a .329 batting average, 3,430 hits, 101 home runs, 1,732 RBI and 722 stolen bases.