By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor
Former auction house executive Bill Mastro pleased guilty to mail fraud in a U.S. District Court on Thursday and in the process admitted that he had trimmed the most-expensive and most-famous baseball card in existence as part of his testimony.
The card is the 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner, which was once owned by Bruce McNall and Wayne Gretzky and most recently sold for $2.8 million to Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick. It was graded a Near Mint-Mint PSA 8 card by PSA, Professional Sports Authenticator, as its first graded card back in 1991. The trimming was not disclosed to the buyer when Mastro originally sold the card for $110,000 back in 1987.
According to a story in the New York Daily News, Mastro faces up to five years in prison for his company’s acts of fraud — shill bidding to drive up prices of auctions — but awaits sentencing at a later date.
According to the PSA grading standards, PSA “will not grade cards that bear evidence of trimming, re-coloring, restoration, or any other forms of tampering, or are of questionable authenticity.”
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.