World Record $3.12 Million for T206 Honus Wagner Baseball Card

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T206 Honus Wagner Sweet Corporal Jumbo

By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

The story of the most famous — and valuable — baseball card in the world continues to be told. The 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner set a new world record price for a baseball card, selling for $3.12 million through Goldin Auctions. The price includes the Buyers Premium. This breaks the old record of $2.8 million, which was paid for a different copy of the card in 2007.

Known as the “Jumbo Wagner,” the card is graded a PSA 5, making it one of the top-condition copies of the card. And now that the infamous Gretzky Wagner is confirmed as being trimmed, many will argue this is the best version of the card. The record price certainly reflects that.

Widely regarded as the Holy Grail of baseball cards, the T206 Honus Wagner has set the record price for a baseball card several times over. And for good reason. Over the past century, the story and lore have become just as important as the card itself. No matter the condition, if a T206 Wagner is authentic, it commands huge prices. The best copies fetch millions.

T206 Honus Wagner Sweet Corporal Jumbo Reverse

The record-breaking Jumbo Wagner gets its name for being slightly larger than typical 1909-11 T206 cards. It measure 1 7/16″ by 2 11/16″. Most T206 cards are 2 5/8″ in height. Because of mis-cut, which is noted in PSA’s grade, the card has thicker borders. This card surface in the mid 1970s. After the original owner from Vermont passed away, it was sold by his daughter. It changed hands a couple of times in the decade that followed before surfacing again in 2008. The Jumbo Wagner last sold in 2013 for $2.1 million.

The previous record price of $2.8 million came as a result of a private sale of the PSA 8 copy of the card once owned by Wayne Gretzky. The buyer was Arizona Diamondbacks owner, Ken Kendrick. The Gretzky Wagner was opened rumored to have been trimmed and surrounded in controversy.

That was finally confirmed in 2013 when Bill Mastro, who was involved extensively in the card’s sales history, acknowledged his part in trimming the card’s edges. The admission came as part of a plea bargain stemming from mail fraud charges. Despite this, it’s possible that the Gretzky Wagner could one day reclaim the record if it’s put back on the market simply because of its infamous history.

But that’s ultimately speculation because Kendrick has shown no interest of selling. So, for now at least, the “Jumbo” T206 Honus Wagner is king.

Comments? Questions? Contact Ryan Cracknell on Twitter @tradercracks.

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Ryan Cracknell

A collector for much of his life, Ryan focuses primarily on building sets, Montreal Expos and interesting cards. He's also got one of the most comprehensive collections of John Jaha cards in existence (not that there are a lot of them). Got a question, story idea or want to get in touch? You can reach him by email and through Twitter @tradercracks.

13 comments

  1. Kerry 2 October, 2016 at 22:59

    I just don’t get it…if I had $3 million, and if I was a Honus Wagner fan or vintage collector, I still would not own it as no card should bring more than the price of a nice car or college tuition. So much more good could be done in this world with that kind of money.

  2. phillies_joe 3 October, 2016 at 11:57

    kerry,
    Though I agree with your underlying philosophy….the $3.12 million works out to 0.312% of a billionaires 1st billion……the same as paying $312 for a card if you make $100,000 a year. I wouldn’t buy a card for that much money, but then again, I wouldn’t pay that much for a house either.

    Its a great looking card ( I’ve seen one in person ) and as a piece of “art” / history, would make a nice piece to have in your collection……

  3. Fred 22 February, 2017 at 08:49

    That same card is going to do nothing but go up in value. If you have the money , more power to ya ! It’s an investment and obviously a good one , from the original 1.2 million just a few short years ago to 3.1 million now is an insane price increase for that short of a period is proof enough. Wish I could find one !!!

  4. Troy Davis 2 May, 2017 at 20:39

    I have a Honus Wagner Broad Leaf Cigarettes Base Ball Series 350 Subjects card and a Ty Cobb, Detroit Polar Bear Scrap Tobacco card. No clue as to their authenticity how or where can I send them for grading?

    Thanks,
    Troy

  5. Cardboard Picasso 19 January, 2018 at 13:14

    I think the Jumbo Honus Wagner featured in this article should be regarded as the most coveted Wagner over the Gretzy psa 8 due to the card being in it’s original form. As everyone knows, the Gretzky Wagner was trimmed. Given that this auction for the jumbo set a new record, it may mean that the market agrees with me that this is the finest Wagner. However, I am sure it is only a matter of time until the PSA 8 Gretzsky goes for $4M plus!

  6. William Benford 29 June, 2018 at 18:03

    Seems like they should just trim the Jumbo Wagner and submit it for grading.

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