Honus Wagner baseball card value up 6.72% pa since 2008

A rare Honus Wagner baseball card has sold for $1.23m at an online auction.

The sale represents a 6.72% pa rise in value for "VG-3" graded Honus Wagners since 2008, confirmation of the upward trend of the high-end of the baseball card market.

A Honus Wagner with the same grading sold for $950,000 in 2008.

Its grading places it within the top 30% of Honus Wagner cards, with only 11% having achieved a higher grade, as Bill Goodwin, the president of the auction house, told Bloomberg prior to the sale.

Honus Wagner
Honus sold for $1.23m

"I've been doing this for 26 years, and it's got to be the highlight of my career," he said.

"Grading companies have graded 43 Honus Wagners, but only five have been graded in higher condition."

T206 Honus Wagners, produced in 1909 by the American Tobacco Co. for its cigarette packs, are regarded as the zenith of baseball cards.

Just 50 cards are believed to exist, following the Pittsburgh shortstop's complaints of the use of his image, which resulted in a brief print run of an estimated 200 cards.

The Wagner specimen formed part of a 528 card collection of T206s at the auction, including a rare Eddie Plank, which made $330,825, and a Sherry Magee error, which achieved $80,077.

The world's most expensive baseball card remains the Gretzky T206 Honus Wagner. Graded an eight out of 10, the card was bought by hockey great Wayne Gretzky in 1991, before making $1.26m in 2000. It last sold in 2008 for $2.8m.

A unique example of the Honus Wagner is also appearing at an auction in New Jersey, US, which ends on May 12.

It contains the one-off date stamp of "Oct 16 1909" on the reverse, and has an estimate of $300,000.

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