Arkansas man buys baseball card for $1.62 million

August 2, 2008 2:00:35 PM PDT
An Arkansas man has bought a 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card for $1.62 million at an athletic memorabilia auction in Chicago, a sports auction company said Saturday.The record price for a baseball card is $2.8 million -- paid in 2007 for a near-mint condition Wagner card released in 1909 by the American Tobacco Company.

Bidders at the Friday night auction in Chicago also spent $42,000 on Ken Griffey, Jr.'s 600th home run ball and $240,000 for a 1938 Lou Gehrig Yankees road jersey, said Doug Allen, Mastro Auctions chief operating officer.

Allen identified the new owner of the T206 Wagner card as John Rogers, of Little Rock, Ark. Rogers did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment left on his voice mail. The T206 cards are from a series issued between 1909 and 1911.

The next highest bid on Friday, $1.3 million, was placed on behalf of a client who wished to remain anonymous, Allen said.

Wagner played every position except catcher during a 17 year playing career in Pittsburgh and is widely considered one of the best players of all time.

There are fewer than 100 Wagner baseball cards in existence, said Julie Stoklosa, a spokeswoman for Maestro Auctions, and less than ten are in excellent condition.

Wagner's card was among the first of hundreds of cards of major league players included in packages of cigarettes, and Allen said even the lowest graded Wagner baseball cards can fetch more than $150,000.

"The mystique and allure of the T206 Wagner card continues to grow," Allen said.

One of the first five players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Wagner retired in 1917 with more hits, runs, RBIs, doubles, triples and steals than any National League player.


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