A rare 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card was sold in an online auction for $1.2 million on Friday to an unidentified New Jersey man. The card was designed and issued by the American Tobacco Company from 1909 to 1911 as part of its T206 series and was given out in packs of cigarettes. Wagner played shortstop for the Pittsburg Pirates and considered the best baseball player of all-time.
He is a member of the first class of players ever inducted into the Hall of Fame. The card is one of the rarest of all-time, but it is not known how many were produced. It is guessed that somewhere between 60 and 200 were made.
It is also not known why Wagner himself put a stop to his card being produced after 1911. Some speculate it was either because he wanted more compensation for it, or it may have been because he did not want children buying cigarettes to get his card, some also speculate it was because he did not care for the picture of his likeness on the card.
The card was sold by a Sunset Hill, Michigan collectibles’ dealer named Bill Goodwin, who ran his own online auction. He started the auction for the card last month at a record starring price of $300,000.
In all there were 14 bidders who took a shot at winning the card. “We’re thrilled with the outcome,” Goodwin said, according to the Associated Press. “There’s been so much media attention surrounding this card, and the final price proved this card was worth watching.”
Goodwin said that the winning bidder has decided to remain anonymous, and added that the last Wagner card of the same grade, was sold for around $300,000 less. One card dubbed the “Gretzky T206 Honus Wagner,” because it had been owned by NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, was eventually bought for $2.8 million dollars by the owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team.