In 1909, Honus Wagner earned $10,000 to play shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates — a salary that made him the highest-paid player in the sport.
This week, Wagner’s baseball card from that season sold privately for 120 times what the Hall of Famer earned during his most lucrative season — a staggering $1.2 million.
The 1909-11 T206 card was graded in Good 2 condition on a scale of 1 to 10 by Professional Sports Authenticator, the Southern California-based SCP Auctions said Tuesday.
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This example of a Wagner card was sold twice before at auction. The card garnered $657,250 in 2014 and $776,750 in 2016, according to SCP Auctions.
It’s a “truly remarkable amount” for a card rated at a Good 2 condition, SCP Auctions president David Kohler told the Associated Press. It might be “only a matter of time” before any card graded lower than a Good 2 would bring in $1 million.
According to Beckett, a 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner was sold for $3.12 million through Goldin Auctions in 2016. The card was graded a 5 by Professional Sports Authenticator.
Wagner, a Hall of Fame shortstop who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the early 1900s, was said to be upset that his likeness was being used on a tobacco product. He refused American Tobacco Co.’s request to use his image, which led to the company ceasing production of his card.
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Only a handful of Wagner cards are known to exist and just six have been graded higher by Professional Sports Authenticator than the one sold this week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.