MastroNet officials elated about find of T206 Wagner with Piedmont back
Written By T.S. O'Connell, managing editor of Sports Collectors Digest, (October 19, 2001)
Just when it starts to look like attic finds are getting tougher
and tougher to find, in the space of a few months a couple of
treasure hunts turned up the kind of stuff that every collector dreams about.
Earlier this summer it was an untouched stack of 1957 Topps Basketball
cards, more than 1,700 in all, plus a similar number of uncirculated
entertainment cards from the 1950s and 1960s.
That would seem like a tough act to follow, but Rob Lifson and Doug Allen
of MastroNet, Inc., managed quite nicely by turning up a previously
unknown T206 Honus Wagner card.
Now, any T206 Wagner turning up would be news, but this one also boasts
having a Piedmont back, making it perhaps the second known such specimen.
The only other "verified" example is the T206 Wagner, the Gretzky/Gidwitz
one that was sold in 2000 to Brian Seigel for $1.265 million.
In addition, the attic find (which amounted to more than 2,500 cards)
also included a letter from legendary hobby figure Charles Bray,
apparently offering the card's owner $25 for the Wagner card in question.
If that sounds like a lowball offer, it's worth pointing out that the Bray
letter is dated April of 1958, when $25 was a good day's pay for a whole
bunch of Americans and a nickel would buy you a bottle of Coca-Cola in one of
those thick, 7-ounce green bottles.
Anyway, MastroNet officials were summoned to a home outside of
Philadelphia after the family had discovered the box of cards, apparently
undisturbed for more than 30 years. The most intriguing thing is that
the gentleman personally collected these cards directly from tobacco
packs," said Lifson of the hoard that included complete or near-complete sets
from many different tobacco card series, and many non-sport sets.
"As most tobacco card collectors know, a lmost all of the 50 to 60 known
examples of the T206 Honus Wagner have an advertisement for Sweet Caporal
Cigarettes on the reverse," Lifson said.
"Finding any Wagner card is great, but few are distinguished in any significant
way," he continued. "With the Piedmont back and the Charles Bray letter, it
adds a dimension to this card. What that translates to, it's pointless for
me to speculate, but it's deserving of a premium."
The plans are for the card to be Included in the November MastroNet, Inc.
auction, with a minimum bid calculated at $25,000. Lifson describes the card
as in "good" condition, with a few fine creases but none that break the
surface of the card. "In our opinion, this card compares very favorably
to many, if not most, of the other T206 Wagners. We would estimate this
card to reside in approximately the 50th percentile of all T206
Wagners (in reference to condition)."
Even with all of that, the current state of U.S. and global affairs and
the precarious U.S. economy makes it tough to try to guess what such a
card would bring at auction. "With the current economy, it wouldn't
shock me if high end items sold for less than might have been expected,"
said Lifson. "Things that cost many tens of thousands of dollars are the most
susceptible in such times."
Periodical - PSA-8 Wagner sold for $1.27 Million
Gallery - T206 Honus Wagner