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PSA-8 T206 Honus Wagner sold for $2.35M

By Mike Bambach, USA TODAY (February 26, 2007)

The Mona Lisa of baseball cards has been purchased by a California collector for a record $2.35 million and will be displayed Tuesday in Los Angeles.

The T206 Honus Wagner card, once co-owned by Wayne Gretzky, will be shown at a Dodger Stadium news conference announcing the purchase.

David Kohler, president and CEO of SCP Auctions Inc., a minority partner in the purchase, did not disclose the name of the card's new principal owner and how much his company paid to be a part owner. The card's scarcity and condition it received the highest mark of the 28 T206 Wagner cards graded by Professional Sports Authenticators, "an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10," Kohler said makes owning the card virtually priceless.

"It's awesome when I think about it," said Kohler, whose company will work with Sotheby's on an auction of Casey Stengel's estate in June. "It's the holy grail of baseball cards."

The card, purchased by Gretzky and Bruce McNall for $451,000 in 1991, last sold for $1.265 million in 2000. It has nearly doubled in price each of the past four times it has been sold.

It dates to 1909 as part of a series released by the American Tobacco Co. that included more than 500 cards. It was pulled shortly after its release according to prevailing baseball lore because Wagner did not want to be seen endorsing tobacco products. Only 50-60 of the T206 Wagner cards are still in circulation, according to Kohler and other experts.

"In 2000, it came to be known as the million-dollar card," said Dan Imler, managing director of SPC Auctions. "Someday it may be referred to as the $10 million card."


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