Authentic Grade Honus Wagner T206 Card Owned by Joe Garagiola Tops $2.5 Million

The famous T206 Honus Wagner baseball card has set a new record

The Honus Wagner T206 baseball card is out breaking all sorts of records and another fell over the weekend in Heritage’s most recent auction.

Heritage auctioned off an SGC Authentic grade Wagner that sold for a whopping $2,520,000. That is the highest amount paid publicly for a Wagner Authentic grade card.

The Wagner T206 card, of course, is the most iconic card in the hobby. It is notable anytime one is sold — even if such a sale doesn’t break any records as this one did.

For what it’s worth, the card did have a nice, clean front. But the back had major paper loss issues, as seen here. Despite that flaw, the astounding price proves the Wagner card is growing at a similar rate to other cards in the emerging hobby.

Some will point to part of the appeal being that the card was owned by former player Joe Garagiola. Fair, I guess — to some extent.

The card was consigned from his son and, as Heritage noted in the auction description, the card was paid for, in part, by one of his father’s 1954 game uniforms. But the reality is that the card being owned by Garagiola is a very small part of the value of this card. Sure, it’s neat to own a card that was owned by a player, I suppose. But, respectfully, Garagiola isn’t Babe Ruth and while some Ruth-owned 1933 Goudey cards did sell for a premium because they were owned by the Babe, any premium for this Garagiola-owned Wagner would have had a lessened effect. In today’s market, I’m not sure the card would have fetched much less if it was owned by Joe Shlabotnik instead of Garagiola.

Just how much has the Wagner T206 card increased in value over the years? In 2016, a PSA 5 (MC) broke the record for the highest price ever publicly paid for a sports card. That card in much better condition sold for $3.1 million — roughly only 20% more than this very low-grade example. And at that time, low-grade Wagner cards were still selling at $500,000 or less.

Where do things go from here? Imagining a $10 million Wagner sale does not seem as far-fetched as it probably once did. Premiums are being paid for sports cards almost across the board and the elusive Wagner card, even in rotten shape, is certainly no exception.

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