5 Most Expensive Baseball Cards in the World


1909-1911 T206 Honus Wagner

The T206 Honus Wagner card is the most coveted entry on the list. Wagner was a shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and was one of the first five players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. This card was pulled from circulation shortly after approximately 200 made it to market -- like Eddie Plank, some believe Wagner either didn't want to support tobacco use or wanted more money.

A PSA 8 Honus Wagner -- the highest surviving grade of the card -- passed through many hands, including those of hockey star Wayne Gretzky, before reaching Ken Kendrick, owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team. In 2007, Kendrick purchased a PSA 8 for $2.8 million, the highest recorded price ever paid for a baseball card [source: Jacobs].

In July 2012, the story of the T206 Honus Wagner card took an interesting turn. A federal investigation resulted in several fraud charges against sports memorabilia dealer Mastro Auctions, and led to allegations that they trimmed the edges of the Wagner card purchased by Kendrick to improve its appearance. Some experts say trimming should reduce the card's value, while others say its value might have actually increased by as much as $500,000 [source: O'Keeffee]. The card remains the best-condition T206 Wagner available, plus it has a compelling story. And in this hobby, a good story counts for a lot.

Related Articles


  • CBSSports.com. "Rare 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card could fetch $1.5 million." Mar. 26, 2012. (July 25, 2012) http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/story/18060916/rare-honus-wagner-card-could-fetch-15
  • Finkel, Jan. "Eddie Plank." Society for American Baseball Research. (July 25, 2012) http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/339eaa5c
  • Jacobs, Deborah. "Eight Ways to Make Collecting Pay Off." Forbes. June 25, 2012. (July 26, 2012) http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2012/0625/investment-guide-12-collecting-robert-byers-hobbyist-reward.html
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. "Clemente, Roberto." (July 25, 2012) http://baseballhall.org/hof/clemente-roberto
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. "Mantle, Mickey." (July 25, 2012) http://baseballhall.org/hof/mantle-mickey
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. "Plank, Eddie." (July 25, 2012) http://baseballhall.org/hof/plank-eddie
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. "Ruth, Babe." (July 25, 2012) http://baseballhall.org/hof/ruth-babe
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. "Wagner, Honus." (July 29, 2012) http://baseballhall.org/hof/wagner-honus
  • Orlando, Joe. President, Professional Sports Authenticators. Personal interview. July 23, 2012.
  • O'Keeffee, Michael. "Card experts: Gretzky T206 Wagner likely worth more now that feds say it was trimmed." New York Daily News. July 26, 2012. (July 29, 2012) http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/i-team/famous-honus-wagner-card-increases-500-000-federal-indictment-alleges-card-trimmed-article-1.1122742
  • Professional Sports Authenticator. "Memory Lane Auction Shatters Records." June 5, 2008. (July 26, 2012) http://www.psacard.com/articles/article_view.chtml?artid=5363&type=1
  • Professional Sports Authenticator. "T206 Wagner Sells for $651,750; Babe Ruth Rookie Card $142,200; Famous T206 Doyle Hammered Down at $414,750; Countless Baseball Card Auction Records Set at REA!!!" June 18, 2012. (July 25, 2012) http://www.psacard.com/articles/article_view.chtml?artid=7295
  • SCP Auctions. "Lot #11: 1955 Topps #164 Roberto Clemente Gem Mint PSA 10 (1/1) - Dmitri Young Collection." May 19, 2012. (July 25, 2012) http://catalog.scpauctions.com/LotDetail.aspx?lotid=19111
  • Sports Collectors Daily. "Babe Ruth Rookie Card Fetches $517,000." May 4, 2008. (July 29, 2012) http://www.sportscollectorsdaily.com/babe-ruth-rookie-card-fetches-517000/
  • Sports Collectors Daily. "Dmitri Young Rookie Card Collection Brings $2.4 million." May 19, 2012. (July 26, 2012) http://www.sportscollectorsdaily.com/dmitri-young-collection-of-psa-10-rookie-cards-brings-huge-money/
  • Sports Collectors Universe. "Ultra Rarities: T206 Eddie Plank." Oct. 24, 1997. (July 26, 2012) http://www.psacard.com/articles/article_view.chtml?artid=244&type=1
  • Thompson, Teri; O'Keeffee, Michael. "Bill Mastro and two partners indicted on fraud charges stemming from massive sports memorabilia scam, including altering famous Honus Wagner card." New York Daily News. July 25, 2012. (July 29, 2012) http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/i-team/bill-mastro-partners-indicted-fraud-charges-stemming-massive-sports-memorabilia-scam-article-1.1121644


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