This rare proof is expected to go for at least $250,000 at auction during the
MLB All-Star Game FanFest (CREDIT: HUNT AUCTIONS)
The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time… - Terence Mann (Field of Dreams)
There are certainly occasions where football, hockey, and basketball memorabilia are given to the highest bidder at auction, but it is baseball that finds the most impassioned buyers who are willing to send greatly to land rare pieces. The reasons are most often rooted in Terence Mann’s memorable quote from Field of Dreams; it is baseball’s incredible history that has marked the time.
Over the past several years at the MLB All-Star Game, Hunt Auctions has put a dizzying array of items up for bid at the FanFest, this year to be held on Tuesday, July 10th at 10am PT. The centerpiece of the auction is displayed above; an exceptionally rare T-206 Honus Wagner tobacco proof strip c. 1909-11.
Between the period of 1909-11, the American Tobacco Company produced a series of color lithographic baseball cards toi be inserted into sixteen different brands of cigarettes as a promotional tool. The officering was hugely successful due in part to to the popularity of baseball during the period and the attractive color lithographic design of the cards. As time passed, and the collectability of the set increased a number of rarities and errors were discovered as could be expected from a set of this size and distribution from the early part of the century. It became very clear, however, that the card of Honus Wagner was in fact exceptionally scare, As early as the 1930s, price guides for the T-206 set listed most cards at around 30 cents while the Wagner cards was at $5.00, a stupendous price for the era. Rather quickly the card would become the most desired in the collecting world achieving iconic status as featured in publications, books, and film. Values escalated from $10,000 in the early 1980s to several examples recently exceeding $1 million and $2 million respectively.
The T-206 piece up for auction at the FanFest includes four other players: Mordecai Brown (HOF), Frank Bowerman, Cy Young (HOF), and Johnny Kling, along with Wagner (second from left). How much will the rare piece go for? It is likely to be well in excess of $250,000, according to David Hunt of Hunt Auctions.
The Biz of Baseball will be reporting from the All-Star Game beginning next Monday and will update on Tuesday morning on this story.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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