Honus Wagner T-206 Breaks Record for Sports Card Again, Sells for $7.25 Million

T206 Honus Wagner card
T206 Honus Wagner card. Photo by Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock (5967104k)

The Honus Wagner T-206 cemented its status as the Holy Grail of sports card collecting. The collectibles marketplace Goldin announced on Thursday that Honus Wagner T-206, graded 2 out of 10 by SGC, offered at a recent private sale, fetched $7.25 million. The figure makes it the most expensive trading card in history.

The previous record was also held by Honus Wagner T-206, which sold for $6.606 million at an auction last year. That one was graded 3 out of 10 by SGC.

“There is nothing on this earth like a T-206 card,” said Goldin’s founder Ken Goldin in a statement. “There’s a reason why no Wagner card has … sold for less than it was previously purchased for — the card is art, it’s history, it’s folklore.”

The main reason why Honus Wagner T-206 is so popular among collectors is the fact that there are not many of them in existence. It is estimated that less than 200 were ever produced, while 57 are known to be in existence. The cards that survived are mostly in private collections and rarely hit the market often, making them the most sought-after card in sports card collecting.

Then there is the mystery surrounding the card. Over the decades, there have been several theories for why there are so few Honus Wagner T-206 out there. Some claim that the printing plate broke during production; others believe the dispute between the artist and the company producing the card was the reason, while Wagner’s family claims the Hall of Famer didn’t want to promote tobacco to kids.

The most likely reason, however, is that Wagner didn’t feel he was properly compensated for his image and likeness and asked the company to stop producing his cards.