Baltimore’s School Sisters of Notre Dame knew they had their hands on something special. It seems the deceased brother of one of their nuns left her a rare Honus Wagner baseball card.
Sure, that card was a little beat up. The famed T-206 card issued in 1909 was missing three of its borders, had a huge crease in its upper right corner, and had been laminated. In fact, it was judged to be in “poor” condition, which would usually be the end of the road for baseball card collectors.
But this was a Honus Wagner card, a Holy Grail of sorts in the world of baseball card collecting. Only 60 are known to exist in the world.
As soon as collector Doug Walton got wind of the card’s existence, he knew he had to have it.
So Walton put in a bid that blew the other bidders out of the water.
Walton bid $262,000 for the card. Proceeds from the sale will go to benefit the order’s ministries for the poor in 35 different countries.
The price exceeded the expectations of auctioneers at Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries, who had estimated that the card would fetch around $150,000 – $200,000.
Walton, 35, who owns seven sports card stores, said that it was the story behind the card that inspired him to make a generous offer.
“To be honest with you, we probably paid a little bit more than we should have,” he said. “But with the back story, and the fact that it’s going to a really good charity, to us it just seemed worth it.”
A contemporary of the legendary Ty Cobb and Cy Young, Wagner was a Hall of Fame shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
A Wagner card that was in near-mint condition sold at auction in 2008 for $2.8 million, the highest price ever for a baseball card.
- Nuns sell rare Honus Wagner baseball card for $262,000 (sports.espn.go.com)
- Nuns sell rare baseball card for £161,000 (telegraph.co.uk)