A Honus Wagner baseball card from 1909 sold at auction in Chicago yesterday for a near record of $1.62 million. The card was one of the earliest collectible baseball cards known to exist and came with cigarettes made by the American Tobacco Company. Another Honus Wagner card holds the record for price; it was sold in 2007 for $2.8 million. The card, known as a T206, was purchased at a sports memorabilia auction by John Rogers of North Little Rock, Arkansas and was probably first issued between 1909 and 1913.
Born Johannes Peter Wagner in 1874, Honus was one of nine children. He played shortstop from 1897 to 1917 for the Pittsburgh Pirates and was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. Many in the baseball world consider Honus Wagner one of the best all around baseball players that ever lived and certainly the best shortstop ever. When he retired in 1917, Wagner did so with more hits, runs, RBI’s, doubles, triples and steals than any other player. According to officials at Mastro Auctions, there are fewer than 100 Honus Wagner Cards known to exist and only 10 in mint condition.
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