A series of sale in New York have taken the company’s Asian art sales total to more than $100 million in 2014.
Gretzky T206 Honus Wagner Baseball Card is a highly valuable item of sports memorabilia - it is the most valuable sports collectible of its kind, in any sport.
It was sold in February 2007 for $2,350,000.
Johannes Peter “Honus” Wagner (1874-1955) was an American baseball player, active between 1897 and 1917.1
Wagner is widely considered “to have been the greatest shortstop ever to play major league baseball, and one of the best all-around baseball players of all time.”
Nicknamed 'The Flying Dutchman', Wagner was primarily known for his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He was “an eight time National League batting champion” and was “one of the first five inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.”
It was produced by the American Tobacco Company between 1909 and 1911.3
However, the company did not seek Wagner’s permission. Wagner forced the company to recall the card as he did not want children to have to buy tobacco to get it.4
As such, only around 50 survive today.
The card was purchased in 1991 by famous ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky.
Described as “the most iconic, highly coveted and valuable object in the field of sports memorabilia,” its rarity, condition and provenance make it highly valuable.
In 2012, it was revealed that the card had been trimmed to improve its appearance by Bill Mastro, founder of Mastro Auctions, and his longtime associate Doug Allen, prior to the sale of the Gretzky card to Ken Kendrick. The auctioneer was found guilty of fraud.
Altering the card should have significantly reduced its value down to just 10 or 15% of its original worth. However, there has been expert speculation that in fact, the card's value has endured, even risen. The card's unique Gretzky provenance and the added notoriety of its alteration make it infamous, and thus it remains a holy grail for card collectors.
On 27th February 2007, the card was sold by owner Brian Seigel to an anonymous Californian collector for $2,350,000.
Seigel bought it for $1,265,000 in 2000, meaning its value nearly doubled in only 7 years.
On 6th September 2007 the card was sold to an anonymous private collector for $2,800,000, since revealed as EG "Ken" Kendrick, the managing general partner of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball club.5
Main article: list of notable trading cards
Main article: list of notable sports memorabilia
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