The watch presented to Ruth during his final appearance at Yankee Stadium has been consigned to auction by his family.
10) Eddie Plank 1911 T206 card
Eddie Plank, nicknamed ‘Gettysburg Eddie’, was one of the greatest left-handed pitchers to play the game. After a career with the Philadelphia Athletics, the St. Louis Terriers and the St. Louis Browns he retired in 1917, and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946.
In a Goodwin & Company auction in April 2011 a PSA 6 copy of his 1911 T206 card sold for a price of $193,767 (including buyer’s premium).
9) Joe Jackson 1910 T210 card
Shoeless Joe only appeared on a single tobacco card, the 1910 T210 Old Mill card whilst he was with the Minor League side the New Orleans Pelicans. Fewer than 10 are known to exist, and the finest copy to appear at auction was sold by Robert Edwards Auctions in May 2011 for a price of $199,750.
8) Joe Jackson 1914 Boston Garter card
Jackson’s alleged role in the Chicago Black Sox scandal and his lifetime ban from baseball has always been questioned, and as efforts to clear his name increase year after year so does the popularity of his early cards. His 1914 H813 Boston Garter colour card is especially sought after, with an SGC 70-graded example sold by Mastro Auctions in August 2007 for a price of $204,000.
7) Honus Wagner 1910 Standard Caramel card
Although not in the same league as his legendary T206 card, the Honus Wagner 1910 Standard Caramel remains a jewel in many collections. Highly rare in mint condition, the record price for an example was set in August 2011 when a PSA 9 card sold in a Memory Lane Inc auction for £219,000.
6) Ty Cobb 1911 General Baking Co card
Early Ty Cobb cards can be hard to come by, and one of the rarest of them all is the 1911 Brunner’s Bread card produced by the General Baking Company. Perhaps the only card to feature Cobb smiling, the rarity of this card has seen become the most valuable of all Ty Cobb cards.
A PSA 8-graded card sold during a Goodwin & Company auction in September 2008 for a price of $272,980 (including buyer’s premium).
5) Lou Gehrig 1933 Goudey card
Legendary Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig remains one of the most popular players of all time and his cards are always sought after by collectors. In August 2011 an extraordinary PSA 10 gem mint-state example of the Gehrig 1933 Goudey card was sold from the collection of PSA registry Hall of Fame member Charles Merkel for a price of $275,000 at a Memory Lane Inc auction.
4) Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps card
The very same Memory Lane Inc auction also saw the sale of the most valuable post-war card in the hobby – the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card. This card is regarded as one of the most iconic cards in baseball history, with only three PSA 10 gem mint-state cards known to exist. This PSA 9 mint card sold for a record price of $282,000.
3) Joe Doyle 1909 T206 Nat’l card
Mistakes and misprints can guarantee a card popularity with collectors, and this T206 card featuring New York Highlanders pitcher ‘Slow’ Joe Doyle is no exception. To prevent confusion between Joe and the National League pitcher Laughing Larry Doyle, the company included the abbreviation “Nat’l” for “National”. Unfortunately they included it on the wrong card, meaning a small number of Joe Doyle cards including the mistake slipped through.
Today just 6 – 9 examples are believed to exist, with an SG 50-graded card sold by Robert Edwards Auctions in 2009 for $329,000.
2) Babe Ruth 1914 Baltimore News card
Babe Ruth remains the most legendary name in baseball, and the man that arguably helped made the sport what it is today. One of his earliest appearances on a card is the 1914 Baltimore News card, which depicts Ruth as a 19-year old pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles.
Around 12 examples of this card have been discovered, with an SCG 40 example the highest-graded ever sold. This became the second most valuable baseball car of all time when it was sold by Robert Edward Auctions in 2007 for $517,000.
1) Honus Wagner 1909 – 1911 T206 card
The most valuable and legendary card of all time is the Honus Wagner T206 card. Only a few hundred were ever printed (allegedly due to Wagner’s dislike of tobacco), and the most valuable PSA 8-graded example has passed through the hands of some of the hobby’s most notable collectors (including Wayne Gretsky).
Although not the rarest card in the world it is by far the most highly-prized, described as the “Mona Lisa” of baseball cards by many experts. And in September 2007 it set the current record when the PSA 8 example was sold by its then-owner Brian Seigel to a anonymous collector in a private sale worth $2.8 million. As this was a private sale, the auction record is held by a T206 White Border Honus Wagner card, sold for $2.1 million at Goldin Auctions in 2013.
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