Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons XXIV
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 11/20/2009
Here is one you don’t see very often if ever! This Honus Wagner Mello-Mint Gum E105 rarity, graded an SGC 40/3, includes his virtually impossible to come by “throwing image” variation. The rarity of this card cannot be over emphasized, justified by a single PSA graded example in existence (a PSA 1). You can disregard the PSA 3 currently listed on their “pop” chart because the consigner had this SGC 40/3 crossed over from its previous PSA 3 holder. Unfortunately, the PSA 3 was NEVER removed from the PSA “pop” report. Regarding SGC’s census report, while there are NO listed Wagner “throwing” E105’s, there are ten E105 Wagner’s unclassified as either the “batting” or “throwing” variation. Since the “batting” image is prevalent, and the fact that we have NEVER seen another SGC Wagner “throwing” in circulation, it may be safe to assume this offering could represent the only SGC graded E105 Wagner “throwing” subject! To clearly understand the magnitude of a “VG 3” Mello-Mint card, you need to appreciate its history. In 1910, the Texas Gum Company in Temple, Tx. issued a 50 card baseball set (similar to the E101 issue) to promote there “Smith’s Mello-Mint Gum”. While eight of the subjects are more commonly seen due to a 1980’s find, the remaining 42 subjects are extremely sparse, with the immortal Honus Wagner “throwing” pose quite possibly the rarest of those 42 subjects. Furthermore, severe condition sensitivity issues exist for the seldom seen 42 subjects. Printed on thin paper stock, and folder over in gum packages, many of the remaining few in circulation are absolutely “beat-up”, justifying why this outstanding eye pleasing Wagner “VG” offering is a miraculous find! Any vintage card of the incomparable Pirates Hall of Fame shortstop can make even the avid enthusiast “skip a beat”. Due to the hype and value associated with the iconic T206 Wagner, just the mention of his hallowed name throughout the industry draws unparalleled attention reserved for only a handful of baseball legends. It bewilders any enthusiast to think of the potential desirability and investment value of a brilliant eye pleasing card that is one of only a handful known. The standards Wagner established both on the playing field and among advanced hobbyists are compelling enough to inspire any collector to seek out his rarest cards, and NONE could possibly exceed this peerless example. The classic Wagner throwing image depicted on many candy and tobacco cards between 1909 and 1916 easily reflects mid-grade qualities including a vibrant array of sky blue, yellow, orange and green background hues. So robust is the color scheme, that Honus actually appears to have just released a baseball via the incredible “3-D” effect emanating from this unequivocal artifact. Typical for most Wagner pre-WW1 candy, gum and tobacco cards is a ghostly silhouette situated across the top of his cap and alongside his throwing arm. In this case, this characteristic is non-obtrusive, certainly not impeding the immaculate obverse aesthetics. The entire image is slightly centered towards the right border, the four borders are bright, and the corners appear consistent with a mid-grade example. With no major creasing evident, we can only assume that the two faint lines across the reverse side bold green Mello-Mint advertisement are the primary culprits contributing to the technical assessment. Nevertheless, no one would argue the eye appeal for this ultra-scarce masterpiece, by far, surpasses its grade by possibly two full increments. In closing, with only one other PSA examples and, perhaps, no other SGC copies in existence, who knows when the next Mello-Mint Wagner “throwing” variation will become available. To our best recollection, this is the first one we have seen in quite some time, and for an extremely fortunate winning bidder, it will immediately merit consideration as the centerpiece for any elite collection. Courtesy of the hallowed T206 “Holy Grail” Wagner, enthusiasts continue to play the guessing game regarding which possible “dead ball” era Wagner cardboard relic will soar to a stratospheric level. This is the beauty of our hobby, and while no one can predict the future, you just might want to emulate Nostradamus while pursuing this iconic offering for three irrefutable reasons: (1) it represents a century old Wagner card, (2) its paucity and/or type rarity is virtually unparalleled in the industry, and (3) it is bursting with eye appeal that significantly outdistances its technical grade. Go the distance on this one!
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