Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons XXVIII
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 7/30/2010
If you are searching for the hobby’s “Holy Grail” T206 Honus Wagner, you had better be prepared to pay a stratospheric sum. Even low grade/poor examples are now fetching over a quarter of a million dollars, easily outdistancing any other card as the hobby’s most valuable cardboard collectible. Undeniably, the hobby lore assuming that Wagner withdrew his iconic T206 specimen due to his disdain for tobacco products has elevated this card to world renowned status. Fortunately for the majority of collectors who cannot afford one of the 60+ examples circulating throughout the hobby, there are other Wagner pre-war candy/”E” cards carrying his majestic Carl Horner portrait image. One of those issues is the seldom offered E90-2 American Caramel card portraying the classic Honus Wagner lithographic so widely recognized throughout the hobby. To commemorate the 1909 World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates club, in 1910 the American Caramel Company of Philadelphia, PA. issued an 11 card set consisting of all Pirate players with a reverse side advertisement design strikingly similar to the famous E90-1 “King of the Candy Sets”. Undeniably, the set’s most coveted subject is the aforementioned Wagner portrait pose card, presented here in a spectacular PSA 5 holder. How tough is it to find a mid-grade E90-2 Wagner? Consider that PSA and SGC, combined, have encapsulated 88 examples with only 6 other examples at this tier (5-PSA; 1-SGC), and only a single PSA example graded higher!
Any card of the incomparable 1936 charter member of baseball’s illustrious Hall of Fame demands attention, let alone one carrying the highly desirable Carl Horner portrait image. Due to the aforementioned hype and value associated with the T206 Wagner as well as his undeniable status as baseball’s greatest shortstop ever, the mere mention of his hallowed name commands unparalleled attention throughout the hobby. Wagner led the National league in batting a remarkable 8 seasons and batted .300 or better 15 consecutive seasons, accumulating a stellar lifetime average of .327. Over that span, he assembled over 3,400 hits and 700 stolen bases, as well as being considered one of the finest fielding shortstops in the league. Along with Ruth, Cobb and Jackson, no other player’s early turn of the century cardboard relics inspire collectors more than the Pirate’s legend.
Regarding this outstanding offering, most E90-2 subjects are extremely condition sensitive with most examples residing in low grade holders, justifying why this Wagner mid-grade candy card is one of the most highly south after cards at this ultra rare assigned “EX-5” grade. The sanctified lithographic Wagner portrait pose is absolutely pristine, with his magnificent facial features including rosy cheeks and highlighted hair affixed to his gray vintage style Pirates uniform. The solid blue background is virtually flawless and, atypical for this issue, perfectly centered between four bright white borders. Fine corner tips depict only diminutive touching and with no apparent surface blemishes the overall obverse side’s aesthetics are easily consistent with an “EX-MT/NM” specimen. Unfortunately, keeping this marvelous offering at its current mid-grade assessment is a reverse side mild surface abrasion situated over the second “L” in the “BASEBALL” text. Otherwise, the remaining typography is vividly registered in bold blank ink, affixed to a clean off-white surface.
What else can we say regarding the ultra paucity of this mid-grade Wagner masterpiece. Brilliant coloring, sparkling white borders and “dead-on” 50/50 centering are the primary attributes elevating this card to virtually near mint aesthetics, save the reverse side peripheral surface abrasion. Equally impressive is the combined PSA and SGC “Pop” chart data, indicating that only a SOLE existing copy has bested this magnificent specimen, substantiating the scarcity level of any mid-grade E90-2 Wagner. The value of the T206 Wagner has already escalated to incredible proportions, easily outdistancing almost every collector’s budget constraints. With that in mind, why not make every conceivable effort to capture the desirable Wagner portrait pose via this virtually supreme E90-2 Wagner specimen, before the value of this potentially high end investment card likewise reaches a stratospheric level.
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