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CHICAGO -- The hobby's biggest event was the perfect location for
a rare auction of the hobby's biggest card. A 1909 T206 Honus Wagner
was sold for $1.62 million in Chicago on Friday, sending a buzz around
the crowded floors of the National Sports Collectors Convention.
The buyer was identified as John Rogers, 35, of North Little Rock, Ark.
The card, offered by Mastro Auctions, was the highlight of an event that also saw a 1938 Lou Gehrig Yankees jersey sell for $240,000 and Ken Griffey Jr.'s 600th home run ball go for $42,000.
The Wagner card was in Excellent condition, graded 5 by PSA. There are thought to be fewer than 100 copies of the Wagner in existence,and less than 10 of those are in at least excellent condition. The sale price set a record for the condition, vastly outdistancing pre-auction estimates of $500,000-$750,000.
The card, which offered sharp colors and surprisingly crisp borders, remained on display at the show throughout the weekend. Sizable crowds of rubberneckers crowded the Mastro display, taking advantage of the rare opportunity to see the hobby's most famous card first hand.
"It's a beautiful card," said Ace Grenier of Des Plaines, Ill., who was spotted admiring the card. "It's one of those things you never think you'll get a chance to see in person."