'Holy Grail' Baseball Card Sells for $1.2M
1909 Honus Wagner collectible auctioned in St. Louis
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 20, 2012 12:50 PM CDT
The rare 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card, one of the most sought-after sports collectibles in the world.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

(Newser) – A baseball card known as the "Holy Grail" for collectors has sold for more than $1.2 million in a St. Louis-based online auction. The winner, after 14 bids, was a New Jersey man who hasn't yet been identified. The card, which features shortstop Honus Wagner, is part of the "T206" set released by the American Tobacco Co. between 1909 and 1911; Wagner's is particularly rare because it went out of circulation after just 200 were released, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Now, only about 60 remain, and just 22 in good enough condition to have been assessed by leading collectibles graders. The $1.2 million price "is about $300,000 more than that of the last Wagner" in similar shape, says the collectibles dealer who ran the auction. A higher-graded Wagner card, bought by Wayne Gretzky in 1991, went on to sell for $2.8 million last year. It's not clear why Wagner's card went out of circulation early; one story says that he didn't want to encourage kids to smoke, while another suggests he didn't want his image used without payment.
 

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