Baltimore nuns auctioning rare baseball card to benefit diocese
DALLAS – The School Sisters of Notre Dame in Baltimore are about to receive a little divine love from the Holy Grail of baseball cards. A newly discovered T206 Honus Wagner card, left to the convent by the brother of a member of the order when he passed away, will be auctioned on Nov. 4 at Heritage Auctions’ Dallas gallery.
The card is estimated to bring in excess of $100,000.
“The proceeds from the sale of this card will go to benefit the work of the School Sisters of Notre Dame all over the world, in about 35 countries,” said Sister Virginia Muller, treasurer for the Baltimore convent. “Wherever the need is, we will share it.”
New T206 Wagner cards turn up about as often as bottles of 1921 Dom Perignon, Action Comics #1 or a diamond the size of a fist. Nonetheless, this example turned up in mid-summer 2010 when the card, which belonged to the blood brother of a member of the order, was left to the convent upon his passing earlier this year.
While the condition is not great – far below the most famous of T206 examples, which sold for $2,000,000 – it is still quite valuable, has caught the attention of collectors everywhere and represents a remarkable find in the world of high-end cardboard. It arrived to the auction house wrapped in plastic, with a note that read: “Although damaged, the value of this baseball card should increase exponentially throughout the 21th century!”
“For the first time ever, this copy of this coveted rarity is being placed on the auction block,” said Chris Ivy, director of Heritage Sports Collectibles, “adding one to the tally of genuine representations, generally agreed to hover right around fifty.”
It was Wagner himself who pulled the plug on the use of his image on the card, creating history’s most famous baseball card, though the reason is a subject of good-spirited debate among aficionados everywhere.
“The most popular story is that Wagner wanted no role in the promotion of tobacco use to kids,” said Ivy. “Another theory argues that it was nothing more than a failure to agree on money that led the American Tobacco Company to end production of Wagner’s card soon after it started.”
“I had no idea who Honus Wagner was before we saw this baseball card,” said Sister Virginia, “but I’ve certainly tried read everything I can about him now.”
Either way, the boon to the School Sisters of Notre Dame is obvious, and the potential good work done as a result of the sale of this card will only add to Wagner’s legend.
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