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The $1.5 million baseball card

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Posted: 11 am ET

You wouldn't want to put this baseball card in your bicycle spokes: A 1909 card of Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Honus Wagner, whose nickname was "The Flying Dutchman," will probably sell at auction for between $1.2 million and $1.5 million. The card is owned by a Texas businessman who wishes to remain anonymous.

Photo: Bloomberg

In his 21-year career with the Pirates, Wagner hit a career batting average of .327 and was known as one of the greatest players of the time. If you're thinking anyone would be crazy to buy a baseball card for $1 million plus, it's actually less than half the price of another Wagner baseball card. That one, said to be the highest grade of any of the 60 Wagner cards still in existence, previously sold for $2.8 million at auction, the most expensive price ever for a baseball card. It was purchased by Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick.

The Wagner baseball card was distributed by American Tobacco Co. in packs of cigarettes but was pulled from circulation after only 200 were issued, possibly in a bid to drive up the future value. Aside from the scarcity of these cards, the one going up for auction is in better condition than all but five of the existing cards, historians say.

The online auction continues until April 19, so there's still time to put in a bid. St. Louis sports memorabilia auctioneer Goodwin & Co. is handling the bidding, along with 528 other 1909 cards distributed by American Tobacco. All of them are owned by the same businessman, who can expect total proceeds of $2 million or more, according to the auction company.

Do you collect baseball cards? What's the highest price you would pay for any collectible?

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