15 December 2012

A Honus Wagner baseball card

[In 2010] Nicholas DePace, a South Jersey cardiologist and owner of one of America's top sports memorabilia collections, stepped in at the last minute to buy a rare Honus Wagner baseball card from an order of Baltimore-based Roman Catholic nuns hoping to raise money for their ministries...

Considered the "Holy Grail of baseball cards," the Wagner lithograph was part of a series distributed in tobacco packs between 1909 and 1911. Only about 60 of the cards are known to exist. Wagner, a shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates and one of the original inductees in the Baseball Hall of Fame, had his card pulled from the packs either because of an aversion to smoking or because he wanted more money, baseball historians say. The hockey legend Wayne Gretzky bought a mint condition Wagner card for $451,000 in 1991. That same card later sold for $2,800,000, the highest price ever paid for a baseball card.

A brother of a deceased nun had kept the card DePace bought in a safe-deposit box since 1936. It was in poor condition, the man had written in a note, but would still be very valuable. The nuns hoped the proceeds of the sale would help finance their ministries in 30 countries...
 

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