SCP Auctions readies for sale of ‘original Wagner’ later this month

Update (June 11): This card sold for $609,294 at auction.

A low-grade Honus Wagner T206 baseball card with a lengthy lineage in the hobby is hitting the auction block as part of a meaty collection of vintage cardboard.

The J. Ross Greene Collection will be handled by SCP Auctions later this month and it includes “a lifetime accumulation of cards and memorabilia honoring diamond and gridiron greats from the turn of the century to the modern era” and “boasts more than 100,000 pre-war and post-war baseball and football cards” with many of them in runs of complete sets.

According to the auction house, this is the first T206 Wagner card referenced in mainstream media — first back in 1930 — and it’s passed through the hands of some pioneering hobby members.

“Since 1996 Ross has been the proud keeper of The Original Wagner, a singularly important example of the world’s most-famous baseball card,” said SCP Auctions VP Dan Imler. 

Imler helped Greene realize the card’s history once he knew that the particular copy was in Greene’s collection.

“From the day I purchased the card until early 2014, I only knew that the owner before me, Bill Haber, worked for Topps and wrote the copy on the back of Topps cards each year,” Greene said. “For almost a decade I maintained contact with Sports Cards Plus, first with Clay Hill, a fellow Tennessean whom I told of my ownership of the Wagner, and since 2010 with Imler. … I am proud to be a part of the team of three previous and esteemed owners, Willie Ratner, Wirt Gammon and Haber. I consider myself blessed to have been the two-decade steward and caretaker of this centerpiece of baseball memorabilia and the sports-collecting hobby.”

The auction opens on May 24.

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