It seems that whenever the name “Honus Wagner” is mentioned in a baseball card shop, a small hush falls upon the customers and sellers. It is as if some magical spell has been uttered. Everyone immediately begins to dream of finding the phantom T206 card hidden in an old shoe box in the attic or placed within a musty, old book and becoming an instant millionaire. However, Honus Wagner baseball cards come in a lot of different forms, many of which won't run seven figures and most of which have shown steady growth thanks to his legendary status as one of the game's greatest players.
Collecting Honus Wagner
It is the value and aura associated with the T206 Honus Wagner that acts as both an enabler and a blocking agent, towards collecting his cards.
New investors may believe that all Honus Wagner cards are completely unattainable for the portfolios. Reality could not be farther from the truth. In fact, many of his lower-graded cards are available for less than $5,000. Even some of his higher-graded cards can be had for less than $10,000. Of course, any grade of his T206 card is going to command at least six figures.
That aura of elusiveness provides a nice opportunity for appreciation of all of his cards, regardless of pre-war issue. Of course, most post-World War II cards should be avoided, regardless of grade.
During Wagner’s career, dozens of different cards were made of him. Some of these came from major issuers of the time, like Philadelphia Caramel, American Caramel, and others. Even Leaf put out a card in 1948 that is highly collectible, showing big Hans stuffing a wad of chaw into his mouth as a coach with the Pirates.
Most Wagner cards are pretty sound investments. As long as the card has been graded by a top-tier, professional grading service, it should be included in investment portfolios. Wagner is simply a name that is associated with baseball and baseball cards as being the best of his time.
Top Honus Wagner Card Issues to Watch Beyond T206
There are numerous issues printed around the time of the T206 (and beyond) that feature Wagner. He was a household name more than 100 years ago and as one of the game's greatest players, he's still held in high regard. Click the title to see those cards for sale on eBay.
1910 E90-2 American Caramel – This card was made in the same style of the famous T206 issue. Its pricing reflects such similarity. A low-grade (PSA 3.5) card was recently offered for over $7,000, still less than a 5% of the price of its T206 sister of comparable quality.
1908 E-102 – The E-102 Wagner is one of the more attainable by entry-level investors. You'll pay a few thousand dollars but you'll also own one of the earlier Wagner cards around.
1909 E-95 Philadelphia Caramel – Like the later 1910 E90, this card carries a similar style to the T206 issue. Low-grade issues can be acquired for between $1,000 and $5,000. This is a beauty in higher grades, though, and we'd recommend buying the absolute best you can afford.
1913 Fatima Team Card– This is an indirect way of getting a Honus Wagner card. He's featured in this team photo but overall it's the issue itself that's the attraction. Recently, a PSA 4 team card was listed for around $1,000.
1949 Leaf- This card is unique and highly collectible for a couple of reasons. The first is that Mr. Wagner’s first name, “John” was used on the card. Second, it shows him as a coach, instead of a player. It's the last Wagner card showing him as an active member of a team. Because Leaf was a major card issuer, at the time, high-grade cards are readily available and accessible to entry-level investors. Pricing starts at a little over $100 for low-grade cards and you can own a very nice, investment-grade copy for a few hundred dollars.
When it comes to Wagner, though, your best bet is the best card from his playing days that you can afford. There are some original, cheap Wagner cards you can own that'll be great additions to any collection.