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Heritage Auction Galleries

October 27, 2010 by USA Post 

Heritage Auction Galleries, Sister Virginia Muller had never heard of shortstop Honus Wagner.

But she quickly learned the big ball is a revered figure among collectors and the most sought after baseball card history. And thanks to an unexpected gift, a card belonging to Muller centenarians and their order, the Sisters of Baltimore-based School of Notre Dame.

Roman Catholic nuns are the auction of the card, which despite its poor condition is expected to reach between 150,000 and 200,000 and $. The proceeds will go to their ministries in 35 countries around the world.

The card is part of the T206 series, produced between 1909 and 1911. About 60 Wagner cards are known to exist.

A near-mint condition Wagner T206 cards sold in 2007 and 2.8 million, the highest price for a baseball card. Muller is horrified that 1/4-inch-by-2 1/2-inch piece of cardboard could sell even a fraction of that.

“It only disturbs your mind,” Müller told the AP. “I can not remember a time when we have received anything like this.”

The brother of a nun who died in 1999 left all his possessions to the order when he died earlier this year. The man’s lawyer, said Muller had a Honus Wagner card in a safe.

When they opened the box, they found the card with a typed note: “Although damaged, the value of this baseball card must increase exponentially throughout the 21 st century!”

The card was unknown to the sports memorabilia market because benefactor of the nuns had possessed since 1936.

It features a large fold in the upper right corner, and three white edges have been cut. It has also been laminated. But even in poor conditions, a T206 Wagner card is highly prized by collectors, said Chris Ivy, director of sports sales at the Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas, which is auctioning the card.

“The T206 set is known as ‘The Monster’ by collectors. It’s really hard to complete the whole,” said Ivy. The Wagner card is “one of those who always wanted, always desirable, and there is a large population of them. Even to a lesser extent, they have a bit of demand and a hefty price.”

Wagner, nicknamed “The Flying Dutchman, played for 21 seasons, 18 of them with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He compiled a .328 batting average career and was one of five original recruits to the Hall of Fame baseball.

The card was printed in the prime of his career Wagner, but the American Tobacco Company ended production shortly after its inception. Some say that Wagner would not snuff products advertise to children. Others believe it was a dispute over money that the card was pulled.

In the card, Wagner seems robust and pale, with his hair parted down the middle and the city in his shirt spelled “Pittsburg”, the official spelling now.

The auction ends on 04 November and the highest bid was 60,000 and on Wednesday morning.

Muller is to frequently check the website of Heritage Auction Galleries – an unusual practice for someone who has taken a vow of poverty. However, potential bidders should be aware that the sale of the card will help people worldwide.

“The money we get from this card will be used for the many Sisters of Notre Dame all over the world who need support in their ministries to the poor,” said Muller.

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