The T206 Honus Wagner is the most valuable baseball card in existence with one fetching $2.8 million at a recent auction.
David Seidman of Forbes Magazine explains:
"Controversy has clung to (T206) Honus Wagner like the moist tobacco it was packed with almost since the day it was first issued. No one is absolutely sure why the American Tobacco Company (ATC) pulled it from production sometime from 1909 through 1911. ‘The most popular story to explain it is that Wagner wished to play no role in the promotion of the use of tobacco [particularly setting a bad example for children], though it has been justly stated that he was himself a user and had appeared in advertisements for many tobacco products previously. Another theory notes Wagner’s reputation as a fierce negotiator, arguing that it was nothing more than a case of a failure to agree upon a dollar figure that led ATC to end production of Wagner’s cards almost as soon as it had started.’
Lelands, the oldest big sports auction house, came heavily down one side of the debate during an auction of a Wagner which sold for $657,250 in January 2014. ‘While it flies in today’s world that Wagner was anti-tobacco, the theory has been discredited,’ it said. ‘In fact, he endorsed several cigar products and is pictured with a mouth full of chewing tobacco on his 1948 Leaf card. The short print is probably due to Wagner wanting to be paid for use of his image.’”
In this installation, Truth, a 1948 John (Honus) Wagner Leaf replica card is displayed prominently in a protective case, enjoying the extra attention normally given to the T206. Meanwhile, a T206 replica card dangles precariously on a hook at the end of a fishing line, luring and enticing would be buyers.
T206 Honus Wagner Replica Card, 1948 (Leaf) John Wagner Replica Card, Fish Hook, Fishing Line, Walnut Display Case, Felt, Picture Frame, Lucite Card Holder, Frame Stand, Electric Fan. Dimensions Variable