Geek Trivia

Who Graces The Most Valuable Baseball Card In The World?

Ty Cobb
Joe Jackson
Babe Ruth
Honus Wagner
Which Of These Compound Classes Is So Foul That Smelling It Hinders Research Into Them?

Answer: Honus Wagner

When it comes to collectibles, there are rare items and then there are rare items–unique items so scarce as to be almost unicorn-like in their rarity. In the world of baseball card collecting, the most valuable of these unicorn-like collectibles is the 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card.

Several things conspired together to make this card the rarest card in the world. First, its from the early era of baseball cards–age alone can help account for the rarity. Second, Honus Wagner is widely considered one of the greatest baseball players that ever lived, and anything related to his career is highly collectible. Finally (and most importantly), the baseball cards of the time were distributed as promotional items with packs of cigarettes; Honus Wagner objected to the arrangement as he believed it would encourage boys interested in baseball to also become interested in cigarettes. He insisted they recall the packs with his card in them and cease distributing his cards in the future.

As a result, less than 60 authenticated 1909 Honus Wagner cards are known to exist, and mint condition examples of the card have sold for as high as 2.1 million dollars–even cards rated a mere 2 out of 10 on the Professional Sports Authenticator’s scale have still fetched $75,000 at auction.