Bill Mastro Pleads Guilty, Admits Trimming Famous T206 Honus Wagner Card

Bill Mastro Pleads Guilty, Admits Trimming Famous T206 Honus Wagner Card

Yesterday, one-time pioneering sports memorabilia dealer and auctioneer, Bill Mastro plead guilty to one count of mail fraud. The charge was related to illegal shill bidding at his former auction house, MastroNet Auctions.

In addition, Mastro publicly admitted to trimming the famous T206 Honus Wagner card that put his company, and others, on the map in the world of sports memorabilia and vintage trading cards. Known by hobbyists simply as The Card, it has long been a story of folklore and legend in the relatively tight-knit world of sports collectors.

See also: PSA 8 T206 Honus Wagner Ownership Timeline

With these revelations detailed and now fully come to light, it adds one more chapter to the never-ending story of the PSA 8 T206 Honus Wagner, whose story has been well publicized outside of hobby circles due to the immense wealth it takes to simply own it.

The US Attorney's office of the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, released a lengthy plea agreement in which  they are asking that Mastro be sentenced to between 57 and 60 months in prison. As part of the deal, Mastro, who was hoping to avoid any potential cooperation related to the government's ongoing investigations of the memorabilia and auction industries, is being compelled to do so.

As a result, Bill Mastro may be called as a witness against his former business partners and associates who may eventually be caught up in future investigations.

Additionally, the federal government filed what they described as a new superseding indictment that can be read in its entirety here. While the indictment is against Bill Mastro and his former employees, Doug Allen and Mark Theotoki, it is interesting to note that only Mastro is listed on the indictment caption header.

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Rob is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff and co-host of Cardboard Connection Radio.He is an avid collector with over 20 years of active experience in the hobby.


User Comments

  1. So, in a very real sense that makes that card worthless….

  2. Sevenpenny Oddly, doubtful. There is so much lore tied to that particular card now that it will likely hold a lot of its value, even with the trimming. If it were to sell today, it may not break the previous record, but it would probably still go for a huge amount. The trimming has long been speculated anyway – including an entire book written on it – so in a strange sense, the confirmation would add a piece of mind that at least it’s out there.

  3. Ryan, I would think you are right. Irrespective to what has physically been done to the card, it has become an American Icon of sorts. Therein lies it’s intrinsic value.

  4. Technically, this is no longer the highest condition Wagner, and therefore, not the highest “valued” card in the hobby any longer. As a matter of fact, ignoring any outside factors, this would be one of the lowest valued t206 Wagners in existence.

    However, humans are not robots; we appreciate the emotional and historical importance of an artifact, and not just the condition or book value. It is for that reason that I still consider this card, the Gretzky Wagner, still the most valuable card in the hobby, and the most important card. Where would the hobby be today if this card never existed?

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