Rookie Card Year: 1902
Investment Rating: 10.0 (Exceptional)
Honus Wagner, whose nickname, "The Flying Dutchman," was a tribute to his ancestry and adept base running skills, was one of the earliest stars in the game of professional baseball. Considered by many to be the greatest shortstop of all-time, Wagner played his entire major league career with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1897 to 1917. Wagner was also the team's manager in his final playing season and went on to be the team's hitting coach from 1933 to 1951.
As a result of his stellar achievements on the field, Honus Wagner was one of the original inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. An accomplished hitter, Wagner led the league in batting, eight times, and slugging, six times. His speed on the base paths allowed him to total five stolen base titles as well. A lifetime batting average of .327, coupled with 3,415 hits and 1,732 RBI's, cemented his legacy as one of the game's greatest.
One of the first athletes to make a name for himself in American pop culture outside the lines of the diamond, Wagner appeared in a few movies where he portrayed the star athlete in the film. His acting debut came in 1919, in the movie, Spring Fever. As a man of impeccable character with strong morals and a big heart, Honus Wagner was a fan favorite long after his playing days were over. He is proudly accepted as a native son of Pittsburg, PA, and a life-sized statue, originally sculpted and placed at Forbes Field in 1955, resides at the Pirate's current home of PNC Park.
Early Honus Wagner Cards
Honus Wagner has a tremendous number of early tobacco, candy, gum and caramel cards from the Pre-War era. While the T206 card, manufactured by the American Tobacco company, is obviously his most famous, it certainly wasn't his first card. Long before there was an official Rookie Card, Wagner's first known card was found in the Sporting Life Cabinet product. These cards are designated as W600's in the American Card Catalog. Wagner has two consecutive cards in the series, number 664 and 665. The majority of early Honus Wagner cards were regional releases, and were distributed to promote everything from cutlery to newspapers and various food products. The well-documented history of the hobby's highest graded T206 example is available here and a graphical timeline of The Card's ownership can be viewed here.
Part of a 561-card set, these over-sized cards measure 5 x 7-1/2 inches and were designed to be displayed standing on a dresser or cabinet, and hence their name. These cards were produced over several years, beginning in 1902 with the first cards in the series and finishing in 1911 with the final cards.
Top Honus Wagner Cards
Designated as E90-1 in the American Card Catalog, the American Caramels were some of the earliest cards to be printed in full color. Measuring just 1-1/2 by 2-3/4 inches, Wagner's card #113 is part of a 120-card set.
The T206 Honus Wagner card has been cataloged as having two different backs, Sweet Caporal and Piedmont. Classic in size, the cards measure 1-7/16 by 2-5/8 inches and part of a 524-card set.
The beauty of the 1914 Cracker Jack set has not been forgotten. In fact, its popularity has grown in recent years, causing values for cards like Wagner's to skyrocket on the auction circuit and secondary markets. Issued in boxes of the sweet caramel treat, finding samples free of stains is very difficult. Fortunately for purists and perfectionists, the company produced a complete set available via mail order, the following year, in 1915. While samples from that year don't compare in terms of value, there are plenty of high grade examples that more than make up the difference.
Both of these cards are amongst the first ever cards of their kind. The Y2K era ushered in a new demand for value in terms of memorabilia and autographs. As a result came the creation of retired only player products such as SP Legendary Cuts, which helped introduce the collecting world to cut signature and game-used memorabilia cards of legendary Hall of Fame players.
Honus Wagner Card Gallery
Honus Wagner Autograph Guide
When looking to purchase authentic autographed memorabilia from legendary and long-deceased players like Honus Wagner, great caution is urged. The Cardboard Connection only recommends buying authenticated Honus Wagner signature autographs from one of the reputable authenticators in the industry, PSA or JSA. The most common items found to be authentically signed by Honus Wagner include checks and personal documents. Cut signature trading cards from manufactures like Topps, Leaf, Tristar and Upper Deck should also be considered legitimate.
Honus Wagner Signature Autograph Pricing
Honus Wagner Cut Signature Pricing
Be sure to check out our other articles on Honus Wagner baseball cards:
- Timeline of the PSA 8 T206 Honus Wagner, the World’s Most Valuable Baseball Card
- T206 Honus Wagner Baseball – History of the World’s Most Famous Card
For additional information on Honus Wagner, including playing statistics and life off the field, be sure to visit: