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Check your grandpa’s safe deposit box for Honus Wagner cards

Oct 27, 2010, 10:30 AM EDT

Honus Wagner card

Back when we were kids, my brother used to believe that if you searched enough glove compartments in auto junkyards, you’d eventually find a Honus Wagner card. My dad and I used to tell him that he was silly, and that given how valuable the thing was, you could bet your bippy that collectors have found them all and the only people who will ever get their hands on one are the auction houses, obsessive collectors and the stinkin’ rich.  Well, this wasn’t in a Model-A glove box, but it’s fairly close:

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 told Muller he had a Honus Wagner card in a safe-deposit box. When they opened the box, they found the card, with a typewritten note: “Although damaged, the value of this baseball card should increase exponentially throughout the 21st century!” The card was unknown to the sports-memorabilia marketplace because the nuns’ benefactor had owned it since 1936.

Now it’s in the hands of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.  They’re going to sell it and help fund ministries for the poor.  Sources say that they’re going to keep all of their Ron Cey cards for sentimental reasons, however.

  1. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Oct 27, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    My dad used to have 3 Mantle rookie cards, and he lost them when he was a teenager.

  2. 12strikes - Oct 27, 2010 at 10:46 AM

    I have Mark McGuire’s “rookie” card. It’s actually a TEAM USA card (but some collector books have it as his rookie card).

    Never thought I would be able to retire off of it, but after he broke the season record I though in a about 10-15 years I could sell it for a nice chuck of change. Now… not so much.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Oct 27, 2010 at 10:47 AM

      Hah, I have that card too! And a similar one with Ben Sheets. Oh well.

      • 12strikes - Oct 27, 2010 at 10:59 AM

        And a couple of Roger Clemens Rookie cards (Topps), Come to think of it… They might have been from the same year.

  3. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 27, 2010 at 10:56 AM

    Nice…a Penguin reference…anytime I see the word “nun” in print I think of this “We’re on a mission from God”

  4. JBerardi - Oct 27, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    Nice image choice. It’s absurd that an item designed and produced with the singular intent of selling cigarettes to children should now be so massively valuable. Meanwhile, Wagner was himself an early opponent of tobacco use and forced the American Tobacco Company to stop producing the card. Which, of course, is what makes the thing so damned valuable today.

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