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Morning Lineup – October 28

Let’s start off the day with one of those “nice stories” that don’t require any thinking to understand or absorb.  Just enjoy the moment while I tell you about a surprise legacy for a religious order of Catholic nuns.  The School Sisters of Notre Dame based in Baltimore, do charitable missionary work all around the world, thus always seeking donations to carry on their mission.

Recently a man whose own sister was a nun passed away and left all of his possessions to the order to dispose of how they saw fit.  The lawyer handling the estate notified the Sisters that one of the items that was being kept in a safe deposit box is one of the 60 Honus Wagner baseball cards that are known to exist.  He had apparently purchased it in1936 before such things had achieved the collectable values that they have nowadays.  There was a note with it in the safe deposit box that read,  “Although damaged, the value of this baseball card should increase exponentially throughout the 21st century!”

Honus Wagner

Honus Wagner (Feb. 24, 1874 – Dec. 6, 1955) played for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1900 to 1917 and later served as a coach for the team from 1933 – 1951.  Eight times he was the major league batting champion with a career batting average of .327,  and five times he led the league in stolen bases.  His unusual speed on the base paths earned him the nickname “Flying Dutchman.”  In 1916 he became the oldest player ever to hit an inside-the-park home run.  When the Baseball Hall of Fame was created in 1936 he was one of the five original inductees.

His baseball cards that were issued by a cigarette company are legenday for their value due to their scarcity.  The last known sale of one was at auction in 2007  when a mint-condition card went for $2.8 million.  The American Tobacco Co. used the card as a premium from 1909 to 1911, but Wagner was reportedly uncomfortable with the enticement to children to buy cigarettes in order to get the cards.  So he refused to renew his contract with ATC and the card went extinct.  The exact number distributed is unknown except that there were less than 200 of them released.

The mint-condition card.

This card though, is in a very shabby condition.  Three of the borders have been trimmed off and there is a severe crease across it, and at some time it was laminated.

The card currently being offered.

The Sisters have decided to auction this gift now in order to convert the asset to usable funds for their mission and it is being offered through the Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas.  Their initial estimate of the value of this poor-condition card was $150,00 to $200,000, but as I am writing this the top bid so far is $180,000.  The auction closes on November 4 at 10 pm Central time and as you know, the big money shows up at closing time on these.  So if you want to follow the bidding (and maybe get in on the action?), CLICK HERE to watch the bid counter.  There is a reserve on the sale, but the webpage says that they will disclose the reserve today.

While we’re waiting for that revelation, let’s get this equipment checked out.  I’m going to get the coffee started now and then we’ll meet back in the day room in a little while.

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