This Photo of Honus Wagner Inspired His Coveted Baseball Card. Now It’s Heading to Auction.

The T206 Honus Wagner baseball card is one of the most valuable pieces of sports memorabilia, and now the photo that landed on the famous trading card is up for grabs.

The rare portrait of the shortstop, which Boston photographer Carl Horner took in 1902, will go under the hammer this month at Hunt Auctions, Barrons reported on Monday. According to the Pennsylvania-based auction house, the image is believed to be one of only a handful of original examples in existence.

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Discovered over a decade ago in 2013—hidden away in the archives of The Cleveland Plain Dealer where it had been forgotten for over 100 years—the photo shows Wagner from the chest up wearing his Pittsburgh Pirates uniform. The image was later used in the design and production of the American Tobacco Company’s T206 card set, which is widely considered to be the “holy grail” or “Mona Lisa” of sports collectibles. For context, an original T206 card broke a record in 2022 when it sold for $7.25 million. At the time, it claimed the title of the priciest sports card ever purchased.

“The offered image ranks among the most important and desirable ever taken of a baseball subject and represents a rare opportunity to the collecting world to acquire such a piece,” Hunt Auctions notes on its website. While we won’t know the full value until bidding concludes on July 16, the T206 portrait currently has an estimated price of $100,000 and $300,000.

The sale is scheduled to occur simultaneously alongside the 2024 MLB All-Star Game on July 16. In addition to the Wagner photograph, Hunt Auctions will also be offering up more sports-related lots, including a John F. Kennedy–signed baseball from his first MLB ballpark appearance as president (estimated to sell for $75,000 to $150,000). Kennedy threw the ball for the ceremonial first pitch on April 10, 1961, three months after he delivered his iconic inaugural address. If you’re a fan of presidential artifacts, there’s also a 1953 baseball signed by Dwight D. Eisenhower up for grabs ($40,000 – $60,000).

Elsewhere, a 1967 Mickey Mantle All-Star Game professional model baseball bat could go for up to $150,000. The Mick gifted the Louisville Slugger to a bat boy during the Mid-Summer Classic, and the relic has remained in the seller’s possession ever since. Now, it could score big-league bucks if it sells close to or surpasses its estimate.

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