Among the most notable big-dollar sales was a Honus Wagner card once owned by Wayne Gretzky, which sold for $1.265 million in 2000. That specific card, from a T206 tobacco card set issued in 1909, has added to its colorful history since then. It sold for $2.8 million in 2007 to Ken Kendrick, owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks. But it later emerged that the card itself was doctored, its edges trimmed to bolster its condition and value. Other copies of the Honus Wagner card have topped the $2.8 million price tag, most recently in 2016 when a copy sold for $3.12 million.
OLBG reviewed news reports and auction house archives to find 10 of the most valuable baseball cards in history. Note that this list only includes cards sold at public auctions, not those sold privately. The list only counted the most expensive auction sale of a card and excluded instances where another copy of the same card (or the exact same card) sold for less. Information about each card’s Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) certification, which is a multi-step process that vets each card’s condition and estimated value ahead of a sale, is also included.
It’s telling that the top eight most valuable cards on this list were sold in 2020 or later, indicating the impact of the pandemic on prized memorabilia inflation. This trend also demonstrates a renewed hunger for these rare pieces of baseball history. Last year was particularly explosive as the record amount for a baseball card sale was broken three separate times. So which card ultimately now stands as the most valuable of all time? Read on to find out.