By Off The BASN Sports Wire
Updated: November 19, 2007
Honus Wagner
Honus Wagner

CINCINNATI, OH.— John Cobb and Ray Edwards, two African American co-owners of the 1909 T206 Honus Wagner baseball card, think that Honus looks like a million bucks.

Only one problem: Nobody in the baseball card world thinks so??

The journey with the 1909 Honus Wagner card started in the early 1980’s. Cobb bought the card through someone he knew that dabbled in real estate sales.

After discovering it’s potential value, Edwards and Cobb put the card up for sale on seven times in a non-graded and graded category, with five auctions being pulled. Two auctions completing, one reaching over $350,000, with over 19 bids and the other reaching over $240,000 with over 7 bids.

Despite this, the authentication of the card was still being questioned. So Cobb and Edwards sat out to authenticate the card and set the record straight.

Arne Schned a printing consultant with over 35 years in the printing business, said that the card is a lithograph and that the card was made from the etched plates consistent with printing technology of that time (early 1900’s). Schned said that the paper appeared old enough and the card had less than perfect registration.

“I think that helps them,” he said. “I think it shows it was taken from that time period. If somebody were trying to counterfeit one, they never would have let the register go that badly. It would have been perfect.”

Walter Rantanen a paper expert, Integrated Paper Service’s fiber sciences division in Appleton, Wisc, ran 3 scientific tests that lasted over 5 hours, to show the card’s age. One important test was testing for titanium dioxide, a whitening pigment not used until 1921 worldwide for whiting paper and cloths. Mr. Rantanen said that in reviewing the EDS spectra of the 1909 Honus Wagner card, no titanium or other component was detected that would exclude the paper from being available in the earlier part of the 1900’s.

“The big thing is something like a red flag that would not be consistent,” he said. “There were no red flags in the fibers. The fibers were okay. They weren’t out of place. The paper stock was consistent with the time that card would have been made.”

Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports “This is no ordinary baseball card. It’s too regal for a shoebox, too elegant for an attic.

It’s too old to do much but sit and rest, encased in Lucite and the dreams of others. Sticking this baseball card in your bicycle spokes would be like using the Hope diamond to carve a turkey…”

So after receiving clarification and authentication from all these experts, it turned out to be true – The most conservational baseball card in the world is indeed owned by two African-American entrepreneurs in Cincinnati , Ohio .