T206 1909-11 Honus Wagner card
Legend has it that only about 200 of the cards bearing the Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Fame shortstop's face were made. Wagner says it's because the company that made them, American Tobacco, was sending a bad message to kids about smoking that he wanted no part of. Historians, however say Wagner smoked and endorsed cigars and was likely more irate about not being paid.
This particular Wagner, known as the "Jumbo" because it is bigger than others in the series, was sold by
in April. Its $2.1 million price tag isn't even the highest for a card of its kind, though. That honor belongs a version once owned by hockey star Wayne Gretzky that was sold to Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick in 2007 for $2.8 million. That particular card was featured in an
documentary and is at the center of a federal case that alleges the broker who sold the card to Kendrick cut the sides
to improve its condition
. The owners of the company named in the indictment, Mastro Auctions, have since pleaded guilty to fraud and other charges.
It's referred to as the "holy grail" of baseball cards, but there's a whole lot of sin going on around it.