$50 Million Honus Wagner Highlights $130 Million Baseball Card Collection On ‘King Of Collectibles’

This is a baseball card collector’s mecca. Ken Kendrick, the general managing partner of the Arizona Diamondbacks, showed off his staggering $130 million collection to Ken Goldin, founder and CEO of auction house Goldin, in the season finale of Netflix’s “King of Collectibles.” The collection featured a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle and T-206 Honus Wagner, worth tens of millions of dollars each.

Kendrick’s collection contains every holy grail baseball card you can imagine. The cards included:

  • 1916 M101-4 Sporting News Babe Ruth PSA 8: It’s the highest-graded Ruth rookie card that’s worth an estimated $10 million.
  • 1954 Topps Hank Aaron PSA 10: It’s one of two Aaron rookie cards graded PSA 10. It’s estimated value is between $9-$12 million.
  • 1952 Topps Willie Mays PSA 10: The only ’52 Topps Mays graded PSA 10 in existence, it’s worth an estimated $10 million.
  • 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle PSA 10: It’s the only PSA 10 of Mantle’s Bowman rookie card. It’s valued at $20 million.
  • 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA 10: Only one of three PSA 10s in existence, Goldin put an estimated value of $30 million. An SGC 9.5 sold for an all-time record $12.6 million in August 2022.

However, the crème de la crème is the PSA 8 T-206 Honus Wagner that Goldin valued at a whopping $50 million.

“This is the Mona Lisa of trading cards,” says Goldin in “King of Collectibles.” “This is, to me, the single greatest trading card in existence.”

Kendrick bought the Wagner card, which was once owned by Wayne Gretzky, for $2.8 million in 2007. However, there is controversy surrounding it. Bill Mastro, a former sports memorabilia collector in the 1980s who pleaded guilty in 2013 to a slew of federal charges, admitted he had trimmed the Wagner card with a paper cutter years before it was sold to Gretzky in 1991.

Despite the card being altered, it’s made this particular T-206 Wagner more famous.

“The PSA 8 Wagner is the one item in this hobby that I believe the negative becomes a positive,” Brian Dwyer, president of Robert Edward Auctions, told ESPN in 2021.

The highest-selling T-206 Wagner is an SGC 2 that sold for $7.25 million in August 2022.

For those salivating at the chance to own one of these exquisite cards, don’t hold your breath. Kendrick doesn’t plan on selling them.

“When I got this [Wagner] card, my son was 11 years old. I sat him down and I said, ‘This card is maybe the most important card I’ll ever own. My collection is what I believe will become a legacy in our family. When daddy is gone, these cards will belong to you,'” Kendrick recounts in “King of Collectibles.” “He says, ‘Hey daddy, I just want you to know something.’ And I said, ‘What’s that?’ He says, ‘I’ll never sell these cards.’ That’s your answer. They won’t be sold in my lifetime.”

Even though Goldin was a bit disappointed, he wasn’t surprised Kendrick decided to pass on moving them.

“I can’t say I went to Ken with expectations that I would walk away with the wagon. I mean, hell, there’s no way I’m going to walk into that office and not take my shot at the Gretzky Wagner, simply not going to happen,” notes Goldin. “But, I had tempered expectations. I’m slightly disappointed. I understand what he wants to do with his family — it’s similar to what I’m doing for my family, and we’ll see what happens in the future. But, I am going after the rest of his collection.”

This wasn’t the only high-end Wagner to appear on “King of Collectibles” this season. In the first episode, an SGC 5 Wagner was featured. That had an estimated value of $25 million.

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