The holy grail of baseball cards just set another record.
Known as one of the rarest baseball cards ever printed, the Honus Wagner T-206 card sold at a private sale for $7.25 million, auctioneer Goldin Auctions announced Thursday. Goldin estimates that this map is one of fewer than 50 certified copies left in the world.
The sale broke a record set last year by another copy of the card, which sold for $6.6 million.
The origin of the card’s rarity is itself a legend, as the cards were produced as part of a line created by the American Tobacco Company to pack cigarettes. Wagner objected to the use of his image in this way – the popular story is that he did not want children to buy cigarettes because of him, although it is possible that he simply wanted more money from the ATC.
The company ended up producing only about 200 cards and distributing even fewer, creating a collector’s item for the ages.
“I have been in this business for a very long time and have seen many incredible trading cards and memorabilia, but there is nothing better on earth than the T206 card,” Goldin executive chairman and founder Ken Goldin said in a statement. “There is a reason why no Wagner map has ever sold for less than it was bought before – the map is art, it is history, it is folklore. T206 is one of the reasons why I do what I do and why serious collectors around the world love this hobby so much. Being a part of history and contributing to this record sale is an honor.”
The record may not last long, as ESPN notes that an equally rare 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card has already reached $7.08 million at auction and is expected to top $10 million at Heritage Auctions.