On what is probably the 100th anniversary of the most famous – and expensive – baseball card extant, hobby icon Honus Wagner just keeps coming through in those pressure situations that matter.
The latest: the Heritage T206 Wagner card that sold earlier this fall had seemingly brought a $220,000 windfall to an order of nuns in Baltimore that had been bequeathed the “Poor” Wagner by the brother of a sister. That’s brother in the secular sense and sister in the ecclesiastical.
The sale by Heritage gained widespread national media attention, with collectors and non-collectors alike delighting that the sale of a newly discovered Wagner specimen would benefit a wide range of charities worldwide supported by the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
But when the winning bidder failed to pay for the card after 30 days, Heritage officials quickly contacted one of the most prominent collectors in the hobby, Dr. Nick Depace, who promptly stepped up and agreed to buy the card for the original winning bid of $220,000.
Depace, a Catholic, would be in the baseball memorabilia collectors hall of fame, if there were such a place. A sample of his remarkable collection can be seen in an equally remarkable book, Smithsonian Baseball: Inside the World’s Finest Private Collections, by Stephen Wong.
(Note to readers: Because of a bizarre circumstance that easily befuddle a cyber dunce like myself, when I create a link as I have done on the lines directly above this paragraph, it ends up in invisible cyber ink. So you can't see it. Just click on the white space above this section and it will send you to the Amazon.com site with the Smithsonian Book. Sounds silly, but there it is, even if you can't see it.)
According to the Associated Press, Depace plans to open a nonprofit museum next year in Collingswood, N.J., to showcase his holdings, and will display the card there.
In the meantime, you can’t go wrong clicking on the Amazon.com site and picking up Wong’s amazing book.
I’m sure Honus would approve – and we all know what happens if he doesn't.