This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on:
This lot is one of a special offering of 1903 E107 Breisch Williams cards from The Chris Sullivan Collection—click here to read more.
A full six years before the American Tobacco Company released its famous Honus Wagner T206 “Holy Grail” collectible, the Breisch Williams Co. conceived and distributed what was truly the first “traditionally sized” Wagner depiction. Although a certain mystique will always attach to the T206 Wagner, it's conceded that about 70 specimens of that particular treasure exist. By contrast, there are less than 10 confirmed copies of the ultra-rare E107 Breisch Williams rendering of this legendary player.
This impossibly elusive Breisch Williams portrait likeness of Wagner represents one of the most sought-after cards in the industry. The piece is distinguished by its near-mythical hobby status as well as by virtue of its subject's immortality. Virtually any "all-time" baseball team ever concocted includes Wagner at shortstop, and his seventeen .300-plus seasons and eight batting titles justify that notion. It is said that Ed Barrow discovered Wagner while the clumsy, barrel-chested 18-year-old was flinging rocks across the Monongahela River, and signed him on the spot to a professional contract for the Steubenville, Ohio club. From there, Wagner joined the National League's Louisville Colonels in 1897. After three seasons, the Louisville club disbanded, and former Louisville owner Barney Dreyfuss bought the Pittsburgh Pirates. Dreyfuss immediately re-acquired Wagner, who proceeded to embark on an incredible 18-year run—including a league-leading .381 batting average in his debut season. Shortly thereafter came Wagner's inclusion—as a youthful athlete sporting a serious expression and Sunday-best clothing—in the milestone Breisch Williams production. Wagner was eventually selected for Cooperstown in 1936 as a Hall of Fame charter member. His enshrinement became a lasting tribute to Wagner’s sheer excellence, and the Hall of Fame status—coupled with his T206 portrayal—became an enduring foundation for the unrivaled prominence of his cardboard rarities.
Graded 50 VG/EX 4 by SGC, the highest-graded example validated by the collecting industry. Several seasons prior to T206's Carl Horner image of Honus Wagner enjoying prominence as the ultimate, iconic baseball card portrait, Sporting Life released a distinctive Wagner portrait. The illustration adorned a W600 Cabinet Premium, and it presented Honus in period-style street clothes. This pose was the exact image the Breisch Williams Company chose for its landmark 1903 set, and this miraculous E107 Wagner offering stands as the world's finest surviving specimen. Its relatively well-centered image reveals an extremely modest “tilt” towards the upper right corner, and the generally clean white borders allow only a couple of faint discoloration spots at the upper left. No obtrusive surface flaws and/or creases are evident, and the four corners reflect pleasingly moderate, even wear. The black-printed, “One of a hundred and fifty prominent Baseball players,” slogan on the mildly toned back projects with boldness. Here is a piece that stands as one of the most richly coveted baseball cards in the world, in one-of-a-kind Very Good to Excellent condition.
1903 E107 Breisch Williams Honus Wagner - SGC 50 VG/EX 4 - The Hobby’s Highest-Graded Example!
Click above for larger image.