1910 Tip Top Bread Honus Wagner Pittsburgh Pirates PSA 5 EX - Highest Graded Example!
It is no secret that the pinnacle baseball card is the majestic T206 Honus Wagner, with the sheer mention of this sanctified relic inspiring a literal "shortness of breath" to passionate collectors, justifying its "Holy Grail" title. Never could Carl Horner have imagined that his turn of the century portrait representation of the immortal Honus Wagner would ultimately become the central image on a card that would turn the collecting community upside down. The overall mystique of this card allegedly stems from Honus not wanting to advertise the use of tobacco or possibly not being paid enough (or at all) for tobacco companies printing his T206. Removed from production after a limited printing, a shortfall was created that resulted in a mere few in existence today. Interestingly enough, one of the cards that stands as a similar cardboard collectible as the hallowed T206 Wagner is his 1910 Tip Top Bread D322 issue that likewise portrays the classic Carl Horner pose.
While there are several Wagner issues including Carl Horner's sanctified Honus image, few match the rarity and photogenic likeness as the Tip Top Bread Wagner, regionally issued by the Pittsburgh Ward-Mackey Company in 1910 to commemorate the Pirates 1909 World Championship. Unlike most Wagner portrait cards, the Tip Top Bread headshot portrays the renowned Honus headshot turned towards the right side of the card, mirroring the T206 example (other examples portray Wagner's head turned left and are also more lithographic in nature). Moreover, the Tip Top Bread Wagner headshot appears to be the EXACT replica of the T206, the only difference being a slightly different size due to Tip Top's depicting an almost half body pose that includes "Pittsburg' across the uniform. Presented here is one of the premier PSA "EX 5" Tip Top Bread Wagner's, one of only 3 at this hallowed plateau with NONE graded higher! While the D322 condition sensitivity is surely justified by PSA's prestigious population report, even more incredible is the fact that its total 31 "pop" count currently stands at 5 specimens LESS than the 36 PSA encapsulated T206 Wagner's.
The Tip Top's obscurity is due to its isolated Pittsburgh distribution to commemorate the Pirates 1909 World Championship, with any example highly coveted by enthusiasts, let alone this "finest of its kind" offering. Most significantly, the critical Wagner "Carl Horner image" portrays spectacular aesthetics with no glaring blemishes whatsoever. Set against an orange/green hued background that somewhat resembles the T206, the image does somewhat favor the left edge, with the horizontal centering virtual "dead-on" 50/50. No glaring creases and/or surface flaws are evident on either side, the 25-player checklist is completely intact and the hallowed illustration is affixed between four snow white borders. In closing, rising prices for the Tip Top Wagner (including a whopping $75,000 for the last publicly traded PSA 5) clearly indicate collectors are taking notice of its previously undervalued pricing points. Justifying its soaring value is the notion that amongst the myriad of pre-WW1 Wagner cards exhibiting the Carl Horner portrait image, the Tip Top Wagner arguably stands as the closest depiction to the Flying Dutchman's immortal T206 image, with even less D322 PSA encapsulated copies available for the taking!
MIN BID $15,000