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'Holy Grail' of baseball cards sold for $2.1 million

By Pauline Kim, CNN
updated 1:05 PM EDT, Sat April 6, 2013
The winning bid came in at $2,105,770.50.
The winning bid came in at $2,105,770.50.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 1909 card of Pittsburgh Pirate shortstop Honus Wagner is one of only about 50 in existence
  • The buyer remains anonymous but is called "a wealthy individual investor and a baseball fan"
  • There were 15 bids made for the prized item
  • The card is rare because Wagner made the American Tobacco Company recall it

New York (CNN) -- The final bid for a trading card that the National Baseball Hall of Fame calls "the Holy Grail" topped $2.1 million -- the highest price ever paid for a baseball card in a public auction.

The 1909 card of Pittsburgh Pirate shortstop Honus Wagner -- one of only about 50 in existence -- was auctioned off by Goldin Auctions in West Berlin, New Jersey. Bidding started at $500,000 on February 25.

The buyer chose to remain anonymous after the successful bid, but Ken Goldin, owner of Goldin Auctions, told CNN he is "best described as a wealthy individual investor and a baseball fan."

Goldin said the buyer did not indicate what they planned to do with the card. A total of 15 bids were made for the prized item.

The card is in short supply because Wagner made the American Tobacco Company recall it when he discovered it had made the card without his permission. He didn't want kids to buy cigarettes, the auction house said.

The card was released as Wagner was on his way to winning his seventh batting title and about to lead the Pirates to their first World Series win. It's garnered such a place in baseball history that it has its own plaque at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

The winning bid came in at $2,105,770.50, including the buyer's premium, according to a statement from Goldin Auctions on Saturday.

CNN Money's Emily Jane Fox contributed to this report.

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