If you have been collecting sports cards for any length of time you have likely thought about cards that you would like to own someday.  This is often referred to as a “grail list” in reference to the Chalice of Antioch (aka the Holy Grail) that is frequently sought by treasure hunters in books and movies.  For sports card collectors a grail list is as unique as the individual making it.  Inclusion of players on lists can be influenced by quality of play, long-term investment potential, card aesthetics, and emotional factors.  A list of this type can be useful in that it adds focus and goals to the collecting process.

Below is my baseball list.  Given unlimited time and money, these are the cards I would search out and buy.  Hey, it is ok to dream sometimes!

Honus Wagner T206

Position: Shortstop

Teams: Louisville Colonels (1897-1899), Pittsburgh Pirates (1900-1917)

Baseball Hall of Fame: 1936

The Wagner T206 is a treasure so famous that even those outside the sports card hobby are aware of it.  It was originally printed to be distributed in packs of cigarettes by the American Tobacco Company between 1909 and 1911.  However, production of the card was cut short when a dispute developed between Wagner and American Tobacco.  The exact nature of the disagreement is unknown.  Some say it was because Wagner was uncomfortable with his likeness being used to market tobacco products.  Others say that Wagner felt he was entitled to compensation by American Tobacco for the use of his name in their packaging.  Either way, this card is extremely rare.  At the time of this writing less than 60 copies are known to exist, and even low-grade examples can fetch seven figures at auction.  If you ever run across a legitimate copy of this card in an attic or at a yard sale, your life just changed in an instant.

What is sometimes lost in all of this is that Wagner may be the greatest shortstop in Major League history.  He led the National League in stolen bases 5 times, led the league in runs batted in 5 times, was an 8-time batting champion, and was regarded as a superior fielder throughout his career.

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