Racism Claimed Surrounding T-206 Wagner

Did anyone check out the “Outside the Lines” program that aired on ESPN on Sunday? The popular in-depth show takes a look at issues off the field in what are thought-provoking subjects.

The latest episode dealt with a T-206 Honus Wagner card owned by two African-American men – John Cobb and his cousin Ray Edwards, Cobb claims he bought the card in an estate sale in 1984 for $1,800. In 1993, after seeing headlines for the sale of the Wayne Gretzky/Bruce McNall Wagner card, they attempted to get the card graded by Card Collector Services. The company deemed the card counterfeit. They also are reluctant to have PSA grade the card because they don’t want it out of their site. However, PSA President Joe Orlando, who was also on the episode, said he has seen the card and said there are “many red flags.” He cited different lettering styles, different font size and signs of manufactured aging.

Cobb and Edwards said they had the card examined by two experts in paper manufacturing who say the card stock is consistent with paper styles used prior to 1920.

But here is the issue – Cobb and Edwards believe race is an issue in the sale and grading of the card. If they were white, they feel the card would have been sold long ago.

When it comes to something like the Wagner card, no matter what condition it’s in, I find it hard to believe they would have any trouble finding a buyer regardless of race or any other factor if it were real. A card of that stature doesn’t get dismissed without close examination and reasoning – and race isn’t one of them.  


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