Trout rookie card breaks Honus T206 record

August 24th, 2020

Mike Trout keeps passing Hall of Famers on the all-time WAR leaderboard, and now he’s passing them in the sports memorabilia world, too.

A rare signed Trout rookie card sold for more than $3.9 million on Saturday night, breaking the record of $3.12 million set by the famous T206 Honus Wagner card in 2016. The Trout card, released by Bowman in 2009, was graded in Mint 9 condition and features a stamped “1/1” serial number to ensure its singular quality. The card was originally put on the auction block in July with a minimum bid of $1 million.

"It's pretty incredible, you know, as a kid having baseball cards, and when you get to The Show or when you get drafted, you get your own card, and just to have a price tag on that -- maybe I should have kept that one," Trout said on Monday. "It's pretty humbling."

"Wow. I'm into art," Angels manager Joe Maddon said. "That puts it right up there with, what does the Mona Lisa sell for? What does anything by da Vinci? Wow, that's pretty phenomenal. What was the highest number before that? Honus Wagner? Well, oh my god. Well, you know somebody's investing in their future. That's probably gonna put some kids through Lafayette College several years from now. I mean, bully for him. It's astounding. It's absolutely astounding. And apparently somebody believes it was worth that and it probably will be someday."

Sports betting consultant “Vegas Dave” Oancea bought the Trout card two years ago on eBay for $400,000 – back when Trout was merely a two-time American League MVP Award winner. Trout won the honor again in ’19 while hitting a career-high 45 home runs, and he entered Sunday tied for the AL lead with 10 dingers. Like the card that bears his likeness, Trout only continues to get more valuable.

“A lot of people had a lot of negative things to say, that I was crazy, you know,” Oancea told Reuters earlier this month. “‘You could have bought a house’, ‘You could have bought this and that’, that I’m stupid and it’s a piece of cardboard. But it’s ironic, now I’m going to make four or five million dollars.”

Trout has accumulated 73.5 WAR per Baseball-Reference as he continues his 10th season in the big leagues -- a total that tops dozens of position players already enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.