The hobby gets another boost next spring when Rob Lifson of Robert Edward Auctions offers yet another of the hobby’s famous T206 Honus Wagner cards.
This time it’s the Wagner that was once owned by actor Charlie Sheen, who had put it on display at the All Star Cafe in Times Square in New York City in the 1990s.
In 1998, three Cafe staffers conspired to steal the Wagner from the display case, replace it with a reprint that could easily pass muster from a distance, and then sell the real one.
The plan worked for awhile, but then the trio struck again after a display case broke at the restaurant, providing an opportunity to snatch another of Sheen’s treasures, the highest-grade known of a 1934 Goudey uncut sheet with the 1933 Nap Lajoie on it.
The crew cut up the sheet (groan!), but without a suitable ersatz version to conceal the crime, the deed was revealed, and then the Wagner switch also came to light.
The FBI arrested the thieves and the stolen cards were returned to Sheen. He would sell the card at auction three years later for $78,000, which according to Lifson was a record price at the time for a lower-grade Wagner.