Circa 1931 Honus Wagner and Pie Traynor Sporting Goods Company Business Card

Sold For: $296

Auction Year: 2012 spring

Lot: 1629

Item Year: 1931

Category: Internet Only

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Extremely rare business card issued by the Wagner-Traynor Co., Inc., which was a sporting goods store located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The standard-size business card (3.75 x 2.25 inches) features portrait images of both Honus Wagner and Pie Traynor, the name of the company, and the store's address and telephone number ("709 Liberty Avenue/Pittsburgh, PA./Atlantic 3112"). Printing along the base of the card notes that "The bearer of this card is entitled to a discount on any purchase made from this firm." This is the first example of this card we have ever handled and only the second we have seen! Interestingly, the other example of this card did not include the printed promise of a discount upon presentation. The Wagner-Traynor Co., Inc., opened its doors on September 23, 1931, and, as noted by authors James Forr and David Proctor in their book Pie Traynor: A Baseball Biography , the store was doomed from the start. The country was still in the throes of the Great Depression and Pittsburgh's steel economy was hit particularly hard. Most people barely had enough money to put food on the table, let alone buy sporting goods equipment, even if the store were owned by two of the city's greatest sports heroes. Unfortunately for Wagner and Traynor, the store remained in business just over a year before going bust. Interestingly, according to Forr and Proctor the failed sporting goods venture, combined with his losses in the stock market, severely impacted Traynor's net worth and he was never able to completely recover financially. Given the short period of time that the store was open, the rarity of this card is not surprising. (Interesting note: The Wagner-Traynor Co., Inc. was no doubt inspired by but was a completely separate business venture from Honus Wagner Sporting Goods, which opened in 1919 and remained in business for over 90 years.) This is a fascinating and exceedingly rare souvenir from Honus Wagner and Pie Traynor's short-lived and ill-fated business venture. The card displays numerous creases throughout and there is a black-ink notation scripted on the reverse of the card. In Good condition overall. Reserve $100. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $296

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