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The ‘Most Popular Baseball Card Ever’ Is Going to Auction

It may not be the most valuable, but it’s definitely beloved.

Art Whitney and Midget.
Art Whitney and Midget. Mile High Card Company/Used with Permission

It is not especially valuable by the standards of old baseball cards (the T206 Honus Wagner has long set that standard), but a vintage “pasteboard” depicting an mustachioed, light-hitting infielder sharing a moment with an adorable puppy named Midget is up for auction. It’s being hailed as the most popular baseball card of all time.

As Forbes is reporting, the Mile High Card Company is auctioning an Art Whitney baseball card from 1887 that is famous not because of the player—who was unremarkable, known mostly for changing teams as if they were socks—but because of the whimsical picture. Because Whitney switched teams so often, the image was meant as a jokey juxtaposition of him and a loyal animal. No Hall of Famer, Whitney is an unlikely candidate to produce a card worth more than the paper it’s printed on, but thanks to the funny picture and people’s love of dogs, it’s become quite popular.

Whitney's card could go for as much as $1,000.
Whitney’s card could go for as much as $1,000. Mile High Card Company/Used with Permission

The card, which would originally have been found in packs of Old Judge cigarettes, has been named as a favorite by baseball card experts and even celebrity collectors such as sports and news commentator Keith Olbermann. It’s easily one of the most popular cards of the Old Judge releases, and increasingly a target for the discerning enthusiast.

At press time the price of the card sits at $200 in the online auction, but is expected to rise, perhaps to around $500–1,000, as examples have in the past. Not bad for a average player and a dog.