Readers Still Sweet on 1954 Sugar Bowl Memorabilia
by Bill Wagner, "Babe Waxpak"
October 9, 2005
Discuss this article:
Dear Babe: I found the letter from the co-captain of the 1954 Georgia Tech team very
interesting. I was the co-captain of the dance team that entertained during halftime
of the 1954 Sugar Bowl. I represented Georgia Tech and wore the team's colors. I didn't
receive a watch (as did the players) but did receive a pin, a miniature Sugar Bowl, which
was then the insignia of the event. I am curious about the value, other than sentimental,
of the pin and several other similar gifts the Sugarettes received. We were high school
students (I attended Fortier in New Orleans), who auditioned and worked after school and
on weekends to prepare for the halftime show. I participated for three of my four high
school years and those memories are among the best I have of those years.
Gwen McDonough White, Marietta, Ga.
Your question is the latest installment of questions on memorabilia from the 1954 Sugar
Bowl. We previously heard from the co-captains of both teams involved in that game in
which Georgia Tech defeated Virginia, 42-19. I can't remember another question that
spawned so many varied follow-ups, especially when you consider the game was played more
than a half century ago. Unfortunately, your pin isn't in the same class as the team watches,
which were valued at $1,000-$1,500. Sentimental value is the order of the day for you. The
pin might be worth $50 possibly $100 if it says "Sugar Bowl" on it.
Of course, the future of the Sugar Bowl, at least for 2006, is up in the air, because of
Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and damaged the Superdome where the game
is usually played. The game's official Web site, www.nokiasugarbowl.com, has a notice that
says plans are temporarily on hold as an alternate site is sought.
Dear Babe: Did any T206 Honus Wagner cards have a Sovereign Cigarettes back or just the
Caporal back? I saw one recently with the Sovereign back. Was it real?
Terri Maddox, Fresno, Calif.
A few years ago, Beckett was publishing a vintage card guide that had a major article by
Mike Jaspersen on the existing Wagner T206 cards. At the time, he noted that most known
cards had Sweet Caporal backs, while a couple were Piedmont. Most folks believe there are
about 100 Wagner cards out there with half that number identified as being in circulation.
A new Wagner was "discovered" in 2003 at The National card show in Atlantic City,
N.J., when an older couple walked up to the Leland's booth with a battered Wagner that had
never been circulated. It had belonged to the woman's father and he had carried it around
in his wallet for years. I also checked with Rich Klein, Beckett's senior baseball price
guide analyst. He had never heard of a T206 Wagner with a Sovereign back. I have a really
nice T206 reprint set and the Wagner has a Sovereign back. I suspect that's what you saw. It
says "Capital reprint" on the bottom of the back - although some folks have been
known to try and trim that in an effort to pass off the reprint as an original.
Dear Babe: I have a set of gold foil stamped 1992 Classic Basketball Draft Picks in an oak
box. It has two Shaquille O'Neal cards, including one that is autographed. It is No. 2,754
of 8,500. It has never been opened.
Dominick Long, Indio, Calif.
I don't think that even the folks at Classic could keep up with all their products, especially
when they had the exclusive to produce O'Neal cards before he was drafted. But annual references
such as Beckett's basketball guide bring order to the chaos. Beckett lists the 101-card set at
$120 with the signed card valued at $80 and the other Shaq card listed at $25. That means the
other 99 cards are worth $15 with Alonzo Mourning the only player of real note. Two sets sold
for $64 and $67 with S&H in recent eBay auctions. Another set that started at $130 failed to
get any bids. As I've mentioned before, even though it is a signed Shaq card, he's wearing his
college uniform and most collectors lose interest in those cards once a player has other cards
showing him in a pro uniform. On the flip side, sometimes, the college autographs are a lot
more readable than autographs signed years later by a pro star, who simply scribbles something
that is barely identifiable.
Dear Babe: My father is retired and has a 1957 Milwaukee Braves autographed game ball with
every player's signature, including Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews and Henry Aaron.
Dale Hurlebaus, Atlanta
The Braves stunned the Yankees and the rest of the baseball world when Lew Burdette won three
games and Milwaukee won the Series in seven games. There's no shortage of 1957 team-signed
Braves balls, said Mike Gutierrez, owner of MGAuction.net in Arizona. It's worth $500-$1,000.
About the author
Bill Wagner is a veteran journalist with 37 years in the newspaper business as well as being
a former Army combat correspondent in Vietnam. He developed the Babe Waxpak sports card column
in the 1980s and took over authorship in 1993, expanding into sports memorabilia and autographs
as well as answering questions on cards.
All hobby articles...