Extremely rare and significant example of Honus Wagner's true rookie card, from the highly regarded M101-1 Sporting News premium set, issued in 1899. This sepia-toned set was issued with The Sporting News in the years 1899 and 1900. The fact that this rare issue is designed with a biography on the reverse makes the set all the more substantial. Each premium was issued on only a single day and is dated in the upper right. They were intended to be collected over a period of months, as issued, and their purpose was to provide extra value and encourage loyalty among readers of The Sporting News. Their method of issue and the thin paper stock on which they are printed make these unusual and striking premiums particularly susceptible to damage. The fact that these premiums were each issued on only a single day with The Sporting News, as opposed to being offered in set form or over a longer period of time, makes their significant rarity very understandable. The Wagner premium was issued only on August 19, 1899, and features the future Hall of Fame legend as a third baseman with the Louisville Colonels. Encapsulated and graded G-VG 2.5 by BVG (Beckett). The premium has a very light water stain along the right and bottom edge and some light creasing. The number "28" is written in pencil in the lower-left corner. While technically in modest condition, the flaws are minor and the premium has a much stronger appearance. We are very familiar with this particular card as this is the second time we have had the privilege of offering it. This card was presented as Lot 106 in REA's Spring 2015 auction (realizing $14,400) and has been consigned to this auction directly from the purchaser at that sale. The M101-1 Sporting News set, designed with a biography on the reverse exactly like traditional card issues produced in later years, is much more "card-like" than most other premium issues. In fact, of special significance is the fact that M101-1 is the first set featuring Major League baseball players that is designed with biographies on the reverse at all, a design element that in the years to follow came to be a standard defining feature of many baseball-card sets. Not all collectors recognize premiums as cards due to their size and thin stock, but for those that do not make this distinction, the M101-1 Sporting News premium of Honus Wagner without question is the earliest issue for this significant Hall of Famer and represents his rookie card. Dimensions: 8.75 x 11 inches. Reserve $2,500.