Prior to the discovery of the "Black Swamp Find" of E98 cards several years ago, cards from the issue were considered somewhat difficult to obtain, the condition-sensitive cards typically found in low grades with weak eye appeal. Visually-pleasing examples that had been "circulated" among collectors in their year of issue were highly desirable. Though the Black Swamp Find has dramatically increased the population of high-grade E98 cards in the hobby, those "circulated" examples remain popular and highly prized among advanced collectors today, particularly when the background color is not one known to be a part of the find.
In the case of the Honus Wagner card from the set, Black Swamp examples seem to have been largely restricted to red and green-background examples. Orange and blue-background specimens remain in short supply, considered condition-sensitive, clearly "circulated" cards. We often express our opinion that "circulated" E98s and BSF E98s should almost be considered separate sets.
Presented here is an attractive and well-centered blue-background example of Honus Wagner's card from the E98 issue. Clean and attractive, the card has attained a grade of GOOD+ 2.5 by PSA, due largely to corner and edge wear, most visible along the right edge, factory cut with a very slight tilt. PSA has graded eight in total, a testament to the condition-sensitivity of the issue. There is a small bit of paper loss along the right border and some light soiling in the upper right corner with a well-preserved image of the Pirates Hall-of-Famer in a natural throwing pose offered. A small amount of foxing is seen on the reverse, but overall, an outstanding presentation on a very difficult card.
Please note that an astute collector pointed out a blue E98 Wagner in PSA 3 that sold in public auction several years ago. That card is not reflected in PSA's population report for blue background Wagners, but it certainly exists, as PSA graded a number of E98 Wagners before they began noting the background color on their grading labels.