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Century-old baseball card collection discovered in attic could be worth $3 million

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  • Century-old baseball card collection discovered in attic could be worth $3 million

    http://www.nj.com/yankees/index.ssf/...ollection.html

    TOLEDO, Ohio — Karl Kissner picked up a soot-covered cardboard box that had been under a wooden dollhouse in his grandfather’s attic. Taking a look inside, he saw baseball cards bundled with twine. They were smaller than the ones he was used to seeing.

    But some of the names were familiar: Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Cy Young and Honus Wagner.

    Then he put the box on a dresser and went back to digging through the attic.
    It wasn’t until two weeks later that he learned that his family had come across what experts say is one of the biggest, most exciting finds in the history of sports card collecting, a discovery probably worth millions.

    The cards are from an extremely rare series issued around 1910. The few known to exist are in so-so condition at best, with faded images and worn edges. But the ones from the attic in the Ohio town of Defiance are nearly pristine, untouched for more than a century. The colors are vibrant, the borders crisp and white.

    “It’s like finding the Mona Lisa in the attic” Kissner said.

    Sports card experts who authenticated the find say they may never see something this impressive again.

    “Every future find will ultimately be compared to this,” said Joe Orlando, president of Professional Sports Authenticator.

    The best of the bunch — 37 cards — are expected to bring a total of $500,000 when they are sold at auction in August during the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore. There are about 700 cards in all that could be worth up to $3 million, experts say. They include such legends as Christy Mathewson and Connie Mack.

    Kissner and his family say the cards belonged to their grandfather, Carl Hench, who died in the 1940s. Hench ran a meat market in Defiance, and the family suspects he got them as a promotional item from a candy company that distributed them with caramels. They think he gave some away and kept others.
    “We guess he stuck them in the attic and forgot about them,” Kissner said. “They remained there frozen in time.”

    After Hench and his wife died, two of his daughters lived in the house. Jean Hench kept the house until she died last October, leaving everything inside to her 20 nieces and nephews. Kissner, 51, is the youngest and was put in charge of the estate. His aunt was a pack rat, and the house was filled with three generations of stuff.

    They found calendars from the meat market, turn-of-the-century dresses, a steamer trunk from Germany and a dresser with Grandma’s clothes neatly folded in the drawers.

    Months went by before they even got to the attic. On Feb. 29, Kissner’s cousin Karla Hench pulled out the dirty green box with metal clips at the corners and lifted the lid.

    Not knowing whether the cards were valuable, the two cousins put the box aside. But Kissner decided to do a little research.

    The cards were at his office in the restaurant he owns when he realized they might have something. He immediately took them across the street and put them in a bank vault.

    Still not knowing whether the cards were real, they sent eight to expert Peter Calderon at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, which recently sold the baseball that rolled through the legs of Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner in the 1986 World Series for $418,000.

    Calderon said his first words were “Oh, my God.”

    “I was in complete awe,” he said. “You just don’t see them this nice.”
    The cards are from what is known as the E98 series. It is not clear who manufactured them or how many were produced, but the series consists of 30 players, half of them Hall of Famers.

    The experts at Heritage Auctions checked out the family’s background, the age of the home and the history of the meat market. They looked at the cards and how they were printed.

    “Everything lines up,” said Chris Ivy, the company’s director of sports auctions.
    They then sent all the cards to Professional Sports Authenticator, which had previously authenticated fewer than 700 E98s. The Ohio cards were the finest examples from the E98 series the company had ever seen.

    The company grades cards on a 1-to-10 scale based of their condition. Up to now, the highest grade it had ever given a Ty Cobb card from the E98 series was a 7. Sixteen Cobbs found in the Ohio attic were graded a 9 — almost perfect. A Honus Wagner was judged a 10, a first for the series.

    Retired vintage sports card auctioneer Barry Sloate of New York City said: “This is probably the most interesting find I’ve heard of.”

    In a measure of what baseball cards can be worth, the owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks paid a record $2.8 million for a rare 1909 Honus Wagner. Another version of the card brought $1.2 million in April.

    Heritage Auctions plans to sell most of the cards over the next two of three years through auctions and private sales so that it doesn’t flood the market. In all, they could bring $2 or $3 million, Ivy said.

    The Hench family is evenly dividing the cards and the money among the 20 cousins named in their aunt’s will. All but a few have decided to sell their lot.

    “These cards need to be with those people who appreciate and enjoy them,” Kissner said
    Last edited by ol' aches and pains; 07-10-2012, 04:42 PM.
    They call me Mr. Baseball. Not because of my love for the game; because of all the stitches in my head.

  • #2
    Wow! That's an amazing find!
    Visit my card site at Mike D's Baseball Card Page.

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    • #3
      I wish I could find a collection like that in my attic

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      • #4
        Incredible find. While those cards are worth a fortune, I wonder what his grading bill is going to be. Looks like Defiance landed another prize winner.
        Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
        Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
        Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
        Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
        Robin Bill Ernie JEDI

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Captain Cold Nose View Post
          Incredible find. While those cards are worth a fortune, I wonder what his grading bill is going to be. Looks like Defiance landed another prize winner.
          It's $300 per card for the most-expensive cards ($10,000+). So, they might pay $75,000 total, or so. But, it's essentially free because the higher selling prices will easily make up for that.

          Pics of the graded cards here...
          http://news.yahoo.com/baseball-cards...2574--spt.html

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          • #6
            I've never seen a 100 year old card grade GEM. That's unbelieveable... What a find!
            WAR? Prove it!

            Trusted Traders: ttmman21, Dalkowski110, BoofBonser26, Kearns643, HudsonHarden, Extra Innings, MadHatter, Mike D., J.P., SShifflett

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            • #7
              I just read this on Yahoo, then immediately came in here to see if there was a thread on it
              What an amazing find! To a true baseball fanatic, these would be extremely tough to part with at any cost.

              Comment


              • #8
                These cards are in gem condition? Is gem condition better than mint?

                That is quite the find though no matter what condition they're in.
                "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

                "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)

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                • #9
                  700 cards? That's sick. Oddly enough, considering there's only 30 cards in the set, the one submitted to Heritage isn't complete. No Ed Walsh, Nap Lajoie or Bill Dahlen. Considering that set ranges from a 1.5 (Hughey Jennings) to a 10 (Chief Meyers) it's strange that those three aren't part of it.

                  I can't imagine what the Wagner and the 16 Cobbs will go for. "4s" sell for $5k+ and those prices rise exponentially once you hit the really high grades simply because of scarcity.

                  I'm not a big fan of the set simply because of the overall look, but I do like how they call Mordecai Brown "Miner" instead of his more well-known nickname.

                  The cards graded thru PSA are being notated "Black Swamp Find" on the face stamp. Really sweet find and great story to read.
                  "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by chicagowhitesox1173 View Post
                    These cards are in gem condition? Is gem condition better than mint?

                    That is quite the find though no matter what condition they're in.
                    Yeah, Beckett "MINT" is a 9 grade; GEM is 9.5 or 10. Very few 10's exist consider there are 4 sub-grades involved. A "GEM" that is 100 years old is almost as likely as finding Bigfoot roaming around in downtown Seattle.
                    WAR? Prove it!

                    Trusted Traders: ttmman21, Dalkowski110, BoofBonser26, Kearns643, HudsonHarden, Extra Innings, MadHatter, Mike D., J.P., SShifflett

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