Top Vintage Sports Card Stories of 2009

1929 Star Player Candy box Great finds, big sales and some serious generosity top our best vintage sports card stories of 2009.

In part three of our year-end series on the top stories from the sports card and sports memorabilia industry, we offer some of our most popular vintage sports card entries from the last twelve months. All of these stories can be found in our archives.

Even with the prevalence of eBay and the passage of time, great finds continue to find their way out of America’s storage shelves and attics. 2009 had its share of cool finds, but perhaps none more amazing than a group of untouched unopened boxes of sports and non-sports cards.

Whiz Bang Gum unopened box Early last year, a group of boxes dating from the 1920s and 30s were taken from an old warehouse storage shelf of an east coast candy and gum distributor where they’d sat for decades. Included were packs of 1929 Star Player candy and Whiz Bag gum disc cards, some of which had never been seen before. They were consigned to Robert Edward Auctions and sold last spring.

Just So Tobacco Ewing Another great find didn’t go back that far, but its existence just surfaced in the hobby. In fact, the card hasn’t even been sold yet. An 1893 Just So Tobacco Buck Ewing card, discovered when Pennsylvania resident Mike Gazo was remodeling his mother’s bathroom, will come up for auction in the spring. The card was apparently used as a marker by the 19th century workers who built the home.

Fresno antique and collectible shop owner Bernice Gallego became a mini-celebrity when the old Cincinnati Red Stockings team photo she pulled out of a storage box turned out to be an 1869 Peck & Snyder card. She had been hoping to get $10 for it. Luckily for her, knowledgeable parties interceded, Jay Leno called and the card sold for $75,000.

A Pennsylvania church member dug into a dresser drawer and pulled out his father’s childhood collection of baseball cards. His hope was that the church could sell them in a fundraiser to pay for the repair of an old organ. The little cards were T206s –worth a lot more than he thought. They were consigned to Hunt Auctions which offered most of them individually at its All-Star Game auction in St. Louis.

A book dealer hunting for bargains at a New York state estate sale found an Allen & Ginter ’round album’ advertising poster sitting underneath a pile of stuff. He turned it over to Lelands, where it sold for $115,271.

A find of ultra rare T206 and T206 Drum tobacco cards highlighted Legendary Auctions’ first sale. There were 49 of the cards in all, most of them T206s. The find increased the population of Drum backs by a big margin.

The T206 Honus Wagner card always makes news and Memory Lane Inc was able to broker a deal between two high rolling collectors. The SGC 40 copy sold for $925,000.

Honus may be the "holy grail" for baseball card collectors, but PSA 10 1948-49 Bowman George Mikan cards fit the same bill for basketball cards. A one-of-a-kind gem mint Mikan was consigned to the last sale of the year for Memory Lane and excited bidders chased it until one was left standing–and writing out a check for $218,550. It is believed to be the highest price ever paid for a basketball card.

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