Who hasn’t dreamed of wandering through an old abandoned house or estate sale and uncovering a stack of old baseball cards? It’s happened plenty of times, after all, but luck definitely has to be on your side. While not everyone finds a couple million dollars worth of Ty Cobb cards, it would be nice to find something besides 1990 Fleer, wouldn’t it?
In September, an independent contractor—sort of a “junk removal crew”—was hired to clean out the remaining possessions of a man who had recently died. He lived in what’s described by Huggins and Scott Auctions as a “working class” Baltimore neighborhood.
Inside a tightly packed shoe box in a room that served as an office, the contractor made one of those discoveries that the rest of us dream about: a box full of 1950s baseball cards including a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle. It was a “finders keepers” situation and the clean out specialist who found the box stands to make a tidy profit. With the auction set to close Thursday night, bidding for the Mantle—now encapsulated with a solid 3.5 grade from PSA—it was sitting at $17,000 Wednesday night. Recent sales peg the value of the card at around $30,000.
Not a bad day’s work.
It happened not all that far from Huggins & Scott’s Silver Spring, MD offices and the man who found the box turned it over to them on consignment. The rest of the find was no slouch, either. The shoe box also contained a sharp-looking 1954 Topps Hank Aaron rookie card graded SGC 7, an unusual group of 30 1955 Topps blank backs that had been cut without borders from a sheet as well as a hoard of other mid-1950s era cards that has been broken into 18 lots. All are in the auction.
Not much is known about the man who collected the cards, whether he realized their current value or why he didn’t make them part of an estate plan.
The consignor was said to be on vacation as the auction drew to a close but by Friday morning, he should have plenty of money to take another nice trip to just about any place in the world.
Considering his luck, buying some lottery tickets might not be a bad move, either.