A valuable 1869 Peck & Snyder Cincinnati Red Stockings card that disappeared from the New York Public Library decades ago has been returned.
The rare card, among the better known examples in existence, was retrieved by a member of the NYPL security team. The official traveled to Texas last month to pick it up from collector and dealer Leon Luckey, who says he purchased it for his personal collection in a Mastro Auctions sale 15 years ago for $10,000, never knowing it was on a list the library’s missing items.
Luckey had consigned the card to Heritage Auctions earlier this year, but there were tell-tale signs of a library stamp on the back and the card’s ownership was eventually traced back to the NYPL, where it was listed as missing during an internal audit 28 years ago. Numerous other items that had been part of a collection donated by the family of baseball pioneer Albert Spalding were also nowhere to be found.
The card, now possibly valued at $40,000 or more, was pulled from the auction and returned to Luckey, moderator of the Net54 Vintage Baseball Forum.
“He contacted us and voluntarily offered to return the card,” Chief Library Officer Mary Lee Kennedy told the New York Daily News Monday.
Peck & Snyder used the Red Stockings photo cards as advertising as the Cincinnati team gained national prominence.
Kennedy told the Daily News in a story and video they’re thrilled to have the card back and it’ll be available for viewing by appointment.