The second part of what’s become a seven-figure find of decades-old unopened sports and non-sports wax boxes is scheduled to go on the auction block late this month and we’re learning a little more about how it all came about.
“Beer Box Find II” included 1960s Topps football and baseball boxes, a 1971 Topps baseball box, a one-of-a-kind 1968-69 Topps Test basketball pack and multiple boxes of vintage non-sports issues with a total estimated value of more than $1 million. The announcement last month came on the heels of the first installment of the jaw-dropping Tennessee attic find that landed in the lap of Mile High Card Company.
The original “Beer Box Find” earlier this year included a 1948 Bowman basketball partial box, a full box of 1961-62 Fleer basketball and numerous other rarities that were sold for over $900,000 in Mile High’s June Auction.
The family had been involved in the sports confectionery and trading card business decades earlier and apparently used the boxes as part of its market research.
Company President Brian Drent told the Great American Collectibles Show in a recent interview that the consignor is a man in his late 70s who found the original group of boxes stored in an attic at his late aunt’s home.
Seeing the incredibly valuable and untouched vintage wax had Drent wondering if somehow there might be more boxes hidden somewhere inside the home. He encouraged the consignor to keep searching. Facing some family medical issues and then dealing with the effects of a damaging storm on a business he owned, the consignor wasn’t able to return to the home’s attic for three to four weeks after the first auction. Drent said the man’s wife helped him search this time and after some digging, did indeed locate more virtually pristine boxes hiding among a lifetime of possessions left behind by the aunt.
“So I get a call and he sends me pictures,” Drent recalled. “One of the first items was a 1965 Topps football wax box with Joe Namath’s rookie card. There’s never been an (unopened) wax box found. He actually then told me he has two boxes of those so I made some very quick arrangements to get back out there.”
After hammering out a second consignment agreement at the consignor’s home, Drent flew to Chicago and had the boxes authenticated by Baseball Card Exchange.
“Steve Hart said, without batting an eye, that they’d sell for $300,000 to $500,000 per box,” Drent recalled.
Among the other sports card boxes found in “Beer Box II” that are expected to draw plenty of interest are a 1960 Leaf Baseball Full Unopened Wax Box, a 1962 Topps Baseball Bucks nearly full box (119/120 packs), two 1964 Topps Football partial boxes (23/24 and 19/24), a 1964 Topps Baseball Photo Tattoos Nearly partial box (103/120), a 1971 Topps Baseball Topps first series baseball box missing only one pack.
The boxes were on display at the National Sports Collectors Convention, giving collectors the chance to view items most had never seen before and likely won’t again.
Drent says skeptics who thought the company knew about the second wave of boxes and waited until after the first auction to reveal their existence are off base.
“Some people thought we were sandbagging after the first find. I can honestly tell you neither the consignor or ourselves knew Beer Box II was going to happen.”
The auction is slated to open August 28 and continue through September 14.