The story about the large stash of sports cards inside an abandoned building in Detroit last week has gotten worldwide attention, even though most everyone knew it was not a “million dollar find” as the London Daily Mail headline screamed. The unusual story got Detroit media buzzing around, looking for answers and now, we may know how those pallets and cases came to rest—and where.
According to Daily Detroit, the original owner was a Detroit area businessman/sports card dealer named Hub Hemmen, who stored much of his inventory at a tool-and-die shop he owned on the city’s east side. The business eventually failed.
While it isn’t known what Hemmen paid for the cards or exactly what was in all of them, the giant stash of cases and monster boxes, now dirt-covered, have been plundered a bit by some local opportunists.
“He probably got a decent price on them and was hoping to sell them,” Hemmen’s nephew John told the Detroit Free Press of his uncle’s tendency to look for profit-making ventures. “But it’s just like any other investment: some are winners, some are losers.”
At one point, Hub Hemmen tried to sell the inventory, much of which was Ontario Hockey League trading cards of little value, to Kruk Cards, which opted not to purchase them.
John Hemmen, who had moved to Florida, returned in the 1990s for a visit and helped his uncle move what was a large amount of cards into the former Cadillac Stamping Plant, also on the east side. The cards were apparently forgotten as time lapsed and an estrangement from family members didn’t help.
Hub Hemmen died in 2013 at age 85 and according to family members, suffered from dementia in his later years.
According to the story on Daily Detroit’s website, the building where the cards are located was purchased by a local businessman that same year.
A reader on our Facebook page also offered some insight in the comments section of this post.