Rare baseball card collection worth a fortune

Dust off those old baseball cards in your attic, because they could be worth a fortune.

On the most recent episode of the PBS series Antiques Roadshow, a woman brought along her set of cards from 1871 depicting the Boston Red Stockings. Her great-great grandmother had run a boarding house in Boston where the team had lived, and they enjoyed their time there so much they wrote letters to their landlady showing their appreciation for her hospitality and her cooking. The woman on the show had the letters card set, one of the first ever sets of photographic baseball cards.

The owner said she’d received an offer of $5,000 for the collection in the past, the kind of money that would make anyone think about parting with their stack of Donruss Rated Rookies. But wanting to keep it in the family, she’d held on to the collection and brought it to the roadshow in hopes of seeing what it was actually worth.

And good thing she didn’t sell: the collection was valued at a staggering $1 million. Because of the rarity of the pieces, the completeness of the collection, and the autographs from Hall of Famers Al Spalding, Harry Wright, and George Wright, the appraiser concluded it was the most valuable collection they’d ever seen on the roadshow. She even got choked up when giving the appraisal.

The owner said she wants to keep the collection in the family, but I have to assume it’d be quite tempting to cash in a million dollar lottery ticket just sitting in a desktop drawer. And there’s a lesson for all of us here: hang on to that collection of Gregg Jefferies rookie cards, because in 143 years they could be worth a fortune.

You can see more details about the appraisal here.

About Dave Tobener

Dave Tobener has been writing about baseball for the better part of a decade. He's been to more Giants games than he can remember and was there when Ruben Rivera forgot how to run the bases. Follow him on Twitter: @gggiants