(Weiss Auctions Photo of Connie Mack)
Just in time for Major League Baseball's Opening Day today, a Long Island, New York family has decided to part ways with their stash of some of the rarest baseball cards from the1800's. CBS2's Steven Overmyer was lucky enough to see the baseball cards himself. He spoke with auction house owner Phil Weiss who says the lot of 37 cards of some of baseball's greats is worth up to $200,000. Weiss says, "This is really Americana at its best, that's what this is...a little time capsule."
Weiss says the family dusted off the rare collection of what's known as cabinet cards and went to Weiss not realizing their value in today's collector's market. "I think they knew they were valuable. I don't think they know the exact value, but to be honest, right now, nobody does." But getting your hands on these cards was tough back in the day. They were part of a promotion by Old Judge Cigarettes where you had to redeem 10 cigarette pack coupons to get one baseball card, which meant smoking 200 cigarettes to get just one. The crown jewel of the collection may be the cabinet card of Connie Mack, one of two known to be in existence. Mack went on to be the winningest manager in baseball history, overseeing the Philadelphia Athletics for 50 years, winning nine American League pennants and five World Series titles.
No word yet on how much the one of a kind lot sold for, but estimates from Weiss were roughly $800 to $1000 for some cabinet cards, others could reach as high as $20,000 each. When asked if people like to buy such cards for art or investment, Weiss says, "My gut tells me most people are buying for the investment." So keep that thought in mind when you're cleaning out your attics and basements this spring. You may have a time capsule of treasures waiting for you too!