Couple Sells Vintage Baseball Card

February 11, 2009 12:10:07 AM PST
Friends of Al and Bernice Gallego held a party to watch as the bids in the online auction came in. They weren't sure how much the 140 year old baseball card would bring. Bernice said it was like being a kid on Christmas morning, only more intense."Oh, better than that. I'm gonna get to open up the present and see what it brings, and I hope it brings a lot." She said.

The card is dated 1869. It has a picture of the Cincinnati Red Stockings Baseball Club on one side, and a cartoonish advertisement for Peck and Snyder Sporting Goods Company on the back. The Red Stockings are now the Reds, Peck and Snyder became Spaulding. It's considered one of the first Baseball Cards and only a few exist. Bernice and Al are antique dealers. They recently found the card among a bunch of boxes they bought at an estate sale years ago.

"We took it home, 125 cartons of it, and we haven't been through it since, and obviously when we found that card, we didn't know we had it, and certainly didn't know what it was." Bernice recalled.

When she first found the card Bernice figured it was worth something. She put it on E-Bay for ten dollars, and nobody bid. Things were much different at this online sale. It probably helped that the story of Bernice and the Baseball Card got worldwide attention. It was carried in major newspapers and she was a guest on the Tonight Show. The online auction was held by sports memorabilia company Memory Lane Inc. Bidding for the card quickly went to around 60 thousand dollars. The auction was scheduled to stop a 6PM Pacific time. But new bids continued. The auction ended with a bid of $64,073.

"I feel great. I'm happy for the card, I'm happy for my husband and I'm happy for the whole world." Bernice said. Husband Al added, "And we're relieved it's over."

The couple owns an antique shop and still has boxes and boxes from the same estate sale the card came from to go through.

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