Are we, as a society of collectors, going too far with the sports memorabilia here? Thanks to Dan J. Glickman at the Baseball Continuum for reporting that an eBay seller is offering the wallet, along with its personal contents, of Hall of Fame ballplayer Stan Musial for nearly $2,200 list. "Or best offer." Dan seems to have mixed feelings about this, calling his post:
"Thanks (?) Internet: You, too, can now go through a dead baseball legend’s wallet"
Not a bad take. And not "wrong." For a person who recently died — someone we feel like we "knew" — identification cards that include a social security number, along with a glamor shot of his wife, seem like crossing a line of privacy and morbidity. And perhaps it does cross a line or two. But please consider this analogy:
King Tut's tomb, along with its contents, were found in the 1920s and disturbed at their resting place, later removed, coldly re-cataloged and turned into a mobile tourist attraction that still operates today. Egyptians of Tut's time, and even some contemporary ones, probably were, like, "Whoa! Show some respect!" And yet, those voices lost the struggle, for whatever it was worth, and King Tut "lived again" by going on tour posthumously. Like the Rolling Stones do.
Tut belonged to everyone. So does Stan "The Man." And so, an eBay seller named "cardinaljim" acquired Stan's brown leather wallet at a Heritage auction and is now trying to sell it. What all is inside, anyway? Twelve items, including:
Stan's Secret $100 Bill Emergency Money
Stan's Picture Of Lillian, His Wife Of 72 Years
Stan's Family Portrait (From Early 1960's)
Stan's Photo Of His Friend Pope John Paul II
Stan's Barnes Hospital Blood Type ID Card ( O Pos)
Stan's "St. Louis Hills" HomeOwner's ID Card
Stan's 2000 Missouri Sheriff's Assoc ID Card
Stan's 1987 American Red Cross "CPR" Card
Stan's "CHUBB" Automobile Insurance Card
Stan's Temporary MEDTRONIC Pacemaker ID Card
Stan's 2007 Anthem Medicare Supplement Card
Stan's 2008 Anthem Medicare Supplement Card
The $100 "emergency" bill is the best. Musial obviously was a child of The Depression, not quite trusting banks fully. A card with his blood type! Odd and morbid, but also fun and informative on some level — and the kind stuff you run into all of the time at antique stores and rummage sales. From famous people to nobody's. Perhaps because they used to be Musials, the items belong in a museum or the Hall of Fame — at an exhibit called "Wallets of World Series Winners." Those would be more elegant and comforting destinations.
But morally, it makes little difference.
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