Yard-sale treasure: Rare 1865 baseball card, bought for $100, sells for $92,000

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

Imagine going to a yard sale and paying $100 for old Coke bottles, a few oak chairs and a photo album. Then imagine the photo album contained something beyond every "Storage Wars" fan's wildest imagination -- a "rarer than rare" 1865 baseball card, considered one of the first.

On Wednesday the card fetched $92,000 at auction -- that's $80,000 for the card and the rest in auction fees. Can I get a "Yuuuuuuup?"

Per the Reuters story:

The card shows nine members of the Brooklyn Atlantics, known as the first champions of baseball, and their coach. The team was a founding club of the National Association of Base Ball Players, a forerunner of today's National League, [auction manager Troy] Thibodeau said.

"It's more of a piece of photography than a baseball card, but it's considered by many to be the first baseball card just by the fact that it was distributed by the team," he said. "It kind of set the stage for baseball cards after that."

The auction house hoped the card would sell for as much as $500,000, but $80,000 for a yard-sale treasure is nothing to scoff at. The new owner is Jason LeBlanc, who bought the card as an investment for his 4-year-old sick son, according to local news reports.

You might recall a similar story from 2009, when a grandma found a vintage card of the Cincinnati Red Stockings. That was also believed to be one of the first baseball cards. Bernice Gallego, then 72, initially listed the card on eBay for $10. Once she learned of the historical value, she took down the eBay post and auctioned the card.

[Also: Mickey Mantle was ripped off by the Yankees]

She rode a wave of publicity all the way to "The Tonight Show" and earned the nickname "The Baseball Card Granny." If you're keeping score, her card was from 1869 (four years later than this one) and eventually sold for $64,073.

Pardon me while I go stare at my Jose Canseco rookie cards and mourn what could have been.

Pitchers and catchers report any moment.

Follow @MikeOz, @AnswerDave, @Townie813 and @bigleaguestew, on Twitter, along with the BLS Facebook page.

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