A remarkable collection of sports cards worth up to $1 million has been discovered in a Tennessee attic, hidden inside an old beer box.
The cards are currently up for sale in the latest Mile High card Company auction, which closes on June 15.
The treasure trove included numerous unopened wax boxes of baseball, football and basketball cards, dating from the 1940s to the 1960s.
When the owner contacted the Mile High Card Company to consign the boxes to auction, the news caused both excitement and disbelief amongst experts.
According to: the company’s blog.
"A few weeks ago, we were getting ready to put the final touches on the upcoming June auction when the phone rang …’Hello, I have some unopened full boxes and almost full boxes from the 1950s and 1960s that I am considering for your auction.’ Well that certainly sounded promising, so I asked, ‘that’s great, what do you have?’"
The consigner listed rare boxes including the 1961 Fleer football series, the 1961 Topps football series, the 1961-62 Fleer basketball series and many others.
"This was already the greatest compilation of unopened material I’d ever heard of, and then he said, “Oh, and I have a box, it’s only 19 of the 24 packs, but it’s a Play Ball box from 1948. Wait, no, it’s 1948 Bowman.”…I said, “I’m sorry can you repeat that?”
"He said, ‘1948 Bowman. The box and the wrappers say Play Ball on them but it’s Bowman.’
"I asked if we could call him back in 5 minutes and sprinted down the hall with my page of notes to [company owner] Brian’s office. "As he turned and caught my eye, I said, ‘You need to get off the phone now!’
"Fifteen minutes later, he was booking a flight to pick up the collection."
The consignor’s relative had run a trading card company specializing in TV cards, and had originally acquired the boxes for research purposes.
They had remained completely untouched for more than half a century, before being found tucked away inside an old Stroh’s beer box.
The star of the collection is undoubtedly the case of 1948 Bowman cards, which includes 19 of the 24 original packs in completely untouched, mint condition.
According to Mile High, "The ’48 Bowman baseball collection is one of the most iconic issues of the hobby, the first mainstream collection to be distributed after World War II and the pioneer of the modern age of baseball cards."
No-one in the collecting card business had ever seen a single unopened pack of 1948 Bowman cards before – never mind 19 of them, in the original display box.
This ‘Holy Grail’ box is the only one of its kind in existence, and is expected to fetch up to $500,000.
"If you’re a collector with a flair for something unique, something the sports card community only hoped existed in theory, this is quite literally your once in a lifetime opportunity!" said the auction house.