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PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow” comes across $1 million in 1870s Boston baseball memorabilia

Aug 11, 2014, 7:57 PM EDT

Old Baseball

According to the Associated Press, the PBS series “Antiques Roadshow” appraised $1 million worth of 1870s Boston baseball memorabilia during their taping this past weekend in New York City. The collection, which included signatures and rare baseball cards from Boston Red Stockings players, is the largest sports memorabilia find in the 19-year history of the show.

Pretty cool stuff. Check out more details below:

The collection was brought to an “Antiques Roadshow” taping Saturday in New York City. The owner inherited it from her great-great-grandmother, who ran a Boston boarding house where the team lived in 1871-72, PBS said.

The owner’s identity was kept private for security reasons, PBS said Monday. The collection had not been formally valued before but the owner had once received a $5,000 offer, PBS said.

According to “Antiques Roadshow” appraiser Leila Dunbar, the “crown jewel” of the items is a May 1871 letter to the Boston landlady that includes notes from three future Hall of Fame members: Albert Spalding, the future sporting good magnate, and brothers Harry and George Wright. The letter included the players’ appreciation for their host’s cooking.

The episode is set to air in 2015.

  1. chargrz - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    Good for them. Awesome

  2. goskinsvt - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:06 PM

    Meanwhile my 1992 set of Topps is languishing in obscurity. Cruel world.

    • DJ MC - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:25 PM

      Yeah, you should just go ahead and throw them out.

      *Stares at own 1992 Topps set and waits for next sucker*

    • jm91rs - Aug 12, 2014 at 9:27 AM

      I have a 1990 Donruss set unopened that I’ve been holding on to. I thought for sure some day it would be worth money, then I took my kid to the card shop last month and they had 10 of the same unopened sets for $20 each. Bummer.

    • gloccamorra - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:31 PM

      I know how you feel. I once had a pristine Felix Mantilla card that my sister put on the spokes of her bicycle and ruined, just for a few minutes of phthphthphth. What would it be worth today?

  3. mybrunoblog - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    Cool story. I’m no expert but one million $ seems high for some autographs and cards even if they are rare. Guess it will go to auction and the market will decide.

    • raysfan1 - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:18 PM

      Whether $1M is high depends not only on the condition/rarity/desirability of the items, but also how much of the stuff they have. The article calls it a “trove,” so I’m guessing they have more than a few items.

  4. nsstlfan - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:13 PM

    You don’t think those cards and signatures are rare enough to garner a million dollars? Are you forgetting that the very first baseball card made that much.

  5. joerymi - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    I inherited a bunch of carnival chalk once. Damn family.

  6. 18thstreet - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    Amazing to see that someone out there has a Tim Wakefield rookie card.

    • ltzep75 - Aug 11, 2014 at 11:01 PM

      This comment deserves many more thumbs up.

  7. xjokerz - Aug 11, 2014 at 9:11 PM

    ” Antiques road show? **** ME! ”

    -Grandmas Boy.

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:57 PM

      lol… LOVE that movie… but can’t lie- I love Antiques Roadshow too

  8. historiophiliac - Aug 11, 2014 at 11:28 PM

    I happen to have in my possession a note to my grandmother from Ty Cobb that says “Thanks for chow. Great eats — Cobb” in his own handwriting. What do I hear for it?

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 12, 2014 at 1:26 AM

      Sorry but that note from Cobb was a prop from the film Silverado.

    • jrbdmb - Aug 12, 2014 at 7:24 AM

      Considering that Cobb was a noted misogynist (among other things), I’d say not much.

  9. wannabeGM - Aug 12, 2014 at 5:19 AM

    Reblogged this on stlcardinalsminimo.

  10. ajbaxter1975 - Aug 13, 2014 at 2:22 AM

    First off, this lot will not go for a million dollars, but probably for several hundred thousand when it’s all said and done. The pictures with the ornate borders are very rare 1871-72 Mort Rogers scorecards which have been trimmed down almost to the affixed albumen photograph. Mort Rogers was a former player. He also umpired some games in the National Association. The fact that they are trimmed will affect the value and instead of them each going for somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000-$20,000, will likely result in them going for considerably less, $1,000-3,000 or somewhere in that neighborhood. The real interesting items in this group are the Albert Spalding CDV photograph, (very few exist of him during his playing days) and the letter which is signed by HOFers George Wright, Harry Wright, and Spalding. Several of the players who signed the letter also played for the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. Not sure what the CDV will go for, but the letter will likely be over $100,000 for sure.

  11. ajbaxter1975 - Aug 13, 2014 at 2:29 AM

    I would be shocked if the Hall Of Fame or an MLB team doesn’t go after the letter aggressively during the auction, as baseball autographs go, it truly is a holy grail item.

  12. ajbaxter1975 - Aug 13, 2014 at 2:37 AM

    The best place to learn about Mort Rogers scorecards, and Nineteenth Century Baseball cards and memorabilia is here:, for anyone interested in more info.

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