Rare baseball cards from Ohio sell well at auction
TOLEDO, Ohio - Century-old baseball cards discovered in an Ohio attic sold big at an auction but they aren't going to make anyone super-rich. That's because the cards and the money are being evenly divided among 20 cousins.
A sampling of the treasure trove that had been untouched for 100 years was sold Thursday night during the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore, Md. The 37 baseball cards featuring the likes of Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Cy Young and Honus Wagner fetched a combined $566,132 in brisk online and live bidding. They were expected to bring about $500,000.
Family member Karla Hench, who helped uncover the cards, said they brought "fantastic prices." She said family members were thrilled by the results. "We're very excited that we can all share in this find," she said.
Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage Auctions, which conducted the sale, said two lots were sold to Internet bidders and the third went to a bidder present at the auction. The auction house declined to identify the winning bidders.
"It was a lot of fun," he said. "The room was packed."
What made this find so special was that the 700 cards were nearly pristine, the finest examples anyone had ever seen from an extremely rare series given out with candy around 1910.
The best of the bunch was sold in three lots - one, which sold for $286,800, was a nearly complete E98 set, the name of the the series the cards were issued under, and another was a Honus Wagner card that was judged to be in perfect condition by Professional Sports Authenticator, a company that grades cards on a 1-to-10 scale based of their condition. It brought $239,000. A third group of baseball cards fetched $40,332.
Prices included buyers' premiums.
The highest price ever paid for a baseball card is $2.8 million for a different Wagner card - a 1909 version produced by the American Tobacco Co. and included in packs of cigarettes. Only about 60 of Wagner's tobacco cards are known to exist after being pulled from circulation, either because the ballplayer didn't want to encourage smoking among children or because he wanted more money.
Sports card experts who authenticated the find in Ohio say they came across dozens of cards that were just about perfect.
Karl Kissner, who discovered the cards in February in the town of Defiance with Hench, his cousin, said they belonged to their grandfather, Carl Hench, who died in the 1940s. They think he gave away the cards at his meat market and stashed the extras in his attic and forgot about them.
One of Carl Hench's daughters kept the house until she died last October, leaving everything inside to her 20 nieces and nephews.
"It's like a gift from our grandfather to keep passing on," Karla Hench said of the money from the baseball cards.
Heritage Auctions plans to sell most of the Ohio cards over the next two of three years through auctions and thinks they could bring up to $3 million. The Hench family is evenly splitting the cards and all but a few have decided to sell their share.
Kissner said the money is nice, but the best part is how the discovery has brought his family together. Fourteen of the cousins attended the auction in Baltimore. Some have talked about giving some of their share to charities, he said.
"It started out with a walk down memory lane, and this is going to create nothing but new memories," Kissner said. "This is a blessing that will grow throughout this family."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates’ McCutchen laughs off pay stub leak
- Cole outduels Mets rookie, carries Pirates to victory
- Lowly job likely awaits former Pittsburgh police chief after prison
- Hempfield pair caught in vehicle scam
- Pirates notebook: Stewart, Cole develop rapport
- Steelers interested in playing internationally again
- Online donors help Hempfield teen whose wallet was stolen
- Trooper fatally shoots burglary suspect inside Somerset Twp. grocery store
- ‘Dope sick’ man in custody in Mt. Pleasant stick-up
- New Kensington Megan’s Law offender jailed on new child porn charges
- PennDOT puts final touches on Route 28 construction