February 25, 2009

1869 baseball card sells for $75,285

An avid sports memorabilia collector and dealer in Houston said he shelled out $75,285 for a 1869 baseball card depicting the Cincinnati Red Stockings.

Jeffrey Rosenberg, president of sports collectibles organization Tristar Productions, said he considers the purchase a bargain, as the card bearing the image of professional baseball's first team is likely worth six figures, the Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday.

This is like an ultimate treasure, Rosenberg said. Anybody who is a collector of baseball cards, of history, would want this. It would fit in any museum, from the Smithsonian to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

He said the previous owner of the card, antiques dealer Bernice Gallego, 72, initially put the card on eBay for $9.99 after she discovered it in a box acquired during a long-ago estate sale. However, the woman pulled the card from eBay after online inquiries hinted at its true value and she eventually made $64,073 from the sale after the auctioneers took their fee.

I feel great. I'm happy for the card. I'm happy for my husband and I. I'm happy for the whole world, Gallego said during a recent appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.