Couple Finds Oldest Baseball Card Ever in Box

Bernice Gallego is a 72 year old woman who, along with her husband Al, 80, runs an antiques store in Fresno, California. As she normally does, one day this summer she started listing some of their items on eBay for sale when she pulled a baseball card out of a box. After debating whether to list it for $10 or $15 to start, she opted for the lower price, saving $.20 in the bargain. Nearly immediately, she started to get inquiries on the card with multiple people seeking to have her end the auction immediately and sell them the card directly.

With her interest piqued, she removed the auction and started looking into the card. It turns out, the card, made in 1869 is considered to be the first baseball card EVER. On it are featured the 10 members of the Cincinnati Red Stockings the first professional baseball team, it was taken in 1869 as an advertisement for Peck & Snyder, a company that sold baseball equipment.

Until she was certain of what she had and to keep it protected, Gallego put the card in a sandwich bag and hung it from the laundry room wall because “If it fell off the wall, the cat would have ate it,” Gallego says. “Well, or the dog.”

The Gallego’s don’t even know how they acquired the card, or how long they’ve had it. The two pack rats’ antiques store is overflowing with items that also spills over into their house. As well, they say that they will commonly buy whole storage units worth of goods for a small sum and eventually piece through the items, which is how they think they may have acquired the card.

In order to determine the true value of the card, the Gallegos headed to LA to PSA, a sports card grading and authentication company. There they were astonished to find out just how valuable the card was. “It does have some pretty significant discoloration and creasing,” says Joe Orlando, the president of PSA. “The good news is that the sepia tone photo that is mounted on the front is, relatively speaking, unscathed. The clarity of the photo is still there. If this were graded, it would be near the bottom. But even for a card that low on the grading scale, it does have some eye appeal to it. It still presents fairly well and that’s the more important thing.”

The card is valued somewhere between the high 5 digits to possibly even 6 digits. For Bernice, who has never even been to a baseball game, the history of the card is more interesting than the actual card. When a friend of hers said that the card would interest many baseball fans saying, “You might have George Steinbrenner wanting to buy this,” Gallego responded by saying, “Who’s George Steinberg?”

The card is expected to be placed BACK on eBay and reach a much higher figure than their original thought of $10-15.

“I find it so hard to believe that this little card is worth so much,” Bernice says. “Neither one of us count chickens before they hatch. We don’t want to expect the world out of this find. It’s good enough that we’ve found it, and have been able to enjoy it and share it with a few of our friends. That for us is more of where it’s at.”

This isn’t the first time that lady luck has shined on the Gallegos either, 10 years ago Bernice hit a $250,000 jackpot on a quarter slots machine in Lake Tahoe.

“She’s a very lucky lady,” Al Gallego says.


[Hartford Courant]

5 Responses to “Couple Finds Oldest Baseball Card Ever in Box”

  1. 1 youppi
    January 8, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    i really thought this was a great feel good story, until I read the part that she also won $250,000 jackpot on SLOTS!!

    um!!!! just gimme the card! share the wealth!!!

  2. 2 the sister
    January 8, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    youppi’s an idiot. awesome story. 🙂

  3. 3 the sister
    January 8, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    (no offense youppi – i’m sure you’re delightful)

  4. 4 the roomate
    January 9, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    he’s just hey jealousy. we never win shit on scrath-offs…

  5. 5 garnold
    January 9, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Tell me do you think itd be all right
    If I could just crash here tonight
    You can see Im in no shape for driving
    And anyway Ive got no place to go
    And you know it might not be that bad
    You were the best Id ever had
    If I hadnt blown the whole thing years ago
    I might not be alone
    Tomorrow we can drive around this town
    And let the cops chase us around
    The past is gone but something might be found
    To take its place…hey jealousy
    And you can trust me not to think
    And not to sleep around
    If you dont expect too much from me
    You might not be let down
    Cause all I really want is to be with you
    Feeling like I matter too
    If I hadnt blown the whole thing years ago
    I might be here with you
    Tomorrow we can drive around this town
    And let the cops chase us around
    The past is gone but something might be found
    To take its place…hey jealousy
    She took my heart
    Theres only one thing I couldnt start

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