The hobby of baseball card collecting usually celebrates the heights of achievement in American baseball history. But all that is set to change with the rediscovery of a long-lost baseball card, whose origins are bizarre to say the least. And its rarity could see it breaking even Honus Wagner's record.....
The card was rediscovered last January in the home of Philadelphia baseball fan Bob Grundy, while clearing out the attic of his home in Camden, PA. At first, Bob wasn't sure of the significance of his find. That is, until he brought the card to experts at New York-based dealers Moments In History.
It was only then that the card's true significance - and potential value - was realised. After serious examination, the Moments In History's experts found that card may not only be one-of-a-kind, but could also be linked to one of American baseball's all-time hidden controversies.
Baseball card's are among
The card is dated to 1917, featuring little-known Phillies pitcher John Tyler MacBride. Intended to be issued following the Phillies' disastrous 1916 season - in which the team managed just 36 wins and 117 losses - the card was later cancelled after it was discovered that MacBride had an unusual hobby: dressing in women's clothes.
Fearing further embarrassment in the wake of the Phillies' devastating season performance, bosses had MacBride quietly dropped from the team. Meanwhile, all printed copies of his baseball card were destroyed.
According to the City of Philadelphia's Department of Records, MacBride apparently turned his back on baseball to work at his father's automobile repairs business. He later died in an automobile accident in nearby Drexel Hill in 1932.
While the card tells a tragic story, Moments In History has high hopes for the card, describing its condition as "near mint". Despite some noticeable but minor signs of wear, the card's rarity and impressive background could see it sell for a large amount at auction.
"Even though John Tyler MacBride certainly wasn't among the most prominent names in baseball, because of the singular back story attached to this card and it's rarity means that it is truly a one-of-a-kind piece," said Moments In History's President Dean Wade.
"Most experts didn't really even believe it existed, until it turned up in our office!"
"Because it features the only American Major League baseball player to be fired for cross-dressing prior to World War Two, and appears to be totally unique, it wouldn't surprise me if this sold for a record price."
That current record is held by the Gretzky T206 Honus Wagner card, the holy grail of baseball cards and one of only 50 known to exist, sold in 2007 for $2,800,000.
However, the 1917 MacBride card has a pre-sale estimate of $2,000,000 - $3,000,000, and some experts beleive that in the current competetive market this could even be on the conservative side!
Sparks look certain to fly when the card appears at the Superheroes of Baseball online auction, taking place on June 17. As always, we'll keep you updated with the sale as it happens.
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