Everyone will be able to see -- and someone soon will be able to proudly own -- the most publicized, historic sports memorabilia item of the New Year. The 1869 Peck & Snyder "Red Stocking B.B. Club of Cincinnati" advertising card, certified authentic by PSA, is scheduled to be displayed by its happy owner, Bernice Gallego, 72, of Fresno, California on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Tuesday, January 20, 2009.
That same night the card will be offered by Memory Lane, Inc. in a special one-lot public auction that closes on February 10.
The amazing story of the sepia-toned card and its discovery has been prominently in the spotlight with nationwide news coverage in recent weeks. Estimated to sell for perhaps over $100,000 in the upcoming auction, the card depicting the first professional baseball team was nearly sold by Gallego last year for only $10.
She and her husband, Al, own the Collectique antiques store in Fresno. They don't recall exactly when or how they acquired the card, but told the Fresno Bee newspaper they think it may have been among the contents of a storage unit they purchased years ago.
Last summer they submitted it in person to PSA at one of the Collectors Universe Public Friday submission days in Santa Ana, California.
"This card is extremely important because many hobbyists consider it to be one of the very first baseball cards ever produced. In addition, the sepia image featured on the front of the card captures the game of baseball in its infancy," said Joe Orlando, President of PSA, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).
"Baseball has gone through many evolutions, and this card provides a time capsule of what the sport used to look like in terms of the uniforms and equipment. The card is a tremendous conversation piece whether you're a collector, an avid baseball fan or historian."
The bidding on the card will open at only $10.
"Last year before she knew the historical significance and potential value of this card, Bernice Gallego briefly offered it on eBay with a minimum bid of only $10. So, we'll open bidding at that amount. However, this card could reach into six figures," said J.P. Cohen of Memory Lane of Tustin, California, one of the leading sports collectibles dealers in the United States.
"There are less than ten examples of this card known to exist, and this is possibly one of the best based on condition," Cohen stated.
Memory Lane will launch its three-week public auction for the card on the night of January 20, the same evening Gallego is scheduled to show it to comedian and nightly talk show host Jay Leno and his television audience.
For additional information about the auction, call (877) 606-LANE or visit online at www.MemoryLaneInc.com.