Baseball card collectors dream of discovering that decades old, still untouched stack of boxes stuck in a storage closet or attic that time forgot.
Dream no more.
Among the signature items in Memory Lane Inc's appropriately named Hidden Treasures Auction that is now underway are a trio of mid-1950s high-grade unopened wax boxes ready to move to the waiting arms of the high bidder. They include nickel pack boxes of Bowman from 1954 and 1955 as well as a 1955 Topps box. Each contains 24 packs, most of which have been remarkably well preserved. The boxes come with letters of authenticity from The Baseball Card Exchange, the preeminent dealer in vintage sports card packs and boxes.
Each box could have been purchased for $1.20 when they originally sat on store shelves. Most youngsters, however, built their collections a nickel at a time. It will take a bid of well into five figures to land them now, but the winner will own a virtual time capsule and be faced with the dilemma that confounds collectors of older packs and boxes: open them in hopes of pulling a potential gem mint card that could result in a quick and tidy profit or keep them sealed as rare relics.
The 1954 Bowman box represents the entire run of cards in the set, with Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays possibly hiding inside the packs. It's even possible that the rare 1954 Bowman Ted Williams #66 could lurk beneath the surface.
The 1955 Bowman set was the famous "TV set" issue, with the brown borders, a large set that included most starting players, near-complete pitching staffs and even umpires. Again, with no series division, all 320 cards could be represented in the unopened packs including Mantle, Mays and Aaron.
The 1955 Topps issue marked the baseball card debut of Sandy Koufax. Can you imagine pulling his rookie card from a 54 year-old pack? The possibility exists with the gorgeous box of unopened bliss. It's a first series box, judging by the numbers of the cards visible through the wrappers. Any card from #1 to 160 could be inside including Koufax, Al Kaline's rookie card, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks and Warren Spahn. There are nine cards per pack. The box originated with the famous "Paris, Tennessee find" of the 1980s.
While the 1950s full boxes will command incredible attention in this auction, there is more unopened material and even some rare early gum boxes-empty but rare nonetheless.
A 1960 Topps first series wax box of 24 packs is sure to attract significant attention. So will several late 1940s and early 1950s empty display boxes that are virtually impossible to find. There are non-sport boxes and even an empty 1986-87 Fleer wax box signed on the face by the player whose rookie card made the set so powerful: Michael Jordan.
The boxes are among hundreds of lots available to collectors in the Hidden Treasures auction. High-grade vintage sports cards, incredible autographed items and other quality pieces of sports memorabilia are on the block. Bidding is underway now and will close December 12. Full color catalogs are available through www.memorylaneinc.com and you can also browse the listings online through the auction portal or on the virtual catalog. Phone bids are also accepted. To register, visit the website www.memorylaneinc.com or call (877) 606-LANE.