DEFIANCE, OHIO (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – While cleaning out his grandparents’ attic with his cousin, Karl Kissner found something that would change his family’s life.
That find, made amidst a century’s worth of dust and soot, was a box of rare 1910 baseball cards containing the likes of Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Connie Mack and Cy Young. In all, 700 cards were found in a box beneath a doll house. It is a discovery Heritage Auction out of Dallas, Texas and Professional Sports Authenticator are predicting could be worth $2.8 million.
Kissner, who examined the contents of the box with his cousin, Carla, said it was obvious what they found in the corner of the attic but the cards seemed unfamiliar.
"I handed Carla the next box and she opened it up and she's going, "Karl, what is this?" and I kind of looked over and went, "Well, kind of looks like baseball cards, but not what I'm used to seeing."’
Carefully thumbing through their pristine pick, Kissner says the Hall of Fame names were like post-game fireworks in his head.
"We're seeing Ty Cobb. We're seeing Honus Wagner, Cy Young, Chance Evers Tinker, Mathewson. Just all these that we're recognizing, but we didn't recognize the cards."
The cards found in the box, which Kissner figures his grandfather had received as promotional giveaway items with candy at his meat market, were not the cards collectors are used to seeing today. They are smaller than today’s trading cards and do not contain players’ statistics. Appearing like portraits, the cards are also works of art.
"They were only printed in 1910. So our grandfather would have gotten them as promotional items to give away whenever he sold candy or whatever at his store. He had a meat market and sausage work. So he would have been giving those away as promotional items, and we are assuming that this is the portion that he did not give away. He put them in a box probably to use them in a promotion later."
Within a few days of the find, the cards found their new home in Kissner’s office. After some research, they were moved under lock and key at the local bank.
"I really knew what they were and what value they had and at that point they moved from my office to a safety deposit box."
The discovery is being called The Carl and Jennie Hench Black Swamp Find. Carl and Jennie were Kissner’s grandparents. Black Swamp was the name given to the Defiance area when the region was first settled.
The cards will be auctioned at Camden Yards, the home of the Baltimore Orioles, on August 2. The Kissners will be on family vacation.
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