Chance encounter leads to gold mine for collectors

Phil Knapper

Welcome to baseball heaven — well, baseball card heaven anyway.

After a chance meeting, Jacob Buckman, of Eldorado, and Justin Allen, of Raleigh, are the new owners of a huge collection of baseball cards and memorabilia.

Buckman went to talk to two friends and happened upon the collection, which appeared destined for the dumpster.

“I went to talk to a couple of guys and they were moving stuff out of a house,” said Buckman. “They said they were getting rid of everything and I saw a lot of baseball cards. I knew Justin was a collector and that he knew a lot about cards and collectibles, so I told him we were going to buy it together.

“I offered him $160 and he sold it all to us.”

Little did Buckman and Allen know what they had purchased. After hauling three truckloads to Allen’s garage, they finally got a chance to really look at what they had bought.

“We had a pretty good idea that we had some good stuff when we were loading and unloading everything,” Allen said. “ In the first album I looked through I saw some Mickey Mantle cards, some Pete Rose cards, and a lot of autographed items.”

When they had a chance to really dig their teeth into the collection, they found several Babe Ruth items — including two signed photos — and a lot of emphasis on Hall of Famers like Mantle, Stan Musial, Ryne Sandberg and Nolan Ryan.

“Yeah, there’s a lot of Nolan Ryan stuff,” Buckman said. “We really find something new that we didn’t notice every day.”

Allen said it did cross his mind not to buy the collection.

“At first I didn’t know if I wanted to really buy all of this,” he said. “But it was just too good to pass up. It might be the deal of a lifetime.”

It’s hard to estimate the extent of the collection. There is something in every nook and cranny of the garage.

“There’s got to be over 100,000 cards,” said Allen. “And that’s just a guess, there may be a lot more. It’s hard to say.”

Now comes the tedious part.  The pair has to catalog everything. That means long afternoons and nights getting all of the information correct to send to potential buyers and collectors.

“We will probably sell,” Allen said. “I’ve got a collection of my own with somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 cards, so I know it’s going to take a lot of work.”

“We are going to check on a lot of the items on the internet and in pricing guides,” Buckman said. “Ebay will probably be a site we will use to catch the eye of collectors all over the country. We don’t know what kind of value this collection has, but we’ve been looking up a few things and got an idea of what things are worth more than others.”

Also included in the memorabilia are unopened sets of Starting Lineup figurines and Wheaties boxes. There are also baseball yearbooks, autographed team pictures and novelty items like commemorative Beanie Babies and promotional items.

“My favorite item we’ve found so far is the ‘69 Mantle card,” Allen said. “We looked it up on ebay and it is being auctioned off right now at over $2,000.”

“I like the sports figurines and the autographed stuff,” Buckman said.

So for the time being, Allen and Buckman will be busy categorizing the collection and getting it ready to present to collectors.

“It’s going to take some time because this isn’t just baseball cards,” Allen said. “There are NASCAR sets, hockey cards, basketball cards, football cards and minor league sets. There’s a lot of stuff.”

Benton Evening News

If you are interested in talking to either about their collection, you can reach the two by email at:  j_buck3@hotmail.com or pfizera@hotmail.com.