By Bert Lehman
When hobby shop owner Steve Tingwall, who owns Columbia Hobby in Vancouver, Washington, decided to open a box of 2017 Panini National Treasures Baseball, he didn’t realize it was going to be a life-changing event.
“We do this thing that we call Columbia Overtime,” Tingwall said. “It’s more or less live box breaks. It was kind of funny because we didn’t have anybody who purchased any baseball, so I figured, why not, I’m just going to buy a National Treasures Baseball and throw it in the mix with everything else.”
In addition to opening the box while live streaming, Tingwall said several customers were also in the store at the time.
Watching the video of Tingwall open the box it is easy to see that as soon as he took the cards out of the box he knew he had something special, he just didn’t know how special it was.
“I saw it out of the corner of my eye when I was opening the Treasures (box),” he said. “The last card I went to, which I was assuming was just a Babe Ruth jersey, I opened it up and was blown away.”
He was correct about Ruth, but wrong about it being a jersey card. It was actually a Cut Signatures card featuring cut signatures of Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
“The first thing I said was, ‘Holy crap,’” Tingwall said. “It’s starting to become a tagline now.”
Days later, Tingwall said he is still in disbelief.
The card is currently in a safe deposit box. He said he plans to eventually sell the card, with the money going towards his daughter’s college tuition.
“A week ago my wife and I were discussing how we’re going to pay for my daughter’s college coming up. She’s a junior in high school,” Tingwall said. “That was a concern, but now I think we’re going to be able to cover at least the first year with this, so that’s really where the money is going to go to once we eventually sell it.”
He added that he has already fielded a few offers for the card, including one from a current major league baseball player. Tingwall didn’t want to release any names, though.
In the meantime, Tingwall said he plans to show the card off a bit, and invite people into the hobby shop to check it out.