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Great Find: The Last Piece in a Box

A simple purchase of a bunch of "junk" cards led to the discovery of an authentic, signed photo of Thurman Munson.

The following was a letter to SCD in regard to the "Great Finds" call-out we asked for in SCD. The following was submitted by Brandon Burdette.

In response to your request for our greatest sports finds, I’d like to share with you a recent discovery I made after buying a collection of cards.

I received a call from an individual early last year that I had done business with once before some years ago. He had purchased a collection of cards from someone and pulled a few cards from it for himself. He wanted to sell the rest of the collection to me.


The collection contained a couple of boxes of vintage baseball cards from the 1950s and ’60s, so I felt that his asking price of $500 was reasonable. Besides, the two boxes of vintage cards, the collection had an abundance of “junk” from the 1980s and ’90s. Naturally, my attention was focused on the vintage material after I bought the collection and therefore the “junk” got ignored.

Several months went by and the last box of the collection I had bought was still sitting on the floor of my garage. It was filled with oddball oversized cards like those mid-1980s Donruss All-Star sets and other weird issues from that time frame. I decided to go through the box so that I could get it out of the way. As I sifted through the box, nothing of interest stood out. Nothing, that is, until I got to the bottom of the box. As I lifted the last 1983 Donruss All-Star card from the box, I noticed what looked like a small piece of white cardboard in the bottom of the box. When I picked it up and turned it over, staring back at me was Thurman Munson! I was holding a mid-1970s New York Yankees team-issued 31/2-by-5-inch photo of the Yankee Captain. And the best part? It was autographed! I was skeptical at first, thinking that the autograph must be a facsimile or forgery. But after closer examination, I could tell that the autograph was not a facsimile.

I then began comparing the autograph to other certified Munson autographs online and began to feel better about the legitimacy of the autograph. After much consideration, I decided to submit the autographed photo to a recent Huggins & Scott auction. The auction house had the autograph authenticated and the photo was put into their auction. When the auction ended, the autographed photo sold for an amazing $2,300! A great discovery indeed!

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