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  1. #1
    MoJoMoRon bartman's Avatar
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    BR: totally cool...

    BR as in Baseball related...

    Houston collector lands a piece of history

    $75,285 for a baseball card? As far as Jeffrey Rosenberg is concerned, this 1869 treasure was a bargain

    By STEVE CAMPBELL Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle

    Feb. 25, 2009, 12:17AM




    1 2

    Sharon Steinmann Chronicle

    Houstonian Jeffrey Rosenberg holds an 1869 card picturing baseball’s first pro team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, which he won in an eBay auction. Fewer than 10 are known to exist.





    A 72-year-old woman rummaging through an old box found an ancient baseball card.
    She put the card on eBay for $9.99.
    She wound up selling it for $64,073.
    Houston memorabilia collector and dealer Jeffrey Rosenberg wrote the check, and he’d gladly do it again. Rosenberg won an online auction earlier this month for an 1869 card of the Cincinnati Red Stockings. By the time an online auction house had taken its cut, Rosenberg paid $75,285.
    “This is like an ultimate treasure,” said Rosenberg, who is president of the Tristar Productions sports collectibles empire. “Anybody who is a collector of baseball cards, of history, would want this. It would fit in any museum, from the Smithsonian to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
    “The history of this card is just so unique. I just thought it was undervalued, underappreciated by the market.”
    Rosenberg figures the sepia-tone card, which features the members of baseball’s first professional team, is worth six figures. The story behind the card is worth its weight in gold — especially for a Fresco, Calif., couple.
    Bernice Gallego and her 80-year-old husband, Al, run an antique shop. She happened upon the card while sorting through a bunch of boxes acquired in a long-forgotten estate sale. Bernice Gallego, who has never attended a baseball game, figured she might be able to make a little money auctioning off the card on eBay.
    $9.99 a little low

    She set the opening price at $9.99, not wanting to fork over the extra 20 cents it would have cost to list the card at $14.99. A few online inquiries prompted her to take the card off the market and do some research. The next thing Bernice Gallego knew, she was basking in the glow of her discovery on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
    “At our ages, this time in life, here we are — we got the dessert,” Gallego said. “We don’t know what’s coming next. It doesn’t matter. This has been just fabulous.
    “At our ages, this time in life, here we are — we got the dessert,” Gallego said. “We don’t know what’s coming next. It doesn’t matter. This has been just fabulous.
    “I feel great. I’m happy for the card. I’m happy for my husband and I. I’m happy for the whole world.”
    The world of Rosenberg, 43, has revolved around cards and collectibles for about as long as he can remember. An avid card collector when he was a boy, Rosenberg remembers attending his first card show in the summer of 1980. He saw 40, maybe 50 booths of collectors buying and selling and decided he was in heaven.
    “I had $10 or $20 of spending money,” Rosenberg said. “I spent it in the first five or 10 minutes.”
    A year later, Rosenberg teamed with a couple buddies to shell out the $50 or so it took to set up a booth. Rosenberg juggled three summer jobs when he was 16, working at an accountant’s and a Toys R Us before catching the tail end of Astros games to get players’ autographs. He parlayed those autographs into a mail-order business that he continued through college.
    “We were thinking we had figured out the world,” Rosenberg said, “and wouldn’t have to get a real job.”
    Beats practicing law

    Rosenberg turned out to be right. Though he graduated from the University of Texas in 1987 and South Texas School of Law in 1990, he remained a fixture at card shows and conventions. Rosenberg even found a kindred card-collecting spirit in the dean of the law school, Jerry Treece. While other students lined up outside Treece’s office to bring him their problems, Rosenberg came in with baseball cards.
    “He said, ‘Most of these people standing in this line, they’re going to practice law; they’re going to be miserable,’ ” Rosenberg said. “ ‘You love what you do. Stick with what you like. You’ll always be able to practice (law).’ It’s still some of the best advice I ever got.”
    Rosenberg promoted a card show for the first time in 1987 as a first-year-law student. He formed Tristar in the process, using Mark McGwire — he of the 49-homer rookie season, back before steroids were a part of the national baseball conversation — as an attraction to lure younger collectors. He rented out a Ramada Inn across the street from Sharpstown Mall.
    By 1991, Rosenberg and Tristar were putting on a show at the George R. Brown Convention Center featuring Ted Williams, Sandy Koufax, Ryne Sandberg, Ken Griffey Jr. and Sr., Curly Neal, Meadlowlark Lemon, Morganna the Kissing Bandit, and an array of wrestlers. Rosenberg was pulling out $1,000 a month in living expenses in those days, pumping the rest of the money into the memorabilia business.
    A Mantle milestone

    “I remember when I got my first Mickey Mantle rookie card,” Rosenberg said. “It was the greatest thing in the world to own something like that, but it was the worst because I knew I had to sell it. I couldn’t afford to have $3,000 sitting in a baseball card or autographed baseball. I had to sell it for $3,500 to make the $500 to keep the business alive and going.”
    Business has boomed enough over the years for Rosenberg to have purchased a rare Honus Wagner card for more than $100,000, only to give it away in a Tristar promotion. His current treasure chest of collectibles includes the only known signed bat by Shoeless Joe Jackson, a game-used Ty Cobb bat featuring the player’s likeness emblazoned into the barrel, and a Babe Ruth rookie card.
    Still, Rosenberg finds something about the 1869 card issued by Peck & Snyder, which later became Spalding, particularly alluring. He plans to have Bernice Gallego as a guest at a May 1-3 Tristar show in the Bay Area.
    “I dreamed that I would get to own things like this, but I had to write a big check,” Rosenberg said. “She did what all of us dream: find it for nothing.
    “Twenty years from now, it’ll be a million dollars, and I’ll be like, ‘Why did we sell it?’ ”

  2. #2
    MoJo Mother Superior big sky's Avatar
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    Spring Training is here! Checking the Stros roster, noticed that Brad Ausmus is not here. Turns out he signed a 1 yr. contract with the Dodgers as the backup catcher. Good for him, he can get his surf on in the morning and kick back on the bench and watch the game in the evenings. Check out this hilarious video that his teammates put together as a send off to him:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDOjXm5hrQU

  3. #3
    MoJo Pope Rimbaud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big sky View Post
    Spring Training is here! Checking the Stros roster, noticed that Brad Ausmus is not here. Turns out he signed a 1 yr. contract with the Dodgers as the backup catcher. Good for him, he can get his surf on in the morning and kick back on the bench and watch the game in the evenings. Check out this hilarious video that his teammates put together as a send off to him:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDOjXm5hrQU

    That was funnier than hell.

    I particularly liked Oswalt describing Dartmouth as a school for thugs in that Mississippi accent.

    It's hard to root against those Astros as they appear to be a likeable bunch.

    I feel obligated to point out that Ausmus stole his last GG from one Yadi Molina, a far better defensive catcher.

  4. #4
    MoJoMoRon bartman's Avatar
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    Ausmus' stick has been history for a few years now but he is still a damn good backstop. He'll make an excellent manager...the Astros are going to be this year's phillies w/o the 4 mvp candidates..

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