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  #1  
Old 05-09-2008, 12:37 PM
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Default The Find that Never Was....

Posted By: John S

Share your near-miss stories. Here's mine:

My Grandmother lived in the same house her entire life. It was a typical square frame three stroy home with a third floor that was always used as an attic (oh yes...a grandmother's attic story).

She was born in 1916 and was the second oldest of four siblings. Her youngest brother, my Uncle Mike, was born in 1921. He was an avid baseball fan and as early as I can remember he would tell me about his baseball card collection. His descriptions were vivid and once I began to become interested in vintage cards in the mid-80's I realized that he was talking about '33 and '34 Goudeys. He would talk about the multiple Ruth's that he had saved in addition to the sets. Unfortunately my Uncle Mike hadn't seen his collection since he left for the Army in the early 40's. On holidays Uncle Mike and I would go up to the attic to the very spots were he had remembered hiding his collection years ago. We never found anything.

The attic was an ebayer's dream come true. At least three dozen people had lived in the house over the years and all there belongings had been meticulously organized and cared for by my Grandparents. You name it, it was up there...except for the baseball cards.

My uncle passed away in 1994. I would always spend time in the attic trying to search for the cards. His belongings that he had never claimed still were neatly organized in one part of the attic. When my Grandmother passed away in 2004 I was enlisted to clean the attic. As the floor became noticeable (you could literally date the layers of items in the attic) I noticed some plankings that had been deliberately detached and replaced. The cards had to be in the floor! It was the only place that I had never searched. Unfortunately I only unearthed some dry-rotted rubber balls and jacks.

The house was sold in 2005 and the only comfort that I have is that there is no way that the cards are in the attic. They probably were tossed after my Uncle left in the 40's or donated to a paper drive. The hope of a great find kept me searching for almost 25 years.

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Old 05-09-2008, 12:46 PM
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Default The Find that Never Was....

Posted By: barrysloate

You should develop that into a short story...I was actually anticipating the resolution, hoping you would find the treasure somewhere!

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Old 05-09-2008, 12:47 PM
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Default The Find that Never Was....

Posted By: Matt

Barry - I think the title gave away the suspense

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Old 05-09-2008, 12:58 PM
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Default The Find that Never Was....

Posted By: Jodi Birkholm

I remember somebody writing into BCM many years ago with a similar story. The letter was written by a man who grew up in the Eisenhower era. Once the baseball card boom hit, he searched his attic for his collection. He came up empty-handed. He hung his head in regret and was about to exit the attic, when he noticed a gap between the floor boards. He then remembered how he used to spend time playing in the attic on rainy days, and it hit him! For no particular reason, he used to shove his duplicates between the cracks in the floor board. Uprooting one of the planks, he discovered a few fistfulls of dust-laden '55 Bowmans, all in great shape! Luckily for him, he apparently had far too many Campys and Mantles as a kid!

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Old 05-09-2008, 01:18 PM
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Default The Find that Never Was....

Posted By: Jim Dale

My favorite from my mother focused on the coin collection her dad built for her and was passed on to me. My grand father rode a horse to San Francisco from Stockton each year in the 1910 to 1916 and picked up "mint sets" of a sort from the SF Mint. He always picked up the year being produced and a year back from his first trip. The last year he picked up was the 1895 set from the SF mint. The next year the delta flooded and he didn't make the trip and then stopped going all together...the next year would have been an 1894 set if it was there (I doubt it would have been considering the number of dimes they made that year (like 20 I think). Dang flood.

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Old 05-09-2008, 01:48 PM
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Default The Find that Never Was....

Posted By: Bob

I came back from law school and eagerly went to the two foot lockers in the basement which contained near mint copies of silver age comics runs including Fantastic Four 1-30 and Amazing Spiderman 1-30 along with many, many more. The books had been purchased new in 1961-63. The foot lockers were empty and mom disavowed any knowledge of what happened to them

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Old 05-09-2008, 02:03 PM
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Default The Find that Never Was....

Posted By: Phil

I actually have a couple of stories like this, but I'll just explain one of them right now. About a year and a half ago, an elderly gentleman walked into my trophy shop trying to sell me some old trophies he had accumulated. I had no need for them, but as he was leaving my shop he noticed a display case that I sell that holds baseballs. I just had a beat up display baseball in it and he asked me about my ball. I told him it was just a display piece. He then asked if I had any interest in autographed baseballs, I said "yes".
He then explained that he was a butcher in New York city in the 1930s and his company had purchased 3 New York Yankees team signed baseballs from the 1939 season to raffle off to it's employees. He told me he won one of the balls (DiMaggio, Gehrig, Dickey, etc.) but wasn't much of a baseball fan so he said it was still in the original box and still wrapped in the tissue paper it came in. It was "somewhere" in a closet. He asked me if I would be interested in purchasing it. Trying to not sound too excited, I said "sure".
He then muttered that he hoped it was still in his closet and said, "I hope my daughter never got her hands on it over the years..." He told me he would go home and find it and bring it in to me.
That was a year and a half ago..............I guess his daughter did get her hands on it.

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Old 05-09-2008, 02:13 PM
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Default The Find that Never Was....

Posted By: David Smith

Two stories about finds that "never were" come to mind.

1) When I started collecting cards back in the late 1970's, I lived in a small town and asked any adult that I knew if they had collected cards when they were younger. Most hadn't. A few said they had but didn't know what happened to their collections. One said he had collected in the 1950's but he had given his cards to his Son's for their collections. Then their was the interim Minister of our church.

He was in his mid to late fifties. He said he had collected cards in the 1930's and had also been given cards his Father had collected when he was a boy. He said he had boxes of cards and that he put them in the attic of his house before he went to fight in WW II.

After he came back from the War, he went up to the attic to store some of his war items and found that his Mother had gotten rid of the cards because 1, she needed the space and 2, since he was a soldier, she thought he was too old and mature to keep his childhood baseball card collection.

2) There is a thrift store that I often go to and there is an 82 year-old man who works there. He stays up front by the cash registers to help answer customer questions and to help the Latino workers out if they have questions or ahve problems with the cash registers. So, most of the time, he has time on his hands to talk.

The things he mostly talks about are his war stories, his stories about being a cop in his Hot Rod Oldsmobile (which he built) and working for his Father as a child and the things he did in rural Pennsylvania back in the old days.

I once asked him if he ever collected baseball cards since he started talking about a ball glove I was buying. He said he collected cards back in the 1930's and that he paid for them by working for his Dad. He said his Dad owned a gas/service station that was located right next to his family's home. He said he would work during the week and then get paid and go into town and buy cards at the drugstore on Saturday's. He said he had a couple of shoe boxes full and that he kept the players organized by teams and stored under his bed.

He too, went off to fight in WW II but instead of his Mother getting rid of his cards, she kept them as something to remember him by just in case.....

Anyway, he said his cards were destroyed when a fire started late at night in the service station and spread to his house. He said his family barely had time to get out of the house and took what little they could grab as they were leaving.

David

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Old 05-09-2008, 02:30 PM
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Default The Find that Never Was....

Posted By: barrysloate

Jim- that's a great story about your grandfather's coins, because the San Francisco Mint typically produced smaller quantities of coins than the other mints, hence they are more valuable. But there is no chance that if he purchased an 1894 set, he would have had an 1894-S dime. The general public never got near those coins; certainly they were sneaked out of the mint and given to certain VIP collectors. Even if he purchased the set in the year of issue, it would have been missing the dime.

The 1894-S dime is a legendary rarity, with an auction record of $1.3 million.

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Old 05-09-2008, 02:39 PM
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Default The Find that Never Was....

Posted By: Eric

Tbob, man that really sucks. My father had the same thing happen to him with roughly those same runs. Ouch.

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