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Boston Baseball Memorabilia Sets Record On PBS’ Antiques Roadshow

1850's baseball equipment
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The Antiques Roadshow has seen a lot of valuable stuff in its 19-year history, but it was an 1870s collection of Boston baseball memorabilia that became the show’s largest sports memorabilia find yet.

On Saturday thousands of people brought their family heirlooms and yard sale finds to New York City in hopes of having a cash cow among their collections. And one woman really hit the jackpot!

According to, the collection that was brought to the taping was from a woman whose great-great-grandmother ran a boarding house in Boston where the baseball team lived in 1871-72.

The collection included photos of players on the team during that year as well a handwritten letter. And it is the letter that appraiser Leila Dunbar called the collection’s “crown jewel.”

Written in May 1871, it includes notes from three future Hall of Fame members: Albert Spalding, the future sporting good magnate, and brothers Harry and George Wright. They all apparently thank the host for her cooking in the notes.

The owner of these incredibly rare pieces wasn’t identified for obvious reasons, but says she was once offered $5,000 for them. She probably just about fell out of her chair when the appraiser told her the collection was worth more like $1 million!

No need to save up for them if you are a current Boston baseball fan however, the franchise these players were a part of are now the Atlanta Braves.

The New York City appraisals won’t air on PBS until 2015, so we’ll have to wait a little while longer before we can see the shock on the collection’s owner’s face.

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