(CNN) – A Florida doctor has collected baseball cards and sports memorabilia for more than four decades, some of which date back to the 1880s. Now his collection, valued at $ 20 million, is up for auction.
Dr. Thomas Newman, a neurologist, died in January of complications from COVID-19, according to his wife, Nancy. He was 73 years old.
“He was a wonderful and profound man with many talents,” Nancy Newman told CNN. In addition to being a family man, doctor and collector, Newman was a gifted musician and golfer, Nancy said.
Over the years, the Tampa doctor collected sports memorabilia, especially baseball cards, and even traveled to conventions in search of pristine items to add to his growing collection. Nancy said she jokingly called the cards her “paper babies.”
In his collection, Newman had some of the rarest cards and most are in near perfect condition.
“One of the 1933 Babe Ruth cards (Goudey # 53, PSA 9) in this collection is the finest of its kind and we hope it breaks the record of $ 5.2 million for any sports card,” said JP Cohen, President of Memory Lane Auctions, in a press release. “The prices of rare and historical items have exploded in the collectibles market.”
The Tustin, California auction house is in charge of Newman’s estate collection, which features more than 1,000 vintage and modern baseball, football, and hockey stickers, as well as other sports memorabilia, including a signed baseball ball. Babe Ruth. The collection has been authenticated and rated by the world’s largest sporting goods certification company, Professional Sports Authenticator, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc, according to the press release.
“The Thomas Newman collection exhibits a level of quality and depth that is rarely achieved,” Joe Orlando, CEO of Collectors Universe, said in the statement. “Throughout his life, Dr. Newman was the guardian of some of the most historically important letters, the iconic pillars of our hobby.”
Other prominent items at the auction include: a 1952 Mickey Mantle rookie card, expected to sell for more than $ 1 million; cards from Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Honus Wagner, and Ted Williams; and World Series program books dating back to 1903.
Newman amassed such a large collection that when Cohen went to Florida to collect it, the collection filled a 20-foot U-Haul truck. According to Cohen, the doctor even kept boxes in his doctor’s office that were filled with unopened card packs dating back to the 1980s.
“My father began collecting in the early 1980s, starting with baseball cards from 1957 and 1959, when he was between the ages of ten and twelve,” said his son, Stewart, in an auction house news release. “They were substitutes for the precious stickers from his youth that he kept in shoeboxes when he was young and that his mother threw away later.”
The public online auction is scheduled to begin on June 21 and end on July 10. Cohen said there are items listed from a couple hundred dollars to millions.
“Collectors will now have a unique opportunity to add a piece of his legacy to their collections,” said Orlando.