Doctor Leaves Behind $20 Million Baseball Card Collection After Death From COVID-19

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Olivia Ingrassia Contributor
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A baseball card and sports memorabilia collection valued over $20 million, owned by a Tampa doctor who died after contracting COVID-19 in January, is going up for auction.

The collection of Dr. Thomas Newman, who was a neurologist, includes one-of-a-kind cards dating back to the 1880s, according to a Monday press release from Memory Lane Auctions, an auction house that will be handling Newman’s estate collection. 

“One of the 1933 Babe Ruth cards (Goudey #53, PSA 9) in this collection is the finest known of its kind and we expect it to break the record of $5.2 million for any sports card,” said JP Cohen, President of Memory Lane Auctions.

“Prices for rare, historic items have exploded in the collectibles market,” Cohen added. 

Newman’s collection also includes Babe Ruth’s 1916 Sporting News rookie card, as well as a near-perfect 1952 Mickey Mantle rookie card (Topps PSA 8) that he purchased in 1986, according to the press release. The latter is expected to sell for over $1 million.

Other highlights of the collection include cards of Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Honus Wagner, Ted Williams and Cy Young, as well as 1903 World Series program books. 

A signed Babe Ruth baseball is also featured, according to CNN. (RELATED: Signed 1933 Babe Ruth Baseball Card Goes For Record $761,000 At Auction)

“No one enjoyed collecting more than Tom,” his widow, Nancy Newman recalled, according to the press release. “He jokingly called his cards his ‘paper babies,’ and spent almost every day attending to his collection in one way or another.”

“The only reason he would ever sell a card was if he had acquired the same card in a higher grade,” she added. 

This is considered among the most valuable collections of sports memorabilia on Earth, according to WFLA. 

The collection, comprised of over 1,000 vintage and modern sports trading cards and memorabilia, was authenticated by Professional Sports Authenticator, a division of Collectors Universe Inc., according to the press release.

“The Thomas Newman collection exhibits the kind of depth and level of quality that are rarely achieved,” Joe Orlando, Chief Executive Officer of Collectors Universe, stated in the press release. “Collectors now will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to add a piece of his legacy to their collections.”

The online public auction will be held between June 21 and July 10.