When David Smith brought his father's old collection of T-206 tobacco cards to St. Malachy’s church fundraiser, he thought the cards would allow him to donate a couple bucks. Little did he know he'd be able to give at least $35,000.
The baseball card collection caught the eye of an event organizer who suggested Smith get the cards appraised by Hunt Auctions. They found the cards were precious collectables that could be sold at collectors' auctions for thousands.
“Mr. Smith’s collection features some of the greatest players in early baseball history including Christy Mathewson, Tris Speaker, Walter Johnson and Cy Young” David Hunt, president of Hunt Auctions explained.
Hunt convinced Smith to sell the cards at 2009 Live Auction at the MLB All-Star FanFest on July 14 at the Americas Center in St. Louis, Mo., where he would be able to earn much more. The money collected by the auction will help aid the church’s estimated $350,000 organ restoration project.
The organ is extremely important to St. Malachy’s parish, in fact it is recognized by the Historical Organ Society and even has its own link to 'America's Pastime.' The organ was built by Henry Knauff, the grandfather of Jack Norworth. He is better known as the man who wrote the classic baseball song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
“In terms of the church everything is about the liturgy of worship to God. Music lends itself to the celebration of God,” Father Kevin Lawrence said about the organ's significance.
Father Lawrence is very happy with the amount of money the church has raised, but even more thrilled about “ how much the cause has brought people from all areas together."
“I was surprised at the value of the cards. David Smith had estimated the cards to be $5 to $10 a piece, the collection was more then 450 cards. But when we investigated it further with Hunt Auctions it ended up being much more.” Over 500 cards make a complete set.
When Father Lawrence heard of the tobacco cards worth he immediately told Smith to keep the cards. But Smith decided to stick to his decision and give the cards to the church.
“Dave is a long time volunteer, what’s more valuable is the hours he has given to the school and church community,” Father Lawrence says. Although extremely appreciative of the donation, Father says that “his hours of service are much more important then money.”
If you would like to learn more about the restoration project and make a donation, visit SaintMalachyParish.com.