10 rare Mickey Mantle rookie cards destroyed in plane crash

Ten rare Mickey Mantle rookie cards were destroyed in a 2009 place crash.
Ten rare Mickey Mantle rookie cards were destroyed in a 2009 place crash. (USATSI)

Back in 2009, 60-year-old Douglas Wielinski was killed when Continental Connection Flight 3407 crashed into his Buffalo area home. His extensive sports memoribilia collection, which has been valued at approximately $2.4 million, was destroyed in the crash. It included 10 rare Mickey Mantle rookie cards from 1952.

The Wielinski family sued the airline, and late last month Joshua Evans testified on their behalf in State Supreme Court. Evans is the founder and chairman of Lelands, one of the largest and most respected sports auction houses in the world. Here's more from James Staas of the Buffalo News:

(Evans) estimated that each of the Hall-of-Famer’s rookie cards in the Wielinski collection was worth $25,000 based on an assumption that they were in good, but not mint, condition.

He also singled out the box that the Mantle model baseball glove was sold in, which he said was very rare and worth $4,000 to $5,000.

“The box is more valuable than the glove,” he said. “The gloves you can find, but the boxes were generally thrown away” after purchase.

He described the boxes as very colorful, with some baseball cards attached.

The cards were not recovered following the crash, though a vendor testified Wielinski showed him the cards at a market. Among the other items destroyed in the crash were 20 Buffalo Bisons puzzles from the 1930s, valued at close to $500. The Bisons have been a minor league team since 1886. Wielinski also had historical and pop culture items in his collection.

A settlement was reached in the trial last week, according to Staas. The amount was undisclosed but the family's attorney described it as "unprecedented in Western New York."

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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