SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) It was a snowy day in the Sierra when Dale Ball was making the trip from his hometown of Visalia, California to Reno, and stopped to put on chains, when a fellow traveler asked for his help.
“She was trying to figure out how to put her chains on her vehicle. She saw me put mine on and asked if I could help,” Ball explained.
Ball didn’t ask for any money for his efforts, but the woman he helped insisted.
“When we are all done she gives me a cigarette box and stuffs it in my pocket,” he recalled. “I said I don’t smoke, but she said there was some money in there for me.”
But it wasn’t cash, rather – rare coins, which he took to Action Sportscards on Rock Boulevard to try to sell. It was while he was there, he saw a card that caught his eye, a 1921 Babe Ruth card, which he was told was not real, but he bought it anyway – paying $8.
“I’m going to go ahead and take it anyway,” Ball said. “Someday it will be worth $100 or $200 to my kid for his collection.”
Ball has been a card collector for years, and said after he bought it, he wasn’t convinced it was a re-print
“We’ve been through authenticating and other things and the card is real,” Ball insisted.
He isn’t saying where the card was authenticated, but says he’ll say soon. And as for a price, “If someone really wants this card, the bidding starts at $2 million.”
Store owner David Gunther got the card initially when someone was just trying to get rid of an old collection of reprints.
“He left them on the counter, saying do what you want with them or throw them away,” Gunther recalled.
But Ball says when he sells the card, he is going to make sure the card shop owner gets his fair share.
“I’m grateful,” Gunther said. “I was surprised it was real because it came in with a bunch of re-prints. I wouldn’t even recognize the gentleman who brought them in.”