Aug 30 2007 10:11AM
Collectors have become accustom to collecting the traditional game-used bats, jerseys, pants, patches, gloves, shoes and cut signatures, but historical DNA? Now that's taking the collecting experience to a whole other level.
The first of three George Washington hair relic cards from 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter finally surfaced over the weekend in a 10-day auction listing on eBay. The auction, which currently stands at $8,300, with six days remaining, has attracted more than 40 active bidders and 9,000 unique page views in its first four days.
"It's the most groundbreaking card that I've ever pulled," said 17-year veteran hobby dealer Ken Simonis of Phoenix, Arizona. "I've been a high-end, game-used, dealer for long time and I have pulled some cards back in the day that could be equivalent monetarily to this card, but never have I pulled anything so unique."
The card, pulled from a single case of 2007 Allen and Ginter, was purchased through California Card Shack.
"I took a lottery shot and hit it," Simonis said. "I was down to the last few boxes when the card was pulled. Everything after that was a complete blur. I had originally bought the case, with the hopes of making my money back by putting together a few sets and selling the key singles."
According to Simonis, the card has drawn an enormous amount of interest from all types of collectors and historians.
"I've received a mountain of email," Simonis said. "Some people want to know about its origin, other people have just written to congratulate me, and others think the card is gross. The strangest email I've received by far was from a gentleman who seriously wanted me to end the auction so that he could buy it and try to clone George Washington.
So what does the introduction of DNA cards mean for the future of the hobby?
"The 2007 Topps Allen and Ginter Relics George Washington hair card is a monumental first for the hobby. Never before has there been a DNA card produced," said Baseball Price Guide Editor Brian Fleischer. "Are DNA cards the hobby's next big thing? It's hard to say, because of the difficulty in obtaining such "relics" but there have been auction sales of Elvis Presley hair, among others, so it may be only a matter of time before we see another DNA card. It's tough to put a value on such a unique piece of history. You have many different types of people who would be interested in adding such a piece to their collection, namely sports card collectors, history buffs, and the people with enough disposable income to buy items like these just so they can say that they own it. I think this first sale will set the bar for the remaining two Washington hair relics yet to be uncovered. Taking into account the vast number of people interested in the item, I really don't think upwards of $10,000 is out of the question."
But the question on most collectors minds remains, where do you go to obtain pieces of hair from someone who has been dead for 208 years?
According to Topps spokesman Clay Luraschi, the company was able to broker a deal through EAC Gallery to obtain locks of Washington's hair from renowned hair collector John Reznikoff, who is listed by The Guinness Book of World Records as having the largest collection of hair from historical celebrities. According to Topps, the hair was originally owned by the granddaughter of Martha Washington's first marriage, Eleanor Parke Custis.
The lock of hair was then given to Washington's friend and fellow Revolutionary War hero Colonel Levin Powell. The strands of hair, which originated from Washington's head and not a colonial wig, has been incorporated into three unique 2007 Topps Allen and Ginter cards that are each hand numbered and cataloged as a one-of-one. If you are lucky enough to pull one of these cards, Beckett Select Auctions on eBay is the best way to maximize your results. Let the Beckett Experts Grade, research, write, and market the card for you! Contact email@example.com for further details.
By Kevin Haake