Nelkins find buyer for Sanders/Payton card, update baby plans
By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Football Editor
Todd and Ula Nelkin were sad the night their well-known eBay auction ended without a sale.
The 1999 Donruss Elite Passing the Torch dual-signed autograph card with Barry Sanders and Walter Payton finished at $11,100, but the card did not meet the reserve price.
“We were disappointed,” Todd, 45, said. “I can’t believe there wasn’t a fury at the end. It just fizzled.”
But there is good news after all for the couple who intended to sell the card to pay for a procedure that would help them have a child.
The Nelkins sold the card to a collector from New York City for $12,000, which covers the basic cost they needed. The buyer told the Nelkins the card would be staying in his collection for now.
“He intends to keep the card for a while and then sell it himself to help him pay for his child’s college education,” Todd said. “Adding to the legacy of this amazing card which will be responsible for a child and a child’s education.”
The Nelkins never ruled out adoption, but they wanted to attempt to have a baby on their own. They tried IVF twice before unsuccessfully.
However, their plan has changed.
The Houston couple was recently introduced to open adoption where the birth parents interact with the adoptive parents before and after the baby’s arrival.
“With in vitro we run of risk of walking away with nothing to show for everyone’s efforts during the auction, this almost guarantees us of having that happy ending,” Todd wrote in an email. “We want a child more than anything and we are excited about the possibility of helping out someone, knowing the child’s medical history and hopefully having a healthy happy baby boy or girl.”
Football legends Sanders, Steve Young and even strangers donated to the couple after they heard their story.
“The amazing thing is thanks to Mr. Sanders and Mr. Young and other people we might have enough to cover the costs of the adoption,” Ula, 42, said. “Since we did not raise enough for the in vitro, everything is still going to have an amazing happy ending.”