What Happened To The Iconic Boston Red Stockings Archive From Antiques Roadshow?

There is a popular aspect of the reality television genre: ordinary people bringing in heirlooms and seeing if they are worth anything. They can range from items from the founding of America to a signed guitar from a legendary singer. The shows are all over the TV landscape, and the settings can range from pawn shops in Las Vegas to traveling shows like "Antiques Roadshow" (via IMDb). The set-up is usually the same — the person brings whatever item they want to sell for an appraisal, the value is disclosed, and a possible offer is extended. 

While most of the time, people go into the appraisal session with dollar signs in their eyes only to be disappointed, one woman had the opposite happen. Indeed, she had very modest hopes and wound up getting told that her find was worth more than she ever dreamed possible. While her items were not in the realm of a Honus Wagner baseball card, they were still things that made people in the sports memorabilia sit up and take notice. 

The cards were valued at $1 million

The show, which aired in 2015, started off innocently enough: A woman came on with something that had belonged to her great-great-great-grandmother, MLB reports. They were photos and other memorabilia of the Boston Red Stockings team from 1871. The items included cards that had been cut down to fit a photo album, and she anticipated that they might be worth a few thousand dollars — maybe a bit more. 

Then Leila Dunbar, the appraiser, looked over what the woman had and gave her a figure that made her tear up right there on the spot: $1 million. These items included photos of people like Albert Spalding — yes, the one who started the Spalding sports equipment company. It was quite a find for the sports memorabilia market. Notably, the team played in Boston from 1871 to 1875 and later became the Atlanta Braves, per the Society for American Baseball Research. Not everyone agreed, though, and journalist Keith Olbermann scoffed at it, per NPR. Still, Dunbar stood firm. 

Ultimately, the woman decided to keep the items so that they could stay in her family. Perhaps one day, the items will change hands. Nevertheless, it remains one of the more remarkable finds on a show like "Antiques Roadshow."