TAMPA, Fla. - Outside of his day job as a neurologist in Tampa, Dr. Thomas Newman had a secret passion. He was a baseball card collector, owning some of the rarest cards on Earth.
"[He] loved what he called his paper babies," said his wife, Nancy Newman. "Since I knew him for 20 years, he's done something with his collection every day."
Dr. Newman passed away in January at the age of 73 from COVID-19. His collection is about go up for public auction through Memory Lane Auctions.
Beginning in June, more than 1,000 pieces will be up for bid, but there is one that stands out from the rest: A very rare Babe Ruth card in near-mint condition.
"We have one particular piece, you asked what is the most valuable, it’s a ‘33 Goudey gum card, produced in 1933, and it is the only one that‘s ever been authenticated with a 9 [out of 10 condition rating]," said JP Cohen, president of Memory Lane Inc.
Because it’s in such good shape and is so rare, it's expected to break the world record of $5.2 million for a sports card. The entire collection is valued at more than $20 million.
Other players in the collection include names like Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Honus Wagner, Ted Williams and Cy Young. There's also a near-perfect Topps 1952 Mickey Mantle rookie card that is expected to sell for more than $1-million.
"It is a sad loss that we've lost him, but I really believe we're going to celebrate what he's accomplished over the 30 years of putting together this amazing collection," Cohen said.
"He would've never sold it while he was alive. He was a collector," Nancy Newman added.
Dr. Newman’s passion started as a child and never ended. Soon new collectors will be able to share in it as well -- for a price.
LINK: For more information, visit www.memorylaneinc.com