LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — The name ‘Uncle Jimmy’ might not mean anything to the average sports fan, but to those familiar with sports memorabilia, it’s the hottest name in the industry.
“Baseball cards, autographs, and sports memorabilia that came from one man’s personal collection. It’s definitely one of the biggest unknown collections ever,” said Wheatland Auction Services co-owner Chuck Whisman.
James Micioni, a blue collar North Jersey guy known as ‘Uncle Jimmy,’ had a lifelong affair with baseball. When he passed away earlier this year at the age of 97, his family discovered a bounty of baseball history worthy of Cooperstown.
“It was like walking through the Baseball Hall of Fame going through everything,” added Whisman. “His collection and the name ‘Uncle Jimmy Collection’ is going down forever in the accolades in the sports card industry.”
Wheatland Auction Services in Lancaster specializes in sports memorabilia and is managing the auctioning of the Uncle Jimmy Collection, which is a daunting task for this diamond mine.
“Our staff had to comb through every single box. Boom there is a $10,000 item, there is a $20,000 item, theres a $2,000 item,” recalled Chuck Whisman.
“For people who know who Uncle Jimmy is, to be a part of the story and be part of the collection has been extremely rewarding,” said Wheatland Auction Services co-owner Stacy Whisman.
The collection has garnered international clout and there is a ‘bambino-sized’ reason why.
“It is a story, that even if they are not sports cards collectors or baseball fans, they love to hear about,” said Stacy Whisman. “Those cards in general are different than a normal color. They are colorful and more works of art than photos of players,” added Stacy Whisman.
From ticket stubs to see Jackie Robinson with Mickey Mantle, as well as games to see Lou Gherig, it’s a true snap shot of history.
“We were able to piece together stories for the family that they didn’t even know,” recalled Chuck Whisman.
“It has been a wonderful family to work with and it will be a little sad when it comes to an end,” said Stacy Whisman.
“It brought back our love for baseball, why we got into it, and why we love America’s past time,” added Chuck Whisman.
Some of the auctions will end on Sunday. Right now, a signed 1933 Babe Ruth Goudey card is going for nearly $100,000.
If you need more time to gather the credit, there is much more to come.
“The sky is the limit. We don’t know. It’s going to be fun to watch and see,” said Chuck Whisman.