The American version of the British TV series Antiques Roadshow has hit a home run with a collection of 1870s Boston baseball memorabilia.
A trove of signatures and rare baseball cards from Boston Red Stockings players was appraised for insurance purposes on the show at US$1 million (NZ$1.15m), series producer Marsha Bemko said.
She said it was the largest sports memorabilia find in the history of the 19-year-old public TV show, which travelled America looking for varied heirlooms and treasures.
The collection was brought to an Antiques Roadshow taping Saturday (NZT Sunday) in New York City. The owner inherited it from her great-great-grandmother, who ran a Boston boarding house where the team lived in 1871-72, PBS said.
The owner's identity was kept private for security reasons, broadcaster PBS said Monday. The collection had not been formally valued before, but the owner had once received a US$5000 (NZ$5910) offer, PBS said.
According to Antiques Roadshow' appraiser Leila Dunbar, the ''crown jewel'' of the items was a May 1871 letter to the Boston landlady that included notes from three future Hall of Fame members: Albert Spalding, the future sporting good magnate, and brothers Harry and George Wright. The letter included the players' appreciation for their host's cooking.
The baseball franchise was now the Atlanta Braves.
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