Junk Hauler Finds Treasure Trove of Autographed Memorabilia in Abandoned Storage Unit
Here's a piece of advice for anyone asked to help clear out stuff left behind in a storage unit: make sure you check to make sure there isn't any valuable sports memorabilia mixed in with all of the junk.
That lesson was driven home in a surprising way for Faisal Ansari, an Orlando-area man who owns the city's franchise of the College Hunks Hauling Junk company. While cleaning out a marketing company's abandoned storage unit with instructions to donate anything salvageable to charity, Ansari discovered things that would make any sports collector's heart race.
Mixed in among the garbage were items autographed by a star-studded lineup of athletes from several sports. The haul included basketballs signed by Dominique Wilkins and Dikembe Mutombo and hockey sticks autographed by Grant Fuhr. And for the icing on the cake, there were baseballs with the signatures of some of Major League Baseball's greatest sluggers: Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Mike Schmidt.
Other pieces were found ruined, as the unit had no air conditioning, but Ansari told the Orlando Sentinel that 35 items were saved in all. Certificates of authenticity were also found in boxes with the memorabilia, giving employees of the company hope that the collectibles are legitimate.
Current plans are to auction off or sell the memorabilia and donate it to charity. Though Ansari is a big baseball fan and said part of him hoped to snag one of the Aaron balls for himself, his heart clearly is in the right place after his huge find.
"The more I think about it, the more I'd like to see it go to some underprivileged kid that likes baseball or basketball or hockey but would otherwise never have something like this, you know?" said Ansari to the Sentinel.
Charitable organizations near Orlando can make proposals for what to do with the collectibles or the money earned from their sale by contacting Kate Santich, the Sentinel reporter who broke the story, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(22383) 1966 Topps 1 Willie Mays Giants-PR
1959 Topps #464 Willie Mays BT EXMT+ A804594
1967 Topps #191 Willie Mays CL3 VGEX M804332
1957 Topps #10 Willie Mays G VG B807859