NEW YORK (AP) — The sports trading card generating the most buzz among collectors right now doesn’t feature a baseball, basketball or football player. This captivating athlete was a soccer goalie who also liked skiing, swimming, hiking and kayaking.
His name: Pope John Paul II.
A one-of-a-kind card featuring the pontiff’s autograph was released earlier this year by Topps, the best known maker of baseball cards. When the pope died last month, collectors wondered whether anyone had found the card and what it might fetch in a marketplace suddenly sizzling for all things John Paul.
The location has been determined. A collector in Stockton, Calif., beat 1-in-135,475 odds and plucked the pope rarity out of a $1.50 pack of otherwise ordinary baseball cards about two weeks before the pontiff died. The day before the pope’s funeral, he sold the card to Jeff Hoekstra, the manager of a collectibles store in nearby Modesto.