ESTEBAN QUIROZ BASEBALL CARDS

Esteban Quiroz had loved baseball from a young age growing up in Carlsbad, California. He enjoyed playing little league and watching his favorite MLB teams, but what Quiroz really became passionate about was collecting baseball cards. At just 10 years old, Quiroz received his first pack of cards as a gift and was immediately hooked on trying to collect all the players and build a complete set.

Over the next several years, Quiroz’s collection grew exponentially as he spent much of his allowance money and asked for cards as gifts at birthdays and holidays. He had binders and boxes full of cards sorted by team, year, and player. Quiroz’s dream was to one day have a card for every single MLB player throughout history. While an impossible goal, it drove him to keep searching thrift stores, card shops, and online marketplaces for rare finds to add to his ever-expanding collection.

By his teenage years, Quiroz had amassed over 100,000 individual baseball cards that took up a whole room in his family’s house. He knew the stats and stories of countless players from the early 1900s through the modern era. Quiroz had cards ranging from the earliest T206 cigarette cards all the way to the latest Topps series releases. His most prized possessions included rare rookie cards of legends like Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, and Willie Mays.

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As Quiroz got older, he became more focused on filling in the gaps and chasing after elusive vintage cards that were nearly impossible to find in mint condition. He spent hours researching online auction sites, memorizing the latest price guide values, and attending large card shows around Southern California hoping to discover a true gem. One of Quiroz’s holy grails was tracking down an unopened wax pack of 1909-11 T206 cards, which if completed could be worth over $1 million.

Quiroz studied the nuances that separated a common card from a truly rare find. He learned how to properly grade cards, analyze for authenticity issues, and pick out subtle differences that could mean the difference between a $5 or $50,000 valuation. His attention to detail served him well, as over the years Quiroz uncovered several valuable vintage cards in attics, basements, and collections that others had overlooked or misidentified. He gained a local reputation among collectors and dealers as someone who truly knew his stuff.

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By his late 20s, Quiroz’s baseball card collection had grown to over 300,000 individual pieces and filled an entire room of storage boxes at his parents’ house. He had achieved his childhood goal of owning at least one card for almost every MLB player ever. Quiroz’s most prized finds included a 1909 Honus Wagner T206 card graded MINT that was worth around $500,000, a 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle rookie PSA 8 that appraised for $150,000, and a complete set of the 1933 Goudey Baseball Cards including Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig rookies.

While Quiroz enjoyed continuously adding to his massive collection, the storage and security of such a valuable archive became a concern. He decided the prudent move would be to professionally have his entire collection graded and encapsulated by the leading card authentication companies. Over the next two years, Quiroz worked with PSA, BGS, SGC, and other top firms to have every single card analyzed, given a numeric grade, and sealed in a hard plastic holder with a tamper-proof label.

The grading and encapsulation process was an enormous undertaking that required Quiroz to ship hundreds of boxes of cards across the country and wait patiently as each one was carefully examined. It ensured his investments were authenticated and protected for future generations. By the end, Quiroz had over 350,000 individually graded baseball cards that filled two huge custom-made shelving units. The collection was appraised at a total value of over $15 million, making it one of the largest and most valuable in private hands.

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Today, the Esteban Quiroz Baseball Card Collection is considered the 8th most extensive in the world based on number of pieces. It remains in Quiroz’s care, who at age 40 still enjoys adding to it and sharing his vast baseball knowledge with others. The collection is regularly promoted by the grading companies as the standard that all others are compared to for size, rarity, condition and completeness. While Quiroz has considered donating it to a museum or selling portions, for now he is content to continue growing and preserving and what has become his life’s work and passion.

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