How much is Zuckerberg worth? Card collector could find out

 

Allie Tarantino, who served as a counselor at Elmwood Day Camp in Westchester, N.Y., when a young Mark Zuckerberg attended and gave him the signed card (inset) as a parting gift, has consigned the unusual souvenir to auction. Image courtesy of ComicConnect.

Allie Tarantino, who served as a counselor at Elmwood Day Camp in Westchester, N.Y., when a young Mark Zuckerberg attended and gave him the signed card (inset) as a parting gift, has consigned the unusual souvenir to auction. Image courtesy of ComicConnect.

NEW YORK (AP) – When camp counselor Allie Tarantino was flipping through a magazine years ago, he came upon a familiar name: Mark Zuckerberg. He rifled through boxes of memorabilia in his basement, running his fingers over old photos, newspapers and bus maps before finding a baseball card featuring a very young Zuckerberg grinning in a red jersey and gripping a bat.

Three decades later, Tarantino is hoping that a signed baseball card featuring one of the richest men in the world will bring a fortune when it is put up for auction next month.

“It’s like my version of a midlife crisis. I’m 50 years old – what am I going to do with this?” Tarantino joked.

As told by Tarantino – who still works summers at Elmwood Day Camp in Westchester, New York – Zuckerberg, then age eight or nine, offered the card he’d had printed as a parting gift at the end of camp 30 years ago.

“As somebody who collects things, it’s always really difficult to part with whatever you have in your collection. But I’ve always been like weirdly curious about how the public would react to something that’s like this that’s a weird combination of pop culture and memorabilia,” he said.

The card will also be auctioned off as a digital collector’s item – a so-called NFT, or non-fungible token, that has become a popular way to own memorabilia.

 The Mark Zuckerberg souvenir baseball card, printed in 1992 when the future Facebook founder was eight or nine years old, will be auctioned in September. Image courtesy of ComicConnect.


The Mark Zuckerberg souvenir baseball card, printed in 1992 when the future Facebook founder was eight or nine years old, will be auctioned in September. Image courtesy of ComicConnect.

Zuckerberg posted about the auction August 4 on Instagram, partly as a way to promote NFT technology in general, but also to help promote NFTs across his company’s platforms.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has recently launched support for digital collectibles.

“We’re going to auction off the card against a one-of-a-kind NFT of the card,” said Stephen Fishler, founder of ComicConnect, which is auctioning off the items.

He called it “a virtual steel cage match,” with bidding on the physical card in U.S. dollars and the NFT done in Ethereum blockchain currency.

Fishler said he’s uncertain of the value of the items, considering they aren’t the usual kinds of memorabilia put up for auction.

In recent years, there’s been lots of interest in collectors’ items involving athletes. Rare baseball cards have gone for millions of dollars. A mint-condition baseball card of Mickey Mantle is expected to achieve $10 million, perhaps more, when it is sold at auction later this month.

Tarantino, now a 5th-grade teacher in Connecticut, held on to the Zuckerberg baseball card, not knowing when he filed it away in his basement that the kid would someday become a household name and would be responsible for one of the biggest technological advancements – or time wasters – in social networking.

“I’m a sentimentalist at heart. When people give me something, I hold on to it, I’ve kind of always been like that,” Tarantino said on August 3.

By BOBBY CAINA CALVAN, Associated Press

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