CHICAGO — Michael Osacky is a busy man, and he has the Cubs to thank for it.
Osacky, of River North, is a professional sports collectibles appraiser and founder of Baseball In The Attic. The 35-year-old has been a collector and appraiser since he was a teenager and his grandfather gave him a shoebox full of old baseball cards.
Interest in vintage Cubs memorabilia is peaking, says Osacky. That's mainly due to the Cubs seeking their first World Series title since 1908, and the fact that they have Major League Baseball's best record this season.
"There has been an uptick in overall interest in vintage Cubs memorabilia," Osacky said. "People are thinking that the Cubs are going to win the World Series this year, and if they buy something before they win, people will want anything Cubs, and they'll be able to flip it and sell it.
"There have been a lot more calls lately," Osacky added.
Osacky appraises baseball cards, jerseys and other memorabilia from 1870 on. He travels the country for speaking engagements and to evaluate collectibles.
"I'm gone pretty much every weekend," said Osacky, whose personal collection includes a pair of mint-condition 1945 World Series pennants. Of course, that's the last time the Cubs were in the World Series, when they lost to the Detroit Tigers four games to three.
DNAinfo asked Osacky to name his top five extremely high-end Cubs collectibles, their worth and their significance:
1. Ernie Banks 512th home run baseball
Banks hit 512 home runs in the course of his Hall of Fame career. The very last home run he hit has yet to be unearthed. Value is $100,000-plus.
2. 1908 Chicago Cubs World Series program
Value based on condition ranges from $5,000 to $50,000.
A 1945 Cubs autographed ball. The 1945 Cubs were managed by Charlie Grimm (his signature can be clearly seen here). All-Stars on team were Stan Hack and Phil Cavaretta. [Michael Osacky]
3. 1945 Chicago Cubs team signed baseball
Not extremely value but it reminds collectors and fans alike of the last time the Cubs appeared in the World Series. Value: $500 to $2,500.
4. Cubs Hall of Famer game-used jersey or bat
There are many great Cubs Hall of Famers. A late 1960s Ernie Banks game-used jersey recently sold for over $150,000. A game-used bat from Joe Tinker in 1910 sold a few years ago for over $50,000.
5. 1908 Chicago Cubs vs. New York Giants panoramic photograph
The Cubs played at Chicago's West Side Park in 1908 — before Wrigley Field — and won their World Series. The panoramic photograph shows the entire field and stands. Today's value: $25,000-plus.
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