Class Notes Profile: Sports appraiser

Michael Osacky “Everybody thinks what they have is worth a million dollars,” says Michael Osacky. “There are a lot of fakes and forgeries out there.” (Image by Lloyd DeGrane)
Michael Osacky runs Baseball in the Attic, a firm specializing in vintage baseball cards and memorabilia.

Michael Osacky, ’02 ACES, was 17 years old and living in Buffalo Grove, Ill., when his grandfather gave him a shoebox full of baseball cards he had purchased from a neighbor. That gift changed Osacky’s life. “There was a 1973 Mike Schmidt rookie card in the box,” he says. “I wanted to know more. I was hooked.”

From those baseball cards, Osacky found his passion. He now operates Baseball in the Attic, a firm that appraises vintage baseball cards and other sports memorabilia. He specializes in vintage cards, jerseys, autographs, programs and bats from 1870-1970.

Osacky is a certified appraiser for the National Association of Professional Appraisers. “Everybody thinks what they have is worth a million dollars,” he says. “There are a lot of fakes and forgeries out there. Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth are frequently forged. I’d say more than 50 percent of autographs are faked. You have to look carefully at them. Sometimes, the forgers aren’t the sharpest crayons in the box.”

These days, Osacky does a fair amount of business with the families of athletes. “Sometimes the next of kin doesn’t care about the World Series ring or the baseball bat,” he says. “They hold their father in high regard, but they’d rather sell that stuff.”

Moving forward, “I plan to do more speaking engagements,” Osacky says. “I like people to bring in what they have and give them an appraisal on the spot. I’d also like to procure memorabilia for a baseball team. Teams don’t really have extensive collections of their own teams and players.”

Osacky’s favorite cards are from the early 1950s. And his favorite ballplayer? No surprise there: It’s Mike Schmidt.