In Brief | Nation and World


1865 baseball card found in Maine to be auctioned

PORTLAND, Maine — Six-figure bids are expected when an auction house sells a rare 148-year-old baseball card that was discovered at a yard sale in rural Maine, the auction house manager said Wednesday.

A man found the card by chance in a photo album he bought while antique picking in the small town of Baileyville on the Canadian border, said Troy Thibodeau of Saco River Auction Co. in Biddeford.

It’s not the same as a modern baseball card, which became commonplace beginning in the 1880s. Instead, it’s an original photograph from 1865 of the Brooklyn Atlantics amateur baseball club mounted on a card. The card shows nine players gathered around their manager.

Thibodeau said he’s aware of only two such cards in existence, the other at the Library of Congress. Putting a dollar-figure value on it is difficult, he said, but he expects it to fetch at least $100,000 at the Feb. 6 auction.

“There hasn’t been another one that’s sold,” he said. “When there are only two known in the world, what’s it worth?”

Last summer, the auction house sold a rare 1888 card of Hall of Fame baseball player Michael “King” Kelly for $72,000. The priciest baseball card ever is a 1909 Honus Wagner card, which sold for $2.8 million in 2007.

The Library of Congress has had another copy of the Brooklyn Atlantics photograph since the late 1800s, when it took possession of it from a New York court where the photographer, Charles Williamson, had submitted it for copyright.

In its book “Baseball Americana,” the Library of Congress calls it the first dated baseball card, handed out to supporters and opposing teams in a gesture of bravado from the brash Brooklynites, who were dominant and won their league championships in 1861, 1864 and 1865.

It’s not known how many were produced, but the Library of Congress is aware of only the two copies. A trading card grading firm, Sportscard Guaranty LLC, has authenticated the card as the real thing, said Bob Luce, senior grader at the New Jersey company.

AP sources: Investor seeking to buy Sacramento Kings

SEATTLE — Investor Chris Hansen has contacted the Maloof family about buying the Sacramento Kings, setting up the possibility of the NBA’s return to Seattle.

Hansen’s interest was confirmed Wednesday by people with knowledge of the situation. They spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because no deal has been reached.

One person said the Kings could sell for more than $500 million. The Kings’ future in Sacramento has been uncertain because the Maloofs and the city haven’t been able to come up with a long-term arena solution.

Yahoo! Sports first reported the discussions between the Kings and Hansen. Yahoo! reported a possible sale could land the Kings in Seattle for the 2013-14 season, where the team would play at KeyArena as a temporary home until a new arena is constructed.

“I know as much as you do,” Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said when asked about the situation. “If it’s true, ain’t it cool?”

His counterpart in Sacramento thought the news anything but cool. At an afternoon news conference, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said Wednesday was significant because for the first time Kings fans know the team is for sale. Johnson said he would do all he could to try to find a buyer with a Sacramento connection to possibly purchase the team and keep it in California’s capital city.

“We’re going to fight, and we’re used to being in this situation,” he said.

Duke’s Kelly out indefinitely with foot injury

DURHAM, N.C. — Duke says senior forward Ryan Kelly is out indefinitely with a right foot injury.

Team officials said Wednesday night that there is no timetable for Kelly’s return.

The 6-foot-11 Kelly was hurt late in the first half of the top-ranked Blue Devils’ 68-40 win over Clemson on Tuesday night. He had 12 points in the first half but did not play in the second.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski says Kelly “is playing the best basketball of his career” and calls it a “tough setback.”

Kelly averages 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds for Duke (15-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), which plays No. 20 North Carolina State on Saturday.

Isner loses to Harrison in second round at Sydney

SYDNEY — Top-seeded John Isner lost 6-4, 6-4 to fellow American Ryan Harrison in the second round of the Sydney International on Wednesday.

The exit of Isner, who was promoted to No. 1 seed after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet withdrew, followed two more injury withdrawals: second-seeded and 2011 Sydney champion Giles Simon (neck) and sixth-seeded Radek Stepanek (back).

Isner, who withdrew from the Hopman Cup mixed-team competition in Perth last week with a right knee injury, lasted 71 minutes against the 64th-ranked Harrison.

The Australian Open starts Monday, leaving injured players little time to prepare for the season’s first major.

In other matches, third-seeded Andreas Seppi of Italy beat John Millman of Australia 6-2, 3-6, 6-3; Australian Bernard Tomic, who beat No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic last week at the Hopman Cup, advanced with a 7-6 (4), 6-2 win over fifth-seeded Florian Mayer of Germany; and Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan beat fourth-seeded Fernando Verdasco of Spain 6-3, 6-3.

Ferrer, Querrey advance to Auckland quarters

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Top-seeded David Ferrer rallied to beat Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 in a hard-fought match Wednesday to advance to the Heineken Tennis Open quarterfinals.

The fifth-ranked Ferrer is attempting to become the first player since Australian great Roy Emerson to win the tournament four times, including three years in succession.

Fourth-seeded Sam Querrey hit 19 aces in beating Belgian wild-card Olivier Rochus 7-5, 6-3 in just over an hour.

Second-seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, who counts the 2008 Auckland tournament among his four career titles, had to work harder for his 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3 win over Colombia’s Alejandro Falla.

Seventh-seeded Tommy Haas beat Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-4 in just over an hour to reach a quarterfinals matchup with Gael Monfils of France, who beat Australian qualifier Greg Jones, 6-4, 6-2 in 66 minutes.

Former champ Gajdosova into Hobart quarterfinals

HOBART, Australia — Australian wild card and former champion Jarmila Gajdosova beat Olga Govortsova of Belarus 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the Hobart International quarterfinals Wednesday.

The Slovakian-born Gajdosova served well in windy conditions against Govortsova, who had beaten fifth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro in the first round.

Gajdosova won the Hobart International in 2011.

In other matches , Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova defeated third-seeded Klara Zakopalova of Czech Republic 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium beat Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia 6-3, 6-2, and Romania’s Monica Niculescu defeated China’s Peng Shuai 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

From wire sources