HOUSTON – Barry Sanders knows that his trading cards are bought and sold every day.
When the Hall of Fame running back learned that a Houston couple desperate to have a baby was auctioning off one of his most rare cards to fund one last attempt at in vitro fertilization, he was stunned.
Now the former Detroit Lions star is helping spread the word about the sale of the card signed by both he and Walter Payton so Todd and Ula Nelkin can raise $20,000. It’s hard for Sanders to imagine one of his cards helping bring a child into the world.
“It would be very, very special,” Sanders said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I’m not sure that I even have the words, but it will be very special if I were able to help. Obviously, we know there are no guarantees, but I will do as much as I can.”
The 1999 Donruss card has a picture of Sanders and his signature on one side and Payton, who died in November 1999, is seen on the other side with his autograph. It is the only one of its kind, rated a 10 by the Beckett grading service. The Nelkins are auctioning it off this week on eBay.
“I would love to keep the card, but I would rather have a kid,” Todd said. “It’s a wonderful card. You daydream that maybe 30, 40 years from now, our son or daughter will find out where the card is and what happened to it.”
The Nelkins are huge sports fans and own a sports memorabilia shop in Houston. The met on an online dating site and had their first date at a Houston Rockets game before being married at another one.