LOS ANGELES — What could be better than becoming a millionaire after finding seven vintage baseball cards while cleaning out your late great-grandfather's house?
How about finding an eighth?
The family that two years ago made one of the greatest finds in sports collectibles history when they found seven Ty Cobb baseball cards printed between 1909 and 1911 have now found one more in the matching set.
''It falls under the category of 'you can't make this stuff up,' '' said Joe Orlando, president of Professional Sports Authenticator of Newport Beach, Calif. The company verified the new card and valued it at $250,000.
The first seven cards were in a rumpled paper bag that may well have ended up in the trash if someone hadn't peeked inside.
''The initial discovery, it was a real shock to them,'' Orlando said. ''They put the cleaning on hold for a while . . . later they knew what they were looking for, and in a dusty box between two books, there was another one.''
The great-grandfather himself apparently had no idea that he was leaving a fortune to his descendants.
''He wasn't even a collector,'' Orlando said. ''He just held on to these cards that were most likely given to him after buying a particular tobacco product.''
The family, from the rural South, wants to remain anonymous and intends to keep this one as a memento.
There are now 24 known copies of the card featuring the famed Detroit Tigers star. On the back it reads, ''Ty Cobb — King of the Smoking Tobacco World.''
That's less than half the known remaining number of Honus Wagner cards from the same time that have long been considered the holy grail of collecting.
And while the surge in numbers for the Cobb cards may have diminished the value somewhat, Orlando said the excitement surrounding them and the possibility that more could exist have made up the difference.