Talk about good timing. On Thursday afternoon, a mint condition rookie trading card of the New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin sold for $21,580. Hours later, Lin was being schooled by the best team in basketball this season, the Miami Heat, in his worst performance to date.
Not that it mattered a jot to the seller, the Manhattan card collector Yair Rozmaryn, who shelled out a not insignificant $1,000 for it two weeks ago. Back then, before the world had gone Linsane (see one of TIME’s regional covers for proof), the Harvard graduate had only played two games.
But major props to Rozmaryn, who had the card appraised (for the record, Beckett Grading gave it a “gem mint” 9.5 rating) and subsequently put it on eBay. Rozmaryn’s key move was to snap up the 17th in a series of 25 Lin cards issued because, as the planet is acutely aware, 17 is the rookie’s number. But Rozmaryn will almost certainly be adding 36 to his lottery numbers, as that was the final bid which won the eBay auction.
“I got lucky,” Rozmaryn told the New York Times days before the auction ended. “I bought it a week and half ago from another collector who had it before the Linsanity really began. I bought it right after the Jazz game. At the time, Lin cards were selling for $180 and now they are over $2,000.”
(PHOTOS: New York Knicks’ Jeremy Lin in Action)
So while Rozmaryn reflects on his predicting prowess and weighs up what to do with his money (Yahoo Sports makes the point that you can “either buy a brand new Volkswagen Jetta with all sorts of lovely features directly off the lot and without haggling over the price or you could have a signed rookie card”), it’s worth knowing that the nation’s most celebrated card collector doesn’t always get it right: he once bought a Kerry Wood card just before the pitcher hurt his arm. But unlike Lin’s poor performance against the Heat, when it came to this auction, Rozmaryn didn’t get turned over.
PHOTOS: The Rise of Jeremy Lin