Long before he launched Facebook and earned billions of dollars, Mark Zuckerberg was a kid at summer camp trying to impress his favorite counselor. He had a baseball card printed with his picture from Little League and claimed a .920 batting average in the list of stats on the back.

Zuckerberg gave the card to his counselor, Allie Tarantino, in 1992, and autographed it at Tarantino’s request. The counselor has enjoyed telling people about the exchange in the years since Zuckerberg became rich and famous.

“I’ve been telling this story for quite a while, about how I knew Mark as a camper, and it always astonishes people to see that this card actually exists,” Tarantino recently told ComicConnect, an online marketplace for collectables.

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Next month, the signed Mark Zuckerberg baseball card will be put up for auction as both a physical item and an NFT, or nonfungible token. Stephen Fishler, the founder of ComicConnect told The Associated Press that it’s hard to know how much money the unique pieces will fetch.

“They aren’t the usual kinds of memorabilia put up for auction,” Fishler said.

Bidding on the physical baseball card will be conducted in U.S. dollars, while the NFT auction will use Ethereum blockchain currency, according to the AP.

This photo provided on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, shows Allie Tarantino holding a baseball card featuring a very young Mark Zuckerberg grinning in a red jersey and gripping a bat. For 30 years Tarantino kept the baseball card filed it away in his basement, not knowing Zuckerberg would someday become a household name. | Shira Tarantino via Associated Press
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Zuckerberg posted about the auction on Instagram Thursday, noting that the social media site, which is now part of the same company (Meta) as Facebook, is playing a growing role in NFT sales.

“Meta ... has recently launched support for digital collectibles,” The Associated Press reported.

In his interview with the AP, Tarantino, who is now a fifth-grade teacher, said his decision to part with the Zuckerberg card goes against his typical approach to collecting.

“I’m a sentimentalist at heart. When people give me something, I hold on to it, I’ve kind of always been like that,” he said.

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