The shelves of Bloomingdale’s flagship store on Lexington Avenue are stocked with luxury goods, but the most valuable products may be hidden beneath its decorative window displays. According to multiple newspaper records from the time, a ceremony attended by Samuel J. Bloomingdale, took place on April 23, 1930 at which two boxes were entombed in the store’s cornerstone to commemorate an addition to the store.
While the contents of the boxes are unverified, reports say there are the obligatory staples of coins and newspapers and potentially among some other “unusual miscellany,” a baseball signed by Babe Ruth. The Babe Ruth ball is the buzziest item of the purported collection which is also believed to include a golf ball signed by top amateur golf player Bobby Jones, a horseshoe, a telephotograph of Charles Lindbergh and his wife, and predictions of the future of art, literature, religion, science, politics and sports written by prominent Americans such as former President Calvin Coolidge and Henry Ford. The baseball alone could fetch up to $500,000 at auction, but the value of the capsules may significantly increase if the baseball is accompanied by three $25 banknotes.
In 1930, with an anticipated opening date of April 23, 2130, three $25 banknotes were projected to be worth $614,400 after 200 years of compound interest, a fortune at the time of the depression. Considering various factors, high school statistics instructor and adjunct professor at Princeton Adam Shrager, did some calculations for Untapped Cities and estimated the worth of the banknotes to be anywhere from $554 to nearly $12 million dollars in today’s money.
Though the price tag alone would inspire most to rip that cornerstone right off, Bloomingdale’s officials have no intention of opening up the boxes or investigating their existence until 2123. Read more about the time capsules here.