A rare baseball card collection destroyed five years ago in a plane crash was probably worth about $2.4 million at the time, according to a prominent auctioneer of sports memorabilia.

The value of the collection is an important detail in a new suit being waged by the family of the deceased collection owner. Douglas Wielinski was killed in Continental Connection Flight 3407 in February of 2009, returning home with a number of precious valuables on board.

One of the top items of his personal inventory is the 1952 Mickey Mantle rookie card, one of the most famous and valuable cards from that era. Wielinski owned 10 of them.

Wielinski's widow and his two daughters are seeking compensation from the airline over his death, according to Buffalo.com. The value of the baseball cards will have a significant impact on how much compensation the family is entitled to.

While the collection could be worth as much as $3 million in present-day market conditions, the judge in the case will only consider the value of the collection at the time of Wielinski's death.

Another complication in the case is that, while some charred pieces of his collection were found in the crash debris, some items -- including the Mantle rookie cards -- did not survive.

In addition to baseball cards, Wielinski was also carrying collectible jigsaw puzzles and antique tintypes -- photos printed on tin -- from the Civil War.

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