'Toy Man' gives sports memorabilia to charity

Jeffrey D. Olsen has always had a head for numbers.

So when the 53-year-old Vista resident was perusing a sports memorabilia website a few years ago, he saw at once there were bargains galore for a well-informed investor with a lot of patience. Over the past four years, Olsen has gradually amassed a 112-piece collection of autographed items that includes uniforms, balls and other sporting equipment signed by stars including Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Wayne Gretzky and Joe Theismann.

This week, Olsen boxed up the entire collection — which he values at $125,000 or more — and donated it to the Armed Forces YMCA at Camp Pendleton. Executive director Christopher Keane said he will have everything professionally authenticated and appraised for an auction next year that will raise money for military families at Camp Pendleton, as well as in San Diego and Twentynine Palms.

“We’re deeply impressed by his philanthropy and his willingness to help those who can’t help themselves,” Keane said.

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