Rozmaryn, a card collector who lives in Manhattan and works as a job recruiter in the fields of health care and information technology, could already see the possibilities. And two days later, after Lin startled everyone again with a 28-point performance against the Utah Jazz, Rozmaryn went to work, buying a limited-edition Lin rookie card on eBay for $1,000. The card, from the 2010-11 N.B.A. season, when Lin played for Golden State, was autographed by Lin and was No. 17 in a series of 25 — making it more valuable, because 17 is Lin’s uniform number.
But at that point the story had just begun. Rozmaryn relisted the card on eBay on Feb. 13, at a point when the frenzy over Lin had grown even louder, and four hours later, received his first bid: $12,000.
The auction closed a week later, and the winning bid went to a buyer Rozmaryn identified through an eBay notification as a man from San Francisco, who had purchased the card for $21,580. Under the terms of the auction, payment was due within three days of its closing.
More than a week later, Rozmaryn said he heard from the buyer, via e-mail, and the news was not good. The buyer claimed his 10-year-old son, whom he described as a rabid basketball fan, had logged on to his eBay account in the final moments of the auction and placed what would become the winning bid.
It may have sounded like an adult variation on the old dog-ate-my-homework excuse, but Rozmaryn had no choice but to try again. He said he kept the card inside a vault at Bank of America and then, a little over a week ago, relisted the card on eBay.
Of course, a lot had happened to the by then, including a losing streak that led Mike D’Antoni to resign as coach, and more modest performances by Lin. So it was not all that surprising that when the second auction closed on March 27, the winning bid was $4,000, or over $17,000 less than it was five weeks before.
Rozmaryn said that the winning bidder was a woman from Indiana and that he received her payment for the card. He said he was grateful for the profit but could not help wishing it was more.
In a way, the up and down of it all mirrors the Knicks’ season.
“It was a great ride, and it was fun for me,” Rozmaryn said. “But I’m a little disappointed still, and I’d be lying if I said otherwise.”