Wednesday, March 21, 2012
The St. Patrick's Day Card Show, Pt. 4: Beginning, middle, end
It had to happen eventually.
This is the final post highlighting my pickups from the local "St. Patrick's Day" card show.
I have to say that these posts were easily among my favorites in terms of writing them. I enjoyed recounting that glorious Saturday afternoon, which now seems a lot farther away than it actually is.
I hope all my readers have enjoyed them as well. I've tried to take you through my card show experience, table by table, card by card. Hopefully, I did an okay job.
We'll be back to your regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.
For tonight, let's take a look at even more of my vintage pickups at the show. I'll be recounting my experiences at four different tables in this post.
Warning: This post has a lot of scans!
First, we've got the one that started it all. That first table. Technically, I'm at the card show once I step foot onto the grounds of the big convention hall.
But I don't feel like I'm actually "at" the show until I've bought my first cards.
Once we paid the admission and entered the show, my dad and I walked to one of the ends of the hall. One of the first tables we spotted had a small bin of 90% off discounted vintage cards, all individually priced.
As I soon found out, they were very reasonably priced, which is something you don't see too often with those "individually priced" tables, at least from my experience.
My dad and I had a blast going through that bin. I can't recall a better "first table" than that one.
One of the biggest finds of the day was the '52 Topps Dale Mitchell at the top of the post. Sure, the edges were chopped off at one point in its life, but it joins the first one featured in this post as the only '52 cards I own.
And it only cost me three bucks.
Before Saturday, I only knew Mitchell as the guy who made the final out in Don Larsen's famous World Series perfect game.
But now I'll know him as one of my "1952's".
Sure, you could say this card has seen its better days.
But for seventy-five cents, I picked up a great '55 Topps card, which is also the final card of Hall-of-Fame pitcher Hal Newhouser.
I'm not complaining.
As I dug a little deeper into the discount bin, I came across this card.
I was a little scared to turn over to the back and see the price tag. I really wanted it, but I didn't want to blow too much of my budget at the first table.
I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw "$15.00" across the back. With the 90% off discount, it came to just $1.50.
I set it aside with a grin on my face, knowing that I would be the proud owner of this fantastic card in a matter of minutes.
I love the picture on the left of Haddix running full steam across a base (it's tough to tell for sure whether it's first or third). One of the better action shots I've ever seen.
I'm drawing a blank on exactly how much this one cost me, but it was probably around a buck or so.
I love the 1968 All-Star cards. This one might be my new favorite from the subset, as Killebrew is one of my favorites from baseball history.
To show you just how little condition matters to me, take a gander at this card.
A '63 Topps Whitey Ford highlights card. (A shameless plug: Speaking of '63 Topps, my 2012 Heritage wants are now listed on my "set needs" tab if anyone's interested in a trade. Okay, the plug is over.)
For fifty cents, I got a card with writing, creases, and just about every flaw you could think of. One of the corners even went MIA.
The way I see it, I got a 1963 Whitey Ford card for fifty cents.
That's all that matters to me.
We're still on the discount bin.
The Mize joins "Home Run" Baker and Johnny Vander Meer as the only cards I own from the ill-fated 1961 Fleer Greats set. The final cost was just a paltry forty cents.
Phil Niekro's 1966 issue is his first solo card. He appeared with another Braves prospect on both his '64 and '65 issues.
All it took was a single dollar.
I'm pretty sure these 1960 Topps cards were a buck a piece, although I'm not certain.
I don't know what it is with Bill Mazeroski, but his cards seem to find me wherever I go. I found Mazeroski's 1972 Topps card in a quarter box on Saturday, if you remember the quarter box post I did.
These are the final cards from the discount bin.
Coincidentally, they're also a couple airbrush jobs.
The '58 Cerv set me back two bucks. The only reason I collect him is because he was roommates with Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle during the legendary 1961 season. (As I learned from the film 61*.)
I've been looking for that '71 Rob Swoboda card for a while now. He was only an Expo for part of the '71 season, as he got traded to the Yankees after just 39 games in Montreal that year.
Not only is the Swoboda a high-number (#665), but it's also a short print. Luckily, this one only had a $1.50 price tag.
As I said, I don't think I've ever found better cards from the "first table" at any card show I've ever attended.
Let's move on to a different table.
About midway into the show, I stumbled upon a box that had "12/$1" marked on the front of it. I thought they'd be more recent cards, as most boxes of this variety are.
I was happy to discover that the box was comprised entirely of 1970 to 1976 Topps cards. I don't believe I've ever come across a dime box with all vintage cards. (Or in this case a 12/$1 box.)
Recently, I've started to accumulate more and more of Topps' "World Series Highlights" cards from the '70s. There's just something I like about them.
I especially enjoy this card of the Miracle Mets "whooping it up" after their victory against the Orioles in the '69 World Series. I'm not sure, but I think that's Mr. Swoboda in the foreground, and you can also see Tug McGraw (second from the left).
A couple more 1970 Topps from the 12/$1 box.
I always enjoy a good ol' Senators card, especially one of former AL MVP Zoilo Versalles.
Plus, I'll take a Vida Blue rookie card at that price any day of the week.
Most of the box was '70s no-namers, as you'd probably expect.
But I was shocked to find cards of relatively well-known guys like Pappas and McCarver inside. I liked the McCarver so much that I bought two copies of it. (On accident.)
These were undoubtedly the best finds from the box.
To think that these only cost me about eight cents a piece is staggering.
I seemed to find quite a bit of '72s at Saturday's show.
Sure it's a manager card, but I found a real Gil Hodges card in a 12/$1 box!
I'm pretty sure that's Al Kaline sliding into Tito Fuentes on Fuentes's 1972 "In-Action" card. It's also my new favorite from that year's "In-Action" subset.
All in all, I only came away with 24 cards from the table, for a grand total of two dollars.
To find anything of merit in these boxes would've been amazing to me, much less finding the vintage greatness you see above.
As my dad and I made our way through the last tables of the show, we decided to go back through a couple of the aisles to make sure we didn't miss anything.
As it turns out, we did.
I found a table that we hadn't seen the first time around. There was another little bin full of individually priced vintage cards. Again, these were quite reasonable.
The first card I found was this '54 Bowman Sal Maglie card, priced at just $1.50.
I knew there had to be some other gems inside.
I found this fantastic '55 Bowman "Smokey" Burgess card for just a buck.
My dad was actually the one that first spotted these.
A couple of great display pieces of one of my favorites, Hank Greenberg. One of them even features Greenberg in a Pirates uniform, a topic which I've discussed before.
These were a steal at just a buck each.
This was one of the greatest finds of the day.
An actual 1969 Topps Pete Rose All-Star card. I never thought I'd own this one. Because it's off-center, it only set me back three dollars.
A true "find".
The vendor also had a couple small piles of 3/$1 vintage cards to the side of the discount bin.
Aside from the above two cards, there wasn't anything too spectacular. I needed one more card to get the three-for-a-dollar deal.
So I settled upon this one, purely for laughs.
Kind of cool, but also kind of creepy.
I don't know who Tom Morgan is, but this was an interesting find. Someone either was determined to fully update Morgan's apparent move to the L.A. Angels, or they really hated the Yankees. As if the card couldn't be any more screwed up, there's a gigantic crease running through the center of the card.
What draws me to this card is the possible backstory. I bet it was owned by a kid from the '50s. A kid who grew up in the golden age of baseball, and who apparently really loved baseball, if they were that interested in updating a simple card of Tom Morgan.
It's all about the story.
After finishing up with that table, I came upon another one that my dad and I had also missed the first time around, which would end up being the final table of the day for us.
This table also had a bunch of individually priced vintage cards tossed into a bin.
But as you'll see in a minute, this was no ordinary vintage bin.
A couple of the first cards I spotted were the two you see above. The Brock was a dollar, and the Wills fifty cents.
I'm not sure how I didn't already own that Brock card. It must've just slipped through the cracks.
The important thing is that I have it now.
1968 Topps is one of my least favorite vintage designs, but these are still awesome cards.
The pre-"Catfish" Jim Hunter cost me $1.50. The Killebrew was a dollar.
Great finds all around.
Okay, now we're getting into some serious vintage territory here.
I couldn't believe that I had actually passed this table up at one point.
The '57 Lemon is a thing of beauty, to put it simply. Three bucks.
You would've thought Topps would grant Norm Cash a better shot for his '62 card, as he was coming off a .361-41-132 season. Two dollars was a great deal for this one, especially considering the great shape it's in.
See Topps, that is how you display a rookie cup. You had it right in the '60s!
I found it surprising that tremendous cards such as these two were just thrown into a bin with a bunch of other less-spectacular vintage cards.
Second-year cards of both Tony Oliva and Tony Perez for just three bucks a piece. Wow.
Okay, now we're on to the "final two".
Next to the '72 Clemente I found (seen in this post), these were my two best pickups of the day.
They made sure I walked out of the show with a huge smile across my face.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would one day own this card.
This was tied with the Clemente as the most expensive purchase of the day, at five dollars.
To put it in perspective, I could have either gotten less than two retail packs of 2011 Topps Heritage. Or I could have gotten an actual 1962 Topps card. But not just any card.
A Gaylord Perry rookie card.
Let me say that again. A Gaylord Perry rookie card. A rookie card of Gaylord Perry. Gaylord Perry's first card.
I cannot put into words how amazing that is.
And just when I thought it couldn't get any better...
It really did.
I'm still deciding between this and the '72 Clemente as my favorite card from the show. I don't think I'll ever be able to decide.
Not only is it Sandy Koufax, but it's a 1965 Sandy Koufax, my all-time favorite vintage Topps set.
So what if it's got some paper loss on the corners? So what if it's got some creases?
It's a real, actual Sandy Koufax!
The most surprising thing about this card was the price. Even in this state, a card like this surely wouldn't go for around less than ten dollars, right?
Try three dollars. Just three single dollars.
I'm still in shock.
Needless to say, I was one happy camper when I walked out of the card show after a long day of hunting.
I had my bag in my hands, swelling and bulging with over 500 cards inside, the Koufax proudly displayed on top of the heap.
I found so much cardboard greatness, and I did it all with my dad proudly at my side.
It doesn't get any better.
Between the spending the day with my dad at the card show and hanging out with a bunch of my friends afterwards, I rate it as one of the best days of my life. And I'm not exaggerating.
Saturday had it all. Family, friends, and tons and tons of baseball cards.
What else does a guy need?
Not bad for a day's work.