Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Only we understand
As a member of the hobby, I like to think that I have a bond with all other collectors out there.
It doesn't have to be anyone who I've actually met before. Just the fact that people would immediately know what you're talking about if you were to drop the word "Topps" into a conversation is enough.
There's a few basic principles that most of us share. For instance, I've never met anyone who doesn't enjoy vintage.
But then there are those little things that vary between all of our collections. The seemingly minute things that we all get a kick out of. The things that would elicit a puzzled look out of a non-collector.
It's those seemingly unimportant things are what make the hobby so great.
My personal little source of enjoyment comes courtesy of the 2001 Topps Archives set. A majority of the cards feature reprints of a player's first and/or final Topps cards.
Having the Archives reprint settled next to the actual card in my binders is one of my favorite things about the hobby, as crazy as that might sound.
While newer reprints are still cool, as with the Andre Dawson duo at the top of the post...
...it's the older reprints that makes Archives a great set.
For the longest time, the actual copy of Killebrew's final card eluded me. That is, until I picked it up in a bargain bin at the flea market for a buck.
It's interesting to compare the fonts between the actual card and the Archives reprint.
As you can see here, they slightly differ for reasons I'm not quite sure of.
The '76 Topps Hank Aaron was one of my first "great" cards in my budding collection as a kid, quite possibly the greatest card-related gift my dad ever bought for me.
I still can't believe that I own a copy of Dave Winfield's rookie card. I'm not even that big a fan of his, but I absolutely love his '74 Topps issue.
This card has been reprinted a good amount of times since Archives was released, notably in the "Cards Your Mom Threw Out" insert series. I think I'm up to four or five different versions of this card (including the original), which look fantastic juxtaposed next to each other in a nine-pocket page.
I still maintain that the best trade I ever made was the one that netted me the above 1960 Topps Jim Kaat rookie card.
I dealt four low-level game used cards for the beauty. I remember that two of the jersey cards were of Shawn Green and Juan Encarnacion. Nothing against either of them, but plain white swatches of fabric from their jerseys don't hold a candle to a Jim Kaat rookie card. (I hope Kaat gets in the Hall of Fame someday.)
Amazingly, Hoyt Wilhelm managed to have a card produced of him in each of the nine teams he played for throughout his career.
The Dodger blue was the last uniform he wore, and this '72 Topps issue is his final card. It's easily in my top five favorites from my collection of his.
There's just one more card I need that would make it complete...
I'd have to win the lottery to even think of one day owning the original copy of this card.
Nevertheless, it's seemingly small pleasures like these that drive all of us to keep collecting day after day. Without them, all of our collections would be shockingly similar and pretty insignificant.
And what fun would that be?
To people on the outside of the hobby looking in, all of the things we enjoy so much may seem uninteresting, and that's fine. But as collectors, we know how important these "little" pleasures are.
We know how special they can be.