Monday, November 19, 2012

Card shows and me, Pt. 2: A valued customer

Here's a fun fact.

This is the 573rd post I've written for this blog.

They've come in all different shapes and sizes. Some focus on a single card, while others feature thirty. There have been themed posts, trade posts, regular posts, and probably a few simple rambling posts as well.

So, which have been my favorite to write?

That's easy.

Card show posts.

I've absolutely loved writing every single one of those first 572 little stories on this blog, but there's something special about unveiling a brand new gluttony of cardboard to my readers.

The cards I continue to find at card shows are just as diverse as the posts I've written on this blog. I try to not be too predictable in my writing, hopefully encouraging my readers to indeed "expect the unexpected" when it comes to this blog's subject matter.

It's the same thing with card shows.

Dime boxes, quarter boxes, vintage boxes, oddball boxes...the list just goes on and on.

Each aisle of a card show brings more and more mystery to the table.

For the most part, my previous card show posts have been nicely divided into a few different topics.

I usually start with the dime boxes and end with the vintage. Yesterday's post continued that trend. It's just the way I like to do things around here.

Still, not all my card show finds fit perfectly within those parameters. As a result, I've had to devote a post to all the "inbetweeners".

That's what this one will be.

Tonight, I think we'll start with the lone quarter box I dug through at Saturday's show.

Like the first dime box I featured yesterday, this vendor was located in the very first aisle of the convention hall.

That was good and bad.

Good, because it got me even more excited for everything that was to come. Bad, because quarter cards can start to add up fast. Between these and the twenty-five dollar dime box adventure at the initial table of the day, I could've blown a nice portion of my budget in the very first aisle, if I wanted to.

Although there were at least a half-dozen boxes filled with quarter baseball cards, I did my best to restrain myself. I only dug through about two of them.

When I first walked up to the table, I set a strict limit of twenty quarter cards. Five dollars was my maximum allotment.

Or so I told myself.

Just as I did with my final dime box of the day, I quickly found myself going over the limit.

Even after I'd hit the twenty-card mark, I kept on chugging. I slipped another quarter card into my stack. I tried to rationalize.

"Well, that's 21 cards. Might as well pick out another three to make it a nice, even number."

Then, I hit twenty-five.

"Another three wouldn't hurt."

Almost unwittingly, I once again slipped past my mark, with 29 cards sitting in my stack. You can probably guess what I thought next.

"What the heck, I might as well pick out three more."

I finally stopped myself at 32 cards.

At eight bucks, it was a bit more than I wanted to spend at that table.

The above Bagwell was card number 21, the one that sent me down that slippery slope.

As soon as I saw those nifty Colt .45s throwbacks, I knew this one had to be in my collection.

Don't blame me for going over my limit.

Blame the sheer awesomeness of this card.

Quarter boxes are usually a good way to knock out some of my recent needs.

This Endy Chavez was the last card I needed from GQ's "Glove Stories" insert set.

There was no way I was passing this one up for a quarter.

My 2012 wants certainly weren't high on the priority list for this show, but I'll take them wherever I can.

Besides, gold sparkly parallels and cloth stickers are well worth a couple quarters.

Surprisingly, I didn't see any R.A. Dickey rookie cards anywhere at the show, contrary to what I had initially predicted.

This Update parallel was the only Dickey I found all day.

Yeah, that sentence didn't sound right to me, either.

However, I was right about the fact that I'd find a few Topps Chrome cards.

Unfortunately, there wasn't a big dime box of them on display, so I had to settle on a handful from the quarter bin.

I've referred to my distaste towards the skimpy four-card packs of Chrome in the past, but don't let that fool you.

I do actually like Topps Chrome. I was excited to find a few for myself at the show, especially the Ichiro.

I'd just rather pay a dime or quarter for each of them, not seventy-five cents.

Just like those multiple-exposure photos I talked about yesterday, I'll always be a sucker for reprints.

Although I was largely indifferent towards this year's Archives release, I loved the inclusion of these reprints.

It's probably fairly safe to say that I'll never own a '53 Topps Willie Mays. Reprints are the closest I'll ever get to the real thing.

Up until that point, I'd never seen a '77 Topps Gary Carter in-person. Taking home the reprint was the next best thing.

I did manage to do the Carter reprint one better...but that's for a later post.

I never even considered buying a pack of this year's Goodwin Champions release.

The blogosphere had shown me everything I needed to see. A card of Johnny Bench in street clothes just doesn't appeal to me.

However, I'd be crazy to pass up anything featuring turn-of-the-century stars, such as Pud Galvin and "Turkey Mike" Donlin.

Not for a mere quarter a piece.

As I'm just now starting to realize, most of my purchases from the quarter bin were of the 2012 variety.

Kimbrel and Holland are a couple of my most recent binder additions. It felt good to land a few newer inserts of theirs from the quarter boxes.

Judging my how neat that Archives parallel of Kimbrel is, I'd say I picked a good time to "induct" him into my collection.

On the surface, there isn't a whole lot of difference between a dime and a quarter.

As experience has shown me, though, quarter cards can really start to add up. Dime cards can as well, but it takes a whole lot longer.

Because of that, I have to be more careful about which quarter cards I decide to buy.

Although I collect them, I probably wouldn't have dropped a quarter on most cards of Karim Garcia and Justin Upton. They're just not that high on my priority list.

Sometimes, though, a card simply has the all the bells and whistles that necessitate a quarter.

To me, this pair certainly had that quality to them.

For better or worse, that turned out to be the only quarter box I dug through all day.

I sure was happy with it. I managed to pick up a nice chunk of neat cards without breaking the bank.

That's what it's all about, right?

Between the mega-dime box and the quarter bin adventure, I'd spent thirty-three dollars in the first aisle alone.

It was finally time to move on to the second aisle of the show.

The very first table in this section had a nice bin of vintage that provided me with my best pickup of the day...but we'll save that for tomorrow's post.

There was a special quality to the table located right next to the vintage.

It had yet another dime box.

After all, any table with a dime box is a "special" table to me.

This one was a little different, though.

Usually, it takes me a while to get a good feel for what lies inside of each dime box. That went out the window with this one.

Once I saw cards from the Ted Williams brand at the front of the row, I knew I'd be in for a treat.

These aren't your typical dime box finds.

My dad can attest to just how excited I was to peruse these. As dorky as it might sound, I'll admit that there was a slight jump in my voice.

That's how much I love these throwback-type sets.

The above card of "Junior" Gilliam is one I'd seen around the blogosphere many, many times before. Although he isn't yet in my binders, it's a card I've always wanted to own.

Luckily, the dime box took care of that need pretty fast.

And now I am the proud owner of this truly epic piece of cardboard.

For as long as I can remember, I've collected anything and everything featuring Negro League players.

The Ted Williams series featured an entire subset devoted to honoring them. Although I'd never heard of Max Manning, I didn't think twice about purchasing that one.

I don't know what to like more about it. The ultra-thick shades he's sporting or the striking box score background.

Overall, I found about 25 different cards from the Ted Williams set for my collection. Everyone from Al Oliver to Rick Ferrell to Ron Santo was included.

It's still hard to believe that Santo pops up in dime boxes every now and again.

That wasn't even the best part, though.

This dime box was like "throwback central" for me.

Nothing but Ted Williams and Upper Deck All-Time Heroes.

It was paradise.

The UD Heroes release is arguably my favorite of the overproduction era as a whole. I just love everything about them.

Somehow, I'd never found a copy of this Fidrych for my collection before Saturday. I'm happy to report that one is currently lying on my living room table, waiting to be sorted and filed away.

Few things excite me more than a dime card of "The Bird".

Sure, Upper Deck included the big stars like Brock and Berra.

Most "throwback" sets do.

However, what sets these apart from the rest is the fantastic photography.

It's not every day that you see a shot of Lou Brock's record-breaking celebration or a Yogi Berra "play at the plate" featured on a baseball card.

The sheer player selection is something I value more than the photography, though.

I own close to 80 cards of both Brock and Berra.

This is probably about my 20th card of local "fan favorite" Minnie Minoso.

Cards of blogosphere favorite Virgil Trucks are even harder to come by. That has to be only the fifth or sixth card of him in my collection.

These are definitely a couple dime box "gems", if you ask me.

If you're a fan of "moment in time" cards, these are definitely right up your alley.

The "Off the Wire" subset in the UD All-Time Heroes set capture some of the defining moments in the long and hallowed history of the game.

Whether it's a phenomenal shot of Enos Slaughter's "Mad Dash" around the basepaths...

...or Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World", these cards are definitely the cream of the crop.

Trying to find Thomson in this photo is almost like playing a game of "Where's Waldo?".

For the record, he's the player located directly underneath the word "Deck" at the top of the card.

I doubt a more historic "celebration shot" has ever been featured on a piece of cardboard.

I'm still trying to decide what my single favorite "find" from this dime box was.

It's either this one or the Fidrych.

Some of you might recognize the Piersall as a former "Dime Box Dozen" need of mine. Given my love for the quirkier side of the game, it's easy to see why I wanted this card so much.

Plus, it's a self-labeled "third-of-a-year card". Piersall played for the Senators, Mets, and Angels during the '63 season. His 100th homer was the only one he'd hit in a Mets uniform.

With the Piersall, Gilliam, and everything else in between, I couldn't have been happier with my "haul" from this dime box.

All in all, I'd found 80 cards for my collection. Double the amount of cards from the quarter box for the same price.

Can't beat that.

When I went to pay for them, the vendor said he'd recognized me from one of my past dime box purchases from his table.

Although I'm not one hundred percent sure, I think he was one of the dime box vendors from the show way back in March. It's good to know that I'm a valued customer.

I guess I'm becoming a regular in the card show circles.

To close out tonight's card show installment, I'd like to some of my better-than-dime box finds.

The cards you're about to see came from a 12/$1 box. If my math is right, that's about eight cents per card.

I should also note that this is the table where my dad snapped that "in-action" photo of me scrounging the discount boxes. That was taken while I was digging through their discount vintage box, which I'll be saving for tomorrow's post.

For full disclosure, I should note that I don't mind standing while searching through boxes. I probably do so at about half of the discount boxes I peruse. My dad and I stood for the entire half-hour we were at the 12/$1 portion of this table. 

A chair is preferred, but not exactly needed. 

These 12/$1 boxes are starting to become a regular card show occurrence. I showcased a few of my finds from this vendor at the July show as well.

I'm starting to realize just how great they really are.

If this cartoonish "Wee Willie" Keeler is any indication, oddballs are no stranger to this vendor's discount bins.

Its oversized nature makes for a nice display piece in my "man cave".

Here's a couple more oddballs for the ol' collection.

I've showcased subjects from that playing card set before on this blog. Every single one I own has come from these awesome 12/$1 boxes.

Personally, I wouldn't be opposed to seeing a return of book-themed cards in the hobby. It might not be a bad idea for Topps to embrace.

They certainly make for interesting pieces.

The discount boxes also netted me this pair of Hall-of-Fame "sunset" cards.

I've wanted that "Yaz" for a while. To my knowledge, Fleer was the only card company to grant him a solo card in '84.

Not bad for eight cents.

Because of his abbreviated tenure with the franchise, I've always been interested in cards of Gary Carter in a Dodger uniform. 

It was one of the earliest quests for my "short term stops" collection.

All in all, I managed to pick up about ten new cards of Carter for my binders. 

Thanks to discount boxes, my collection of "The Kid" is certainly growing fast.

Which of these cards is better?

I think that's pretty obvious.

I don't know that I've ever seen such a dramatic year-to-year shift in a player's cards. 

The one on the left is pretty horrifying. On the other hand, the one on the right is nothing short of spectacular.

Still, I couldn't pass on either of them for a mere eight cents.

Here's a couple more "fun" cards from the discount bin.

I'm starting to think that Bruce Sutter was the owner of the first "Fear the Beard" beard. That thing needs its own zip code.

As more and more '81 Donruss cards have found their way into my collection, I've started to notice that a lot of the NL players' shots were taken at Wrigley Field.

Almost all of them, in fact. George Foster is far from the only one.

You know me, though.

I can't complain.

These cards weren't happy with their life in Canada.

As a result, they made the decision to move to America, in order to try and make things better for themselves.

Where did that get them?

In a forgotten twelve-for-a-dollar box. 

Luckily, that's where I came in. I saved them from a life of degradation and dimly-lit garages.

Pretty soon, "Knucksie" and his brother will lie happily in my Yankees binder with all of my other "rescues".

It's been a long journey for them.

But at least it had a happy ending.

I'm still amazed that I can find cards of Ryan and Rose in boxes like these.

For a long time, I didn't buy anything these guys. In my mind, starting a collection of "The Ryan Express" or "Charlie Hustle" would've been too costly.

The fact that I've been able to snag cards of theirs for pennies on the dollar changed my mind pretty quickly, though.

They're both extremely welcome in my collection these days.

Even vintage was no stranger to the 12/$1 bin.

Although I usually don't "upgrade" my cards, I couldn't help myself when I saw a shiny '75 Topps Rusty Staub.

My existing copy looked like something out of a horror flick. Water damaged, miscut, creased, you name it.

Although my new eight-cent Staub has some miscut edges as well, it looks like a museum piece compared to the other one.

I guess we all need to upgrade at some point.

I'll have these sweet tobacco reprints close out tonight's post.

"Orval" Overall was one of the star pitchers for the Cubs' last World Series-winning team all the way back in 1908. This is just my second card of his.

I am still astounded by the fact that a Fred Merkle card fell into my lap for a paltry eight cents. 

If I were ever to come into a large amount of money, I'd make it a point to chase down an actual Merkle tobacco card. 

For now, though, I'm definitely satisfied with the reprint.

In total, I found around 90 cards from this vendor's 12/$1 bins. Between those and the 14 vintage pieces I'd picked out from the 12/$5 box, he only charged me twelve bucks for the lot.

I certainly hope he'll be back for the next show.

I'm already in the mood to dig through some more of those boxes.

These first two card show posts have been a great way to emphasize one of the main lessons I've learned from my experiences. It's one I've carried with me for as long as I can remember.

You can find some great deals if you look hard enough.

1 comment:

P-town Tom said...

12 for $1? Seriously? I need to find a way to get to the bigger shows.