Let me take this opportunity to reveal one of my strangest secrets.
From time to time, when no one is watching, I get the urge to smell my baseball cards. I'm not sure how widespread this odd phenomenon is amongst collectors, but I'll admit that I'm one of the afflicted.
It doesn't happen all that often, but, yes...I do hold cards up to my nose on occasion.
For my money, nothing beats the sweet smell of vintage. The scent itself is hard to put into words, but I'm sure most collectors probably know it, whether they want to admit it or not.
Thankfully, I picked up a budding stack of vintage to smell...er, enjoy during last weekend's flea market extravaganza, all of which come courtesy of the vendor from my initial "return of the dime box" post.
In fact, a few of the older pieces I picked up came from that very dime box.
I ask you, does it get any better than dime box vintage?
The above '69 Topps Marty Pattin (a high-number, by the way) certainly caught me by surprise. Best I can remember, it's the first authentic Seattle Pilots card I've found from a dime box.
As I've mentioned in the past, one of my goals is to build the 1969 and 1970 Topps Pilots team sets. I've made decent progress thus far, although I'm not sure how many needs I have left.
I sure never thought I'd get any help from a dime box.
Take a gander at this pair of vintage dime box goodies.
That '70 Topps "Highlights" card is a great piece of history. The O's swept the Twins in three games during the '69 ALCS, catapulting them to the World Series. (Where they'd lose to the "Amazin' Mets".)
Even so, I can't stop staring at Andy Etchebarren's unibrow.
Very Bill Berry-like, if I do say so myself.
I'm with Mr. Owl on these.
Manager cards hit their peak in 1978. This one is especially neat for a couple reasons.
For one, it's Joe Torre's first-ever manager card. Given the long, illustrious career he'd enjoy after his playing days, I find it to be quite significant.
On top of that, Torre was both a player and a manager for the Mets in 1977, one of the last to ever wear the "player-manager" hat.
Would I like to see another player-manager in today's game?
Unfortunately, though, I don't think it'll ever happen.
While dime box vintage is always memorable, most of my "meatier" vintage finds were slightly pricier.
After I'd gotten my fill of dime, quarter, and fifty-cent cards, I moved onto the final bin this vendor had on display, one that featured rows and rows of individually-priced vintage.
Much like the rest of his inventory, this vendor's vintage carried extremely reasonable price tags.
At just a quarter, I didn't even have to think twice about snapping up this '74 Tony Perez.
A quarter was all it took to land each of these neat O's pieces as well.
Seeing as how it's his first solo Topps card, I'm certainly proud to own that Baylor.
And all just a quarter a piece!
As you might have noticed, I've been on a huge Hostess kick lately. I'm starting to think it's become a permanent obsession.
They are my absolute favorite oddballs, without a doubt. The Staub is especially oddball-ish. Although he'd been with the Mets since '72, the people at Hostess chose to airbrush an old Expos shot of "Rusty" for his 1975 issue.
As you can probably tell, they failed miserably. The Expos logo on Staub's jersey is still clearly visible. While it caused me a bit of anguish at first, I've decided that it'll go into the Mets binder after all, despite its Expo overtone.
And, while we're talking about my Mets binder...
Here are a couple new "Tom Terrific" pieces for my collection.
The '77 Topps issue only cost a mere quarter. It'll look great next to the "Cards Your Mom Threw Out" reprint I have of it in my binders.
I had the opportunity to purchase Seaver's '73 Topps issue from a dollar bin at last month's card show, but passed. The regret began to set in during the days following.
Luckily, those awesome cardboard gods once again smiled down on me. It turned up in this vendor's vintage bin with that very same dollar price tag.
This time, though, I pulled the trigger.
While Pilots and Seavers are terrific, I'd have to rate this as my best vintage score of the day.
At only a buck, I'll take absolutely any authentic Topps pieces of Mr. Bench here, the man at the center of the "Big Red Machine".
Plus, his '74 card has that weird tilted-photo thing going for it. For whatever reason, it was quite the fad during the 1970's.
All in all, it's a fantastic piece of the greatest catcher this game has ever seen.
And, let me tell you, it sure smells like vintage.
Now, if I start tasting my cards, then I probably have a serious problem. But smelling isn't so bad.
But, yeah, each and every card I've featured in these past three posts came from just a single trip to my local flea market. And, for the past few years, this thing has run every week.
I'm not sure how I haven't gone broke yet.