Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The day before Vegas, Pt. 4: High rollers

For a long time, I took low-end collecting to the absolute extreme.

If I had a blog about two or three years ago, about 95 percent of these card show posts would've featured cards of the dime or quarter variety. Not to mention very limited amounts of vintage.

In fact, I specifically remember one show where my most expensive purchase of the day comprised of a single, solitary dollar card. Every other purchase I made was less than a buck that day. (For what it's worth, that dollar went towards a 1966 Topps Jim Bunning.)

True, the majority of my recent card show finds are still of the dollar-or-less variety. That hasn't changed much. However, I've realized that the "ultimate" type of low-end collecting I practiced before was fairly restricting. And a little crazy, to boot.

Every now and then, you have to live a little at these shows. Sometimes, a buck can indeed net you something better than ten dime box commons ever could. Especially when it comes to vintage.

With a couple exceptions, every card you'll see in this post set me back at least a dollar.

One of the first tables I stopped at during last week's show featured a gigantic bin of unorganized vintage.

Because it was so early in the show, I knew I couldn't go too crazy with these dollar cards. I could've easily racked up about twenty bucks' worth of cardboard right then and there.

In the end, I settled on six different dollar cards from this vendor. But, boy, did those six cards pack a wallop.

I have long wanted a copy of the '72 Topps "Traded" Denny McLain you see above. The fact that McLain spent all of five games with the A's that year cemented its "must-have" status to me.

Given its "uber-high number" status (#753), however, I thought it'd cost me way more than a buck to add it to my collection, if I were to get one at all.

Lo and behold, though, it wound up falling out of this particular dollar bin.

In the end, it was definitely one of the top three or four "scores" of the day.

Here's another '72 Topps "uber-high number" that I never thought I'd own.

At card #709 in the set, I'd pretty much written off my hopes of ever finding this card for a reasonable price. As I've come to notice over the years, high numbers from vintage Topps sets can go for insane amounts of money.

With this surprising dollar bin find, though, I am just one card away from having a complete "Topps set" of Jim Kaat. 

The last one I need is his '64 Topps issue, one that is, incidentally, also a high number.


I'll be scavenging the discount bins for that one in the future.

Keep ol' Brooks here in mind as you read through this post.

You'll be seeing his name pop up quite often.

For now, though, bask in the awesomeness of his dollar-tastic '63 Fleer issue.

Half of my six dollar finds from this vendor came from the 1957 Topps checklist.

Surprisingly, I've begun to think that I'm one of the few '57 Topps-lovers out there. Aside from '56 and perhaps '59, it's my favorite Topps set of the 1950's.

Like all three of the dollar cards I've shown thus far, I never thought I'd own this pair in a million years. As you might be able to tell from the scans, a couple small pinholes are what sent these "defectives" into the dollar bin.

That masterpiece on the left is indeed Clete Boyer's rookie card. And, although he'd long been a big-league veteran by '57, that's Sal Maglie's first-ever Topps card on the right.

Still, if you want even more '57 Topps awesomeness...

...let me point you to Mr. Mazeroski here.

More specifically, let me point you to this Bill Mazeroski rookie card.

Thanks to a few large pinholes on the its left side, I was able to take this one home for a single, solitary dollar bill. That buck won't even get you a pack of Opening Day anymore.

I seem to have a knack for finding neat cards of Mazeroski. The big find from the first card show I featured on this blog was his '59 Topps issue. And I ended up finding his high-numbered '72 Topps "sunset" issue from a quarter box last March.

Now, because of this amazing dollar bin, I can now honestly say that I own a rookie card of Bill Mazeroski.

I still can't believe it.

Although I didn't dig through much of it, the same vendor with the awesome 12/$1 and 12/$5 bins I've gushed about in the past few posts also had a dollar vintage bin on display.

In the end, I only ended up plucking a trio of cards from its depths.

One was the '75 Topps Carlton Fisk I featured in my "preview" post.

Another was this semi-high number of the "Dominican Dandy" himself, Juan Marichal.

For whatever reason, the '72s were really flowing at this show.

While Fisks and Marichals are terrific, this was easily my favorite of the three dollar finds.

I give full credit to the masterful flick 61* for introducing me to Bob Cerv. Without it, I would've never known that Cerv roomed with both Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle during the historic 1961 season.

Although he was merely an average player during his career, I granted him a spot in my binders due to his "cameo" role in the story of the "M&M Boys".

This is a perfect example of why 1956 will always be my favorite Topps set of the '50s.

The vintage just kept on coming.

As if it couldn't get any better, that same table with the 12/$1 and 3/$1 stacks of vintage from yesterday (the one that landed me the ragged '55 Johnny Podres) also had a small bin of miscellaneous vintage off to the side, all individually priced.

My dad and I had a blast digging through it. As soon as he held up this battered '62 Billy Williams, I put it in the purchase pile.

While it's probably one of the more worn cards in my collection (which is saying something), I jumped at the chance to nab this one for a buck.

I'll always have a soft spot for well-loved vintage.

The night before last week's show, I found myself taking a brief look through my Twins binder.

At one point, I came across a couple reprints I own of Bert Blyleven's 1971 Topps rookie card. I couldn't help but think...

"Wouldn't it be neat if I owned the real thing?"

Right on cue, it fell out of this discount bin the very next day. Considering its fairly nice shape, forking over a mere buck-fifty for Blyleven's rookie card was one of my better steals of the day.

Maybe I should look through my '52 Mickey Mantle reprints before the next show.

For a while, I had a tough time finding anything from the Post brand.

Now, they seem to come in droves.

My dad and I usually agree on which sets we like and don't like. These Post pieces represent one of the few impasses we've come across lately.

He doesn't much care for 'em. I, on the other hand, can't seem to get enough of these cereal-based cards.

At just two bucks, I think I got a heckuva deal on this Gil Hodges.

I doubt my dad would say the same, though.


At a whopping three bucks, this one ended up tied for my second-priciest purchase of the day.

Although I still like my '65 Yaz a tad better than this '63 Topps issue, that's taking nothing away from it.

It'll still prove to be a centerpiece in my binders.

Believe it or not, I shelled out another three bucks for this one.

While I very nearly balked at dropping the necessary funds on "Brooksie" here, I eventually decided that I simply couldn't let it slip away.

I'm not sure about you, but I think I made the right choice.

To close out these recent mammoth card show posts, let's take a trip into the famous "Bargains!" table that has provided so many great memories as of late.

This particular vendor has been present at the last four or five of these local gatherings, always with a shocking amount of vintage on display. I've closed out most of my previous card show posts with my finds from this table.

If I had a more substantial budget, I could easily waste hours digging through this guy's boxes.

As it happens, though, I had exactly eleven bucks left in my pocket by the time I got to his table. I figured a dig through the "Bargains!" box would be a great way to close out the day.

So, let's take a look and see how far I managed to stretch those nine singles and eight quarters, shall we?

While I ended up having to put quite a few cards back, I was adamant that this '62 Post piece would be staying with me. For two bucks, I managed to take home my third awesome piece of Brooks Robinson vintage.

It was certainly a record-setting day at the card show.

All in all, the damage at this table should've totaled $11.25 in all.

As I went to pay for my treasures, though, the vendor let me have this ragged, quarter-priced '75 Topps Mike Schmidt on the house.

Much appreciated, sir.

Surprisingly, a pair of singles was all it took to net this pair of vintage history.

The Aaron was a mere fifty cents, while the Bench was modestly priced at $1.50.

You have no idea how badly I've wanted to own a copy of that '73 Topps Johnny Bench. To me, it's easily one of the greatest cards of the 1970's.

I'll just leave it at that.

This vendor had three different copies of Nolan Ryan's 1973 Topps issue for sale.

Two of the better-conditioned ones were going for six bucks a piece. The lonely, more well-loved copy carried a three-dollar price tag.

So, which one did I buy?

You guessed it.

The three-dollar one, of course.

You should know that by now.

If you'll remember, the last big show I attended saw me drop a whole fifteen bucks on a single card.

Although what that fifteen dollars landed me was most definitely worth it, my most expensive purchase of last week's show didn't even sniff that price.

In fact, the card you see above proved to be the priciest buy of the day.

Four bucks in all.

Much like a few of the other cards I've featured tonight, this iconic piece has long been near the top of my personal "Most Wanted" list. But, as you probably know, cards of "Hammerin' Hank" don't come cheap.

So, when I saw a very reasonable four-dollar price tag attached to this one, I pounced. I've never seen a copy priced cheaper in the past.

It'd be hard for me to pick a single favorite card from all the great finds I've featured over the last few days.

If I had to choose, though, Mr. Aaron here might well be the "king" in that department.

From the cards I've shown in this post, you could definitely say that I've come a long ways from my strict under-a-dollar purchasing habits of old. 

I'm a regular high roller now.

Well, thanks for reading through these card show posts, fellow reader. I hope you enjoyed reliving the day's extravaganza with me.

As usual, I'd like to thank both my mom and dad for the extra money they gave me towards last week's show. I doubt I could've afforded even half of the cards I showcased in this post had it not been for them.

And, of course, thanks goes to my dad for helping me scrounge through all those discount boxes. And that trip to Vegas, too.

Between the card show and Vegas, the first couple months of being 21 proved to be an absolute blast.

I just wish I could do it again.


Fuji said...

Wow. Amazing finds... especially the 72 McLain.

Dhoff said...

That Maz is a super sweet dollar find. Pin holes rock! They let us own awesome vintage rookies.

Jason Koenig said...

You got 70 topps Hoyt Wilhelm?

Nick said...

I do actually have that one already, Jason.