Thursday, August 8, 2013

National treasures, Pt. 4: It's starting to look a lot like vintage

I did quite a bit of window shopping during my day at the National.

Authentic T206s, Goudey Lou Gehrigs, and a few Topps issues of "The Splendid Splinter" was just some of the amazing pieces the place had to offer.

I even saw a complete 1919 "Black Sox" uniform on display, the only one known to exist today. (I completely forgot to snap a picture in my excitement over such a magnificent piece of history.)

But, while all that vintage eye candy is great, I did manage to take home quite a few neat vintage gems at the National. Ones that fit well within my budget.

Heck, even in a place with such a high-end aura, I still managed to pluck a few sweet older pieces from the bargain bins. Some, as you'll soon see, were on the pricier side of things. (At least for me.)

Others, though, became mine for loose change. A few even came from those lovable dime boxes. Dime bin vintage isn't what I'd call common, but you'll find some every once in a while.

One of my personal favorite dime pickups of the day was the above '79 Topps Keith Hernandez. I've been making a more concerted effort to pick up more of the former Seinfeld star's cardboard in recent months. 

Considering Hernandez won the NL MVP Award in '79, this has to be one of the cards of his to have.

I believe it's also the first to feature his trademark 'stache.

I can't I've enjoyed Tim McCarver's broadcasting career, by any means.

Still, I don't seem to despise him as much as a lot of other baseball fans. 

His subpar announcing certainly hasn't stopped me from picking up his cardboard over the years. Thanks to his tenure in the broadcasting booth, I think some might forget that he was a heck of a catcher in his day.

Rick Monday has long been one of my favorite players to collect. He's an iconic figure from baseball history, yet his cards won't run you all that much.

At just a dime each, I didn't even have to think twice.

While dime box vintage is awesome, most of my better pickups of the day set be back a bit more than that.

The next few cards you're going to see in this post set me back a whopping fifty cents each. Thus far, they're the first ones I've shown in my National posts that were priced at more than a dime.

As far as vintage goes, a fifty-cent bin is among the extreme lower end of the spectrum. I doubt you'll find many cheaper than that.

One of the last boxes I dug through on Saturday held, you guessed it, stacks upon stacks of fifty-cent vintage.

Since I was hoping to save a few of my waning dollars to hit up a tremendous vintage table I'd seen earlier (which we'll take a look at tomorrow), I didn't want to go too crazy with the fifty-centers. Even so, I managed to find 12 cards to my liking at this particular table.

The 1968 Topps design might not have been the flashiest in the brand's history, but I've come to like these World Series cards lately. 

Plus...fifty cents for a vintage Bob Gibson?


Like '68, Topps's 1967 offering isn't one of my favorites from the vintage era.

Nevertheless, these were amazing fifty-cent pickups, if you ask me. 

I'm never one to turn down a new card of ol' Tug. Plus, that's the first card Orlando Cepeda ever had as a Cardinal. Oh, and he's a Hall of Famer, too.

That makes the fifty-cent price tag even more unbelievable.

Here, we have a couple oddball vintage pickups that were certainly a surprise at just fifty cents.

The Hodges is from the 1975 TCMA "All-Time Dodgers" release. TCMA cards are always in demand around here, but that's the first I've had the pleasure of owning from that specific Dodger-centric set.

I can't say cards of Harry Heilmann are anything near common these days. I think I own a total of nine Heilmanns at the moment, which isn't all that many for a Hall of Famer. 

That's why finding that one from Fleer's ill-fated "Greats of the Game" release from the early '60s was one of my favorite National treasures.

Plus, it's the first one I've found that shows Heilmann during his later days as a Cincinnati Red.

As far as the fifty-cent vintage goes, this one pretty much takes the cake.

Once again, we have another Cooperstown inductee. It's also now my oldest card of Jim Palmer. And it comes from one of the greatest sets ever made with '72 Topps.

That's quite a few accolades for a fifty-cent piece of cardboard.

Early on in my day at the National, I found a table that had 3/$1 vintage up for grabs.

Seeing as how they were basically scattered in little stacks amongst the table, I wasn't expecting all that much. If there was anything special in there, surely the vendor would've at least put them in a box or something.

Or so I thought.

My total finds from the batch of 3/$1 cardboard totaled just six cards. I'll be darned if those six cards didn't pack quite a punch, though.

At about thirty-three cents, this was an absolutely jaw-dropping find. It's my first from the '64 Topps World Series subset, one that chronicles the Dodgers' four-game sweep of the Yankees the year prior.

If you look to the far left, you can see a member of the Yankee bullpen apparently hurling some catcalls at Dodger outfielder Ron Fairly.

I can't help but wonder what kind of salty language he might've been using in the process.

It's a dream come true.

I finally have a card of "The Unibrowed One", Wally Moon!

At 3/$1, how could I not buy this one?

More vintage oddballs!

This time, they come courtesy of the 1969 Milton Bradley release. I can't say I've seen too many of these in person.

Creased and generally well-loved, the Bonds was one of my 3/$1 pickups. While not officially listed as a rookie card, I certainly consider it as such.

The Cox proved to be one of the more interesting finds of the day. For a long time, I thought I owned the only card he had issued during his playing career with his '69 Topps rookie.

You can imagine how astounded I was to find that he had another one in the 1969 Milton Bradley checklist. (I'm starting to think it might not even be the last one.)

Of course, Cox would go on to become one of the better managers this game has ever seen. His playing days, however, weren't all that spectacular. He played just two seasons in the bigs with the Yankees in 1968 and '69.

Because I seriously doubted I'd ever see another copy, I jumped at the chance to buy the Cox for a meager two bucks.

This was the cheapest card I bought at the National.

How much was it, you ask?


Next to the stacks of 3/$1 cardboard, this vendor had a couple bins full of individually priced vintage. 

To my utter surprise, I found the "FREE" price tag on this '77 Schmidt upon flipping it over. I'd bet it was the only free card in the building that afternoon.

From the looks of it, tape was stuck to and removed from this one at some point. At the very least, it'll serve as a nice placeholder until I can find a better-conditioned copy.

While it might not be in ideal condition, I'm never one to turn down free baseball cards.

At four bucks, I very nearly passed on buying the '71 Yastrzemski.

Since I didn't want to blow too much of my budget earlier on in the day, it was in competition with a few other bargain bin finds I'd pulled. 

But, while it'd prove to be one of my pricier pickups of the day, I decided that I had to have a card of "Yaz" on one of my all-time favorite Topps designs.

The oddball "Scratch-Off" issue, on the other hand, was a much easier decision.

At just 75 cents, it barely made a dent in my wallet.

It's impossible to tell from the scan, but this is indeed a '75 Topps Mini.

As probably my favorite find of these particular bargain bins, this Garvey became mine for just a single dollar.

Before the National, I hadn't added a new '75 mini to my collection in what seemed like forever. Going into the day's festivities, I was hoping to find at least one of these beauties in the discount bins.

My wish came true.

And then some.

Right before I headed off to meet up with fellow blogger Jeff, I stumbled across a table that had more '75 minis.

Priced at a buck a piece, the vendor had about a couple dozen of these on display. Upon first glance, I could see that most of them were in nearly flawless condition, so I wasn't expecting to find many names.

Once again, though, I was proved wrong by the world of discount vintage. There were plenty of big names to go around. Right near the top of the stack was Mr. Al Oliver.

In fact, this is one of my personal favorites from '75 set. I had Oliver sign a copy of its full-sized version when I met him a few years ago. 

Oh, but the '75 mini saga didn't end there.

Mini Hall of Famers!

These are a couple of the more well-known cards from the 1975 checklist. And, thanks to the National, I now have both in mini form.

Aside from a little wear-and-tear on the Robinson (his "sunset" card, by the way), the only flaws I can see on these is the fact that they're slightly miscut. The Brock, as you can probably tell, doesn't have a single crease or soft corner. Nor does the Oliver.

I've been known to buy cards that look like they've been through the wash a few times.

So making a concession for a few miscut edges isn't much of a concern for me.

Especially if... gets me the mini of the first '75 Topps card I ever owned.

This was the first issue of Billy Williams in anything but a Cubs uniform. I'm sure it came as quite a shock to many young collectors back in the day.

I'm almost positive that this was indeed the first '75 Topps card I had in my collection, coming from the local card shop that was such a big part of my childhood. 

I've had it since the second or third grade.

Now, over a decade later, I'm lucky enough to have the mini to go right along with it.

A true National success story.


night owl said...

Thank goodness you got to the vintage. I was getting a little disappointed there.

You can't do any better than finding '75 minis at a show (they're very rare at any shows I frequent). I also like the '67s. I like that set.

Proud to say I own a dozen of the cards you showed.

Jeff Lilley said...

Great article and great cards at awesome prices!

Stealing Home said...

I really dig that 64 WS subset, and I'm chasing those down myself.

We should work as a team to help each other with extras to fill that set out whenever we can.

petethan said...

Shame on you, Nick. You've been too busy to read my blog, I guess. Where have your priorities gone? Night Owl sent me the '77 'Stache... I mean Hernandez, featuring the debut of Keith's lip ornament.

Diggin' the mini Frank Robinson, and the oxymoron, therein...