Friday, November 29, 2013

A day at the card show, Pt. 3: Vintage on a budget

The fact that I'm basically the polar opposite of a condition nut has been well-documented on this blog.

Part of it is the fact that I honestly don't much care about the shape of new pickups, especially when it comes to vintage. Just having the card is enough for me.

Some of it, though, has to do with the fact that I'm always willing to sacrifice a crease here or a dinged corner there if it saves me a few bucks. Unfortunately, I don't have the money to go around chasing mint condition cardboard.

If I've learned anything from card shows over the years, it's that you can indeed land some great vintage on a budget.

In fact, none of the cards you'll see in this post set me back more than fifty cents.

You can call this well-loved '67 Curt Flood the "big money" piece of this post. Two quarters, and it was all mine.

Mr. Flood came from a "90% Off" box, one of the first tables I stopped at on Saturday. We'll get into more of what I found from this vendor in my next card show post, but the guy sure had a good story to go along with this one.

After the vendor saw me pick out the '67 Flood you see above, he told my dad and I about the time he had a few drinks with the revolutionary ballplayer in the early '70s. Apparently, Flood could put back a few in his prime.

According to the vendor, both Flood and Bob Gibson's drink of choice was whiskey. And they liked to sample it quite a bit.

I doubt I could've taken home a story like that from one of those higher-end booths at the show.

Discount vintage bin hunters like myself probably put up with many different condition flaws.

Sometimes, though, you can get lucky. You might just stumble upon a bargain bin with vintage that has few, if any, surface flaws. And, while I love cards with character, I surely won't turn down ones in decent shape.

That was the case when my dad and I stumbled upon a 3/$1 vintage box about halfway through the show. I was shocked to find this fairly well-conditioned Mazeroski in there.

I've seen this card on a few other blogs. I couldn't help but be jealous of their owners every single time. It's a beautiful piece.

Which is more than I can say about most other cards in 1970 Topps.

Ironically, most of my favorite finds from this 3/$1 bin were from the '70 Topps checklist.

As you may have guessed, it's not one of my favorites.

The Cookie Rojas has been on my wantlist for quite a while now. Aside from the very hair salon-esque glasses, it's the only card I know of that depicts him as a Cardinal. He spent all of 23 games with the franchise in 1970.

As the Powell hints, I've long been underrating the '60s and '70s World Series Highlights subsets. I'm only starting to come around on them now.

Which reminds me...

That wasn't the only 3/$1 vintage box I found on Saturday.

In what would become a running theme, my dad actually scoped this table out while I was perusing a nearby dime box. He even picked out a few cards he thought I'd like once I finished my dime box digging.

I believe one of my dad's finds was this tremendous Highlights issue from 1960 Topps, one that depicts the Dodgers' victory over the "Go-Go" White Sox in the '59 Series.

It has to be one of the few cards that features real, actual alcohol on the front.

That might not be a bad idea for a post one of these days.

An All-Star card of a Hall of Famer?

In a 3/$1 box?

Yes, please.

Here, we have a few of my oddball-ish 3/$1 finds.

The Blyleven is perfect for the recent OPC surge I've been on lately. And I've been fascinated by those vintage booklets after a fellow blogger sent me a few earlier this year.

They've been on my radar ever since.

If you can live with a few creases here and there, you might be able to find some vintage hometown stars at a discounted rate.

Believe me, Ron Santo stuff goes for insane prices here in the Chicago area. Just like fellow Cubs Ernie Banks and Fergie Jenkins.

But, thanks to a impeding crease, I was able to take home a nice in-action card of Mr. Santo for about 33 cents. The same goes for fellow '72 semi-high number member Joe Torre.

Those are deals I just can't refuse.

These are fairly common members of the discount vintage club.

I seem to find cards from Fleer's old Greats of the Game series in every vintage box I go through these days.

While they're not often remembered in today's hobby, I love these things. 

Where else am I going to find cards of Bobo Newsom and Rabbit Maranville?

These were pretty big shockers in a 3/$1 box.

I'd never owned anything from the "Hank Aaron Special" subset in '74 Topps before Saturday. Finding two of them at such a heavily discounted price was quite a surprise.

On top of that, the fact that these are consecutive cards in the Hank Aaron run will do wonders for my self-diagnosed "cardboard OCD".

If you want the biggest surprise of this 3/$1 box, though, I'll just point you to the card you see above.

I'd never owned, planned on owning, or dreamed of owning anything from the 1948 Leaf set before. Anything pre-1950's seems to be just outside of my price range most of the time.

Even in its extremely well-loved state, I couldn't help but emit an audible "WOW" when I found this in a 3/$1 bin. Not only is this card a whopping 63 years old, but it features a Luke Appling, a Hall of Famer.

That's a true bargain bin success story if I've ever seen one.

The saga of extremely well-loved vintage wasn't over just yet, though.

Near the end of Saturday's show, I found a guy with a big dime box of nothing but glorious vintage. (It's the same vendor who had that huge stack of Galasso Glossy Greats singles I featured earlier.)

Next to the box was a nice pile of what looked to be '50s and '60s cards for a dime. I had to ask the vendor to make sure I'd read that price right.

But, sure enough, they were indeed a dime a piece. Now, of course, many of them had gaping condition flaws.

As you can see, this neat addition to my Reds binder has not one, but two hole punches on it.

As does this one.

In a strange way, though, the fact that each of these are so beat up are the only reason I'd ever add them to my collection. I doubt I would've ever sought out better-conditioned and higher-priced copies of these elsewhere.

For a dime, though, I just couldn't let them go.

My collection is like a rescue shelter for old, battered vintage.

The actual vintage dime box on display had a few highlights as well.

I could've well deemed Saturday as the "Wilbur Wood Show" with all the great cards I found of his. That '70 Topps issue brings me one step closer to completing his "Topps set".

This dime box finally closed a huge hole in my collection with the '75 Topps Ron Cey.

I'm sure that was an iconic card for a lot of Dodger fans back in the day.

Which is a nice segue into...

Wait for it...


It's impossible to tell from the scan, but you'll have to take my word that these are authentic '75 Topps minis.

The vendor at the very next table over from the vintage dime box I just mentioned had a nice stack of minis for sale. They were conveniently priced at 30/$5. (That's about 16 cents each.)

I know of at least one blogger who passionately collects these things, obviously. I picked up a few for him, and I also bought some for a few team collectors I know. I'm hoping to spread the mini goodness in a few upcoming trade packages.

Of course, I picked up a few for myself as well. Gates Brown is one of those names from the past who my dad seems to constantly mention in our conversations.

As a result, I've come to collect his cardboard over the years.

More minis for my binders.

That Murcer is one of the more egregious airbrush jobs in the '75 checklist.

Up next are couple of my favorite White Sox from '75 Topps.

Yes, the "Wilbur Wood Show" continued in mini form as well.

Probably my favorite mini, though, was this very Dock Ellis.

He'll forever be remembered as the guy who pitched a no-hitter on LSD, but he was one of the better pitchers of the early-to-mid 1970's if you go back and look.

Dock Ellis has always been near the top of my collecting ladder. I've had his regular '75 Topps card in my collection for a long time now.

Finding the mini to go along with it is sheer paradise.

We cap things off tonight with the third and final "Dime Box Dozen" need I found on Saturday.

The other two were more modern dime box finds. This one, oddly enough, was even cheaper than that.

Mr. Grich here came out of a 12/$1 box, one that was located at the same table as those '75 minis.

As it happens, my dad was actually the one who found this card. As I was digging through the aforementioned vintage dime box, he was combing through those 12/$1 bins in search of this very card.

I guess it's appropriate that he's the one who finally found it. The reason I wanted this Grich in the first place was because my dad told me how he and his friends used to try and emulate the snow-cone catch in this particular shot when they were kids.

It's a great card regardless, but the story makes it even better.

Even if you're on a budget, discount vintage can still be a central theme of your card show experience.

It was certainly a huge part of mine on Saturday.


JediJeff said...

I hate you for pulling that Appling.

Was that 90% off vendor the same that was at the National? If so, I am sure you passed on a lot of primo cards. That guy's 90% off box was unbelievable.

P-town Tom said...

I second JediJeff's comment. That Appling is one of the sweetest pieces of cardboard I've seen on the blogosphere this calendar year... and for 33 cents! Argh!

petethan said...

Did you just get a '48 Leaf Luke Appling for 33 cents? Seriously. You know, coming to this site to see your latest finds can be brutal... Well done.