Friday, November 28, 2014

Inside the card show, Pt. 3: The vintage impulse

When you put vintage in front of me, there's no telling what might happen.

It's easy to blow through a good chunk of my card show budget because of my uncontrollable urge for old-time cardboard.

Plenty of vendors were advertising boxes of two-dollar vintage and heavily-discounted '50s singles on Saturday. They sure are tempting, always coming close to sucking me in. But, as somewhat of a card show veteran, I know I can pass up those types of tables and make a note to myself to return should my budget allow.

Discount vintage is another story. I consider "cheap" to be anything a dollar or less. At that price, I can allow myself a little room for craziness and not burn through too much budget. Thankfully, a lot of discount vintage vendors were out and about on Saturday.

The first is a staple of this tri-annual show, and the same guy who puts out those 12/$1 boxes I closed with in Part 1. In addition to those other bins you see above (as well as my dad's disembodied hand), he always has that bright-colored 50-cent (or 12/$5) box on display.

I've unearthed a good deal of gems from that box over the years, and I'm happy to report that the trend continued on Saturday.

The first thing that caught my eye this time around was a massively oversized card poking out the back of the box.

A closer look revealed it to be a 1964 Topps Giant single of former Colt .45 pitcher Ken Johnson. He's most famously known as one of the few hurlers who managed to spin a no-hitter and lose. It's a rather odd feat that is actually commemorated on the back of this very card.

I don't particularly know much about Johnson apart from that, but it's a pipe dream of mine to own every Colt .45s issue ever made. Pipe dream or not, this card was coming home with me.

Even if I'm still woefully short of my Colt .45s quest.

Now, my attempt to get every Pilots card ever made, on the other hand, is gaining some steam.

I went into more detail on it last Friday, but one of my goals for Saturday's show was to get closer to completing my Pilots team sets. Diego Segui was the lone Pilot I found, but every little bit helps at this point.

Out of the same 12/$5 box came my first solo card of Don Mossi. I've somehow gone all these years without owning anything of the former Tiger pitcher.

Those ears.

Cracked or not, I'm definitely in the market for Kellogg's at less than 50 cents a pop.

The box didn't mention anything about Kellogg's, but I managed to find these two beauties tucked away inside a few of the various Topps sections the vendor had organized.

The oddballs made this guy's table for me on Saturday.

Some of them weren't even baseball-related.

I was stuck on eleven cards at this table for a few minutes, trying to find a twelfth to round out my purchase. That's when I found Mr. Pierce stuck inside a stack of miscellaneous '70s Topps singles.

Franklin Pierce, as I well remembered, was the last piece I needed to complete my self-labeled "Presidential Set" until my dad came through last Christmas. Now, I somehow have a second card of one of the most obscure Commanders in Chief in US history.

I don't have much info about this oddball, but it certainly brought my time at this table to a satisfying end.

While a lot of the discount vintage vendors at this card show are familiar faces, there's always a few new guys that manage to surprise me.

Each and every box you see here was filled with dollar vintage. My phone camera couldn't even get them all into a single frame. You can see the beginnings of a couple more of these massive boxes in the extreme left if you look closely.

I could've spent hours and quite a bit of cash at this table alone (couldn't you?), but I decided to employ another one of my tactics to reduce the vintage impulse.

The limit.

If I see something like this, I'll say to myself...Okay, Nick. Twenty dollars max. After a copious amount of digging, I'll see what I have and, if I'm over my limit, put back anything I can live without. Again, I can always come back.

Although it's nearly impossible to put cards back sometimes, I was able to trim my finds from this table down to twenty bucks without much of a hassle.

This was the very first card I pulled from the dollar depths.

In the end, it turned out to be the only '75 mini I bought all day. It may not seem like a spectacular card on the surface, but this is Jim Perry's sunset issue.

I'm glad to finally have it in mini form.

While "book value" (ugh) might not say so, these 1961 Golden Press oddballs are pretty rare from my own experience.

I've only found a couple at card shows over the years. They might not get a lot of hype, but I really like the looks of these things. I was all too happy to drop a dollar on Sisler and Gehringer.

Both Hall of Famers, by the way.

Here's a couple more Hall of Famers, this time from '65 Topps.

Also known as The Best Set Ever Made (At Least to Me).

The Santo was especially shocking considering the obnoxious prices his cards can go for around the Chicago area.

My dad was nice enough to help me dig through these massive dollar boxes.

He took the '50s and early '60s singles, while I took the rest. My dad's a vintage guy through and through, and he knows the kinds of things I look for at these discount tables. I think the fact that he asked if I needed a '57 Topps Virgil Trucks is the perfect example of that.

I collected the late hurler before I joined the blogosphere, but the stories I heard about how great of a guy he was inspired me to seek out his cards with a whole lot more passion. I put the '57 Trucks in my purchase pile, and asked my dad to keep a lookout for the pitcher's '59 Topps issue, his sunset card.

My dad tapped me on the shoulder about a minute later. There it was. A '59 Virgil Trucks.

Just like that.

I love collecting big name old-timers, but cult favorite types of guys like Jim Piersall and Harvey Haddix sure are easier on my wallet.

Most big baseball fans know their names, but their cards aren't the most desired in the vintage industry. Hey, more for me.

That '61 Piersall was a huge find for me, seeing as how I now have every Topps card of his from 1958 to his '67 sunset issue.

Maybe I'll make a serious run for his complete Topps set now.

Though this table was stocked with treasures, I think this was the dollar find of the day.

I don't go into vintage dollar boxes expecting to score cards of guys like Harmon Killebrew. It doesn't happen often. But when it does, man, what a special feeling.

I'm lukewarm about '62 Topps, but these in-action cards make for one of my favorite subsets of all-time.


The vintage temptation nearly got the better of me about halfway through the show.

My dad ventured off to a table advertising discounted '50s and '60s singles while I was embarking on one of my dime box digs. After I was done, he let me know that he'd set a few aside for me to look at, ones he thought might capture my fancy.

Almost all of them did. Maybe too many, in fact. I could've easily dropped a nice chunk of change on what my dad picked out, but I managed to control my impulses and just settled on this spectacular '54 Bowman Enos Slaughter for the low price of five bucks.

Again, I figured I could always come back.

And come back I did.

Thanks to a more than generous grant from my dad (and one I still don't think I deserved), I had a couple bucks left in my wallet by the end of the show. That's when I remembered that table. The discount vintage people with the Enos Slaughter.

I found the aisle, walked up to the table, calmly plucked out the '56 Topps Minnie Minoso I'd left behind the first time, and handed the vendors four bucks. It ended up being the last card I'd buy on Saturday.


Controlling my impulses isn't so hard.

But sometimes they get the best of me.

I recognized one of the vendors as the guy who had a whole binder of Hostess singles from way back in March. What he had on display on Saturday, as I found, was a whole new Hostess binder, separated by year and packed with singles he didn't have the last time around.

Like in March, the binder was absolutely huge. One of those hearty three-inch binders. All Hostess, all the time.

I picked.

And I picked.

And I picked.

And I picked.

And I picked.

And I picked.

I picked until I couldn't pick anymore.

After the dust cleared, I found to my surprise that I had selected over 70 different Hostess singles from the massive binder. And although the total was a little, okay, A LOT more than I was planning on spending, I wasn't about to put any of them back.

It really wasn't that bad of a deal, as they averaged out to around 60 cents a pop. But I'd be lying if I didn't say I went through a bout of buyer's remorse afterwards. It was a great example of what happens when impulses get out of control. All that picking sure made a nice dent in my budget.

But then I really got to thinking. Where else could I have found that many Hostess cards in one place? I would've spent a heck of a lot more on the internet trying to hunt all those down. Plus, it's not like I blew all of my money at that table.

And, hey, it's not like I'm saving for a new sixty-dollar video game or a five-hundred-dollar TV or anything like that. I'm buying baseball cards. The things that really matter to me.

Ah, screw it.

Card shows are the one place where I can let my impulses get out of control.


Zippy Zappy said...

I'm pretty sure we all can agree that we decide to just break the bank and go way over budget when we attend card shows. It's right up there with drinking and eBaying.

Nice vintage pickups, those Golden Press cards are pretty cool. For black and white pictures that were obviously just painted over, the colors sure do pop.

Mark Hoyle said...

You had a great show.. You already have the two priciest Piersalls. The 66 and 67. You should go for it and grab the rest... They are all reasonably priced

P-town Tom said...

I agree with Zippy Zappy. I've finally learned when I need to tone down on the drinking, but eBaying and card shows are another story. It's hard to control those impulses.

You snagged a bunch of great vintage, but I think the multi-shot card of Harmon Killebrew is my favorite.

Cardman99 said...

I almost always spend less than I plan at card shows, I never buy just for the sake of buying. However I agree its hard to walk past vintage cards at that those prices.

Swing And A Pop-up said...

With all those Hostess cards, I would have overspent my budget too. I probably would have ended up seeking out an ATM as well.

Anonymous said...

You can't say anything bad about a show where you get Kellogg's, Pilots, 1964 Giants and a stack of Hostess!

Fuji said...

I'm still drooling over all of those Hostess cards. Great card show haul!

Julie Owens said...

1961 Golden Press - two great looking cards! Beautiful color. I've looked for a quality set but haven't found any half as nice. Great pick up!

Tony L. said...

Those Hostess cards rock!