Thursday, June 23, 2016

Card show changes, Pt. 3: Graduation

I was starting to think that I'd never adjust to the changes to my treasured local card show, that I'd just be bitter the entire afternoon.

As I was walking through one of the final aisles, however, I remembered something I felt bad about forgetting in the first place. I remembered how lucky it is that I even have a surviving local card show in the first place.

It's hard to ask for much more: a place I can go a few times a year to be in a room with people who share and genuinely enjoy the hobby I love, a hobby which, admittedly, isn't exactly a mainstream one these days. Forget about rude card show vendors. Forget about cramped tables.

Forget about all the negatives and remember that a card show, any card show, should be -- and is -- fun.

One particularly fun development involved the resurgence of the vendor with the epic 11/$1 boxes I mentioned in my last card show series.

I'm not sure if he remembered me, but I know I was sure glad to see him again. His 11/$1 selection was once again fantastic -- the top three cards on this page came from those -- and he even had a brand-new 5/$1 box packed to the gills with recent inserts and parallels. 

I certainly got my fill of 2016s from those boxes, I'll tell you.

Another new development at his table was the mini binder.

He had a thick binder filled with nothing but minis (mostly GQ) at just a quarter a pop. Like the guy with the 2014 Topps parallels I mentioned in the last post, this could've gotten out of hand real fast. Thankfully, my self-control took over once again and I settled on about a handful of about dozen minis that stood out above the rest.

If the mini binder is on display at the next card show I attend, though, it might get messy.

Also making a comeback was the guy's selection of complete insert sets at very affordable prices.

For just two bucks, I was able to snag the complete 10-card "Glove Stories" insert set from 2016 GQ (not pictured: Freddy Galvis), which was especially nice since I have an entire mini-collection based around at-the-wall grabs and robbed home runs.

Another two bucks got me the 10-card "Walk-Off Winners" set, also from 2016 Gypsy Queen (not pictured: Starling Marte).

I still don't much like the grammatically incorrect "walk-off" phrase, but the English major in me is willing to swallow that if it results in a fun and all-around well made insert set like this one.

I didn't land as many GQ base cards as I would've hoped at this show (because God knows I'm not buying any more packs of it), but I did get my first look at 2016 Diamond Kings via this guy's 11/$1 box.

I still don't have much of an opinion one way or another on these. I see why people enjoy the brand, but I just can't bring myself to get too rah-rah over it. I've said this before, but I was really never that big on the original Donruss Diamond Kings from the '80s.

However, I do like that the 2016 edition worked backgrounds into the design rather than the single-colored backdrops we saw last year.

The 5/$1 box provided a healthy supply of DK inserts as well.

Again, not much to say about these, but I do like how colorful those Expressionists inserts are, and the Sano centerpiece features a fun pose.

And, if nothing else, points to Panini for including old-timers like Nap Lajoie and Joe Jackson in a 2016 product.

One vendor early on in the show had a couple giant tubs of scattered 50-cent cards.

A lot of it was no-name vintage or overproduction-era stars, and, despite about fifteen minutes' worth of digging, I only came out with about a half-dozen cards.

Can't complain with these two nifty Clementes, though.

The 50-cent table was run by a husband and wife, and I heard the wife scold the husband by saying You put KELLOGG'S in the 50-cent tubs?!?! when I went to total up my purchases.

Whether it was by the husband's error or not, I wasn't about to let these Kellogg's singles slip by me at a couple quarters each.

The Yount is a miscut (sorry, Jeff, I'm keeping it) and it made me think: you don't see many quality-control errors with Kellogg's cards, do you?

Adding a Ryne Sandberg rookie card to my collection has been a (failed) priority for me at the last couple shows I've attended.

His '83 Topps rookie is so famous that I honestly kind of forgot that he had Donruss- and Fleer-issued cards that year. I didn't score that iconic Topps single, but I did secure Ryno's '83 Donruss rookie for just a buck at one of the final tables of the day at this show. There's a small crease near the top, which probably explains the bargain-basement price.

I'm still keeping a sharp eye out for that treasured '83 Topps Sandberg, but I can sleep a little easier at night knowing I have a Ryno rookie in my binders now.

After going through the entire show, I found that I had come in well under budget.

With some extra money left in my pocket, I decided to take a trip back to the guy with the 11/$1 boxes and dig through some of his higher-priced short-prints.

I don't usually drop more than a buck on anything modern, but I decided this spiffy Craig Kimbrel handshake/night-card photo variation SP was worth the two-dollar price tag.

The Heyward SP was another two-dollar card, and the purply Cespedes was a buck.

The fact that this vendor had so many short-prints up for grabs probably confirms my original suspicion that he's a case buster of some sort.

If you read this blog at all, you probably know how insane I go for pitchers at the plate.

That insanity convinced me to drop three bucks on this Heritage action SP of Noah Syndergaard at the dish, which is actually quite a fair price considering how big of a splash Thor has made in the card market.

Also, Rookie Cup alert!

You can probably count the times I've spent five bucks on a non-vintage card on one hand.

But, although I initially balked at the five-dollar price tag on this Johnny Cueto photo SP, I eventually relented and dropped a whole Lincoln on it.

A large part of me does with that Topps would just go ahead and use quirky shots like these on the standard Flagship cards, but I guess a small part of me does get swept up in the chase and allure of photo SPs.

No matter how ashamed I am to admit it.

You may have noticed by now that, aside from the aforementioned Kellogg's cards, there hasn't been much of a whiff of vintage in these posts.

That's because there wasn't a whole lot of affordable vintage up for grabs at this show. Most of what I saw was too rich for my blood and/or overpriced, which was definitely disappointing. I did, however, find one vendor with some modestly priced vintage about halfway through the show.

I spent a total of fifteen dollars on three cards at his table, and these two basically ended up being free because the other card I bought was priced at $15.

This was that other card.

I don't even know where to start. First off, I mean...this is a '57 Topps rookie card of Rocky (or Rocco) Colavito, a rookie of one of my all-time favorite players on one of my all-time favorite Topps designs. That would easily be enough to warrant the $15 price right there.

But, backstory, finding Rocky here finally ends a bit of self-loathing I've carried with me for quite a while now. I had a chance to buy this card for an affordable price (I think around $20-$25) at the local flea market about five or six years ago, but passed. I kicked myself all the way home that day, and, even six years later, that kicking had never stopped.

When I saw a copy in that vendors discount bin for $15, I pounced, and the decision took about two seconds to make.

I thought Rocky was going to put a cap on the day until my dad handed me this after we left the convention hall.

I recently completed my college undergrad, and, unbeknownst to me, my dad wandered off to grab a couple graduation gifts for me at one point during the show. I didn't know what he'd found until I started to open the card, but I knew it'd almost certainly beat the tar out of cash or anything he'd find at a Target or somewhere like that.

Knowing my dad's penchant for picking jaw-dropping gifts, I could feel the anticipation building...

...and, as expected, my dad hit the jackpot once again.

Again, where do I start? First off, both Eddie Collins and Hughie "Ee-yah!" Jennings are favorites of both my dad and I in terms of turn-of-the-century baseball. Jennings in particular served as one of my earliest baseball history lessons because of his flamboyant antics as a manager with the Tigers in the late 1900s and early teens.

And the cards. They're about as oddball as oddballs get. They're so oddball that very little is actually known about them. I did some research and it turns out that grocery stores would sometimes issue strips of baseball player photos that customers would cut into individual "cards" in the early '20s. These are both "strip" cards, though tracking a specific manufacturer or grocery store location to them is pretty much impossible.

Not a lot of baseball cards were issued during the post-T206/pre-Goudey era, which makes these two especially fantastic. I'm glad my dad chose these as a gift, because, as opposed to mass-produced Topps and Bowman vintage, chances are neither of us would've ever seen these strip cards again for the rest of our lives had he passed on them at this show. They're just not something you find every day.

It was quite a rollercoaster ride at times, but, all in all, I did have a whole lot of unabridged fun at my local card show.

You can't ask for much else.


Mike said...

Cool that you got some info on those old cards!'s to the next show!!

Brian said...

EE-YAH what a finish! Great stuff as usual - you have a gift for finding the gems.

Twitch said...

In my long, and eventually successful, pursuit of all five of Ryno's main RCs, I somehow came to own three of his Topps version. I can send one your way when I have more than $4 to my name in early July if you'd like.

Fuji said...

Wow. So many great finds. Congratulations! I hope I'm able to find a few $2 GQ insert sets at the show I'm attending the weekend.

Billy Kingsley said...

I really enjoyed your card show series. I have not been to any since 2005 so it's like a nagging ache to me, but I love to read about them anyway.

Jeremya1um said...

I've been collecting since 1989 and have never been to a card show. I guess there were probably some around me but they were just never advertised. One day I'll make it to one. Those are some amazing cards. I love the shiny Donruss cards and those last two would've easily made the trip worthwhile.

P-town Tom said...

One card show a year in P-town and no dime boxes (or 11/$1) at the last one... count your lucky stars, Nick!
That's the first time I've seen those grocery store cards. Pretty cool!

GCA said...

Wow, I'd love to find a mini binder like that to fill out my 2012 GQ blacks. That's the ideal way to do it.