As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I made vintage my primary focus at Friday's card show.
I think that's partly because the couple smaller shows I attended last month weren't all that heavy on the older stuff. In contrast, it's quite easy to overdose on vintage at this huge tri-annual gathering, and I think I did just that this time around. But I'll let you be the judge.
As I've taken to doing lately, I selected a few specific cards to hunt down on Friday in a quest to bring some focus into all the randomness. This trio -- otherwise known as the Elusive Three -- consisted of a 1971 Topps Rusty Staub, a 1975 Topps Nolan Ryan, and a 1976 Topps Tom Seaver. Would the Elusive Three finally become mine on Friday?
You'll find out soon enough, but in the meantime, I actually wound up finding a Nolan Ryan at the very first table of the day (the 50-cent tub I alluded to in my last post), though it wasn't the desired '75 Topps issue.
Still, it's hard to argue with an early Kellogg's card of the Ryan Express for two quarters.
Turns out Kellogg's just wouldn't leave me alone on Friday.
While they're not in the finest shape, I didn't fret at forking over a buck a piece for Cochrane and Grove here since I've had such a tough time tracking down these Kellogg's legends in the past.
These were all between 50 cents and a buck per, and seeing so much Kellogg's star power in one scan -- Rollie! Bake! Knucksie! -- is enough to make me swoon.
It seems I either find a ton of Kellogg's or a ton of Hostess at this show, never an average amount of both.
Friday, as you can probably see, was heavy on the Kellogg's and light on the Hostess. This Eckersley, in fact, was the only one I picked up from the latter, though it was a massive steal from the aforementioned 50-cent tub.
I'll always love seeing Eck in that Bloody Mary Indians garb.
More oddballs from the 50-cent tub with Boog and the Penguin here.
The Cey is obviously a '77 cloth sticker, but I have absolutely no doggone idea what the Powell is: any help on that front would be much appreciated.
Here's a new oddball to add to the stable.
A guy about halfway through the show had a small stash of '63 Topps Rub-Offs on display. Most of the stars were a bit out of my price range, but for a dollar, I grabbed this one of former Colt .45 Dick Farrell. (Floating head alert!)
A wonderfully odd addition to my Defunct Teams collection.
Most vendors at shows like these seem to have a decent handle on fair asking prices for their cards, but every once in a while you'll find people who painfully overprice everything.
A guy I stumbled upon near the end of the evening was asking nearly double the usual going rates for his cards. I can't imagine he made much money throughout the course of the day. I bought just a single card from him: this OPC version of Brooks Robinson's final Topps card.
The $3 price tag might've still been a bit high, but I guess I don't mind overpaying when it comes to OPC.
I'm absolutely powerless when it comes to these Nu-Scoops oddballs, especially when I find them in a dollar box.
The oddballs alone would've added up to a massively successful evening, but the rest of the card show just about pitched a perfect game when it came to your standard Topps vintage.
This Larsen was another coveted dollar box pickup.
A couple from the 3/$1 bin, including a triple bat barrel shot with, yes, Frank Robinson on the far right.
Heavy artillery indeed at 33 cents a piece.
The discount vintage gods went heavy on the Pirates here: Maz was just a dollar and that early Willie Stargell ran me four bucks.
More than perhaps any other vintage Topps set, '64 Topps seems to grow on me more and more with each passing card show.
Mr. Perry -- who looks like he's about to deliver a very Moe Howard-esque eye poke to the poor Topps photographer -- was part of that immaculate 50-cent tub, while Donny was a steal at three bucks.
For obvious reasons, it's rare to find any affordable cards of Ernie Banks at local shows, but these two somehow slipped through the cracks. The '64 was another three-dollar steal, while that beautiful 1970 Topps single -- and I don't use the word "beautiful" very often when describing '70 Topps -- was a mere buck.
I guess sometimes you just have to get lucky at card shows.
It's funny how quickly Topps went from one of their worst designs (1970) to one of their finest within the span of a year.
I still rank 1971 Topps as one of the five greatest Topps sets ever, and I think these two only go to prove my point. At 50 cents, the McDaniel is a stunning card I somehow never owned before Friday, and the miscut Mercer is a dreaded high-number (#635) I'd been chasing for a while that finally became mine out of the dollar box.
And speaking of '71 Topps...
...how'd that whole Elusive Three thing go?
Well, as you can see here, Rusty Staub is now mine. Le Grand Orange is one of my top-tier player collections, but this semi-high number (#560) had forever eluded me. It's a beautiful card, and I remain a huge fan of those pinwheeled Expos caps even though the team no longer exists.
I forked over five dollars for this one, and though it was a little more than I was hoping to pay, I can't argue with the condition or the fact that it put a long-awaited quest to bed.
And there's Nolan!
I thought $8 was a fair price for one of the game's all-time great hurlers on one of the industry's all-time great designs.
Two down, one to go...
...make that none to go, because I found the hallowed '76 Seaver in the same discount box as the Ryan, literally less than a minute apart from one another.
The Seaver was priced at $3, but the vendor let me have it and the '75 Ryan for a cool ten-spot. Just like that, it was all done. The Elusive Three had once again been taken down!
Surely that had to be the highlight of the card show, yes?
You see, about halfway through the show, there was this table. A table with a massive sign above one of the bins that shouted 40% OFF!!! VINTAGE!!! at me. With an incentive like that, well, I just had to take a look.
Believe me when I say that I could've spent my whole day's budget at just this table alone without batting an eye. The thing was absolutely packed with mega-vintage at terrific prices -- I'm talking Mantles, Mayses, Koufaxes, and almost anything else you can dream of.
I wound up making two separate trips to this table, and the very last card I bought the entire evening was one I'd never been able to find at anything approaching an affordable price before Friday. That's right: it gives me great pleasure to say I now own the very 1961 Topps Ron Santo rookie you see above.
With the 40% discount, I ended up paying just ten bucks for a card which, on the lower end of the spectrum, is usually priced for at least double that around here.
Quick sidebar: I recently found out that I was accepted into both of the grad schools I applied to for the Fall.
I only mention this because my dad was in a festive mood and, while I insisted he didn't have to, he offered to fund my first go-round through those 40% Off boxes as a grad school celebration. Seriously, is any dad cooler than my dad?
The Grad School Extravaganza kicked off with the Duke, who, despite actually finishing his career with the Giants, received his Topps finale in 1964 as a Met.
Five bucks later, and the Duke's sunset card found a nice home in my collection.
A couple tough high(ish) numbers of a couple top-tier player collections from '63 Topps, also at about five dollars a piece.
I now only need Flood's '62 Topps issue to own every single Topps card of his, and wow, I think the Rookie Cup may just about have hit its peak in 1963.
Here's a card I never dreamed of owning.
While I'd set my sights on the '75 Nolan Ryan at Friday's show, it was actually his '72 that wound up stealing the spotlight. This is a fairly iconic card (Ryan's first as an Angel) and, as has become a theme in this post, another semi-high number (#595).
Like the Santo, the 40% discount brought the final price down to ten bucks. This is one of those cards that, it seems to me, you just never find well-loved copies of. Every time I see it at shows it's either graded and/or in immaculate shape, and thus priced way north of anything I'd ever be willing to pay.
There was one card left in Dad's Grad School Extravaganza, and if you've read this blog at all, you know the drill: I save the best for last.
As far as Saving the Best for Last goes, I don't know if there's ever been a better card to save for last before this post. This is, yes, a 1958 Topps Roberto Clemente (screw your "Bob," Topps), a masterpiece that predates what had previously been the oldest Clemente in my collection by ten whole years.
You don't see Clementes cheap at card shows. It just doesn't happen. Or at least I didn't think it did before Friday. At $30, it's still a fairly expensive card for the budget of my dad and I, but in the grand scheme of things, that's a steal for a gosh darn 1958 Topps Roberto Clemente.
I literally sleep with cards over my head (remember The Wall?), and I've been waking up in the morning to the sight of this card for the past few days. To tell you the truth, I still don't believe it. It doesn't quite register when I see it within the small confines of my own room.
I don't know what Grad School will hold, but thanks to my dad, one thing's a certainty: there's now a 1958 Topps Roberto Clemente in my own baseball card collection, and I'll never tire of saying that.