Thursday, March 14, 2019

Let's try this again (a card show report)

I'm happy to report that, after the unfortunate experience of having my car break down on the way to a card show a couple weeks ago, I was able to make it back to that same show at its next gathering this past weekend.

This became a kind of belated birthday party of sorts -- much of what I spent consisted of birthday money from my parents (as well as getting to use my mom's car to get to the show, since I don't much trust my car anymore). The rest of my budget was covered (and then some) by the Acuna Heritage ultra-SP I pulled. Couple that with the fact that I bumped into my buddy Jeff by surprise and you have a rollicking good time at the local card show.

All this was made even better by the fact that I found pretty much the one thing I was hoping to stumble across: a dime box that covered about 95 percent of my 2019 Heritage needs, including Pat Neshek's tribute to Lowell Palmer which I'm already declaring the Card of the Year.

Finding all that Heritage for dimes does admittedly make me feel kinda stupid for having spent so much on retail packs (this happens to me quite often).

In addition to another neat 1970 Topps homage with the Frazier autograph shot (a nod to a similar image of Bud Harrelson from the original set) came some cool quarter and fifty-cent inserts, including my first baseball card of the Supremes!

That same vendor also had a bunch of 2019 Donruss, which was a bit of a surprise since it'd been released just a few days prior.

My feelings about Donruss this year can pretty much be summed up in one word -- ick (though I am thankful for a true David Wright sunset card).

The dime boxes at last weekend's show didn't have a ton of variety, but I did manage to snare a few mini-collection hits with these.

I'm always game for photo variations, especially when they come out of dime boxes like the Ryu and Bell did (the Bell is actually a Super SP which recently sold for $30 on Ebay!).

I snagged the Jones and Kiermaier out of a dollar box run by a vendor who was younger than I was, providing me with another man-I'm-getting-old moment I didn't need.

Shiny stuff and high-end base will forever be dime box thrills.

I paid 50 cents for a Josh Hamilton rookie, but found a Christian Yelich rookie in a dime box.

This seems backwards to me.

I've had a sneaking suspicion I might find some online-only Topps stuff in a dime bin one of these days, and that finally came true at the show last weekend.

But it's still kind of shocking: I mean, someone had to go through the process of browsing and ordering these specific cards...only for them to wind up as dime box afterthoughts not long after.

I guess I'm kinda spoiled, in that it feels inconvenient for me to have to pay more than a dime for modern cards I want.

Still, I can't much argue about the fifty cents each of these beauties commanded (including the bizarro-world '84 Strawberry).

These two excellent Gashouse Gang TCMA oddballs were the first cards I found last Sunday, mine from a dollar bin just minutes after I entered the village hall.

Though I didn't know it at the time, they pretty much foreshadowed what was to become a massively vintage-heavy card show haul. It's odd because I've been on record as saying this show isn't as vintage-centric as some of the other ones in my area.

As you'll soon see, I don't think I can say that anymore.

Another vendor I came across late in the day had a few large stacks of dollar vintage up for grabs -- heavily discounted thanks to someone named Edward who stamped almost all of these cards at some point in their lives.

I heard a Card Show Bro next to me complaining about how he didn't wanna buy any of them because of the stamp -- in my head I couldn't help but think Great, more for me!

Regular readers of this blog might already know of my deep love for these vintage Fleer World Series cartoons, and I don't think I've ever seen more of 'em in one place before Sunday.

My head just about hit the ceiling when these came out of those dollar stacks  -- Edward applied the stamp on the back instead of the front, for some reason.

If that dollar vintage made me hit the ceiling, then I just about went to space after what awaited me at another table.

What I'm about to show you, my friends, was Discount Vintage Heaven, quite possibly the best vintage table I've ever come across. And I'm not exaggerating here. There's a vendor at this show who always has drool-worthy vintage for sale. Trouble is, most of it is in good shape and thus lightyears out of my price range.

But from what I can gather, he's either been holding out on me this whole time, or just recently decided to undertake a huge purge of his lesser-conditioned vintage. Because this past weekend, for the first time, he had a new box at his table comprised of two-dollar vintage. Two-dollar boxes aren't usually that exciting. I grabbed a stack without much enthusiasm. But then I found a '49 Bowman Johnny Sain and my head almost fell off.

Everything I'm gonna show you in the next few scans came out of that same two-dollar box -- and if you don't believe me, just remember that I have witnesses.

Two dollars.

Two dollars.

Two dollars.

Two dollars.

Two dollars.






I just...I can't...I have no words.

And if all THAT wasn't enough, the same vendor even had a 50% Off tub, filled with a few large stacks of other off-condition and/or clearance miscellany.

Mr. Cub cost me all of $2.50 (half-off its original $5 price tag) and the Santo was a whopping buck-fifty.

They're not as vintagey as the rest of what I found, but I nabbed these two impeccably-conditioned Boggs RCs for five bucks a pop -- which completes my rookie-card triad of his since I already owned his Topps rookie.

Okay -- surely this guy couldn't have had anything better than what I've already shown, right?

Wrong. At the far end of the dude's table was another minefield of discount vintage -- all priced north of two dollars but still unbelievably affordable. I'd like to describe how I felt about all this, but I was too flabbergasted to remember.

Much of these came from the birthday money from my dad, who helped me pull some of this staggering display of vintage -- he's the one that found this '55 Bowman Kaline for five bucks.

Dad also found that '62 Berra for another fiver -- which has been a dream card of mine for a while now.

Meanwhile I was the one who discovered a '71 Willie Mays sitting in those stacks for another five-dollar bill, fitting since I'd just recently added it to my Keep Dreaming wants.

These two were also just FIVE DOLLARS EACH -- I grabbed them before anyone woke the vendor from whatever stupor he was in.

Now here's a card I just plain assumed I'd never own.

It's Nolan Ryan. It's a vintage uber-high number (#712). It's a well-known card. Put that together and you have something I'd never seen priced at anything under $50...until last weekend, when I found this copy (which isn't even that well-loved) sitting there for $10, for some reason.


This is why I enjoy buying off-condition vintage from vendors who mainly deal in pristine cardboard -- they treat well-loved stuff like a bad cold, and they price them accordingly.

How else can I explain how I got a Willie McCovey rookie (another card I never once dreamed of owning) for ten bucks?

From what I can gather, this is one of the scarcer cards from '63 Post/Jello (I can't tell which) set -- copies in good shape run in the three-figures.

Thanks to a little tape residue, however, I was able to take home this Clemente for another wrinkled ten-dollar bill.

And then the grand finale, the flourish after it all -- a '66 Clemente!

At $15, it was the most expensive card of the lot, but still a whale of a deal since the cheaper copies I've seen run twice that. When you put it all together, over half of what I spent the entire day came at this dude's table. Seriously, someone still needs to convince me I didn't dream all this.

The world works in strange ways. Perhaps the cardboard gods were just playing a cruel trick on me by having my car break down a few weeks ago. Maybe they were saying NO, NICK! You'll find all this better stuff if you just wait a while! The wind and snowstorm they caused that fateful day weren't enough to get me to take the hint. So they killed my car instead.

Perhaps they could've given me a better sign than having me go through stressful (and kinda expensive) car repairs, but still -- I guess I can't be too mad at the almighty cardboard gods, right?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The (Second) Dime Box Frankenset, Page 66: Numbers 586-594

Frankenset Page #60 WINNER -- 1975 Topps #533 Rudy Meoli (17 votes)

Last week's frankenset page went about as expected.

The classic '75 Rudy Meoli drubbed the competition -- and he seemed to bring a bunch of new voters to the poll along with him. The 45 total votes were the most I've received on a single page yet, more than a dozen more than I'd received the week prior -- Meoli's 17 ran away without much of a fight. Honestly I'm a bit surprised it wasn't even more of a blowout.

Even apart from Meoli, I thought last week's page was rather well-rounded, and apparently a lot of people did too judging from the voting turnout.

This week's page probably isn't as exciting, but it sure gives a good look at a bunch of different minutiae I collect.

The Random Number Generator seems to be on a high-number kick lately -- as governed by its powers, we'll be taking a look at Page 66 (#s 586-594) of the frankenset tonight, so let's meet the nominees.

1987 Topps #586 Ben Oglivie

I feel like something exciting is happening just out of the frame of this card. 

1991 Upper Deck #587 Kurt Stillwell

A gem from Upper Deck's early years. 

2017 Topps #588 Kirk Nieuwenhuis


1996 Collector's Choice #589 Ricky Bones

Ricky Bones, one of those mediocre mid '90s dudes who seemed to consistently receive fantastic baseball cards. 

1993 Donruss #591 Lenny Harris

Donruss testing my OCD by listing Lenny Harris as a third baseman, yet showing him turning two(?).

1994 Topps #592 Doug Strange

A very Strange double dip. 

1995 Donruss #592 Brady Anderson

Broken bats on baseball cards are rare, but beautiful. 

1992 Topps #593 Steve Decker

I think I subliminally collect cards with bunting on them.

1992 Topps #594 Brian Barber

Brian Barber made history in 1992 by being drafted when he was just 11 years old.

That's it for this week's page. The polls are now on the sidebar.

Happy voting!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

A life without card shows is still worth living

So I have not one, but TWO card shows on the horizon next week: the monthly Village Hall gathering this coming Sunday (which my car sabotaged me of last month), and the big convention hall extravaganza the following Saturday.

Needless to say, I've been counting down the days to this seemingly mundane week in mid-March for a while now. My card table is cleared in anticipation, my mind's already in get-these-next-few-days-over-with mode. It's in times like these that I start to reflect on just how different my collecting life would be without card shows.

I don't remember how old I was when I went to my first show -- probably around 10 or 11. There's no true replacement for that big mark-your-calendar excitement a show brings. I'd miss that for sure. But if we're talking about the cards themselves, I'm honestly not sure how different it'd be, because having a blog has become an outlet for people to send me stuff that's often just as good as (if not better than) what I find at shows.

Every once in a while, a reader stumbles upon my blog and proceeds to shovel a whole bunch of cardboard onto me -- that happened recently with a reader/collector named Bob, a generous soul who's sent me four different packages I'll be covering in this post (and a man who I'll definitely be shopping for at next week's shows!).

The '94 Collector's Choice Brett at the top of this post was a former Dime Box Dozen suspect since erased by Bob, which will become a running theme here tonight.

Aside from being a gaping hole in my sunset collection, the Brett was an even more pressing need given that I'd somehow owned the Silver Signature parallel without the standard base issue. Headache no longer.

Bob also sent along these fantastic Cubs which likely would've been overpriced at the local shows, highlighted by the terrific Donruss Ryno box-bottom and the Conlon Charley Root (seriously, I can count the Charley Root cards I own on one hand).

MJ and Jimmy Carter together in the same scan for no apparent reason.

From what he tells me, Bob collects cards of dudes blowing bubbles -- while it's not an official mini-collection of mine, I'm always up for getting new ones.

I'm especially thrilled to finally have that Ken Reitz, which has been proven to be the first time a dude ever blew a bubble on a baseball card.

Here's a gaggle of themes I do collect from Bob -- proof that it's just as exciting to receive new mini-collection hits via trade than it is to discover them in dime boxes.


The second package from Bob brought along some new double dips... well as a couple prime ivy cards -- including the Dawson, another former Dime Box Dozen need that somehow flew under the radar for all of my adult life.

Do oddballs get any better than a Mr. Turkey Jim Abbott?

Another package from Bob saw another Dime Box Dozen need fall by the wayside with this '82 Fleer Brad Mills, an excellent image of early-Fleer zaniness that I'd long admired from afar.

Given Bob's affinity for bubble-blowing cards, it makes sense that he'd be the one to send it to me -- I don't think it lasted more than a week on my DBD list.

More new double dips -- though I'm never sure what to do with Topps Big stuff since they don't fit in standard pages (and I don't really wanna buy 8-pocket pages just for those).

And right as I was starting to get the scans for this post together, yet another package from Bob arrived on my doorstep just yesterday -- nothing beats surprise cards after a long day of work!

Especially when those surprise cards include more mini-collection hits (note to self: I really need the base version of that Baerga now).

Throwbacks, anyone?

And finally here's, yes, another Dime Box Dozen need, one that'd been sitting on my list for the better part of last year.

For all the pomp and circumstance of his career, new Phillie Bryce Harper really hasn't received a lot of spectacular cards yet -- this Stadium Club shot is one of the lone exceptions, showing him holding Olympian Katie Ledecky's five gold medals as she delivered a first pitch at Nats Park a few years back.

I've scoured dime, quarter, fifty-cent, even dollar boxes in search of this card since 2017 Stadium Club came out, all to no avail. But then a reader like Bob comes along and, just like that, one-ups the card show gods (though with my luck I'll probably see this Harper in the first dime box I go through on Sunday).

Card shows still rule, but with people like Bob around, they ain't the be-all, end-all of my collecting life.