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...
...as 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).
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.