Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dime Box Heroes: Moneyball goes to Japan

2003 Topps Kanebo Japan #22 David Justice

This is among the most interesting of my dime box finds.
I came across card in a dime box at a card show this past November. I remember the dime boxes vividly. There were two huge boxes, as full as they could possibly be. I came away with about 40 bucks worth of dime box loot. Yep, about 400 new cards, all at one table. What a great box...

Anyways, what was I saying? I'm sorry, I get a little sidetracked whenever I start thinking about dime boxes. It makes me want to go to a card show. Right now.

David Justice was part of the "Moneyball" 2002 Oakland A's team. The Yankees paid half of his salary in '02 just to have him gone from New York. 2002 would also be Justice's final season in the majors.

I'd found the above card and the 2002 Topps David Justice "Home Field Advantage" parallel one after another in this specific dime box.

At first glance, I thought it was just another 2002 Topps base card I needed.

But after flipping it over, I knew for sure that this wasn't any ordinary Topps card, because this is what I saw.

I thought of using this card for a "Dime Box Heroes" post during my math class this morning. I even wrote it down in my notes so I wouldn't forget. (I wasn't slacking off, it happened during our ten-minute break. I just thought I'd note that in case my dad reads this post.)

It's funny, because to me it sometimes looks like math problems are in Japanese.

Until today, I had no idea what exactly this card was. At first, I assumed that it might just be a custom card or something because the "2002 Topps" text that graces the top border of the 2002 Topps base set is missing.

But then why would it have the exact same picture and design as the regular 2002 Topps set? It didn't add up.

After doing a little research, I found that this is actually from the 2003 Topps Kanebo Japan set, which features the 2002 Topps design.

From past experience, Japanese baseball cards are not easy to find. I've only got one other one in my collection.

I'm pretty sure that this card wasn't meant to be in that dime box. I'd guess that most vendors don't even go through their commons box; they just toss them on the sales floor, attaching the 10 cent price tag without a second thought. 

But even if that vendor did go through these beforehand, it's still easy to miss this one. I didn't even notice it until I started sorting my card show finds later that day.

But that's part of the fun of dime boxes. One person's mistake is another person's treasure. 
If I were to find some high-dollar memorabilia card that was accidentally placed in a dime box, I'd obviously let the vendor know about it. I did once actually find an autograph card (a real one, not an in-person or TTM) in a 100/$7 box at the flea market once. I let the vendor know about it, but he let me have it for the 100/$7 price anyways.

To think, a card as precious as this was relegated to a dime box by its previous owner. A card that very well might have traveled overseas.

First a few collectors fly right past the box. Then a few dozen don't even stop to check. Then you might have a hundred collectors pass up that box within the course of a day. And all of them pass it up without a second thought.

I'd guess that dime box cards that don't sell just get put back into a dark corner of a closet or a dark space in a garage until the next show rolls around.

I like to think that I "saved" this card from that fate.

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