Friday, August 9, 2013

National treasures, Pt. 5: Out with a bang

Even though it's been less than a week since my day at the National, I'm already starting to get a bit nostalgic.

Tonight marks the end of my five-post recap of my awesome mega-card show experience. Writing about my pickups throughout the course of this week has been like reliving the National all over again. Hence, the nostalgia.

So, before we get into the last of my finds, I'd like to thank all my readers who have come along for the ride through these posts. I hope they've given you a glimpse into just how awesome the National is.

But, most of all, I have one person to thank. My dad.

Once again, he made a generous grant towards my card show fund. There's a good chance that I wouldn't have been able to afford any of the cards you'll be seeing tonight without his help.

Plus, come card show time, he's always right by my side. It really is a great way to enjoy some quality father-son time, and I couldn't be more thankful for his support, both emotionally and financially.

On that note, let's take a look and see what else the discount vintage gods had in store at the National.

I mentioned before that there's usually a vendor at these shows that has an awesome vintage bin on display. Trouble is, it's almost impossible to get his attention when you actually want to buy something.

Wouldn't you know it, he was there for the National. This time, he noticed my dad and I within seconds when we were at his table, which proved to be one of the better surprises of the show.

I only ended up buying two cards from him. But what a couple of cards they were. At eight bucks, the '59 Topps George Anderson (better known as "Sparky") rookie you see above was tied for my priciest pickup of the day. I'd never seen a copy cheaper than that, though, so I pulled the trigger.

It's a card I've wanted for as long as I can remember, and I'm absolutely psyched to finally have a copy in my collection.

This was the second and final card I dug up from that vendor's discount vintage bin.

While perhaps not the most aesthetically pleasing shot, I jumped at the chance to add a new Richie Ashburn to my binders for a meager three bucks.

As one of the more underrated players in the history of baseball, Ashburn has always been one of my favorites.

And, despite their laughable 40-120 record that year, I'm happy to have a '62 Met in my binders.

Now, though, let's move on to what proved to be the table of the day.

During our little blogger meet-up, fellow blogger Jeff mentioned that he'd just finished digging through a spectacular discount vintage bin just a few aisles from where we were at the time.

From what he said, the table had both vintage dollar boxes and 90% off bins on display. Not surprisingly, that was the first stop I made after Jeff, Julie, and I went our separate ways.

Quite a few fellow collectors were parked in front of the dollar boxes, leaving me nowhere to slot in. There was, however, a bit of room to roam at the 90% off portion of the table.

As I found, Jeff was certainly right about these boxes. I actually ended up making two different trips to this table. Surprisingly, I got through the entire show with a bit of money still left in my pocket, so my dad and I ended up returning for a "second wind" of discount vintage.

There had to have been about three or four boxes packed with random vintage, all at 90% off the listed price. Of course, like all deals of the sort, the listed price is the book value. 

Even at list price though, 90% off is still a heck of a deal. Much like the '59 Sparky Anderson, the '64 Topps La Russa is a rookie card of a guy who went on to have far more success as a big league manager.

Book value on a La Russa rookie is listed at a cool $30. 

At 90% off, though, that's a final price of three bucks, which more than fit into the day's budget.

For just $1.50, this Mathews rid me of a great deal of guilt and frustration I'd been carrying for years.

See, back during my hockey card collecting days, my dad got me an awesome Christmas gift. It was a display case that held 20 cards, and, the being great person my dad is, he filled it with 20 different hand-picked pieces.

One of those cards was the '67 Eddie Mathews you see above. However, within a few weeks, my stupid early adolescent self swapped it for a few miscellaneous hockey cards on my trading forum at the time.

Now, don't get me wrong. I still enjoy hockey, and I had fun during the year or so I collected the cards. But trading a 1967 Eddie Mathews (one that lists him during his unfamiliar Astros tenure, at that) for a mixed bag of hockey cardboard was just plain dumb.

That's not even mentioning all the thought that went into the gift on my dad's part. It's a trade I've regretted for about seven or eight years now.

Needless to say, I'm happy to have reclaimed a lost piece of my collection.

As you might have noticed from yesterday's post, I'm a big fan of any vintage World Series highlight cards.

Despite the fairly substantial crease running through its center, I couldn't help but pounce on the Lolich. The fact that it was priced at a measly 80 cents certainly helped ease my decision.

Now, with the addition of his '71 high-number, I now own the complete Sparky Lyle "Topps set". Everything from his '69 rookie to his fairly suggestive '72 Topps issue to his '83 "sunset" card are now securely stored in my binders.

With a book price of $15, I knew it'd be a challenge. That's not even mentioning how tough of finds high-numbers in general can be at times.

But, at a whopping 90% off, the Lyle set me back a mere $1.50.


These set me back just a buck each.

The Brock was actually the last card I bought at the National. I was ready to buy six bucks' worth of cardboard, which was exactly how much I had left in my pocket at the time.

As they did during my first trip to the table, the kind vendor gave me a deal, only wanting five bucks for the few I'd picked out. So, as a result, I snagged the Brock, which pretty much proved to be a freebie.

By adding it to my bag of pickups for the day, I certainly left the National with a bang.

It's hard to not be a Minnie Minoso fan.

I've been one ever since I was a young lad. Even with the heavily airbrushed cap and rather generic shot, I still think getting that '62 Minoso for just a buck was one of my better buys of the day.

And, much like the Mathews, the 1964 Minoso allowed me to reclaim a lost piece of my collection, albeit in a slightly different way.

Way back during my early collecting days, I was duped into shelling out four bucks for a Topps Archives reprint of Minoso's '64 Topps "sunset" issue, not counting his later '77 Topps "Record Breakers" card. (The $4 price sticker was rather conveniently placed over the Archives logo.) 

Nowadays, I'd probably be able to recognize the difference, but I can forgive my younger self for falling for the trick. I still have that reprint in my binders, but I wouldn't have paid anywhere near that price for it had I known it was a fake.

For just two bucks at the National, though, I finally took home a real copy of Minoso's final card. 

With a bit of writing and its general well-loved quality, there's no doubt in my mind that I have the real thing this time.

Here's another "sunset" card, this time from the '65 Topps checklist.

The 1965 Topps design just so happens to be my favorite in the history of cardboard. Seeing as how its the last appearance Warren Spahn would make on a baseball card, this was one of my most coveted pieces from the set. (Note the rare P-Coach designation as well.)

I've always considered Spahn to be the best left-handed pitcher in history. And, although he's much more known for his tenure as a Brave, his final season was split between both the Mets and Giants in 1965.

That makes it a prime "Short Term Stops" nominee as well.

For just three bucks, I was able to take home one of the better cards from my favorite set of all-time. 

One of my goals for the National was to add to my collection of oversized 1950's cardboard.

This beauty certainly took care of that. At the bargain-basement price of just $2.50, I was able to score this amazing '56 Don Zimmer, one of the few Brooklyn Dodgers cards I can say I own.

I was never all that big on the 1956 design before I joined the blogosphere. I've certainly come around on it as of late, though.

These days, it's my favorite Topps design of the '50s.

Although I picked up a boatload of awesome cardboard during my day at the National, a couple of "biggies" from the 90% off bins pretty much separated themselves from the rest of the pack.

Not surprisingly, they featured my two favorite players in baseball history.


This is now my sixth authentic vintage Topps card of Roberto Clemente. It's also the oldest one I own as well, taking the title away from my '69 issue of his.

At eight bucks, it was tied with the Sparky Anderson rookie as my most expensive buy at the National. Once I found it in that discount bin, I knew it was coming home with me.

You won't find many real Clementes for anything near eight bucks. As you can see, the reason for this copy's discounted price are its lopped-off corners. 

And, hey, since I'm basically the opposite of a condition stickler, its subpar shape let me add yet another Clemente to my collection for an unbelievably fair price.

Up until this point, I'd hit all of the goals I was hoping to achieve at this year's National.

Except one.

I hadn't found a new Hoyt card. The dime boxes weren't any help there, unfortunately. And the vintage bins had come up empty.

That is, before these 90% off boxes came along.


I actually did it.

I hit all six of the goals I'd been hoping to achieve at the National.

None, however, were sweeter than finding a brand spankin' new vintage Hoyt for my collection.

Once I started digging through those 90% off boxes, I knew one thing. If I was going to find a new Hoyt, it was going to be at that very table.

And, as fate would have it, I was right. I saw about four or five copies of this very card in those vintage bins. This copy was the nicest of the lot, its only flaw being a barely noticeable water mark in the bottom-right hand corner.

Perhaps the only thing more kick-ass than the card itself was the price.

Five bucks.

That's right. I paid just five bucks for this beautiful 1954 Topps Hoyt Wilhelm.

Now, the only cards I need to complete my Hoyt "Topps set" are his '52 rookie and his '61 high-number. I'll have to save up for a long time (oh, probably a couple years) to afford a copy of his 1952 issue.

But, while pricey, I haven't given up hope that a discounted '61 Hoyt will drop into my lap at some point in the future. If things work out, maybe it'll even be at next year's National.

I don't know where I'll be a year from now, but I'd ideally like to make a road trip down to Cleveland for the 2014 National. 

Until then, though, I'll be gushing over my finds from this year's gathering.

Between the cards, the people, and my dad, it was certainly one of the best afternoons I've ever experienced.

I'm not sure it gets any better than a day at the National.


Hackenbush said...

Great stuff!

P-town Tom said...

90% off vintage? (Jaw drops)

Robert said...

Well done DBN, well done

Jeff Pedersen said...

I was wondering if you found that table! I came away with a 54 Bowman Larry Doby for $5!! Poor condition of course, but that made the show for me. Glad you had such a great experience at the national.

Marcus said...

I very rarely stray from my Padres when adding to my collection, but that Clemente is fantastic. Five bucks is a sweet, sweet deal. When it comes to vintage like that, I prefer the banged up copies, as I've been able to add some sweet 70s rookie cards for way cheap that way.

petethan said...

That's awesome that your dad played and plays such a great role in your collecting habit. Let him know he's made some fans out here in the blog world. The Mathews is officially my favorite of your National finds. I knew you'd find some great stuff, but I had no idea how great. Thanks for sharing, Nick.

JediJeff said...

I saw all those Hoyt's in that box and left them, hoping you would find that table and ultimately - those Hoyts.

I blew past a lot of the cards you bought when I saw the sheer amount of 51s in there and was hunting for the really old stuff. Plus, I was certain there would be a Pierce in that box for me (there wasn't).