Monday, December 2, 2013

A day at the card show, Pt. 4: Dreams come true

In this last chapter of my card show series, I'll be showing off some of my best high-dollar pickups.

For someone like myself, "high-dollar" pretty much means anything a dollar or above. That's mainly because I'm not a big spender and I don't have much money to begin with.

Actually, thanks to my brand new job, I did have a little more cash to throw around at this show. And, as usual, my dad made a much-appreciated grant to my card show fund.

Without his help, I doubt I could've afforded many of the cards you'll see tonight. That was certainly true with probably the best piece I picked up last Saturday, but we'll get to that later.

As I mentioned in my last card show post, I found a whole bunch of discount vintage goodies during my digs. But, as great as they are, you sometimes have to hunt through the big time vintage bins to find the big time gems.

Okay, so maybe a dollar box isn't "big time" to a lot of other collectors. But it is to me. The very first table my dad I stopped at on Saturday was indeed a vintage filled dollar bin. And, yes, it was a literal bin, with cards scattered all over the place. Those sure are fun to dig through.

The '72 Fergie Jenkins you see above earned the distinction of being the very first card I found at this card show.

Not a bad way to start things off, if you ask me.

As the title of this post suggests, a lot of cardboard dreams came true for me at this show.

This dollar bin helped me realize at least one of those.

Before last Saturday, I'd never been able to add a '53 Bowman Color single to my collection. I've always considered it one of the most beautiful sets ever produced. Other people seem to think so as well, because I'd never found one within my price range.

That changed when I snagged this one of former White Sox pitcher Joe Dobson from the dollar bin. I can't say I'd ever heard of Dobson before Saturday, but the prospect of simply owning a '53 Bowman Color card was more than enough for me.

As I found, Dobson had a decent 14-year career in the bigs, racking up 137 wins and a 3.64 ERA along the way. He'll always have the distinction of being featured on my very first '53 Bowman Color.

Hopefully, it's the first of many.

Here's another nice one from the oversized era of vintage.

Finding anything from '56 Topps in a dollar bin is hard enough.

Unearthing one of a fairly well-known name with Roy Face is a whole other story.

The way I look at it, I basically scored these two Tigers greats for free.

I didn't notice that this particular vendor was offering a 12/$10 deal on his dollar box. I'd picked out ten cards, expecting to fork over the $10 fee until the guy behind the table let me pick out two more on the house.

Well, these were the pair of freebies I chose.

Free cardboard has never looked so good.

While not quite on '53 Bowman Color levels, I'd always wanted to add an old Topps Super card to my collection.

After years of striking out, I thought I'd have to settle on a lesser-known name. If I was even able to find one at all, that is.

Imagine my surprise when one of Bob Gibson fell out of this dollar bin.

I'd say that's a pretty good way to kick off my Topps Super collection.

In my discount vintage post, I mentioned that one of the vendors told my dad and I about the time he had drinks with Curt Flood.

I also mentioned that the guy had a pretty nice "90% Off" box on display, and that I'd get to it in a later post.

Well, this is that later post.

As is the case with almost all of these types of boxes, the listed price is most likely the book value of each particular card. In a lot of cases, though, 90% off book is still a pretty darn good deal.

Such a discount made the dream of owning a 1970 Topps Johnny Bench a reality for me. Before last Saturday, I'd never seen a copy go for cheaper than twenty or thirty dollars. Since it was listed at 80 bucks in this box, though, I was able to take it home for eight.

It proved to be one of my pricier pickups of the day, but I didn't even have to think twice about it.

The beautiful multiple-image Ford cost $1.50, while the '63 Fleer Piersall set me back a mere two bucks.

That's some serious 90% off vintage goodness.

These two well-loved '69 Topps Hall of Famers cost two bucks a pop.

While there's not much hope of me ever owning a rookie from Ted Williams's playing days, at least I can take solace in the fact that I now own his managerial rookie card.

Aside from the Bench, two of my other 90% off scores stood out in my mind.

Most cards from the playing career of Sandy Koufax will usually set you back an arm and a leg. That's part of the fun with oddballs, though. They usually cost less than their more popular Topps counterparts.

And, if you can find an oddball in less-than-ideal shape, your wallet will thank you all the more. My cardboard OCD battles with me on a lot of things, but I'm glad to say that the hole punch on this one doesn't bother me in the slightest.

I forked over six bucks for Mr. Koufax, which is way less than most of his other cards will ding you.

I think this particular vendor was shocked anyone would even want this card.

Even though it was listed at $60, he did a little better than the 90% off price tag and gave it to me for four bucks.

At first, I thought both of these were from the Post checklist. But, as I recently found out, both the Koufax and Aaron actually come from the '63 Jello set.

I'm tempted to say that these are my first cards from the Jello brand, but I'd have to go through all my old (supposedly) Post cards and make sure.

Either way, I landed a couple of beautiful HOFer oddballs for a ten-spot.

That's a score any day of the week.

Speaking of Hall of Famers, I actually picked these up at two separate tables during the course of last Saturday's show.

And, much like the Koufax and Aaron, these two also set me back a combined ten bucks. The Gibson was four dollars, while the Mays was six.

I'll pounce on any and all Bob Gibson cards I can find, but that '68 was especially high on my want list. After all, 1968 was the year he absolutely shellacked the opposition with a staggering 1.12 ERA.

My dad once left a box of his best cards at a friend's house when he was a kid. According to him, that '68 Mays was among those lost pieces.

It's almost like I recaptured a missing part of my dad's collection with that pickup.

In my oddball-centric card show post, I mentioned how I snagged a bunch of Hostess singles from one particular dollar box.

As it turned out, that box had a whole lot of other vintagey goodness waiting for me as well.

It was certainly one of the more schizophrenic discount bins I've ever found. The woman (yes, there was actually a woman running one of the tables) had a huge box of dollar singles packed to the absolute brim.

I was about ready to give up after a couple handfuls of pulling nothing but late '80s cards that I could easily find way cheaper. The next stack, though, had nothing but sweet, sweet vintage.

That's pretty much how the box went. A couple handfuls of nothing, then one of absolute greatness. It was weird.

Mixed in among the dollar bin gems was this beautiful '55 Bowman Joe Nuxhall. It's certainly not a card I ever thought I'd find for a dollar.

Then again, I learned long ago to expect the unexpected when you walk into a card show.

After the "biggies" of my collection like Wilhelm, Clemente, and Killebrew, scoring new cards of the Alou brothers provides for some of my biggest thrills.

I'm not sure when I started going crazy over their cardboard, but I haven't been able to stop. I've had pretty good luck with finding their cards in discount bins over the years.

Landing a '61 Matty Alou rookie for a buck was one of the better gets of the day.

After I finished going through the dollar box, I found that I'd pulled a total of 50 cards.

Since my budget was dwindling at the time, I'd set a $30 budget for myself at this particular table. That meant, of course, that I had to put twenty of the cards back.

While those types of situations can be daunting, I didn't have much trouble choosing twenty cards I could live without. Getting down to the last few gave me a scare, though.

That '64 Topps Downing/Bouton "Young Aces" card very nearly wound up on the chopping block. Something inside just wouldn't allow me to put it back, though. I'm glad it wound up in my purchase pile. It's one of the better '64 Topps singles I've seen.

In contrast, the decision to buy the '70 Topps All-Star "Mr. October" was never in doubt.

You don't find cards like that for a buck too often.

Most of the '50s cards I've seen in dollar boxes are mainly no-namers.

Rarely do you find a guy like Sal Maglie in one of these things.

Plus, in the continuing trend of dreams coming true, I finally found a copy of 1963 Topps "Marvelous Marv", a card I've wanted for a very long time.

It's Throneberry's "sunset" card, and the only vintage piece I know of that features him as a Met.

As many fans know, he was the perfect icon for those early Mets squads.

Also among the vintage "sunset" finds in this dollar box was this '60 Topps Don Newcome, another one I've always wanted.

Newcombe actually finished his career as a Cleveland Indian in 1960, but never received a card with the franchise.

Even so, this isn't a bad way to go out.

Technically, this is Sparky Anderson's "sunset" card.

That's because he only played one year in the majors before becoming a Hall of Fame skipper.

I actually scored a copy of his more famous '59 Topps rookie at the National earlier this year. Now, I have the second and final piece to complete his fairly brief "Topps set".

I'll certainly take that for a buck.

In the days leading up to this card show, I stressed my quest to hunt for a couple specific cards this time around.

It's not something I'd ever done at a show before, but I figured it'd be a nice little change of pace.

Denny McLain's '71 Topps issue and Hank Aaron's '75 Topps card were the two pieces on my radar. Lo and behold, I found both of them.

The Aaron came a little cheaper than expected, as I paid four dollars for that nice copy about halfway through the show.

Being a high-number and a short-print and all, I knew the McLain wouldn't come cheap. I was doubtful I'd even track down a copy at all.

As I found, though, the guy who had the '74 Bobby Grich in a 12/$1 box (which I mentioned in an earlier post) also had a little wall of more expensive vintage on display. To my utter amazement, he had the '71 McLain I'd so badly wanted.

I ended up forking over $11 for the scarce piece, which I felt was a more than fair price.

I'll have to do this "looking for specific cards" thing at shows more often.

As far as I'm concerned, though, this was far and away the best pickup from Saturday's show.

This was the very last card I found that afternoon, and was by far the priciest. I actually didn't have enough cash on me to buy it at the time.

But, in what he deemed "an early Christmas present", my dad most generously paid the $33 price tag for this treasured new piece to my Hoyt Wilhelm collection. You have no idea how much I appreciated that.

The vendor who sold me it easily had the best selection of vintage in the entire show. I figured if anyone was going to have that cherished '61 Hoyt Wilhelm, it was going to be him. So, in something I almost never do, I asked if he had the specific card.

At first, he couldn't find it. But, then, a few minutes later, he came back with three different copies of it. The one my dad got for me was easily the cheapest of the trio at 33 bucks. The other two were priced at $55 and $60.

I'm sure a lot of you are thinking that 33 bucks is an awful lot to pay for a standard '61 Topps card. Well, for one thing, this is among the highest of the high-numbers in that checklist. And I'm sure we all know how that affects the price tag.

I've tracked the sales of quite a few '61 Wilhelms, and I've personally never seen a copy in this good of shape go for less than about 40 or 50 bucks.

Value aside, though, this is a beautiful shot of Hoyt featuring his famous knuckleball the grip, the one that eventually got him to Cooperstown.

It's a card I've wanted ever since I started collecting him. Thanks to my ever-generous and hobby-supporting dad, it finally has a rightful place in my binders.

Now, the last official Topps card I need of Mr. Wilhelm is his '52 Topps rookie. That one, well...let's just say it's going to be a tough find.

But, hey. Maybe I'll find it at a show. You never know.

Many of my dreams have come true at card shows, after all.


petethan said...

Was drooling over Sal Maglie until I saw your '61 Hoyt GRIP card. Adding it to the ol' want list now. Sweet vintage. Still planning that dad-napping...

Mark said...

Awesome pickups! The thing I love about large shows is the insane amount of vintage to pick from.

arpsmith said...

Great pick ups and it looks like another successful show for Dime Box Nick. I like that you have a little more disposable income - the variety of cards you pick up is great.

Ana Lu said...

The Joe Dobson card is simply gorgeous!

The Junior Junkie said...

You won the card show. Congratulations!