Monday, December 30, 2013

Under the tree, Pt. 2: The vintage list

Like most kids, I used to meticulously compose a Christmas list in the weeks leading up to the holiday.

The big payoff came on December 25th when I'd see all the presents my parents and Santa had brought for me. I have very fond memories of those Christmas mornings.

Of course, though, the list making stopped as I got a bit older. The kid stuff pretty much went out the door.

Or so I thought.

Last year, my dad urged me to make a list of a few cards I'd want as possible gifts. I did, and my dad simply blew me away with what he got me last Christmas.

As a result, we did the same thing this year. Much like last year, my list this time around was composed of mostly vintage.

And, just adding to the greatness of these card gifts, my dad comes up with a terrific few ideas of his own. He went off the list for quite a few of my presents this year, adding a heightened sense of mystery to the party.

My dad even threw a few cards from what I consider to be the "modern era" into this wonderful gift. Al Oliver has been a longtime favorite of both my dad and I, and we had the privilege of meeting him at a card show a few years ago.

That made this terrific Championship Baseball oddball of his so much more special.

On the surface, pairing cards of Hank Greenberg and Mike Easler into one scan may seem a bit odd.

My dad bought both of these for a few reasons, though. For one thing, I think he knows how much I like the 3-D Sportflics cards from the '80s. I wish Topps would revive the whole multiple-image concept in today's hobby.

Even more importantly, my dad is the reason I'm such big fans of these guys in the first place. He's the one who first taught me about old-time heroes like Hank Greenberg, after all.

And, while Mike Easler was never a big name, my dad once met the former outfielder/first baseman when he was a kid. Easler stopped and chatted with pops and a few of his buddies, a story which my dad has told me quite a few times.

That's why he's always been a proud "binder guy" in my collection.

I only put a select few non-vintage cards on my list this year.

These two were on it. The Wilbur Wright is the 98th piece I've acquired from the 100-card 2007 SP Legendary Cuts "Legendary Americana" insert set. I'm hoping to put the finishing touches on that project next year.

Before Christmas, I was probably the only collector in the world actively searching for a Franklin Pierce card. In terms of pure history, he was one of the more inauspicious presidents ever.

So, then, what's the deal?

Well, just a month or two before Christmas, I discovered that I somehow owned at least one card of every president in U.S. history. Except one.

Franklin Pierce.

Now, my "President" collection is finally complete. Yes, I have many cards of the bigger names like Washington, Lincoln, and FDR. But I also have ones of the more obscure presidents (if such a thing is possible) like Millard Fillmore and William Henry Harrison, who only served for a single month.

Who knew a card of Franklin Pierce could be so special?

Now, though, we come to the real meat of this post.

The vintage.

Of course, my dad put together another awesome assortment of old-time cardboard this year. However, my aunt and uncle came through in a big way as well.

They know of my card-collecting ways through my dad. And they somehow managed to track down this spectacular framed piece, one that features a quartet of vintage cricket stars. These hail from the Willis's Cigarettes checklists of the 1920's.

While I don't understand the game one bit, I've always been fascinated by cricket. It is, after all, one of the forefathers of baseball.

These are the first cricket cards I own. 

They'll most definitely earn a prime spot in my card room/man cave.

As usual, though, my dad struck absolute gold with the vintage he found this time around.

While I can't remember the last time I personally bought anything off COMC, it's the site of choice for my dad's Christmas exploits. Seeing all the goodies he nabbed is making me think about giving it another test run.

Easily the largest card of all was the terrific 1970 Topps Super you see above featuring "The Toy Cannon" himself, Jimmy Wynn. This one wasn't on my list.

I remember my dad being impressed by the '70 Super Bob Gibson I found at the big card show last month, so that's probably where he got the idea.

I'm definitely planning on chasing down more of these beauties in the future.

I noticed quite a few common threads in my dad's awesome Christmas gift.

Unlike the aforementioned Topps Super, both of these were indeed on my list.

Mr. Wynn makes yet another appearance with that '66 Topps issue, one that completes the "Topps set" of his that I'd long been chasing. I now own every single Topps base card he had issued between his '64 rookie and his '77 "sunset" finale.

Speaking of which, the Dick Allen SSPC issue is also a "sunset" issue, one that I never knew existed until I stumbled upon it around the Internet a few weeks ago. Since he never had a true final issue that featured his stint with the 1977 A's, that one (and his '76 Topps card) will have to do.

I absolutely love the fairly scarce '76 SSPC checklist. And, for your useless trivia bit of the day, I recently learned that a pre-broadcasting Keith Olbermann edited the backs of them.

Thankfully, the Dick Allen appearances were far from over.

These are both MMMMMIIIIIIINNNNNNIIIIIIII!!!!! variations of a couple of great cards from '75 Topps.

Yes, both of these were on my list as well.

Lee and Allen were among my dad's favorite players when he was a kid, so it makes sense that he'd wind up getting these two great pieces for me.

We've moved on to the Kellogg's portion of this post.

The Allen was indeed on my list. If you haven't figured it out yet, he's in the top tier of my many player collections.

The Sanguillen, on the other hand, was a non-list find. I'm guessing my dad discovered it during a Allen-related search through COMC's selection of '73 Kellogg's.

My dad knows I'm a big Manny Sanguillen fan, and I couldn't be happier to have that beautiful oddball in my binders.

On top of that, I found a few pieces from Kellogg's 3-D years in this grand gift as well.

My dad went off-list for these two.

The Campaneris is from the very first Kellogg's checklist in 1970. With the '65 rookie of his that my dad found last Christmas, it's the second straight year a great "Campy" card has graced my holiday presents.

Kellogg's also put out a little-known legend set in 1972, which is the backstory behind the beautiful Sisler.

You have no idea how glad I am to be back on the oddball wagon these days.

After years of not being able to find any, I've now added two '53 Bowman Colors to my collection in the past couple of months.

I found one of former White Sox pitcher Joe Dobson in the same bargain bin as the aforementioned '70 Topps Super Bob Gibson at a recent card show.

This one of longtime Sox backstop Sherm Lollar is even better. This one wasn't on my list, either, but I'm sure glad my dad dug through the COMC archives for it.

The card world is made up of many different opinions and thoughts, but it's hard to deny that '53 Bowman Color is one of the most beautiful sets ever made.

This one was indeed on my list.

It's been one of my most wanted cards for a while now.

Robin Roberts is a Hall of Famer and has long been amongst my selection of player collections, but there's an even bigger reason for my longtime longing for this one.

After a 1-10 season in 1961, the former Phillie ace was thought to be washed up when the Yankees picked him up that offseason. I guess the Bronx Bombers thought so, too, because they released him in Spring Training.

Roberts would go on to have a few more good years with the Orioles in his twilight, but never did play in a single game with the Yankees. You know what that means!

A "zero-year" card!

It's one of the oldest pieces of the sort that I've ever seen. And it certainly features one of the bigger names in "zero-year" history.

Welcome to the club, Mr. Roberts.

At first glance, these seem to be a few perfectly normal 1970 Topps cards of a couple HOFers.

That alone would've made them spectacular gets by my dad.

Let's flip them over, though.

Canadian text?

"Printed in Canada"?

Why, they're O-PEE-CHEE!!!!!!!

Not only that, but we also have a brand new addition to my Hoyt collection!

It wouldn't be the last.

My dad isn't a huge fan of these Post cards, as he's told me on a few occasions. Still, I couldn't help but put this one on my list. I, unlike my dad, love these things.

You can imagine how ecstatic I was to find it amongst my Christmas treasures.

Not one, but two new Hoyts! In one Christmas!

That would've been more than enough for me.

But, much like last year, my dad hunted down one supreme vintage piece for my collection. One that he wrapped separately from the other vintage goodies.

Last Christmas, it was an awesome "Sleepy" Bill Burns T206 tobacco piece.

So, what did he have in store this time?


A real, authentic 1940 Play Ball Daffy Dean!

My dad is the one who first turned me on to the 1930's "Gashouse Gang" St. Louis Cardinals squads. Dizzy Dean is one of his favorite players. (And mine as well.)

Since cards of ol' "Diz" cost absurd amounts of money, my dad tracked down the next best thing. I can't imagine "Daffy" has many authentic cards out there.

This copy wears the battle scars of its 73-year lifespan, something that makes it all the more appealing to me.

All things considered, it was once again a wonderful Christmas.

I really can't thank my dad enough for such a great gift.

To say the least.


Johnnys Trading Spot said...

Awesome Christmas Nick!

Robert said...


I didn't even know there were cricket cards in existence..I learn something new every day...

Chuck's Used Cards said...

Nick, Its reading blogs like yours that keep me interested in the collecting of cards. Relishing the history, the oddities and the nuansences of trading cards is fantastic. It loooks like a grand tradition for you and your father's Christmas'. I hope you pass it on.

PS - I have a 1969 Topps Allen mini decal if you are interested.