Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Harpooning a white whale

It looks like Saturday was card show day for a lot of the bloggers, and I was no exception. I wasn't entirely sure if I wanted to attend this past weekend's show or not, but there ended up being two deciding factors in favor of me going. The first being that the show was being promoted as the biggest yet in Nashville with 63 sellers/105 tables. And secondly, my favorite dealer sent me a text earlier in the week to let me know that he was going to be there (originally he wasn't going to be). So I couldn't very well not go after finding out someone was coming from a couple states over with items that are specifically geared towards my interests (see inserts below), I would look like quite the heel if I said I was going to pass. They also had the Beckett grading people there again and a former University of Tennessee football player signing, both of which weren't of interest to me. But it was part of the reason for the size of the show, and it certainly contributed to ridiculous amount of people in attendance.

Before I get to far into the post I wanted to mention that because a lot of the cards weren't scanning well, I ended up using a lot of pictures instead. And since I wasn't feeling too great when I took the pictures, some of them are less than ideal. On the bright side though, I have more card images in here than I normally do. Also even though I'm starting with basketball (I can hear audible groans), there is plenty of other things covered further down.

When I first walked in, I immediately noticed a seller that I had never seen before setting up along the front wall. He was putting out a lot of 3200 ct boxes (maybe 12-15) that were clearly comprised of nothing but vintage from the four major sports, and most of them were dollar boxes. What was even better was the fact that I was the first person looking through them that day, so the possibilities of what may lay ahead seemed endless. What first caught my attention was the sight of tall boys sticking out of some of the boxes, which I will get to a little further down in the post. So I quickly started jumping from box to box to get a quick sense of what was there and probably all the while looking like I had ADD, ADHD, and AC/DC. While this was taking place I was talking to the seller who started putting out more boxes of stuff that was much nicer and much more than a dollar, so I moved over to those to get first crack at them as well. Now these boxes were loaded with probably a few of most collector's dream cards, with fairly reasonable prices. I spotted one of my white whale's almost instantly, and here he is:

1972 Dr. J rookie!

Look at him! Isn't he wonderful? There was no price on the toploader, which as most of you know, usually isn't a good sign of things to come. So I hesitantly said " I almost hate to ask, but how much is this", fully expecting to hear a card show inflated price of say $75-$100. But after asking me what it books for these days and me giving my usual honest reply of "I have no idea", he looked at the condition of the card and said "how about $25". To the casual observer my outward appearance would have been calm as I gave the card another once over and said that seemed like a pretty good price, all the while on the inside I was doing cartwheels and heel kicks. Now I know some of you might think $25 for the condition of this card is a lot, but even in this condition it would normally sell for at least double on eBay (probably more). I always thought I would end up with one in worse condition that would set me back even more. There are a lot of reprints of this card out there in various conditions, but after feeling it, and more importantly smelling it (yes, I smelled it. Almost 45 year old cardboard is going to have certain smell, which this one did) I am near 100 percent confident that it is authentic. It's amazing to think about how long I have wanted this card, and now I have it. It seems almost surreal!

As exciting as that card is, there is still plenty to get to. So on with the show.

Here are some 1969-70 Topps from the same seller:

You can see what I was talking about with the scanner doing some weird things to the color on these. Even though all these came out of the dollar boxes, the seller ended up giving me a discount on the total price of everything. So these ended up being priced at between 50 and 75 cents each, which is a pretty darn good price.

1971-72 Topps Roger Brown RC x2:
Here is a tip from me to you. If you ever come across any Roger Brown rookies that are cheap and in decent shape, Buy Them! This is a card that has been quietly going up in price and no one ever mentions it. The two above were $1 each.

Two more set needs:

Here are a couple of serial numbered cards from a different seller that were 25 cents each:

I was getting really tired of taking pictures at this point, evidenced by these still being in there top loaders.

And my usual pile of 90's basketball inserts from my favorite seller:

There is just no way I can show all of these, as there is over 200 in these two stacks. It is almost impossible for me to resist these at 10 cents each, which is why I have been getting so many the last couple of shows. As proof, here is a bonus picture of three shows worth of still unsorted inserts:

It may not look like it, but there is probably 800-1000 cards there waiting to be sorted.

If I had to show just one out of the current batch, I would probably go with this:

1997-98 Fleer John Stockton Decade of Excellence Rare Traditions parallel
I didn't even know there was a Decade of Excellence parallel. After looking around online for these I saw that the cheapest one listed on eBay is $16, so I guess this wasn't a bad purchase for 10 cents.

I will close out the basketball part with a couple of dime box 90's refractors:

There wasn't a lot of baseball cards for me this time, but probably the best deal I got was on this 1953 Topps Johnny O'Brien rookie:

This came from the last table I stopped at on my way out. How much would you think this card cost? It doesn't have any crease, but it does have the issue with the two lower corners. Would you believe it was in an 8/$1 box, so like 12 1/2 cents! Crazy right? It was the only vintage card in the box, but even though I only really wanted this one I did manage to find seven more items of interest.

These next couple were the only other vintage baseball I was able to get:

1960 Topps Ernie Johnson

1969 Topps Deckle Edge Ron Santo and Boog Powell

1973 Topps Carlton Fisk
 The above four cards came to a total of $4, which I didn't think was too bad.

How about a whole mess of 1981 Kellogg's cards:
More lazy picture taking!
All of these were 10 cents apiece as well. I ended up getting a few doubles, but there is over half the set here. On a side note, I don't think I will ever get used to seeing Vida Blue in any colors other than green and yellow. It just looks unnatural!

And the rest of the baseball:

The Willie Mays helps with the Cramer set I'm working on. I have never seen the three Babe's before.

Moving on to the football portion. These are my first cards from the 1965 Topps set:

These are in better condition than the scanner would lead you to believe. These were the tall boys I saw sticking out at the first table I went to (mentioned at the beginning). After the total price was figured out these ended up being about 75 cents each. I am very happy to finally get a few cards from this set.

Here's a another card from the same seller of a fellow who's name a few of you might recognize:

1960 Topps Jim Brown
This is another amazing piece of cardboard. He was in the same box as the Erving rookie. And even though there was a ton of great stuff in that box, I had to be content (which I am) with the Dr. J and this card being my two splurge purchases. I have really started making some good headway with this set, which is nice considering it's not a particularly large set.

Don't worry the post is almost done, all you have to do is make it through a couple of autographs and you will earn a gold star for your endurance.

First up is in person autograph of Larry Legend:

I got this from one of the elder statesmen of the dealers at the show. I was told that he got it from a guy had some items signed by Mr. Bird at a charity golf tournament. Since the autograph looks perfect in comparison with other authenticated examples shown online, I'm pretty confident it's genuine. I have also read many times that Larry will sign in person (no TTM though), so that helps verify the story a little.

And from the same seller this 1997-98 Skybox Premium Popeye Jones Autographics:

 I will close with three from my favorite seller (Jim). He always has a couple of boxes of various priced autographs and memorabilia cards, which tend to be picked over pretty good before I get to them. So I was a little surprised that there were actually still a couple of things of interest to me in there. These next three came out to a total of $15.

1. Yvan Cournoyer JSA authenticated autograph:

Now I have no idea who Mr. Cournoyer is, I only bought it because I love his signature. Here is a slightly better angle to see his great penmanship:

It shows a lot better in person and the silver paint pen is really striking. This is also my first JSA autograph. It has the sticker on the back and came with an additional piece of paper from JSA.

2. 2013 Panini Golden Age Jim Kiick Historic Signatures:
Another card closer in my attempt to acquire all the Golden Age autographs.

3. 2007 Press Pass Joe Bellino Saturday Signatures:
I think I might start actively collecting Heisman Trophy winner autographs, especially since I have 5 or 6 now. By the way Mr. Bellino won the Heisman in 1960.

That does it for by far my longest post yet (and probably ever). I had a lot a more to say, but this has taken me far longer to put together than I wanted. And I am really tired of working on this as I keep losing my train of thought, so my apologies if it seems a little disjointed.

Thanks for taking a few moments to look at my page.


  1. You had a great show. Glad to see you scored the Erving. That's another card i remember pulling from a pack. If one of the R. Browns is up for grabs I now it is a card I need.

    1. It was great show, I just wish I could have done a great post to go along with it. But I guess this one's good enough. So, since the Doc went to UMass, I'm guessing you knew who he was when you pulled the card right? I will put the better of the two Roger Brown's aside for you.

    2. Rick Pittino was one of his teammates at Umass. Cournoyer was a thorn in the Bruins side. He was considered one of the fastest skaters in his day. Good grab he's in the hall

    3. The top two Ruth's are from a TCMA set. Early 80's

    4. I hadn't heard that about Rick Pitino before. It is kind of weird to think of them as teammates, especially since they seem to be almost polar opposites of each other. I will definitely have to look into Mr. Cournoyer's career, as my hockey knowledge is almost non existent.

  2. I have never seen that Ruth in the bottom left corner of that picture before - now, I'm really curious as to what that is. Looks like you had quite the productive show!

    1. I think the black and white Ruth is from a 1980 set called the Franchise Babe Ruth Classic.

    2. I did check and Mark's right on the set (not that I had any doubts). In case it's relevant to you, that is card #14. And it was a very productive show and a very tiring show too.

  3. I have started following this show on Facebook with the full intent of making the 4-hour drive up there soon.

    Now I know that I have to do that.

    1. If you do decide to attend, you should probably try and do one of the end of the month shows. All the dealers say those are the better one's, I haven't ever been to a middle of the month one before so I can't confirm that. Or better yet, wait until the next time the Beckett people are there, as that means it will be about double the size of the normal shows.

  4. Pretty sure you just hit the gold mine there! I think my favorite pieces are the Cincy Royals cards. The rest of those vintage cards are great too.

    1. A gold mine is a good way to describe it. And I probably only saw half of what there was to see, as I just ran out of gas. After being there for a little over 4 hours I was just done.

  5. Wow, that is quite an impressive group. Yvan Cournoyer won a Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP which is a huge deal in hockey. Love the Jim Brown card a lot. I've still never seen anyone as good.

    1. Between mark's comments and yours I will be doing some serious catching up on the career of Yvan Cournoyer. I really wish I could have seen Jim Brown play. Obviously there is a lot of footage of him to watch out there, but it's not the same as it would've been to see him in real time.

  6. I like that Horace Grant insert and the Popeye Jones autograph. And 10-cent 90's basketball inserts sounds like my idea of card show heaven.

    I have that same Larry Bird card that I sent in for a TTM auto when I first started collecting. The autograph on it doesn't resemble any authenticated or in-person auto of Bird that I've ever seen. I wonder who actually signed my card?

    1. I really enjoy digging through the inserts. It sort of feels like time traveling in a way, especially when I come across something I had forgot about and upon seeing it I'm taken back to being 12 or 13 years old and finding them in packs for the first time. I should have floated this out there sooner, but if there is anything or anyone in particular you(or anyone else reading this for that matter)are looking for just let me know and I will look next time Jim sets up there. I'm also getting some doubles, so I will put them in a post sooner than later and anyone that is interested can have whichever one's they want.

      I have to admit, I would very much like to see your Larry Bird "autograph". Is it in one of your past posts? Or will it be in a future post? If not, could you send a picture or a scan of it via email?

    2. The Larry Bird TTM is in this post form 2014:

      There are some good cards from my collecting heyday pictured in that post. The 90's are when I was way into collecting basketball cards and following the NBA. Some of my favorites were Hakeem Olajuwon, Grant Hill, Jason Kidd, Horace Grant, Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley, John Stockton (not Karl Malone, though), Rik Smits, Vin Baker, Shawn Kemp, Gheorghe Muresan, Manute Bol, and probably a few others. I actually kept a 'Hot List' binder (informed very much by the similar list in the monthly Beckett magazine) with the cards of my favorite 20 players in it. Every month I would generate a new Top 20 list and move the players' cards in and out of the binder as they moved onto the list.

    3. Thanks for the link. Reading that post felt like I was reading some of my own thoughts, as far as the jumping all over the place goes. It looks like you some good TTM successes. Although like you said, one has to wonder who signed that Larry Bird card. Because that signature isn't even close to his, I wonder if there would any way to figure out who it was. I had completely forgot about the Beckett 'Hot List', that really takes me back, but also makes me feel old too!

  7. That Horace Grant Sonics card is a thing of beauty. Congrats on getting your whale. What a show!

    1. I had no idea there were so many Horace Grant fans. I think I'm really going to have to keep reminding myself in the future not to compare this show with the normal one's, otherwise all future shows will feel like a bit of a letdown.

    2. I loved Horace Grant. I was always pretty terrible at basketball, but I worked hard for rebounds and stuff to try to make up for it. I knew I didn't have game like the big-number scorers, so I tried to be a blue-collar lunchpail guy like him. He also always had those cool goggles on his cards.

    3. There is/was definitely nothing wrong with being a blue collar player, especially since they tend to be fan favorites. With all this talk of Horace Grant, I should mention that I will have a pretty neat card of his that I recently purchased in an upcoming post.

  8. I'm late to the post, but DAMN - that is an amazing haul. I don't collect basketball, mainly because I just don't enjoy the sport, but vintage basketball is gorgeous stuff. $25 for that Dr J is a steal in my book.

    And while it appears she hasn't seen this post, if ACB Julie shows up, she will hunt you down for those Kelloggs.

    1. Pull up a chair, as there's still plenty of room at the table.It's only been a couple of days since this post went live, so I wouldn't say that you were late. I ended up with around 10 Kellogg's doubles which are available to anyone that wants them.