Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The National Show - The Conclusion

If you have been following my several posts from the National show, you know I was working towards completion on my 1956 set, with a couple big name cards still on the "want" side of the list.  But, they haven't made an appearance yet. You may be wondering if I actually acquired them. I hope you weren't, because if you were giving anything more than a fleeting thought as to whether I got them, I would humbly suggest there are plenty of more worthy topics for you to consider.

So, without further pomp and circumstance:

Yes, I did get them.  The Mantle was close to being a wash. Thankfully, internet trading All-Star, Mr. Haverkamp, did some scouting before I got there and showed me a reasonably priced 1956 Mantle when we met at the show. With that knowledge in hand, I was better able to evaluate the various Mantle's available.

To be honest, many of the sellers were quite proud of their Mantles.  I get that dealers will deal, but pricing $500 dollars for a 1956 Mantle that looks like it was used as a baby pacifier or dog toy seems a bit much.  I didn't end up buying the one Jim showed me, but found one of similar condition for a bit less.  So, I am down to needing 4 cards to finish my set:

  1. 95 - Milwaukee Braves team card
  2. 121 - Pittsburgh Pirates team card
  3. 166 - Brooklyn Dodgers team card
  4. 226 - New York Giants team card

So, to draw this to a close, I have to say that I enjoyed the National Show.It is almost impossible to describe the size of the show. I am used to shows held in small to medium sized hotel conference rooms, with 8-12 different sellers.  The National was immense and you can't really do it in a day. I spent two days there: the first to mainly scope things out and the second to make my purchases. My serious purchase day was the last day of the show. I noticed a number of dealers had decamped and left overnight and many others were packing up throughout the day.  If I go to the show again, I'll probably extend my visit out to three days: Friday to scout, Saturday to buy, Sunday just to wander and enjoy looking at cards I can never afford. Like this one that apparently sold for $10,000.

Anyways, great experience. I do feel like I was a little too serious about my priorities for the show.  I wouldn't change them, to be sure, but I probably should have had room in my budget for a little serendipity.   That will involve a little more advance planning. I really didn't decide to go to the National until the end of May, leaving only two months to save.  Live and learn.

What I am listening to: Years by Sarah Shook and the Disarmers

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The National Show - The Main Event

So, I've talked about wanting to work on my 1956 set at the National show. Yet, the first thing I show is a bunch of 1972 cards. So, did you figure that 1956 must be next? Or did you expect that my weakness persisted and I continued to acquire cards from other sets? Well, if you guessed the former, you would be correct.

I walked into the I-X Center for the National needing 21 cards to finish the 342 card (including checklists) 1956 Topps set.  I walked out needing only 4 to complete the set.  

That really blows my mind. I went back and looked at my blog history.  I got my very first 1956 card at a card show on Saturday, August 13, 2011.   Almost exactly 7 years ago. At the time, I expressed doubt that I would ever finish the set. And I continued to believe that until sometime last year when I realized that I had over half the set and needed to buckle down and give it some serious attention.

So, I did.  And there I was, in Cleveland, within shouting distance of finishing the set. As I said, I picked up 17 of the 21 remaining needs at the show. Here are a few:

Off topic: I am not sure how everyone else is, but I vary between "yay" and "nay" as to whether the checklist cards are considered part of the set and should be collected.  Well, that isn't completely correct. Generally, I believe they do.  The one case I have resisted adding the set checklist is 1963 Fleer.  With that set, the checklist was short printed (along with the Joe Adcock card) and is the highest book value card in the set.  The '63 Fleer checklist books out at $500, while the next most valuable cards (Mays, Clemente, and Koufax) come in at $200.  I don't know what to say other than that offends me. I get that checklists are generally throw-ins, but can command something of a premium since they were often used as intended and, therefore, it is rare to find them in pristine condition.  But, to be the most valuable card in the set? Get outta town! Maybe someday, I'll break down and get that Fleer checklist, but that day is not today!

Anyways, as you can probably see, this checklist is marked. But, that is just fine with me. My 1956 varies in quality. The overwhelming majority of the cards are VG or better. The only card that is Poor to Fair is my Yankees team card (Sacrilege!).  I'm not putting this together with resale value in mind, so a checked checklist is more than acceptable.

I have one more post planned from my National experience. Hopefully, it will come out tomorrow.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The National Show - Distractions

As I explained in the previous post, my goals for the National were to add some autographed 1960-1963 Fleer cards to my collection. I was primarily interested in finding one of the three remaining 1963 cards I don't have in autographed form (Clemente, Boyer, and Farrell.)  I didn't find any of them and the only 1960-61 I saw that I would have been interested in was a 1960 Jimmie Foxx.  But, autographed Foxx cards generally sell for between $1000 and $1200. That was beyond my show budget, so I moved on to my second priority of knocking off some of the high value cards I needed to finish my 1956 set.  My focus would be mainly on the Mantle and hopefully having enough left over to add a few of the commons and team cards I still lacked.

However, I got a little distracted. In fairness, it is easy to do at a show that large.

I managed to find a seller who wasn't too proud of their inventory and was selling 1972 cards at a price I consider reasonable. My rule of thumb for buying cards is I am willing to pay up to 33% of book value for NRMT cards and 25% for EX+.  My unscientific survey of the show was that many sellers were well above those price points. Even factoring in that they always deal, there wasn't a huge pool of dealers that I would be buying from.

I managed to find 17 reasonably priced 1972 cards, including the several above.  That Buckner card has eluded me for quite a while. I would guess I have bid on it on eBay set breaks at least a half dozen times without success. Glad to finally have stricken it from the want list.

I went into the show needing 43 cards to finish 1972, so if my math is correct, I ended the show needing 26 to finish the 787 cards set.

The Math Seems To Check Out! GIF from Thehouse GIFs

Should I have gotten a bunch of 1972 high and semi-highs when I wanted to focus on 1956?  Probably not, but no regrets.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The National Show - Warmup

So, after over 7 years back in the hobby, I finally bit the bullet and went to The National Show.  It was held in Cleveland this year and, as luck would have it, my family (despite being Rochestarians originally) lives in the western suburbs of that city.  So, I decided to go visit and hit the show while I was there.  It was a good time and a great experience. I will hold some of my observations until the last post of what I see as a four post series.

My goals for the National were simple: either add some autograohed 1960-1963 Fleer cards to my collection and/or make progress towards completion on my 1956 set, including knocking off that Mickey Mantle card.

This first post isn't, per se, about The National. It really is about the runup to walking up to the first table in Cleveland.

I will periodically check out the biweekly auctions at Kevin Savage Cards.  There were a number of 1956 lots in an auction a week prior to my trip to Cleveland. I bid on several and won one:

This brought me down to needing 21 cards to finish the set.

Prior to the show, one of the online trading stars, Mr Haverkamp, contacted me about meeting up in Cleveland. Saturday was my first day at the show and he was flying home later that afternoon.  So, when I got to the I-X Center I took one lap around the perimeter of the venue in order to get my self oriented (and to allow my overwhelming sense of awe to subside somewhat.) After my stroll, Jim and I met up and talked for a bit. He had also been looking around and assessing the '56 Mantle market for me and showed me a reasonably priced copy that was right in my wheelhouse, price and condition wise.

Additionally, though, he brought a couple of high quality 56s for me:

Now, I already had these two in my set. But, holy smokes, the condition on the cards Jim brought was much, much better than the bedraggled version I already had.  So, both of these cards found there way into the binder when I got home.  I was touched by his generous offer and was pleased that, when I passed him on the show floor later in the day, that he had found the card he had been on the hunt for.  Good things accrue to those that do good deeds. Jim is one of those guys.  Thanks!

What I am listening to: Every Girl by The Turnpike Troubadours (dedicated to my beautiful wife who allowed me to go the National unsupervised)

Friday, July 13, 2018

1956 Topps Completion Countdown, July 13 Update

Goodness, we are 10 games past the halfway point of the baseball season and I am just watching my second game of the year.  I have to admit I've been paying closer attention to the NBA offseason than the live baseball season.  We broke down and bought a half-season package of tickets for upcoming OKC Thunder season and we are still on the wait list for season tickets.   I've really enjoyed getting into basketball and it is something I can share with my wife.  She is into the Thunder as much, if not more, than me.

I'm going to try and pay more attention to baseball since the NBA regular season will likely start just before, or during the World Series.

Anyways, you aren't here to listen to my laments.  So, let's move on, shall we?

A while back, I mentioned that I was getting close to finishing the 1956 Topps set and was potentially going to look for an affordable (!) Mickey Mantle when I am at The National in August. Since that time, I have not done much of anything hobby-wise in order to conserve money for that show. I did break down recently and bid on some 1956 commons on eBay and managed to snag 4 for about $20 delivered.

With these 4, I am now down to needing 22 cards to finish the set. Even though I am really close to finishing 1972 Topps also (40 cards left), I am going to focus on 1956 for the next few months and hopefully finish it before the end of the year.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

1961 Fleer Autograph Project - Part 17

My project of collecting autographed 1960 through 1963 Fleer cards has been on hiatus for a while. It has been over three months since my last addition, and four months since I last added a 1961.

This doesn't represent a re-start of this project.  Technically, I never ended it such that I would need to restart it.  But, to be sure, it dropped off my priority list as I started to see the end of my 1956 and 1972 Topps sets come into focus. It also doesn't represent a restart in the sense that I am probably going to stop most hobby activity as The National gets closer. I have goals for that show that exceed my normal hobby spend limits.  So, while I do have one other player collection pickup to show, expect it to continue to be quiet hereabouts as I conserve resources.

Not that you could tell given my general lack of blogging even when I am active in the hobby.

Anyhow, I picked up this Joe Sewell for $23 delivered. Sewell played in the majors for 14 years, 11 with Cleveland and 3 with the Yankees. He played on two World Series winning teams; the 1920 Indians during his rookie scampaign and the 1932 Yankees during his penultimate season. He was a talented middle infielder primarily playing shortstop for the Indians and sliding over to third for the Yankees, who had Lynn Lary and Frank Crosetti holding down the 6.  Joe came from a baseball family, with brother Luke clocking in 20 seasons in the majors. Brother Tommy turned had a one game, one at bat career with the Chicago Cubs. Additionally, cousin Rip Sewell had a 13 year pitching career, primarily with the Pirates.  Joe Sewell was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977 by the Veteran's Committee.

You may be wondering how I am doing on this project.  Here is my progress:

Year Total Cards Possible Have Percentage
1960 79 40 7 17.5%
1961 154 95 17 17.9%
1963 66 66 63 95.5%
Total 299 201 87 43.3%

What I am listening to: Midnight Train to Georgia by Gladys Knight & The Pips

Goodness, 40 years later, she's still got it!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Closer Still

Since my last post, I've acquired more 1956 Topps cards.  A few through trades, but most through Ebay set break auctions.  I've not been posting as I have been busy at work and various projects around the farm.  But, three more arrived today and, since we had a major rain storm today there is little I can do outside tonight.  So, I am going to post the 3 '56s that showed up today:

I am not quite sure what to make of Sherm Lollar's sneer, so I'll just put him in the binder and move on. With these three, I am down to needing 26 cards to finish my 1956 set.

On a related note, last week I booked my flights to Cleveland so I can go to the National show.  My parents live in Cleveland, so I'll be flying in on Friday, crashing at their place and attending the show on Saturday and Sunday. I don't fly out until Tuesday morning, so I am considering running out to the Cedar Point amusement park on Monday.

My goals for the National are to look for one or more of the three 1963 Fleer's I don't have in autographed form (Clemente, Boyer, Farrell) and or finding an affordable 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle. That's it. Obviously, once I get there, who knows what will happen.  But, I am mainly going just to see what it is all about and work on my hard-to-finish projects.

Anyone else going?

What I am listening to:  Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley and k.d. lang