Sunday, August 26, 2018

1956 Topps - The Penultimate Card

As you may recall, I am getting close to finishing 1956 Topps after 7 years of buying cards from that set.  When last I posted I was down to needing two cards.  Mr. Haverkamp, who I met at the National show in Cleveland, emailed me and mentioned that he had one of the two remaining cards. He wasn't sure if the condition was up to my expectations.  However, the I have cards in all conditions from Fair up to Near Mint.  My main criteria was that the card was affordable (generally less than 1/3 of book valiue) and that it didn't look like a dogs chew toy. So, it isn't a major consideration.  Beside, look for yourself:

This card is in better condition than several cards in my set and considerably better condition that my Yankees team card.  So, into the binder it goes! Another one down. Only one left to go!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

August Local Show

Within a few days of my arrival back home from  my trip to the National show, I had an unexpected windfall. Well, it shouldn't be unexpected, inasmuch as it is an annual occurrence. So, it is more accurately categorized as an unremembered windfall.  But, it doesn't really matter, does it? Some money dropped in that I wasn't expecting.

After putting much of it in savings, since we are going to have a new loafing shed/storage building put up on the farm in the next couple weeks, I held a bit back to hit a local card show that took place the weekend after the National.  I made progress on a few of my sets and captured a little of the serendipity that was missing from my National visit.

I picked up 17 more of the remaining cards I need for my 1972 set, bringing me down to 9 cards left for completion.  The rookie card above has eluded me for quite a while. I've bid on it numerous times, but have never won as it always sell for more than I am willing to pay.

Since I am so close to completion on 1972, I decided to look back and figure out when I started it.  While I had cards prior to the date, my history shows that I really started the set in earnest at a card show in the middle of December of 2015. It is my intent to finish this set by the end of the year, so it will have taken approximately 3 years to complete.  When I first got back into collecting by building sets from the late 1970s, I was able to finish 2 sets a year.  However, once I worked my way back to 1973, it got harder since those sets were issued in series with the later series available in smaller quantities and at much higher prices. I don't think I'll finish a set in under a year again.

I found 4 needs for my 1970 set.  Still a long way to go on this one, with 139 cards (out of 720) still to go. And, of course, 109 of those are semi-high and high numbers.

Four more cards for 1968.  I need 125 more to complete the 598 card set.

Now for the moments of serendipity:

I have never owned a Red Heart dog food issue before. In fact, I don't ever recall seeing one in person.  That is now over with the addition of this 1954 Hank Sauer to my collection.  It is a small set at 33 cards, but has some serious names in the checklist. See for yourself

A 1949 Bowman. I really like the design of this set and I would consider building it if it wasn't for the Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige rookie cards that have a high book value of an eye-popping $3000 each.  The 1956 Mantle that I recently got only books at half that, and I was sweating some buying that.  I have a hard time imagining laying down the cash needed, even if I could afford it, to acquire even poor condition versions of those two cards. (Good Lord, I tortured that last sentence within an inch of it's life, didn't I?)

Anyways, that is about it for now.  I've got my fall vacation coming up in a few weeks and with the holidays coming soon behind, I expect my hobby activity will slow down. I'd like to finish both 1956 and 1972 before year end, but I don't have any plans beyond that.

What I am listening to: Aretha Franklin

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)