Monday, January 31, 2011

You can't stop me (from collecting), you can only hope to contain me

The January card show has been a pain in my ass since 2008. Finally able to attend after being MIA the last two years, I was determined to enjoy it even with very little cash.

But then something happened ...

I scrounged up some more money. I don't know how I did it. I think I have to forgo lunch and haircuts for the next two months. But I managed to go to the card show with more than 20 bucks in my pocket. It still wasn't as much as I usually bring and the card stack was lower than normal.

Plus, I got off to a horribly late start. I arrived at the show two hours before shutdown time. And you know what some dealers do one hour before shutdown time. They fold up their tables. I hate that. Dealers who don't fold up their tables one hour before shutdown time get business from me.

But that was one of the few things that I noticed because I was too busy rushing around in a near panic trying to cover as much as I could within the limited window. A few key things that did catch my eye:

1. The show returned to the convention hall that I enjoy. Much easier to find things.
2. My favorite dealer returned. I hadn't seen him in a year-and-a-half. Yay, me!
3. There were old pro wrestlers there signing autographs. I'm not not into wrestling, so it seemed very sad to me that a 60-year-old guy was wearing a mask over his face all day.
4. Business was good. That's what the dealers kept telling me. I didn't really see a lot of people there, but I think it was because I was late.
5. An old Italian guy was there telling Joe DiMaggio stories. He seemed like he knew Joe D. pretty well.

OK, now onto the cards. There is nothing here for the mojo hunters, so move along. But I like what I got.

Several kind people offered suggestions in the comments for what I should do with my limited amount of cash.  So I will try to show the cards as they reflect the comments. That way you can all take credit for my collection.

Collective Troll: The Troll had several fine suggestions, several of which I took. But one of his suggestions was to sift through dollar boxes. This is a time-consuming activity and I had little time, but I did stop at a couple dollar boxes:

 The best part of dollar boxes -- if the dealer knows what he's doing -- is they end up being 40-cent boxes. I didn't find any quarter boxes. There is at least a couple guys I know that have those at this show, but in my rush, I have no idea if they were there.

Greg Zakwin: Greg wanted me to find the super-sickest Kershaw or Kemp card I could. I failed miserably in this area. I tried. There is this one guy who has a binder filled with jersey cards. I found my favorite Kershaw jersey at his table the last show. I asked about the binder. He said a guy came up and BOUGHT THE WHOLE THING. I hate those people.

I then stood and drooled on the glass as I looked at a by-the-letters Kemp patch. If I had the money I usually do, it would be mine. But instead, they just wiped off my saliva on the display case. And I bought this:

It's a manufactured patch from 2003. I didn't even know they were doing that eight years ago. There's a bite out of the left side, which is why I got it cheaply and why it fit in my budget.

Paul: He suggested spending my whole budget on something very cool, like an autographed card of a team legend (he mentioned Tug McGraw, which is fine if you find the Mets appealing). I ended up having cash to buy more than one card, but I'll show the card that I spent the most money on:

Get well, Harmon. Killebrew's battle was center in my mind when I bought this card.

Charles @ Hoopography: Charles suggested people-watching. I just can't do that at the card show. I have to focus, like George entering the Soup Nazi's restaurant. I go into card-mode. But Charles also mentioned picking up a famous rookie card. I didn't land any famous rookie cards, that's not my thing. But I did get a rookie card or two:

Exciting, huh? Andy LaRoche is on like his 11th team now. But I'm a slave to that Dodger uniform.

Deal: He said I should expect to buy something totally unexpected, something not on my want list or even something that wasn't a thought in my head. I suppose this fits the description:

This card is tremendous. It's been a long time since I've seen it, and I had to get it immediately. I never go into a card show meaning to buy Upper Deck or Randy Johnson, but there you are. The '96 UD V.J. Lovero Showcase insert set continues to suck me in.

Mariner1: He mentioned the '83 Tony Gwynn rookie, which fortunately I do possess. But the Mariner1 is wise and recommended hitting the Nebulous 9 list. For some reason, I forget to do that. But I did knock one card off the list:

I must have a card of Garret Anderson, so I can say: "remember that one time when Anderson actually got on base?"

Matthew Glidden: Matthew was speaking more about his card targets than mine -- at least I hope he was. I didn't pick up anything nearly as old as mentioned. These were the oldest cards I acquired:

These were also the last cards I picked up. I'm liking '64 Topps a little more than I once did. I think it's because there is all that stuff about the Dodgers sweeping the Yankees in the set.

Captain Canuck: The Captain had suggestions for him and for me. He suggested finishing sets for him and getting a card of a favorite player for me. Well, finding a card of Ron Cey that I don't have at a card show is next to impossible. But I did complete a set:

The team set for 2010 Topps Update is complete (although I still need that variation card). I know it's not exciting, but I hate having 2010 team sets incomplete when the 2011 cards come out. Not a problem now.

Dayf: He also made several good suggestions. As I mentioned, there were no quarter boxes in my immediate vision. I did get some other vintage, which you'll see. But dayf also suggested wandering around in a zen-like state and waiting for a card to speak to me.

No time for that, but a card did speak to me:

I spotted a binder of Kellogg's 3-D cards at the very last minute. If I spotted this the instant I walked in the show, my entire post would be about Kellogg's cards. But this '72 Kellogg's card definitely spoke to me.

Chris Stufflestreet: Chris, no surprise, wanted me to get something really, really old. It's funny, he said that dealers bring out stuff from the early '80s when they hear him say old. I have never seen early '80s cards (unless they were stars) at this show. I see lots of junk wax from the '80s in unopened packs. But I never see commons and semi-stars of early '80s players.

But that's cool, because what I really want are '71s:

This was the first thing on my mind when I walked through the doors: Get '71s. I'm now down to needing just 36 cards for the set. That's 95.2 percent complete! But before I get too excited, I still need Mays, Clemente, Tony Perez and Yaz.

AdamE: Adam suggested the bargain bins, too. He also recommended '60s Post cards, which he said go fairly cheap. I did see some '60s Post. They weren't cheap. Not cheap enough, anyway.

This is the last card from the bargain bin:

A numbered card of a guy I don't like from possibly one of the worst-looking sets of the last 10 years. Don't know how much of a bargain this is.

Those were all the suggestees and I'm all out of cards to feature, except for one:

Roy in a Los Angeles Dodger uniform. That's Chicle Hi-Jinks!!!!

Thanks for all the advice. I'll keep it in mind when the next show rolls around, but hopefully the cash will be more plentiful.

OK, time to brace for a week of peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches.


  1. Zen always works.

    Except when it doesn't.

    Kellog's is pretty dang Zen though.

  2. as a drummer myself, that Johnson is one of my favorites. I gotta get me one of those.

  3. For limited funds it looks like you did pretty darn well to me.

  4. Finding some good Kellogg's cards make the whole trip worth it

  5. How many haircuts do you get in 2 months?
    Maybe Mrs. Owl could cut your hair? Please don't tell her it was my idea, but think of the extra cardbucks!!