Wednesday, May 4, 2011
A card from the '50s is a card from the '50s
I think it's fairly evident that I am a traditionalist in this hobby and a lot of other areas. I respect the ideals of hard work and fair play and believe the rewards are sweeter the greater the effort involved.
This is why I dislike wild cards and expanded playoffs and a trophy for every youth baseball team who managed to run to first without tripping over the baseline. Work for it, sister, and maybe you'll enjoy it more. Incentive is a wonderful thing.
But I see less and less evidence of "roll up your sleeves" behavior in everyday life. Thank God for the Navy Seals. Maybe that'll inspire a few folks to get off their fat ass.
In the card world, we have the same thing. It's been going on for awhile now. Topps has been issuing reprints of its most famous and coveted sets for more than a decade now. It has done this repeatedly and so often that it's monumentally difficult to differentiate the reprint sets from each other. I don't know how many versions of the 1952 Topps Jackie Robinson card I have, but I can tell you that it would take me about 20 minutes to determine which fake '52 Robinson goes with which set.
With all of the reprint sets, I wonder if it has dissuaded anyone from pursuing the actual '50s cards. Are there people saying, "Why go through the trouble of obtaining something 60 years old when I have something that looks almost just like it? Why work for it?"
Now, I'm not saying I'm against reprint sets. I like 'em and I collect 'em. AdamE recently sent some more of those 1995 Dodger reprints, and there were "oh goody, goody" exclamations all over the place:
A couple of fake '54s of some true blue Dodger greats.
Two pseudo mid-50s cards of Smokey Alston.
And a ZIM!!!
These cards are useful, especially if you never plan to get the originals.
But I am still deluded enough to believe I will have all of these '50s cards some day.
So that makes me wonder whether the fact that I have these '50s reprints will cause me to be less thrilled if/when I obtain the original cards. I mean they look exactly the same, except smaller and glossier. Part of the thrill of possessing an older card is having a picture of something in your hand that you've never seen in person before.
It's the same as my thoughts on children who have accumulated 48 athletic trophies before they actually finish in first place. Does it mean as much when they get that first-place trophy? For some, probably. For many, possibly. For all, I doubt it.
Fortunately, I was able to test my wonderings right away.
You probably remember this item:
It's the diamond diecut Halladay that I redeemed on the Diamond Giveaway. These have been going for various prices online -- some crazy, some not so much.
I did get some tempting offers for it, both on the site and outside of it.
I decided to go with an outside offer.
Here is what I received in exchange for Diamond Cut Roy:
Two honest-to-goodness 1954 Topps cards of two honest-to-goodness World Series heroes. In terrific shape.
And three honest-to-goodness 1955 cards of three more Brooklyn Dodgers that are forever preserved in baseball lore.
I also received three 1960 Topps cards that I won't show because they'll probably be involved in future dealings.
So, now I must answer the question: Do I enjoy these real '50s Dodger cards as much after possessing many of the same ones in fake reprinted form?
That's a hard one to answer. If I think about it carefully, I probably don't enjoy them as much as if I had received them without obtaining some of the reprint cards first. And as far as "rolling up my sleeves" for the '50s cards, I didn't do squat. I redeemed a code and got lucky and found a card that lots of people want.
But, I come to find that none of the above matters, because after seeing the cards, there is no question in my heart that I really, really, really like these fantastic 1950s cards A WHOLE LOT. I LIKEY, LIKEY, LIKEY THEM A WHOLE LOT.
So maybe that's what it's like for the kid with 28 certificate of participation awards who finally wins a first-place certificate. It still feels pretty damn good.
Besides, I also received this card in the deal:
Yeah, um ... what was the question again?
(Joe, I hope you turn that Halladay card into something tremendous!).