Saturday, September 10, 2011

Looks better coming than going

I snagged this Don Sutton card from the initial Kellogg's 3-D set a couple of weeks ago. It's my first 1970 Kellogg's card, and I've got three more Dodgers to go to finish the team set.

I acquired the card for a very cheap price, and I just attributed that to the lack of respect for the greatness that is Kellogg's cards from the '70s. The card is in tremendous shape and it really should be going for more than I paid for it.

But because I never pick up anything cheaply simply because I'm a shrewd consumer, I knew there was another reason for its low, low price. And that reason was that I never looked at the back of the card before I bought it.

It's a little difficult to see but it appears that the card was once glued with rubber cement to something. I can't believe it was pried off of whatever it was stuck to without at least part of the back being removed. When you look at the card back in person, it's actually quite ugly. At first glance, it appears as if someone sneezed on it.

But, you know what? I don't care.

I don't care because nobody sneezed on the front of the card. And since I store my cards back-to-back in pages in my binders, I rarely see the backs unless I want to see them.

I'll probably never try to upgrade this card because the flaw is on the back of the card.

There are several other cards that I own with card back issues. It's actually one of the best ways to acquire old-time, pricey cards without blowing a bunch of cash. And it's the kind of card imperfection that doesn't keep me awake, staring at the ceiling.

I'll probably never be this guy or even this guy. But it's the best I can do.

How about you? Do you let cards with unseemly backs into your collection, or do the card backs have to be as perfect as the card fronts?


  1. I have so many cards with nasty backs that it isn't even funny. Many of the Zeenuts cards and other pre-WW2 cards I have come with something on the back, like they all came out of albums or off of poster board or construction paper. I think I bought many of them from the same dealer, which explains why several of them seem to come from the same type of paper. I have at least one tobacco card with most of its back missing, having been attached to something. I even have some 1960s Topps with stuff on the back. Heck, it doesn't matter when it comes to the old stuff. A card's a card. I even have a '53 Topps with a hole punch in it.

  2. If I had a card like that, I'd shave it's face and teach it to walk forwards! Ha Ha! I'm here all week. Try the veal. Don't forget to tip your server.

    In all seriousness, it really depends on what set I am working on. With mid to late 70s sets, I can afford to be picky about card quality. I try to find cards without creasing and nice sharp corners and edges. I am somewhat less concerned with centering and only really look at the backs to confirm the card number and make sure that you can read the back. So, I have more than a fair number of cards with stains on the the back.

    With the 56 set I am working on as a side project, my only criteria is that they don't look like they were used as a dog toy. So, I am not worried at all about the backs.

  3. I love reading card backs. Gunk or damage to the back drives me crazy because it interferes with whatever was written there. That was the whole reason I got so bent out of shape with the Bobby Hull card.

    I'll even take goop on the front (if I think it'll come off) over goop on the back.

  4. I'm more tolerant of low quality cards when it is 60's hockey. Some of those cards are so damned expensive, so I tolerate it in order to be able to afford owning any of them. Plus, I live in Houston, Texas - finding older hockey cards at all, is painful. Baseball though, seem cheaper and easier to get so if I pick it up and see that I don't like it, I wait until I find one I like. I have the rest of my life, no rush. It isn't like there's a prize for finishing a set before anyone else, lol.

  5. If it's a vintage card I want worry less about condition, front or back. Something like this Sutton, I would be happy with just having the card. Some of the '56 play at the plate cards I have are really rough, buy I still love 'em.

  6. Hockey is funny that way. The sets are smaller, thankfully, but the commons cost a lot more to balance it out. The upper end stars do tend to price below Mantles, etc. That helps.

    Post a want list. I've got stuff kicking about. :)

  7. The older the card the more tolerant I am. Usually use cards with bad backs as fillers and try to upgrade later.

  8. For most of my vintage stuff I don't care too much about the back as long as most of it is intact.
    As for the 70 kelloggs I still need bill singer. Its now a nefarious 9.