Less than a week ago, I figured I'd be heading into the card show with half the cash that I usually carry around the New York State fairgrounds horticulture building.
Times have been hard these last three months with rationing of just about everything -- shampoo, napkins, mustard, you name it. So even though I tried to save in advance, there wasn't a lot I could put away.
But strange things happen when you're both scraping by and working your butt off. You lose track of what you're doing. It turns out that I had saved more than I thought I did -- a day before the show, I discovered 20 bucks in a drawer put away months ago for likely this very purpose (at least that's what I'm telling myself).
So I hit the card show with the usual amount of money and I did very well by my standards.
From an objective perspective, the show was nothing great. No signing guest. A relatively slim crowd.
But from my perspective it was fantastic. No signing guest means no mobs of people -- many of whom are more interested in glomming-on than in cards. And a slim crowd means I can get to the cards I want and usually more dealer attention.
Best of all, the two go-to tables for me for each and every state fairgrounds show were both there. I didn't buy anything from any other table (and I looked at just about every table from the 60 or so dealers).
A couple of random observations before I get to the cards:
1. There were 2 guys sifting through cards while I was at one table that talked like we talk on the blogs. Here is an example of their conversation:
Guy 1: Dave LaRoche!
Guy 2: Fu-manchu?
Guy 1: Yup.
Guy 1: Look at the f---ing coke bottles on that guy.
Guy 2: Darrell Porter. It was so he could see all the cocaine he was sniffing.
Guy 1: Odell Jones!
2. This really large dude started talking to me about some family documents related to his dad's attempt to play for the Cowboys. I couldn't focus on what he was saying because he had this massive tattoo under his chin. He also thought I was a dealer. Apparently I look like one.
3. For some reason that I can't explain, there was a cage at the front of the building containing some sort of pygmy pig and a large tortoise. I know it was the horticulture building and all, but why were they there? Were they going to fight later? Can you collect those things? Don't answer that.
4. The gal changing the garbage can in the small sit-down food area needs pants that fit her.
All right, let's get to the cards.
Because I'm a set-collector at heart, my first objective at card shows is to find whatever set I'm building and start sifting. Two sets that I'm currently building that are easy to find at shows are 1972 and 1977 Topps. But, this time I didn't feel like checking out those cards. The only '77 cards I bought were three discount items, two of which I thought filled needs, but didn't.
Instead, I decided to focus on a long-neglected goal of mine: get some 1960s Dodgers.
The '70s Dodgers are pretty much finished, except for some pesky oddballs. So it's time to get cracking on the groovy decade:
This came out of the 50-cent box.
This did, too. I consider this an upgrade over my '62 Howard with the Topps "buyback" stamp on it. I'll take a scribbled "140" over that damn stamp any day.
Also out of the 50 cent box. Or maybe it was the dollar box. It was easy to confuse the two.
This is a good example of the proper time to tell your want lists to shut up. My want list said that I already had the Wally Moon card in the '62 set. I even pulled the handwritten list out of my pocket right there at the show and it said it again, "You already have that Moon card."
I bought the card anyway. And it's good thing I ignored want list's advice. Because this is the '62 Moon card I had:
I had no idea there were two different Moon cards with the same card number. That is so much eyebrow goodness in one set.
The 1963 Topps set is one where my Dodger needs required the most work. (Well, there's 1960, too. But there are about 400 Dodgers in that set).
So there was no fooling around here. I decided to make the biggest dent in the '63s. Sure, no Koufax. But I'll get there. And I'm loving the Davis and Sherry cards.
You saw the Wes Parker rookie card at the top of the post. That's the only one I picked up there.
Again, no Koufax. But good stuff anyway. These two cards are upgrades out of the discount bin.
And these two are shiny want list needs.
The dealer also offered up the 1966 binder, but I was getting budget conscious at that point, so I saved it for another time.
I did go back to the 1950s for some randomness:
The 1959 Jim Gilliam card is the first 1959 card I ever owned. It's off-center but a very central element of my collection. I decided to add a centered version of the card. And it cost only a buck, so welcome, Junior!
I get particular about the condition of my cards -- except when it comes to the 1950s and earlier. I didn't hesitate to grab '58 Clem here from the 50-cent bin, paper-loss-due-to-glueing and all. You can find about 10 things wrong with this card, right down to Labine's double-chin, and it's still a steal.
Complete-and-utter 1956 Topps randomness. I've been quite delinquent in finding '56 needs. And it's about time to get a card of the legendary Haddix. Plus, look at how he's rounding third. He makes Hunter Pence seem sedate.
This is one of the classics in the '56 set. And it's finally here.
My only regret from the card show is that I had intended to get the Gil Hodges card from this set. Had it in my stack and everything. But then I totaled up the cards in my hand and I had to put it back. Sorry, Gil.
Seriously. 1953 Topps Dodgers in the $1 bin.
This one has a pinhole up top and a burn mark on the left side, but I don't care. You can barely see the pinhole in person, and the burn mark just makes me think someone tried to roast the card along with some marshmallows, which seems like something to try someday.
CARDS I BOUGHT JUST TO TORTURE MYSELF
All right, this wasn't one of them. Technically, this is a card I needed for the Dodger collection. Dick Farrell is listed as a Dodger even while wearing a Phillies cap.
But why did I grab this card?
It's Dick again, but listed as a Colt .45. Under my team collecting rules, this doesn't go in the Dodger binder. He's wearing a Dodger jersey, but you can't see any emblem.
So why did I get it? Just to torture myself I guess.
Same deal here. This World Series subset in the 1967 set commemorates the Orioles' sweep of the Dodgers. Any mention of this series depresses me, even though I was barely alive when it happened. I don't know what to do with this card, and I acquired another card from the subset via Listia the other day. Part of me plans to put the cards in my Dodger binder, while another part of me is saying, "YOU'VE LOST IT, MAN!"
PURE DISCOUNT BIN RANDOMNESS
Why I bought it: This is a big-time upgrade to the '77 Fidrych card that I pulled out of a pack back in 1977. The Bird deserves to be remembered as he was back then -- shiny and new with all his goofiness on display.
Why I bought it: I need a card of Duren, one of the characters of the game. And the photo is out of register, which I thought was appropriate given Duren's drinking ways.
Why I bought it: I count at least 15 bats.
Why I bought it: I need it for the Dodger binder. Yup, I'm allowing A's and Rangers and Braves into the exclusive sanctum of the Dodger binder once again.
Why I bought it: Because someday I am going to conduct that Greatest Glasses Of All-Time countdown that I promised for last April.
Why I bought it: It's a chromy version of Jackie.
Why I bought it: Normally, a chromed-up, oversized version of Jackie Robinson's 1949 Bowman card would be a crime against cardboard. But this card is so sparkly that I couldn't resist.
Why I bought it: Come on, his name is "Boozer." Do I have to spell everything out for you?
The guys talking about Darrell Porter's coke bottles would understand.
And that was my visit to the first table.
Not bad for someone who thought he had no money last week, huh?
Stay tuned for Part II.