Thursday, March 3, 2016

C.A.: 1972 Topps Steve Carlton Traded

(I haven't been feeling the Cardboard Appreciation posts lately, which is why they've been so scarce. I'm trying to get back up to speed because I want to have another vote-off and put another card in the Cardboard Appreciation Hall of Fame before the year is out. So this is my attempt to do that. Time for Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 237th in a series):

This is directed at all of you set collectors out there.

Consistency. How important is it to you?

I'm referring to card condition. And I find consistency is quite important in my set collecting world -- even more important than the actual condition of the card.

A card in inferior condition isn't a deal breaker if other cards in the set are in inferior collection. For example, if I wanted to collect a complete set of beat-up 1993 Topps, for whatever reason, then any card from '93T that was beat up would do. And, a mint '93 Topps card probably wouldn't make it into the set binder. That's how important consistency is for me.

This is a common goal for set collectors who want their complete sets to be as mint as possible. They're constantly upgrading cards so they look like all of the other cards. But it also plays a part for me when I'm trying to complete sets that are not so mint.

For example, the 1972 Topps set. I received the Steve Carlton Traded card from Commish Bob of The Five Tool Collector recently. It's a tricky card -- a high number of a star player -- and one of the more notable cards from the set that I still needed.

The Commish mentioned that the card wasn't in great shape. All four corners are dinged and there are creases traveling through it like highways on a road map. He suggested the card would hold until I could upgrade.

But it might hold, period. The creases are pretty light. And although most of my '72s are in better condition (I try for VG-EX), the Carlton is not out of place with the other cards in the set.

To me, that's all that matters. Is the card consistent with the cards around it?

And I think this one might be.

Bob also sent a couple of Stadium Club needs because it's yet another set I'm trying to complete. (Aarrrgh, Joe Morgan is not a black-and-white photo kind of player!)

These cards, of course, are so new that condition and consistency isn't a factor. I suppose that's why certain collectors only collect new cards. The consistency is built in, you don't have to look for it.

But to me, that's part of the challenge of vintage. And it's a fun part. Finding a card that suits your needs, not just a card that fills a hole, is truly a pleasant part of the set-collecting process. It's not about making things hard on myself. It's about my attempt to collect a set where each card is in harmony with the others.

Set consistency is cool.

There's enough about life that is inconsistent. At least my collection is a little more reliable.


  1. Red Machine members should be featured in color, you're right on the money there.

    The Carlton looks good enough to me, I can only imagine what a high # '72 Carlton in VG-EX condition would run...

  2. My 72 set is pretty consistent veg/ex. A few still need upgraded. My Carelton is in nice shape slightly off left to right. I think I paid 25.00.

  3. Someone should build a set while trying to find copies of each card in the absolute worst condition possible.

  4. I too agree about the Morgan card. B/W is not the way to go for the Morgan card and the Big Red Machine. The picture is flat so the developer/printer did not do a good job with the negative. Perhaps only Ansel Adams could pull the subject matter to the forefront.

    P.S. - if you ever have the opportunity to see an original Adams print make sure to see it. It's all incredible work.

  5. The Joe Morgan is scary for a second I thought there were B/W Short Prints in Stadium Club

  6. I got the bulk of my '72 set when my best LCS went out of business. A few hundred commons (including dupes) for about a quarter apiece. So I decided that my set would be mid-grade at best. Same thing happened to my 1970 set. Most of my other vintage sets are as minty as possible (1959, 1960, 1969, 1971, 1973 thru 1984) But the later I go finishing it, the cards I get are in better and better shape. At some point I may come to a decision to bulk trade 'em all up to Ex+. But I figure it makes it easier to find high numbers and stars that are still affordable in this case.

  7. As I try to get every Browns card I can, I'll grab a poorer quality card just to have it in my collection. I always say that I'll try to upgrade it, but rarely do I ever look to do so after the fact. When I get Browns cards I look to see what I don't have and put the doubles aside. At some point I have to go through my collection and see if I have any upgrades in my doubles box.

  8. For me, Vintage cards (pre-1980) only need to be vg or better although I don't like creasing, I figure I have until I die to upgrade them to Ex or NM, so I don't really look to upgrade any, it happens when it happens. Overall, If I don't have a card, any condition will do. AS for consistency, I prefer the "set" be about the same as the others in it. If they are vintage and VG I am good with that except for the creasing and horribly off center, like the 1972 set is prone to.

  9. Great minds think alike. When I bought my 1975 Topps Mini set, it came with a PSA 7 Brett. I decided to put the set in a binder and considered popping the Brett from it's plastic cell. But to be honest... the Brett was too nice for that set. So I went out and picked up a cheaper copy for the binder and kept the graded card for my vintage rookie collection.