The life of this blog has coincided with a period in my own life in which I've felt both the time and money crunch.
This is a running theme probably in most people's lives from the time they get out of high school. But when you have children and a demanding job, it seems particularly acute. And I've whined about my lack of both more than once right here.
When I happen to stumble across either extra time or extra money, I feel bouyant, like nothing can stop me. When I stumble across both at the same time -- well, we're entering seldom-ventured territory. I am weightless.
I entered that unfamiliar space yesterday. Right before Sunday's card show I received a reimbursement check in the mail, plenty enough to fund a card show. Then, I managed to leave for the show early, something I often have trouble doing because I work Saturday nights. And I walked into the show with three-to-four hours to do what I wished.
I used it all.
Well almost all, we'll get to that.
My objective for this card show was to crack down on some familiar card projects -- try to get closer to completing the 1973 Topps set, find a few 1956 Topps needs, finally finish off those pesky 2019 Dodgers, and get a few recent inserts that I've ignored, and keep my eye out for deals in my areas of interests.
I'm always on the hunt for oddballs from the '70s, but usually when I go to this show, I don't find much. There seems to be a bias against oddballs among dealers and some collectors.
Fortunately, I had pegged this show incorrectly this time.
I will start from the beginning. That's the view once you enter the building.
At the table to the left on the far left corner, I spotted a bin with $2 dollar cards. It seemed to be filled with vintage stuff and I immediately started stacking some cards I wanted.
OK, obviously this show was going to be a little different than the others I've experienced at the New York State Fairgrounds.
Immediately from the first stop, it was overflowing with my kind of oddballs -- Hostess, Kellogg's 3-D and -- awesome -- 1970s O-Pee-Chee.
Just a couple notes before moving on to the next table.
1. When I do come across '70s Kellogg's cards at shows, I notice that they're almost always from 1970-75 or 1980-83. My favorite Kellogg's sets happen to be 1976-78 and I don't know why I can't find those things at shows.
2. The Harry Carson would be the only 1977 Topps football card that I'd come across. And I sought them out, too.
3. I knew when I found that OPC Tony Perez -- so wonderfully different than the Topps version -- that I would go through every single card in that bin.
Every table that I stopped at yesterday featured discounted cards, either individual bins for dollar cards, 50-cent cards or what-have-you, or a tray in front with marked down cards.
The sudden appearance of quarter boxes and dime boxes at this show is most welcome. I know through a lot of the country these have been regular stand-bys at shows, but it didn't happen much where I went until the last three years or so. Dealers who NEVER dealt in discount bins now have them.
OK, let's move on to one of those dealers who didn't used to have discount bins.
I went there next to try to finish off some 1973 cards.
Unfortunately, I'm basically into high numbers now and the same thing always happens when I leaf to the page with the card that I want -- nope, no Cleon Jones. Nope, no Dave Concepcion.
I settled for just two cards:
The Foster NLCS card is one of the last non-high numbers I needed.
A bit disappointed with what I found at that table, I kind of shuffled through a few binders half-heartedly. Then I ambled over to the discount bin area. He had bins set up for quarter cards, 50-cent cards and dollar cards.
I'll start with the quarter cards first:
I hadn't intended to accumulate so many 1970 Topps cards at the show, but the prices drew me in. 1970 Topps for a quarter? Come on!
Then I almost couldn't believe my eyes:
1977 O-Pee-Chee! My favorite OPC set!
My brain was screaming: THOSE DON'T LOOK LIKE THE 1977 TOPPS BARRY FOOTE AND DEL UNSER AT ALL!!!! BUY THEM! BUY THEM!!
Don't worry brain, for a quarter, it's not worth mulling over.
This was also when I found the 1974 Washington variations that I mentioned in yesterday's post. And I grabbed some other OPC's from a different year.
I knew I probably had some of these but at a quarter it didn't matter. Turns out I needed Reggie and Terry only, but I'm sure the others are upgrades.
Then I grabbed as many of these OPC wonders as I could. Craig Reynolds is a Mariner-Astro!
Wooooo! That's a lot of fun.
I then moved on to the 50-cent bin. Not much there, except -- again -- some 1970s.
I'm sure I looked just like Byron Browne at that moment.
In the dollar bin I saw some 1956 Topps. I knew they'd be pretty beat up, but I tried to find some on my want list that I could handle putting in my binder.
I may or may not upgrade some of these some day but they work great with the other cards in my '56 set. A lot of the '56s in the dollar bin had writing all over them. I didn't mind the "jump," though (I think that's what it says anyway).
I also grabbed this 1977 Topps cloth card from the dollar bin. I really should have more of these by now.
Thrilled by my discount finds at this table, I went back to the pricier binders and added one more card to the group:
I don't know how many of these 1961 NuScoops cards contain Dodgers, but there seems to be a lot more than I thought. Happy to get this out of the way.
So, with only limited damage to my '73 Topps quest, it was time to go to the other vintage table where I knew I could find '73s.
More dead-ends in the '73 binder, but I was quite pleased to get the Indians team card (Yankees is the last one left, of course). LOL, the suit in the front row.
I started to nose around the discounted cards that the dealer had available and jumped at a few.
Yes, a Hostess Nolan Ryan, without a doubt I want that.
There's a 1977 Kellogg's card! Campy!
There's a 1978 Kellogg's card! Tom Terrific!
My Westrum has writing on it, this one doesn't.
You know me and cracks in Kellogg's cards, but this is one of the greatest 100 cards of the '70s.
I've mentioned before that the lighting in the show hall isn't the greatest, especially for finding cracks in Kellogg's cards. This one had a few more than I saw when I bought it, but that's OK. Not a card I'm going to get for less than 3 bucks anywhere else.
More majorly discounted vintage. The Newcombe was 6 bucks (but less after I bundled the cards). I don't remember the price of the Furrillo but it looks so much better than my other version, which has been folded 14 times and sat on.
I saw this at the table where I got the Robinson NuScoops. It was in better shape than this one and pricier, so I passed it up, then was rewarded with a cheaper version!
Before I could pay, the dealer was involved in some conversation with another collector. I don't understand how much people can talk. It wasn't about cards, I can't even remember what it was. So I waited a little, leafing absent-mindedly through the 1967 Topps binder. And imagine that, I found a card I wanted.
I'm going to do a post on these 1967 Topps team cards. They are so great.
OK, so my next mission was to start chasing some modern Dodgers cards and I knew just the table for that.
This dealer always has the latest flagship set (as well as the latest Heritage and Bowman sets) in binders. I try to pick off the Dodgers each time.
Unfortunately, the last two Dodgers I need from 2019 flagship are Cody Bellinger and Walker Buehler. Imagine that. The two most popular young players, practically in all of baseball are the last two I need. Thanks a lot, Topps, don't tell me you don't make certain flagship cards more difficult to get.
I leafed to those two players' pages and ... found empty spots each time.
Oh, well, let's find some Dodger inserts from the last couple years instead.
The number of Dodgers in that last insert set is out of hand.
I then made sure to check out this dealer's discount boxes, most of which were quarter boxes.
I didn't find a lot -- there is far too much Bowman and Panini Donruss in there -- but the first two cards I pulled out showed definite promise.
1977 TCMA!!!! My favorite TCMA set ... well, one of my favorites.
There were about a dozen or so A&G minis in the quarter box. Nothing exciting, and if they don't fit in my frankenset binder then they wander in my collection limbo. So I chose these two. The Charlie Morton turned out to be perfect and not just because of his game today. It fills an empty spot in my frankenset binder!
No luck for Astudillo. Mark Spitz is totally in control of that space.
This particular discount section wasn't doing much for me, but then I found the 2019 Archives '75 Cody Bellinger in the quarter box.
And all of these needs, too.
It is so awesome when you can find cards from a set that was released two months ago in the quarter bins.
Once again I got ready to pay and the dealer was nowhere to be found.
So I rummaged through some of his hockey stuff and then I spotted a card in a top-loader with a sticker that said "Vintage" on it.
It was so weird to see it at this particular dealer's table. There is hardly any other vintage there.
I decided to give it a home. It seemed lonely.
My 1978 Topps Nolan Ryan Record Breaker card is the most beat-up card in my entire '78 set. It's left over from when I collected the set in 1978 as a 12-year-old. I never upgraded because Ryans command too much a price. So I'm very happy to add what is almost the final upgrade in the '78 set (still have to do the same for Mr. October). Also, if you're paying attention, this is the third Nolan Ryan card I bought at this show!
OK, at this point I was running low on funds. I tried to blow the remainder on 1977 football but found none.
Then I went to one table where Angus of Dawg Day Cards found those 1976 Hostess panels for me several card shows ago. He had a bin of discounted cards, three for $15 or something like that.
I bought one card and was quite pleased.
Yeah, it's not the greatest specimen, but this subset was a bugger, and when I get the Aaron card in the mail, it will be complete.
That ensured that I made a satisfying dent in my '73 needs and maybe I can even finish it off before the year is out.
OK, so now with just 5 bucks left, I happened across a dime box in what I knew would be my final stop of the day. It was pretty special. Just some of the items:
Much to comment on here, as well.
1. Stadium Club Member's Only parallels, 2019 Bowman Platinum and those stupid Gypsy Queen "missing team name" variations belong 100 percent in the dime box. That's all they are worth. I was practically laughing at anybody who paid multiple dollars for those GQ no-name variations when the set was released.
2. Multiple sightings of TCMA Galasso Glossy Greats!
3. What the heck? A Del Unser autograph in the dime box? I don't expect anyone to remember Del Unser anymore, but he was a notable player in the '70s/'80s and his signature is worth more than a dime!
4. The Stadium Club Rod Carew card is a favorite because the kids in the stands look just like the kids that I knew when I grew up, what I looked like when I was a kid. Same haircuts. Same clothes. Everything.
Like I said, I had a lot of time on my hands -- I spent three hours at the show -- and that was good because it takes TIME to sift through multiple discount boxes.
While I was going through the last one, they announced on the intercom as usual that dealers were beginning to close up shop and soon they'd be opening the garage door to let dealers' cars in so they could load up.
"Funny," I thought. "Is it that time already?"
Seemingly a few seconds went by and then they announced that the cars would start moving in. Somewhat alarmed, I looked at my phone. It said 3:18 p.m. The show was supposed to go to 4. I will never understand this.
I asked the dealer if he was ready to pack up. I didn't want to hold him hostage for a 5-dollar bill. But he was in no hurry.
I leafed through some more while the cars moved in. I looked over my shoulder and didn't see a single other collector in the entire hall. I was likely the last one. When I finally walked out to my car to leave, even most of the dealers had left already.
So, by this point -- if you had the patience to read through all that -- you're probably saying, "well, I see how you had the extra time, but what about the extra money? It seems like you just hit all the cheapie boxes."
You are so observant, single person who made it this far.
But I left out one card.
Back at the first table, the one with the two-dollar-cards bin, I made a decision to land one of the pricey cards from the 1956 Topps set.
A super snazzy version of the Whitey Ford card.
Yeah, it wasn't cheap but I figured as a premium Yankee card, I'll always get some cash for it if I ever decide to sell it.
That's definitely not a thought right now though. I basically knocked out of the park most of my goals at this show and several that I didn't expect to meet as well.
That's what happens when you have both time and money.
It probably will be a long while before that ever happens again.