As I've mentioned many times before, I don't have a reliable card shop to visit. The one in the mall isn't worth anyone's time anymore and I'm surprised that it's still there (or maybe it isn't. I haven't been to the mall in quite awhile).
Even when I had a regular shop, I wasn't one to get to know the owner. He was usually trying to sell me something and I was usually trying to avoid buying something. I have this whole suspicious way of looking at people who are trying to get my money anyway.
But I do know that there are regular card shop guys, who are just fans of cards, who just want to talk about cards. They do exist.
A few years ago, a maintenance man at my job gave me the business card of a card shop guy he knew. The maintenance man sort of dabbled in cards, not too seriously but he knew I liked them. He said he'd been to this guy's shop, which was in his house, and they just kind of gabbed about cards.
I took the business card and looked at the address. "Antwerp," I said to myself, "that's like 25 minutes away." I put it in my wallet and never looked at again. A little while ago, I was cleaning out my wallet, saw the business card, and discarded it, thinking there was no way someone selling cards out of his home in a tiny town like Antwerp was still in business.
Now, thanks to Brian at Play At The Plate, I'm kicking myself for tossing that business card.
As you might have read, he has struck up a relationship with a former card shop guy. They meet each other and talk about cards while they sort cards. The card shop guy has lots and lots of cool cards. And Brian nabs some for himself and for others.
Others like me.
You saw that Piazza up there. It's off my want list.
Here's another one, of a Molten Steel Gary Sheffield using his left hand for a club.
Here is some numbered item of my collecting favorite Hideo Nomo. It's some hobby-issue only set. It doesn't look fancy enough for that.
One more Nomo. From 1996 Leaf Limited.
When I read Brian's accounts of his time with the former card shop owner, I imagine what it must be like to walk through a house with all those cards, just talking about cards and looking at cards and leaving with cards that you didn't have when you got there. It sounds like a dream.
But part of me wonders, if I knew a card shop owner guy like that, what would I do?
Would I strike up a relationship? I'm not really the outgoing type.
Would I keep going over there to help sort cards and shoot the shit? I've got lots of other things to do you know.
Would I find cards for my fellow blogging friends? Or would I keep them all for myself?
These are the things I ponder, too, when I'm reading about Brian with his card shop buddy.
Good for Brian. He doesn't have to do all that. But he does. He's found something that others in this hobby can't find. And he's letting us all in on it by not only writing about it, but sending us cards like this:
If I knew a card shop owner, some guy who's maybe out of the business now but has a whole lot of cards and just wants to talk about them with someone, I'd like to think I'd do what Brian is doing.
I'd like to think I'd grab some '55 Bowmans for me and a few for some other people, who really like cards.
Maybe I'll drive on up to Antwerp and see if that guy is still around.