I've made do in this hobby despite working a job that is known for not paying well.
I made the decision a long time ago to go into a profession because I enjoyed it, not because it made a lot of money. I've gotten used to scraping by -- have done it for decades -- and have enjoyed stability in a notoriously unstable line of work.
There's not a lot of cash for cards. I've written about that many times on this blog. It goes in stages, sometimes I have extra for cards, many times I don't.
My card interests are relatively affordable but in the last five years where almost any card worth having is too much money, it's difficult to get what I want. It takes longer. I need to be patient, which for someone who is not 25 anymore, is not the virtue it once was.
I am currently chasing two vintage sets, 1969 and 1970 Topps (well, three if you throw in the 1967 Topps insanity). I am 90 cards away from finishing 1969 and 53 from completing 1970. It feels like it's taking forever, but if I think back to my totals about three or four years ago, I know I'd be stunned that I am this close.
It's taken some resourcefulness. Cards like '69 and '70 do not show up in blog trades like they once did. The best place to get those kinds of cards is at a card show, but those don't pop up as often as I'd like.
Ebay is a possibility but most stuff is annoyingly overpriced. COMC is the same, often worse. Sportlots is more reasonable but even that has gotten pricey sometimes. That's why I'm glad I have Twitter.
I landed a few 1970 needs, many of them higher numbers, from Trevor (@Tec872). It's more affordable than picking them up elsewhere. The only challenge is you have to be around when the sale is happening and also you need to be quick. There are a lot of vultures.
The Cardinals team card. That is a squad with Brock and Gibson (pick them out yourself) and desperately clinging to its '60s prowess before they plunge into a decade of mediocrity.
Key card of The Big Orange. Staub isn't one of those players who lives in the high numbers, but he seems to be on the next level down in quite a few sets. I don't think I had ever seen this card before and I was nearly beaten to the punch for it.
Ted Savage practically played for a new team every year. On this card he's with the Reds. The next year he is a Brewer. In '69 he's a Dodger. In '68 a Cub. Before that the Pirates and the Phillies.
Another team card down (all the 1970 team cards are bunched into the back half of the set). This contains a couple minor creases but it's in better shape than the one I had in my ebay cart that cost a lot more.
'Ol Buck Martinez on his rookie card. He assumed this pose in '72 and '75 as well, which is why I momentarily thought I owned it already.
This is not a high number nor even fills a hole. It's an upgrade. I've owned a 1970 Lou Brock since the time I had maybe 23 1970 Topps cards (which wasn't that long ago). It's well-worn and it was time to brush up a little.
So that was a nice selection that helped me whittle down my 1970 wants a little more, until the next card show, probably.
There's still the matter of that Nolan Ryan card. And for the 1969 set, there's still the matter of Nolan Ryan, Reggie Jackson and Johnny Bench.
But I did something about that through a Twitter buy, too.
Dylan (@CardsStory) was unloading his impressive catchers cards collection to fund some other card purchases. I was lucky enough to be paying attention when he posted one card for sale for a price I could afford.
I even had time to think about it a little before I decided I wanted it.
This second-year Bench has some issues. It's the only way I could land it. It's got good-sized creases in the lower left, four worn corners, it's off-center and there are a couple of thumb-tack marks or whatever the heck people were doing to cards in 1969.
But it's a clean photo and perfect for my set build and I will not be a bit concerned that it's in less-fancy shape than the cards next to it. That's sometimes an issue for me. It won't be this time.
Here is the card back because the high rollers never show the backs of their big spendy purchases.
I like seeing the Buffalo stats on this card and the glowing review. Young Bench is not how I remember him. The first card of his I saw and owned was his 1975 Topps card. But I got to know him as a player more when he looked like this:
So, yeah, it's very cool to get a Bench card from his early days. I know the young collector in me, circa 1978, would think it is extremely wild.
That's the pace I'm going to have to stay at when acquiring future '69 and '70 cards, I don't see the price going down on that stuff. But who knows.
The hobby has surprised me before. See today's post.