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Prettying up the collection

Well, that upgrade post from a couple of weeks ago gained some traction!

Thanks to that post and the generosity of reader Paul, I've been able to make some progress on an upgrade project that's been in the back of my head ever since I returned to collecting.

I've mentioned before that my collecting return was sparked by a couple of instances: 1) Finding Topps' All-Time Fan Favorites cards from 2004 in the toy department of a K-Mart in Buffalo; and 2) Building the 1975 Topps set from a pawn shop downtown.

I'd go to the pawn shop (it's long gone, by the way) on my lunch break or in the afternoon on a day off and leaf through the one dealer's card offerings. He had almost the entire set of '75s in boxes on one glass display counter, and behind me was another couple of boxes of vintage cards, mostly stuff from the '60s or early '70s, on another counter. And in the glass display were all kinds of cards I couldn't afford then (but probably could now, for the most part).
It took weeks, maybe months, for me to finally finish the 1975 set in 2004. It was such a fun time that I knew I wanted to do the same thing with the 1974 set, which was the first set I ever touched with my own hands with those cello packs my mom bought.
I had spotted the '74 cards along with the '75 cards but had been able to ignore them while chasing '75. Now I got to work. But I wasn't as careful in selecting those cards as I was with the '75s. Maybe I was getting tired of the process, maybe the set didn't mean quite as much as the '75s, maybe it was too dark in there. But some of the cards I selected didn't match up with the other sharp-corner examples I had grabbed.
A number had dinged corners or were off-center and a lot of it I didn't discover until I got them home in a properly sun-lit room. I was still in "what's it worth" mode then and I was going through and pricing every single card -- what a wild practice -- and irked as I marked down the dinged-corner examples.
Today the prices don't matter to me but the set consistency does and it's why I've noted "upgrade '74s" when I go to a card show. But I rarely do.
So now you're caught up (and thanks for reading all that).
I've barely made progress on upgrading the '74s until now. Paul asked for a list of my '74 upgrade needs and I was able to present one to him quickly! It was a list of 37 cards. Paul found 33 of them! Wooooo!
That's tremendous.
All of these are in the 1974 binder already and it's a lot prettier now. So exciting. Sure, there is the matter of those four other cards but I've been able to go this long without upgrading the others, I can certainly last 18 more years with the others (or pick them off real fast and be done with it like a responsible collector).
Almost all of the replaced cards aren't in awful shape, just dented corners mostly, maybe a faint crease or two. The most obvious examples are the off-center cards at the top of the post and there weren't many of those. I was doing my darndest to find good copies in that pawn shop there but you can stand in one place for only so long.
Paul helped with one of the only other upgrading projects I have, which is the 1978 Topps set that I mentioned in that previous post.

The top two are the upgrades and the bottom are the originals from when I was 12, really trying to keep my collection nice but still handling them quite a bit.

Super-happy about getting a proper copy of that Carew card, that's a big one from my childhood. I'm down to needing six more upgrades from the '78s to be satisfied. Again it's not a big priority -- it needs to get in line with acquiring cards I don't already have -- but it seems more manageable now.

Paul even threw in an upgrade to the 1967 Mayo Smith that I showed receiving a couple weeks ago. The previous Mayo I got spent only about a week upside down in a binder and it's already being replaced!
So, by now you're asking "didn't you get any cards that aren't dupes?" 


This 1961 Post Charlie Neal completes the team set for me. Granted, its probably the easiest Post set to finish team-wise (no Koufax), but completing oddball sets from the '60s is extra cool!

Here are some Dodger needs, all extremely welcome. I needed the extra Heritage Mookie Betts (regular version) for the main set chase and, of course, the variation is super appreciated!
Upgrading isn't a No. 1 priority for me but I seem to post about it more than anyone else, so I guess it matters more to me. I just like to have a pretty collection, even if I have no intention of selling anything.


Old Cards said…
Nice updates for one of the last really great sets with 75 being the last (IMHO). Also, nice vintage 61. I have come to appreciate the Post cereal cards. Had to get past my snobbery that these weren't real cards since they had to be hand cut from the back of a cereal box and the backs are plain. I'm cured!
I'm telling you.... you need to vacay in Ocala for a week. Make work pay for it, say you're doing an interview, lol.
Chris said…
Nice upgrades, the '74 Singleton in particular.

Colorless borders on a '75 style card is never not going to look odd to me. But it's nice to see you got both Bettses.
Michael D said…
Nice updates. I'm focused on completing first, then I'll worry about updates. Still got a ways to go on my '75 set. '78 is getting close.
Doc Samson said…
Those updates are sweet, Mr. Owl.

Seeing Topps designs from the 70’s is always heartbreaking to me. How many years after that did Topps drop the ball on their designs with ugly border colors, overdone foil and absolutely no understanding how to creatively use white borders?
1984 Tigers said…
Night owl,

Glad to have helped with the 74s. Those were from a mostly commons lot of sharper cards from one of the JC Penney sets they issued at end of the season. Found a great lot on ebay for a nice price and used them to upgrade my own 74s.

As for the white Mookie variation, I've opened a lot of 24 Heritage so far and that is the only white variation I've got. Glad it was one of your faves!

Sometime in the early 90s, I believe it was in a Beckett monthly that they talked about the cost-saving efforts and how topps used an inferior cardboard stock that made the 73 and 74 sets more susceptible to worn corners. I don't see the same issues, at least not as frequent, with the 72s or 75s and up. The issue impacted basketball and hockey too. I've had to upgrade a lot of those cards starting in late 80s and early 90s.

Jon said…
It's nice to have someone looking to help you with these sort of projects.
Fuji said…
I definitely need to upgrade some singles in a few of my 70's sets. It's not high on the priority list right now... but I'm sure I'll get around to it one of these days.
Jafronius said…
Congrats on the upgrades. I may have asked something similar before, but since you knew the Fergie and Carew were cards from your initial purchase, will you keep them as momentos of the time or will they go to the dupes box?)
night owl said…
They're dupes. 1978 was four years into collecting for me, so no big attachment.