Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dollar Box Bonanza

I've built up a stack of quite a few cards from the dollar box at the local hobby shop over the last few months, but I don't have the time (or desire) to write a post on every single one, so here's a bunch of them all at once for your viewing pleasure. I probably have enough cards left to do this two or three more times...

1966 Topps - #46 - Howie Koplitz

Tell me you could look at this card for a buck and walk away? I like the old Senators cap and the warm-up jacket underneath the uniform. Then there's the glasses. I'm going to warn you right now, there's a heavy dose of 1966 Topps in this post. It's not my favorite set of the decade by any means, but there is a ton of it in the dollar box and all of it in really good shape too. Beggars can't be choosers...

1971-72 Topps - #15 - Yvan Cournoyer

Hall-of-Famer. 1971-72 Topps card that I didn't have. Enough said. Since most of my selections are Topps cards from the 60's and 70's, there are plenty of cartoons:

1973 Topps - #370 - Willie Stargell

Fantastic card. My favorite in this lot. I had never even seen this card before to the best of my recollection. I really need to get more '73 Topps, they have some of the nicest looking backs of all-time in my opinion:

1966 Topps - #266 - Pedro Gonzalez

I learned that this is an uncorrected error, as Topps incorrectly spelled Pedro's last name on the back:

1961 Topps - #25 - Reds Heavy Artillery

This is really the only card in the group that's in pretty poor condition. It's not centered well, and there's some sort of a stain across the bottom middle of the card. I'm a sucker for the 50's and 60's combo cards though, so I couldn't resist.

1966 Topps - #187 - Chuck Dressen

Chuck had a managerial career that spanned decades. I always associate him with the Brooklyn Dodgers of the early 50's. This is his final Topps card, sadly he suffered his second heart attack just 26 games into the 1966 season. Later that summer he would succumb to a kidney infection at the age of 67.

1976 Topps Traded - #250T - Fergie Jenkins

Believe it or not this is my first card from either of the two 1970's Traded sets. As a Red Sox fan, I should've added this one to the collection a long time ago.

1966 Topps - #140 - Jim Maloney

Fergie Jenkins might be the best pitcher in this lot, but there are certainly some notable pitching performances. Jim Maloney no-hit the Cubs on August 19th, 1965:

2008-09 O-Pee-Chee Retro Parallel - #564 - Richard Brodeur

One of the last remaining Legends retro parallels I needed from this set. I will finish this one someday!

1966 Topps - #21 - Don Nottebart

Don also threw a no-hitter, against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 17th, 1963:

1961 Topps - #14 - Don Mossi

This is the second Don Mossi I've plucked from the dollar box.

1966 Topps - #64 - Bob Bruce

Bob wasn't fortunate enough to hurl a no-hitter, but he did throw a one-hitter in 1963:

1966 Topps - #280 - Bobby Knoop

1992-93 Upper Deck Gordie Howe Heroes - Header

Not the most exciting card, but it's one off the want list. I'm about halfway done with the Howe Heroes insert set at this point.

1966 Topps - #274 - Buster Narum

Buster homered in his first major league at bat, not bad for a pitcher:

1988-89 Topps Sticker Inserts - #2 - Mario Lemieux

Maybe a buck was too much to pay for this one, but it fills an empty slot in one of my 80's hockey binders.

1966 Topps - #15 - Vern Law

We close it out with a mint '66 Topps of a former Cy Young Award winner, not bad!

All that for $17. No wonder it's been months since I've purchased any cards from Target...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Monster Trade from Reader Daniel - Part 2

Way back at the beginning of the year, I posted the first part of a huge trade with reader Daniel. This package was so impressive that I can't let posting the rest of it get away from me. So, here's the second post of six, some 1988-89 Topps hockey. Included in the package were close to 20 cards off my want list for this set, which takes me down to just eleven cards shy of completion. Here are a couple of my favorites:

#25 - Clint Malarchuk

I always think of Malarchuk as a Sabre, but he did play two seasons with the Caps.

#49 - Chris Chelios

One of the last big names I was missing, much appreciated!

#118 - Ken Linseman

Little known fact, Linseman was briefly a member of the Hartford Whalers in 1983 but was traded to the Oilers without ever suiting up for Hartford. Worked out pretty well for Ken, as he won a Cup with Edmonton that season.

#123 - Pat LaFontaine

LaFontaine was an early example of a player's career ending all too early because of concussions. Luckily he had logged enough time before the injuries to accumulate Hall-of-Fame numbers (he was elected in 2003). He was still producing at a high level before he was injured though, with 91 points in the season before his serious concussion. Who knows how many more times he may have lit the lamp if it weren't for Francois Leroux's cheap shot...

#134 - Bob Sweeney

#176 - Steve Kasper

The large lot I got from the hobby shop to get me started on my set was virtually devoid of Bruins, so these two were a big help.

#179 - Paul Coffey

I hope to have the next installment of this trade posted soon.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Flea Market Haul - Some Vintage, a White Whale and My First Tobacco Card!

This past Sunday my brother and I hit the local flea market for a few hours. I hadn't been in a long time, and I have to say it was a pretty fun experience. I wasn't expecting much in the way of cards, which was fine since I had only $50 on me. Turns out my expectations were about right, there were only three card tables in the entire gigantic two-story mill that houses the flea market. I did make a purchase from each of the tables though, and I couldn't have been much happier with my pickups given the limited selection and my limited budget.

The first table consisted largely of coins and stamps. There was just one small display case of cards which basically contained your run of the mill junk wax selection. If you wanted to pay $1 for a pack of 1988 Donruss this was your place. One item on his table did catch my eye though, a small binder full of tobacco cards. They weren't exactly in prime condition, but they were cheap enough that I decided to add my first ever Tobacco card to the collection:

My fiancee and I have had a pug, named Eli, for the last 7 years or so. He's a great dog, so this seemed like a very fitting first tobacco card. The back of the card provided some information, but I'm still not sure that I can identify it:

There is no year specified, as you can see. The card was issued by John Player & Sons, a branch of Imperial Tobacco (of Great Britain & Ireland). The painting itself was done by Arthur Wardle, and the card is number 25 in a series of 50. I found that there was a 50 card set released in 1929 called "Dogs by Wardle (Heads)", so I'm assuming this card is from that set. Can anyone confirm this? There are other Wardle dog sets, but I'm thinking this is the one. In any event, this instantly becomes a favorite. It's got a bit of a crease across the middle, but it still looks great, and besides creases and pugs kind of go hand in hand. Best of all, this cost me just $1, my cheapest pickup of the day.

The second card table was run by a very strange man, who mumbled a lot and looked like he hadn't showered in a few days. He was nice enough though, and had a ton of vintage baseball. Much of it was lower condition stuff that was a little too beat up for my liking, but I did manage to pick out two cards I wanted:

1972 Topps - #130 - Bob Gibson

Recently, the majority of my card budget has gone towards the 1970's Topps run. 1970-1973 is where my collection is weakest, so I snatched up this '72 Gibson for $4. It's slightly mis-cut and there's a bit of wear on the lower right corner, which you can see in the scan. Sure, I probably could have found this card cheaper elsewhere, but oh well. The way I look at it, it's still a Hall-of-Famer from a great set for less than the price of many hobby packs nowadays. I've spent $4 on much dumber things before. Here's the other card I grabbed from this "dealer":

1967 Topps - #280 - Tony Conigliaro

The Gibson was sort of a last minute addition, but I knew I wanted this card as soon as I saw it. I love the 1967 Topps design, and '67 was also one of the most memorable seasons in Red Sox history, so I've been working on the Red Sox team set for quite some time now. This is also just my second Conigliaro card.

While many of this gentleman's cards were in pretty rough shape, this one is in unbelievable condition. It's slightly off-center, but is crease-free with vibrant colors and sharp corners. My cost was $5.

Now, I've saved the best for last. After my first two stops I had spent just $10. I was prepared to leave a happy patron with $40 in pocket but my gut was eating away at me. Earlier in the day, I had run across a third table with some cards. This was by far the most bizarre setup I encountered. The guy had some very nice cards, nearly all vintage baseball. Many of the cards were in great shape, but he was not doing himself any favors with his presentation. In fact, I nearly walked right by his table without even looking because his cards were literally strewn about (in penny sleeves and cases) within his display case. It looked as though he had literally dropped a pile of cards in toploaders into his case years ago, and simply left them where they had fallen. They were crooked and piled on top of each other to the point where you couldn't even tell what many of the cards on the bottom of the pile were. I wish I had thought to take a picture with my phone to show you just how bad it was.

Anyway, near the bottom of the pile was one card, barely visible and encased in an old-school screw-down holder, that caught my attention. It's one I've had my eye on for a long time now, a white whale so to speak. On the case was a sticker with "$125" written on it. This guy was so excited to have someone actually express interest in his cards, probably because his display was so messy that I'm sure most collectors don't even bother asking him to sift through it. He let me know to "pay no attention to the price on the front". I asked him what he'd part with it for, and he came back at $65. This was outside my budget, and I wanted to look around at other tables before offering what I had left, so I returned the card and politely thanked him. I briefly debated an absolute mint 1963 Topps Bob Gibson, but ultimately moved on.

As my brother and I walked around, I kept going back to the card in my mind, so once we were ready to leave and I hadn't purchased anything else, I returned and made a low-ball offer for what I had left in hand, $40. To my surprise, he hesitantly accepted, as long as I promised not to sell the card on eBay. Here's what I came home with:

1971 Topps - #5 - Thurman Munson

I don't think I need to explain why I was so excited to add this card to my collection. It's one of the most iconic Topps cards out there, and was recently selected as one of the 60 greatest Topps cards of all-time (deservedly so in my opinion, unlike some of the other selections). I've come close to pulling the trigger on one of these numerous times, but what finally got me was the amazing condition this one is in. I've held dozens of these in hand, and watched many on eBay over the years. This is by far the nicest example I've actually seen in person, and it rivals any I've seen recently on eBay. Vintage collectors know that clean examples of 1971 Topps are hard to come by, this particular card especially. The black borders chip away extremely easily, and good centering is often a tall order to fill. This one has it all though, next to no edge chipping, corners that are very nearly sharp, and almost perfect centering. I've inspected the card over and over, from top to bottom, looking at it from every angle and in every different light, as well as comparing it to other '71 Topps in my collection. I can say with confidence that no Sharpie was used to hide any chips in the border, and that the card has not been trimmed or modified in any way. Here's the back:

To me, the best cards are the ones that are accompanied by a story or memory. Every time I look at this card, I'll remember a great day spent with my younger brother. I'm also happy to have saved this card from where it's been neglected for years, under a pile of other vintage and dust in a messy display case inside an old mill. It now sits proudly displayed on the bookshelf in my office, and will be appreciated as a find like this should be!

Box Break - 1995-96 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey - Packs 11 & 12

Pack 11:

#258 - Mike Milbury's Scouting Report - Claude Lemieux

#222 - Wayne Gretzky 5th Anniversary

#268 - Eric Daze Star Rookie

Injury limited Daze to just over 600 career games, and he was often criticized for not playing physically enough for his size. Nonetheless, he scored 226 goals in his career, all for the Blackhawks.

#104 - Dominik Hasek

#90 - Ray Ferraro (Double)

#59 - Jason Allison

#26 - Greg Adams (Electric Ice)

#53 - James Patrick

#110 - Mike Gartner

#10 - Steve Chiasson

#64 - Alexei Zhamnov

Zhamnov seemed like he was going to be a superstar early on as he averaged better than a point per game in each of his first 4 NHL seasons, all with Winnipeg. When the Jets moved their franchise to Phoenix though, they deal Alexei to the Chicago Blackhawks for Jeremy Roenick. He never had another point per game season in his NHL career.

#195 - Alek Stojanov

Best card in the pack:

#222 - Wayne Gretzky 5th Anniversary

Let's face it, that wasn't the most exciting pack. Adding a new Gretzky to the collection is always a plus.

Pack 12:

#238 - Mike Milbury's Scouting Report - Chris Chelios

#223 - Keith Primeau 5th Anniversary

#74 - John MacLean

Nice shot, the net cam almost always makes for a good photo.

#260 - Radek Dvorak Star Rookie

Fifteen years have passed since this card came out, and Dvorak has now played more games in a Panthers sweater than anyone else. That record should become untouchable when the Panthers close up shop and move to Canada, which I hope occurs in the near future.

#101 - Shayne Corson (Double)

#56 - Adrian Aucoin

#42 - Jiri Slegr (Double)

#79 - Doug Brown (Double)

#118 - Petr Klima

#132 - Alexei Kovalev

#145 - Kelly Hrudey (Electric Ice)

#92 - Viktor Kozlov (Double)

Best card in the pack:

#74 - John MacLean

The photo on the front was enough reason to select this card, but the back didn't hurt either:

Well that gets us through the first third of the box, so I'll be taking a "first intermission" for the next few days in order to get through some other posts that have backed up lately.
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