The Collective Mind

Continually adding your intellectual and philosophical distinctiveness about cardboard to our own.
Designation: GCA     Coordinates: Maryland, USA

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My card room...or room and a half, actually

Well, it's a little late to the party, but...story of my life.

I saw the post on My Cardboard Habit  (via BB Card Breakdown) about the contest that had just closed where collectors showed pictures of their card rooms, and everyone voted on who had the coolest one.   I had taken a few shots of mine to show some friends I was visiting a while ago, but wasn't in time to put them into the contest.  I figure I'll go ahead and show them here, plus some more I just took for complete coverage.

My card room isn't just one side of a room, but actually inhabits one whole room in my townhouse, and spills over into the adjacent room as well.  Being primarily a three sport set collector, who also has a football team collection, plus over fifty player collections, my total volume is a bit higher than average.

I'll start in the "computer room", which houses my main staging area for pulling cards and packing them for mailing.  There are several boxes of cards here that don't actually count towards my collection because they are all tradeables or duplicates.

And no, I don't actually use that monitor.....

The monster box is all my dupes/tradeables from 1980 thru 1993.  The smaller ones are more current set dupes.  The little piles are mostly either inserts, game-used, oddballs, or cards I've pulled for certain people.  My 1993 thru 2003 dupes are in a monster box on the desk with my computer on the right side of the room (not shown). There is another box under the desk of mostly 2005 singles, and another against the wall of 2004 thru 2010.

Now let's go over to the "Card Room" itself....

As you enter, you notice the Priest Holmes Fathead on the wall next to twin china cabinets....

The desk in the middle is where I sort sets and file away my newest acquisitions after I take them off my wantlist website in the other room.  On the wall is my prized team photo of the 1909 New York Giants baseball team, and my signed Joe Theismann jersey.  You can see the Giants pic on my want list site, which at the time of this writing is jacked up for some reason.  There's a whole story about how I got the picture and what came with it, but that's another post.

Anyway, continuing into the room, here are the two china cabinets.  They make great storage for cards with the windowed cabinets up top, the bottom cabinets for set boxes, and the drawers for convenient storage of supplies.

The small drawers are even better because they are originally made for silverware, but top loaders fit right between the rails, which makes storing game-used and autos really nice.

Here are the cabinets fully open.  The left cabinet is all baseball.  The right one is football and hockey, hence it's not quite as full.  Binder space in the room is at 100%, so they are a mix of everything.

On the right, you can see my (baseball) player collection binders, and Priest's.  The first four are my vintage players, and the other three are the newer players that spanned into the 1990's which means they have tons more cards than the other guys.  So only a couple guys fill the entire binder.

On the other side of the  sorting desk is the main binder shelf.  I really need another one of these because I have some more vintage sets etc. that are ready to get sheeted up.  But there isn't anywhere to put them yet.   My baseball set binders are sort of color coded by decade.  Grey for 60's, Blue for 70's, and Black for 80's, though most of my 80's sets are still in boxes.  I pick out the most colorful and interesting cards to make the printed labels from (I don't use real cards).  And I have a rule that I try not to use the same team on two labels.  The first reddish brown binder was the first one I ever owned.

Around the room you see the couch that is more often holding some boxes and books than people.  Next to that is the wire rack that holds the larger boxes that don't fit into the cabinets or that hold sets I'm still actively working on.

On top of the rack is my Redskins bulk collection.  The '40's thru the early 80's are in a couple binders, or in the drawer.  The rest are here in the old vinyl carry cases that I used to use before white boxes were really the norm.  They are great for team collections because they have 30 separate slots that you can segregate each year's cards by company.  I put Action Packed and Bowman in the first slot, and then alphabetically (Donruss, Fleer & Skybox, Pacific, Playoff, Press Pass, Score, Topps, Upper Deck) etc.  Nowadays it's more like Bowman, Donruss/Panini, Score, Topps, and I can get four years in one case instead of just two.   Luckily, I've been able to find these cases here and there through the years, so I can keep my collection consistent.

So besides the one little overflow shelf, you're back to the doorway of the room.  Hadn't planned on keeping that little shelf in front of the closet, but I'm at full capacity until I figure out another arrangement that allows more binder space.

The other things I'll give you a better look at are the non-card items that I've gathered while amassing this much cardboard.  I try not to get into too much peripheral stuff since space is at such a premium.  But as a player collector, you do run into some unique things that you just have to have.

My Priest Holmes non-card collection is on top of the baseball cabinet.  I've got all but the scarcest figures and McFarlanes of the running back who won me two fantasy seasons.  I just need a signed Texas helmet and this collection will be just about complete.

The other side is all oddball items, mostly of my baseball player collections.  I guess to be consistent, I should swap them with the Priest items.  There are also autographed baseballs from Jim Palmer and Brooks Robinson, plus bobbleheads from players on my local favorite teams.

So there you are.  That's my card environment.  Don't know if I'd win for coolness, but I think I got the sheer volume prize locked up.  Except if you see what my friend Stuart has.  He doesn't have one or two rooms...he's got cards in EVERY room, and in multiple other houses.

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Thursday, September 08, 2016

2016 National Convention Loot - Epilogue

Expectations for this year's show were lower than average, but I thought it was just as good a show as the others I've been to (2009 thru 2014).

This was the first time that I "flew solo" and only really bought for myself.  Most years I figure to meet a couple guys from the trading groups I deal on, but nobody approached me.  I was also on the lookout for any of the (real) bloggers, but I didn't recognize anyone til after I read some of their posts. Then I thought I may have seen a couple of them.

Ah well, it's like I say, there's no such thing as a bad day at a card show.  Especially one this big.

Here's what I initially pulled from my four A&G boxes.  Not sure I'd score real high on Gint-A-Cuffs.

The Brooklyn mini is Anthony Rendon of the Nats.  Going for the rainbow on that one.

The printing plate is VMart.  I'll trade it for another printing plate of either the Orioles or Nationals. The King Felix mini, Wil Myers, Crawford, and Sklar relics are available for trade, as is the Peraza auto.  His was the last base card I needed for the set.  Yes, believe it or not, I didn't get a full set from FOUR boxes of the stuff.  That's why I hate picking from a pile of loose boxes because you lose the collation of a fresh opened case.  I basically got the same batch of base cards three times, and then the fourth box was different.  I've already traded a starter set and some of the relics for what I need.  Luckily, the inserts were different across all the boxes, so I only had a couple dupes. That's what I really hate the most is getting the same set of inserts from two boxes in a row.  It happens to me when I buy two boxes of flagship about half the time.  I switched vendors and it seems to have improved.

Here are the box toppers and the bulk base.


Also still have about half the regular minis available too.  Those are my major source of trade bait for A&G whenever I do it.  Sorry, box toppers aren't for trade.  Going for all of them.

Next time - my card room.  Another relevant post about two weeks past its relevancy....


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

2016 National Convention Loot - Part 4

The day was winding down, so after so much time at the quarter boxes, and then getting the Strasburgs & RG3's that I hadn't planned on, I decided to focus on a couple goals I had coming into the show.  I wanted to complete two vintage team sets.  I don't usually collect team sets, unless we're talking about Redskins football cards, and then it's EVERY set.  But in these particular cases, I was fortunate to come into starter lots of both teams under interesting circumstances.

The first one is the 1957 Topps Brooklyn Dodgers.  Several years ago, I bought a collection from a friend of a friend who was looking to liquidate his cards.  I hear about collectors buying collections all the time, and am usually jealous, but this is the one time (so far) that I was the lucky one.  He had tons of vintage stars and some other great stuff that I won't list in detail here.  But needless to say, he got a decent sum and I got an awesome deal on a big selection of star cards.  This included the better part of a 1957 Dodgers team set.  The Drysdale rookie, team card, Snider, Reese, Hodges, and most of the commons were all there.  I decided to finish it.  Sort of a prelude to whenever I will tackle the whole '57 set.

I found the Podres, Campanella and the Koufax several weeks ago at a dealer in Baltimore for a great price.  The only ones I had left were Don Zimmer and an upgrade to the Roger Craig.

Sorry about the low quality photos...

I had seen a Zimmer at one dealer for like $4, but it was pretty "well loved".  It was amazing the range of prices that these two cards went for among the dealers at the National.   A few had Zimmer for 15 bucks or more.  One dealer, which I concluded must have been Polo Grounds (who advertise in SCD and label a lot of their singles "Beauties") had a really nice Craig.  I flipped it over and the little sticker said $60 - Beauty!  I politely said that was a bit out of my range and stepped away before choking.

Finally I came to a dealer that was a few rows from the front of the show, but faced towards the back.  I don't recall his name, but he is another I'll go back to.  He had rubber-banded stacks of toploadered vintage in a showcase.  I found a Craig in decent shape for $7, and he pulled out a Zimmer that was marked at $8.  I said "Now that's what I'm talking about!".  Both were well centered.  The Zimmer had some corner wear, but was more than acceptable.

I also found these 1970 Topps star cards from the same guy - Al Kaline and Willie Mays.  They were priced very reasonably as well.  They are almost a little too nice to fit in my mid-grade '70 set.

So here is the completed Dodger team from 1957 Topps in pages or screwdowns:


At this point, I was basically out of cash, and the show was closing in an hour or so.  Besides a T205 Mathewson, there was only one other target card I hadn't seen.  (At least that I could afford.)  It would complete a team set that I started back when Topps was giving cards away through the 2011 Topps Millions online redemption program.  For those that don't know, you pulled code cards from packs of 2011 flagship and redeemed them for vintage cards from the Topps site.  These weren't stamped buybacks, but just regular cards that you could collect and trade for other specific cards through the site.  Very cool thing at the time.

Anyway, so I ended up with two or three 1955 Washington Senators from that program.  I figured "Hey, why not go for the whole team?"   The Senators weren't that great, how hard could it be?  Then I researched a little further.  One little hitch to that idea - Harmon Killebrew is in that team set.


Recently I had seen copies on COMC for right around $100, so I figured it might actually be doable.

So here I was, end of the show, no money, running out of time.  I still have credit, but should I just go and let it slide until the next show?  Or should I hit one more place?

I remembered a dealer who was right on the end of the first row, just beyond where I got all the current insert cards the first day.  He was the one who sold me my '59 Mantle in Chicago a couple years back.  He was very nice to deal with and had quality superstar cards at good prices.  So I said to myself, "if he takes credit, and he has a good one, I'm in."

I walked up to the front row and found Ron from Coach Estes Cards.  I asked first if he took plastic.  He did.  Then I asked him about the Killer RC.  He had one in a rotating case.  It was OK but off center.  Marked at $100.  I think he was selling cards from that case at a 10% discount.  He then looked it over and said he'd take another 10% off.  That put it at $80.  I knew then that I had made the right decision to come to his table.  The other Killebrews I had seen were $200 to $250 out in the show.  I had almost walked out, but I was drawn to this table.  This is the one I was meant to have.  We completed the transaction and I walked out of the show.

Here is the completed 1955 Topps Senators team:

With both the Dodgers and the Killebrew, and really with all the major vintage star cards I got,  I had seen several examples of each, but I can always feel if the one I'm holding is the one I'm meant to own.  It's usually about finding the balance between the condition you want, and the price you want to pay.  But a lot of times, it's just a feeling.

This show didn't yield the volume that some past Nationals have, but I was very satisfied with all that I had found.  Can't wait 'til next year in Chicago, and for the next Chantilly, VA show in October!

Next post, my pulls from the A&G boxes.  And maybe some poll questions about what vintage you're working on, etc.

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Friday, August 26, 2016

2016 National Convention Loot - part 3

So the last day I went was Friday.  I finally figured out the best route to get there.  Take the ferry across to Cape May, then go up the Garden State Parkway until you hit the Atlantic City Expressway and bang! you're there.  Hour and a half boat ride, and an hour drive.  Total Tolls = less than $2.50.  (OK the ferry is kinda expensive).  The previous days, I had taken the long, arduous route.

Anyway, at the show, I started towards the back of the floor and worked forward.  I came to a dealer who had some boxes of vintage singles and some other binders kinda piled on the back of his table.  I think his name was Rick and he wore a Mets jersey.  His boxes weren't marked with prices, so I was cautious as he asked what I was looking for.  He asked that of every customer who walked up to the table.  Can't knock a guy for good customer service and wanting to make sales.  But at times, he seemed to be trying to do too many things at once.  I said I was looking for off-condition '72 and '70 Topps.  He showed me one box, and handed me another, and then pulled out a couple partial binders.  I picked out a few singles.  He asked me which stars I needed and I rattled off a couple names.  I usually prefer to look through what a dealer has and then come up with a stack for evaluation at the end.  This guy wasn't pushy, but it was still kinda distracting to try to search his singles and talk to him at the same time.  He had some singles marked at prices which he said were half off, and others that weren't marked.  I had found some mid-grade high numbers and some semi-stars.  He pulled out some others including Hank Aaron and two Nolan Ryans.

Once I was done looking, he proceeded to go through each and every card and give me a detailed evaluation of condition and resulting price.  To my relief, his prices were very good.  The couple star cards that were marked were right in line where I felt they should have been, and the off-condition ones he discounted heavily.  Then we came to Aaron and Ryan.

He handed the Ryans to his partner to see which was in better/worse shape.  They both were really nice.  I said my set wasn't worthy and he should sell them to someone willing to spend more on them. I was on the fence on the Aaron too, but had an open mind.  He made an offer, which I pondered for a minute or two, and then he lowered that to the point where I couldn't see why I shouldn't take it.  It was a very fair amount for the whole stack.  I walked away happy.  I thanked him for his time and effort ~ both of which were unusually high for a deal involving a handful of cards.

The next couple purchases, in no particular order because I can't remember exactly, were much quicker but were equal bargains.  I found not one, but two of my T205 New York Giants cards for an amazing $55....for the PAIR.  I usually like to get these in graded form - the only instance where that is true - but these were right in line with the condition of the others I have, and for that price (discounted from $35 each), I couldn't pass them up.  I actually offered $60 and the guy countered with the $55.  When does that happen?

Then it was time for a prolonged session of ... quarter box digging!

Found a vendor who had a whole "block" of tables, which were mostly two to five rows of singles for 25¢ each.  Initially found a box of football that had a lot of the old Fleer Team Action singles, which I had found in Michigan a while back nice and cheap, but since then had only seen them for a buck a shot, which to me is way too much.  Seeing them here prompted me to pull up a chair.  Suffice to say, I spent a couple hours sifting through and came up with singles from that and several other football sets, plus a couple vintage baseball singles, and more.  

 You saw the Fleers in the previous post.  Above are some of the modern football singles I got.  The Platinums really knocked my list down, and there weren't too many I didn't need.  It's like the packs I was missing were in this box.  One of the other singles I showed before was the last card (I thought) I needed for my 1975 Topps football set.  When I went to put checklist #376 away, though, there was already one there.  And I discovered I was missing a Chief at #16.  I always buy dupes....

Coming back towards the front of the show, I saw another dealer with a big sign that had each day of the show listed, and a corresponding discount rate.  Wednesday was 40% off, Thursday 50%, Friday 60, Satuday 70, and Sunday 80.  He said he was gonna get really busy Sunday.  Since I knew I was done, I didn't wait.  He had one box of nothing but Sport Kings, which I've never really seen before, but only found a Yaz for a friend.  Another box was some superstars, including Stephen Strasburg and Robert Griffin III.  I picked up a few Stras cards, including the short print #661 from 2010.  I also got some RGIII's that I had probably passed up from other dealers since they cost so much.  The stickers are "before discount" prices.  One notable one is the die cut shield one [center of bottom row], which I already had pulled from a pack, but the pack wrapper was sealed right over the top point, damaging the card.  While not basement bargains, I think I did OK with these.  His stuff might go back up if he blows up in Cleveland.  I wish the guy well, honestly.

Next time, part two of the final day.  Two vintage team sets complete ~ as it was meant to be.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

2016 National Convention Loot - part 2

Thursday was the first full day on the dealer floor.  My friend Bill came with me this time.  He's not a collector really, but he is a Redskins (and general sports) fan.  He was looking at Kirk Cousins jerseys and old Life magazines.  At one point, we spotted NY Giant legendary linebacker Lawrence Taylor behind one vendor's counter.

I first wanted to see if I could get my targeted boxes of 2016 Allen & Ginter for the same price I had seen the night before.  Steel City had a stack of five boxes on their display table Wednesday night during the preview which were marked at $80 each.  This is a three dollar apiece discount on their regular online price.  I should have known at the time to grab them, but I didn't want to carry them around, so I figured they would be there for the same rate the next day.   When I walked up to their area, they were refilled, but now they were $85.  I asked the closest rep guy if I could get them for the night before's price.  He consulted with another associate who quickly nixed that idea and said they couldn't do any better than 85.  Well, that was now OVER what they were selling for online.

So I walked to the next area and bought my four boxes from Blowout for $82 each.

I stashed them at the Sports Card Forum table (thanks Don!) and went about shopping for more singles.  I'll show the pulls from these boxes later.

I eventually came upon a dealer who had some singles boxes marked at 3/$1.  I sat down and perused the contents.  I came away with some very nice star cards, vintage football singles, and some other oddballs.  A lot of these would be at least $1 cards elsewhere.   In these pictures, I've actually mixed some of the 3/$1 and some of the next day's 25¢ purchases (like the Fleer team actions especially).

If a vendor is selling big stars from the mid-80s, and then '77, '74, and '72 for 33¢ each, I say "YES PLEASE!".

The other bargain I found was a seller right at the back side of the big company areas that had 1972 Topps baseball high numbers - in the same middling condition as the rest of my set, plus a bunch of really decent '64s for a BUCK a SHOT.  Again - "YES PLEASE!".  I put away most of the '72s before I took pictures of my loot, but here are a couple highlights...

Just a sampling - I actually got like 15 high number '72s like these for $1 each!
Here are the '64s -

After going over all the '72s and '64s he had, plus a couple odd '70s, I ended up with exactly 50.

Nothing better than nice bargain vintage!

Next time - the most meticulous seller (with good prices) I've ever dealt with...and the quarter boxes!

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