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.


  1. Nice work completing both team sets! The 57 set seems especially tough to find in decent shape. I feel like 20% of the singles I see have lost a lot of their color, like they were left out in the sun or something.

    I've always wanted a Killebrew RC but I've yet to find an affordable one in good shape. Like you said - It's about finding the balance between the condition you want, and the price you want to pay. Have you met a lot of dealers who take credit cards, or is that just because its The National? I don't think I've seen anything but cash at a card show.

  2. Probably more dealers at the National take credit. My experience has been about 30% or so. But my sample is limited to the Nat and the Chantilly show which is decent size too.