Last week I attended a NH Fisher Cats game in Manchester NH. The Fisher Cats are the Double A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays and its always a fun time at the unfortunately named Delta Dental Stadium. After the game we had some time to kill so we headed over to an old childhood LCS called Collector's Heaven. Sadly, after well more than 2 decades in the business, the shop was closing and selling the inventory at deep discounts. It was the largest card shop in NH in it's heyday and had the most incredible selection of autographed memorabilia and wax packs. I used to visit fairly regularly with my father and distinctly remember pulling a '93 Pinnacle Jeter rookie and an '89 Donruss Griffey rookie. My last visit was bittersweet. Most of the inventory had been picked through but I found a stack of hundreds of minis including Topps 206, Allen and Ginter, Gypsy Queen and complete set of Golden Age...$8.00 was the agreed upon price. I was told that there was at least another large box of unsorted minis in storage somewhere but no time to get them as the shop was closing up...bummer. Because of my work schedule I wasn't able to get back to the shop to dig through more cards and pretty much wrote it off as someone else's blessing. Luckily my wife was willing to swing by when visiting her folks in Manchester. She knew what to look for and ended up leaving with an epic box minis for next to nothing. This photo some of what she left with - tons of SP's, numbered, inserts, base, etc etc. I even ended up finding a Joey Bats 2011 Gypsy Queen leather mini /10. Since sorting is now done, I plan to try and build the 2011 Gypsy Queen set and hopefully trade some in the process.
Speaking of T206...heres some! In the last couple months I was able to add the following amazing cards to my collection, beefing up my vintage collection. Eventually I plan to own an example of each type of back. For the common backs I wanted to stay at PSA 3 with the importance being on centering. Each card has a mini story with it and I'll try not to bore you...
1. Ed Hahn Piedmont Back. Ed Hahn once played in a world series back in the day in Chicago and was hit in the face by a pitch. He then left the game, walked a couple blocks down the street to the hospital, got a tube put in his nasal passage, returned to the game and finished it. A few months ago I moved (again) to a small town in Vermont near the NH border. The first day I was here I decided to take a break from unpacking and walk "downtown" to check it out. The only thing open was a bar and a Rite Aid Pharmacy. The town is so small that the fact that there is even a chain pharmacy is extremely surprising. As many of you might know, Rite Aid is one the few places outside of Walmart, Target, and Toys R US that actually sells cards...at least here on the East Coast. On a side note - I heard that the West Coast has Rite Aids too in California, I wonder if they carry Topps? Anyway, there are a couple of reasons why buying Topps cards from Rite Aid is a solid bet. Because of the lack of foot traffic and target customer, the packs are never searched. Every store seems to be laid out differently with the little rack of packs tucked away as an afterthought. I've spent 20 minutes just walking around the place searching. The other nice thing is that after you enter your phone number at the register they take a percentage off the cost, bring it to around $1.50 per pack. Can't beat that, so during my walk I scooped up a pack and a coke, an homage to my salad days. I ended up pulling a SSP photo variation of Anthony Rizzo as well as a Corey Seager rookie. At the time, the Rizzo was selling between $50-$100 on Ebay. Since I'm not a Cubs fan I sold it right off on the cheap end and decided to use the cash to fund my first original, PSA graded, T206. So that's how I got this Ed Hahn, from a 1.50 pack of Series 1, and I still had some cash left over!
2. Doc Crandall Sweet Caporal Back. Doc Crandall was the first regularly used relief pitcher in baseball. Because he was the one that manager's called on to bring "relief" to the game, he was know as "doctor" or "Doc" I was attracted to this card because of the start red background color and the interesting, shaded, layering showing his sweater as well as uniform. This is something I've noticed on a handful of the T206 cards and its kind of a mystery to me because it ends up just looking like some sort of cut-off sweater. The back of the card is stunning and in great shape...probably my favorite 206 back type. A couple days after pulling the Rizzo at Rite Aid I stopped into an Antique store on Main Street that was in the process of closing. Everything in the store was 50-75% off and the owner was parting with a lot of stuff. Without getting into detail on the item, I managed to find a real treasure that brought me many many time the purchase price. It was an impulse buy for under $10 that just looked cool. I did some research, realized what I had, and couldn't justify keeping it. It ended up funding the purchase of this Doc Crandall as well as the Harry Davis Polar Bear Back posted below. So, in the end I did end up with 2 antiques!
3. Harry Davis Polar Bear Back. I don't know much about Harry Davis as a player but I love the aesthetic of this card. I had to drop down a grade in order to afford it but the centering is solid and in my opinion it could go as a 2.5 or even a 3. In the end I would say my main focus is just on eye appeal and not the actual grade. When you start getting into the more rare backs like Old Mill, Carolina Brights, etc the prices get really out of control. Polar Bear is kinda the link between the common and the more rare, at least as far as prices go.
I acquired this Mookie card right before he really exploded and prices hit the roof. It's the Magenta Printing Plate for his 2014 Topps Update Rookie card #US-301. I haven't seen any of the other plates from either of his Update rookie cards available anywhere so I'm curious as to when that will happen. With all the MVP talk going around, now is the time that everyone's listing their cards, and at premium prices. I was looking around the web the other day and quickly realized that 80% of my collection would be way out of my price range if I tried to get them now. It's kind of the catch 22 in having your PC player do really well. I'm a huge fan and wish for the best but the reality is that from now on I can pretty much just scoop up commons and base. Well, there's always trading too I guess.
And we're almost done with this long post...This is a Tribute to the Kid Relic /50 that I pulled out of a single pack from Rite Aid the other day. The same previously mentioned Rite Aid that I hit the Rizzo and about 6 Corey Seager rookie cards from. This was also the first time I have ever seen Series 2 on the rack. I think the reason they ordered series 2 is because I bought all the Series 1. I love that the card features the retro Mariners logo and uni. Lovin' the HOF relic addition to the collection and beatin' those long Flagship odds of 1:785 packs.
Rounding out this post is a list of my 2016 Topps Series 2 base needs. Even though I got lucky on the Griffey relic everything else about series 2 so far has been pretty rough. I opted to skip the hobby box purchase and get a handful of hanger boxes and retail packs for the base set. Collation came back to bite me and I ended up with nearly identical hanger boxes and not much better on the jumbo packs. I have a bunch of doubles and a pretty big hole in the set. I'm looking for someone to trade with so I can finish the set rather than just buying the commons. I'd also be down to trade other cards like minis, inserts and whatnot. Feel free to leave a message or email me if you're interested. Thank you for sticking with me through this whole post and for continuing to check out my blog.