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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

REA: The Most Incredible Unopened Find in the History of the Universe!

Outside of breaking into John Tefteller’s hidden vault…he just might be right.

We hope our title to this post doesn’t overstate the magnitude of this find, but this is what we think. Presented in the upcoming REA auction is one of the most miraculous finds in the history of collecting. The collection is comprised of fifty lots of unopened gum boxes and packs from various issues date mostly from the 1930s. We have never before seen a single unopened box of gum cards from the 1930s. In fact, we don’t believe that anyone else has ever seen anything like the boxes and packs offered here either. At least not since the 1930s. This find is so incredible and so unlikely that, if we didn’t have the material here, and weren’t able to provide photographs, we wouldn’t expect anyone to believe us. It would be too ridiculous to be true. But it is.

An occasional surviving unopened 1930s pack is an extreme rarity. An unopened box of 1930s gum cards is unprecedented.  An entire collection of circa 1930s unopened boxes and packs is a collecting miracle! Over the past thirty-nine years we’ve seen just about everything. There have been many other types of finds with greater monetary value. A single Honus Wagner card is worth more than this entire collection. But in terms of overall general impact to the most advanced collectors and simply being remarkable, this is one of the greatest collecting finds of any type, anywhere, ever. Almost all the packs and boxes are nonsport issues (just a few are baseball issues) produced by various 1930s gum companies such as National Chicle, Goudey, Tattoo Orbit, and Gum, Inc., as well as many other lesser known manufacturers.

Here’s how they survived: This material was very recently discovered. These boxes and packs were saved by a candy and gum distributor as ordering samples. The distributor kept these samples on a large shelving unit just for reference, to identify product for ordering purposes. As new products came in, sometimes boxes of old products would be shoved to the back of the sample product shelf, eventually hidden from view by more current product samples. The boxes and packs presented here were pushed so far back on the shelf that they were completely hidden from view, providing all the elements of a perfect time capsule, and allowing them to be completely undisturbed and perfectly preserved all these years. These boxes and packs, having been received directly from the manufacturers, have not been seen or touched or even exposed to light since being put on a shelf at the candy and gum distributor 70 to 80 years ago!

Repoz Posted: March 18, 2009 at 07:03 PM | 82 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, hall of fame, history, memorabilia

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   1. Random Transaction Generator Posted: March 18, 2009 at 07:19 PM (#3107648)
Would they have more value as unopened boxes, or if they opened the boxes and found specific high-valued cards inside?

I really hope it is the latter...
   2. hokieneer Posted: March 18, 2009 at 07:21 PM (#3107650)
With something this rare and old, I'd imagine the value would continue to increase if the boxes were un-opened, where as the specific high value cards would only go down in value the more that are "pulled".
   3. Swedish Chef Posted: March 18, 2009 at 07:23 PM (#3107656)
Must be a pretty grungy place if they haven't had a proper spring cleaning since the twenties.
   4. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 18, 2009 at 07:31 PM (#3107672)
They should take out the gum and give it to our troops in Iraq in lieu of armor.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: March 18, 2009 at 07:33 PM (#3107675)
If it's anything like the gum that accompanied my Topps packs, I can only imagine how good it is after being aged for 70-plus years. Yummmmm.
   6. Dock Ellis Posted: March 18, 2009 at 07:38 PM (#3107682)
I really hope it is the latter...

Probably the latter, as the cards inside would be in near impeccable condition and would fetch very high dollars once graded.
   7. Craig Calcaterra Posted: March 18, 2009 at 07:44 PM (#3107691)
I think we should find the oldest surviving mother of a child born in the 1930s and give her the honor of throwing these all away.
   8. Good cripple hitter Posted: March 18, 2009 at 07:45 PM (#3107693)
If it's anything like the gum that accompanied my Topps packs, I can only imagine how good it is after being aged for 70-plus years. Yummmmm.


I'd heard this before, so when I was at Skydome for Venezuela / USA, I spent $1.50 and got a pack of 1990 Topps from a vending machine. The gum sucked.

On the plus side, I also got Willie McGee, Dave Valle, Dale Sveum, and Otis Nixon. Oh, and someone named Paul Gibson who is wearing these massive "Friday night at the Bingo hall" glasses.
   9. Repoz Posted: March 18, 2009 at 07:46 PM (#3107694)
Must be a pretty grungy place if they haven't had a proper spring cleaning since the twenties.

Let me ask my mother-in-law's undie drawer.
   10. RJ in TO Posted: March 18, 2009 at 07:47 PM (#3107695)
Probably the latter, as the cards inside would be in near impeccable condition and would fetch very high dollars once graded.


Assuming that the gum hasn't decomposed and stained the cards.
   11. deputydrew Posted: March 18, 2009 at 07:48 PM (#3107697)
Busting a vintage unopened pack is nearly always a money losing proposition. That said, if you do happen to get a top card in top condition, it will typically be worth far more than the value of the pack. The odds are, however, against that. As an example, a 1952 Topps Eddie Mathews would be worth six figures in pristine condition, and the unopened pack far less. Even if you pull the Mathews, it's unlikely to be in the sort of condition to make it worth that amount.
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: March 18, 2009 at 07:53 PM (#3107701)
Busting a vintage unopened pack is nearly always a money losing proposition.


And that, in a nutshell, is what I find wrong with most kinds of collecting.
   13. Lassus Posted: March 18, 2009 at 07:57 PM (#3107703)
I was an assistant at a comic-book and baseball card auction in the early 80's. At 14 and a bit new to, uh, LIFE, I made a point to say to the owner and guy running the auction - amidst a whole crowd of bidders perusing the lots - that really an unopened box or set could be filled with anything but if no one ever opens it, they could be bidding on gravel.

Needless to say, while he appreciated my logic, he was not entirely pleased with my manner and timing of presentation.
   14. BDC Posted: March 18, 2009 at 07:58 PM (#3107705)
Busting a vintage unopened pack is nearly always a money losing proposition. That said, if you do happen to get a top card in top condition, it will typically be worth far more than the value of the pack

Schrödinger's Card, in other words ...
   15. Dock Ellis Posted: March 18, 2009 at 08:07 PM (#3107710)
I RTFA and looked at the pictures. These aren't really baseball cards. I thought they were a bunch of old Goudeys or something but it's just cards of the Lone Ranger and pop culture icons of the day that I don't recognize. I'm somewhat disappointed.
   16. Steve Treder Posted: March 18, 2009 at 08:08 PM (#3107712)
an unopened box or set could be filled with anything but if no one ever opens it, they could be bidding on gravel

Yet if they don't open it, and don't plan to open it, what difference would it make if it was gravel?
   17. The Bones McCoy of THT Posted: March 18, 2009 at 08:17 PM (#3107718)
Last summer I came across an unopened box of O-Pee-Chee baseball cards from the 1980’s at a garage sale; they were packaged the same way as hockey and baseball cards were in the late 1960’s-early 1970’s: wax paper, stick of gum and eight cards.

I held onto them until I could visit my brother and we opened them together.

There was nothing of value insofar as the cards went in the box but getting a chance to re-live a shared cherished childhood experience meant more to me than I could’ve gotten with a valuable card.

Best Regards

John
   18. Dock Ellis Posted: March 18, 2009 at 08:22 PM (#3107724)
John,

What year were they?
   19. Lassus Posted: March 18, 2009 at 08:27 PM (#3107729)
Yet if they don't open it, and don't plan to open it, what difference would it make if it was gravel?

Well, that was my point. No one really ever answered me.
   20. Ziggy: The Platonic Form of Russell Branyan Posted: March 18, 2009 at 08:28 PM (#3107731)
Long about 1992 I bought a pack of 1981 cards. (Donruss, I think.) I was 11 years old at the time, and this was a major investment. The pack cost something like $4. I pulled the Ricky Henderson (the most valuable card in the series), and I gave my brother the gum. Which he cut himself on when he tried to chew it.
   21. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: March 18, 2009 at 08:41 PM (#3107740)
I didn't think Donruss had gum in the packs?

I was always frustrated with the Topps Traded series of cards, as a stupid ten year old, you could never find these, unless you were at a show or a specialty shop.
   22. Steve Treder Posted: March 18, 2009 at 08:58 PM (#3107759)
Well, that was my point. No one really ever answered me.

I guess this is why I have never remotely grasped the appeal of collecting something for the sheer sake of owning it, and making utterly no use of it. I suppose it's entirely an investment, like hog futures or something, but at least with hogs there is an actual end-user consumer: someone is eventually going to slaughter and consume that hog. But presumably no one will ever open up this box and consume the pictures and information on the cards.
   23. BDC Posted: March 18, 2009 at 09:06 PM (#3107770)
I have never remotely grasped the appeal of collecting something for the sheer sake of owning it, and making utterly no use of it

I was recently reading The Billionaire's Vinegar, by Benjamin Wallace, a book about the rare-wine trade (and fraud therein). These cards remind me of that book in some ways. First of all, that there are people who will buy rare bottles of wine at auction with no intention of ever opening them. And second, that once opened, rare wines may turn out to be undrinkable (but you never know till you open them). Wine, though, unlike baseball cards, is one of the few collectibles that you have to destroy to enjoy (and the drinking of rare bottles makes the surviving ones even rarer).
   24. Steve Treder Posted: March 18, 2009 at 09:11 PM (#3107776)
I was recently reading The Billionaire's Vinegar, by Benjamin Wallace, a book about the rare-wine trade (and fraud therein). These cards remind me of that book in some ways. First of all, that there are people who will buy rare bottles of wine at auction with no intention of ever opening them.

I'm reminded of the scene in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, when the Steve Martin character says to the Michael Caine character, "Are you kidding me? You buy wine you can't drink?"
   25. DL from MN Posted: March 18, 2009 at 09:18 PM (#3107787)
I could see a museum being interested in never opening an item. There is no other physical documentation of how the cards looked when they were sold. Of course I watch Antiques Roadshow and yell SELL! SELL! about 90% of the time when they appraise an item.
   26. Steve Treder Posted: March 18, 2009 at 09:22 PM (#3107792)
I could see a museum being interested in never opening an item. There is no other physical documentation of how the cards looked when they were sold.

Sure, but in the museum's situation, the public's observing of the artifact is itself "consumption."
   27. Cooper Nielson Posted: March 18, 2009 at 09:28 PM (#3107801)
I didn't think Donruss had gum in the packs?

They did in 1981, but not after. In 1981, Topps, Fleer and Donruss all had gum in the packs. Then I think Topps won some kind of lawsuit that gave them exclusive rights to "bubble gum" baseball cards. So Fleer inserted stickers and Donruss inserted puzzles. Topps probably wasn't too pleased with the result.
   28. Van Lingle Mungo Jerry Posted: March 18, 2009 at 09:33 PM (#3107809)
Wouldn't it be great if one of the packages turned out to contain a hundred American Tobacco Company Honus Wagner T206 cards in mint condition? I know the dates are wrong, but still.
   29. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: March 18, 2009 at 09:37 PM (#3107812)
Did Topps ever stuff gum into the Cell packs or Rack packs? I don't think they did.
Was the gum in the 1975 mini set, miniature?
   30. Clemenza Posted: March 18, 2009 at 09:46 PM (#3107819)
Donruss inserted puzzles

Wow, I forgot aobut the puzzles. Those sucked. I had like 15 Stan Musial puzzles that were all missing the same 2 pieces.
   31. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: March 18, 2009 at 09:51 PM (#3107825)
The Stickers weren't any better. I'd rather see Fleer issue foul mouthed ball cards, oh, wait they did.
   32. DL from MN Posted: March 18, 2009 at 09:54 PM (#3107828)
> the public's observing of the artifact is itself "consumption"

I just looked at the pictures for free and have no further desire to pay a museum to see them. I love baseball cards but I'd love them more if they were cheaper. We are talking about mass produced pictures of people. There's no reason why someone else can't produce more pictures of any of these players, especially Honus Wagner since he's dead now and can't object. I've always enjoyed looking through a stack of commons though.
   33. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: March 18, 2009 at 09:59 PM (#3107830)
Honus Wagner since he's dead now and can't object

But his estate could.

There will be litigation re: anything that says Elvis on it that is produced from now to the end of time. If I learned anything in my Property Law class ten years ago, it is that you can't #### with the Presley estate.
   34. BeanoCook Posted: March 18, 2009 at 10:08 PM (#3107834)
Amazingly Elvis keeps coming out with new CDs and they are big sellers. It aint just rappers that cut albums from the grave, b!tches.
   35. Leroy Kincaid Posted: March 18, 2009 at 10:34 PM (#3107855)
Unopened items are collectibles in themselves. They even grade unopened packs. Unopened stuff from the 1930's is much rarer than individual cards and hand-collated sets. I'd imagine the person who'd buy these boxes already has all the individual cards.
   36. Kyle S at work Posted: March 18, 2009 at 10:43 PM (#3107863)
The no-arbitrage theory says there should be no difference in the expected value of the packs opened and not opened. In practice, this works out just as posters above described: most packs are more valuable unopened, because once opened, only the packs with certain rare cards are really worth anything. As long as a pack is unopened, it still has a chance of having that rare card in it -- which is what gives it its value!

Imagine ten envelopes, nine empty and one with $100 in it. How much would you pay for an envelope? Having bought one, how much could you sell it for?
   37. BeanoCook Posted: March 18, 2009 at 10:51 PM (#3107869)
Imagine ten envelopes, nine empty and one with $100 in it. How much would you pay for an envelope? Having bought one, how much could you sell it for?


I was at the Belmont about 4 years ago and the 1st three of my horses on my Pick 6 ticket won, and I had Smarty Jones (who was a massive fav) still to go. I was looking for someone to sell my ticket to (knowing it was worth more than I paid, but I was still aware the ticket was a long shot). I couldn't find anyone....I wish they had a market for that kind of thing.
   38. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 18, 2009 at 11:08 PM (#3107883)
"Last summer I came across an unopened box of O-Pee-Chee baseball cards from the 1980’s at a garage sale; they were packaged the same way as hockey and baseball cards were in the late 1960’s-early 1970’s: wax paper, stick of gum and eight cards.

I held onto them until I could visit my brother and we opened them together.

There was nothing of value insofar as the cards went in the box but getting a chance to re-live a shared cherished childhood experience meant more to me than I could’ve gotten with a valuable card.

Best Regards

John"


I endorse this statement. You can get whole unopened boxes of late '80s/early '90s cards for three or four bucks, and if you were a fan back then, the fun you get out of opening them more than covers the expense.
   39. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 18, 2009 at 11:09 PM (#3107885)
"Imagine ten envelopes, nine empty and one with $100 in it. How much would you pay for an envelope?"

That's easy. Assuming I trust the guy to be honest, ten bucks apiece. That way, if I buy all ten, I'm still out ahead ten free empty envelopes.
   40. Elvis Posted: March 18, 2009 at 11:10 PM (#3107886)
I hope the Presley estate doesn't read BBTF
   41. Jeff K. Posted: March 18, 2009 at 11:22 PM (#3107902)
That's easy. Assuming I trust the guy to be honest, ten bucks apiece. That way, if I buy all ten, I'm still out ahead ten free empty envelopes.

But minus the time investment of your labor and no interest for the time it takes you to reconvert your cash in hand (the exact same amount of time, but it has two distinct and additive values.)

Which is why that's not an arb situation, because otherwise you could build an office supply empire on the back of that dude.
   42. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 18, 2009 at 11:23 PM (#3107903)
"But minus the time investment of your labor and no interest for the time it takes you to reconvert your cash in hand (the exact same amount of time, but it has two distinct and additive values.)"

I think you greatly overestimate the value of my time. I mean, I'm posting here, right?
   43. Jeff K. Posted: March 18, 2009 at 11:39 PM (#3107916)
True, but to make it an arb situation, your time would have to be definitionally value-less (and the envelope values would have to be more than the two minutes of interest on $100, which they would be.) So, you'd have to be posting on ESPN.com for me to agree.

(Just in case Shooty or Justin or the like comes in, I realize that I'm being hypertechnical on the arb definition here.)
   44. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 18, 2009 at 11:45 PM (#3107917)
What if I place a disproportionately high value on the envelopes? If I need some but I'm lazy and I don't want to drive to the store?

Hypothetically speaking, of course.
   45. Dan Evensen Posted: March 19, 2009 at 01:31 AM (#3107984)
There are some baseball cards here, though the majority of the packs are from non-baseball sets. That Doubleheader pack is baseball, for example.

I'm looking through the Network 54 boards right now. I haven't seen even a mention of this yet, though. They're too busy accusing other users of tampering with cards and finding counterfeits on EBay. It's a shame, because I'd really like to hear what the people who routinely spend thousands of dollars on this hobby actually think. Maybe I should take a look at the Net 54 non-sports forum.

Here’s how they survived: This material was very recently discovered. These boxes and packs were saved by a candy and gum distributor as ordering samples. The distributor kept these samples on a large shelving unit just for reference, to identify product for ordering purposes. As new products came in, sometimes boxes of old products would be shoved to the back of the sample product shelf, eventually hidden from view by more current product samples. The boxes and packs presented here were pushed so far back on the shelf that they were completely hidden from view, providing all the elements of a perfect time capsule, and allowing them to be completely undisturbed and perfectly preserved all these years. These boxes and packs, having been received directly from the manufacturers, have not been seen or touched or even exposed to light since being put on a shelf at the candy and gum distributor 70 to 80 years ago!

Does this seem fishy to anybody else? These cards have been sitting around on some unspecified shelf at an unspecified distributor since the 1930s? You're telling me that nobody noticed this during that huge card collecting boom in the 1980s / early 1990s, when people everywhere were searching through their grandparents' attics?

As for the discussion here, nobody seems to have replied to the questions about what packs contained gum. Topps only inserted gum in wax packs, not rack and cello packs. That's why rack and cello packs tend to sell for a little bit more: there's no chance of gum staining.

Donruss inserted gum in wax packs in 1981, and then stopped after Topps flexed its monopolistic muscles. The way Topps kept a stronghold on the market for so long has always fascinated me. I don't think you could come up with a better looking set than Donruss '84, but I'm guessing that those cards have held their value so well only because it was printed in such low quantities. There are still collectors who only collect Topps, which I find just fascinating.

Oh, and I ####### hate Upper Deck and everything it stands for.

EDIT: I'm sorry to the guy who spent $1.50 on a pack of 1990 Topps. You could get a wax box of 1990 Topps for about $5 (maybe even less). I've got a feeling that those cards are less expensive than toilet paper, and just as useful.
   46. Jeff K. Posted: March 19, 2009 at 01:46 AM (#3107994)
Sure, now. But Upper Deck and Leaf forced cards to start looking good again. Sure, the '87 Topps series is a classic. But those cards are ####### ugly compared to UD '89 or Leaf '90 (always my favorite.) '86 was kind of bland, also a classic. You can blame Topps just as much, once they started competing with UD on their turf.

I linked this in the Lounge the other day, but you guys are much more likely to have fun with it. I had to guess on every single one, got the monkey/typewriter score, but was consistently the second best answer:

A Trading Card Quiz
   47. Dock Ellis Posted: March 19, 2009 at 02:13 AM (#3108004)
That was a fun quiz, Jeff, thanks. I got a 60% (did badly on most of the basketball ones) but it should be pointed out that those are only the Beckett book prices, and Beckett is full of ####, because many of those cards sell for less than that. They list the 1991 UD Pedro Martinez rookie at $8 but you could get three or four for that price online. If you want to know how much a card is worth, just look it up on eBay.
   48. Good cripple hitter Posted: March 19, 2009 at 02:18 AM (#3108006)
EDIT: I'm sorry to the guy who spent $1.50 on a pack of 1990 Topps. You could get a wax box of 1990 Topps for about $5 (maybe even less). I've got a feeling that those cards are less expensive than toilet paper, and just as useful.

Sorry? Why? That's my ######' ashtray money, bro.

Seriously, it was either that, or spend $1.00 on a Pat Borders rookie card. And I just wanted to test out the "aged baseball card bubble gum tastes great" myth I'd heard before.
   49. Jeff K. Posted: March 19, 2009 at 02:48 AM (#3108026)
$1.00 on a Pat Borders rookie card

When I was 11, I got a card signed by Jeff Huson in basically his rookie season (1990). I remember it was his rookie, he looked at it, flipped it over, read it, looked up and said "Are you sure you want me to sign this? I think it'll decrease the value."

Considering I now see he went .240/.320/.280 (yes, you read that right) in 400 ABs, he was probably right.
   50. McCoy Posted: March 19, 2009 at 02:57 AM (#3108032)
I just finished reading the Card which looks into the nefarious doings of Maestro auctions and everything they talked about is just another reason I stopped collecting a long time ago.

As for 1980's boxes, there are tons and tons of those things still floating around. I remember last year I went to cooperstown and bought a bunch of 1984's Topps unopened packs.

Even in something as simple and seemly straightforward as an unopen pack can be shady since I got the feeling after looking into some of the packs that someone at sometime simply opened up the packs and removed the valuable cards and ironed the packs closed again. Either that or my memory of good cards to crappy cards is way out of whack.
   51. Jeff K. Posted: March 19, 2009 at 03:41 AM (#3108063)
Your late-life nerdery for statistics has jaded your opinion about players like Jay Bell or Tony Pena, therefore besmirching the good memories from your early-life nerdery for cards.
   52. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: March 19, 2009 at 03:54 AM (#3108069)
I remember one of the most stressful days of my early life, was whether to spend $24 on a 1983 Fleer set (not factory) in 1988, instead of some other useless collectible, which I cannot recall. I still have that '83 set, no way is the Boggs card in perfect condition. I remember thumbing through that entire set about four times over the next five days.

that was an ugly card by the way.
   53. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: March 19, 2009 at 04:12 AM (#3108083)
was 1987 topps the wood paneled one? THat's the only one I remember.
   54. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 19, 2009 at 04:15 AM (#3108086)
I bought cards for about one year. As soon as three straight packs contained some incredibly boring player (probably Dennis Martinez) I said \"#### this". Completism was obviously impossible.
   55. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: March 19, 2009 at 04:16 AM (#3108089)
yes, '87 was the wood panel, my favorite card from that year, besides the backwards Brewers logo on the Jim Gantner card, was Tony Gwynn's card. It was a picture of most of the back of his head, sort of a view from the backstop.
   56. Dock Ellis Posted: March 19, 2009 at 04:23 AM (#3108094)
yes, '87 was the wood panel, my favorite card from that year, besides the backwards Brewers logo on the Jim Gantner card, was Tony Gwynn's card. It was a picture of most of the back of his head, sort of a view from the backstop.

My favorite card ever is the 1987 Topps Bo Jackson. Between the wooden panel and the multi-color "Future Stars" logo, it's like Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol collaborated to create the perfect rookie card for an iconic, once-in-several-generations athlete. I could stare at it all day.
   57. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: March 19, 2009 at 04:30 AM (#3108100)
I actually got that Bo Jackson card twice in the same pack, I still remember the gas station in Franklin, WI where I bought it. I couldn't believe it. IIRC he's looking skyward for a fly ball.
   58. Jeff K. Posted: March 19, 2009 at 04:33 AM (#3108104)
With his glove up shading his eyes. I can picture the card, too.
   59. Dock Ellis Posted: March 19, 2009 at 04:39 AM (#3108107)
Oh man, I'm jealous. I remember that year, I got doubles in the same pack twice, only both times was Eric freakin' Plunk. Getting two Bo Jacksons in the same pack probably would've been the highlight of my 8-year-old life.

I bought the Tiffany version of that card not too long ago. Exact same card, only with gloss and much better card stock. They're more expensive than the pack counterparts but I've since started buying some of my favorite cards from 1984-1991 in Tiffany form. It's like I'm 8 all over again.
   60. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 19, 2009 at 04:42 AM (#3108108)
When I was 11, I got a card signed by Jeff Huson in basically his rookie season (1990). I remember it was his rookie, he looked at it, flipped it over, read it, looked up and said "Are you sure you want me to sign this? I think it'll decrease the value."
Considering I now see he went .240/.320/.280 (yes, you read that right) in 400 ABs, he was probably right.


My favorite story along these lines has always been Gorman Thomas'. Somebody had a baseball with autographs from Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio, and asked Gorman Thomas to add his. Thomas' reaction: "There's no telling what that ball was worth before I signed it."
   61. Dock Ellis Posted: March 19, 2009 at 04:42 AM (#3108109)
Sorry, Jeff, but he's not shading his eyes, though I wish I could see how you're imagining the card in your mind's eye. It's probably spring training, and he's in front of a chain-link fence with what looks like barbecue grills in the background. I don't know why but I've always loved that.
   62. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 19, 2009 at 05:14 AM (#3108130)
I just looked at the pictures for free and have no further desire to pay a museum to see them. I love baseball cards but I'd love them more if they were cheaper.

I agree completely. And you'd love this book,, even at sixty bucks. It's one of those doorstop-sized books that's got full-color reproductions of pretty much every baseball card produced by every manufacturer (except Topps, which rates its own separate volume) between 1886 and 1956, including all the old "cabinet" card chromolithographs. It may be the most spectacularly beautiful book of baseball images ever published.
   63. Jeff K. Posted: March 19, 2009 at 06:48 AM (#3108157)
Damn. I know I'm remembering a baseball card photo. Off to GIS!

Linky. Yeah, so I was just misremembering that he had the glove up, but the rest of it is pretty much spot on with my mental image. If they had taken the picture what looks like about a second or two later, that's what I had in mind. Glove up shading his eyes and to make a one-hand catch.
   64. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 19, 2009 at 07:20 AM (#3108161)
I had that book, Andy. I sold it to buy bread back in '95.
   65. Leroy Kincaid Posted: March 19, 2009 at 11:27 AM (#3108184)
I recently saw a video online where a guy was opening packs of '83 Topps that were in plastic wrappers. It wasn't a rack pack or a cello. What was that?
   66. gef the talking mongoose Posted: March 19, 2009 at 02:16 PM (#3108277)
Let's see ... I score 13/20 on the quiz Jeff K. linked to. It helped that we carried (& I personally sold, in several cases, including the Magic/Bird & Nolan Ryan rookies) virtually all of those cards in the collectibles store I worked in from '04-'06, & that I priced every damned card in the store according to Beckett's at one time or another.
   67. TDF, situational idiot Posted: March 19, 2009 at 02:52 PM (#3108324)
I just took the quiz (full disclaimer: I've never collected cards, so I was just guessing).

You should try to sell me your cards, especially if Beckett's is high - I only got 5 right, and guessed high on 10.
   68. Dock Ellis Posted: March 19, 2009 at 03:00 PM (#3108336)
You should try to sell me your cards, especially if Beckett's is high

I have a bridge, too.
   69. RJ in TO Posted: March 19, 2009 at 03:03 PM (#3108338)
I also only got 5 of the 20, which is right in line with random chance.

I did, however, get 12 out of 14 on the 80s Wrestling Toys quiz.
   70. Shooty is obsessed with the latest hoodie Posted: March 19, 2009 at 03:10 PM (#3108358)
A Net 54 reference! I used to post there but it's like hanging out with a bunch of grumpy old ladies. I found there to be a real undercurrent of racism, too. I couldn't believe some of the snide comments you'd get any time a Negro League player would get mentioned. There's a kind of sickness in collecting which is well illustrated by the argumets you'll see at Net 54 about some of the most esoteric BS imaginable. I indulge my predilection for collecting, but I make it a point to not get carried, away, too. Having said that, I'm proud of the collection of Negro League players I've managed to amass. Marvin Williams! Alejandro Oms! Dick Lundy! Nip Winters! Oscar Levis! Roy Partlow!

As for the unopened stuff...it's just incredibly rare to find old packs like that. I doubt they'll ever get opened and I kind of hope they don't. None of the cards will be new, but those unopened packs are like a time capsule. (I did find some unopened packs of 1988 Donruss the last time I went home to Calif. Those are worthless so I went ahead and opened them. It was a good time, actually.)
   71. PreservedFish Posted: March 19, 2009 at 03:23 PM (#3108376)
Here is my brilliant plan for these packs, were I to find them:

I would sell a certain percentage of them now. Make my life easier. But I would set the rest of them aside in a sort of trust that ensured that they were only opened one at a time every 20 years or so. That way they would become a neat family artifact and ritual. More importantly you would get the best of both worlds: the preservation and celebration of the mystique of not knowing, combined with the satisfaction and nail-bitingness of actually opening the cards. It would also probably turn it into a bit of a cult event for collectors and drive up the value of those cards.
   72. BDC Posted: March 19, 2009 at 03:24 PM (#3108378)
I'm proud of the collection of Negro League players I've managed to amass

That always struck me as a nice collection to pursue, many of the players being pretty ordinary big leaguers and their cards reasonably priced. A complete set of all the major-leaguers to have played Negro League ball would be about 60 cards, I think (provided you only wanted one example of each player). One of the few baseball cards I ever bought at a show was a late-career Don Newcombe card (1958, in an LA uniform). It was a dollar, a dollar fifty; this was 20 years ago. I don't suppose it's worth $20,000 now, or something ...
   73. Shooty is obsessed with the latest hoodie Posted: March 19, 2009 at 03:29 PM (#3108383)
I don't suppose it's worth $20,000 now, or something ...

It's not, but that doesn't really matter. I actually wish the cards I collected were less valuable so I could get more. Guys like Pop Lloyd and Oscar Charleston will most likely always be out of my reach. People who start off by describing the value of their collection in $$$ are boors anyway. The best part of having Negro League cards is explaining to anyone interested--not many people are, admittedly--what was cool about the particular player pictured.
   74. Dock Ellis Posted: March 19, 2009 at 03:30 PM (#3108384)
That always struck me as a nice collection to pursue, many of the players being pretty ordinary big leaguers and their cards reasonably priced. A complete set of all the major-leaguers to have played Negro League ball would be about 60 cards, I think (provided you only wanted one example of each player). One of the few baseball cards I ever bought at a show was a late-career Don Newcombe card (1958, in an LA uniform). It was a dollar, a dollar fifty; this was 20 years ago. I don't suppose it's worth $20,000 now, or something ...

You can get one for less than $10 (including shipping) on eBay. Close enough!
   75. Guy LeDouche Posted: March 20, 2009 at 03:16 AM (#3109097)
Guy LeDouche would love to buy boxes of cards from the early 80's onward for a few bucks just for the fun of opening them and reminiscing.

Where do you find them? Garage sales? ebay?
   76. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: March 20, 2009 at 04:11 AM (#3109115)
Oh man, I'm jealous. I remember that year, I got doubles in the same pack twice, only both times was Eric freakin' Plunk. Getting two Bo Jacksons in the same pack probably would've been the highlight of my 8-year-old life.

For whatever reason, it seemed impossible to pull an Eric Davis card in that set. Eddie Milner on the other hand seemed like he was in every pack. He was black, on the Reds, and played in the outfield. I think that card tricked me more than a few times. I'd see it and I think I finally got an Eric Davis only to be disappointed with the yet another Eddie Milner card.

That set made me really dislike Jim Gantner too. It seemed like he was in every pack, too.
   77. Dan Evensen Posted: March 20, 2009 at 05:56 AM (#3109128)
A Net 54 reference! I used to post there but it's like hanging out with a bunch of grumpy old ladies. I found there to be a real undercurrent of racism, too. I couldn't believe some of the snide comments you'd get any time a Negro League player would get mentioned. There's a kind of sickness in collecting which is well illustrated by the argumets you'll see at Net 54 about some of the most esoteric BS imaginable.

Absolutely right. There's a lot of racism on those forums, especially directed toward the two guys who own that disputed Wagner. Sure, it's probably fake, but some people come off as incredibly rude in those discussions.

Somebody posted on there a few months ago about how it was easy to collect Negro League cards for cheap. It might have been you, actually.

I've only posted there once, and that was when somebody asked if his original 1969 APBA set was worth anything. I told him that I'd pay him whatever he wanted, and never heard from him again.

I don't know if I ever said anything about this, but I got a 1980 Rickey! rookie card for something like $10 on EBay. It's not in great condition, but it's good enough for me, and it got my 1980 Topps set going (I'm about 2/3 through). I never thought I'd see it that cheap. The stupid grading thing may have inflated top end cards, but it also means that you can get slightly used cards for a steal. Most of those 7s, 8s and 9s have been tampered with anyway.

I want that book in #63.
   78. Shooty is obsessed with the latest hoodie Posted: March 20, 2009 at 12:00 PM (#3109143)
Absolutely right. There's a lot of racism on those forums, especially directed toward the two guys who own that disputed Wagner. Sure, it's probably fake, but some people come off as incredibly rude in those discussions.

Dan, that Wagner is 100% fake and there's absolutely no question about it. It's not even a good fake as they put the wrong type of back on the card. It would be like counterfeiting a $1000 bill with the wrong president's portrait. That the media has given any credence to its authenticity is a complete joke. It doesn't make the racist stuff right, though. If you ever want to see some ugliness, go onto that site and say you think Barry Bonds is better than Ty Cobb.
   79. Lassus Posted: March 21, 2009 at 06:37 PM (#3109988)
I'm sorry to crack the sidebar, but I'm doing a call-back on this thread to make everyone hate me.

About 10 minutes ago at a stoop sale I bought this book, the one mentioned above, Classic Baseball Cards, for $7.

And THIS is why I look at every book on every stoop. The sort of awesome find that makes you practically tear up.
   80. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 21, 2009 at 07:32 PM (#3110009)
I'm proud of the collection of Negro League players I've managed to amass

That's just wrong.
   81. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: March 21, 2009 at 07:39 PM (#3110013)
Is Shooty Canadian? There's no 13th Amendment in Canada.
   82. Jeff K. Posted: March 21, 2009 at 08:07 PM (#3110021)
They didn't land on maple leaves, maple leaves landed aboot them!

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