Sunday, January 23, 2022

Sunday Edition

                                                  Low Grade Vintage

Above are a pair of 1910 Mecca Cigarette cards.  I just discovered this set recently and am sort of obsessed with it.  The art is phenomenal and they really pop in person.  It's predominately track and field athletes, but it also includes a large number of golfers, billiards players, and bowlers, as well as a few other random individuals.  I've been focusing on cards of the billiards players and golfers at the moment.  My tentative plan is to gather 5 or 6 of each, then have them framed as gifts.  My brother has a room in house dedicated to a pool table and I think a few of these mounted in a horizontal frame with felt matting would look great.  I have a similar idea for the golfers, as my father lives on a golf course and has a little area in his garage for his golf cart.  I feel like these cards transcend the card hobby would be interesting to people who aren't collector's themselves.

Above are the backs of the same two cards.  The write-ups on the backs of these cards are really extremely thorough.  Someone put a lot of time and effort into potting this set together.

Robin Roberts is easily the big name among the trio of 50's cards above, but I'm most excited about the Fred Marsh.  It inches me another card closer to completing the '53 Topps set.  It's in pretty decent shape too, which is always nice.  I don't have enough '55 Topps in hand to make any overly confident statements on the matter, but I think the Harry Perkowski is suffering from printing issues.  Maybe all the "red" cards in the set look like this (which wouldn't be great), but I'd lean towards believing this one has printing issues.

With the exception of the 1910 Mecca cards above, and the basketball cards and Wallach's below, all of the vintage cards in this post were purchased from the same seller on eBay.  I've fallen into the habit of bidding on a large number of this seller's cards every Friday.  He sells a ton of cards, and list them chronologically by grade.  Friday is when all the "Low Grade" auctions end.  Some weeks I only end up picking up two or three cards, others it ends up being 20+ cards.  The combined shipping is a huge incentive to purchase more than one or two, as it's basically $4.95 whether I buy one or fifty cards.

I'm not building any of these sets, but I really enjoy picking up vintage cards of Hall of Famers for under $5, often way under.  Fox, Aparicio, and Roberts routinely sell for next to nothing, collectors are sleeping on them.  Eddie Mathews on the other hand regularly sells for higher prices, even when in terrible condition.  He's definitely in a second tier of guys just below the top tier.  Mays, well, it's rare I even bother bidding on a Mays due to his prices, but the above "Master & Mentor" fell into my collection as sort of a pleasant surprise for a less than beer at Applebees.  A post on the "price tiers" of players in vintage sets may one day be the subject of a post.

I really like the '61 Aparicio above.  It's a great looking card, and I'm thinking strongly about taking a run at 1961 Topps once I finish off the 70's sets.  I mentioned a few Hall of Famers that often sell for less than their HOF counter-parts, well Whitey Ford might be the most undervalued player in the history of Topps baseball cards, at least in my expierence.  While other Yankees, even those who are less than household names like Bob Cerv and Ed Lopat, sell for crazy prices, I keep adding Whitey Fords for what I consider very fair prices.  I think I've ended up with about five copies of that '61 Topps.  I'm not actively hoarding them, but at some point they should make pretty decent trade fodder, and if not, I really enjoy them.  

The Tony Congliaro is the rare example of a Red Sox card that I actually sought out as one I wanted.  If you're not familiar with "Tony C," his wikipedia page is worth the five minutes of your time it'll take to read it.

About two months ago, I didn't own a single Koufax base card.  The '66 above now joins a '61 Topps as the second Koufax in my collection.  I don't mind the piece of tape running down the front.  Sure, I'd prefer it wasn't' there, but it wouldn't be in my budget if it wasn't.  I thought it may be a candidate for boiling, but it appears someone may have already tried to peel the tape off near the "LA" on his hat, and then re-glued it back on.  I may yet drop it in some hot water, we'll see.  Also, as a disclaimer, when I boil cards, it's not for resale purposes and I would certainly disclose that treatment prior to ever trading or selling one.  I don't have a problem with boiling the way I do trimming or recoloring, but I know some collectors do and I respect their position on the topic.

The Jim Palmer is my favorite type of card.  It's epitome of what I like to collect as far as vintage cards go. An iconic rookie of a Hall of Famer in just absolutely terrible condition, but lacking any fatal flaws.  It's in one piece, no one took a marker to the card, and there's no paper loss.  Using "The Wallach Blog Grading Scale" it may as well be a "gem mint ten" (or whatever b.s. name the slab scammers are using these days).

I finally pulled the trigger on the 1986-87 Fleer Larry Bird.  It's in pretty nice shape for the price I acquired it at.  I'm no Celtics fan, I was never a Larry Bird fan, but I love this set, and feel like it was worth the two year I spent patiently waiting for this card to show up at a price I could stomach.  The Jordan is now the last card I need to complete the set.  I have decent looking counterfeit in 9-pocket page of my three-ringer binder for this set, so I'm going to go ahead and consider it "complete" for now.  These cards may be "scarce" compared to '87 Topps baseball, but there are still tons of them out there.  As Jordan's legend fades and people remember it's still a junk wax set for the late 1980's, I think the market will once again correct itself.  I'm going pick up a crummy copy for less than a car payment at some point.

The Human Highlight Reel brings me a little closer to finishing the 1987-88 Fleer basketball set.  I'm keeping the first three Fleer basketball sets in the same binder since they're all small at around 125 cards with stickers, and it creates really a nice effect in the binder.  I may even move it larger one and try to extend the run two additional years.  I just worry it water down the appeal, as the first three sets are much more iconic in my mind.

It was a slow period as far as Wallach card additions go, with the Dominique Wilkins above being the only card I picked up on Sportlots from a seller with any Wallach's in their inventory.  But they all count, and these three are being added to the totals.  The center '85 is wonderfully off-centered.  At some point I may do a binder of the most off-centered and discolored Wallach's in my collection, or at least a post.

Updated Totals:


  1. Those are some very nice cards! I love the Koufax, the Jim Palmer RC, and all those good vintage cards.

  2. I have a Palmer rookie in pretty much the exact same condition. I practically giggle every time I see it.

    The '61 set is growing on me as well. Not enough to collect it though.