Category Archives: News

Baseball Cards

Buying Baseball Cards before the Internet

Baseball Cards before the Internet

There was a time, before the Internet, when baseball cards were bought, sold, and traded through mail order catalogs, hobby shops, and sports card conventions. If you were a collector, you remember what it was like to visit your local hobby shop or go to a convention. It was the highlight of the weekend. You never knew what you might find. Many treasures awaited as well as instant gratification. Ordering through the mail, had a different dynamic. There had to be some trust built into the transaction, because you never held the card in hand before the purchase. The upside was the day the mailman arrived with your cardboard acquisition. The wait was worth it.

“The Collector Talks”

The very first card catalog I subscribed to was “The Collector Talks”. It was a quarterly, thin, flimsy, construction paper, mailing. I waited eagerly for it to arrive at the change of each season. It was through this catalog, that I began to acquire the taste for older cards. My first “older” card was a 1959 Topps Duke Maas. I bought it for no particular reason, other than the year. I wanted something that would surge past the 60’s and went right back to the 50’s. That card, which was 18 years old at the time, changed my approach to card collecting. (If Mrs. V wants someone to blame, it was Duke.) I started chasing older baseball cards from that point.

Baseball Cards

This was my first “old” card. It seemed ancient to me because it was from the 1950’s. My perspective has changed since then.

Baseball Cards

The first publication I subscribed to. I probably found their ad in the back of the “Sporting News”.

Baseball Cards

This was my oldest card for years. I bought it from “The Collector Talks” for $3. (Love to know what the need for the punch hole was.)

Baseball Cards

I picked up this offer.

Baseball Cards

I wish I had picked these up. BTW, O.J. is up for parole.

Baseball Cards

200 different 1959 Topps Baseball Cards…$17.75.

“The Sports Collectors Bible”

I would spend hours trying to determine what my next purchase would be, always cross referencing “The Sports Collectors Bible“, which would give me an idea of worth. “The Sports Collectors Bible” (Published 1977) was a tremendous resource for every type of sports collector. The information contained within was staggering.

Baseball Cards

A gold mine of information in the 1970’s and still relevant today.

I still reference it frequently. It opened my eyes to a whole world of sports collectibles…and I wanted them all. (Again…if Mrs.V is looking to blame..) This book, purchased 40 years ago, was the driving force in my passion for collecting. I am sure many other collectors have the same feelings.

The Chicago Card Company published “The Collector Talks”. Neither of which seem to be in existence anymore. Those flimsy, thin, construction paper flyers will always have a special place in my collection.

Just an FYI….I am still revelling over this.

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1987 New York Mets

Gallery of 1987 New York Mets Players–Taken PreGame

1987 New York Mets

During the summers of 1987 and 1988, every time the New York Mets played the Pirates, we would visit Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. We would always arrive early to get autographs and photos as the fellows entered the stadium. These are photographs of, primarily, the 1987 New York Mets. I hope you like them and I also hope they churn up some memories of a different New York Mets era.

1987 New York Mets

“Hojo” looking “Hollywood”

1987 New York Mets

“The Kid”

1987 New York Mets

Always activity around “The Straw”

1987 New York Mets

Doug was a member of the “scum bunch”

1987 New York Mets

“Mazz” was one of my favorites.

1987 New York Mets

Mookie

1987 New York Mets

Nothing Like “Doc”

1987 New York Mets

Davey had fans

1987 New York Mets

He was the spitter on the grassy knoll

1987 New York Mets

Dressed up for getaway day

1987 New York Mets

Lenny Dykstra and Kevin McReynolds. Young looking fellows. Great ballplayers.

1987 New York Mets

Our 1986 World Champion shortstop.

1987 New York Mets

Ralph lived an amazing life.

1987 New York Mets

I touched his right arm taking this photo

1987 New York Mets

Mr 30-30

1987 New York Mets

“The ball gets by….” You know the story,

1987 New York Mets

“Bobby O” was awesome in 1986.

I was never able to get everyone. I have no idea how Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez and a few others ever entered that stadium. Must have parachuted.

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1987 New York Mets

How I Traded Matchbox Cars for a Keith Hernandez Game Used Bat

Have you ever noticed that, every now and then, the breaks fall your way? It may not occur often but when it does, all seems right with the world. One of my favorite ball players was Keith Hernandez. He was a talented ball player who contributed more than just clutch hits and a mesmerizing glove. He was a vocal leader who led by example.

Game used

“I’m Keith Hernandez”

Hernandez was a ballplayer who left everything on the field. He was not quite the hitter that George Brett was but they were cut from the same cloth. They were both gamers and had a fighter’s heart. I recently acquired a game used Keith Hernandez bat from an online auction house. Here is how it happened.

1960’s Matchbox Car Collection

Since my early teens, a small collection of Matchbox cars from the 1960’s has been within my circle of possessions. I never had an interest in them, let alone an urge to add to the collection. My best guess is the cars belonged to a relative and upon their passing, my father picked the cars up for me.

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These Matchbox Cars from the 1960’s languished in my basement for decades.
They are cool but not as cool as a Game Used Keith Hernandez Bat.

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Carrying Case—1960’s

Every few years, I might glance at them to gauge whether my feelings toward them changed. Never did. During a recent basement purge, I came across the cars and had an epiphany. I Googled the Matchbox cars and hatched a course of action. In early March, I packed up the Matchbox cars and headed to the Philadelphia SportsCard and Memorabilia Show.

An Auction and a Man Meet

There are many auction houses to consider for consignment of your cherished or uncherished collectibles. Many are represented at the Philadelphia show. I had, earlier, submitted photographs of the Matchbox cars to different auction houses to see if my thoughts were on point and to see if there would be interest. The auction house I chose for consignment of the Matchbox cars was Huggins and Scott Auctions. Simply a preference as I am familiar with them and have always felt confident participating in their auctions. I left my cars in their capable hands.

Fast forward to late April. The auction catalog arrived in the mail. As I was perusing the articles up for auction, I came across lot 584. An unauthenticated game used Keith Hernandez bat. I tried to put it out of my mind but could not.

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Keith Hernandez taped bat handle

Game used

Keith Hernandez Louisville Slugger-S216

On the closing day of the auction, I began bidding on the bat with one eye on my Matchbox cars cloaked as lot 1955. It was then I realized, I may be able to swap one for the other. My cars had already received a bid in late April so I knew they were going to be sold and anything on top of that was icing.

Keith Hernandez Game Used Bat

As the auction was winding down, the cars were going at a slightly higher price than the bat. This was a great scenario that I did not foresee. Mrs. V was pleasantly surprised at the price my cars realized at the final hammer. She was NOT pleasantly surprised to learn that I used the profits to bid on and WIN the Keith Hernandez bat. Considering the buyer’s premium and the consignment premium, as well as shipping cost, I was thrilled with the final tally. Close to a straight up trade!

The day after the bat arrived, I sent it directly to Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) & PSA/DNA . A leading authenticator of sports collectibles. Their expertise lies in studying the nuances and characteristics of the bat and player. They also search records from the bat manufacturers and such to determine if an article is authentic.

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PSA/DNA Letter of Authenticity. (Back)

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PSA/DNA Letter of Authenticity. (Front)

(On a side note, I sent the bat on a Wednesday, and received it back the following Monday. Extremely fast service.) It came back authenticated as a Keith Hernandez game used bat. Strangely, in my travels, I now find myself looking for Matchbox cars as well as sports memorabilia. I doubt Mrs. V is proud of this development.

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