As I said before, Card Museum Guy had some absolutely gorgeous cards in a shiny brass display and a row of cases. T206s, Goudeys, Mantles, Williams, Mays, Aarons, Clementes, Probably even some Ruths and Gehrigs in there too, just wonderful stuff all completely out of my league. There was a box in my league however and that's where I snagged all the cards in this post.
The Bargain Box
The three most beautiful words in the English language to a collector with an addiction. This was a hard core bargain box too, everything from Tobacco cards to vintage gum cards, Topps from 1951-1979, vintage football, vintage basketball, a huge pile of non-sport (foreshadowing...) and even one lonely Hockey card from the late '60s. You know how most bargain boxes are full of nickel cards and it is right in front of the dealer and he watches you like a hawk the whole time you are shuffling through 1991 Mike Greenwells? This sucker was loaded, was at least 10 yards away from both people working the booth and had 50 dollar vintage cards in it. Not joking. Card Museum Guy was so flush with inventory he could afford to leave a box of cards that would make most people's collections look like garbage sitting ignored miles away from the cash register when a particularly sneaky and speedy devious character could run off with an instant collection and be dodging tackles from the nice ladies selling the tickets up front before the old guy even noticed. I however, am an honorable junkie and paid for my cards. After much contemplation I chose these four to fill out my Braves collection:
1951 Topps Red Back Tommy Holmes - Hartford Variation
1951 Topps cards are tough. They're a weird size, they are goofy looking, most of them were played with so they ended up trashed and Topps has branded the 1952 set as "The First Modern Set EVAH" so they are not that popular. They are not as neglected as the 1948 Topps set, but they are still damn hard to find. I only had 3 of the 7 in the team set before this one here and one of those was the Spahn. When I saw Holmes here for $4.50, it was an insta-buy. This one here is the "Now managing Hartford" variation and not the more scarce "Boston" version.I'm not worried about variations in this set right now, I just want to find Gordon, Sain and Jethroe and finish it off. I've got over half the set now though!
1965 Topps Embossed Lee Maye
This is quite possibly the ugliest insert set ever. You think Topps overuses foil now? Just look at these atrocities. The whole front is gold foil. A border is printed on top of the foil in blue for American League Teams (which isn't too bad) and red for the National League (which looks awful). Mercifully, the player's name is printed in white. The back of the card is completely blank except for a small ornate frame at the bottom surrounding the card number and the Topps copyright. The player's image is actually stamped into the foil. You can see Lee up there because the card is beat up and the wear on the foil makes the image more visible. I think Topps was going for a Hall of Fame Plaque kind of motif here but it turned out awful. These cards were in every pack though so they are pretty common nowadays. I probably overpaid on this one at a buck since it's in rough condition, but it was the last Brave I needed for this insert set and the only other place I know to find it is on eBay for a buck plus shipping, so I did pretty good on this one.
1962 Topps Stamps Milwaukee Braves Logo
They just get weirder and weirder don't they... In 1961 and '62 Topps inserted panels of two stamps into their packs. In 1961 the stamps were monochrome and looked like old timey postage stamps. In 1962 they did it more simply with color photos with a solid color background. They also added team logos to the set. This is the Milwaukee Braves logo with just a smidge of the Pittsburgh stamp below. I haven't found a whole lot of these and this stamp will keep Roy McMillan's stamp compony in my binder.
1949 Leaf Bob Elliott
Ok, back to the '49 Leaf card. In 1948 Bowman and Leaf jumped back into the card market. Bowman ended up more popular and Leaf dropped right back out until 1960. This set is tough. It was printed over a two year period and cards can be found with a 1948 or 1949 copyright on the back. The color is fairly crude, but no worse than the '49 Bowmans. The real pain with this set is that it is a 98 card set skip numbered from 1-198. This was probably designed to get kids to buy more bubblegum, but seeing how half the set is seriously short printed, who knows, maybe Leaf just forgot the print the rest of them. And when I say short printed I mean SHORT PRINTED. The prices are out of date, but my '02 price guide has the common cards listed at $25 in near mint, the short prints are $450. For a guy like Eddie Joost or Peanuts Lowry. With all the Brave short prints in the set I didn't even bother to leave a space in my binder for Leaf cards. Bob is now living with the Goudeys in a space reserved for a short printed '41 card. You know how I said '49 Leaf cards are tough? '41 Goudey cards are freaking impossible. One more thing about this card. Bob Elliott won the MVP award in 1947. Two years later Leaf couldn't even get his name right. That's why you didn't hear from them for another 11 years after this...
There you have it, 4 vintage slightly strange Braves cards all for the low, low price of $16. If Wal-Mart held card shows inside them, I'd never buy another blaster again. A funny thing happened while I was shuffling through these old cards. The dealer across the row came over and talked to Card Museum Guy. He was the guy with all those boxes filled with toploaders that didn't seem to have a price associated with them. Museum Guy commented that there was a feeding frenzy over there a little while ago. The guy told him that people were pulling cards out of his 10 cent boxes like crazy. Some guy just pulled out a Sammy Sosa rookie! He didn't care though because he was making sales and he bought the whole lot in Tennessee for one hundredth of a cent each. So he didn't even bother to sort them all out since he had so many and was just selling them all ten for a buck. "What's the margin on that, eh?" he said.
That... is a damn good margin. I also knew a deal when I heard one, picked over or no.
Up Next: THE DIME BOX.