I have no idea how to create pages but I'll figure it out eventually godammit

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Blog Bat Around - REA Shopping Spree

I am often a troublemaker. I can't just follow the rules, I have to twist them to my own ends. Gellman posed this question for the first Blog Bat Around of 2010: If you had 50 grand and fifteen minutes to go insane on eBay and buy what ever you wanted, what would you get? Well, I'll gladly take the $50,000. But there's no way I'm spending that money on the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is eBay. Between the fakes, the frauds, the crooks and PayPal, I'd be ruined - broke and homeless, naked in the street. No, there is no reason to jump into that mess especially when there is another, more reputable auction house currently running a sale.

This is the real stuff right here. Vintage out the wazoo. Actual provenance and integrity. No fake Adrian Peterson cards with an autograph in crayon on an Avery label and a manufactured patch swatch of Hagar the Horrible.  This is the real good stuff. The stuff I can't even afford an opening bid on the cheapest lot stuff. I can dream though, and have an imaginary shopping spree and order a free catalog which is basically a textbook of baseball card history. Seriously, kiddos, these are free and wonderful. Robert can afford to send your broke repack box buying ass one of these to drool over, don't be afraid to ask for one.

I searched through their current auctions and picked out $50K worth of goodies. I've already broken the eBay rule, you knew I'd break the 15 minute rule as well. It took me about an hour to find all these things and tally up to prices. If I wanted to stick to the 15 minute rule I would have gotten this for whatever it ends up selling for. This is the actual ball Johnny Evers used to get Fred Merkle out in the "Merkle's Boner" game in 1908. I sort of doubt even with $50K I can wrest the ball away from Keith Olbermann, who is probably aggressively bidding on the ball (assuming he's not the one selling it). It's not only a truly historical item, but a reminder of the last time the Cubs won anything. I prefer to do my shopping sprees slowly and meticulously though.

There was no indication in the instructions on how to actually price things to make up the $50,000, and since these are all auctions the final price is going to be pretty volatile. I can't use the current bid, because someone else has already bid that. I could use the next bid, but these auctions close in two weeks so that would probably be exceeded eventually. Waiting for the end of the auction will put me way over tonight's deadline. For purposes of this experiment I used the "Set Autobid Limit" field on the auction when I clicked on it (about 2:00pm on Sunday the 18th) since that was significantly over the current bid price and was something I could track instead of just arbitrarily assigning numbers to the lots. Many of these items will likely go for much more than these prices in the end, but this is all a fantasy anyway. Here's what I picked out.

Single Cards and Items:


If I ever get a large pile of money and am instructed to spend it on baseball cards, the Hank rookie is always going to be the first thing I snag.


I originally saw this auction for the original artwork for Satchel Paige's card and I pyewped myself a bit. The artwork is one of the reasons I adore the 1953 Topps set and Satchel's card is my Holy Grail for that set. I was originally going to put Satch on my list when I did some searching and found that Eddie's art was up for sale as well. The '53 Eddie is one of the best looking cards in the hobby ever, period. I had to go with the painting of my favorite card from my favorite set instead, especially since it was almost 10 grand cheaper. Since this is from Sy Berger's personal collection, that's a double dose of cardboard history right there.


If I ever get a large pile of money and am instructed to spend it on baseball cards, the second card I'm going to get is any vintage Babe Ruth card as a Brave. There are only a handful of those cards and unfortunately I didn't see any of them in this auction. This lot is actually even cooler than any of Ruth's cards though. This is a signed check from Babe Ruth to the Boston National League Baseball Co. It is believed that this is the money Babe had to pay to get out of his contract with the Braves' skinflint owner. It's an amazing piece of baseball (and Braves) history. In real life I'd settle for a copy of the photo of a forlorn Babe in his Braves uni with a bunch of lollygaggers on the bench behind him. It could be the inspiration for Norman Rockwell's painting "The Dugout".


I'll be honest with you, while I would give up a testicle to have any original King Kelly cards, my preference would be for the Goodwin Champion or the Allen & Ginter card before the Old Judge. There were no Goodwin Kellys I could find (More on A&G later) so this Old Judge will have to do. Plus, I keep my testicle. Bonus! This card has a good clear picture and the "$10000 Kelly" label on the card which is veddy nice-a indeed.


There are many reason why I have to have this card:
Old Hoss is a Hall of Famer and prolific Tweeter.
It's an Old Judge of Old Hoss. Heh
Old Hoss is a Brave (or Red Stocking or Beaneater or whatever)
It's in almost perfect condition.
Old Hoss is flipping off the cameraman. 

Radbourn is known as the first person to ever flip someone the bird in a picture and here it is in baseball card form. Awesome.

Complete or Mostly Complete Sets:

Set collectors gotta buy sets. Especially when there's no chance they'll ever be able to build the suckas.


I've already got a large number of '53 Topps cards so I wanted to make sure I picked up the particularly nasty cards like the Mantle and Mays cards I need for my set. There are lots with cards in better condition, but I chose this one for two reasons. First of all, it's cheaper and I'm not afraid of Tiptons with glue on the back. Secondly, since they are not graded I can spread 'em all over my carpet and play with a 1953 set like I was a little kid in the early '50s. That's the whole point of collecting these things, isn't it? Ok, ok, I'll finish up the set in the binder with the best cards and play with the duplicates.


I've always wanted a Ramly card and now I have 23 including several Hall of Famers in whatever alternate universe I got 50 large in. The combination of the black and white photo and the ornate gold frame has always appealed to me. I think there are a couple of Braves in there to boot.


This is the biggest chunk of change I spent in this activity and it's not even a complete set. I luuurve the Diamond stars set, so it's good enough. It gives me a challenge to complete it. Besides, the cards are in such high grade I could probably flip one of the better ones and use the proceeds to buy a set of Tiptons. Everyone knows what a Tipton is right?


Two of my favorite sets, both with notoriously difficult high series. No shame in knocking 'em out all at once.


One Thousand Three Hundred and Sixty Seven Topps cards from the '50s. I want to buy this just so I can throw them all up in the air and swim around in a pile of '50s ecstasy. This lot is basically a complete run of 1952-56 sets (minus the stupid '52 highs) that is missing only 28 cards. Granted some of those missing cards are real doozies. I could probably trade the '52 High Series cards for most of the other ones missing in the rest of the sets.  This lot also has what would be my third 1953 Topps near set, but hey, why not? Combine all of em and pick the best card for the master set, then put the rest in the bicycle spokes.

Weird Oddball Lots:

I'm the kind of guy who would rather have a whole pile of neat stuff rather than one really good thing. With this in mind, here's some lots I found that have a lot of quantity while maintaining some decent quality.


Even though there are Hall of Famers all over this lot the main reason I chose this one was for the Mayo Cut Plug Braves cards. The Cy Young and Chief Bender and Three Finger Brown cards are happy bonuses.


A huge pile of Old Judges, Goodwin Champions and Allen & Ginters is pretty cool. I'm really interested in all the non-sport cards from Duke, Kimball and Kinney. The real gem though is an Allen & Ginter King Kelly card-like object that was cut out of  an A&G Champions album. It's not a real Kelly card, but it's close enough for government work.


A humongous pile of vintage stars from the '60s. Just look through the list. Mantle, Aaron, Mays, Clemente, Koufax, Banks, this is just sick. The Niekro rookie sealed the deal.


Finishing off with some non-sports stuff. The thing that caught my eye was the complete 1953 World on Wheels low series set, but there are a ton of  other nifty things in here. The Beatles, Batman and Monster sets are ones I'd really like to see. This is a lot that I wouldn't mind just taking a day to shuffle through all 1,609 cards.

Total Damage: $49,750

Think I can get all that shipped for $250? I might have to pick it up in person. Plus we're forgetting auction house fees which would probably bump this to over 60 grand total. I'd also be willing to bet that if I added up all the actual final values of these auctions we might hit six figures. I've screwed this exercise all up haven't I? Oh well, it's not my money, and it was a fun way to spend an afternoon while listening to the Braves on the radio. J-Hey!

Don't forget to request a catalog!


RoofGod said...

What am I supposed to buy now? You bought it all! I got a catalog last year and still flip through it from time to time, thanks for reminding to get another one.

Wrigley Wax said...

Looks like we both played loose with the rules. It will be nice to have someone else to keep me company in blogger detention!

Those are some really nice cards you picked out.

night owl said...

At least you participated. I just couldn't get fired up for this one. Guess I'm a slacker.

Matt B. said...

Thanks for the link to their spring catalog. It doesn't hurt to be able to dream!

Bo said...

That Radbourn tidbit is the best piece of baseball trivia I'll learn this year.

Casey said...

I want that 1910 Joe Jackson card!