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Monday, June 13, 2011

Card Show Top 20 - #3 Wizard Off Kilter

Almost done with this card show. Then I can move on to the next card show. No, I haven't bought any Topps Series 2. I'll be able to find tons of it in repack boxes in about 6 months anyway. Has the mindbendingly absurd gimmick popped up yet? Topps usually saves their best garbage for Series two. Maybe a supadupa short print variation Stephen Strasburg card with the disembodied head of Bryce Harper blowing kisses in the background? Eh, don't care. Here's a card from a real set where men were men and gimmicks were Bump Wills.

1979 Topps Ozzie Smith RC

Wizard! In the fluorescent brown Padres uni! Rockin' the sideburns! Those suckas are dangerously close to Mutton Chops. And it's a rookie card! And it's about a nanometer away from being officially miscut!

One of the sets I'm closest to completing is the 1979 Topps set. It's not even one of my favorite sets of the period, I like bookends 1978 Topps and 1980 Topps much better. I just happened to have a bunch of it, and then people sent me a lot more of it and it sort of kind of piled up. No matter how much I accumulated though  The Wizard always loomed. That's one problem I've got with collecting vintage sets. Dang near every one has one or more key rookie cards that are pricey. Well, used to be pricey. Everyone's chasing SWEET MOJO HITZ or looking for completely perfect vintage cards to submit to PSA in hopes of landing that grade 10 cardboard wiener enhancer that they can wave at their fellow graded collectors. No one cares about the vintage garbage I collect.

THE PROBLEM: There was a time in my life when I actually paid attention to price guides. You know the one. I'd buy one about every other month depending who was on the cover and drool over all the Hi prices of the old vintage cards I'd never get my hands on. There were cards that cost over 100 dollars! Even the rookies from 1983 Topps that I already had were $25! That's a lotta money for a card! Or it was in the mid '80s at least when I was a broke kid. I blow $25 on retail bullcrap nowadays without batting an eye. But back then it was Expensive! So here's my problem: Thanks to Beckett Brainwashing early in my collecting career I have a Pavlovian response to iconic vintage rookie cards. First I go, "REALLY REALLY WANT". Then I go, "probably too expensive for me...." and slink off in shame. I can't break myself of this habit either, even though I could probably find just about every significant rookie from 1974-1985 for well under 20 bucks online if I looked hard enough. It's frustrating.

So I'm at the FCB card show. I'm at the Sports Memories OK table. That's the guy I bought a new pile of old goodies from on Saturday. I purposely saved his table for last knowing there would definitely be some good stuff to pick though. If anything was a sure thing at this show, that was it. So I do my usual routine. Check the cases. Look at all the high grade stars from the '60s. Ooooh. Gawk at all the beautiful cards from the '50s. Aaaaah. Gaze lovingly at the pre-war Goudeys and Cabinets and Tobaccos, Oh My!. Get to the Museum case with the 19th century cards and original Ruths and Gehrigs. Jizz in my pants. Then I go to the bargain boxes where I can actually afford stuff.

Roger must have picked up a collection before the show because there was an entire display of low grade Hall of Famers. I  found a couple of interesting ones on there that I considered getting but chose to hit the bargain box first just to see what I could find. I found the typical stuff, '50s commons off my wantlist, Braves for my teams sets, etc. etc. The bargain boxes consist of two 3200 count monster boxes and are organized thusly: Box 1 has a row full of non-sports cards and the baseball oddballs, row two and about half of row three are filled with vintage Bowman and the rest is filled with vintage football, basketball and other assorted sports. Box 2 is filled with Topps organized by year. The back of the first row starts with a section of everything 1973 and newer, then there is a separate section for every year going from 1972 down to 1951. At the very end are a few bargain Pre-war cards. I usually attack the boxes starting with the pre-war stuff, then I hit the 1953s, rummage around the rest of the large-size '50s cards (Except 1952, blecch), hit a few years like 1960 and 1972 that I really like, then work my way through the rest of the years looking for Braves.

I'll usually hit the '73 and up section last. Like, very last. After I've checked the Bowman and Non-Sport and maybe even the football. It usually only has a bunch of '70s stars that I already have. Occasionally a Hank '74 Highlight or Niekro will show up. I checked it last as usual and flipped through it pretty quickly not really expecting anything. It was late and I was getting worn out by my card frenzy so I sloughed through barely paying attention.  Gary Carter... Tony Perez... Steve Carlton... Lou Brock... Ozzie Smith Rookie... Carlton Fisk - dang I have two of that card - Ho hum, Bob Gibso- WAIT, WHAT??

I shuffled back. Ozzie Smith. Rookie. The EXPENSIVE 1979 card. In the bargain box. How much. Probably 20 bucks if it's a penny. I'm down to my last 20, no way I can afford this card. What's the price?

Five bucks. My face did this:

Ozzie in my pile. Forgot about the cards in the case. Went to pay. Roger left to pay his electricity bill so I paid someone who was watching his table for him. Felt like a thief. WIZARD FOR FIVE BUCKS. That cop over there is gonna bust me I know it. Finished up the day by picking up a couple items I had left before and was able to walk out the door without getting thrown in the hoosegow. I even talked to Roger on my way out, apparently it was legit. Ok, so it's a smidge off center. Anyone have a diamond cut 1980 Rickey Henderson? A '75 Topps Yount with a tack hole at the top? A '78 Eddie Murray with a hole punch through the rookie cup? There's a fiver in it for ya...

The Top 20 List:

#20 Reds' Heavy Artillery
#19 Blue MadDog
#18 Lil' Jimmy
#17 Real Fake '52
#16 First Topps
#15 Bogus Boog
#14 V103 Tree
#13 Sertoma Rico
#12 '55 Finishers
#11 Hey Shiny
#10 What the Dickens
#9 '60 Spahnnie
#8 Lonely '53
#7 Super Chief
#6 Original Frank
#5 Hoops Inspiration
#4 Rocket Robin
#3 Wizard Off Kilter
#2 Shenanigans Were Called
#1 The Holy Grail of Commons


bailorg said...

Here I am buying cards in St. Louis like a sucker. But seriously, what is the deal with Atlanta and ridiculous discounted cards?

madding said...

This is my Ozzie rookie:


I don't know what was paid for it because it was a gift, but I know it wasn't tons. My first concern was that it might be trimmed just because it looked so weird, but it measures up to a standard baseball card size. I will still probably keep my ears and eyes up for more Ozzie rookies since he's my sentimental favorite player, but I sleep well at night knowing I have a miscut Ozzie rookie.

deal said...

Every 79 Ozzie I have ever seen is off-center like that. is that how 'hoosegow' is spelled? I have never seen it in print b4 and would really like to know.


beardy said...

Italian Spiderman?