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A Collection For The Generations - Caramel Cards and 1956 Topps

Passed from Grandfather to Father to Sons and Grandsons

  • December 22, 2017
  • Leighton Sheldon

1921 E220 Walter JohnsonWhat Makes a Collection

What actually constitutes a collection? Does a collection start with the very first card? Or is it a collection once you've added a second card. Whether it is merely one card or hundreds of thousands of cards, a collection is a collection. There really isn't a definitive answer aside from . . . to each their own.

Similarly, we're asked what sort of collections we are looking to purchase. How big do they have to be? Is there a minimum amount of cards? The answer is more about the value of the collection than the size. We've purchased collections with a singular card. We've passed on collections including thousands of cards.


Size Doesn't Matter

Recently, we were contacted by a gentleman from Pennsylvania that had found a small group of cards while downsizing and was interested in driving in to have the cards evaluated. We usually try to get some additional information about a collection to make certain that the owner isn't wasting their time coming to see us and to make sure that there aren't any unrealistic expectations. We received a couple of images and made a brief approximation and were able to set the appointment.

When the gentleman arrived, the collection was in a small box and consisted of less than 60 cards in total and included two 1911 T207 commons, about 30 American and National Caramel cards (E120, E121, E122 and E220) and about 20 1956 Topps cards.  While it wasn't a large collection, it did have some value and some potential.


Father to Son Then to His Son and to the Grandson

We talked about the collection and the gentleman explained that the Caramel cards had been his father's and that his father was probably about 12 years old when he collected them. He wasn't sure about where the T207's came from. The 1956 Topps cards had been from when the gentleman had collected. He related how he remembered buying cards and building sets and was pretty certain that most of the sets he collected and built were from 1953 through 1957. When asked, he didn't recall if he had collected the 1952 Topps Set. He had given his entire collection, or so he thought, to his sons and grandsons several years earlier. During a clean-up with his wife as they began the process of downsizing, he found this little cache of cards that he figured must've been duplicates or something and that he had forgotten that he had put them away.


During the evaluation, we discussed the condition of the cards and the relation of the condition to the value. The caramel cards were in pretty rough shape, for the most part, as almost all of them had a pinhole from being affixed to a corkboard or wall. There were only a few that escaped the puncture of the thumbtack, but luckily, one was a 1921 E220 Walter Johnson. The owner couldn't remember what players were in the original collection from his father, but one has to wonder if Babe Ruth or Ty Cobb had been pinned up to the wall of held a position of esteem in his dad's collection.

1921 E220 Walter Johnson
1921 E220 Walter Johnson

The 1956 Topps cards, the vestige of the man's childhood collection, were in surprisingly good shape. The lot consisted of mostly stars, including a white and gray back each of Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente and Sandy Koufax as well as a pair of Yankees and Dodgers team cards. There was also single cards of Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron and Roy Campanella. The cards ranged from VG to EX for the most part, but presented very nicely with some very good centering. Unfortunately, there wasn't a Mickey Mantle card in the group. Probably the nicest condition card was one of the Sandy Koufax cards that presented as a solid Near Mint.

1956 Topps Sandy Koufax  1956 Topps Roberto Clemente


After reviewing the collection, we prepared an evaluation and a purchase offer. After completing the evaluation and offer and putting it face down on the table, as we sometimes do, we asked the gentleman what he thought the collection was worth? Since he stated that he had done some research and asked some knowledgeable questions during the review of the collection, it seemed to be a fair enough question and wasn't going to change the evaluation or the offer if he came in lower than we did. Amazingly, he was pretty much on point with what our evaluation was and we were able to agree immediately on the purchase offer that was over a thosand dollars for the collection of about 60 cards.

Let The Kids Know!

We noted to him that if the cards that he gave to his sons and grandsons were in similar or better condition that this small sampling, that he would be wise to make certain that they're aware of the potential value and handle them safely and take good care of them. Considering that the collection probably includes rookie cards of Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente and Sandy Koufax, among others, it would be good for his offspring to know so that they don't mishandle them, damage them or just give them away. They've managed to make it through 4 generations. Let's hope that the third, fourth and potentially a fifth generation cares about them as much as the first two.

Our Buying Philosophy

We've run into a wide range of people and collections over the past decade. Although we are known for buying vintage sports cards and especially vintage basketball cards, we are also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, also!

Every collection and every collector is different and we treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. We understand that many have put their heart and soul into building their collection. So when you're ready to sell, Just Collect understands the feelings that you're going through and we will work with you to help you reach a decision that is a WIN/WIN, because if you're not happy, we're not happy.

We Are Always Buying

Just Collect is always buying vintage sports and non-sports cards from 1879 to 1979 as well as select modern cards. If you have a collection that you are considering selling, contact us today to discuss your collection and get our industry leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want appraised, please contact us and we would be happy to discuss your collection and help you understand the real cash value of your collection in the current marketplace.

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The "A Collection For The Generations" Video:

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