With Cobb, Young, Mathewson, Koufax and so much more!
December 15, 2017
Good Things Come to Those That Wait
The late Tom Petty wrote in the chorus of "The Waiting:"
The waiting is the hardest part. Every day you see one more card. You take it on faith, you take it to the heart, The waiting is the hardest part.
Yeah, waiting can be the hardest part, but it is also said that good things come to those that wait.
This Will Write Itself
You've heard the phrases before, "Every picture tells a story," "A picture is worth a thousand words," and "The story writes itself." Well, a collection that we recently purchased lives up to most of those old clichés. In fact, we'll provide a little bit of background, show you a few images and let the story write itself...
Understanding The Sellers Needs
We get many leads on a daily basis and handling them, you start to get a feeling of how to handle people. Some just want to get a price and sell, some want to share their story and be heard, some want to get the information and begin the process of analyzing and comparing the data and some people just want to get their foot in the water, but are in no hurry to move forward. This collection, as you will see later in the seller's story, was one that was going to need some time and would happen when the seller was ready and despite wanting to move forward, we would force ourselves to tether the horse and wait to hear back. No poking, prodding or weekly follow-up was going to make things move any quicker and might, in fact, discourage the gentleman from doing any business with Just Collect.
And Now, The Rest of The Story
Rather than write a long-winded blog about the collection, we're just going to provide the background and testimonial provided by the seller:
I am fifty-one years old. My baseball card collection is forty-one years old. Just as Terence Mann describes in Field of Dreams, "The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball," so can I describe my baseball cards. They have been with me through good times and bad times, home to home, and through all the stages in my life. I have forgotten about them, rediscovered them, forgotten, rediscovered . . . But I have always known they were there in my old steamer trunks, tucked away as manifestations of my childhood and youth.
It began on Christmas morning 1976. My parents were antiques dealers and were about to surprise my older brother of seven years and myself with something we had never really seen before. Baseball cards. Lots of them. I had not myself yet begun collecting cards, but my brother had when he was younger. I remember being intrigued by his Topps cards from the 60's--specifically, '64,'65,'66,'67','68,'69. They seemed ancient to me. When I looked at them, I felt as though I were looking deep into the past! My God, some of these cards are older than me!
I remember opening up my box from under the Christmas tree. Dozens of baseball cards from the 1950's and 1960's. And another box of the same random disorder. I'm unsure how many cards in all, maybe 200? 300? These cards were fascinating to me: the odd colored portraits, their smell, their age....Wow, a Mays! Another Mays!! A 1955 Koufax! And a '56 Koufax!! And many other old-time baseball greats. This was the beginning of a hobby that would consume me for the next five years or so, and continue on and off through my high school years. Later that spring of 1977 is when my frenzy began. Mowing lawns and collecting bottles and buying packs of cards from the General Store a two mile bike road from home. I nearly collected the entire set, save for a few cards. That summer my parents took me to a flea market where I discovered a box of hundreds of cards from 1974, '75', '76. I spent the next days sorting and reading the backs for stats and biographical information.
I would often travel with my parents to antique shows around New England, where I'd buy a few T205's or T206's for a few bucks. Once I even had to cough up twenty-eight bucks for a Cobb red portrait; the dealer may even have sold it to me for twenty-five, I forget. As I got older and my interest turned from baseball cards to girls, the additions to my collection became less frequent; however, I still attended card shows. In 1983 I attended a card show looking for a '57 Koufax to complete my run. I asked the guy behind the table, "How much?" He replied, "Sorry, son. Nine dollars." I casually took the cash from my pocket, paid the man, and gave myself a high-five in my head. Many items in collection have a story behind them. Oh, yeah, my big brother who always got the better cards because he was older...well, sometime in the late 1970's traded me his Nolan Ryan Rookie rookie card for a 1975 Boomer Scott and a 1977 Jim Palmer.
Fast forward to 2016. I was approaching fifty years old. My sons were sixteen and eleven. I had always assumed I would pass my collection on to them, but they had no interest. Over the course my later years, I had an occasional fear of fire, flood, theft, or some other tragic event would destroy my collection. Also, I realized it was time for me to share them with others since I had been hoarding them for decades. I finally decided to part with them. But how? How to sell tens of thousands of cards and other baseball memorabilia? This is not easy to do. I wanted to make sure I received their value and that they would go to someone who would appreciate them. I didn't look forward to the prospect of dealing with a buyer who demanded every card graded and who went strictly by the book.
I came across the website of a company that bought baseball cards. I read through it. I would go back to it again and again over the course of a few months. At last I took pictures of my cards scattered about en masse. I sent the dozen or so photos and blabbering tome of how much these cards meant to me and the story behind them. What had I just done?! I received a short yet sympathetic reply from the owner expressing the beauty of my collection and his interest in it. Great. But I wasn't ready to part with them. It was a feeling like when you know your dog needs to be put down, but you are just not ready, but you just gotta do it....
Fast forward seventeen months. I hadn't heard from Leighton once in all that time, no follow up call or email, no nothin'. Which I liked because the last thing I wanted was pressure to sell. But parting with my cards had been in the back of my mind all that time. I realized that I had already taken the first step by contacting a reputable dealer whom I felt I could trust and whom I had researched and eventually spoke to on the phone. I was ready. Leighton and I made arrangements to meet. The day finally had come to let go of my childhood and the "one constant" throughout my life. I didn't know what to expect or what kind of emotions I would experience. But I knew I was ready.
Leighton and I talked for awhile before the cards were laid out. We shared stories and our passion for baseball and baseball cards. I knew my collection would be going to someone who would appreciate them. As he went through each card, I'd blurt out a story about a particular one while looking at it for the last time. Leighton explained the reason for the value he placed on each card. His appraisal was in an informal setting and unhurried. After his appraisal I told him I needed the night to think and check out his numbers. He was fair in his assessment and in a few instances very generous. I called him in the morning, and we agreed on a final value, met briefly and agreed to meet again. And we will. You see, I only parted with about 150 items of my oldest stuff--my tobacco cards from the early 1900's. There are thousands and thousands of more things for Leighton to see.
I decided to part with my collection little by little until eventually it is gone and barely unnoticed. This somehow makes it easier.
So, How Did This Get Started?
The collection started out as simple email nearly two years ago. Then a few images and we were hooked. From the Helmar Silks Mathewson, to the Ty Cobb and Cy Young T206 Portraits, to the run of 1950's and 1960's Hall of Famers (including rookies of Al Kaline, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan and many others), this collection did not disappoint. You should get a pretty good feel for the history of the cards from the story the seller shared with us and you can see from the images below why we were so interested.
The Footlocker -- Steamer Chest
A Lovely Array of Tobacco Cards Featuring Many Hall of Famers
Miscellaneous Cards and Blankets, Topps Stars
Topps Sandy Koufax Cards, 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan Rookie Card
T206 Ty Cobb, T206 Cy Young, T201 Christy Mathewson
Christy Mathewson Helmar Silk
Hurry Up and Wait
The key to being able to buy collections, especially one like this, is knowing when to be patient. This collection took nearly two years from first contact to the closure of the first portion. It may take another few years for the seller to decide to move the remainder. He may opt to not sell any. We don't know what the future holds, but we'll be patient and take things as they come.
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.
The "The New England Antique Dealer's Kin Collection" Video: