From the Dairy Fields of NJ to the Ball Fields across America
March 24, 2017
From A Field of Dreams
We meet with collectors from all walks of life and that have assembled their collections in a myriad of ways. Occasionally, we have the pleasure of meeting with collectors that go back to the early days of card shows. A recent meeting and evaluation was with one such collector.
A New Jersey dairy farmer contacted Just Collect and spoke with one of our customer service representatives about a sizeable collection that he had amassed over several decades. He stated that he was interested in getting a free evaluation and would also consider selling the collection should the evaluation and the offer meet his satisfaction.
We typically attempt to get some images and more details with respect to larger collections, especially when we have to go on the road to review the collection. However, this gentleman stated that he was a dairy farmer and didn't really have the wherewithal or the expertise to put together a series of pictures and develop a spreadsheet and that the collection was too large to bring to us and on top of that, he really didn't have the time as he had more than a hundred milking cows to deal with.
To get a better idea of the collection and to work out logistics, Scott Alpaugh, Just Collect's Vice President got on the phone and spoke with the gentleman about his collection, how he had acquired it, what he was looking to do with it and what availability the farmer would have given his busy farming schedule. They agreed that Scott would meet at the farmer's home and review the collection and set an appointment.
Old School -- Old Shows
Upon meeting with the farmer, Scott and the gentleman talked about shows that the farmer used to attend and they reminisced about the old Willow Grove Show at the George Washington Motor Lodge (before the show moved to the Fort Washington Expo Center and then finally to Valley Forge Casino in King of Prussia after a short stint in Reading, PA) that they both used to attend in the late 1970s and early 1980s and even joked that the farmer probably bought cards from Scott when he was an exhibitor.
The farmer used to sell off one of a steer every year before going with his friend to the Fort Washington Show, and that cattle cash would be his spending money for the show. He said the sale used to net him about $500. Back in the day, you could get an awful lot of cardboard for $500 as he related in an incredible story. One Fort Washington show, he and his buddy, who would also bring about $500, were going with the intention of each buying a 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle card. He and his friend each found Mantle cards that they wanted to buy, but they were each a little short. Rather than neither being able to get the Mantle, the farmer loaned his friend $100 so that he could buy his. Instead, he spent nearly the remainder of his money, $400 on a complete 1954 Topps Baseball Set from a Boston area dealer that he regularly bought from at the show. You read that right. The two men spent a grand and walked out of the show with a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle (that the farmer recalled being in really nice condition) and a very nice midgrade 1954 Topps Baseball Set (that was included in the collection that we purchased).
Oh, There is So Much More
Now, the 1954 Topps Baseball Set was one of the few complete sets that the farmer had in this collection. He collected more for his favorite players and to accumulate cards that he liked. He also liked to go to estate sales and auctions and buy bulk card lots. Some of these vintage bulk lots were evident in the collection as he had numerous 5,000 count boxes filled with commons, minor stars and even some major stars. Counts included several hundred from most years of the 1950's and 1960's and literally 5,000-15,000 from each year from 1969 through 1979, including nearly 15,000 1973 Topps baseball singles.
But the collection wasn't just post WWII Topps cards. Over the decades spent going to card shows and auctions and even some online purchases, the massive collection contained some skinned N172 Old Judge cards from 1887, a handful of 1909-1911 T206 cards including HOFer Tris Speaker, as well as plenty of Goudey cards from 1933-1938, Bowman cards from 1948-1955 and representative quantities of cards from Fleer, Kellogg's, Leaf and just about every Topps insert set was represented with one of more exemplars.
When reviewing a collection like this, especially one assembled over such a long period of time and from so many sources, there ends up being some spoiled milk. In the case of this collection, we found a reprint cards of Ty Cobb (an E95), Babe Ruth (M101 Sporting News), Michael Jordan (1986 Fleer) and Joe Namath (1965 Topps). Fortunately, the collector recalled where most of them came from and said the amount paid for them was relatively insignificant, so he wasn't upset. And as our practice, if we feel a card is suspect, we don't factor it in the deal and we leave the item(s) with the seller if we purchase the collection.
As the cows were ready to come in for their evening milking, Scott finished the evaluation and reviewed Just Collect's findings with the farmer and he found the evaluation to be thorough and very accurate and meeting with his expectations. Both parties were able to quickly agree on a purchase price and prepared the collection for transfer as the sun began to set across the west forty.
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, we are also extremley interested in buying non-sports cards, too!
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 souls into building their collections. 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 or 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.