So it is that time of year again when a seasoned veteran blogger, that being Gellman, over at Sports Cards Uncensored puts up his Blog Bat Around. This time we are tasked with trying to unload $50,000 on Ebay purchasing the cards of our dreams. The kicker is that you only have 15 minutes to accomplish the task.
After looking this over, I thought this was going to be the easiest task in the world to do. Boy, was I wrong. When you are limited to shopping for your hobby, you are usually pretty selective about the cards you try to acquire. It takes time to look things over, do research, etc., etc. 15 minutes is hardly enough time to do much of that. The purchases tend to become impulse buys and you may end up regretting what comes your way in the end. But, with $50,000 of hypothetical Gellman Doubloons I thought I would take a stab at it.
I had two goals in mind here. First, I was going to try to stick to a dozen or less auctions. I figured that would give me about a minute or so each to decide if that was what I really wanted or enough time to move on to something else. Second, I was going to go for quality and not quantity here. Usually when I buy it is the other way around but in this case it was like gambling with someone else's money. When in Rome, right?
Now, I am not the biggest supporter of graded cards. I don't necessarily agree with thier practices and I hardly see the merits in having two dozen companies all doing the same thing differently. I do, however, see where having a card graded can pay benefits in the long run with condition sensitivity. I'm not necessarily going to argue over the difference between an 8, 8.5, and 9 on whichever scale we are using. Most collectors couldn't tell you the difference either. What I am looking for is some type of confirmation that they are in pretty decent shape. I am not holding these as gospel, but they are a better indication than someone saying the cards are Excellent/NR Mint and when I get them they look more like VG-Ex. That gives me an idea for another post too...
With my criteria in hand, I decided that I was going to go with a few for the PC and some vintage cards that I would never otherwise give a second thought to. Cards that would normally seem out of reach for any Saturday morning collector like myself were now fair game. I wanted to find some things that not only looked cool but had a story and were essentially pieces of history. I suppose I should call this my entry into the Blog Slapshot Around. Take a look and tell me how I did.
#1 Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby Upper Deck Artifacts Tundra Patch 1/1
Are there better combo cards featuring two of the greatest Penguin (NHL) players of all time? Yes. But this one just looks great. It features the Reebok patches from their jerseys and is serial stamped. Again, not a big fan of 1/1 cards because they are a bit too gimmicky for my taste but I couldn't resist this one. It is a nice bridge between my Lemieux collection and a future Crosby collection.
$2,499.99 ($47,500.01 left)
#2 Mario Lemieux 2008-09 In The Game Ultimate Number Emblem 1/1
Another 1/1 Lemieux only this time, and ITG relic. This is a number swatch from a #66 jersey, obvious by the giant "six" swatch on the card. While not the best looking card in the world, I like to think this one tells a story and would be a good centerpiece to my collection. You can see that ITG made 7500 cards for this set and this is the only Lemieux.
$5,000.66 ($42,499.35 left)
#3 65 Card Lot of Wayne Gretzky Cards from 1979-1989 all graded
This is the only multi-card lot in the bunch. There are only a sampling of pictures above but you get the idea. I had to go with this one because not only does it include both of Wayne's rookie cards in pretty decent condition, but it has the majority of his 80s cards in good shape as well. I think all but 5 of them are graded higher than an 8 and only 1 isn't graded at all. Never going to find all these gems in one place at one time in this condition.
$3,995.99 ($38,503.36 left)
#4 Gordie Howe 1951-52 Parkhurst Rookie Graded
The Rookie card of Mr. Hockey, himself. Come on! The guy's nickname is Mr. Hockey. How can you not have this card as the cornerstone of your collection? This is another graded card and is in pretty decent shape for being 60 years old. Again, it's all about the history here.
$3,849.99 ($34,653.37 left)
#5 Lord Stanley 2007-08 Upper Deck The Cup Legendary Cuts Autograph 1/1
I think when you have an opportunity to own a piece of history that your entire sport is based upon, you take it. Here we have a Legendary Cuts Auto of Lord Stanley. I can only assume that this says "Yours Faithfully" but I have no idea how you get Lord Stanley or Lord Stanley of Preston or Fredrick, Arthur, or Stanley out of that signature. It looks like it says Judy or Katy. You know, I only had 15 minutes here so I wasn't able to do any research. So since this is hypothetical...let's assume this card is real. And since it is "real", it goes into my cart.
$14,995.95 ($19,657.42 left)
#6 Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, & Wayne Gretzky 2007-08 Upper Deck The Cup Triple Autograph
Three of the top 5 players of all time on one card. Three of the top 5 players of all time signatures on one card. Here we have a grand total of 3911 Games Played, 5622 Points, and 1965 Goals (NHL statistics only). You can't argue with that. This one is numbered 7/10.
#7 Connie Smythe 1936-37 World Wide Gum Co. Graded
Another founder and builder with a trophy in their honor (Playoff MVP). Conn Smythe owned the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1927-1961 and has the fortune of having his name on the Stanley Cup 11 times. He fought in World War II and was instrumental in the construction of Maple Leaf Gardens. Later in life, he oversaw the construction of the Hockey Hall Of Fame. Smythe was a great man, of great character, who was never afraid to speak his mind and always stood up for what was right.
$5,000 ($9,657.42 left)
#8 Jean Beliveau 1953-54 Parkhurst Rookie Graded
The man with the most Stanley Cup victories, both as a player and as a team executive. How many, you say? How about 17...10 as a player and another 7 as part of team management. Both a 500 goal scorer and 1000 point scorer, Jean was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1972 Beliveau is arguably the greatest Montreal Canadian skater of all time.
$5,000 ($4,657.42 left)
#9 Lorne "Gump" Worsley 1953-54 Parkhurst Rookie Graded
The man without a mask. Gump Worsley was one of the last goalies in the NHL to refuse to wear a mask. He was asked several times why he didn't wear one, to which he responded "My face is my mask." How can you argue with that? While playing most of his career with the Rangers, a pretty pathetic Rangers, he had his most success as a Canadien. He won 4 Stanley Cups with Montreal and became the first goaltender to go 11-0 in the playoffs. He later went on to play for the North Stars. Gump retired at third in games played and was the only player at the time to have won 300 and lost 300 (Cujo did it later in his career). In his long career, he logged over 50,000 minutes of ice time which is the equivalent of about 35 days. He went into the Hall of Fame in 1980.
$5,000 ($342.58 OVER BUDGET)
So I went over by $342 or so. I could probably make that up by using the "Best Offer" option on some of these auctions. I originally had 2 other cards here but they were graded rookies of two Steeler greats Franco Harris and Terry Bradshaw. Since these didn't really fit in with the rest of the hockey theme I decided to nix them from the batch. That could have saved me some time to refine some of my other choices but I didn't realize I was over my budget at that point.
I think I came out pretty good on this one considering the time constraint. If I had to do it over again, I would probably end up with 10 different cards but that is the fun part about playing the "What if" game. Thanks goes out to Gellman for coming up with this difficult but fun task.