The Case of the Missing Roy Campanella

For the last two weeks I have been seeking and not finding a particular card that I wanted to put in my display case. It was a beauty I thought I had displayed here before, a 1951 Bowman Roy Campanella. A card like this should not get lost in someone’s collection, right? I mean it’s not exactly the centerpiece of my collection, but it is the earliest card I own of the Hall of Famer; there is no good reason why a piece of cardboard like this should go lost by me, a guy who cherishes his vintage. Well, that was the case and it is pretty telling about the state of my collection at the moment.

I sort of touched on this in my last post, but I literally have cards everywhere … and many of them are kind of time capsules of the last 18-24 months. I’ve got stacks of cards I wrote about in October 2008 in one box, another stack on my computer desk from earlier this year, and several little similar piles throughout my garage. Then there are opened packs I purchased several weeks ago that have yet to be sorted; more than one of them contain relic cards and inserts that need to be put away, and a few of them I thought were blog worthy, but time has kind of passed them by. Yes, this is the sad state of affairs of my collection.

So why am I telling you this? One reason is because this morning I found my Campanella card and it is now in one of my wall display cases.

Another reason for the post is because the case of the missing Roy Campanella is a classic example of why I’ve decided to cut down on my purchases. As of Tuesday morning, it had been 18 days since my last pack purchase. Why is this significant? Because this means almost no cards have entered my collection over that time. The only “new” cards that have entered my home have been old cards I purchased from the “Price Friendly” vintage boxes at my local shops. The highlight in my opinion being this 1960 Topps Willie Mays.

It’s no secret that I really love my vintage baseball cards. I feel that if there is anything that is as good as gold in this hobby, it is vintage cards because they are the foundation of this hobby, and honestly, Americana. To me, their condition is almost, pointless. I see why collectors go ga-ga over mint copies, but these old “loved” cards also bring us all back to a time when collecting was about obtaining what you liked with no dollar signs attached. This philosophy is what is driving me in this hobby right now.

Want to know what I’ll be buying in 2010? Stuff that belongs in my personal collection. While I am going to struggle a bit when Topps hits the shelves in just a few months (maybe weeks …), I’ll let the story of the missing Campanella and this image of my garage serve as a reminder of why I shouldn’t be buying anything until I can trim my collection.

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