Archive for American Pie

Thrift Treasures 123: I get high with a little help from my … cards (Woodstock relic)

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on February 8, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

Last weekend my son and I went to the local flea market, part of which I documented in the previous edition of Thrift Treasures. While we were on the way there, I was telling him about my past experience at this flea market, specifically with a certain dealer who would often bring cards and sell them relatively cheap.

Among the previous hauls were relic cards for $1, which was a big deal a decade ago. I did not expect to see that dealer again, but there he was, right in a spot where I remembered. I spotted him from half way down the aisle and told my son. We made a b-line for his table.

This seller has aged over the years, and sadly he is now in a wheelchair. But there he was, hawking goods for the benefit of those looking to secure relatively cheap cards.

I scoured his cards and tried to gauge my son’s interest on some of them, but he was not seeing anything HE wanted for his collection. Totally understandable. But I stopped immediately when I thumbed through a stack of cards in Top Loaders and spotted something I hadn’t seen before.

There in the parking lot of this community college in California was a little pile of dirt, but not just any dirt — pieces of EARTH (it even says so on the card!) from Woodstock, New York, location of THE most historic concert of all time.

I may have said an expletive which caused my son to see what I was gawking at. He immediately asked what it was and what the hell that writing was on the front of the card. I explained to him the significance of the concert and told him that while I had opened a TON of 2001 Topps American Pie, I had not seen this card before.

I’ve pulled pieces of Elvis’ leather jacket, a swatch of Janis Joplin’s clothing, the lining of Frank Sinatra’s jacket (I think), and even pieces of the Berlin Wall as seen on the JFK card from that release. But never have I seen this Woodstock card. The price tag said $10, which I was happy to pay.

I continued to look through the stacks and really only stopped on one other card, a 1958 Topps Rival Fence Busters subset card featuring Willie Mays and Duke Snider. The card had three rounded corners and two somewhat pointy ones. Yeah, that’s not a typo: The card had FIVE corners because someone had clipped off one of the corners.

The price tag said $3 and I knew it had to be mine because it was my duty to save this 62-year-old card from the hell it was living among the piles of stuff constantly dragged from one flea market to another.

I took the cards to the seller, who had since fallen asleep in his wheel chair (poor guy), and his mother (yes, his mother) tried to wake him but he was fast asleep. She saw the cards I had in my hand and the price tags on them and said, “Just give me $10.”

I asked twice if he was sure and then thanked her for the deal.

The Mays/Snider card is in rough shape as you can tell, most would continue to walk away if it sat there. But this is an authentic vintage card featuring two Hall of Famers, one of whom is a local legend. While not worth much to anyone else but me, it’s a card I’m more than happy to have sitting around in my stack of vintage Willie Mays cards. And it’s even better that it was essentially a throw in to this sale.

The Woodstock card is really neat. Yes, it’s a small capsule of dirt embedded in the card — and it really doesn’t specify if the dirt came from the farm where the concert was held or if it’s from the center median of an intersection in that city — but the card represents something I didn’t know existed from a product I opened. Additionally, while I was not alive when Woodstock the concert occurred, I once watched a documentary on Woodstock while I was in college and it completely changed my outlook on music.

I was working at my college newspaper at the time as an editor. I would go to classes during the day and then work at the newspaper until midnight five days a week. When I got home one night, I was unwinding watching VH-1 (it was a music channel, folks) and the Woodstock documentary was on. It was like 1 a.m. when it started and I sat there for the entire thing; I had an emotion connection and reaction (I cried during Joe Cocker’s performance) to the show and the music. It’s hard to explain, but that night changed me, so this card will now sit in my PC as a reminder of that night.

Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $10.

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