Archive for Willie Mays

Thrift Treasures 111: Best Wishes … who?!

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , on February 20, 2017 by Cardboard Icons

As far as thrifting goes, Sunday nights are probably the worst time to head out and look for collectibles. Why? Well, basically most of the good stuff has already been snapped up by the “weekend warriors” who get after it every weekend at the crack of dawn and keep going all weekend.

Nonetheless I decided to make a stop Sunday after work and headed to a thrift store that’s out of the way a bit. It was worth the trip.

Due to the day and time, I figured the best place to start might be the books section as I might luck my way into another book signed by a president.  I checked book after book but found nothing. 

I then headed to the “collectibles” counter and saw a signed baseball sitting in a Ultra Pro ball cube. It read “Best Wishes … Willie Mays.”

Yeah, the Willie Mays.


Now, unless you were an active collector of autographs or have experience viewing Willie Mays’ signature you’d have no idea what name is scribbled on this ball.

Luckily no one who’d laid eyes on the ball was able to make out the Baseball Legends’ autograph.

From a distance I couldn’t immediately tell if it was a pre-printed ball.  When the clerk handed it to me I could see right away that it was indeed some sort of black marker pen on a Wilson Dura-Lon cover “Official League” baseball.

The price tag said $19.99 and the clerk immediately told me that it was not part of the half-off sale. 

Well, that’s good because I suspect someone would’ve taken a chance at $9.99, but would pause at $19.99.

Me? No delay.  I’ll take it.

When I got to the counter to pay the clerk asked if I had any coupons.  As it turned out I had a 30% off coupon for donating a few boxes of base cards. Perfect timing.

And so for $13.99 I walked out the door with a baseball signed by one of the finest players to ever play the game.

Now, this isn’t the ideal signed ball. We’d all agree that we’d like a   non-greeting blue ink signature on the sweet spot of a Rawlings Major League Baseball or Rawlings National League Official Ball. And of course we’d like some sort of certification to ensure authenticity. But c’mon, we’re dealing with a thrift treasure. You take what you find.

So, is it real?  I think so. I’ve seen enough Willie Mays signatures — on balls and flats — from the early to mid 1990s that made me lean toward the affirmative.

And later I did a quick search on eBay for Willie Mays balls signed with “Best Wishes.” Here are two comparisons.

It looks pretty spot-on in my opinion.


Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $13.99.

You can see more Thrift Treasures posts Here.

BGS/BVG order returns: ’56 Clemente slabbed; RC’s crossed over

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

So, a few months ago my co-worker advised me that he had established a relationship with one of his local thrift stores and they would contact him if they obtained any sports cards.  This shop isn’t a chain store, just some little shop that buys storage lockers and resells items. I’ve never been there, but that’s how it was described to me.  And given the location in the middle of nowhere, I had no reason to doubt my friend’s description.

A short while after that relationship was established, my friend sends me pictures from the shop of various vintage cards.  Among the cards was a 1956 Topps Roberto Clemente. Long story short, my co-worker end up buying a bunch of cards and collectibles for several hundred dollars from this store.  In these transactions he acquired for me the aforementioned 1956 Topps Clemente and an off-center 1956 Topps Hank Aaron. I initially was going to send both cards to BGS in my order, but ultimately decided on just the Clemente as it was centered almost perfectly.

Well, the Clemente is  gorgeous. It graded a 6.5.  I could flip it for a decent profit, but like everything else in this batch of Beckett Graded cards, they are all for my personal collection.

IMG_0211

The Clemente was the newest addition to my collection before the BGS order was sent, but just about the same time I completed that transaction, I acquired a rookie card of Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg.  This 1934 Goudey rookie card had been elusive. And then it happened. A HENRY Greenberg rookie card was posted on eBay and it was slabbed by SGC.  The card looked amazing, and the simple fact that it was listed as Henry likely kept bidding lower that it should have went.  Centered the card was, but mint it is not.  I could not see that it had a crease in the picture on eBay, but when it arrived I could see it. Disappointed?  Not really.  The card was graded a 2.5 by SGC and that would explain why.  Whenever I purchase rookies that are graded by SGC, GAI or even PSA, I almost always end up cracking them and sending them to Beckett Grading because I like the continuity in my display case and I feel the cases are superior to the other companies. So I cracked it and sent it to BGS.  It crossed over at exactly a 2.5

IMG_0214Speaking of a crossover, here is a 1959 Topps Bob Gibson rookie card that is absolutely stunning.  It’s centered and doesn’t have a single crease.  So why was it graded an SGC 2 when it came into my hands.  There is clear glue residue on the back. It came back from BGS as a 2.5.  It could be the best-looking card in this grade. Finding these Gibson rookie centered is not an easy task.  I’m more than happy to have this copy, regardless of the grade that it has been assigned.

IMG_0218Technically speaking, there are no official rookie cards prior to 1933.  That is the year that Goudey was released and according to Beckett, that set holds the first “rookie cards.” This means that many early 20th century legends do not have rookie cards.  Ty Cobb, Cy Young and even Honus Wagner technically do not have rookies.  But for my collection, this just means I seek early cards of the players, and in most cases, I chase the coveted T206 tobacco cards. At some point last year I acquired a Willie Keeler graded a PSA 1. I sent it to BVG in this order and it came back a BVG 2. I wasn’t expecting that.  Grading on T206s is always a crapshoot.  I’m just happy that BVG concurred with PSA on the fact that the card was real.

IMG_0215Sometime last year I was taking inventory of my Hall of Famer rookie cards and noticed that I was missing a Robin Roberts 1949 Bowman rookie.  I managed to find a raw centered copy with rounded corners for about $25. Needless to say it was submitted and came back … a 2.5. Not exactly a high-end copy, but it looks great in this case. Still worth every penny that I put into the card and the grading fee.

IMG_0217

One of the oddest rookie card parings I own is the 1941 DoublePlay card that features not only Harold “Pee Wee” Reese but also Kirby Higbe.  The pairing is notable because Reese has for a long time been portrayed as a supporter of Jackie Robinson and Higbe was among a group of players who was traded in 1947 after they refused to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers after Robinson was brought onto the team as Major League Baseball’s first African-American player. This copy was a PSA 4 when I purchased it.  I cracked it from its case and saw that the only real blemish was a stain near the left border.  It came back a 5.5.

IMG_0212And speaking of Jackie Robinson.  In 2006, shortly after I returned to the hobby, I acquired a 1949 Bowman Robinson for my collection.  It was raw when I purchased it and I sent it to BGS to have it slabbed as ‘Authentic” instead of actually graded.  At the time I liked that idea.  However, over the years I’ve found that many people are confused by this, and in my own display cases, the blue labels looked odd with the silver, white and occasional gold labels issued by Beckett Grading.  I decided this was the perfect time to crack the Robinson from it’s authentic case and submit it along with the aforementioned Reese/Higbe rookie. It came back a 1.5.

IMG_0213The final card in this batch is on that was acquired at about the same time as the Jackie Robinson.  It is 1951 Bowman Willie Mays rookie.  In recent years, these cards have increased in value regardless of condition.  My copy is clearly not mint as it is way off center.  But it is not creased, so that it a plus. Like the Robinson, I initially submitted this card to be placed in an “Authentic” case only. And for the same reasons as the Robinson, I decided to crack it and sent it in this batch.  I was surprised to see it come back as a 2 — I just figured the centering would kill the grade — but the fact that there are no creases is always a positive apparently.

IMG_0216

Icon-O-Clasm: A trio of 56 Topps HOFers “Names on Back”

Posted in Card Art, Icon-O-Clasm with tags , , , , , on January 29, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

20150129-055546.jpg

Thrift Treasures 67: 1967 Coke, Sprite and Tab Hank Aaron and Willie Mays Bottle Caps Hank

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , on April 6, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

The family and I went to the Alameda Antique Faire today, the self-billed largest antique Faire in all of California. Not sure if this is true or not, but I will say it was the largest re-sell atmosphere I’ve ever been in.

That said, there were some sports items tucked in here and there, but most of the stuff was traditional antique type stuff.

There were many items I would have enjoyed in my collection, but nothing that was cheap enough or spoke to me in the way that this small lot of 1967 soft drink bottle caps did.

We wandered the aisles for three-plus hours, but within the first 30 minutes I had found MY purchase for the day.

In a box of bottle caps marked $2 each were these two Willie Mays and one Hank Aaron ones. There were dozens from this same era, all of which depicted a baseball or football player. But I didn’t want just any cap … I wanted one or ones that needed to be rescued from the darkness of antique purgatory. There was a really bad Pete Rose I considered and a Willie McCovey as well, but I decided to go with these three, figuring I could negotiation then 3 for $5 instead of $2 each. Of course the seller took the money.

The Hank Aaron is a traditional Coke brand. One of the Willie Mays ones is a Sprite cap and the other is a Tab cap.

Condition wise they are not mint. They have some rust on the backside, but for the most part they still have their original shape. I loved the purchase instantly and liked it even more when I saw that sellers on eBay were asking $10-$40 each.

20140406-153138.jpg

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Blaster (x4) and Hobby Box results. RIP CARD video

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , on August 7, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

Happy Allen & Ginter Day.  Enjoy the condensed version of the results.

 

Thrift Treasures 50: The Hardback Edition

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

I’m not a book collector, but I tell you, there are some mighty gems hidden in the book section of your local thrift stores.  Among all the out-dated text books, well-loved self-help offerings and trashy novels are some real finds that should not be resting among the stale stench of donated items.

I’ve had good luck in the past in this often-overlooked section.  I’ve found books signed by famed OJ Simpson Lawyer Johnnie Cochrane, Former First Lady Barbara Bush, Football Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott and even President Bill Clinton.  Seriously.  I’ve sold all except for the Clinton.

And in one book I actually located a pair of mint Super Bowl XIX tickets, a game that featured the  San Francisco 49ers vs. Miami Dolphins in 1985.

So you can’t blame me if I keep checking out this section.

Well, last week I came away with some nice finds in this section again, albeit no where near the level of the aforementioned pieces.

Here we have first edition hardback copies of Hank Aaron and Willie Mays biographies, and a book my Rudy Ruettiger, the subject of  legendary sports movie “Rudy.”

Even if you’re not a book reader, the Mays and Aaron books make for great decorative pieces in a man cave.  The Ruettiger book, on the other hand, was a must-own because …

… it’s signed!

The moment I saw the signature, I instantly regretted not purchasing something I had seen just two months ago.  It was a book signed by Sean Astin, the actor who portrayed Ruettiger in “Rudy.”

And to answer your question as to why I passed on the Astin signed book … I didn’t want to buy a book about him being a Hobbit.

Total cost of these Treasures: $11.97

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE.

Instagram Portrait: 1951 Bowman Willie Mays Rookie Card

Posted in Instagram Portraits with tags , , , , , , on May 22, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

Taken May 17, 2012, at Willie Mays Plaza outside AT&T Park, San Francisco, Calif.

20120522-070356.jpg