Mystery Date… Are You Ready For Your Mystery Date?

I’ve got a card show coming up this weekend and I’m very excited about it, but I honestly don’t know what to expect… it’s kinda like being set up on a date.

Now what you’ve gotta understand is that here in Shlabotsylvania the hobby has cratered big time over the past 10-15 years.  When I moved here in the 1990’s we had a monthly hotel show; both the hotel and the show are long gone. We also had a a quarterly “Big Show” over at the Fairgrounds, but that was gone well before I started this blog in late 2011.

Nope, these day anything involving a card show usually involves driving two hours – if traffic cooperates – to a regional show.  I enjoy the heck out of it, but I only get to do it once or twice a year and it eats up my entire Saturday.  I also have not been to a card show since last July.

Late in December I stumbled on news of this weekend’s show which is one I would consider ‘local’ – it’s about 100 miles closer than my usual show.  Not knowing anything about this show, it’s like the 1960’s commercial for the board game “Mystery Date”.

Will this show be a dream where dealers want to ensure the show’s enduring success by offering good deals on vintage cards?

…Or will it be a dud where the dealers have monster boxes full of Overproduction Era commons which smell like someone’s basement and are labeled as “Rare” with an asking price of 50 cents each – or three for a buck, such a deal.

Just for funsies I decided to run through a number of “dream or dud” situations.

Dream:  Hostess cards

I often suffer from Hostess Envy when looking at what other people get at card shows… It seems like cheap Hostess cards are available anyplace where I’m not.

I’m not currently chasing any of the sets, but they’re 1970’s cards so I love to add them to my collection.

Dud:  1995 Fleer

Naturally, the one scanned copy I have of a 1995 Fleer card would be a not-completely-awful Dwight Gooden card, but you get the picture.

Would I like to finish out my Mets team set someday?  Yeah, sure… but I’m not risking my vision and my sanity by thumbing through  a box of these things looking for a handful of needs.

Dream:  Red Man Tobacco Cards

Red Man cards, issued from 1952 to 1955, predate most of the players and one of the two teams I collect.  There are also too many Hall of Famers for me to seriously consider chasing after them as a set.

But do I love to collect any affordable well-loved cards which pop up at shows, regardless of who is on them?  To make another 1960’s pop culture reference… You bet your bippy!

Dud:  2013 Panini Triple Play

These are such a dud that I didn’t even have a scanned example to share, so I’ll start by mentioning that I kinda liked 2012 Triple Play.  It was different and quirky and moderately fun.

…But then they brought it back for a second year and cranked up the attempted quirkiness, not to mention the presses, so that these cards are best described by a term usually used for a different era:  Junk Wax.

Dream:  Reasonably-priced 1966 Topps High Numbers

Sure, why don’t I just go ahead and wish for Casey Stengel as an autograph guest at this show?  By the way, the card below is just for illustrations purposes, Roy McMillan is not a High Number (but look at the awesome World’s Fair patch on his sleeve!)

1966 Topps sticks in my craw because, on paper, that year’s Mets team set should’ve been completed long ago.  It comes before Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver made late 1960’s Mets team sets an expensive proposition.  It comes after the Mets filled their roster with aging big names like Duke Snider, Warren Spahn and Yogi Berra.

But here I am, chasing after big money cards of Lou Klimchock.  Lou Freakin’ Klimchock, who played all of six games for the Mets, who played three times as many games in AAA as he did in the Majors over 15 professional seasons.

Yeah, it bugs me.  I should just bit the bullet and finish off the set at whatever cost, but I can’t bring myself to spend so much on Lou Klimchock.

Dud:  Monster boxes full of musty 1988 Donruss, 1991 Fleer and the like

Again, nothing against these sets other than it wouldn’t be an effective use of my time to thumb through boxes of these cards which are easily available through other avenues.

I could go on… Dream:  Oddballs like Mother’s Cookies.  Dud:  Oddballs like 1980’s Fleer boxed sets.  Dream:  Vintage hockey commons.  Dud:  Graded Alex Ovechkin cards.  Dream:  1970’s Wacky Packages.  Dud:  2016 MLB Wacky Packages.

Audience participation time…

When you go to a new card show, what are your hopes and dreams?  What are you fears and nightmares?





11 thoughts on “Mystery Date… Are You Ready For Your Mystery Date?

  1. As mentioned a few weeks ago, Hostess and the Burger King sets often had the “traded” cards of the 70’s. They were often more current that Topps once they stopped issuing cards in series after 1973.

    The Metzger card looks like an airbrush job but he was with the Astros thru the mid-70’s.

    Also love the giant World’s Fair patch but that means the photo was taken in 1964 but used on the 1966 card. Gotta love Topps for stretching it out as long as possible.

  2. Dream: mid-1980’s and older dime/quarter boxes grouped by teams.

    Dud: Tables upon tables of the same Panini autograph and relic cards.

      • Hopefully you have better luck. The Chicago spring and fall shows usually have a large section of modern cards– and those are usually the crowded areas.

        The National in Chicago two years ago had a good mix. A little of everything.

  3. Dream: affordable vintage sets: Kellogg’s, 1973 Topps, and some Topps oddball issues.
    Dud: finding cards that I want that dealers don’t want to part with, so they jack up the price.

  4. For me it’s all about price. Lots of dime boxes? Dream? Decent hits at 2 bucks or so apiece? Dream. 60s vintage at a good price? Dream. The dud is when everything costs too much. Went to a mall show in the Poconos last year where there was a lot of the same stuff I see in dime boxes, but 50 cents a pop. Dud.

    I’m very lucky that there’s a monthly show about half an hour from where I live. It’s not huge, but there’s always new stuff at fair prices. Lots of dime (or less) boxes, some hits at good prices, and blasters at below store prices. That’s all I need

  5. Stud: dreamy vintage discount boxes are what I dig most but have been known to settle for dime and quarter boxes filled with 90s rarities and shiny cards. Dud: well-handled, overpriced junk in these same boxes and over-priced Tigers are on my “no eye-contact” list.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.