The last three or four times that I’ve gone, I haven’t been too thrilled with the Expo. Part of that comes from having too specific of a list and part comes from hoping to find 1965-71 OPC baseball at a predominantly hockey show.
This time around, I had one specific card I wanted to find and everything else was to be serendipity. I came in on a tight budget and my quest was to find the best stuff I could that wouldn’t push me over it.
The one card I was determined to get was the 1962-63 Topps Bruce Gamble RC at right. This is a card that I haven’t seen come up online much at all and it tends to be pricey when it appears in good shape. This sort of thing is better found at a show. I saw two at the Expo and this was the better of them. I’m now at 58 of 66 in the ’62-63 set, so it’s a reasonable target to finish off next year.
That card in hand, I was left with $40 and my task was to find the best stuff I could that would go toward projects I’m interested in. I found a baseball dealer with a bunch of 1970 high numbers that looked good, another vintage hockey guy with some nice ’62-63 Topps running in the $12-18 range, plus a couple dealers selling off-condition Parkhurst. I looked and looked for some nice ’52-53 Parkies, but they were a little too off-condition, even when discounted. No point in spending money on something I’d need to upgrade later.
I then found a new (to me) dealer with a nice-looking binder of 1973-74 OPC. I’ve slowly been poking away at a ’73 master set, so these six set me back $19 (most of that went into the Dionne).
What is the ’73-74 master set? 1973-74 OPC were printed on two different types of card stock (if there was a reason, I’ve never heard it). Each card thus exists in both a light-back and a dark-back variety. The end result is that to complete the master set, you need the entire set twice. I’m about 160 cards away from pulling that off. No rush there.
With $20 (technically $21) still in my pocket, I made one last circuit of the hall. I looked at my vintage guys again. Nothing jumped out as a real steal. What I did find was a table where two guys were selling vintage graded cards at $10 each. They were mostly SGC 80, which is a PSA 6. Personally, I love PSA 6. Lots of them are cards that are perfect physically but an extra hair off-centre. Cracked and put in a binder, they look great and they go for about half what a PSA 7 typically does. Looking through their piles, I found these:
Hec Lalande has been driving me crazy for ages. Either he’s so far off centre that the card has no border or the print register is so bad that you can’t find his nose. I had seen one nice one at $35 already. For $10? Done. Doug Mohns is also in nice shape. He tends to go for a lot more than $10 online, too. Very happy with both of these, and this pushes my ’57-58 Topps set to an even two-thirds complete – 44 of 66. I wouldn’t say it’s likely I can finish it next year, but it’s possible.
So as it turns out, there still wasn’t much baseball and a lot of the nice vintage was overpriced, but I still had fun and came home with my treasures. I could have easily dropped another hundred on the SGC 80 dealers, but I’ll leave that until May, when the show comes back.
As to my contest, Captain Canuck won it again, correctly discerning that the player was Gary Dornhoefer of the Flyers and he didn’t even need my sneaky clue about leaving a big impression. Congrats again and the package hit the mail this morning.