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  #1  
Old 08-03-2021, 04:16 PM
deweyinthehall deweyinthehall is offline
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Default What was your first set?

Pure nostalgia time.

I knew little to nothing about baseball when, in early 1978, Scholastic Books sent out their annual fishing net to my 4th grade class. I subscribed to Dynamite Magazine, and in their Happy Birthday Mad! edition that spring, I found a panel of baseball cards stapled into the spine: Darrell Porter, Cecil Cooper, Tony Perez and Al Oliver. I'd never heard of any of them or their teams (for decades I would have sworn only 4 cards were in the issue - I must have quickly discarded the dupes), but I was hooked. I quickly found out you could actually buy packs of these things in the store (I sort of new that already - the previous fall a couple older friends gave me all their Star Wars cards because they'd discovered the 1977 Topps Baseball set).

On my way with my mom to a doctor's appointment, she stopped and bought me a wax pack. To this day I still recall some of the cards it contained - Jose Baez (#311 - for some reason I thought it was the Maine Mariners, until my father corrected me), Sparky Lyle Record Breaker (#2), Rick Manning (#11), Luis Tiant (#345) and George Hendrick (#30).

Because it was my first set, and almost all the players and most of the teams were unknown to me (I grew up in Connecticut, so I knew the Red Sox, Yankees, and a bit about the Reds and the Dodgers), each card made an impression - I can still remember anecdotes about so many (got Pete Rose in a pack driving someplace with my dad - "that's a good card to have" he said).

To this day, paging through my album, I can still identify those I got in packs versus those I had to rely on the doubles in friends' collections for. In some odd way, the cards I had to really hunt for still stand out to visually as somehow "different" as I look at the set.

I can remember the first cards I pulled of each team (Yankees - Ken Clay and Ken Holtzman) as well as the last cards I needed to complete each team (Blue Jays - Otto Velez, Alvis Woods).

I ripped through wax, cello and rack packs, but there were still some cards I could never find. My Dirty Dozen, those that were the most tough to find, were:

1. Mariners Team (not the Maine Mariners, remember...)
2. Checklist 485-605
3. Mike Jorgensen
4. Bo McLaughlin
5. Ed Kirkpatrick
6. Reggie Cleveland
7. Bill Virdon
8. Ed Armbrister
9. Glenn Burke
10. Dave Garcia
11. Rookie 2nd Basemen (Perlozzo, Whitaker, Iorg, Oliver)
12. Mike Paxton

Mind you, I had never seen or heard of any of these guys - had no idea what they looked like. The final hold out was the Angels' Gary Ross. Over the course of the summer and into the fall, I managed to find even the dirty dozen from friends but never could lay eyes on Ross.

Then my dad showed me a magazine he got when he went to a Yankees game with a Renata Galasso add - the entire set, in mint condition, for less than $15?? It took me a while to talk them into it but my parents let me order it. After long delays, we received it in early 1979, but they sent the wrong set! They sent me the blasted 1979 set! More delays, but I finally got the right box and I finally got Gary Ross.

Of course, there was the fascination of learning there were older cards out there (you mean this isn't the first set they made?? Why is Mike Torrez with the A's and who's Dick Bosman?) and new cards when the new year rolled around (you mean they do a new set EVERY year? What's Pete Broberg doing on an A's card?!? who's Carney Lansford?).

I was hooked.

I would love to hear others' stories about their first sets - I imagine there's a story like this out there for every Topps set issued.
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  #2  
Old 08-03-2021, 04:48 PM
butchie_t butchie_t is offline
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There was a company that had a catalog, not large, maybe 20 pages, 8 1/2 x 11 folded over and stapled. I bought a 76 baseball set from them. Along with a 59, 61, 68 (2nd series all blue backs) football and some other cards that I cannot remember. Football is long since traded and traded for baseball sets.

But my first complete set was 1974 Topps baseball followed by 1975 Topps Baseball. I bought them in packs and completed them. I even got the Wash Nat’leag cards in packs too.

I collected 69, 70, 71 cards but did not complete them until the late 80s. I had a friend that had a bunch of last series 71 cards that he had bought and put away, never seeing the light of day until I came along. I got lucky and bought a bunch for around $50. And there were many star cards in what I bought.

Now I am filling year holes from the late 70s to 80s. I need a 73 set and a 79 set and am currently working the 72 set, right around 55% on that one.

I will probably buy or trade for the 73 set. I have complete 74 and 75 sets along with other stuff to barter with.

Edit: I found out in another thread that the company was the Card Collector Company out of New York. I actually bought some of their smoke damaged Bowman football cards. They were singed ever so slightly on the top edges but no water damage. I know I bought other cards from them but that memory is long since gone.

Last edited by butchie_t; 08-06-2021 at 07:07 PM.
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  #3  
Old 08-03-2021, 05:24 PM
hcv123 hcv123 is offline
Howard Chasser
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I didn't yet "collect sets", but had plenty of cards in 1973 - as many as would fit in my pockets to flip for colors or scale during recess. Other kids spent all their money at the corner coffee shop on candy - I spent most of mine on packs of cards - heck, you even got gum with them! I apparently had a bunch of cards from 1972 ( I was 5 years old) which I clearly remember trading a whole box of years later for some comic books at a comic book show - live and learn! I had TONS of cards from 1975 and remember a local discount variety store had 2-3 huge dump bins filled with rack packs - my sweet grandmother would generously buy me a bunch everytime we went food shopping at the super market next door. I really loved the radical change in design from the 1974 ards although for flipping purposes top or bottom color needed to be declared ahead of time. The first year I recall actively trying to collect a set was 1978 - I don't remember much else, but Billy Almon of the Padres was the final card I needed to finish it.
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  #4  
Old 08-03-2021, 07:24 PM
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The first set I collected was 1975 when I was 7. I don't remember anything about collecting it, but I know I still have the set.
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  #5  
Old 08-03-2021, 09:31 PM
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The little helmets from those quarter machines (both baseball and football).

I just loved those as a little kid. Was around seven years old, and it was about the time that the Bengals changed to the stripes. Before long, I had them all but the new Bengals helmet (both were needed of course). Plus it looked really cool.

After thousands of dollars/the family fortune spent quarter by quarter and no Bengals stripes, my great aunt finally shared enough w/ my frustration to explain this horrible predicament and ask a toy store to open the damn thing up and pick a Bengal helmet I could see pasted against the glass front. They understood, naturally.

Didn't care if I broke the spirit of it. Was still the best quarter I've ever spent
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  #6  
Old 08-03-2021, 10:33 PM
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1977 Topps Baseball as a ten year old in the spring in Jacksonville FL, the summer in Waukegan IL, and in the fall in Lakehurst NJ. I still remember the US Navy commissary store in Mayport FL having baskets full of 1977 Topps Rack Packs by the check out registers.
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Last edited by Cliff Bowman; 08-04-2021 at 01:18 PM. Reason: Correction
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  #7  
Old 08-04-2021, 12:06 AM
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The three of us here, as young kids, all fell in love with baseball when we attended our first Buffalo Bison (IL)
games around 1960, and soon discovered the Diamond Herd on radio and major league games on TV.
The game became an obsession for us once Post cereals and Jell-O started printing something called
"baseball cards" on their boxes. Like Dewey, we'd been completely ignorant of the entire concept, and
except for the Post and Jell-O sets, we knew nothing of older sets, of Topps, of Fleer and so on -- and
with no other kids in our neighbourhood, nor any school classmates, the least bit interested in such stuff,
we remained woefully ignorant for years. We never completed any of the three editions of Post / Jell-O cards
(some of those cereals and Jell-O flavours were inedible) and we eventually, immersed in box scores
and transaction reports in the local newspaper sports pages, ruined almost every card we did have
by writing, in ballpoint pen, on each card, the team to which each player had been traded, dismally unaware
of new cards issued by other companies and by other means.
We didn't discover Topps until the late '60s, when the grumpy pharmacist at the drug store where we
bought our comix started setting out boxes of packs at the checkout counter. No other store we could
reach by bicycle carried baseball cards, and the pharmacist never ever ordered any fourth series
(another concept of which we were woefully ignorant), so we wasted our allowances gormlessly amassing
boxfuls of doubles and triples of every 1st, 2nd, and 3rd series card... But we did keep them pristine,
and we still have all those Post / Jell-O and late '60s-early-'70s Topps cards...
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  #8  
Old 08-04-2021, 06:44 AM
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In the last issue of the SCD Standard Catalog with both pre and post 1980 listings, 2011 I think, Lemke listed quite a few panels of Topps cards from Dynamite Magazine from the 70s and 80s. Not sure why he listed the panels he did since there were many other panels not listed. I picked up most of the ones he listed and put the panels with my sets.

The first Topps set I completed was 1959, but also had cards from 1956, 1957 and 1958 as a kid
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  #9  
Old 08-04-2021, 07:20 AM
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1974 was the first year that I collected cards. Being in Georgia, I was a Braves fan and enjoyed watching Hank Aaron chase the Babe's record. The 1974 set did, however, lead me to select an unlikely favorite player: Reggie Jackson. Oakland was probably the farthest team from my home, but the 1974 A's cards intrigued me because the team seemed so different and cool. Most of the players had beards or mustaches and the WHITE SHOES were definitely unusual. Reggie's amazing 1974 card made him the coolest of them all in my 8-year-old mind. Combine this with the awesome Playoff and World Series cards in the set recapping the A's World Series triumph, and I became a hardcore Reggie fan. Still love looking at this set because of the memories that it invokes. What a great time to be a kid!
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  #10  
Old 08-04-2021, 07:29 AM
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The first set I actually built was a vintage one, 1954 Topps. My next door neighbors' father was a college professor and he used to ask his students for old cards for his kids, so they had this insane pipeline. They showed me 1954s for the first time and I was just hooked. First card I got in a trade with them was a Don Mueller. I really didn't start pulling the set together until I got to Los Angeles. Last three were the two Williams cards (one purchased from the consistently nasty Goody Goldfadden at ADCO) and Hank Aaron, which I got at a show. Most of the set I picked up in lots in auctions at the monthly West Coast Card Club meetings. I sold off that set in a fit of existential angst just after college, reassembled it again in my thirties in higher grade, sold it off when prices ran up on graded cards some years ago, then started on it again. Only HOFers I need now are Banks and Lasorda, but I am not a fan of commons so not likely to finish the set unless I stumble across a find.


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Last edited by Exhibitman; 08-04-2021 at 07:34 AM.
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  #11  
Old 08-04-2021, 08:22 AM
skelly423 skelly423 is offline
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I've picked up the odd complete set here and there, but I don't count those as I didn't build them from scratch. The first set I built myself was the 1950 Bowman.
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  #12  
Old 08-04-2021, 08:38 AM
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1987 Topps. My dad bought me my first pack, and I was enthralled. Those wood grain borders, the brittle gum, the anecdotes and statistics on the back. That summer would mark my first year of little league, and I had baseball fever. From that point on, I would ride my bike down to the corner gas station, we called it Petrol Point, and buy a new pack whenever I scraped a few quarters together. It's still one of my all time favorite sets.
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Old 08-04-2021, 09:22 AM
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My first set was 1955 Topps. There were no checklists to let me know about the four missing numbers so I kept buying and buying, searching for those missing cards.

It wasn't until sometime in the early 70s that I realized I had two complete sets and a good start on two others.
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Old 08-04-2021, 10:06 AM
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The first packs of cards I ever received were 1977 Topps - my mother bought them for me. I was overjoyed to eventually get a Rod Carew card - he was my favorite player, and this was the year he hit .388.

The first set I completed was the 1980 Topps set. I traded cards with friends all summer long, and I kept getting closer and closer to completing the set. Right after school started up in late August, I have a memory of opening a wax pack in the back seat of my parents’ rust-brown Toyota station wagon and there it was, the final card I needed: the elusive Ken Oberkfell. I couldn’t believe the card was actually in my hands. A happy memory.
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Old 08-04-2021, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by profholt82 View Post
1987 Topps. My dad bought me my first pack, and I was enthralled. Those wood grain borders, the brittle gum, the anecdotes and statistics on the back. That summer would mark my first year of little league, and I had baseball fever. From that point on, I would ride my bike down to the corner gas station, we called it Petrol Point, and buy a new pack whenever I scraped a few quarters together. It's still one of my all time favorite sets.
1987 Topps was where I started as well. I had some Garbage Pail Kids from the year before, but my mom felt that they were inappropriate for a seven-year-old. So to make up for it she bought me some baseball cards. At the time, I was confused because some of the older kids on my street had some 1986 Topps cards, and I liked the design better. So I kept looking for what I thought would be 1986 cards, but kept turning up the wood-bordered 1987 cards. I eventually figured it out. My dad took me to a card show in late 1987 and bought me both the 1986 and 1987 Topps sets. Once I got hooked, he unveiled to me a stack of 1963 Topps cards that he had picked up at a garage sale the year I was born. When I got back into collecting 12 or so years ago, I started with that stack of 1963 Topps and completed the set. I love hearing these stories.
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Old 08-04-2021, 10:57 AM
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1972. My dad bought me a couple of 1st series packs. It only took me 40 years to finish the set.

Renato Galasso was my source for complete sets when I was old enough to mail a letter. I remember ordering the '79 set with the Bump Wills error card. I also got, I think for a buck, the 1973 all-time leaders cards including card #1. Those are my best chances for PSA 10's. They're absolutely perfect cards.

There was a candy, gum distributor place in our town that would sell to the public. From about 1976 to 1979 my buddy and I used to split a wax box or two every year because, per pack, it was way cheaper, but I got turned off to building sets because I'd buy a whole wax box, or even two, and get tons of doubles and never get a complete set.

I never finished a set by buying boxes or packs in the 70's and early 80's. I had to go to a card show to finish every Topps set I ever started, and I'm still missing about 40 cards from 1981 and 80 or so from 1982.
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Old 08-04-2021, 12:36 PM
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Default What was your first set?

Though I didn’t technically complete it until at least 15 years later, the 1986 Topps set was the one that introduced me to baseball cards, and buying packs at the local grocery store (Cashion’s, Cornelius NC) - and later the 7-11 in the neighboring town. I was 9 years old.

As mentioned elsewhere earlier in the thread, the Topps “Garbage Pail Kids” had been my introduction to trading cards of any sort the year before. GPK were great, (even though parents and teachers hated them…) but later a trading buddy boasted to me that he had the entire 792 card set of 1985 Topps baseball cards. I scoffed at this at the time, believing that it was impossible for anyone to have that many cards. I’m not sure when I got the notion to buy a pack of my own of something other than GPK, but I know it was one day with my mom at the grocery store. The blue packs I believe were 35 cents. Not sure what all I got in that first pack, but I know one of the cards was the Dwight Gooden RB card, because he was the only player in the pack I had actually heard of at the time. Later, (after discovering my cousin and his father, my uncle - were big into cards themselves…) I learned a bit more about the game and came to understand that the cards you wanted most from the packs we were buying were Don Mattingly, and Pete Rose. I pulled a Mattingly at some point, but never that year was I able to land the Rose player card. Even though my cousin had like 3 dupes, he refused to trade me one. I had to settle for the Rose manager card. It was at least another 10 years before I finally obtained an ‘86 Topps Rose base card, I think at a show. Though I understood the concept of “sets”, my ‘86 cards on the whole were probably less than a quarter of the complete set coming out of packs I had bought. It wasn’t until I was a young adult, probably in 2001 that I finally sat down one day on the floor of my trendy 1-bedroom singles apartment with two unopened wax boxes of ‘86 Topps that I had scored I think for $11 total at a nearby LCS. Momentarily 9 again, I shredded the wax with joy for about an hour, and then began the arduous task of sorting by number. Eventually the finally complete set went into a binder - yes, with Pete Rose included. My original ‘86 Topps cards remained at my parents house in a shoebox, ever distinct from their later year set replacements by the worn corners, and thumbtack holes from being affixed to the bulletin boards in my childhood room. I later found a boxed traded set, and added an additional 132 cards to the binder.

While the ‘86 Topps design isn’t exactly inspirational - in the hierarchy of Topps’ body of work, they won’t even likely merit a footnote - those cards will always be nostalgic to me, and valuable in a personal way that will never be reflected in price tags outside of PSA 10 HOF’ers. The card hobby was still gearing up to it’s zenith in 1986, and soon after that first pack I was interested in cards, only cards - not even girls yet - for at least a few more years to come. Life was fantastic. I was surrounded by family and friends that loved me, and baseball cards were everywhere. Though even then as a kid I had already began to romanticize about what I perceived as simpler times - (the 1950’s!) - I guess I was blind to the fact while it was happening that much of that same simplicity and joy was surrounding me in the same way in the late 1980’s.

As I got into my teens and then as an adult collector, my path never really turned into seeing sets as the main way of organization for what I wanted to do with the hobby. I turned out (as the 80’s turned into the 90’s…) to be way more interested in postwar vintage singles than current sets, even from my own time also actively collecting “new stuff” in the hobby, which ran from ‘86 to roughly 1994, when cars and friends, first jobs and all those hugely important teenage responsibilities finally claimed my brain full time. However, just in the past few years - I’ve decided that it would be a shame if I never did any set work again - so I’ve taken on 1967 and ‘72 Topps - two of my vintage favorites. I’m still in the early stages, but thankfully already have a lot of stars from both to keep them anchored for some time to come. Honestly, given the nausea that the money aspect of the hobby lately has increasingly provided me with - even just collecting the commons from those sets would probably keep me plenty busy for at least another decade to come.


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Old 08-04-2021, 12:38 PM
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The first set I completed was 1968--sort of. My neighbor and I (with his big brother) completed and shared it. I got the AL cards and he got the NL cards-- I don't recall who got the World Series or multi-player cards and we didn't care about "owning" the checklists. And there were more than enough game cards for us each.

We tried again in 1969-- I remember how hard it was to find a Del Unser card--but had some sort of argument and decided to give up the whole sharing thing. I gave him my '68s and he gave me his '69s.
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Old 08-04-2021, 03:36 PM
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My first complete set was 1969.

As a kid, I collected cards from 1965 to 1971 (age 8 to 14). Never got a complete set. Was always missing a few cards or even more.

In 1976 started getting the missing cards. 1969 was first to get completed and the others followed.

What is great is, except for 1965 and 1966, I have all the checklists from those years I carefully marked. So I can tell which cards I was missing.

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Old 08-04-2021, 04:08 PM
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1978 was the year I discovered cards, bought packs and that baseball set was the first I completed by hand...in fact, one of the few.
A few years later, I started buying the 3 sets via mail order each year.
I eventually went back and bought 79 and 80 sets, but I have nothing older than 78 to this day.

I bought so many of them that I knew (and still know) most cards in the set by just a portion of the images on the cards.
I don't have any specifics, but it was the beginning of a lifetime passion.

Still one of my favorite sets of all time, probably mostly because it was my first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deweyinthehall View Post
Pure nostalgia time.

I knew little to nothing about baseball when, in early 1978, Scholastic Books sent out their annual fishing net to my 4th grade class. I subscribed to Dynamite Magazine, and in their Happy Birthday Mad! edition that spring, I found a panel of baseball cards stapled into the spine: Darrell Porter, Cecil Cooper, Tony Perez and Al Oliver. I'd never heard of any of them or their teams (for decades I would have sworn only 4 cards were in the issue - I must have quickly discarded the dupes), but I was hooked. I quickly found out you could actually buy packs of these things in the store (I sort of new that already - the previous fall a couple older friends gave me all their Star Wars cards because they'd discovered the 1977 Topps Baseball set).

On my way with my mom to a doctor's appointment, she stopped and bought me a wax pack. To this day I still recall some of the cards it contained - Jose Baez (#311 - for some reason I thought it was the Maine Mariners, until my father corrected me), Sparky Lyle Record Breaker (#2), Rick Manning (#11), Luis Tiant (#345) and George Hendrick (#30).

Because it was my first set, and almost all the players and most of the teams were unknown to me (I grew up in Connecticut, so I knew the Red Sox, Yankees, and a bit about the Reds and the Dodgers), each card made an impression - I can still remember anecdotes about so many (got Pete Rose in a pack driving someplace with my dad - "that's a good card to have" he said).

To this day, paging through my album, I can still identify those I got in packs versus those I had to rely on the doubles in friends' collections for. In some odd way, the cards I had to really hunt for still stand out to visually as somehow "different" as I look at the set.

I can remember the first cards I pulled of each team (Yankees - Ken Clay and Ken Holtzman) as well as the last cards I needed to complete each team (Blue Jays - Otto Velez, Alvis Woods).

I ripped through wax, cello and rack packs, but there were still some cards I could never find. My Dirty Dozen, those that were the most tough to find, were:

1. Mariners Team (not the Maine Mariners, remember...)
2. Checklist 485-605
3. Mike Jorgensen
4. Bo McLaughlin
5. Ed Kirkpatrick
6. Reggie Cleveland
7. Bill Virdon
8. Ed Armbrister
9. Glenn Burke
10. Dave Garcia
11. Rookie 2nd Basemen (Perlozzo, Whitaker, Iorg, Oliver)
12. Mike Paxton

Mind you, I had never seen or heard of any of these guys - had no idea what they looked like. The final hold out was the Angels' Gary Ross. Over the course of the summer and into the fall, I managed to find even the dirty dozen from friends but never could lay eyes on Ross.

Then my dad showed me a magazine he got when he went to a Yankees game with a Renata Galasso add - the entire set, in mint condition, for less than $15?? It took me a while to talk them into it but my parents let me order it. After long delays, we received it in early 1979, but they sent the wrong set! They sent me the blasted 1979 set! More delays, but I finally got the right box and I finally got Gary Ross.

Of course, there was the fascination of learning there were older cards out there (you mean this isn't the first set they made?? Why is Mike Torrez with the A's and who's Dick Bosman?) and new cards when the new year rolled around (you mean they do a new set EVERY year? What's Pete Broberg doing on an A's card?!? who's Carney Lansford?).

I was hooked.

I would love to hear others' stories about their first sets - I imagine there's a story like this out there for every Topps set issued.
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Old 08-04-2021, 04:31 PM
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I love these threads and reading through each persons stories and journey...


For me it was when I was 9, mom bought a pack each of 1979 Topps cards home for me and my brother who grew up in a baseball loving family and we already had the fever. My first card was Reggie Jackson...I still own the card...and he immediately became my favorite player. My brothers first card was a Mariner...and I was JEALOUS...getting a home team card was huge. It was Rick Honeycutt...and...he still has the card. I got the Mariners team card with the King Dome in my next pack and that was my favorite for a long time. Outside of Reggie of course...

From then on we were obsessed...begging mom to pick up packs as often as she could. Didn't take long to put the 79 set together. Learned of the Bump Wills error at school and I traded away a few cards to get the Rangers version (I had the Blue Jays) as we thought (still not sure) that was the tough one. Everyone seemed to have the Blue Jays version. I thought I was going to be RICH for getting that card. To us it was the upside down plane stamp...

Then my mom made an amazing discovery...she stopped at an old convenient store out of our neighborhood and asked for any packs of cards. The person working the counter said no, but had some in back and sold her like 6 boxes at half price because they were last years. When she came home and told us of this discovery, I was OVER THE MOON. My brother didn't want any part of "last years cards" so I got them all. 1978 Topps packs!! They may as well been 20 years old to me at the time. My brother was 7, what did he know. So I opened all the boxes and was able to complete a set with lots of trading for school. What a score. So at 9 I had two complete sets...



Fast forward to 1981...still getting packs from mom...still putting sets together. I opened pack after pack after pack...COULD NOT FIND Johnny Wokenfuss (Sp?) and Gene Richards. NONE of my school friends had either of these as well. When finally...FINALLY I opened a few packs and got both, set complete. At school I was getting offers after offers for both...no one had either. It was weird, I can't imagine they were single printed in any way or there was coalation regional? I wouldn't budge. My football coach was a big man in town...he was the bench coach for the Phillies and Tigers in the 70's and 80's...had a man cave with AMAZING items...Babe Ruth signed balls, jerseys...you name it. Through him I was able to meet Pete Rose and Milt Wilcox after Mariner games...we thought he was about as famous as it gets. Anyhow...he had just started collecting cards and after practice one day taking me home (back then we would all pile in the back of his pickup truck and he would take a bunch of kids home...crazy to think of that now!) When he got to my house he asked if he could look at my cards. I let him sift through my 81 set and low and behold, he pulled out Gene Richards and said hey, son, your coach needs this card, I'm going to take it. I was not happy, but at 11 years old I didn't say a word...just smiled...and he took it! I went and told my Dad...coach left and my Dad walked him to the truck. When he came back he had my Gene Richards card. He just looked at me and said "son...I don't care who anyone is in life, never get taken advantage of...ever. Here is your card, let that be a lesson".

That one stuck with me. Card was worth a nickel then, probably a nickel now...but everytime I see that dang card a flood of memories comes back to me. Amazing what a little piece of cardboard can mean...and what sometimes people will do to get it...
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1955 - 1990 Topps Complete
1954 Topps 249/250 99%
1955 Bowman COMPLETE
1954 Bowman COMPLETE
1954 Red Heart 4/33 12%
1953 Topps 172/274 63%
1952 Topps 148/407 36%

1965 Topps 564/598 94% (Duplicate Set)
1969 Topps 662/664 99% (Duplicate Set)
1970 Topps 585/720 81% (Duplicate Set)

Last edited by Harliduck; 08-04-2021 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 08-04-2021, 04:43 PM
butchie_t butchie_t is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harliduck View Post
Fast forward to 1981...still getting packs from mom...still putting sets together. I opened pack after pack after pack...COULD NOT FIND Johnny Wokenfuss (Sp?) and Gene Richards. NONE of my school friends had either of these as well. When finally...FINALLY I opened a few packs and got both, set complete.
I have a story about a card only in reverse of yours. 1974 Topps baseball Winston Llenas was his name. It seemed every time I opened a pack of cards, I would get a frickin' Llenas card. It was nuts how many of them I had 20+ last time I counted. It could not have been some other loser like Jackson, or Rose, or Bench or any other players of their ilk. Nope good ole' Winston and me.

Makes me laugh every time I see him in that set.
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Old 08-04-2021, 05:04 PM
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My first cards were 1977 football. I tacked the first pack up to the wall. A buddy of my dads soon opened a card store and I learned the value of cards were based on condition. Broke my heart I ruined my cards by pinning them up. I ended up getting many more and completed the set. I still have the original cards with the tack holes. I worked at the card shop and was his first customer. We were too late for the 77 baseball packs but I opened a ton of Star Wars, basketball and football. 1978 was my first year collecting baseball and I had the set. Yaz was extremely tough and I did get one but unfortunately left it at a friends house. I never got another one out of a pack but bought one later. Opened lots of 79s but 1980 was my heyday. I have about 8-9 sets from packs. I even knew the collation from opening so many. Working at the shop one of my jobs was opening a case of cards and sorting them by numbers and pulling the big stars. I chewed so much gum and it was a great job. I still remember the owner reaching into a filing cabinet of 55 Bowman baseball commons, grabbing a huge stack and giving them to me for working a full day. Man I miss those days.
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Old 08-04-2021, 07:21 PM
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My first set chase was the 1960 set and i seem to think I finished it that year. The first cards I ever saw were in the hands of a girl in my Long Island neighborhood in 1958. I was becoming a baseball fan at the age of 7 and those colorful cards made a huge impression on me. the next year I got some packs of '59s in my Easter basket and a hobby collector was born.

In 1960 I set out to gather as many cards as I could and saved every nickel I could for that purpose. I earned some coins doing chores and spent them all on cello packs at EJ Korvettes on every shopping trip my folks took me on. We lived near my Brooklyn-based grandparents and every weekend we were there and just down a block or so was a corner candy/news/cigarette/soda fountain that my grandfather would walk to every morning for the paper and a pack of Camels. I never left that place with a few packs of cards.

My best source was probably my uncle's pharmacy over in Bergen County, NJ. More than once he brought me a full 20 pack box.

The 1960 set doesn't get a lot of love from collectors but it still holds a place in my hobby heart. I rebuilt it just a few years ago and it was a very nostalgic and fun chase. I was reminded of how much i loved those orange rookie cards. Something about them impressed me and I've never lost that love.

And the backs, especially the ones printed on the cream colored stock, are among my favorites of any card backs. Love this set.

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Old 08-05-2021, 02:51 AM
mortimer brewster mortimer brewster is offline
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Default My first baseball Card set

In 1978 I was in a local bookstore (ullbrichs) in Buffalo NY and I picked up the history of baseball cards book by Clark. I started looking at the pictures and I got bit by the collecting bug. Purchased the book and occasionally take it off the shelf and thumb thru it. It's pretty beat up

I went home and ordered the 1977 and 1978 baseball card sets out of the Sporting News. I believe it cost me 27.00 PPD. I remember many of the cards being miscut, especially the 1978 Murray rookie. Been collecting ever since, I never really stopped.

My first set was actually 1971 Topps football. Collected the cards in the fall and when football season ended I took my cards to the playground at school and threw them up in the air and watched the little kids run after them.
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Old 08-05-2021, 07:31 PM
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The first cards that I bought was 1965 Topps. I had a shirt covered with iron ons.



The first set I tried to complete was 1967 Topps. I had the first six series complete, but never saw 7th series in a store. I bought the 7th series a few years later from Card Collectors Co.



The first set I completed by busting packs was 1968 Topps. I would go to the local stores every week and buy a pack. If it was the new series, I would buy a whole box and trade for any cards that I needed.

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Old 08-05-2021, 08:46 PM
Gorditadogg Gorditadogg is offline
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I've never completed a baseball card set. I am getting close on my 65T though, I just have 3 cards left: Uecker, Hunter and one of the checklists. I started collecting the set in 1966, when my cousin gave me a few of his doubles in trade for some 66T cards that I had just bought.

He was a Giants fan so he wanted my Giants. I had just started buying cards and had never seen the 65T's and I really liked how they looked with the rounded frame and the pennant on the bottom. The first card he traded me was Willie Mays. I kept that card for 50 years and just gave it back to him.

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  #28  
Old 08-05-2021, 10:39 PM
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Default Nostalgia, literally meaning "home-sickness"

Thanks for the thread. Strange, isn't it that most of us seem to recall that first set from an emotional attachment that still anchors us to the hobby. I am still working on the first set that I tried to complete. In the fall of 1951, my father was in a weekend bowling league and grudgingly took my brother and me along with him to an ancient, dilapidated alley on the other side of town. He would hand each of us a crumpled bill and tell us to get lost and stay out of trouble for the next three hours or so. Luckily for us tykes, there happened to be a small mom & pop store next to the bowling emporium, so we did not have to spend the night sitting in a smoke-filled barroom with numerous adult imbibers. Instead, we usually spent the time sitting on the floor of the store reading comic books. The proprietor of the store had two large tables near the front window that he filled with items he was trying to unload. On one of the tables, my brother discovered hundreds of packs of 1951 Topps cards that were going for about a penny each. At the age of seven, the only thing I knew about baseball was that my old man had played the game semi-professionally in his youth. That was enough to motivate me to use most of my remaining dollar bill on as many waxpacks as I could stuff into my pockets that night. Opening the packs, I was intrigued by the disembodied head shots of the players and the odd extra functionality of the cards in a simple ballgame. Most of the players seemed pretty obscure, then and now, and, of course, the Redbacks and Bluebacks have long been viewed by collectors as the least attractive and most feckless product Topps ever issued. But, the sets really hit my infantile amygdala hard, as well the brittle, evil tasting caramel candy that came with them. The packs also contained a bonus card - an elongated team card, or a full-size image of a Hall of Famer, or a more well-known current player - which was protected from the dangerous candy by the two-card panel of Red or Bluebacks. Naturally, no matter how many waxpacks I glommed off the table, there was no chance of completing a full set at that time, but I never lost the desire to do so. In the 1980's, my second childhood, I suppose, I managed to complete four of the five 1951 Topps sets, but for some reason, could only acquire eight of the eleven subjects in the fifth set. Still working on that.
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Old 08-06-2021, 05:54 PM
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When I got back into the hobby in 82, it was 67 topps BB all the way. Never had the high numbers as a kid but the other series were around. A great colorful set and I don't think there are any airbrush shots. Only regrets on the set are headshots of Mantle and Mays and Ryan could have been in this set as well.
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Old 08-06-2021, 06:27 PM
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Collected alot in the 70's but purchased my first complete set the 1975 Baseball Topps set while at a show in Texas when I was at Tech school stationed at Sheppard AFB in 1984.. Still owned..
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Old 08-06-2021, 08:00 PM
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For me, it was 2005 Topps. My mom was involved with a charity that held a dinner every year, and part of the dinner was a silent auction. The first time I went, one of the items was a framed display of the Red Sox cards from that year's set commemorating their world series win the year before. On a ten year old's budget it was hopelessly out of reach, but my interest was piqued all the same.

That prompted my first trip to the LCS, where I was introduced to vintage, and bought my first 1933 Goudeys and 1949 Bowmans. One of the other collectors took notice of my interest in vintage Red Sox and gave me Bobby Doerr's address, which got me into autograph collecting. I took a break when I got to high school (wasn't sure what the girls would think) but picked it up again in college and have been back since.
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Old 08-06-2021, 11:25 PM
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I started with early 1990s sets, but not with the set building mentality. The first set I went gaga for was 1996 Topps. I really wanted those stupid Mantle inserts, but I never got one! Disappointed. The next set I started and completed was 2001 Bowman Heritage. I was 100% bitten by the Ichiro / Pujols bug that year. The All Star game was in Seattle and my dad took me.... to All Star Fanfest. Largest card collecting event I've ever been too. Super special memory for me that my dad would be bored out of his mind for a thousand hours just for me. Real fatherly love. Anyway, I bought 3 boxes of Heritage and couldn't complete the set, and I thought, I don't have the money to keep doing this. So I started emailing other ebay users after they won Heritage lots, asking if they wanted to trade extras. And it worked! Those were the good old days of ebay. I completed the set by the end of the summer. I kept trying to collect Heritage, but without a big rookie combo like Ichiro and Pujols, it just wasn't the same.

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Old 08-07-2021, 05:56 AM
Tere1071 Tere1071 is offline
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My first completed set was the 1971 Topps Football set, including the game cards and posters all obtained through purchasing packs. The 1972-73 basketball set followed. My first baseball card set was the 1974 Topps with the Washington Nationals and checklist cards, again all from purchasing packs.

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Old 08-07-2021, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volod View Post
...as well the brittle, evil tasting caramel candy that came with them.
Some of the “edible” inserts were beyond bad. I don’t know if the gum in the 1950s was any better, but the gum that I remember from the mid to late 80s usually just crumbled and disintegrated in your mouth. Those of you that didn’t start opening packs until after Topps quit inserting gum into them don’t know what you were missing.


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Old 08-07-2021, 07:52 AM
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Quote:
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Some of the “edible” inserts were beyond bad. I don’t know if the gum in the 1950s was any better, but the gum that I remember from the mid to late 80s usually just crumbled and disintegrated in your mouth. Those of you that didn’t start opening packs until after Topps quit inserting gum into them don’t know what you were missing.


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My theory on the gum is that Topps made one giant batch of it in the 50s and just kept using it until they finally ran out so by the 80s, it wasn't that fresh anymore.
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Old 08-08-2021, 12:57 AM
Volod Volod is offline
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Default Originally, the product was gum and the cards were the inserts

Quote:
Originally Posted by jayshum View Post
My theory on the gum is that Topps made one giant batch of it in the 50s and just kept using it until they finally ran out so by the 80s, it wasn't that fresh anymore.
Hey, we were kids. Nothing could hurt us because we were invulnerable.
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Old 08-08-2021, 10:36 AM
wdwfan wdwfan is online now
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Great stories everyone. I don't know why, but I love stories about how people started collecting (probably because they usually start with some type of family, and I'm a big family person). I also love to see storage pictures and stories about how people store their collections.

Here's my first set.

It was Christmas Eve 1987, and we were opening presents after dinner at my grandparents house. I got a green 1987 Topps set. My grandmother and I sat at the bar and went through tons of the cards. We'd look at the pictures, talk about the players, read the backs, etc. Just lamenting about the set. She could tell I loved the set. She had NO interest in sports whatsoever, but sat there because I was so interested in it.

I later put that set in order and into a notebook like every kid did. She passed away in 2010, but I still have that set and that green box, albeit empty now. The set and box sit next to her picture on a cabinet in my office at home. So that was my first set and is what hooked me on sports cards.

The first set(s) I completed by hand were 1988 Topps, Fleer and Score, but I don't remember which I finished first. Then I hand built sets in 1989-92. In 1990, my mom would take us to get ice cream every Friday after school. The ice cream place was next door to Piggly Wiggly, and they had the rack packs of Donruss, Fleer and Topps. Every Friday I'd buy a handful of packs and I'd go through putting the sets together. Whenever I'd get close to finishing, I'd put them into a notebook. Then I'd fill in the gaps everytime I opened packs and came across cards I needed.

That's probably why I enjoy building sets so much. I know sets nowadays are worthless pretty much, and everyone only buys the key RCs. But I still love building sets. I typically build a base Topps Flagship set (Series 1, Series 2 and Update) and maybe 1-2 others. Can't afford to do Heritage, and not a fan of Donruss and non-licensed stuff anymore. So for now it's mainly Topps flagship and vintage sets.
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Last edited by wdwfan; 08-08-2021 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 08-09-2021, 10:54 AM
steve B steve B is offline
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I guess I sort of eased into the hobby...

1969 - 1 pack But I got Reggie! Still have it.
1971 - 1 pack still have the coin, probably a couple commons, but they spent the next couple years i the toybox with the 69s.
1973 - Moved to a new town, and most kids were into cards. Picked up a few after September.
1974 - Not counting the FB and other sports from winter 73-4, the first set I really collected. Finally bought the Mike Schmidt sometime in the mid 90s to finish it.

Bought all three sets in 82 and the update in 81, so the first complete sets I had.
The first set I completed from individual cards was 48 bowman. Even the ones from 77 -80 when I hung out at a card shop and occasionally collated sets for them went unfinished until the 90's. I still need something like 11 commons for 76.
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Old 08-09-2021, 05:41 PM
jingram058 jingram058 is offline
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My first set that I completed in it's entirety was 1967 Topps. I was nine years old in 1967, just beginning to realize what was going on. My neighbors and pals Mark Terry, Chuck White, Edwin Jaffe and Louis Kimery had been buying packs of cards for some time, and I remember the 1966 baseball and football cards well.

My oldest sister graduated from Memphis State University in 1965 and within days, she and some other girls, Linda Barker, Gail Bishop and others, signed up with Delta Air Lines and went off to stewardess school (that's what they called it back then) in Atlanta, and after graduation, they all were assigned to Dallas, Texas as their base. My sister Linda, Linda Barker and Lucy Anderson moved into an apartment that was somewhere near Love Field. They were called the Four Seasons Apartments, and they were upper-crust in 1965.

I made my first trip with my dad to Dallas in 1967. I remember the pool at the apartments was lit up with tiki torches at night, first time I ever saw anything like that. Everyone was sitting around the pool one evening, and this guy in tiger skin trunks came over to talk for a while. He was Lance Rentzel. Yes, that Lance Rentzel, and he seemed perfectly normal. There were other Dallas Cowboys players who were living in the Four Seasons.

During that trip, my sister and I went to a Safeway grocery store somewhere near the apartments. I noticed they had Topps cards at the checkouts. They were 5 cents a pack, and I was allowed to get 6 packs. These were the first packs of cards I ever bought. One card I distinctly remember out of those first 6 packs was Mike Shannon. It remained one of my favorite cards.

Well, as time went by, I bothered my parents and sisters to no end for change to buy baseball cards, pack after pack after pack. I got all the checklists, and finally all the cards. And then some. Duplicates of every card. This opened the door to trades, and even more cards. I sent away for a green plastic locker, and organized each team. I organized shoe boxes. This went on into 1968, 1969, 1970. During 1969, when I was eleven and old enough to move up from Cub Scouts and Webelos to the Boy Scouts (Troop 2, St. Luke's Methodist Church), Dolph Belton, an older kid in the neighborhood, going away to prep school, came over one Saturday morning and bequeathed me a box of Boy Scout stuff, Hardy Boys books, comic books, and...stacks of wood-paneled 1962 Topps baseball cards!

Finally, I moved on from the baseball cards. They were relegated to under the bed. Time went by... I got a job at JC Penney and then K-Mart. I got a car (a 1956 Chevrolet). I graduated high school, started at Memphis State and realized that college wasn't for me, and worked full-time for the City of Memphis Division of Public Works at the North Wastewater Treatment Plant. I got my own apartment, and traded the 56 Chevy for a 1977 Camaro. Totaled out the Camaro, and got a 1977 El Camino.

Then I went into the Navy at age 23. My dad died of cancer 3 years after I went in. I got married and we just celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary on July 30th. My daughter is now 37!

Somewhere around 1986 or 1987 I came home on leave. Louis was over at his folks house, where he grew up, and they were going through the attic. Sure enough, he finds a shoe box of his old cards that he thought was long since gone. But not just cards...his best cards. Mantle, Mays, Koufax, Robinson, etc. We looked at them, and he says, you know, let's take these over to that guy at the flea market. That guy's eyes nearly popped out! Then he says, I can't give you book value for these. $300, that's it, take it or leave it. Louis took it, because he needed the dough.

When we got back, I ran over to our house. Mom, where's all my old stuff? You told me to get rid of it, so I did, years ago. So that's what happened to my first-generation card collection. I have been re-collecting it ever since.

But that is not the rest of the story. Somewhere in the late 1990s, when I was a Chief Petty Officer stationed at Charleston and then Key West and driving home to Fort Lauderdale every weekend, money got tight. I sold a 1934 Goudey Gehrig, 1941 Play Ball DiMaggio, 1958 Topps Mantle and other cards for something like $200, just because I needed cash and couldn't float a loan because I had a top-secret security clearance up for periodic review, and you have to be squeaky clean. It made me physically ill after I did it, and I swore I would never do that again, and I haven't. I only just recently put together a 1953 Bowman set, with help from folks right here at net54. I have all the cards from my youth I have ever wanted, even 1800s cards, t-cards and pre-war cards I never even dreamed of having.
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  #40  
Old 08-09-2021, 06:36 PM
Tere1071 Tere1071 is offline
Phil
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Default First Set Ever Completed

Jim,
That was a great story because it's always nice to see the human factor behind our collections rather than their market value. When I saw the part about having to sell a part of the collection for survival's sake, I winced because I've had to do that a more than one occasion. However, I smiled when you mentioned the 53 Bowman set, it was great to track your progress through your posts. Thank you!
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  #41  
Old 08-09-2021, 07:15 PM
jingram058 jingram058 is offline
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Thanks to you, Phil! My 1953 Bowman set is my pride and joy set now. Even raw and ungraded, they are just beautiful cards that capture that era so well and in living color. I couldn't have done it the way it turned out without your help.
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