I see the expression 'White Whale' from time to time on hobby blogs. Taken from Melville's Moby Dick novel it can be loosely defined in the hobby as an elusive and probably unobtainable card that one never quits looking for. At least that's my interpretation. And I have one. First the background:
I've written several times in the past about my football card collection that encompasses every player I've ever 'owned' in my fantasy league for the past 33 seasons. I had the idea to collect those guys in the late 1980s, maybe or early 1990s. Most were easy to find. I had a list of all 'my' players and I took it to card shows and shops and pretty quickly was able to cross off the list guys like Warren Moon, Bert Jones, and Marcus Allen. I already had a lot of those players on a card anyway. Within a couple of years I had about 90% of my list knocked off and all that was left were cards of guys who had never been in Topps sets. That slowed me down somewhat. I know I hunted through hobby publications and scoured checklists hoping to find cards of players like Kyle Mackey and Ed Luther.
Then two things happened at about the same time. Someone thought up eBay, and I found this book. It was about the size of the Omaha phone book and had just as small print. Great resource that listed an amazing amount of odd sets. It proved invaluable.
So now I know what I've been searching for. With the dozens and dozens of Colt photos I've found on eBay I know it's just a matter of time before good ol' Randy Burke shows up. And I'll harpoon my white whale.
Meanwhile, I'll make do with this homemade card. I made it using a picture I bought from the Baltimore Sun. Jeez, I ought to invest in a graphics program and a good paper cutter before I attempt this again.