Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Best Thing About Card Shows.... enjoying them with friends, both old and new. I hit up the TriStar show here in Houston this past weekend. I thought it was one of the better shows they've had in awhile. That may be because there didn't seem to be the huge autograph lines that I've encountered in the past. Mostly I think it was the quality of the dealers in attendance.

And I mentioned friends. I met up with Bru who pens the entertaining Remember The Astrodome blog. Great guy and I enjoyed talking collections as we walked. If you check his latest blog entries you'll see he did pretty well at the show. Local collectors like him had a real bonanza of Astros 'stuff'' to drool over. Winning a title does that. I'd like to hit a Baltimore area show one day. I'd probably go broke.

I also bumped into one of oldest friends. Bobby has by far the best collection of vintage cards I've ever seen. He's considering selling off a chuck of it and it was fun to watch the dealers go bug-eyed when he showed them what he had in his case.

As for me..well this was one of those rare shows that I left without having bought a single baseball card. But I did end up with this:

I've had this 1958 All Star program on my want list for many years. I never seemed to be able to find on in decent condition with a price tag I could live with. One of the show dealers had a terrific variety of vintage publications, and what a display it was. I paid dearly for this but he also had a '93 ASG program so I made him an offer on the pair. He accepted without counter-offering which makes me think I could have gone lower but it was worth the cost.

Both programs came with ticket stubs from the games. Pretty good selling point!

I'm going to do a separate post on the '58 program so I'll save the details for that one. But there was more at the show than just programs.....

Bro surprised me with a sweet 8x10 of Milt Pappas. My collection of Orioles photos needs to see the light of day so Bru's gift (he got it in a lot of pics at an estate sale) inspired me to snag a box of binder pages for them. One of my retirement projects is to organize my photos. I love the fact that this one was taken at Yankee Stadium where I saw so many Orioles games as a kid. That's Herm Starrette in the background.

Next to the programs my biggest purchase was a stack of '70/'71 Topps basketball cards. One dealer had multiples of most every common and some SPs in wonderful condition. His prices were reasonable so I knocked about 50 cards from my wantlist.

It's a weird and wonderful set full of odd poses, reversed jerseys,dopey expressions and tons of color. I love it. I'll just post a handful here.

Jim Barnes as an Olympic gold medal winner with the US team in 1964 and led an interesting if somewhat tragic life.

He bounced around the NBA and carried with him the nickname of 'Bad News'. I love that Topps used it for his cartoon in this set.

Here's a closer look:

Nate Thurmond may be the most overlooked star in NBA history. He could flat out play. When I was coaching my sons in youth basketball one of the opposing coaches came over after a game and said "Your big boy rebounds like Nate Thurmond!" When he said that I knew the guy knew his hoops.

This is one crazy card though. 

Gus Johnson was a fun guy to watch. He played for the Bullets when I was a fan of the club and would fly down the key and rattle the rim with slams. He was like Connie Hawkins with a bit less 'flash'.

And again Topps did a great job with the cartoon.

Behold! "Gus has a gold tooth."

Topps also threw in actual un-retouched photos like this one. Like I said, a weird set!

I also came one card closer to finishing off my 1972 Icee Bear NBA set. The Hawk looking very badass.

My last purchase was a spur of the moment thing. One of the bigger private signing outfits always has a large table at TriStar shows and sometimes sells off excess merchandise at good prices. I have a rather tattered copy of the actual SI cover but I wanted this Big E signed photo-copy for the UH wall in my home office.

I like the big card shows but they are hard on my hip and back. I'm looking forward to the upcoming small hotel shows. I'm sure I won't leave the next one of those without at least one baseball card!


  1. Really liking the 70-71 Topps. I just got that Jim Barnes card last year, off the top of my head it's his only mainstream NBA card.

  2. Congratulations on getting so many needed tall boys at one time! And it seems like your Connie Hawkins card collection should now be fairly close to completion (at least as far as the vintage stuff goes).

  3. Those 1970/71 Basketball cards make me wish I liked basketball. The Nate Thurmond card seems to say "It's a tall boy card... and I'm still too big to fit on it!"

    Looking forward to seeing more of those programs!

  4. Great pickups Bob. My fav is the AllStar program with the stub.

  5. Love the Hawkins! Those tickets and programs are sweet as well.

  6. Great haul. I think it's really cool when programs come with the actual ticket stubs for the event. I'm so jealous that you have small hotel shows in your future. Can't remember the last time I saw one of those in my neck of the woods.

  7. I’m a fan of the Icee Bear Set for sure!

  8. It was fantastic meeting you! Glad you liked the Pappas photo. Looks like you came away with a pretty nice haul yourself. That Connie Hawkins Icee Bear is pretty stellar, but that Hayes SI is amazing!