Saturday, November 17, 2018

I took the plunge

I've been neglecting this little space for a bit but that doesn't mean I've been inactive hobby-wise. Quite the contrary.

At the September monthly card show, I saw a binder of 1961 commons my friend Darryl had behind his table that I hadn't noticed before. I poked through it and saw that there were about 240ish cards, a nice starter set. Darryl being Darryl said he'd give me a really good deal on it and soon I was headed home with my latest vintage chase project. One I had considered but hadn't really committed to until that morning.

Soon after that, I found a chunk of 61s on eBay for a 'can't pass this up' price and I grabbed them knowing that I'd end up with some dupes. On the flip side, the eBay cards looked (and indeed turned out to be) in really nice condition and many of the dupes were just fine as upgrades over those in the binder.

I hadn't really touched it until we returned from vacation late in October and then I dug in. It took me a couple of days to pull the cards from the sheets, sort and collate them and make a want list. I also pulled the '61s I had in my PCs. Unlike a lot of collectors, I don't duplicate cards across various collections except for a few special collections like Billy Pierce, Brooks Robinson, and a few others. It took me another day to track down the '61 Orioles cards I already had. That's a long story with interesting results that I'll save for a separate post.

Last Saturday I took my want list and killed off another 100 or so from my list plus some stars from a collection Darryl had recently picked up. I'm really happy with how this thing is coming along. I have some great memories of these cards. There are some sweet ones among the cards I have in the binder so far. Like the great Wally Moon card that I put up top. Here are a few more:

Roger Maris carries a pwemium, especially a '61 Maris. I have to balance cost and quality. This was a reasonable one that had flaws, but flaws I can live with. The scan makes the creases look worse than they do in the binder page. A low number common might be an upgrade candidate if it carried these scars, but not a Maris.

I dug Chuck Estrada back in his days as an Oriole and loved this card. That trophy!!

League Leader cards with mantle...ouch. Mantle and Maris BOTH? Yikes. I hate paying the price but whatcha gonna do? What I do is buy one with a crease through Rocco C.'s ear.

These next three come from PCs. I had already put the MVP subset together long ago. That took care of a bunch of stars. And I had a seperate Jensen so that one transferred over to this binder.

I had three of this Wes Covington card. This baby elevates the '61 set all by itself. One of the best cards Topps has done.

My Johnny Callison collection was somewhere south of complete so using this '61 in the set binder isn't a big deal. It's another great card though. Maybe not 'Covington great', but great. Nice look at Connie Mack Stadium here.

Roy Face in LA's Memorial Coliseum.

 Here's an oversized look at the back of Callison's card. Full stats (or what passed for full stats back then), three cartoons, a blurb on cards of players with not a lot of stats and, of course, the player's 'vitals'. Couldn't ask for more.

 The manager's cards more or less borrowed the color scheme from the 1960 rookie cards.

Another PC card on permanent loan. Mudcat!!

Another top hat trophy rookie. I had three copies of this Tommy Davis. I can't say why. He seems to show up in cheap vintage boxes and I always bite. At least now one will be put to good use. TD's off-centeredness is very typical of 1961s. Doesn't bother me in the slightest. The only time I even consider it is if I am choosing between two cards for a binder slot. If the corners are equal then I'll use the one with better centering.

Last time I checked I was over 80% complete with the set. If you happen to have any 61s in a box under your bed that you can spare check out my want list at this link or over on the right-hand sidebar.

This chase is going to slow waaaay down as I get into the high numbers. Those can be silly expensive. I'll need patience and lots of luck to finish this one out without killing off my entire hobby budget.


  1. Good luck with the pursuit! I get the impression that I like 1961 more than a lot of people, as I'd happened on a small lot as a kid and those 61's were easily the oldest cards I'd owned for a good while... but there isn't a lot of overlap with my normal wants so I just pick up cards as the mood strikes me (like with the beautiful Covington).

    1. I've run hot and cold on it through the years myself. It's got some pedestrian cards but also some real beauts. No doubt that nostalgia is part of my attraction.

      I thought about just turning these around on eBay after I looked at the high numbers and their cost. But in for a penny, in for a pound, or something like that.

  2. Good stuff. Although I noticed you didn't show any of the many, many, many hatless shots in this set.

    I do like the '61 set better than I did before.

    1. When I finish I'll have to do a count. Off the top of my head (pun intended) I think the 1962 set might have more but that may be because I've been looking at the '62 set so much as I wrapped it up.

  3. I have the Red Sox team card in a box under my bed. Also some 75's and 79's possibly. If you want to trade, my email is ericandgretchen at yahoo dot com.

  4. Pretty nice start to the set. Have fun collecting it!

  5. I'm one of those guys who never gives card backs the respect they deserve. That being said... the 1961 backs are fantastic.

  6. A lot of those 4th Series 1961 Topps cards, like your Wally Moon, almost look like they're paintings. Anyone ever notice that?

  7. 1961 is the only "old" set I had any quantity of as a kid (yes I did a post about it) but they’re all beaters and I'm pretty sure I've few duplicates. Good luck on your quest though.

  8. Goodluck Bob. Underrated set for sure

  9. When I see cards like these I always think that the feeling they give me is that the *true* baseball was back then. When I think of baseball it's the those era games. Don't know why. Great cards