Unopened Case And Box Sale At The National In 1990

Here’s some unopened hobby history from the 11th Annual National Sports Collectors Convention Official Program, including a photo of three 1986 Fleer basketball wax cases!

I shared the pictures on the Facebook Vintage Wax and Packs group, and one collector noted that “$160 seems cheap for a 1986 Donruss box in 1990. Canseco was still $100+ and McGriff and Fielder rookies were $20-25 each.”

And while that’s interesting, another collector highlighted the picture with the early Fleer basketball cases.

The picture isn’t very detailed, but it looks like three 1986 Fleer basketball cases are on the bottom of the stack, with three 1988 Fleer basketball cases sitting on top.

The dealer threw me off a bit at first since, just above the picture, he said they would have a limited amount of 1986-7 Fleer Basketball and 1987-8 Fleer basketball wax boxes available at the show. FYI, the 1987 Fleer basketball print run was smaller than the company’s inaugural print in 1986.

The 1987 Fleer basketball case is white with a basketball outline on it and I don’t see the distinct design in the stacks of cases.

And if you’d like to add this article to your Hobby Library, here’s the 11th NSCC Official Program cover for reference.

The Gold Book Of Baseball Coins By Jim Nicewander

The Gold Book of Baseball Coins by Jim Nicewander was the first work of its kind concerning the niche of plastic or metal discs picturing baseball players; the 1982 Edition, of course, has a prominent place in the Hobby Library.

Nicewander was a prolific hobby writer for years, contributing to releases like Trader Speaks, The Wrapper, and Baseball Cards Magazine, among many others. But this piece was birthed in response to a repeated multitude of requests for it. So Nicewander took advantage of developing the condition and price guide to sell items from his collection, writing, “All coins listed in this book can be ordered through 1981 at the prices listed unless market conditions force price changes, although all coins may not be in stock at all times.”

The guide is short, at 12 pages; here are a few examples from it and the back cover.

1977 Beckett Price Survey Results

Here’s a scan of Dr. Jim Beckett’s first report on baseball card prices from the April 1977 issue of The Trader Speaks.

The survey he referenced was distributed across multiple hobby channels, but in keeping with The Trader Speaks theme, here’s the one from their January 1977 issue.

And here’s Part 2 of the Price Survey Results from the May 1977 issue of The Trader Speaks.

As I said, Beckett distributed the survey and results across multiple hobby channels; David Kathman provided a nice overall summary on the net54 boards, including when Dr. Beckett printed details in Sports Collectors Digest.

In the fall of 1976, Jim Beckett, then a professor of statistics at Bowling Green State University as well as a collector and dealer of baseball cards, got the idea of doing a survey of other collectors and dealers in order to determine the market value of various cards and card sets. He wrote up a survey, and the September 30, 1976 issue of Sports Collectors Digest announced his project, and his intention to distribute the survey at various card conventions and by mail. The October 31, 1976 SCD had a status report by Beckett, clarifying what he hoped to achieve with the survey, and the January 15, 1977 SCD printed the survey itself. The results of this first survey appeared in SCD in two parts: in the March 31, 1977 issue for Topps and Bowman cards, and in the April 30, 1977 issue for all other card sets.

Hobby History!

Dynamite Magazine Number 2 With A 1974 Topps 6-Card Panel And A Story Of 1973 Topps Airbrushing

I’ve been sharing my collection of Dynamite and Hot Dog Magazines on X, highlighting those with 6-card baseball and football panels. Issue two included 1974 Topps baseball cards, but there’s more; it also included a great article called The All-American Card Game

Before I share more about this specific release, here’s a bit of a Dynamite Magazine 101 that I had shared in an old article I had written about Dynamite Magzine Issue 47 that included a panel of 1978 Topps baseball cards: 

Scholastic Inc.’s Dynamite Magazine launched in March 1974 and continued to be released through March 1992 (165 total issues). It was Scholastic’s most successful publication and inspired four other magazines you might be familiar with if you were a kid aged ~8-14 at the time; Bananas, Wow, Hot Dog!, and Peanut Butter. It was a bit of a pop culture update and included articles, comics, puzzles, and other interactive content like puzzles, games, masks, etc. They’d often contain inserts like stickers, glow-in-the-dark items, 3-D posters with glasses, and of course, baseball cards.

Ok, back to Dynamite Magazine Issue Two. First, here’s the cover.

Next, here’s the table of contents, with the top two 1974 Topps cards from the six-card panel.

Notice what’s on page 30; it’s the article I referenced, The All-American Card Game: Press runs big hits and some errors in the Baseball Card Series. Page 30 was the visual (first scan in this blog post), and the following page, 31, had the text.

It’s interesting particularly because in it, Sy Berger highlighted to the author that when Topps would send out photographers to take pictures of players for cards, they would snap a few in full uniform and a few others that could be used in case the player got traded, “just-in-case,” like Ken McMullen’s 1973 Topps card that was taken when he played for the Angels. However, Gary Gentry’s cap had to be airbrushed by Topps artists. 

Here’s the next page with the bottom four of six 1974 Topps cards included with the magazine.

Going To The Trading Card Show

Joan Rubenfeld’s article about the 1991 Anaheim National in Allan Kaye’s Sports Cards News & Prices Guides premier issue in October/November 1991 is a wonderful piece that still holds up today!

Here are a few of my favorite lines:

  • “The first impression one gets on entering the convention hall is of the people- thousands of people – old, young, in carriages, toddling, serious looking, smiling, intense.”
  • “Despite the long lines for everything…”
  • “Strangely, many of the people seem to be dressed alike…”
  • “The majority of those attending the convention was older adults.”
  • “The array of merchandise for sale was mind boggling.”
  • “Among the stars in attendance the day I was there were Warren Spahn, Pee Wee Reese, Reggie Jackson, Billy Herman, Duke Snider, Lou Brock, Y.A. Tittle, Paul Hornung, Monte Ervin, and Emmitt Smith.”
  • “Nostalgia flooded me…”
  • “By this time, I was worn out, and spying a vacant chair…”

And finally, “Next time there is a sport card show in your neighborhood, and particularly if there is a ‘biggie’ like the National Convention, go to it!”

1950 Uncut Sheet Full Menko Card Set With Babe Ruth

The 1950 Japanese Menko baseball card set features 52 leading Japanese players printed as playing cards, plus a joker featuring Babe Ruth. This uncut sheet was offered for sale in August 2003.

It’s one of the few times that Babe Ruth appeared on a Japanese card. The sheet was described as being 15” x 10-1/4”, off-center left, printed on both sides with a slight darkening on the back at the bottom, and with minor soiling at the lower right on the front that doesn’t affect any cards; EX/MT overall.

I don’t know much about Japanese baseball cards, but I did pick up a few books for the Hobby Library by noted niche expert Gary Engel. 

Also, these sheets seem relatively common (Engel confirms this in the 6th Edition of his Japanese Baseball Card Checklist and Price Guide, mentioning that this set is generally found as an uncut sheet), with recent prices averaging a few hundred dollars but trending up; there are a few outliers over $1k.

You can download a digital version of Engel’s guide here.

Wanted Wheaties Panels 1935 To 1941

Do you know how folks found cards for their collections in the early 80s? They took out ads in hobby periodicals like John Spalding did in this request for 1935 to 1941 Wheaties Panels in the July 1983 issue of Trader Speaks.

Spalding was also looking to hear from Wheaties collectors for a few research projects and was willing to refund postage costs for info. He passed away in 2012 but was a prominent hobby contributor as a writer, researcher, and collector. 

By the way, the panel included in the ad is from 1936.