A group of mostly avearge collectors drooled over a 1975 Topps mini wax case they saw on line. Selling price: $25,000. Not one could afford it, but together they found there was strength in numbers. The group reached it's goal and is now planning the big purchase.
They are spread out all over the country. Some are white collar workers who draw nice salaries. Others are on a limited budget. They share an obsession for baseball cards, but what really gets this group of collectors excited are unopened packs. Old ones. You can have your bungee jumping and your rollercoasters. Two words get these guys' hearts pounding. Vintage wax.
In less than 48 hours, the group--most of whom know each other only from their daily message exchanges in an on-line forum--has created a unique "co-op" hell-bent on buying a pristine, unopened case of 1975 Topps minis.
"I often go to the Baseball Card Exchange web site just to see what's new," collector Jordan Bass told SportsCollectorsDaily.com. "I saw that case and posted a note about it on the (PSA Community) board."
His friends who are equally in love with older wax were ready to snap it up. All had the same problem. They didn't have $25,000 in disposable income. Yet instead of moaning about their lot in life, the board members sprang into action. One started doing the math and calculated that if they could get about 100 collectors to buy 6 packs each, maybe they could buy it after all. It was a crazy idea. A logistical nightmare. But after several hours, it was something else: an on-line community at it's powerful, all-for-one and one-for-all best.
A flurry of messages ensued as the plan began taking shape. The posts began on Monday and by Tuesday morning, Steve Hart, owner of The Baseball Card Exchange in the Chicago area, had offered to sell the 16-box 36-pack per box case at a $1500 discount if the co-op could arrange to buy it. The cost would be approximately $245 for six packs, assuming the required number of buyers could be recruited. In many instances, an idea that sounds good doesn't pan out when it comes time to put money where the keystrokes are. But these guys were serious. They wanted that case. Now.
After a week's worth of recruiting, the group had reached enough commitments to secure the purchase. Payments have been made and Bass will soon make the buy in person at Baseball Card Exchange.
Bass, who lives just thirty miles from BBCE's offices, volunteered to deliver the check and help distribute the packs among the dozens of "investors".
"I've never been a part of something of this magnitude," Bass explained. "A few weeks ago I bought a '75 mini pack from Steve and really enjoyed opening it. I don't collect it. I rip it. It takes me back to when I was eight years old and opening 1984 Topps packs."
Gary Daggett, who spent a large sum of cash buying older unopened products at this summer's National Sports Collectors Convention, is also spearheading the plan.
"I think the greatest collections are the ones with great stories behind them," Daggett said Tuesday night. "You see a 1975 Yount rookie and maybe in your mind you think 'Ive seen a lot of those'. But that's why I want to do this break. No matter what the packs yield for me, I'll be sharing the story of how we did this with friends for years to come and someone will think 'if only I could have been there'. I don't care if you spent $100,000 on a card, I care about how you got it and what it means to you and your collection."
One board member created a tongue-in-cheek label for those involved, similar to the branding of corporate donors. His scale:
Level 1 (6 packs): Joe Six-Pack
Level 2 (12 to 30 packs): Wax-aholic
Level 3 (36 to 72 packs): Box Cutter
Level 4 (76 to 144 packs): Soon-To-Be Divorced
Level 5 (150 packs or more): Long-Since Divorced