No matter how many times you go to the National Sports Collectors Convention it’s hard not to be awed by the sheer volume of material in the room. And calling it a ‘room’ seems inadequate. The Stephens Convention Center is an airplane hangar for 767s. It’s a cement floored foundry where the product and the currency is all for sale.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for at the NSCC, it either doesn’t exist or your want list is as advanced as it gets. The hardest thing to decide, if you’re looking to buy, is where to buy it. There are a few hundred booths selling vintage sports cards. Dozens with autographed pictures and balls. You can stop and search but the next booth calls you onward. Do you start in aisle 100 or aisle 900?
On Thursday, I spent most of the day talking with clients, friends, associates and doing interviews. For a few minutes I stopped and looked at some dealer tables. And there it was. A card I have been looking to obtain for years.
A 1960 Post Cereal Mickey Mantle.
These were the big, wood grain border cards Post put on the back of Grape Nuts Flakes that year. It was the beginning of their four-year run of putting cards on the back of boxes. The next three years each cereal box had a sheet of several cards on it but in ’60, there was just a set of various sports cards, whose ‘cards’, if you can call them that, took up virtually the entire back of the box.
I’ve seen ’60 Mantles before but they’re pretty hard to find. Many are in collections. Those that do come up for sale are often creased and still priced at several hundred dollars. There are a few on eBay right now including another Mantle but he’s clearly the most sought after card in this cool, old set.
This one was beautiful. Not perfect, but close enough. The price was steep. I had to hit the ATM and blew the entire wad of cash I brought to the show.
Was it worth it?
I may sleep with it the rest of the week.