One of the most enduring traditions of Rich’s Ramblings is to write a piece to express how wonderful the holiday season is and how we should be all be thankful for what we have done over the past year. The year 2014 has been no exception as there have been several interesting sea changes in my hobby experience.
The first and most important was I have become a “show promoter”. Running two non-profit shows for our Adat Chaverim’s brotherhood (Men’s Club) has really made me feel as if we are using cards to give back to the community. Our two 2014 shows brought us approximately $1,750 in profit and we used that money to help send our member children to summer camp and some for an important synagogue project. What is more exciting is how so many hobby businesses (Topps, Panini, Upper Deck, Tri-Star, Pro Look, Leaf, Just Collect –and if I missed anyone else please forgive me) have all donated materials to us in 2014. But for 2015, our goal for our first show is to ease up on those guys and use cards donated by people like you and me to give away at the door as part of our goodies when someone walks in.
The Brotherhood was buoyed when Bryan Koyama sent us an awesome box with approximately 75 Fleer Ken Griffey Jr rookies among other real neat cards. We have received other great donations since then as well as old Beckett teammate Jeff Allison dropped off a 5,000 count monster box at our last show. Jeff mentioned he had more cards as well and would endeavor to drop off another one next month. This week a great box arrived from Brandon Gilster and earlier this month a neat package from Shawn Sockwell was at our doorstep. We appreciate everyone who has donated cards or other goodies for our shows. Former Beckett mate Bill Sutherland has donated some very nice items to us as well. In addition, many of our dealers have also contributed items. And when I dropped by Nick’s Sportscards he gave us a $40 gift card as a door prize for our next show. As a hint, we’re always on the lookout for more items to give away so we can attract more people and send more kids to camp.
I am also now involved in a monthly show and I love every (well almost every) moment I spend on promoting it– and the hobby. It’s exciting to have our first ever autographed guest in Lindy McDaniel next month and we’re always looking for more affordable guests as well. As with everything we do, the idea is to bring value to our paying customers and dealers. The show is developing its own rhythm and we’re learning about the most effective ways of getting our word out.
But the holidays are even more than that. Something I’ve been doing for the past few years is participating in a Secret Santa on the PSA message boards. This year, I expanded to similar gift exchanges on the Beckett and the Net 54 boards. We even found a group on Facebook in which we did a vintage football exchange. Participating makes you feel like a kid again every time a package arrives and you have no idea what’s inside.
Once again, I thought I’d share a little of what I received.
We’ll start with the PSA boards. As anyone knows I love to rip packs and boxes (note our reviews) and we received a great assortment from our mystery Santa. I’ve listed any highlights of what was inside:
2011 Panini Gridiron Gear Pack
2 2009 NFL Draft Packs: 2nd pack a Matthew Stattord/Knowshon Moreno Card #d to 50
1996-97 Finest Basketball: Lots of great players including Jason Kidd and Dennis Rodman.
1993-94 Action Packed HOF: Well they are all HOFers but we were not fortunate enough to get a 24K card
2001 SP Authentic Golf Preview Packs: No big hits but really neat to see the cards marked xxxx/Sample
2 1990 Leaf 1st Series Packs: Paul Molitor, Dwight Evans and Gene Larkin (OK, I’m biased. He’s from my alma mater, Columbia U).
2012 Bowman Platinum Wall Hanger pack: Oscar Taveras (oh, what might have been)
1982 Fleer: 2 HOFers in Rich Gossage and Robin Yount; interestingly we get 2 Mitchell Page’s Back to back. Carl Yastrzemski was the biggest name in the 2nd pack.
1984 Fleer pack
1983 Topps Cello: Don Sutton, Tommy John and Luis Tiant Super Vet Cards
1981 Topps Rak: 1st pack best card was Pete Rose; 2nd pack had Joe Morgan, Dale Murphy and Tony Perez
1982 Topps FB Cello: Kellen Winslow
1983 Topps FB Rack Pack: Joe Montana RB
1985 Topps Supermarket Rack Pack: Warren Moon RC, John Elway
And some packs not opened included:
1985 Topps cello with Roger Clemens on top; 1984 Fleer with Wade Boggs on top, 1981 Topps Scratch Off packs, 1983 Topps FB cello pack.
1968 Topps Roger Maris, 1964 Topps Harmon Killebrew and 1967 Topps Al Kaline
Our Beckett Secret Santa made the deadline with a little to spare but the wait was worth it as Santa delivered a 2009 Upper Deck Ballpark Collection quad relic card featuring Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Jorge Posada and Yogi Berra. Numbered to 100, this was a sweet card indeed.
Like I say every year, the thoughts behind the gifts are what makes it special. We appreciate everyone who spends time to send items to other hobbyists for the holidays. In addition, there are several collectors I know of in the DFW area who are working on putting together local collector groups and by next year, we hope to do an event such as this in person. And wouldn’t a Secret Santa or White Elephant Card Collecting night be fun for the holidays?
Getting to look at cards again that we’ve opened in the past is a real treat. How often does one get the ultimate gift, which is to go back in time and re-live your youth or exchange presents with a fellow collector who may not have your want list, but still gives you something you know you’re going to love? I get to do that courtesy of the packages. And that my friends, is the greatest gift this hobby can provide. It’s far more important than any monetary reward. If you’ve never participated in one before, I highly recommend it.
Happy Holidays everyone!