Here’s a gem mint copy of the Pete Rose from the 1968 Topps Game set. I kid; with crap condition comes tons of character and personality. I’ve decided to create a new category and write about cards in conditions below anything categorical. This exclusively includes conditions well below the southern boundary of poor condition. When grading, and if the condition is so atrocious, some collectors prefer to have the cards simply authenticated without any assigned grade. This would qualify as one of those instances. That is, of course, if I decided to have this amazing piece of history slabbed, which isn’t at all the case. I’m just sharing.
I don’t remember how I acquired this Rose. He was probably in a $0.25 bin or something. I can’t imagine I paid much for this card. I picked it up because I was floored by the condition. The rounded corners, the tape, the wear and creasing all had me at hello. I had to have it. The hobby is known for celebrating gem mint or otherwise high grade copies of vintage cards, which means that battered examples get ignored, sold for whatever anyone is willing to pay for them, or given away entirely for free. I’m all about it. I love these old hammered examples of HOF or otherwise star talent. Sure, the value is as much as free but I’m not buying it to one day sell it and send my kids to Oxford. No, I’m buying it to consider what it’s been through, where it’s been, and what made it look the way it does today. Cards like this tell a story. A story of a young boy on a farm… No but seriously, this is a story of use, enjoyment, and appreciation. Think about it; someone loved this card so much that even when it was torn apart, tape was applied very carefully to ensure the face lines up perfectly so as to continue enjoying the card. I just love that. I have to appreciate the wear and tear that defines this card’s lifespan.
What’s one notable card you’ve seen in similar condition?