Sometimes, you just have to stand in awe. In late March of 2017, a friend invited me to see his collection. I had only heard stories. Much like a legend, I had only visions. In my many years in the hobby, this was the first time I've stood next to monster boxes stacked taller than me and running the length of a well-sized corridor. It's hard to imagine the time required to organize and sort through such volume. It could take years for even the quickest of workers. An entire 5000 ct box of 1987 Topps Baseball numbers 487-499. And that's just one of about 30 5000 ct boxes of 1987 Topps Baseball. How fun!
As the hours passed, I was captured with enthusiasm by the volume of sealed boxes, storage boxes, and singles. The rows and rows, stacked floor to ceiling made the attempt to see everything impossible. I asked where I could find Frank Thomas cards as well as whatever inserts could be searched through without too much digging. I was directed accordingly and began going through binders and boxes. It was quite an experience to enjoy if for only a few hours. Among the overwhelming inventory, I was taken to another location where singles were shown. Here are some of the highlights:
I admire the aggressive pursuit of key vintage football rookie cards. These are some of the best cards from the 1970s and 1980s. Fan 'em out!
Speaking of vintage, I was shown an entire set of 1961 Fleer Basketball with these three being the keys. I had to snap a pic as it was the first time I'd seen all three at the same time in-person. I've always thought of these three cards as important to the hobby.
If you know how rare these are, you're as blown away as I am. This is the first time I've seen a complete set of 1992 Star Pics Autographs SNL in-person. These cards have become highly desirable and as equally elusive, some near impossible. My favorite card in the set is shown below:
Chris Farley always cracks me up. I still watch his movies and enjoy his comedy. It was a sad day when I learned of his death in 1997. This card is hilarious. I love Farley. The Rafael Palmeiro Viagra promotional card is funny one. I hadn't seen that piece before so I wanted to chronicle its existence.
Speaking of rare items, The Black Refractor of the 2003-04 Topps Chrome LeBron James RC is a monster. The collection owner informed me that he opened cases of 2003-04 Topps Chrome Basketball in 2003 and pulled this gem. Also, I've never seen a literal brick of 1978 Topps Jack Morris rookie cards. I thought that was kinda neat to see.
In a recent opportunity to revisit this collection, I took a few more pics of stuff that's just downright excellent. Here's a literal 30-card pile of the 1986 Topps Jerry Rice RC. This is the first time I've seen this volume of this particular card in person, most of which hold strong grades.
Here are four cards I thought were each amazing in their own right. For me, these are first appearances of the 2009 Bowman '48 Black Stephen Curry and the 1998 Playoff Prestige Green Peyton Manning. As for the other two, they're equally important.
Opportunities just to see collections like this are rare and highly entertaining experiences. I was fortunate enough to be one of only two people who have seen this collection. I can really appreciate that degree of selective scrutiny. With a collection this extensive and valuable, it can only work in your favor to be extra careful when inviting others to see it up close and personal. While I won't mention his name, if you're reading this, thank you for the opportunity.
Of the pics posted here, which do you think is the most interesting?
While you're thinking about that, I'll leave you with this -