Saturday, July 5, 2014

5280 Monthly Card Show: Christian's Table

​A dozen years ago or so, card shows at malls were still a regular (or at least an occasional) thing. I used to visit the Westminster Mall north of Denver for a show every so often, and it was at one of these shows that I first stumbled upon Christian's table.

He had a great assortment of Topps inserts and parallels, and was always happy to cut a deal. That was when I first learned of the existence of serial numbered cards, and I still have the scarce 2003 Topps Chrome X-fractors I purchased during that first visit.

2003 Topps Chrome X-Fractors #183 Aubrey Huff /50
This was issued as a box topper in 2003 Topps Chrome, and is supposed to come in a sealed plastic case with an "Uncirculated" sticker over the top seam. This one is loose, but the cases on the others in my collection are so thick that they don't scan well.

With cards like this, I'd make a beeline for his table during subsequent shows, and was always able to find cards from stellar sets like 2001/2002 Topps Archive Reserves various Topps Finest sets.

Given that mall shows don't really happen anymore, (in fact, the Westminster Mall was torn down several years ago), Christian took it upon himself to start setting up his own card shows in a rented hotel conference room on a monthly basis. A couple weekends ago, I spent a few hours at the June show and walked away with plenty of great cardboard, as well as a Carlos Gonzalez OYO mini-figure, which is now on my shelf at work.
There's a miniature ball and glove, too
Christian always has a box or two of bargain-priced relics and autographs, some dollar boxes, and a couple of interesting display cases, but what really drew me in were the 15-cent boxes packed to the gills. And like all great card dealers, the 15 cent box wasn't really 15 cents. Wink.

I didn't have a ton of time, as there was another table I wanted to visit (more on that in an upcoming post), but here are some of the highlights I picked out.

2004 Bowman Heritage #158 Randy Johnson
2004 in the Topps Heritage cycle (just count back 49 years) meant the 1955 designs were replicated. 1955 Bowman, of course, was the ultimate wood-grain set, with pictures framed by a cabinet-style television. My dad was eight years old that year, and remembers this design well. If only he had saved a few!

2007 Topps Moments & Milestones #12-6 Greg Maddux (Wins 6) /150
I hadn't seen this set before the show, and some research on Beckett and the BaseballCardPedia indicates this is seriously weird. It seems even stranger than Topps Tek - the set with up to 90 design variants per card. Remember that 2008 Mickey Mantle set with a different card for each one of his 565 536 home runs? This is the same idea, but the only way to tell the cards apart is from the numeral on the front. Thus, there are 20 variants of this card, one for each of Maddux's wins in his 1992 Cy Young season. But we don't even get details of the 6th win on the back, just this indication that he had a 6th win on his way to 20. Now, 20 isn't so bad, but he had 199 strikeouts that year, so there are 199 variants of card #13. Add them all up, and 2007 Moments & Milestones is a 12,475-card set.

But hey, serial number. If you want a /1 in your collection, this would be the set to go for.

Anyway, how about something a bit easier to explain? Like a metal card.

1996 Leaf Preferred Steel Gold #50 Charles Johnson
Not much else to say. It's a metal baseball card. Though it did have one of those pesky protective peel-off coatings, which I promptly peeled off. I'd better make sure to take this out of my shirt pocket when I go through airport security.

2000 Upper Deck MVP Scout's Choice #SC6 Nick Johnson
The shininess of this insert card doesn't come across so well in the scan, but I will give kudos to Upper Deck for listing baserunning as one of the fundamentals on the right side of the card. I think that gets overlooked quite a bit. That's appropriate, as Nick Johnson was one of my favorite under-the-radar players during his career.

Besides all those singles, I spent just $15 on one of my favorite collectiblesa complete factory set, this one of 1994 UD Collector's Choice.

1994 Collector's Choice #96 Scott Erickson
I've liked this set ever since the first packs I opened at ten years old. It's almost a continuation of 1993 Upper Deck, arguably the most revered set of the overproduction era. Just look at that photography. And there are a ton of these horizontal cards, to boot.

Of course, Christian's table didn't have the only discount boxes in the room. Come back next time for a look at Adam's table.

1 comment:

  1. Christian sounds like a great guy! I would've been all over that '94 Collector's Choice set at that price.