Baseball card collection update (4/18/22)

It was a fun couple of days last week pouring over the cards at Street of Dreams in Clinton and Jennings in Freeport.

With a little down time from work last week, I took some time to add to my baseball card collection and try to knock some spots out of my Want List. With the finding of the 1964 Topps (Venezuelan) Gary Kolb card, and with about 100 more cards bought in Clinton and Freeport, I decided recently to overhaul my Want List to more of a general list of cards that I’m hunting for. No more ranks, it’s too hard to do when you wind up discovering more and more cards that you want.

I had a blast at the two stops that I made, not only trying to find the cards I’m searching for, but discovering even MORE cards that I thought would be a nice addition to my collection – many of which are semistar rookie cards that I didn’t think I’d find.

Let’s start with Street of Dreams in downtown Clinton (on 5th Avenue South). Sports cards are just a part of what they have in store, along with vintage vinyl records, local collectibles, sports collectibles, and much more. As far as vintage baseball, they have singles of varying conditions from the 50s through the 70s in boxes for your digging pleasure.

I’m really trying to find much of the Topps cards on my list, and this was a great start to that. I came away with a few list finds, including the 1977 Andy Messersmith that I have been trying to find for quite some time. The left portion of the picture on the top of this post is a sampling of what I bought there.

Here are the highlights:

• 1971 Topps Dick Allen: a super rare card from this set that is the #3 most expensive 1970s Topps card at the moment (behind #2 1973 Mike Schmidt and #1 1970 Nolan Ryan). Obviously this particular card isn’t expensive, being in poor shape, but I didn’t think I’d run into this at all and got it for a reasonable price.

• 1970 Topps Vida Blue & Gene Tenace rookie card: I’ve written a retroactive hobby case study on this card, given what this card would have been like if the current hobby mindset existed in 1971 (when Blue was dominant). I’ll post a link to it soon.

• 1974 Topps Padres team card: The biggest busted prediction of 1970s baseball cards was when the Padres seemed to be headed to Washington. Topps printed two versions of Padres cards in its 1974 set.

• 1959 Topps Ryne Duren: This card made a purchase of a prior Duren become a boneheaded decision. I had thought his 1963 was the first card of a player in sunglasses. Turns out it’s the 1959. Sometimes I make mistakes and this led to one of them.

• Other Want List finds: 1969 Graig Nettles rookie card, 1960 Luke Appling coach card, 1977 Andy Messersmith, 1973 Tom Walker (once threw a 15-inning no-hitter in minors)

• Also picked up multiple Tommy Davis, Bobby Valentine, Sam McDowell, and Rocky Colavito. Other rookie card finds include Randy Jones, Rick Reuschel, the Al Oliver/Richie Hebner card (another great Topps pairing), Greg Luzinski, Hal McRae and J.R. Richard.

There are a few cards that I passed over because I didn’t know how much I was going to spend, so I made the ones on my list more of a priority. So I need to go back there and find those cards, and more, that I left behind.

Another thing that I would like to find when I’m there is if they have any 1970s Clinton Dodgers minor league cards. I would think that somebody in Clinton may have them. The cards in particular are of Jim Leyland, Mike Scioscia, Dave Stewart and Alan Wiggins. Clinton is the closest city to me with a minor league team, followed by the Quad Cities. Rockford and Dubuque used to have minor league teams.

While searching through the database of Clinton and Quad Cities minor league cards, I wanted to find out who had played at both locations. Alan Wiggins, who played for the Padres and Orioles in the 1980s, was the only one I could find. Wiggins, who struggled with personal issues and died of AIDS in 1991, got cut from the Quad City Angels after a fight with a coach, and later signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers. He only had a half-hour drive up to road to his new minor league home.

I came away with some interesting cards in Clinton, but didn’t plan to stop by Jennings until the middle of the next day. That’s because I had an early work day in Lena, and only then decided to take a half-day and visit Jennings in downtown Freeport once more.

I’ve written about my first stop to Jennings Coins Cards and Stamps before. There’s no way one can browse through their entire collection in one day. Or week. A return visit was in order, and I stopped by for a couple of hours.

There were a few new vintage cards that I had added to my list since my last stop, so I wanted to try and find them in the same couple of boxes I went through before.

Then I would up digging through more boxes. And more boxes. And more boxes. My vintage-heavy search later became a search for the more newer cards on my list. I wound up getting quite a bit before the store closed, including lots of rookies and other cards that I didn’t expect to find. Only three Want List finds from the old Top 100, but the others are nice to have.

One binder that I want to point out in particular is one with old Red Man tobacco cards from the 1950s. I had a Bobby Thomson on my list as it had him on the Giants with prominent mention of his Pennant-winning “shot” from 1951. I’d like to grab a couple of more if you don’t get there before I do. I mention these Red Man cards because they are much cheaper than the Topps and Bowman of the day. They are square cards (as shown by the Thomson in the picture above). So if you’re looking for that first card of your collection of a star player from back then, take a look at the Red Man cards – whether you’re at Jennings or online.

The left portion of the picture on the top of this post is a sampling of what I bought there. I made a video of what all I found there. You can view it HERE. I do tend to ramble a lot, but the cards are mentioned at about the 6-minute mark.

Having those two exciting and fun stops has made me want to keep traveling and searching. Of course, I have to remember to watch what all is in my wallet.

As far as card show visits go, I plan to go to Janesville on May 29, and Peru on June 4. Note that I am simply a customer, I don’t have tables or anything like that. I go to browse and see if there’s something worth having for the collection.

For card stores, there are a few in the Quads and Rockford I would like to visit. However, many of these stores are geared more toward the current market and mindset, so those trips are more likely chance visits. I discovered that when I went down to Springfield and Lincoln earlier this month.

So these new cards have to go somewhere, and that place is within my six binders in my living room. However, they are running out of space. What I did to accommodate that, rather than buying more plastic binder pages, I removed some cards that I didn’t feel were worth keeping any longer – “collection fat” such as base card stars from the junk-era – and put them in my next sale box.

The search continues, and I’ll continue to add more cards to my Want List if I wind up discovering more.

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