Friday, September 14, 2012

Card(s) Spotlight: 1935 Diamond Stars #54A & #54B

One of the most sought after cards that Greenberg has in his player set is his 1935 National Chicle Diamond Star.

Issued by the National Chicle Gum Co. of Cambridge, MA, the set was produced for 3 years, between 1934-36.  As players would make their debut in the majors, or become prominent enough to warrant being placed in the set, they were placed accordingly.  Featuring drawn players strewn across pastel backgrounds of stadiums and scenery, these cards have become a favorite set to collect among pre-war set, type and player collectors.

Hank Greenberg actually has two cards that were produced in this set.

This was the first card produced in the set. However, an error made it's way past the editors and onto the card. Can you spot it? Hank GreenbUrg never played a single major league game, but Hank GreenbErg nearly 1,400 games in his career.

This error, as well as the error with Ernie Lombardi's card were quickly brought to the attention of those in charge, and were corrected in subsequent releases of the product. So in turn, this card became highly sought after because of it's rarity.

Typically, the cards in this set do not look like the card to the left.  This card has been made a work of art by a 10 year old that didn't like the white border around the card.  I bought it for about $12, and it will remain a place holder in my collection until I can afford to purchase one in a condition I feel is adequate enough.

The card that was the result of a printing error was this on the right.  Notice the U changed to an E.  There is a significant difference in the value of the error compared to that of the corrected card.  Although the corrected card "books" (hate this term by the way) at $400 in Near Mint condition, and the error "books" at $600 in Near Mint condition.  Well let me tell you something about book value Beckett. An error card that is in NM condition in an SGC or PSA holder will never, ever, EVER EVER EVER sell for $600.  It will sell for much more. That is for another post though.  Sorry about that.

Anyhow, this card had eluded me for sometime before I was finally able to land it in a private deal. I am guessing that I might have been outbid/lost out of 15 or more different cards similar to this one before finally acquiring it.  I might have overpaid for it at $100, but I NEEDED this card. It is a staple for any Hank Greenberg collection.

I know that I am not the only Hank Greenberg collector out there, and I am not striving to be the best, most high-dollar spender there is. I just know that I probably won't stop until this project is over and done with, and I can look at the collection as a whole and reminisce to myself about the journey, the struggles and the triumphs.

Thanks all.

[Information gathered from Old Cardboard]

Monday, September 3, 2012

Why this set is so difficult to complete

I began collecting Hank Greenberg vintage cards 4 years ago (around this time, ironically enough), and when I bought my first card, the 1936 Goudey Wide Pens I had no idea it would lead to this journey.

As my collection grew and grew, I quickly came to the realization that I am not the only Hank Greenberg collector in the world. Countless times at card shows I would ask a dealer what he had, he would routinely say, as if it were a sick joke, that he just sold a card that I needed.

I still do not know how many cards are in the master set (I should really get on that) but I would guess it is about 50-60 or so, and I think I am half way there, with some serious cards still to be acquired.

The last two cards I hope to acquire to finish my journey will be the 1938 R301 Overland Candy Wrapper (which isn't really a card at all) and the 1935 Goudey R309-2. Both incredibly rare, and incredibly condition sensitive. I saw an Overland wrapper at the most recent National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore, MD that was being sold for $2,100. Needless to say, I didn't negotiate for it.
This realization has taught me that all of my collecting doesn't )and won't) happen in the present. This journey will take longer than expected, but it will be worth it in the end.

But the 1938 R301 and 1935 R309-2 aren't the only cards I am worried about. Although not in the thousands of dollars, the 1937 V300 O Pee Chee is a card that tends to get very pricey. There was a PSA 2 card that sold for $245 on eBay that I should have pulled the trigger on. I feel like I'm going to regret that one for some time..

Another card that is tough is the 1936 V355 World Wide Gum. At one point I was offered a SGC 20 V355 for $425.  That shit ain't happenin'. I was also burned on this card. One went up maybe a year and a half ago for $149 that was a SGC 10, and I waited on it and was beat by somebody else. Live and learn.

What really hinders my collection is my inability to drop money on higher end cards. For other collectors it seems it is easier for them to amass more expensive cards and in better quality. I'm a completest; to me condition is not a big issue. As long as the card looks nice I am open to buying it.

Hank Greenberg, according to Frank Ward, resident vintage baseball card guru is one of the top 10 vintage players to collect. Jewish player collectors love to buy his stuff, and it seems that sellers always want it because it sells so well.  The competition for the more scarce and high dollar cards is high, but I'm determined to eventually finish the set. The fact of the matter is, there are a lot of collectors of Hank Greenberg, meaning that once these cards are bought, they will remain in someone's collection, and likely never see the light of day again. Once they are gone, they are gone, making a card rarer and rarer by the day.

There are some cards that were produced one Hank Greenberg that I still to this day have seen available at auction.  There are still some issues being discovered today, as original collectors are passing away and their estates sold.  This hopefully will make some more of the rare issues more common, if even possible. Because some of these issues are so rare, when they do show up for auction, they command a huge premium, for the reason being no one knows when the next card will surface.

This journey will be taxing, both on my time and wallet.

I will finish it.

Stay tuned.