I saw an online posting the other day urging readers to provide details of some of the worst deals that they had ever made in the hobby.
In this particular posting, there wasn’t that much meat in the responses, and I started to wonder if the tepid reaction was because people might actually be a tad embarrassed about how badly they had gotten hosed at various times.
Not me. Ever since I tried to hideously screw my best friend in 1959 by attempting to snag all his First Series Topps cards that year by proposing a lopsided trade with his younger brother, I’ve felt a need to make amends as publicly as possible.
Now that aborted “deal” alluded to above was actually a combination of unethical and maybe even illegal, since his brother, all of 5 or 6 years old, clearly had no authority to be executing intricate business arrangements on his older brother’s behalf. That’s deplorable, and I’ve worked hard to atone for it for a half century, but the kind of deals I am talking about here don’t necessarily have to descend to the tawdry level of that.
Nope, I’m just talking about bum deals that you made for whatever reason. I suspect that simple unfamiliarity with the hobby workings of the hobby and the values of particular cards would account for much of it, or at least it did in my case.
Around 1980 or so, at one of the first good-sized card shows I’d ever attended, I traded perhaps 30 or 35 Very Good to Excellent 1933 Goudey’s for one single, solitary 1954 Topps Hank Aaron rookie card.
That sounds bad enough on the face of it, but it gets worse. The Aaron rookie had an enormous punch hole on the top of the card!
And this was at a time when I probably could have gotten a really nice Aaron rookie for $30 or $40, but the thought of ponying up that kind of money for a single baseball card just didn’t register with me. At the time.
I had no emotional or financial investment in the Goudeys, since they had been given to me probably 15 years earlier by an old geezer whom I worked with in a leather factory. But it’s hard to shake the realization that I swapped what would now be worth a couple of hundred dollars for a deeply flawed card of my favorite player that even today would only be worth a fraction of that amount.
That’s my worst one, though there were others years later that I couldn’t rationalize as well by claiming ignorance.
Anybody got any stories more gut wrenching than that?