I check the advertisements of our vintage guys in Sports Collectors Digest pretty religiously, often looking for upgrades of a couple of 1950s Topps sets that I work on, but just as often simply to keep track of which issues are being offered and in what fashion.
When I am looking for things for my own collection – and this applies just as much to visits to the shows every year – I am still amazed how certain cards keep showing up as MIAs in ads and in dealers’ showcases. Keep in mind, this is one of the intriguing parts of the hobby, as opposed to being nothing more than a point of frustration, though it feels more like the latter when you’re poking around cyberspace or in a dealer’s showcases looking for something.
I am talking here about common numbers that you go through piles for several websites or dealers’ tables and end up with the same holes appearing with alarming regularity. In my case, I’m thinking of a number of first series commons from 1959 Topps that have managed to elude my grasp for many, many years.
Part of the dilemma comes from the makeup of Topps uncut sheets; for example, in 1959 the first series would have had 132 cards printed, with 22 of those double printed. That double printing helps explain why some guys – they often seem like schlumps – show up with such infuriating regularity, but doesn’t necessarily explain why others seem so difficult, except in relative terms to the double prints.
I was thinking particularly of the 1967 Topps Brooks Robinson, which admittedly is a high number in a tough high series, but I vaguely remember hobby stories that detailed how that card – at least in highest grades – was brutally tough even with the aforementioned taken into consideration.
If anybody out there remembers the details of this, I’d be most appreciative to be reminded about it. I’d also like to hear some of the readers’ stories of nagging cards – commons or stars – that seem to be way tougher to find then conventional wisdom might suggest.