Dave and Adam’s Card World has been well known in the hobby for years as a prime source for – among other things – unopened material. Thus, there’s a certain cosmic alignment to having the Amherst, N.Y.-based company come up with one of the largest accumulations ever amassed: The Steve Myland Collection.
“Steve Myland has been putting stuff away for years and the deal finally became available after being shopped around for a couple of years,” said Reed Kasaoka, Dave and Adam’s director of purchasing. Veteran hobbyists and SCD readers will instantly recognize the Myland name as an old-time source of great bulk material in the 1980s, including cases, boxes and even uncut sheets.
“It’s a multimillion dollar deal,” said Keith Smith, Dave and Adam’s vintage card specialist. “The value of what you can sell it for at retail would be in the $1-$2 million range, I would guess.”
About half of it is cut card cases and the rest of it rack cases, generic boxes, leftover cello boxes, loose packs, returns and miscellaneous wax cards. There were even some uncut sheets. Cut card cases, having long since passed from the industry scene, were essentially factory overruns of cards from a particular Topps sheet, with the cards stacked in a large case of roughly 8,650. Myland was famous in the hobby for winding up with Topps returns at the end of the year, ultimately putting away a hoard of literally millions of cards.
“We were fortunate to be offered some of the better product from that. And a lot of it is Topps returns from over the years, cut card cases,” Kasaoka continued. “They are the predominant item in the collection. There are a few hundred of them, and it starts in the late 1970s and runs through the 1980s in all four sports.
“What’s amazing is you really don’t know what’s in a case until you look at it, because they are unmarked. Obviously, we had an inventory list, but you don’t know if it all matches until you go through it,” he said.
Reed said they would open the case to check to make sure it was the right sheet. “You look at a stack and they are all gem mint cards. We spent a couple of days at the warehouse (in Phoenix, Ariz.) going through everything and trying to figure out what’s there. And then we brought it all back (in early November) and started to sort it all out.
There were rack cases, cellos and a lot of the extra stuff as they cleared out the factory at the end of the year, stuff that was just boxed up in bulk.
“This had maybe the best variety I’ve ever seen from one collection from the four major sports, 1970s and 1980s overall,” Smith noted. “There were 40 pallets, not all of them full,” he continued.
That’s actually a good barometer of the enormity of the deal in itself: it’s the first collection that I can recall being described in terms of pallets rather than cases, boxes or number of cards.
“Maybe 25-30 full pallets, and each pallet probably has about 50 cases per, so you may be looking at 1,000-plus cases,” said Smith, adding that there are some miscellaneous loose cases and boxes and loose rack packs, like 1981, 1984, 1985-86 football; everything is Topps returns.
Smith, highly regarded as a vintage card expert from years working as a grader, was clearly in awe of their most recent acquisition. “I’ve never seen that much different stuff in one collection. For the longest time, no one would match his asking price, because all of this was just one part of the deal, and there were a lot of bulk commons and singles that just made it impossible for a lot of guys to buy at one time. What would the average dealer do with, say, 10 million commons, that actually have a great deal of value?”
Much of those went to the bulk outlets (Excel Marketing) that supply the large retail chains. That’s about the only way the deal could have come about, because the asking price for the average card dealer would have been too much. “It’s been shopped around for four or five years,” said Kasaoka.
Cut card cases are not like vending, where there are the individual boxes in the cases. Each case has 8,650 cards. Rows and stacks of cards, three rows deep and three rows across. “Because they are in boxes and haven’t been touched, they are nicer than vending,” Kasaoka continued, which is saying quite a bit. “They are right off the sheets and into cases, untouched. You’ll have a variety of centering issues, but the ones we’ve seen ran really nice.”
They have cases from the various sheets, sometimes mixed. “We didn’t ‘search’ the cases, but we would go in and pick up a stack of cards, maybe 50, just to verify which sheet it was,” Smith noted. The cases run from the late 1970s to 1986, all four sports, along with a handful of O-Pee-Chee cases.
“Plus, there were boxes and boxes of complete sets from the same years,” Smith continued, “in blazing condition, because it looked like they were pulled out of the cut-card cases and put in the hand-collated sets and never touched again.”
Cut card cases don’t have a factory seal, but they checked them to ensure that the major stars were still in there. “We have all of it inventoried into our system already,” said Smith. If somebody wants to buy a cut card case, the description will include a disclaimer that it’s not like a wax case or a vending case when you know what you’re going to get. They figured most of the material would be up on the Dave and Adams’s website just after the new year. It will be labled the Steve Myland Collection on their website.
Asked if there was any temptation to go into some of the cases and get premium cards graded, Smith said, “That’s not really our thing. They pointed out that auction houses approach them all the time about consigning stuff, but the Dave and Adam’s web site reaches so many people that it’s probably not necessary.
“We’d rather drive the business to us, rather than to the auction house,” Kasaoka said.
They also pointed out that a collection of this magnitude is remarkable in that they can always go to someone’s house or a dealer and get a handful of great items, but they’ve never seen such a deal with hundreds and hundreds of great items with a chance to buy it all at one time.
“It’s one of the largest purchases we’ve ever had. This would have been one of those instances where if we hadn’t bought all of this, I still would have appreciated having the chance just to see it all,” Smith said. “Some of this stuff I’ve never seen before.”
Smith added: “With the way grading is today, and with the set registries, these cases will probably will be gone through for grading, I don’t think they will stay as the cases very long. All the grading companies, but especially PSA with the Set Registry, will be seeing some nice stuff coming through, stuff they haven’t seen in five or 10 years in this kind of condition and quantity.”
The timing of massive purchase worked well with Dave and Adam’s recent expansion of its vintage program, which employs a number of staffers, including Smith, and puts the crew on the road for much of the year.
“We get decent deals all year long. We recently bought a 1950s and 1960s deal in the middle of Illinois, where your cellphone doesn’t reach,” Smith said with a laugh. “I was there for two weeks, all singles. We’d already bought their unopened stuff years before. Cases and cases of stuff. I knew they had singles, but I had no idea of what they had.”