February 11, 2009

The Card - Book Complete (No Spoilers)

For anyone who has not read this book yet, I highly recommend you pick it up. It is a great story about how the Gretzky T206 was purchased by, in my opinion, one of the biggest schmucks the hobby will probably ever see and how it ended up in each person's hands over time. The story will make you want to keep reading to find out where it's going to end up next, and what other speculation will be revealed about it. The part of the story that was even more interesting were two guys that for years were trying to sell a T206 Wagner, but no one would help them for various reasons, and no one would grade their card. I could go on about other random things, but I don't want to ruin the book for anyone who hasn't read it.

It was very interesting to me, as someone who has auctioned all kinds of stuff on eBay, all of the memorabilia that was in auctions that was later found to be not authentic, or "mis-labeled". "Mis-labeled" by Sotheby's one of the most notorious and trusted auction houses in the world. I now also know that I can use the term "circa" to mean whatever I want because it really means nothing.

I will say that I will probably never purchase a graded card. I have never purchased one, but have had a few graded by BGS. After reading a little about the beginning of the "slabbing" world, I would be very leery about purchasing a card I didn't send there myself. The last two cards I sent were my only two Pujols rookies, and not to say I regret doing it, but if I had read this first I probably wouldn't have bothered. I have no intention of ever selling them, so from now on I don't see myself sending anymore cards to be graded.

If anyone wants to tell me what they thought of this book, I would love to hear it. I'd like to know what your opinion of slabbing, and whether or not this changed your opinion of some aspect of the hobby.


  1. Marie,

    I enjoyed the book quite a bit. I picked it up after Christmas. It is fairly easy read. I thought that the authors set up "one of the biggest schmucks in the hobby" from the start. He deserved it.

    The owners of the card were an interesting bunch, especially Michael Gidwitz (the Chicago guy who really likes Mad Magazine). Here's a link to one of Gidwitz's other cards.

    This book helped bring me back to collecting.

    As a follow up to The Card, I'd suggest that you look at Scot A. Reader's primer, Inside T206.

    I blogged about that here.

    I also enjoyed the two appendices, The Timeline and The Most Valuable Baseball Cards In The World.

    The Notes section was interesting, but I found it clunky to read them at the end. I prefer notes at the bottom of the pages.

    As far as slabbing goes, I've had a blog entry milling in my head about that. Give me a chance to start my Bat Around entry before I start one on slabbing.

  2. They did set up Mastro from the beginning, and I agree that he deserved it.

    Gidwitz had a really interesting collection, I don't really care to collect magazines, but to each their own.

    I was thinking about buying a book called Card Sharks, about how UD changed collecting.

    It seems like there is more controversy over this card than prestige or "glory" for getting a hold of one. I am going to look into those books though. I have to read Joe Torre's book before I am allowing myself to purchase anything else to read.

  3. That card is really frickin cool looking. I can't believe how much it sold for.

  4. I already had a really low opinion about getting cards graded, but that book convinced me that I'd never want to do it.

  5. I just asked the library to send me Card Sharks. That'll be next on my reading list.

    I'm with you on the magazines, but I think that Gidwitz can collect whatever he wants to, based solely on the amount of money that they allude to in the book.

  6. Marie - I'm curious about what you read in the book that makes you never want to buy a graded card. If you don't want to spoil it on here, send me an email. I have a bunch of graded cards and I'm wondering what I should be worried about...

    By the way, I highly recommend Card Sharks! I read it last summer and learned a ton about the history of the hobby. I've been meaning to write a post about it for months, but it's still on the to-do list.

  7. Marie,

    Although it's nearly a decade and a half old, Card Sharks remains a must read.

    For the uninitiated, Card Sharks chronicles the first five years of the Upper Deck company, as well as the zeitgeist of The Hobby in it's late-80s/early-90s salad days. It's a relevant now, as it was then.

    If anybody's interested, I'd be happy to lend my copy out to anyone who wants to borrow it.

  8. Thanks Chris, I e-mailed Dave a little while ago to see if he wanted to trade books for a while, I was assuming he owned Card Sharks. If he doesn't have it, I would be interested in borrowing it. I saw some copies of it for like 65 cents on Amazon also, if anyone wants it.

  9. Regarding slabbing, I put it in the same category as mummification. In a thousand years the card itself may be in pristine condition, but the plastic could be discolored or scratched. Also, once in a slab I no longer consider it a baseball card. It's kind of like encapsulating a loved one in plastic. Not my kind of thing.

  10. I admit I was a little disappointed at first. I was expection a nice historical retelling, and found it to be a little too tabloid tell-all for my taste. But, it definitely made me think about everything I take for granted with the hobby. I have to say, though...the main complaint about the card (trying not to give it away to those who haven't read it), I didn't know that was a bad thing. I thought I remember Beckett or some other magazine giving tips on how to do it.