"I have 60+ complete sets...many are from the 70's. I also have several thousand cards from the 50's and 60's."
That is about all I needed to know in order to meet up with an older gentleman yesterday in regards to purchasing his collection.
After speaking with him on the phone, I found out that his wife had died, and he was ready to sell everything, then live in an RV and get out of town. He said they were married for 40 years. He said he spent countless dollars on sports cards years and years ago at card shows and is only selling them because he can't tote them around. Stating he had 50-60,000 cards, it would take him an hour just to load them up!
He didn't know that he was talking with someone with dealings of 6,000,000 cards ... and I wasn't about to tell him.
The catch was this: He was an hour away, and my family + cardboard mobile was going to be gone that evening, so if I wanted to see / purchase them, it would have to be during the day. The problem is- during the day, I work! Yeah, I'm my own boss, but I like to stick around at all times during business hours in case one of my clients needs me. I have been frustrated with work recently, and it was slow, so I made the decision to go. My wife wanted me to take her and the kids as well, so I did.
For many, they would think that stuffing 60,000 cards in a mini-van full of family members would be difficult, but not for me - I'm a grand master champion of tetris, so I gotz skillz, yo! Well, maybe not - but I know I can fit at least 200k cards in my minivan (I've done it before), so 60k shouldn't be a big deal at all.
After talking with him, he agreed to take $100 off his original asking price of $1,000 and meet us half way. Yay! Only 30 minutes away then!
We pull up and wait for about 15 minutes. He finally shows up, and shows me "the goods". I look in the back of his truck, halfway expecting to have the glow that comes from the pot of that Cheese & Macceroni with the Hugh Jackman look-a-like.
Cool ... 1983 Topps Football box ... probably a set. 1988 score ... ok blech....1989 topps ... 1990 score....
Wait a second ... where are the 70's sets? I see all kinds of 80's to 90's sets here. Hrmmmm. Never mind that ... time to check out the 50's and 60's cards!!!
"So, where are the 50's and 60's cards?"
"They are in this stack of monster boxes here. There are TONS of cards, but they will be here."
He is hovering over 3 5,000 count boxes...if I didn't know any better, I thought he was hoping I'd take his word for it!
I make my way to the other site of the truck, and he adds "They are all mixed in these boxes..."
I pop the top ..
First box ... 1992 fleer football ... 1989 score baseball .... ok nothing here.
Second box .... 1986 Topps baseball .... 1989 Topps baseball...hmmm
Third box ... 1991 Topps baseball ... 1992 fleer baseball......URGH.
I think at this point in time, he starts scurrying through his box of top loaders that have been yellow/oranged with time, trying to show me some old cards. He pulls out ONE 1954 Topps Al Rosen. The only baseball card that was vintage that I had seen in the whole lot, and the only vintage card he mentioned by name over the phone.
So I walked around his truck to talk to him again and let him know there were no 1970's sets, no 1950s or 60's cards anywhere in the lot.
"I'm really sorry to waste your time sir! I haven't looked through these in a very long time! I was sure that they were in there. Mayhaps my kids took them out."
That would be one thing you would have *expected* him to say. Nope.
"So I take it you are going to pass?"
That was about all. Then I drove home cardboard-less. In hindsight, I wish I would have made an offer on a few of the cards, but I was so frustrated that there were probably a total of 10 good cards in the whole lot, instead of a true money maker.
I don't know if he was trying to lie to me and dump a bunch of cards for a quick $900, if he was just too lax in actually looking through the cards, or was just mis-informed and didn't know anything about them.
Either way, he told me his wife had passed away, and that kind of cuts through everything else. When it comes down to things like that, nothing else matters. I wish the best for him, and hope he can find peace & joy.