Thursday, April 16, 2015

Appreciating Vintage Cardboard

I am many things: husband, father, employee, boss, sports fan- but one thing I'm not is a wine connoisseur (in fact, I don't know if I'm much of an expert in anything. Braves baseball and baseball cards, perhaps). I was reminded of this a few years ago when some friends invited us over to their house for a wine tasting party. Her cousin, who works for a distributor, got her a good deal on the fruit of the vine and was there to assist in the 'tasting' as the experts call it. And so there I sat, like a fish out of water, trying my hardest to look like someone I'm not, pouting because the only food available was sushi- and I won't eat anything raw. Well that and the fact that it was release day- meaning I had two fresh packs of 2011 Topps 1 in the car waiting for me to open.

What if we, as card collectors, had such parties? Would it be the 'vintage only' snobs and no one else; or, would there be some of those who are anathema to the hobby purists: those who collect modern stuff. What would one such party look like?

Appearance: Observe it- notice the colors, the use of line, photo selection. Anything about the subject stand out? How is the centering? Are there any flaws or defects from the printing process? Turn the card over- read the stats, familiarize yourself with the players biography. Is the card number easily identifiable? Notice the crude little drawing? We call that the comic.

Smell: Musty, as if it has been stored in the basement for 50 years. Perhaps it had been in a shoe-box, or maybe even some type of photo album. If you're lucky there's no distinguishable smell, as if it were pack-fresh.

Feel: Pull the cardboard out of its plastic case (we call this the top loader) and gently- GENTLY!!- run your finger over the front of the card. Notice the embossed-like crease in the card, feel the rough corner where the card was torn? Notice the slightly rounded corners, the frayed edges. You may also have a wax stain on the front or back (real- not contrived! WE DO NOT ALLOW CONTRIVED ERRORS!!!), so be sure to check closely for those.

Finish: Place the card back in its holder, re-examine it and contemplate the pure joy you just experienced. Live by the motto: Cardboard Life- Smell It, Feel It, Live It!

Of course, this card would never, ever be approved by the 'Purists'

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a wine drinker at all. Even when sampling good vintage, wine tastes like vinegar. Always. I've been somewhat shy to discuss the pleasures I derive from handling old cardboard. Great post Chopper!