Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Worst-Condition Card I Own

I once heard about how Bob Costas carries an old Mickey Mantle baseball card in his wallet, and has had the same card with him since he was a kid. That always sounded like a cool story to me. Sure, the monetary value of a beat up card like that wouldn't be much compared to one that's been safely sealed away for decades, but it sure would feel like you got your money's worth out of it!

The closest thing I have to that is the above 1992 Fleer Ultra Tony Gwynn insert. My friend Doug and I found it on the sidewalk or something about 20 years ago. While it was in much better condition then than it is now, it was by no means mint. Plus it was kind of a cheesy card too, with Tony posing with a little girl. (Yes, from a more mature perspective, it's a sweet, caring card about helping abused children, but from a teenage boy's perspective, it's more like, "WTF? It's a baseball card with Gwynn holding a little kid!? LOL") Instead of adding it into one of our collections, the card got thrown into my car. And it stayed there for a long time, eventually becoming somewhat of a good luck charm, I guess. For a while, it hung out on the dash, which is how it got so bleached out, thanks to years in the Southern California sun. Eventually it graduated (retired?) to the glove compartment. And all these years later, I still like keeping it in the glove box of my current car. It's special to me, and nice to have along for a trip. Tony and his kind heart help guide me through life's bumpy roads and along the righteous path. Or something like that. It's a neat card, anyways.

Hmm.. Looking into this card more, it turns out this card isn't actually in the '92 Fleer Ultra set, but is rather an oddball that must've been available through some special giveaway or something. I know Tony has a big "commemorative salute" insert set in '92 Fleer Ultra, so I assumed this was one of those. But nope, it's a "1992 Casa de Amparo Fleer Tony Gwynn #1". I couldn't find another copy for sale anywhere or even a picture on Google, so now I'm thinking this card might actually be somewhat scarce and have some theoretical monetary value to it! Oh well, a little late for me to slip it into a top-loader at this point. If any of you Gwynn supercollectors out there have more info on this card, let me know.

Wait-- hold on--

Nevermind, I just found one in a completed eBay auction. Went for $0.99 (1 bid) + $1.55 S&H. So I can breathe easy knowing I didn't help destroy a valuable card. But even if I did, oh well, like I said at the beginning of this post, at least I would have gotten my money's worth out of it.

Do you have any totally beat up cards that mean a lot due to their history with you? I'm sure you do! If you got a good story, you should share it in the comments.

I hope you like these artsy photos. There's no way I'm getting my scanner filthy with that thing!


  1. My first ever baseball card was 1986 Topps Dickie Thon. I found it ripped in half on the ground in summer camp. Has a lot of scraping on it too. I taped it together and still have it. Here's a picture:

    Years ago I tried to get going some trades of cards in really bad condition, but got no takers. Would still love to do it if someone is interested...

  2. I have a few cards in pretty bad shape... but they were all purchased that way. On a side note... I actually have a damaged card collection that I started a few years ago. If you're bored...

    But if you're looking for specifics... I have a pretty sweet 1971 Topps Ernie Banks...

    And finally... here's my favorite damaged card in my collection (mainly b/c I pulled it)...