Still 2 down…405 to go!

After getting back from Chantilly without any 52’s in tow, I had two goals in mind…1) to pick up 2-3 ungraded cards in good condition for a good price on eBay and 2) to sell the graded ones we had that started our collection (more on that in a few days after the auction closes).

On eBay we found lots of options, but were drawn to a 2 card lot – #94 Sam Mele and #87 Dale Coogan with 2 days left at around $3. Both cards were G-VG. The Coogan especially I really like with the red background…very pretty.


“How much should we put as our max bid?” I asked. They thought for a minute with no answer. “How much would those 2 cards at the Chantilly show cost?” I rephrased.

They looked at each other and scrunched their noses. “Ten dollars each, maybe $15.” Sounded about right.

“So how much should we max bid?”

“For both, let’s put in $10,” my son said. With $3 shipping, that was $13, right at $6.50/card which is what my research showed was an appropriate amount.

The next night we were glued to the screen. The auction closed at 9pm. At 8pm we were winning at $6. At 8:30pm we were winning at $7. And when the timer hit zero and showed we won both for $8.50 you would have thought we just won the lottery. It was really fun and both me and kids were very excited. They ran and screamed down the hall and told their mother who feigned happiness on their behalf.

Well the cards came today and they I am very pleased. So, while technically we have 4 cards in our collection, soon it will be back down to two. The colors and centering on the cards are great and I even picked up some handy, dandy ultra pro 8 slot pages to put them in.


Date Purchased: July 17, 2014

Total Price for Cards: $11.50

Total Spent on Set to Date: $73.00

% of set owned by: Me = 63%, My son = 21%, My daughter = 16%

Chantilly, VA Card Show! (Box Break #1)

I collected cards all during my teen years and I cannot for the life of me remember ever going to a card show. I spent way too much time (and money) at my local card shop, but not a show. We talked my dad into making a family trip of it and to keep us company for the 2 hour drive to Northern Virginia.


There were TONS of dealers, new and vintage stuff. We had a great time walking around, looking at all the cards. Unfortunately, on our modest budget, we couldn’t justify paying 3 or 4 times more for 52 Topps cards than the prices we can get on eBay. I have been scouring eBay pretty regularly and thankfully I was prepared that the prices would be higher, but I didn’t expect that much. But hey, I’m a capitalist at heart, so they have every right to charge what they want. There was one booth that had a $5 stack of 52’s in fair/good condition. Tried to talk him into 3 for $10 and he didn’t budge. Something tells me if I would have been there the end of the last day, he would have changed his tune;-)

But the vendors were friendly and helpful. So much to look at and appreciate. If you haven’t been, I would highly recommend it!

So as a consolation prize we did buy a $25 box of 2013 Topps and broke it over some McDonalds.


My son was the lucky winner of the game used card in the box (Ryan Zimmerman). He knew the card wasn’t really worth much, but he was so excited to pull it, once again giving us a reminder of why we are collecting in the first place!


So now we have some leftover ‘card’ money and will be scouring eBay for some good 52 Topps deals. My (and my kids) fingers are getting itchy for our next 52 Topps. I was bidding on a lot that ended last night (11 of them in VG/EX condition), and thought my $66 max bid was enough to get it, unfortunately it went for $70. Oh well, try and try again…onward and upward!

Box Break #1

Date: July 12, 2014

Box: 2013 Topps Series 2

Cost: $25

Noteworthy: #CHR-RZ – Ryan Zimmerman Chasing History Relic (Michael)

On the hunt…for a new game plan!

Help needed. Drowning man's hand in sea or ocean.As much of a perfectionist as I am about things, I was humbled by two events this past week to take a step back and reconsider my initial goal  of a PSA 5 version of 1952 Topps. Basically I realized I was a) in over my head (both time wise and financially) and b) missing an integral part of the desire to share it with my kids.  Hang with me.

Event #1 – My neighbor and I are good friends and have known each other for a while. I knew that he collected when he was younger but we never had any real in depth discussions. We were over there house for 4th of July and I mentioned that the kids and I were getting into collecting a 1952 Topps set and he was intrigued. He said, “Actually, about a month ago my dad sent me a bunch of my old cards, we should go through them.” So we pulled them out and had about 2 hours worth of reminiscing. He had never seen a graded card so I went and got mine and he was basically slobbering over the quality of the holder and the general idea, but in the end he said, “But you can’t actually hold the card, can you?” When I said no, the look on his face said it all and made me take a step back and consider if I was missing something.

Event #2 – My wife has been extremely encouraging and patient with me over the past few months. I tested her mettle to the nth degree this past Saturday night as we made our way to a local auction. I had never been to one and was very excited for the experience. I didn’t know if they would have any cards, but we went anyway. Turns out, one of the lots had a near complete set of 1980 and 1985 Topps, both of them in binders, ready to be flipped through and admired close up and personal like. I didn’t win the bid, but as we were leaving, she said, “That’s kind of fun you were able to go through the cards. I bet the kids would like that.”

Long story short, while the kids and I have enjoyed the very-short journey so far, I got ahead of myself. Do I like graded cards…YES! I love them. Something about them makes me giddy. But, have my kids enjoyed the graded cards…a little, but would they enjoy binders with cards that they can actually go through and see more…YES!

So, here at journeyto407 I am changing things up. After talking with the kids, we are still going for a complete set of 1952 Topps…but it will be ungraded to start. Just writing that brings some relief to my heart (and wallet). But because of the extra income we have opened up, we are going to also chronicle our efforts to collect different Topps sets. When I floated this option by them, my son asked, “So how much do the cards cost ungraded?”

download“Anywhere from $3-7 – just for 1952 Topps – depending on how good the card is. Other years will be cheaper than that,” I answered.

There little minds went to work and my daughter said, “So we can get probably 4 or 5 cards for what we are paying now for one card?”

I nodded and they both looked at me like ‘duh, Dad, let’s do that instead.’

So, off we go. Won’t be updating on PSA registry (since we won’t have any), but will keep up to date on set status, process of finding the cards, and general family merriment. I didn’t think it was possible, but I’m even more excited than before! Just got off Amazon ordering some of these binders…now I need to get a bookshelf;-)

Oh, and in case you haven’t been, go to for pictures and current pricing. Just ran across them this week and it’s a great service!!!


Recent Family Fun: Going to my first ever card show in Chantilly, VA this week with my oldest two and my dad. Looking for ungraded lots of 1952 Topps and hopefully some 1959 Topps. Will update with some pictures next week. Looking forward to a great time checking out the booths and bonding!

2 down…405 to go!

“It’s here, it’s here!” my daughter yelled, running out of the back door as I got home from work.

“It’s the Monte Kennedy right?” my son followed behind questioning.

I nodded, excited. “What’s his number?”

My daughter scrunched her face, trying to remember. “124!” my son piped up (he’s so good with stats and numbers). Righto!

The card looked great and I was happy to find that what appeared to be a small scratch on his neck was actually a scuff on the case. Speaking of cases, I’ve been debating the best way to store them. I bought a tall box to put them in, but the kids seemed bummed at the display, so I finally settled on some 4 pocket plastic holders, and while it’s not perfect, they do okay. If someone ever figured out how to make a PSA card holder that actually stayed put, I would certainly fork over the money necessary. For now, this will have to do (tho I might just go the old plastic bucket route eventually).


DID YOU KNOW?: There is a vast difference in common card pricing within the set between the low-number cards and the high-number cards. For example, the current pricing on the PSA site has for PSA 5 graded common cards between up to 310 is between $30-35. For common cards from from 311 thru 407 the price shoots up to an average of $140. The reason for the price difference…the high-number series came out so late in the summer that fan interest in baseball had already waned. As a result, many retailers had to return boxes and cases of unsold product to Brooklyn.  – Source, PSA


Total Cards in ‘Journey to 407′ Set: 2

PSA Set Registry Ranking: 153 (up 2)

On the way…#124 Monte Kennedy

We’ve been scrounging for a few weeks to find the best deal to pick up our former neighbors uncle, Monte Kennedy. There was only 1 auction on eBay for the longest time and some ‘Buy it Nows’…all around $30. So we watched the auction for a few days and then I realized that there was no picture of the back.

Having watched eBay fairly religiously for the last month, I’m dumbfounded at the number of cards that are put up without pictures of the back. Maybe 1 in 5 has both pictures. I would think that those who have pictures of the back would be able to make more money, but that’s just me. So when the auction finally put a picture of the back up showing the large stain on the back, I wasn’t interested anymore. The card sold for around $15, half the going price, but I would rather pay full price for a card with no issues.

So…this is the one that finally won.

52 topps 124

52 topps 124b

Centered. The color is sharp. I know what the back looked like before buying it. All and all, very excited.

It was a fun exercise having the kids go through the 9 or 10 ‘Buy it Nows’ and see which one was the best. Very good economic lesson on condition and pricing. “That one is cheaper, but it has a few stain spots on it,” Michael said about one.

“What about this one?” Alex said, pointing to one that seemed to have a lower price.

“How much is it for shipping?” I replied.

“Oh,” she said, downhearted, realizing it would cost more.

At the end of the day, we got a good one with free shipping and very much looking forward to getting it in the mail!


Date Purchased: June 21, 2014

Price for Card: $30.00

Total Spent on Set to Date: $61.50

% of set owned by: Me = 64%, My son = 21%, My daughter = 15%

On the hunt…#124 Monte Kennedy!

“What card can we get next?” my son asked about 30 seconds after we opened our first one.

“I don’t know…we need to look.” We spent a couple of days looking over cards and prices. I showed the kids how I set up a followed-search on ebay so anytime a 1952 Topps PSA 5 showed up I would get an email.

On Monday I got my updated email from ebay at work and it had about 30 or so cards listed. I scrolled through and my eyes kept catching this one…


And it wasn’t because of the picture, it was because of the name.

‘Monte Kennedy? Monte Kennedy? I know that name…how do I know that name?’ I found a picture of the back of the card and started reading and then I remembered how I knew the name.

As soon as I got home I called Michael and Alex to the computer. “Type in ‘1952 Topps Monte Kennedy’.” Alex dutifully typed it in and clicked on the Wikipedia link.

“Alex, read where he was born,” I said. She read Amelia and her face lit up. “Hey, that’s nearby!”

“Michael, read where he died.”

“Whaaaaaaa!?” was my son’s dumbfounded response. “He lived here, in Chesterfield?”

I smiled and nodded. “He is Mrs. Puryear’s brother.” Mrs. Puryear is the wonderful older lady that lived next door to us before we moved this past Christmas. Wonderful neighbors. Years ago after we first moved in I was talking to her daughter over the fence while my son and I threw the ball.

“My uncle played pro ball,” she said.

“Oh really, what was his name?”

“Monte Kennedy, he played for the Giants.”

I nodded and gave a ‘wow that’s kind of neat’ reaction. Never thought of it again…until Monday. Watching my kids eyes light up at the thought of owning a baseball card of Mrs. Puryear’s brother…that’s why we are building this collection!


Recent Family Fun: Tomorrow’s the last day of school and the kids are very, very excited. I for one have the express privilege of working in public education, but get to work all 12 months. No complaints. We feel very blessed in our new home. There is lots to do outdoors, mama and papa just got a plastic pool to wade around in, and the trampoline is up and bouncing away. We have gone 10+ years as an active trampoline family without a hospital visit (knock on wood)!

This past week saw both ‘X-Men:DOFP’ and was not overly enthused, and saw ‘Godzilla’ which was surprisingly good, if not a tad too long.

Also this week got my first 3 cards for the Cal Ripken PSA basic set I’m building…hoping for all 10’s. The first 3 are very, very pretty!

1 down…406 to go!

IMG_1541It’s one thing to talk about starting a 1952 Topps baseball set, it’s another to actually get the first card. The kids and I had been waiting for Johnny Klippstein (#148) for about a week, and it was like Christmas!

I have to admit, it was very fun. Not only is this the first card in our set, but it’s my first graded card EVER! While at my core I still flinch at the cost of grading, it’s hard to argue how nice it is to have memorabilia preserved in such a way. Even my wife, who has been supportive but could ultimately care less, was very intrigued by the casing and grading. I also realized that I bought the card without knowing what condition the back of the card was in which is a mistake I will NOT make again, but was very relieved to see that it was in great shape.


When I asked my oldest two what they thought, they just kept turning it over in their hands going, “This is cool!” In an effort to validate my whimsical decision to collect, I asked them what they remembered about Mr. Klippstein. My son remembered he shared a birthday with him (October 17) and to my astonishment my daughter remembered how he died listening to the Cubs playing for the National League pennant.

$_57My other three little-er ones only feigned curiosity because everyone else seemed so excited. I look forward to the day they are old enough to enjoy the experience as well and start investing in the family mutual fund;-)IMG_1547

DID YOU KNOW?: In the autumn of 1951, Sy Berger – dubbed the father of the modern baseball card – then a 28-year-old veteran of World War II, designed the 1952 Topps baseball card set with Woody Gelman on the kitchen table of his apartment on Alabama Avenue in Brooklyn. It was the first time player stats were included on the back of the card and team logos were included on the front. The basic design is still in use today. – Source, Wikipedia


Total Cards in ‘Journey to 407′ Set: 1

PSA Set Registry Ranking: 155 of 156 (Oh yeah!). To learn more about PSA Set Registries, click here.