There was a good five years where I was obsessed with building vintage Topps sets. Back in the late 90's, when cards were getting all shiny and game-used, I went back to the future and put 80-90% of my collection dollars towards this end. I found the hunt to be infinitely better than the payoff, though. Finding the right starter lot, looking at various star cards, tracking down those last few high numbers...this was the part I enjoyed. At the end of it all, all I got was binders full of old cards - most of which I couldn't care less about. I sold all my vintage Topps sets a few years ago and never looked back.
I still like the idea of building vintage sets, more than the actual act, and I support anyone who enjoys this, as well. One of the first, if not the first, card blog I stumbled upon way back in 2008 was The Great 1965 Topps Project. I don't even remember what I was looking for when I found it, I might have followed a link from somewhere else, honestly, I don't recall. But when I found Kevin's blog, I liked his concept - he wanted to build a vintage set (guess which one) through the kindness of online strangers and only by trades and donations. I liked it. At the time, he was very early in the process. I found a few 1965s I had laying around and sent them to him. I found his other site and sent him some Orioles cards. He sent me some Mets cards. We became very steady trade partners. I also printed out his wantlist from the 1965 Topps site and when I went to shows, I would pick up cards for him. I found the hunt again! I enjoyed the heck out of it. Over the last 5 years or so, I have sent tons of cards to Kevin for his 1965 set. Recently, I noticed he as down to four, and a tough four they were - The Mantle, the Niekro, the Longborg rookie, and the Hunter rookie. These are a formidable group to finish a set. I had looked for off condition Mantles for the set for a while with no luck. Then a few months ago, I found a gentleman who had these four cards at a show in White Plains. Buying them straight out seemed to go against the spirit of Kevin's set building plan, so I worked some emails with the dealer and worked out a trade for the final four. I then emailed Kevin that I had tracked down his white whale quad. He was thrilled to hear I had gotten them for him. We worked out a theoretical trade for them and I got the joy of completing a vintage set without the letdown of "the end."
Knowing my love of the Giants and Saints, Kevin sent me some:
That Andy Robustelli is a beautiful piece of well-loved vintage. The other two are pretty nice as well, can't go wrong with Sam Huff and Charley Conerly.
The key pieces of the trade were two vintage Rookie All Stars I thought I would never get around to putting in my collection.
To me, the key to all the All Star Rookies is the Willie McCovey. It is his rookie card and it is an iconic one at that. And now it is mine. The Billy Williams is also a tough vintage rookie card and pretty spiffy in its own right. Now I got one of those too. They will both find their places of honor in my favorite nook of my collection. Kevin has also promised me more. The man is very generous. Altruism is underrated to say the least. Thanks Kevin!