Tuesday, November 19, 2019

A big loss leads to a very large addition to my Rangers collection

I am pretty sad, because my favorite place to go in the Hudson Valley is closing. The Dutchess Marketplace, which they advertise as a flea market but is really an antique mall, has lost it's lease and is being forced to close at the conclusion of 2019. This has been my source of vintage cards since 2014, when I first visited it. It's where I went first when I decided I really wanted to collect the NHL, which you can see in this post I made at the time: Life as a Hockey Collector. It's also where I got all my Scoop cards, and where I discovered the 1942 Gum, Inc. War Gum set, a favorite non-sports set of mine.

I've known since then that he had lots and lots of Rangers cards, but I never found the money to buy them. Well, knowing I was probably losing my chance, I made sure to get them.
as you can see, it's a lot of vintage cards...
Here they are broken out by set! It's not all Rangers- there's a large stack of what used to be a set build of 1972-73 Topps-but it's mostly Rangers, covering from 1969-70 through 1988-89, and the 1964-65 Parkhurst set that was actually issued in 1994. I didn't track any other team, but I know I added 247 new Rangers cards, which is a lot. According to the stats page on the Trading Card Database, it pushed my Rangers collection over 1000 cards! That's more than 500 cards more than my 2nd place team, the Canadiens.

The 1972-73 set is now my closest to completion vintage hockey set, as I now have 114 of 176 cards, although 3 of them are in really bad shape and need replacing. They are so bad I didn't even enter them into my collection on the Database.

It's not EVERY 70s and 80s Rangers card, but it's most of them...at least from Topps. There is some O-Pee-Chee represented, but I didn't get as many as I did Topps. I did get my very first card from 1969-70 and 1978-79 O-Pee-Chee, and the Parkhurst set is also one I was missing before.

I have not scanned any of them yet, although I will scan everything eventually...it's going to take me quite a long time to get through them all. In fact, based on the cards I got at the Marketplace, and the fact that I opened 4 of the 6 Harness Heroes years that day, I actually ended up getting 611 new cards that day...aside from the hockey cards here, I also got a set of girly cards which I won't be able to show, and then I visited the other card dealer there and picked up some more modern stuff...including some I plan to send out at some point.

Just because it's visible in the photo, I should mention that I did add the Star Wars card shown from my vintage dealer friend as well. It's got a little bit of water damage but the hanger pack header cards come up so rarely that I didn't care. He had taken it in in a trade since the last time I was there.

There's actually a third card dealer there, who deals mostly in sealed boxes. I purchased a box of 1993 DC Cosmic Teams but I didn't open it yet. Or think to take a picture. He had single packs for sale of the 1990 Classic Monster Trucks set, which I had to get, even though I have the complete set already. None of the packs survived so I got one...knowing it'll never be opened, because there are no inserts or parallels to chase. I believe, in my 31 years in the hobby, it's the first time I've purchased a pack with zero intention of opening it.
By the way, I have seen Carolina Crusher in person...a long time Chevrolet supporter, on the tailgate during this era were the words "Have you driven OVER a Ford lately?", which was a play on Ford's late 80s ad "campaign of "Have you driven a Ford lately?"
I also got a comic from him...
It's in black and white and of notoriously dubious quality, but I had to get it anyway, especially at $1! I added the Michael Jordan comic to my collection sometime in the mid-1990s, but I wasn't collecting hockey at the time. I'm still looking for the Charles Barkley vs. Godzilla comic, which is a real thing that exists.

I really hate that we are losing the Marketplace, over greed. (The lease owner plans to put in "upscale coffee shops" which I will never support on principle). It was a fun place to go where you never knew what you were going to find, I loved walking through it and seeing the various items, ranging from antique tools, to fossilized dinosaur poop, (yes, really) to even cars...and especially the multiple card dealers.

They are working on finding a new place, but this is the second time the same person has pulled the lease on them...and the last time it was about a decade that they went without a location. It is far more popular now, so I'm hoping that they find a place much quicker now. I've become friends with some of the dealers, too. I won't be able to go see them anymore.

But at least I won't always be regretting missing out on all those Rangers cards. I already missed out on the Islanders cards he used to have, and are mentioned in the post I linked to above.

However, in retrospect, I should not have spent the money on the cards, because my teeth problems that I mentioned in the last post got really bad this past week. In fact, I've scheduled this post to be published while I'm having my very first root canal...and holy crap, tooth repair is expensive.

Friday, November 15, 2019

A rare Ebay purchse knocks one of my most-wanted Non-Sports sets off my Missing Sets list

I don't do ebay too often. It's not that I have anything against the platform, but most of my online card purchasing is on COMC. I like paying only one shipping fee, and being able to build a larger order.

But last week I was poking around on Ebay, I don't remember why but probably researching something, and I came across a lot of 50s cards that included not one but 5 of the cards from the 1953 Topps License Plates set. This was one of the few Topps automotive sets I was missing, and it's the one I've been chasing the longest, since I first learned it existed probably about 15 years ago.

I bid on and successfully won the auction! They arrived this week, when I was dealing with a terrible amount of pain from a bad tooth that I ignored too long. (The worst pain I've ever felt, and I know pain since I live in it 24/7/365)





Every US state and province of Canada got a card in the set, plus I think a few other places.

License plates used to be a really popular card topic, but then just stopped after this set. I think it's the most recent example of a license plate set, despite the fact that it was the second or third produced by Topps in a 5 year period!

However, that was not all that came in this lot...
 1958 Topps Zorro, my first card from the set.
 1959 Rinso Soap The Paladin, my first card from the set.
1954 Quaker Sports Oddities, also my first card from the set. It's a little rough and has some extensive paper loss on the back, which is normally something I dislike, but considering I was buying it for the license plates, I consider it essentially a throw in.

There was also a card I needed but have not scanned yet from the 1956 Topps Jets set, and one that turned out to be a duplicate from the 1959 Sicle Air Force set.

Not bad considering I paid $3.95 for the lot. The shipping actually cost me more!

Now I just need an example of the Topps Sports Cars set...

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A visit to the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame - finally a museum that had cards!

Last weekend, my brother took me on another Adventure, this time it was to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY. I never know where the Adventures are going to be, it's more fun that way, and this was certainly a fun one...and that's before I found real, honest to goodness cards in the gift shop!

This museum was not something I knew even existed, but I don't know all that much about horse racing...of any sort. Harness Racing is when the horses pull a small trailer called a "sulky" where the driver sits. It is a very old sport, the Goshen Historic Track, where the museum is located, opened in 1838, and has been the continual host of races ever since. It's one of two sporting arenas on the National Register of Historic places!

An even cooler aspect of this is that my great grandfather used to take part in this sport. I never met him, as he died  before I was born, but my brother did. All I know is that he was a driver, but I never realized something until we were there and talking about it...but my great-grandfather was an athlete! How cool is that? I don't know if he ever raced at Goshen or stayed at his local track, he lived in New Jersey at the time. But Goshen is not all that far away from New Jersey, so it's possible. It's something I want to know more about and as I would see later, they keep very detailed records...so I might be able to find out more some day.

Neither of us had ever been there, so we didn't know what to expect, but as we turn into the driveway, the track comes into view...and as we are driving in the driveway, we see some horses go by on the track! We happened to arrive there are the perfect time, because there were 4 horse/driver teams out there on the track practicing! Wow!
I took a little video...
it was pretty cool to see them, and especially hear them, going around the track.
They went back behind the building, off the track, and we went into the museum.
 The museum is largely in a stable built in 1912, although it has been expanded because the museum is quite large.
 here are some pictures from inside the museum:



 This somewhat lousy photo shows the original stable section, which is the main part of the museum. The original floor remains!
 The actual cart pulled by Hambletonian!




 This is the only known single-wheel sulky.
 The original stable is the building where hay chutes were invented, I think the lady who worked there said. Original people had to move the hay manually, but they invented chutes here were a person could put the hay in from the second floor and it would go down in to the stable stalls for the horse to eat.
 This was built in Whitehall, NY, which is by Lake George.

 Actual sleigh bells!
 Family tree of Hambletonian
 The museum has lots of models. Some of horses, mostly of people. They are really impressive, more on them below.
 They have a Sulky you can get on to see what it's like...I had some difficulty getting off...in fact, I had to get on the floor and crawl out from under it, which was quite a challenge!
 The very first ever moving starting gate, made from a cut-down 1932 Ford.
 The Hall of Fame for each person is a unique model made of them. It was truly spectacular. I photographed each and every one. Living people are in one room, those who have died, referred to as Immortals, have their own room. As a modeler, I was highly impressed not only with the quality of the work but also with the effort put in to sculpt and cast a unique model of each person. This is one of the more unique models- in the welcome video when you enter the museum, they show this lady "swimming" the horse, which is something I didn't know was possible. Horses can swim, and they made her model showing that.
 Here's a view of the track from the second story lookout.
 I love historic markers like these.
 After we finished the museum, we talked into town a little bit. Goshen is an old town with a lot of cool architecture. This obelisk is in honor of a signer of the Declaration of Independence who lived there. It's also in the middle of the road, which is kind of odd.

 Here's a look into town. We didn't explore that way...my medicine makes me have to eat at certain times and I was going to be pushing it as is- so that direction was left for another day.
 There is a Civil War monument in town.
You can just see the age of the buildings here. I really like architecture quite a bit. One of the houses, on the other side of the road, has a historical marker denoting that it's where Ulysses S. Grant stayed to watch the races from the back balcony. (It's shown in the album).

Now, the museum had a gift shop. I naturally explored the gift shop, and found some post cards...
 The Museum itself.

 These two are both of Grayhound, a famous horse. His stable- including those two striped chairs and the lamp- are at the museum. They were moved there and reassembled board-by-board from their original location.
 A card advertising a book. It counts!
 This very large card- it barely fit on my scanner tray- shows West Point.
This one, the same size as the West Point card, shows the view from to the southeast taken from Bear Mountain.

Then, as we are getting ready to check out, I notice a small display of small white boxes...a step over to them reveals that they are indeed trading cards! The first museum I've ever been to that had cards! They are called Harness Heroes, and a little researching online tells me that they have been produced since 1991. They had six different years- 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2011 and 2013-and my brother got me each year. Each set is 36 cards, so I ended up adding more than 200 to my collection that day! One weird thing is that they use the exact same design every year...and have since 1991! They don't even change the color of the border. That's a little strange, but it's a pretty solid design.

Here's a few interesting photos from each set:


 The sets are mostly images of famous horses (both current and historical) with some people at the end of the set, and the final card or two being something important to the sport. The 2000 set had a card for the track, which is great, considering I got all the cards there.


 Most of the driver cards are taken at the track, but some are posed shots.

This photo dates to the 1800s.

 Based on the back of this card, he is the winningest driver in history, with 15,523 wins in 58.626 career races in a span covering 1981-2012! The fact that they have such detailed records (of all the drivers and horses that got cards) is what gives me hope that I may find out more about my great-grandfather.
 I'm showing this one mostly because I think my mom will enjoy seeing it.
 The lady who swims the horses is now in my card collection!
Each set came with a cover card- it can't be called a checklist, because while it does list all the cards in the set, they are not in numerical order and no numbers are given on this card. It looked the exact same in each set, other than being a lighter blue before 2011.

While we were walking around the grounds, we saw a sign for a car show they hold in August...which involves parking the cars around the track. We will absolutely be attending that show in the future, and I plan to check and see if they have new years of cards when we go...there is a set produced every year.

While I'm used to many more horsepower, this was a lot of fun- and seeing the horses on track was truly an amazing experience! I'm really glad my brother chose this one because it opened my eyes to a sport I knew very little about, but now have an appreciation for. Racing, the concept of competing to see who's fastest...it doesn't matter if it's a car or a horse, I enjoy it.

I ended up taking over 1200 photos that day. It is the 4th most I've ever taken in a day. You can see all the good ones on my website here: Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame

You can see all the Harness Heroes card sets, both front and back, on Cardboard History Gallery here: Other Sports By Set I have them in Other Sports by Set, sorted chronologically mixed in with the other sports that aren't part of the Big 5, which are each listed with their own section.

Thanks for reading!