Friday, January 10, 2014

Condition of a Rookie Card

We all know that there are a few things to consider when purchasing a card.
  • Condition
  • Condition
  • Condition
  • Price
But mostly condition.  Now, I think that we all have a weakness for old vintagey cards with slightly rounded corners and sometimes a pin hole isn't the worst thing in the world.  "Character" is what they say about them.  "Charm".

Here are some of the 1951 Topps Magic cards of Bill Wade that are currently available on ebay.  I searched for Bill Wade Magic.  You can get more results if you drop the Magic and ad 1951.

I've grabbed some screen shots of the fronts and listed Buy It Now prices, or starting bid price if an auction.

The card offered at the lowest price is in the poorest condition.  Since this is the one of the keystone cards to a respectable Bill Wade collection I'm thinking that I should pass on this one, despite the "charm".


The second card has some promise.  Fairly tight.  A bit of corner ding.  The price is at the right range for me.


Next card is a big dingier.

Condition doesn't always apply to the front or the corners.  What does the back look like?  The "Magic" of these cards is one could scratch away the silver coating and reveal the answer to the question.  Topps revived this at least one more time in 1983 with their Scratch-Off cards.  I guess an unscratched card would be more pristine.  We'll see one in a bit.

Next up is a card for about $30.  Rounder corners, off center, and a nasty ding / crease at the bottom left.

We're over $30 for this.  Ding upper right.  Rounded lower right.  Like Bill Wade, I think I'll pass.


Close to a $50 card.  I've never spent that much on a single card.  And I won't, although it does look nice.
And now we reach the highest priced 1951 Topps Magic Bill Wade card on ebay.  Two hundred dollars.  Look at the back, though.  Virtually pristine.  Except for the scratches.  The great condition isn't enough for me to want to buy this one.


So, for those that know my collecting style, which card should I get?


  1. Mark, I'd grab the second card in a heartbeat. It offers the most card for the $ IMHO. Heck, it's a better card than a couple of those that are at least double the price.

    1. Commishbob, thanks for the advice. I actually purchased it before I posted. I'll be showing it soon enough.

  2. My collection style is much different from yours because I would go for the first one.

    What I consider when purchasing a card is:


    In a way I prefer "well loved" cards mainly because I keep my cards in a binder. No sense in buying a perfect copy of a card only to take it out of it's card holder and put it in a sheet.

    1. AdamE - I generally think that "my" criteria is similar to yours. I was using the Condition, Condition, Condition, Price example for what I consider elite collectors might say.

      Since this, to me, is one of the cornerstones of this player's collection, I did want to go with a slightly better version.