Just because my book Confessions of a Baseball Card Addict is finally finished and available, doesn't mean that my journey is over. On my walk last night, I thought it would be a fun idea to add a bonus chapter and post it online for everyone to read who is interested. Think of this not as an online post to be read while skimming over a thousand other posts, but rather as an online chapter of a book to be enjoyed when you have time to do so. That almost doesn't need to be said, because ... well ... look who's writing it. Am I right? #tl;dr. This is going to be a really fun one for me
An Obsession with ... Cars?
Before I came back to the hobby as an adult, I had another obsession: Cars. I loved buying, selling, and trading them. Over the course of 15 years, I made plans to build up one car, only to sell or trade it off and make a deal for another. This happened over and over again, too. From Camaros & Trans Ams, to Mustangs and Corvettes, I was hyper passionate about horsepower. I have gone out of state to pick them up, and shipped them out of state as a part of a trade. My Friday nights would be filled with cruising with my friends looking for street races, and nothing would excite me more than pulling bus lengths on an exotic. (Chalk this up to youth stupidity - I do NOT condone street racing, as it is unsafe!)
Sitting at a stoplight in a shaking Mustang with a stroked & blown 346 was exhilarating. I loved feeling the lope of the motor & hearing whistle of the blower. It made me feel like the baddest man on the street - that is, until I looked like an idiot having to contort myself to get in & out of the roll cage...or take a right-hand turn only to have the door swing wide open!
My fastest car (timed at the track, that is) was a 1989 Firebird with a 383 stroker motor. It could lift the front tires with drag radials out back, and ran a best 11.09 @ 122. I drove to Louisiana to pick it up with Holly. After we got there, she saw this picture and smacked me in the arm. "You didn't say it could pop a wheelie!" That was a fun car.
Later on, I got bored with it and traded it for a turbocharged fox-body Mustang. When I got bored of that, I went onto a fourth gen Camaro SS. This pattern of following one path and changing directions happened numerous times.
In 2010, I picked up a C5 Corvette convertible for $15,000. With a little over 500 horsepower, it pulled an 11.2 @ 121 - not bad for a convertible! The previous owner told me tales of how he & his friends would race on the freeway at 3am with lookouts in cars equipped with walkie talkies in front of them. Races would reach 180 mph, which if you ask me, is ridiculously foolish. If you hit a pot hole, that's it! I would never do anything like this, but it was kind of fun to hear that it could go that fast.
My Vette was used in parades and taken to car shows as well. Pictured below is my dad when he sat in my Vette for the first time. He was the biggest gear head I knew, and I attribute my love for cars to him. I didn't even know this picture of him existed until about a couple of hours ago. Man, this picture means so much to me. I'm so glad I have it - he looks so happy and healthy!
I was proud of this red Corvette. So much so, that I myself decided to take it to a car show one time. I dreamed of people gathering around and taking in its beauty. When I got there, I quickly realized that wasn't going to happen. It seemed like everyone and their brother had a red Corvette. So much for sticking out above the crowd!
My true love will always be my first high horsepower car: My 1989 Chevy IROC-Z Camaro. It had a ZZ4 crate motor, and no a/c. Who needs a/c when you can go fast though, right? The picture below was probably taken in 1998 or 1999. This was the car I picked up Holly with for our first date, and housed all of my belongings when I was homeless at 19. So many memories. It represents the beginning of my obsession with horsepower.
I wanted racing stripes so much, and had a friend do them. They were crooked and had a few wrinkles, but I was incredibly proud. Pictured below is an impromptu photo shoot I had in the parking lot of the self-car wash one day.
Eventually, I put on a 3" cowl hood, a '92 Z28-style high rise spoiler and even a Supercharger. The car was taken to Earl Scheib to get the best paint job $300 could buy. It looked terrible. There were hairs from the painter embedded in the paint itself, and was just flat out unimpressive. (What do you expect for $300 though, right?)
During this time, I was on my honeymoon and came back to a horrible voice mail:
"Hi Mr. Jones. I regret to inform you that someone broke into our facility and stole your Camaro. Please call us back soon."
Frantically, I called back and they told me the entire story. It turned out that it was an ex-employee who took it out for a joy ride, and a cop chase ensued. He put all of its horsepower to the test trying to escape the law, and gave them a run for their money. As my dad used to say however, you can't outrun Motorola. My beloved IROC was recovered, and order was restored to the world.
The manager of the Earl Scheib (who was previously a huge jerk to me for complaining about his painter's hair being embedded in my paint job) called and asked me not to press charges.
I pressed charges.
Mysteriously enough, my car got keyed a week or so later! Coincidence?
I ended up taking it to a reputable body shop, and got a beautiful paint job. Eventually, I sold it to get a faster car (the Firebird shown above), but ended up always wanting back my IROC. I searched for it for years on Craigslist, but never found it. One day, the guy who bought it from me wrote me out of the blue...about 10 years later! He told me he busted the transmission and rear end in a street race (who puts slicks on a 10 bolt?!?!) about six months after he bought it, and just parked it in his mom's garage. I was so excited to buy it back, I nearly jumped out of my skin! Just as I did when I bought it the first time, I took my dad to inspect it and pick it up. My baby was back in my garage once more.
I wish I could say I lived happily ever after, but the car was nothing but a headache after that. After countless hours and dollars trying to repair it, the car just wouldn't run right. Eventually, I ended up cutting my losses and selling. This was a lesson that buybacks are never a good idea. (Kidding! Just thought I'd add in a little cardboard humor.) Regardless of my buyback misfortune, I remember the good times I had with that car as a young man, and though it didn't have the status (or a/c!) my Corvette did, it will always have a special place in my memories. Dad always told me out of all the cars I ever had, my IROC was his favorite.
My affinity for cars has a lot of similarities to my cardboard habits as well, and I think it might be the same for you, too. If you are a lifelong cardboard junkie, the odds are that you have stopped collecting, started, stopped again, restarted, refocused, etc. It is the nature of the beast. Due to loss of interest, finally completing your collecting goal, getting overwhelmed, financial reasons or other, almost everyone seems to go through this. Heck, I've done it myself a number of times as well.
What you are passionate about initially, may end up feeling more like a chore than excitement. The variety of collecting options has a way of bringing you back, though. You might be a hardcore TTM guy who has had enough, so you throw in the towel. Half a year later, you may take a liking to 1993 Finest Refractors, so you pour your heart and soul into them. After a couple years, you may not drool over their beauty like you once did, so you tap out again. Then you see some graded vintage cards that catch your eye. I'm telling you, this hobby is vast and has so, so, so many ways to get you hooked. Cardboard comes in many different flavors.
"I thought you stopped collecting Canseco?"
Anytime I post a Canseco card I have, I inevitably get someone saying "HOLD THE PHONE! I thought you stopped collecting Canseco?" While this is true (at least from a supercollecting perspective), I am back in the hobby again, collecting Canseco cards that I love.
This is a *vast* difference from where I was. In the past, I was all about picking up anything and everything I didn't yet have. While the goal of completion was unattainable, it was an exciting one. It was fun and impressive to say I had over 1,000 different game used & autographed cards, or over 200 1/1s.
But here is the truth: Perhaps it is because I already had them before, but whenever I view my old collection at CansecoCollector.com, I have very little desire to own 98% of what is shown there.
This is a screenshot of various cards from my site, and while it was fun to have the entire run and see them grouped together, they frankly would bore me to death now. Though there are 24 cards, it's really only 3 represented with different sized jersey swatches. The entire run was "necessary" as a Supercollector to own for completion sake - certainly not because they are exciting to look at or have a cool story. In fact, I went through my entire website of 1,000+ game-used and autographed cards and only found a little over 50 that I desire to own. Maybe Marie Kondo is right, after all!
What Would you Change if you Could Go Back?
I think we all ask ourselves the same question about our collections: "If I could do this over again, what would I have changed?" While I don't have any real collecting regrets, I would say if we hit some sort of a time travel warp that brought us back to 2014, I would not have invested nearly as much as I did in redundant buybacks. I got a real thrill in having dozens of the same card, but with different foil. I'm just not into that anymore. It is funny to think that card companies can take a stack of 25 worthless cards, stamp them and magically make them worth several dollars each. If they do it with just 5 of a worthless card instead, each of them become significantly more costly.
Please don't think I'm ragging on anyone who collects these, because I'm not. This is merely an observation - and an interesting one, if you ask me. I also find it infinitely more interesting that the same cards can be used as buybacks each year, but with different stamps, yet there are still collectors for all of them at a premium.
The same thing goes for the glut of uninspired 1/1 cards. That isn't to say all 1/1's are meaningless. For me, if there is a 1/1 card where the only difference between it and the base card is the foil color, I would now certainly pass. At least at the prices they were fetching when I was supercollecting.
My focus went from getting everything - completing rainbows and going to the ends of the earth to find proofs - to now searching out only what I love. Let me give you an example to show you where my head is at:
Once upon a time, this card reached over $200 at auction. When I got my copy (at quite a bit less than $200), I was super excited. It isn't really an impressive card, though. A plain swatch, and a serial number to 25. I am no longer fawning over this card like I did when I was hunting for it.
By contrast, this card has a significantly higher print run, no serial number and no jersey swatch at all. Never once did I look at it twice in my collection. Seriously, I probably only considered it a little higher than a base card. Now, I champion it as one of my favorites to look at. While it may not be anywhere near the most expensive or rare, it is something I never get tired looking at. I want more of this kind of thing in my collection.
In your own life of collecting, stopping, recollecting, etc. I hope that you find tremendous joy in the journey and not just the destination. The newness and excitement of starting over with a new perspective/focus, and hunting down the cards can be just as rewarding (if not more so) than actually landing the cards themselves. Speaking of the journey, allow me to share quite possibly one of the most fun stories that has ever happened to me in collecting. Ironically enough, it came after my supercollecting "career"!
Holy Grail Cards
Let's face it. We all want cards that we consider to be holy grail cards. If cardboard captivates you as much as it does me, there are cards out there that make you lose sleep. If you get a whiff of them being available, your heart skips a beat. This has happened to me for a number of cards, specifically the Canseco Supercollecting "staples". Ever since I started, I thought it to be of the highest order to pick up the following: (years ago, I posted almost this exact list everywhere I could so I would have the best possible chance of landing them!)
1986 Donruss Highlights White Letter Variation Rookie
1988 Topps Cloth Test Issue
1989 Donruss Blue Chips Prototype
1989 Leaf Blue Chips Prototype
1990 Donruss Aqueous
1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold
1997 Pinnacle Totally Certified Platinum Gold
1998 Donruss Crusade Red
These cards are unicorns, and at the very top of many people's want lists. They rarely ever make an appearance, and if you don't have one of your guy, you will go to great lengths to get them. While I was supercollecting, I was fortunate to get all but the '89 Donruss Blue Chips prototype and the '96 Select Certified Mirror Gold. If you don't know anything about these, seriously - google them. Collecting cards from the 80s and 90s simply don't get better than these. They are conquest-worthy.
I wrote in my book about a very kind man named Bob who literally GAVE me an '88 Topps cloth and an '89 Leaf Blue Chips card years ago. It was by far the wildest thing anyone has ever given me in this hobby. Shortly after I received the cards, I wrote an article about them. It didn't take long for a former Donruss employee to come knocking on my door. He found my article online and said he had some Leaf Blue Chips cards as well, hoping I could help him with the value of them.
I told him what I knew about them, but since I had the Canseco already, I didn't heavily pursue making a deal for them. I would check in from time to time to see if we could make any type of a deal, but nothing worked out. Years later, my Blue Chip went to another Supercollector as part of a much, much larger deal. When I announced I was selling my collection, Bob asked me about getting it back, and I about choked. I felt horrible that I didn't ask him first if he wanted it back! He told me not to worry about it and to not think another second about it, but I felt terrible. Surely, I would never be able to give him one back. Heck, I had never seen one for sale before.
Just then, I remembered the former Donruss employee, and my mission was clear: reach out to him and do everything in my power to get the Canseco he had so I could send it to Bob as a surprise for Christmas, just like he did for me years ago. Despite my best efforts, he didn't want to sell. At least, he didn't want to sell just the Canseco. It was extremely important to me to do what I could to give Bob back a Blue Chip, so I thought hard about buying everything the seller had since he wasn't willing to just sell the Canseco. By this time, I hoped another Canseco would be in the lot for me as well.
Over the course of several weeks, we ended up doing a deal for his Blue Chips. I wasn't 100% sure on what all would be included, but to say I lost sleep over the excitement of doing a deal years in the making would be an understatement. He sent over a picture of some of them, which I found quite interesting. They were sealed in packs! Initially, he thought they were complete sets, but I told him they seemed a bit thin to each have a full set. He looked closer, agreed and decided to open them himself. I noticed something that I didn't catch onto in the pictures until much later. The pack on the left said Donruss. This was extremely exciting to me. What if there was a Canseco Donruss Blue Chips card? I had only seen one before in my entire life.
Saturday evening, Holly and I were dropping off Atticus to a party and I received a notification. The text message read that the Blue Chips package was delivered, but no one was there, so it was left with a neighbor. To me, this sounded terrifying, because this is how many lost package stories start. I told Holly and she suggested we go home before going out to eat. Thankfully, it was in our mailbox (PHEW!) I put it inside, and just HAD to rip it open before we walked back out the door for dinner. Even the box was exciting! Then again, based upon how I devoured the box, I guess it is easy to tell that I was over the moon.
The contents were breath taking. As you can see, there are several common players, but what I found interesting is that there were several color variations, and even more interesting: Some were Leaf ... others were Donruss - not just the Weiss. Many were not in the mintiest of condition, and were either a tad smaller or larger than your standard 2.5x3.5 sizing. This is what I've seen in other Blue Chip cards as well, though.
Yes, there were even a couple Mark McGwire Blue Chips variations!!! If you are a McGwire collector and know what these are, your jaw is probably on the ground now.
Last but not least, was something that excited me to no end. The Canseco Leaf Blue Chip ... AND Donruss!!!!!!
To top it all off, there were multiples of some of these, too. Bob now has one back in his collection, and I have both the Donruss & Leaf in my collection.
When they all got here, I sat back and admired the cards while thinking about their story. They came from a former Donruss employee who had been sitting on them for years. He reached out to me because of an article I wrote thanks to Bob's generosity. Over the course of two years, thanks to keeping in touch with him, I was able to do a deal for quite possibly some of the toughest, most desirable cards of the '80s around. The two Canseco Blue Chips serve as extremely valuable trophies and a reminder of the long, long journey. It is a once in a lifetime kind of deal and story. I like collecting cards from stories like this, along with the stories themselves. The story doesn't end there, though.
To make things much, much, much better, I was able to sell/trade most all of the rest of them which resulted in getting back the '86 Donruss Highlights White Letter, '88 Topps Cloth and '90 Donruss Aqueous. Each one of these are absolutely worthy of their own articles, but I'll save that for another day. Grabbing all of these generally takes YEARS to acquire, and I was able to acquire them all within a month. There are hardcore collectors that never see these, ever, so it is a pretty big deal. I only know of one other person who owns all these plus both Blue Chips, and that is Canseco Supercollector AJ.
...and then things got crazy.
1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold Auctions of 2019
A couple weeks ago, PWCC listed some auctions on eBay that took the collecting world by storm. Starting out at 10 day auctions, over 100 1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold cards were listed. If you do not know what these are, they are arguably the most desirable parallels ... well ... ever. When they came out in 1996, it was big, big news. The only other high-end, super limited print run card at the time were the 1993 Topps Finest refractors. It has long been said that 241 copies of each Finest refractor exists, though many think that number is significantly higher. Limited to just 30 copies, the 1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold cards were jaw-droppingly gorgeous, significantly rarer and quickly gobbled up by both player and set collectors. Over 20 years ago when 1997 rolled around, they were already hard to find.
Nowadays, your best bet to find a mirror gold of your favorite player just might be to find a sealed box. The problem is that boxes can go for more than $800 and only have 20 packs. I have often thought about buying several boxes and doing group breaks just for a chance at pulling the Canseco, but knew that was out of the question from a financial perspective. The mirror gold cards were seeded at 1 in 300 packs. That's right: You may have to plunk down $12,000 for 15 boxes (if you can find them) just to find one in packs! To find the Canseco Mirror Gold, it would be a 1 in 43,200 pack shot. At $800 a box, you are looking at spending $648,000 to reasonably guarantee you hit the one Mirror Gold you want.
That's why things like this happen:
And even ... Lenny Dykstra???
I suspect even if these weren't graded, they would still fetch the same prices. The mirror gold cards have been on collector's want lists for literally decades, and many have simply never been seen. Couple that with the fact that they are extremely beautiful and fought over by both player & set collectors with extremely deep pockets, you have every reason to grab some popcorn and kick back to watch the bloodbath on the 10th day of the auctions.
No, that doesn't even begin to illustrate how exciting the auctions would be.
Bingo. That's more like it.
Canseco was listed, and I wasn't sure if I was going to go on it or not. When I first saw it, I gasped and simply couldn't get it out of my head. This would easily be the most important eBay Canseco auction ever on a single card, and no doubt would be record breaking.
I was torn, because there was a minor print line running down the left of the card and though I don't care much about numerical grading, I would have rather it graded out at a 9. I went back and forth on it several times over the first few days. After looking at the only other two copies I had ever seen before, I noticed they had the same print line. In fact, over 40% of the Mirror Golds that were listed had print lines. Heck, even the scan I used in the wanted ads I had been placing for years showed the same thing and I never even noticed it. I got a real kick out of that! I was able to see the card on video and how the print line interacted with the light reflecting off of its gold refractive goodness. It turned out to not bother me in the slightest, so for all of these reasons, I decided to go all in. I just didn't know if it was going to be enough.
The card I saw on eBay was something I had been searching YEARS for, yet it never popped up. To make matters "worse", the auction was from PWCC which typically seems to get higher prices for their listings. To add insult to injury, the auction was for 10 days. Talk about gut-wrenching. Needless to say, I had a loooong time to think about if I was really going to go on it or not. Here are a few graphics I have made using that card over the years: (See how much this card means to me??)
My personal favorite:
10 day auctions on cards like this are borderline cruel. Thinking about what may happen and dreaming about the card can really eat into your time, and that is exactly what this one did for me. Every night when I went to bed, I thought about it. It was a strange sensation, because this was the first time a card consumed me like this since I sold out. I wondered how many times the other people looking at this card flip-flopped, adjusted pricing in their heads and considered mortgaging their houses for it. Okay, that may be a bit of a stretch!
Soon, it became apparent that this was my "Game 7, Bottom of the 9th World Series" card. Almost no other Canseco Supercollector had this card, and surely several set deep-pocketed set collectors didn't either. Funded by my profits from selling, I chose to go big. Over the next several days, I saw numerous people all over the Internet talking about these listings. When the Canseco reached a few hundred dollars, people started to take notice and speculated wildly about where it would end at.
The One-of-One Killers
You may be surprised to find out that well known older cards outsell their 1/1 counterparts all the time. This is a strange realization I have come to recently, as I used to think that 1/1s were the pinnacle of collecting and most valuable. They are not. Cards that have been on collector's want lists for decades have time to generate a mythical aura about them. They have been dreamed of and have been the topic of countless discussions for years and years.
Because there are more than one of each of certain rare inserts/parallels, deep-seated rivalries and camaraderie are formed among the collectors of them. Owning rare cards from the '80s to '00s is almost like being a part of some sort of secret, exclusive club. Not owning them and being on a quest to find them is a shared experience that has been a topic of discussion among collectors many, many times over the years. Tales of how they were found or what they sold for in the past fuel our imaginations. For me, it is much easier for my heart to race when I see one for sale I want, than for a 1/1 that was printed just last week, and I don't think I'm alone, either. Check out Frank Thomas as an example:
The newer stuff? Not even the highest end Thomas cards could come close (but holy cow, are they gorgeous!) ...
Card companies are doing a really good job at printing beautiful cards. All of the Thomas cards shown above are jaw-droppingly gorgeous. The problem is that there are just so many of them, and because there is only one of each 1/1, there is no real reason to put them on your want list to begin dreaming about. That's the problem with 1/1 cards: they may never see the light of day, ever. But even if they don't, that's okay. Why? Because next month, there may be a 1/1 of similar quality (or better) that pops up. If not next month, then the next month after that ... or the next month ... or the next month.
You can never say that about the 1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold. While each one is technically 30 times more plentiful than any given 1/1 by definition, collectors are faced with the likelihood that any 1/1 created from here on out may have similar cards produced each year ... in multiples. The owner of a bat knob card, can say "I have a Mike Piazza bat knob card". If they have a '96 Mirror Gold? They can say "I have THE '96 Mirror Gold Piazza". One is driven by a premium relic while the other is driven by its own legend. At the end of the day, there will be many, many bat knob and barrel cards, but there will never be more '96 Mirror Gold cards than there are already. If they are rare enough, nostalgia trumps a newly stamped serial number, no matter how few digits there are.
HUGE Snipe Malfunction
I entered my best price in my sniping program and waited (im)patiently for the auction to close. While I was waiting, I had this nagging worry about my snipe program. What if it didn't fire? I missed out on a card a few months ago, so I upgraded the program just to safeguard myself. While there is ALWAYS a possibility that another Mirror Gold would pop up tomorrow, it is also a possibility that one may not show up for another 20 years, and for a significantly higher price.
The final day of the auction, I heard that people were getting 8x eBay bucks. Not me, though. That would have certainly have been helpful when going all in on the greatest Canseco auction to ever hit eBay. Gary Carter Supercollector and friend Anthony offered to help me out by using his account so I could take advantage of the free money. Initially I declined, because I didn't want to have him go to the trouble of doing that just to save me some money if I won this card. Later on in the day, I came around and agreed to do it but said I would like for him to take half of the free money as a way of saying thank you.
Anthony set the snipe for me in his program, and I logged into my sniping account to remove mine. What was in front of my eyes was horrifying. My snipe program said I was out of sync with eBay and it needed to be re-authenticated. I clicked one listing while I logged in, and got a huge error message. In other words, had Anthony not set the snipe for me using his account, I would have just let my sniping program sit without checking in, and it wouldn't have fired for me. Unfortunately, this exact thing happened to other collectors, and they missed out on their cards. I couldn't believe the bullet I dodged!
End of the Auction
As the final day turned to night, the final hours became minutes. I felt like a pre-game show of some sort with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver would be appropriate for these ending. The closer the time came, the faster my heart started beating. It is times like this where you try hard to embrace the emotional roller coaster that is the journey of collecting. It is oftentimes a high that is unmatched by anything else in this hobby! Watching the timer count down from my phone was quite the heart pounding experience.
It's only a baseball card, Tanner.
I noticed the hand holding my phone was shaking slightly, and I felt my heart beat in my throat. In the final seconds, my phone vibrated multiple times, showing massive price increases each time as everyone's best snipes came in. Then, it all stopped. I took a deep breath and checked the final price.
Up until now, the winner of the Canseco was a complete mystery to everyone. Surprise, it was me! I won the card I have dreamed of (yes, I have literally dreamed of this card) for years! BigUnitCards calculated the final ending price for all 123 Mirror Gold cards, and it they ended up being over $50,000 total - without the aid of Jeter or Griffey! Then again, when Albert "Don't call me Joey" Belle cracks $2,500, what do you expect?
As I predicted, the auction was record breaking for a Canseco card, as was likely the case for many other players in this auction lot as well. While I wished that it would have gone for less, I'm thankful I was able to use the eBay 8x bucks and pay for it using the profits from what I sold. Now that the cat is out of the bag, you just never know what the next one will go for, now that people's expectations have been adjusted. It was certainly no fluke. I caught wind of this being a massive card years ago, when a dealer said he would gladly pay $1,500 all day every day for the Canseco, because he knew he would be able to make a massive profit at that price.
I'm extremely excited to have not only been the winner of it, but also a part of the whole experience. The Mirror Gold auctions of 2019 were not merely auctions. It was an event. An event that was experienced by hundreds of collectors, and will be remembered in our hobby for a long, long time.
My "new" collection is still under 100 cards (not counting base & base inserts) and I have no desire to pump up that number for number's sake. These past few months have been among the most enjoyable times for me in this hobby, and it isn't just because of the white whale cards I have landed. It is because of the wild things I have experienced getting them. I'm no longer consumed with the goal of obtaining everything, and there is no compulsion to spend hours on end searching for cards. It is a fully relaxed hobby that takes very little time - aside from writing about it, that is!
If there is one thing that I have learned, it is that this hobby is not just about collecting little pieces of cardboard. It is also about collecting memories. It isn't just the destination, but also the journey that makes it all so much fun. To that end, I say continue your quest in this hobby by taking breaks when you need to, come back when you want and refocus as many times as it takes until you find what makes most sense for you and what brings you the most joy without financial or emotional stress.
By the way, the 1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold just came in. It looks a hundred times better in hand! I can't stop staring at it. The PSA holder just had to go, though.
I'm extremely delighted to say that the print line that I was worried about is nearly undetectable, and can't find a single flaw on the card! If I were into PSA grading, I would definitely have sent this back in, because it looks nearly perfect. This is the most excited I have been for a mail day, ever. I couldn't be happier!