Who wants to laugh at my eBay failure?

19 06 2008

So here I was just 45 minutes from being released from work surfing on eBay when out of the blue I spotted an Andrew Miller autograph with just two hours left and only one bid for just barely $3.00 dollars. Almost instantly my “STEAL” alert light came on at the idea of winning an Andrew Miller autograph for less than $10.00 (almost impossible these days). The card is from some 2007 Upper Deck product I barely recall and I have missed out on the autograph version about 5 times in the last 2 months.

The card is gorgeous don’t get me wrong but in my excitement I failed to inspect the card properly. By the time I won it for just $3.26 I felt more proud than ever before. I beat the system and won an awesome Andrew Miller autograph to add to my collection. When I finally did win it, I yelled to Tatiana to come look at my victory. Here is the exact conversation.

Mario – TATIANA!!!!

*Tatiana takes a break from feeding our son*

Tatiana – Can you wait five minutes?

Mario – NOOOO, this is important!!!

*Tatiana walks over to room and finds me on eBay*

Mario – I just won the cheapest Andrew Miller autograph ever!

*Mario refreshes eBay auction and scrolls to the photo*

Mario – What the %$^&??????

Tatiana – Wow, you called me over for a base card?

*Mario hangs head in shame*


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16 responses

19 06 2008
albuqwirke

Just have Andrew sign it for you!

19 06 2008
Dave

Well, at least it’s #’d to 500 …

19 06 2008
jcfoote

Ouch… I’m sorry to hear that Mario. At least it’s serial numbered!

19 06 2008
dayf

oops. Well, you’re one closer to 100 Andrew Miller cards at least!

19 06 2008
jv

that sucks! at least it’s a really good looking card…

Was the auction “mislabeled” or misleading? Just curious…

19 06 2008
oldschoolbreaks

*cue Price is Right loser sound* j/k Mario….it’s still a nice card for your collection.

19 06 2008
Bacchus815

+1 for being with someone who knows what a base card is

19 06 2008
Mario A.

JV, nope….not mislabeled at all. I was just in a rush, on a laptop with a glare, and bid without looking.

D’oh! Here’s the auction.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=110261346508&ssPageName=STRK:MEWN:IT&ih=001

19 06 2008
Paul/DDoubleplay Sports

Mario this nothing compared to what this guy did.
I was reading this story on line at Tuff Stuff and I ask who is laughing and who’s is a failure now?

DEAL, NO STEAL, OF THE CENTURY: WAGNER CARD FOR $5?

I receive a ton of calls and e-mails, and yes, I answer my phone and all of e-mails. This month’s column is about one of them. If you’re squeamish, grab the Pepto-Bismol before reading.
Reader Doug Smith of Texas called me and told me a story that will have all of you feeling bad for him and perhaps yourselves. I asked that he e-mail me the story as well so I could quote him, and he has given his permission for me to share his story.

Smith was born and raised in Durham, N.C. As a kid, his grandfather passed along some old baseball cards he had collected when he was a kid. (At this point, I’m guessing many of you can instantly relate and might know where I’m going, but stay tuned. Granddad thought that since they were old, they weren’t worth anything. However, since he knew that Doug collected cards, he gave them to him.

This was the summer of 1980, and 16-year-old Doug was a big Durham Bulls baseball fan (the Bulls are a minor league team in the International League, the AAA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays and of Bull Durham fame) who went to all the weekend home games during the summer.

“One weekend I decided to take a few of the odd-looking cards to the game to see if anyone there knew anything about them. I went up to a fellow with a table set up who was selling baseball cards – someone I had seen there before. I handed him the cards and asked him if they were worth anything. He took three or four cards and went through them, stopping on one card. He just stared at a certain card for what seemed forever.”

OK, I know you all know what’s coming next.

The “dealer” offered young Doug a five-spot for the card, which meant a whole lot to Doug at the time. “I thought and grabbed the fiver he put in my face. I needed some weekend spending money. Five dollars was a lot to a poor kid in 1980. It was snack’s galore that night.”

Doug later learned that the cards were (of course) all 1909 T-206 white borders, and the $5 card was the famed Honus Wagner, also known as the Holy Grail of card collecting.

“The guy took my card, packed up and left. I never saw him again (at the games). Still unsure of what I had, I took a couple more to a game a few weeks later. There was a new guy set up. (Doug actually remembers this guy’s name, which I am excluding). I showed him a couple of cards. One, I don’t remember, but the other was a Ty Cobb portrait. (He doesn’t remember which background color it was; red or the much more rare green) Somehow, he managed to talk me into trading them both for (you’re gonna want to sit down for this part, too) a 1970s Amos Otis, a 1950s Max Surkont, Bob Oldis, and a few more 1970s players.” (Translation: He got hosed).

Now it takes some testicular fortitude to admit to a story like this, believe me. We’ve all made some embarrassing trades in our collective cardboard lives, but I sincerely doubt that anyone can top this one.

“I remember the Wagner and Cobb cards like it was yesterday. I hear that hindsight is 20-20, and boy, is that right.At least I got my ‘weekend spending money!’ This tragic memory was stirred up again after I opened my new Tuff Stuff‘s Collectors Monthly and saw an ad showing a huge photo of a T-206 Honus Wagner with the headlines ‘$317,250, a new record for a graded poor condition Honus.’
“If I only knew then about cards what I know now. I was, and still am, heartbroken when I found out a few months later what I lost at the Bulls games those nights. But I was just a 16-year-old school boy looking for some weekend spending money.”

The fact that Doug, now 44, can relate this story without grinding his teeth down to the gums amazes me. At least he managed to save the rest and still has them to this day. He still has a Napoleon Lajoie portrait, a Chick Gandil (Black Sox), Hal Chase with trophy, Mordicai Brown and several other major league, minor league and some elusive Southern League cards.

So, what was really wrong here? One might say that he was made an offer and he took it. That’s true, but as a 16-year-old, Doug was a minor and that makes the buy technically illegal. One might say he was a fool to bring the cards to a public venue and flash them to a stranger that had more knowledge than him. That’s also true, but he was a kid and this was 1980, when cards were barely a blip on the radar screen and no one had ever heard of Upper Deck. Some might say that the dealer was a scumbag, and they’d would be 100 percent correct.

I have always had a policy in my 20 years as a storeowner when it came to buying cards from minors. I simply don’t. A minor may not enter into a legally binding contract, which is exactly what selling to a dealer is. I ask them to bring in a parent and then I only speak to the parent with the minor listening. If they want to talk, fine, but I will not address any monetary offers, etc. to or from a minor – ever. It just ain’t right.

Doug signed off his letter by saying, “Just wanted to let someone know.”
Well Doug, I let everyone know for you.

Scott Fragale Tuff Stuff Magazine

19 06 2008
Charlie

My first instinct is to call shennanigans on this story.

If it is true, then I don’t feel bad for that guy one little bit. If this happened to a 9 year old, then I would feel sorry for the kid, and think the dealer was a scumbag.

As it is, it happened to a 16 year old with the common sense of a 5 year old.

19 06 2008
Gellman

Man, that Future Stars set is a product that just keeps on giving!

19 06 2008
Tubbo & Dubba Tubba

We do.

19 06 2008
Dave

That is a very interesting story from Paul/DDoubleplay Sports. I’ll disagree with Charlie in that I do feel bad for the guy who sold the card. Keep in mind that this was 1980, a little bit before the baseball card hobby really started growing. I don’t think many people knew that cards could be worth significant money in 1980, and even for people in the know, the value of the Wagner card wasn’t anywhere near what it is now. Heck, Beckett didn’t exist back then, but I’ll bet that the market value was only in the hundreds. And the kid was 16. I know that I made some stupid decisions with money when I was 16. So I think that the dealer was unscrupulous.

Anyway, it’s funny how the article seems to suggest that the Bulls were the Triple-A team for the Tampa Bay Rays in 1980, a full 18 years before the Devil Rays came into existence. The Bulls were actually a Single-A team in the Carolina League at the time. They were affiliated with Atlanta when they were a Single-A team, but I’m not sure if that affiliation stretched back to 1980 or not. They played in the old Durham Athletic Park back then, which is where the Bull Durham movie was filmed. So, you can envision this story about the Wagner card occurring in the same place where Crash Davis and Nuke Laloosh played.

19 06 2008
Mario A.

Dave, great post. Unfortunately, I hit the SPAM button instead of APPROVE.

Sorry.😦

***EDIT***

I found it!

19 06 2008
The Infamous Tatiana

Don’t blame anything on a laptop. You were on a desktop and there was no glare! Just admit the defeat and be happy it was a pretty card.

5 07 2008
Doug Smith

Hi guys. This is Doug Smith. Yse, the clown who traded his Wagner for CRAP ! The Bulls were a A club of the Braves in 1980. That was the Durham Bulls comeback year after being out of business for a while. I sstill have the ticket stub from the 1st game of the “80” season. TJ wrote in the part about the “Rays”. This was the summer of 1980 & I was actually 15 years old, not turning 16 till Sept. Hopefully, my common sence has improved a little over the years & no longer at a 5 year old level. Maybe 10 by now. Thanks.

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