I'm pretty familiar with the individuals who make up our Net54 community of Non-Sports collectors. Our superior folks have great collections, share information and images and even develop web sites and extraordinary galleries of images for us to enjoy. But watching the results of major auctions both at auction houses and Ebay makes me suspect that there is another school of "big fish" out there. Only a small percentage of the hobby's major purchases get shared or admitted to here. Who are these guys that spend big money and score some of the premier items from our hobby but never share their hobby with others? Are they all big money lawyers and doctors with vaults full of the best stuff? Are they speculators putting their money in cards and wrappers instead of the Stock Market?
I'm just curious. Some of you who deal must be in contact with these high rollers. To quote Butch Cassidy, "Who are these guys?" (And if some of you big fish are lurkers on this web site, show yourself and share with the rest of us) - Jack J.
I think that is a good question as you would think word would get around of the nice collections. Some are on this site but even the known collectors here often go through selling surges. On eBay it's easy for me to see who buys all the "N-cards" of certain sets. I suppose they could be buying from auctions too.
Would love to have some of these big fish come on the Board and show their collections. eBay IDs Cryptocard and Foxxydog are 2 that immediately come to mind.
I think there are a lot of reasons we don't know some of these people. One big one is they don't want to be known. For whatever, reason, many of these people collect stuff and just don't feel the need to share the fact that they collect them nor involve themselves in discussing the stuff they have. That's kind of anathema to some of us as we absolutely love delving into the details of the cards, sets, what we have and just generally enjoying the hobby that way. Many of them don't. Maybe they're concerned about the value of their collection, maybe they just value their privacy or whatever reason. I know a few of these people.
Another reason is that, among the MANY ways eBay has jacked up their system, you cannot see what people are winning what items anymore. Back in the day, we could all marvel at the wins that Cryptocard or Cwick74 or Za99 others had and really enjoy seeing them buy stuff to add to collections that must be just incredible. That's no longer a possibility, so about the only time you get a glimpse into collections like that is when they are disassembled.....like Chad and Doug did to certain parts of their collection through Legendary auctions over a 2-3 year period.
Another issue is that I think there is a HUGE amount of new blood coming into the sports side of the equation and I have to believe some of that money may be picking up the random nonsports set here and there. To a person who spends $150,000 for a PSA7 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, buying an N15 Allen Ginter Generals set for $3,000 wouldn't be anything. I've seen that happen or heard of that happening a couple times too. Makes it tough for some of the 'regulars' sometime, but, in the long run, it makes all our collections a little more valuable.
There aren't many auction houses that really put a great deal of devotion into nonsports. Mastro/Legendary did during their hey day and Steve Lucas is at Goldin and trying to build theirs up some. REA has begun to put more into theirs and Heritage does a pretty good job in cycles. There's no mid-range auction house equivalent for nonsports like the sports auctions at Love of the Game, Sterling, Kevin Savage, etc, although most all of them do get the occasional nonsports consignment here and there.
I've sold stuff to 3-4 of them over the years but don't really feel comfortable 'outing' them in a public kind of way. I've always felt like that was their ball to bring to the playground, and I don't intend to do that now. Keith Olberman is a huge collector of baseball cards but participates very little on the BB side of things and I think may do so under a psuedonym anyway. A couple of the people noted above my post have stopped in to comment here and there but haven't really shown much of their collection. I, too, would love to see more but, for now, they are still hanging around in the shade......
"Another reason is that, among the MANY ways eBay has jacked up their system, you cannot see what people are winning what items anymore"
I heard that this was a problem for collectors. Person A would have knowledge of an error card or some other scarcity. Then others would view what Person A was buying, and started searching for and purchasing similar items.
PS first time I've responded to a post of yours Tom and just wanted to thank you for this forum.
Absolutely Larry. Glad you found your way here!........being able to see had it's disadvantages too. Believe me! I remember being outbid by a lot of the same people and I'm sure they were outbid by me sometime as well. All in all, I think it may be a better thing for those of us who are pretty close to the vest with what we search for and what we buy, but ultimately the sellers are losing out as the oneupsmanship was much stronger in the day, I think.................I made some good friendships from contacting people who won things back in the day and asked them if they had dupes or others they wanted to sell. You can still discern a few ID's with some sleuthing too................
Not sure whether I'm considered a big fish or not. I certainly don't feel like one. I have very little knowledge about non-sports cards. I just know what I like and what I like to collect. Plus, I know that Don Hayes is going to bid against me for any rare card that we both collect and need. I don't know Don, never met him, never talked to him, never exchanged emails with him, although I would like to. But I consider Don a big fish.
A Novel Candy Top Gun card I'd never seen before just sold for almost $1200 on EBay. I was the underbidder. I don't think Don was the winner though, so I'm very curious who else would pay that much for a card in crappy condition. Been awhile since I've added anything to my Novel Candy sets. Anyone out there who wants to make some big bucks, please contact me if you have any of these tough cards!
I'm still actively collecting. Just don't have much time for it these days. Too busy with work and other life stuff. I've been hoping that will change soon for over a year now, but who knows. The only real bummer for me in the last few years is that Google got rid of Picasa Albums where my Type Collection was housed. I didn't lose all the scans but now they are in Google Albums which I do not like. I haven't had the time to find another place. When I do, I will need to spend a lot of hours scanning additions to the collection and editing the existing scans and format. Yikes!
Not that it matters, but I am neither a lawyer or a doctor. I do have three safety deposit boxes which house some of my most valuable cards. Do they qualify as a vault? I am not a speculator and don't expect to make money whenever my cards sell. The truth is that almost everything I have sold has been at a loss. I collect cards because I'm a collector by nature and because I enjoy the thrill of the hunt as well as just looking at my cards.
The big fish I know is Dave Lemon. You guys have no idea how big his collection is. And it's almost all high quality stuff. I'm sure he has a vault. And several lawyers.
Don't be modest Alan, you are a whale Not sure how many members here are aware to what degree you and Dave have built your collections? Great thing about collecting is there is no right or wrong way how to do so. Collect what you like.
This is a cool thread and I agree with Jack that many non-sports collectors are not active here and that's likely for a variety of reasons. I'm not an extrovert per se but I am an avid card collector and always have been. There is a sense of community here with cards that I don't get anywhere else in my life. I'm on Card Island here in Indiana. However, I can say that of the people that I have met through this site regardless of "status" (whale, big fish, minnow, or otherwise (sub-minnow like myself)) that I reach out to for questions, comments, or thoughts on something always respond to me. That includes many of those mentioned as well as others. I try not to be a pest to anyone but Don Hayes (whose collection I would love to see sometime) always responds to me and beyond that when I was down to one R123 Seal Craft disc to finish he sent me an e-mail letting me know where one was for sale. Great guy, but I can say that about nearly everyone who is a part of this board no matter how frequently they make their presence known. I feel the same way about you Alan, you have been helpful when I ask for checklist information, and responsive when I send you a line from time to time. Dave Lemon sent me an e-mail today (two actually) and there's no one better to talk to on the phone about cards than Dave. He's pretty passionate about it. There is a ton of knowledge here and very little drama (unlike the baseball side where there are more drama threads than actual card threads). Really for me that's why I am on this board and what I come here looking for. Great group of collectors, tons of knowledge, no condescension, all helpful.
Do I wish that there were a larger active community here, you bet, but I do really enjoy this board and its members.
Also, Alan, Don was the third under bidder for that Novel card. I watch the Novel stuff pretty close and just from experience know Don's handle.
This message has been edited by PancakeBunny on May 2, 2017 8:43 PM
As Tom said, "I know a few of these people.", I also know some people who are very secretive of their holdings. Some post their sets on the PSA Set Registry, but they usually keep the sets "hidden" from public view.
There are also the dealers who win auctions and break up sets to sell on EBAY. I've been outbid on several big sets, only to see the cards turn up on the BAY 2 months later.
I've met a few "big fish" both on and off these boards, and almost to a person what's more impressive than their collections are the stories they have. Buying "scrap" directly from Topps by the metric ton only to have to rent a truck after they got there because the van was so full the tires were scraping the wheel wells... purchasing test cards in packs at a local store as a kid, not even knowing such a thing existed, only to rediscover them (and their rarity) as a card-collecting adult... discovering rare promo items and sample packs in the attic of the heir of a former Topps executive... who on this board hasn't dreamed about stuff like this?