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View Full Version : Lionel Carter at the 1974 Detroit show


trdcrdkid
02-06-2016, 11:16 AM
In 1974, Lionel Carter wrote an incredibly detailed account of his and his wife Irma's experiences at the Detroit convention (officially called the Midwest Sports Collectors Convention) for The Ballcard Collector. It was so detailed that editor George Martin had to publish it in three parts, one for each day of the convention (Friday-Saturday-Sunday, July 19-21, 1974), in the November 1974-January 1975 issues of The Ballcard Collector. I only have the December 1974 issue, with Carter's account of Saturday, July 20, but it's still a fascinating snapshot of what a major card convention was like at a time when the hobby was starting to undergo major changes, many of which Carter didn't like. He saw his first counterfeit card (1959 Fleer Ted Williams #68, a hot rarity at the time), which shook him up. He and Irma were selling Topps cards for 1 cent apiece, below market price, but some people were going through and picking out the superstars, unlike the "real card collectors" who were going through checklists for the cards they needed. Others were buying Lionel's cards for 1 cent and then immediately selling them for 2 cents or more, which did not please him. His account of the auction at the end of the day is great, with Bill Mastro lurking behind auctioneer Frank Nagy pulling on his coat. It appears that people just brought things up for the auction with little rhyme or reason, first come first served, and Carter had to get help from John Rumierz to get even one item in.

Anyway, I present to you -- Lionel Carter.

http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/gg98/dkathman1/IMG_20160206_0001.jpg
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http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/gg98/dkathman1/IMG_20160206_0006.jpg

Peter_Spaeth
02-06-2016, 11:44 AM
He is lamenting that some kid was buying his cards at one cent each and then selling them at two, when he was trying to do the kid a favor. The more things change...

chaddurbin
02-06-2016, 12:13 PM
He is lamenting that some kid was buying his cards at one cent each and then selling them at two, when he was trying to do the kid a favor. The more things change...

that kid was probably bill mastro. oh wait no, mastro would've trimmed the cards to a better grade, have his friend (let's call him mug dallen) pretend to be an interested party to drive up the price to 5cents ea and then dump them off to the unsuspecting buyer.

JLange
02-06-2016, 12:17 PM
Thanks for sharing! I especially like his vivid details of interactions with other collectors. His concern for future collectors and the state of the hobby was obvious, all the way back in 1974. Very cool!

xplainer
02-06-2016, 12:20 PM
He is lamenting that some kid was buying his cards at one cent each and then selling them at two, when he was trying to do the kid a favor. The more things change...
Yeah, saw that. And the "rip off" with the Washington Nationals cards.:)

Peter_Spaeth
02-06-2016, 12:29 PM
that kid was probably bill mastro. oh wait no, mastro would've trimmed the cards to a better grade, have his friend (let's call him mug dallen) pretend to be an interested party to drive up the price to 5cents ea and then dump them off to the unsuspecting buyer.

I keep thinking Milo Minderbinder.

trdcrdkid
02-06-2016, 12:48 PM
that kid was probably bill mastro. oh wait no, mastro would've trimmed the cards to a better grade, have his friend (let's call him mug dallen) pretend to be an interested party to drive up the price to 5cents ea and then dump them off to the unsuspecting buyer.

Actually, I wonder if Frank Nagy's wife bidding up items in the Friday night auction, as recounted here by Carter, might have planted the seed in Mastro's mind for shill bidding...

byrone
02-06-2016, 02:02 PM
Nice of Carter to mention dedicated collector Roland Villard, who had to make a special effort to attend.


http://www.the-daily-record.com/obituaries/2014/01/16/roland-rollie-villard-79-orrville

insidethewrapper
02-06-2016, 02:17 PM
He stated that Mint cards of older sets appear to be things of the past. I also remember those 1970's shows and I attended many shows and I only picked the best of the best. Years later when I sent these cards to be graded, most came back PSA 6's or 7's and these were the best on dealer tables. I don't understand where all the 8's, 9's and 10's of older cards have come from in recent years, when they couldn't be found 40 years ago.

1880nonsports
02-06-2016, 03:02 PM
enjoyed his musing immensely - my national reporting's not nearly as robust and encompassing. One thing I see differently than he did is those kids moving cards from table to table that he noted were choosing commerce over collecting (maybe they took the proceeds and bought more?) are necessary contributors in a COLLECTIBLE hobby equation. Future dealers or collectors perhaps - but the core concept of buying and selling of cards is an important principle necessary to sustain and GROW a large and robust COLLECTIBLE hobby. That is unless one is on the other side of capitalism....

nolemmings
02-06-2016, 03:24 PM
I can't believe that was his first time eating KFC. Geez, even I as a boy had been eating it for 5 years or more by then.

Seriously, nice recap.

brob28
02-07-2016, 09:01 AM
I attended those shows as a child in the late 70's and early 80's. I'll never forget my first, I was 9 or 10 and walked into the room and thought "I wish I had saved more money" - that thought seemed to be with me often at shows :rolleyes: I'm originally from Chicago and knew of most of the players from the '50's from my mother's stories. I found a Nmt 1964 Minnie Minoso at one of the first tables and bought it. When I got home it was missing, after looking through my stack of cards several times I found it - IN MY BACK POCKET!! Needless to say, I had sat on it several times - it's Nmt days were over. :mad: I loved those shows.

baseball tourist
02-07-2016, 03:48 PM
It appears that Lionel had a healthy appreciation of the ladies. :)

DeanH3
02-07-2016, 05:52 PM
Thanks or sharing. I love reading insights like these from hobby pioneers. Having one of Lionel's cards in my collection is truly a highlight for me.

http://www.net54baseball.com/picture.php?albumid=244&pictureid=18323

trdcrdkid
02-07-2016, 06:58 PM
Here's the story about that 1974 Detroit show from the July 31, 1974 issue of Sports Collectors Digest, and a story from the previous page about the fake 1959 Fleer #68s that Irv Lerner had showed to Carter. The pictures include Mike Aronstein (hi TCMA!) and Joe and Karen Michaelowicz, who Carter wrote about quite a bit, plus the Q&A with John Hiller that Carter found so boring. They also show the results from the Friday night auction, to supplement the Saturday auction results that Carter gave in his article.

http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/gg98/dkathman1/Mobile%20Uploads/image_84.jpg
http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/gg98/dkathman1/Mobile%20Uploads/image_85.jpg

JollyElm
02-07-2016, 07:16 PM
It appears that Lionel had a healthy appreciation of the ladies. :)

That's hilarious!! I was thinking the same thing. Ha ha!