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  #1  
Old 06-09-2019, 07:00 AM
benjulmag benjulmag is offline
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Default My recent visit to the Burdick Collection

It had been a while so I thought I would visit the Burdick collection (which BTW I was told is in the process of being digitized). The Met does have a number of cards on display in the main body of the museum that they rotate every six months or so. But to see the cards displayed in the albums as Burdick intended, one must visit the Collection itself.

As I leafed through some of the albums, I felt I was going back in time to my days as a kid when a clean excellent was viewed as a thing of beauty, a time when people handled cards and got great pleasure in trading and flipping them. My sense of awe when I looked at the M101-4's, all pasted to album pages, was pronounced. Having been that way for many years and protected from exposure to the elements, they retained most of their original sheen and whiteness; so much so in fact that at first I wasn't sure I was looking at M101-4s. The typical card was on a good day maybe a 5. Yet for my money if given a choice between owning that set or a set of slabbed noticeably toned 8's housed in boxes destined to be stored on some shelf and looked at only with great effort and very seldom, I would prefer the Burdick set. The Ruth was a 4, and, as is typical, was OC. But boy did it pop exhibiting much of the original freshness it had when it first was issued in 1916 and looking more beautiful than any I had seen auctioned.

The Wagner (which BTW when I asked was told does not have back damage - it was removed from the album page by an expert conservator and as such is undamaged) is easily one of the top five I have seen. It is well centered, clean and has amazing color and registration. It does have a one or two hairline creases that are not readily apparent but that would on a technical basis probably prevent the card from grading higher than a 4. Yet if given the choice I would in a heartbeat prefer that Wagner over any other I have seen sold at auction, and probably over all but 2 others I know to exist (neither of which is the "8").

While I recognize that slabbing can be regarded as a necessary evil given the proliferation of card doctoring, it takes away the ability to see cards en masse, which to me plays the biggest part in making card collecting so enjoyable. A good metaphor would be to regard the card in a slab as the tree, and the cards in the Burdick Collection as the forest. Slabbing prevents one from seeing the forest from the trees. As I left I felt reaffirmed that the passion I had as a kid was the passion a collector is supposed to have, and I felt reinvigorated to continue collecting.

Last edited by benjulmag; 06-09-2019 at 08:36 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-09-2019, 07:58 AM
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Nice write up, Corey. Thanks

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Old 06-09-2019, 08:12 AM
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How is the Wagner housed/displayed?
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:02 AM
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How can someone view the albums? Would love to go.
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  #5  
Old 06-09-2019, 09:36 AM
benjulmag benjulmag is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth View Post
How is the Wagner housed/displayed?
In its own frame.
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File Type: jpg Burdick Wagner.jpg (78.3 KB, 333 views)
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  #6  
Old 06-09-2019, 09:37 AM
benjulmag benjulmag is offline
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How can someone view the albums? Would love to go.
By appointment.
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  #7  
Old 06-09-2019, 09:49 AM
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Yeah that Wagner ranks up there for sure. I don't recall seeing a picture of it before but I must have. Corey where would you rank the one in the HOF?
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Last edited by Peter_Spaeth; 06-09-2019 at 09:50 AM.
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  #8  
Old 06-09-2019, 09:50 AM
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Default nice!

I went in December and the collection was not available; if I go back I will ask for an appointment. The rest of the collection was great.
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  #9  
Old 06-09-2019, 10:24 AM
benjulmag benjulmag is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth View Post
Yeah that Wagner ranks up there for sure. I don't recall seeing a picture of it before but I must have. Corey where would you rank the one in the HOF?
To me 2, but many others will say 1 (again, tossing out the "8"), depending on what one looks for. The HOF one has the best corners I have seen, though one may have a hairline crease FWIW. The color though very good doesn't pop as much as some others I have seen, and it has a stain in the orange background. It is oversized, which depending who you are is either a positive, negative or a neutral. For me, if given the choice. I would rather have a perfectly sized card.
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Old 06-09-2019, 10:36 AM
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Interesting that several of the top few Wagners remain unslabbed.
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  #11  
Old 06-09-2019, 11:58 AM
benjulmag benjulmag is offline
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Interesting that several of the top few Wagners remain unslabbed.
Out of my top six, as far as I know five are raw.
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:08 PM
barrysloate barrysloate is offline
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The Burdick Wagner is a solid 3, and a very nice one.

In April I met up with board member Tom B. at the Metropolitan. I was there to see the daguerreotype collection and Tom had an appointment to see the Burdick. But for some unexplained reason they told him that he could not see the baseball albums. I'm not sure I understand this but it appears Corey had no problem at all.

I looked at the picture again and I'm raising the grade to 3.5

Last edited by barrysloate; 06-09-2019 at 12:11 PM.
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  #13  
Old 06-09-2019, 12:34 PM
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has anyone looked at the burdick Wagner under a halogen lamp?
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  #14  
Old 06-09-2019, 12:51 PM
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Corey-Did you see the Anson in Uniform? Last time I saw it it was barely still attached to the album page.
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  #15  
Old 06-09-2019, 01:18 PM
benjulmag benjulmag is offline
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I did not Jay.
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  #16  
Old 06-09-2019, 01:19 PM
barrysloate barrysloate is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldjudge View Post
Corey-Did you see the Anson in Uniform? Last time I saw it it was barely still attached to the album page.
Do you think someone was trying to pull it out of the album, and take it home as a souvenir of their visit?
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  #17  
Old 06-09-2019, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
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Do you think someone was trying to pull it out of the album, and take it home as a souvenir of their visit?
Someone steal cards from a public place? Surely that doesn't happen.
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Old 06-09-2019, 01:27 PM
barrysloate barrysloate is offline
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Someone steal cards from a public place? Surely that doesn't happen.
And they always try to steal the most valuable ones. The commons remain in the collection in perpetuity.
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  #19  
Old 06-09-2019, 01:35 PM
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Barry, I donít know, but I pointed it out to the woman who was helping me and explained to her that it was a very valuable card. She said I must be mistaken and that the only really valuable card was the Wagner. I repeated myself again and then just carefully went on to the next page.
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  #20  
Old 06-09-2019, 02:01 PM
benjulmag benjulmag is offline
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The last time I tried to point out to someone at the Burdick collection that a valuable card (the Goudey Lajoie) was not being safe guarded well, here is what happened. The card was adhered to the album page by a single piece of adhesive tap. It was dangling in the page and if someone closed the book the wrong way, it would fold the card in half. Add to this that at that time (in the 80's or 90's) you would be sitting alone in a room with a single person at the front who often was focused on doing other things than watching you. It would have been no effort at all to the pull the tape out of the page with the card on it, put it in my pocket, and go on my way.

When I was ready to leave, I politely pointed out to the person that the card was extremely valuable (the condition looked amazing, as if Burdick had just pulled it out of the Goudey envelop, and I estimate the value at the time to be $5-$6K) and that perhaps the museum should make an effort to better protect and safeguard it. The person thanked me very much for my suggestion, and asked I put this information on a note and insert it the album page with the edge sticking out. That way someone would be certain to act on it.

We now flash forward around 6 months when a good friend of mine was reporting to me on his visit to the Burdick collection. When I asked how things went, he said fine, though one unusual thing caught his attention. In the album with the Goudeys in the page with the Lajoie (still dangling from that single strand of adhesive tape) was a handwritten note saying words to the effect "Lajoie card, $5,000 - $6,000 value, please safeguard." That was my original note. So clearly the museum did do something with my note -- they highlighted it so a thief would know which card to steal.

Need I say more why so many cards from the Collection were stolen.

Last edited by benjulmag; 06-09-2019 at 03:10 PM.
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  #21  
Old 06-09-2019, 02:29 PM
Aquarian Sports Cards Aquarian Sports Cards is offline
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Do you think someone was trying to pull it out of the album, and take it home as a souvenir of their visit?
I saw the collection 30 years ago (when I was 17 on a class field trip, I knew about it because I had seen mention of the collection on the back of a 1977 Topps card, can't remember which one) and they literally handed me the Wagner loose, I think in a top loader. There was a guard in the room with me the entire time and I could only have one album at a time,and when I wanted to see the Wagner that is all I was allowed to have at that time. My bag had to remain outside. I think they took it pretty seriously even back in the 1980's.

I didn't realize they were still allowing access except for research but even back then you had to make your appointment in advance so if anyone is thinking of going, don't think you're rolling in that day and then making an appointment!
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Last edited by Aquarian Sports Cards; 06-09-2019 at 02:31 PM.
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  #22  
Old 06-09-2019, 02:47 PM
Goudey77 Goudey77 is offline
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Iím surprised none of the members here on Net54 were invited to the exclusive dinner at the Metropolitan club? My understanding is that a large group of the finest collectors were invited to the dinner to discuss the market and have some time to network. Hosted by PWCC and a few others. All part of the special weekend events surrounding the Burdick collection.
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  #23  
Old 06-09-2019, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
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Iím surprised none of the members here on Net54 were invited to the exclusive dinner at the Metropolitan club? My understanding is that a large group of the finest collectors were invited to the dinner to discuss the market and have some time to network. Hosted by PWCC and a few others. All part of the special weekend events surrounding the Burdick collection.
If it was the finest collectors, there's your answer Martin.
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Old 06-09-2019, 03:04 PM
barrysloate barrysloate is offline
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Barry, I donít know, but I pointed it out to the woman who was helping me and explained to her that it was a very valuable card. She said I must be mistaken and that the only really valuable card was the Wagner. I repeated myself again and then just carefully went on to the next page.
When David Block was doing research for his book on the origins of baseball, I accompanied him one day to the NYPL and decided to do a little hunting myself. To my amazement, I discovered there was an 1893 Harry Wright scorebook as part of the Spalding Collection. It is one I didn't know about when I wrote my article for VCBC, so I asked to see it.

When I opened it to the first page, tucked into front cover was a pristine 1887 World Series scorecard- the sepia one that is no more than a single page foldover. As it was sitting loose in the book, and since I knew it could be worth around 10K, I walked back to the librarian and explained to him that this seeming bookmark was extremely valuable and would be really easy for someone to steal.

He proceeded to glare at me and then walked the other way. He was completely disinterested in what I told him. Apparently, people in jobs of great power don't like to be told what to do. I returned the scorebook and the scorecard shortly thereafter. For all I know, that scorecard may be gone by now. I never found out.
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Old 06-09-2019, 03:06 PM
Goudey77 Goudey77 is offline
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Peter I thought Net54 was the creme de la creme.
I know one guy who went so I was informed about this special gathering.
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  #26  
Old 06-09-2019, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
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Peter I thought Net54 was the creme de la creme.
I know one guy who went so I was informed about this special gathering.
More like Cream of Wheat.
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Old 06-09-2019, 03:42 PM
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To me 2, but many others will say 1 (again, tossing out the "8"), depending on what one looks for. The HOF one has the best corners I have seen, though one may have a hairline crease FWIW. The color though very good doesn't pop as much as some others I have seen, and it has a stain in the orange background. It is oversized, which depending who you are is either a positive, negative or a neutral. For me, if given the choice. I would rather have a perfectly sized card.
Here is a picture of the Wagner in the Hall of Fame that I took last time I visited.

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Old 06-09-2019, 05:46 PM
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Found this video on You Tube about collecting items including the Burdick Collection.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G09aIKMBNhE
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:00 AM
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That is one of the best looking Wags I have seen.

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Here is a picture of the Wagner in the Hall of Fame that I took last time I visited.

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