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Old 06-09-2019, 07:00 AM
benjulmag benjulmag is offline
CoreyRS.hanus
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Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 540
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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