I was going to add this in with my next article coming up in the next few days (which I’m quite excited about sharing with you) but decided to dedicate a post just to this, because it was so epic!
The following is not a story of a brand new shiny 1/1 with pieces of memorabilia, and autographs. No, this is a story of 2 cards – each with very intriguing backgrounds…stories so rich that they make those who collect older cards dream about the day they get to add them to their collections.
Last week, I shared with you my monster project of www.CansecoCollector.com – the site that shows every single piece of my Jose Canseco collection in a searchable format. It took months and months to have everything wrapped up.
The next day, (Thursday morning), I woke up and grabbed my phone to check my messages. The first one stuck out to me from bobsbbcards.
“I enjoyed viewing your Cansecos. One card I didn’t see was the ’88 Topps Cloth Experimental A’s Leaders. Do you have that one?”
Welp, that woke me up.
I quickly wrote back and said I did not, and then asked if he had one available. (It is one of my white whales!)
For those of you who don’t know, the 1988 Topps Cloth Experimental issue w/McGwire is a truly epic card for anyone’s collection. It is very rare, and considered a crown jewel for all Canseco / McGwire collectors who own it.
Here is a little write up of the background of them:
This experiment was a failure, as Topps decided it wasn’t going to be feasible to produce and distribute them. All sheets they made were stamped “SAMPLE ONLY NOT FOR SALE”. They were not meant to see the light of day. Some did however, make it out the back door, and eventually into the collections of a few very lucky individuals.
After waiting (impatiently) for a while, he wrote back and said this:
“The card is yours for free if you want it. Just send me your address. I’d love for it to be part of such an amazing collection. :o)”
And he sends this picture:
He wasn’t yanking my chain – he actually had one! So it appeared, anyway!
Bob sent me a tracking number, and the card was to make it here on Monday. The mail came, and sure enough! A box with his address was at my door. I ripped the box open, and pulled out the newest addition to my collection. The 1988 Topps Cloth Experimental Test Issue! I cannot tell you how tough this card is to obtain. I have not even seen one for sale, and yet here it is – in my collection.
Bob decided to post another card that I didn’t have. He said “Unfortunately I only have one of these.”
Yes folks – though the 1988 Topps Cloth is the oldest prototype card on my want list, I’d have to say I wanted this one even more.
I wrote him immediately, and he confirmed my suspicions: It was not for sale. I wrote him and asked if there was anything I could do to change his mind … if there was any price he would accept. He wrote me to let me know that unfortunately no price would be possible to get him to part with it.
While so incredibly thankful for the cloth card, I was really bummed that I knew where one of these Blue Chip cards were, yet could do nothing to get it. As with the cloth test, I have never seen this up for sale ever before.
Here is some information I found from them online:
Apparently, Donruss decided to create the Blue Chip set. It was scrapped in exchange for the Grand Slammers sub-set. They were to be destroyed, but the person in charge of the press saw an opportunity and yoinked some of these sets out the back door. For fear of it costing his job, he held onto them and told no one. He passed away before anything could be done with them, and they became available to the public during an estate sale. Having one of these in your collection is sort of like winning the lottery for a player collector.
Over the next few days, I put some time into the project I’ll be revealing in a day or two (if all goes well) and took a break. I went downstairs to watch tv during lunch while my wife and son were out bowling. Someone knocked on the door, and it was the mail lady. I’m not sure why, but she seemed very grumpy.
She gave me a box and a piece of paper to sign. While signing, I asked her if any mail was in my box and she said yes. As I followed her out, I instinctively looked at the box I was carrying, not giving it a second thought, and saw Bob’s name on the address. I was confused and didn’t know what it could be, but then thought to myself … WHAT IF?!?!?!!?
I day or two earlier, I was telling my wife about the whole situation, and chuckled a bit as I said “what if he sends me the Blue Chip card?” (in a very what-if-I-won-a-million-dollars tone.) She laughed too and said “not a chance!” I agreed with her – after all, the guy just sent me a phenomenal card, and said he wouldn’t even take money for the Blue Chip.
I hurried to get the rest of the mail and get back inside. When it comes to mail, I generally save best for last, but I couldn’t help myself this time. With my hands literally shaking, I ripped open the box and pulled out a padded envelope. The padded envelope had a cardboard sandwich with a top loader in the middle. I pulled it out, and screamed like a little girl! (Yeah, it was embarrassing even though I was the only one around.)
There it was: the 1989 Leaf Blue Chip Jose Canseco card! The second card I have been looking for forever came to me in a week! I am still in shock. This is like a player collector’s dream come true!
As I found out earlier today, Bob has quite a collection, and has been featured on the PSA website a few times. Here is a link: http://www.psacard.com/articles/articleview/8555/collector-profile-fisks-focus-everything
After emailing him to say THANK YOU, he wrote this little bit to me:
“I’m glad your happy. I explained to my wife that there’s a certain harmony in the world (or there needs to be), and for me to have the Canseco Blue Chip and for you not to didn’t make sense. I like this much better.”
Once again, thank you so much Bob. The 2 cards you sent over to me this week are true crown jewels to my collection. I still can’t believe that you did that!
To end this posting, I’m going to go ahead and list my most wanted cards that I have, as it is now missing 2 cards thanks to Bob 🙂
2016 Topps Tier One Bat Barrel/Autograph 1/1
2016 Topps Finest Intimidators Superfractor 1/1
2016 Donruss Signature Series 1/1
2015 Topps Museum Momentous Materials Laundry Tag 1/1
1998 Donruss Crusade Red
1998 Pacific Online Winners
1997 Pinnacle Totally Certified Platinum Gold
1997 Collector’s Choice Crash the Game Instant Winner #CG23
1996 Ultra HR Kings Gold Medallion Exchange
1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold
1996 Leaf Preferred Steel Bronze
1996 Leaf Signature Platinum Press Proof
1996 Collector’s Choice Crash the Game Exchange Gold #CR5
1989 Donruss Blue Chips
… I also need MANY others. If you have any rare Canseco, please let me know!
To wrap this up, Bob is who I think we as collectors should all strive to be. Bob, thank you sincerely for being what every collector should strive to be: truly selfless with their collection. The amount of joy I have from these cards knowing that they came from you is immeasurable!
Congrats on the 2 new cards! I never even knew there was a Donruss Blue Chips set. What does the back of it look like?
Thanks Jeremy! The back is blue with writing on it – probably like what the grandslammers set looks like.
Love this post! Read about you in Beckett a while ago. I’m still impressed.
Thanks for commenting Woogie! Just checked your site … looks like you have some rockin’ cards in your collection!