I was going to write about the greatest card I've ever bought today, but I'm still comparing photos and scans to see if the card was damaged in transit.
Instead, I will bring you the story of my previous worst experience in buying cards, as seemingly any time I get really excited about buying a card, something awe-inspiringly awful happens, except for the time I bought the green background Ty Cobb card from Trae Regan who founded T206.org. T206.org is one of the best resources to learn about and see T206s, though as he says, I wouldn't rely on the site to attempt to price cards. That deal with Trae was probably the best purchase of a card I've ever made, but of course, we are here to talk doom and gloom, not joyous purchases.
Two years ago, when I started buying T206s, I moved slowly, with some trepidation about making larger purchases online. I managed to get some tremendous deals on both a Tris Speaker and a Tolstoi John McGraw (Tolstoi is one of the American Tobacco Company brands and is uncommon and somewhat difficult to find.), but really wanted a Christy Mathewson, who along with Orval Overall and Ty Cobb, is one of my favorite players in the set.
Mathewson has three cards in the set, a portrait against an orange background, which is visually stunning, a pitching pose in a white cap and a slightly more refined version of the pitching pose in a black cap. I spent a fair amount of time searching and searching until I found the above black cap Mathewson on eBay. I waited and patiently made a few bids, hoping this one would fall to me for an acceptable price. As Sunday night approached, I made one last bid and barely ended up with the card, as it was 3 times what I had paid for any other card in my collection at this point in time. I was so excited and overjoyed, I even asked if I could pay for insurance on shipping the card to my address.
While the card is graded poor, most of the damage is on the back. And by damage, I mean scrapbook paper affixed to the card. If I was bold and daring, I could crack open the case, which is a difficult endeavor, then soak the card to remove the paper and regrade the card, which might get it up to a Fair or if I found a generous grader, a Good. But I am neither when it comes to vintage cardboard and am quite content with the current state of the card.
So, I purchase the card and I wait. Five days pass without word of the card being shipped, which as we all know is an eternity for cards to arrive or to not receive any notice that the card had not shipped. I then receive a message filled with regret. The card, was lost, or more correctly, misplaced and part of a consignment lot where everything else was found and shipped. While my foresight regarding insurance was prescient, it did nothing to protect me from the confines of the seller's shop, only the possibility of damage in transit.
I was crest-fallen and despondent over the news. I nearly quit my set then and there, as I was disheartened that a seller could be so foolish as to lose a card consigned to him for sale. I handled the actual transaction suprrisingly graciously, noting that I understood and if he reversed payment and found the card, I would send the money ASAP to make sure the transaction was completed. Ten more days passed, with money in escrow and card not in hand, when I received a message. It seems the card was not lost, but only misplaced and he was able to ship the card. It only took 16 days to get the card from one spot in the shop to a package en route to my home.
Even still, whenever I look at the card, I am filled with regret of the purchase gone wrong and the tremendous wait. However, what happened here is nothing compared to what I encountered today. Until tomorrow.