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Monday, February 14, 2011

1950 Bowman Roy Campanella: Acquired (Card Love)

It's mine, it's mine! Oh happy day, what a glorious occasion this is! Praise the card gods! Rejoice!

I've yearned after this card for a time now, and for those who have perused my Most Wanted List, you've seen that it was number one on that list. And while yes, the next two were in some ways "interchangeable" with the Campy card, my choice, if presented with the opportunity to acquire any of the three, would have been Roy, and without much, if any, hesitation. I love everything about the card and the 1950 Bowman set in general, and I love the card infinitely more than Roy's rookie card, found in Bowman's 1949 offering.

The card, as with most vintage cards, and most from valuable sets like 1950 Bowman and those that depict Hall of Famers, wasn't going to come cheap, and I knew that going in. I had a price in my head I was willing to spend up to, and I intended to stick to that, within a few dollars of course, depending on the situation.

I had a great chance to acquire the card some months ago, from where else but our good friend eBay. The card was up for auction, with no Buy-It-Now price, and I was dead-set on winning the auction. As the auction ended, I had placed a bid of around $20, and was thankful to see that it was the high bid. The card was graded, SGC 30, which is always nice, considering no one wants to get bamboozled on vintage cards. As the auction was winding down to just a few seconds left, I was praying that nobody swooped in at the last second to outbid me. And of course, someone did, besting my bid with about five seconds remaining, not enough time for me to throw down a last second winner.

I was crushed. The card was right there for the taking, practically in my grasp. And it went, graded and all, for roughly $25 shipped. I wasn't sure another bargain like that would ever stare me in the face again. For reference, a shop I like not too far away from me specializes in vintage, and has four of Campy's 1950 Bowman card - at varying levels of quality - for between $45 and $105, well above what I'd look to and be comfortable with spending at this point in my life.

I operate on a full-time student's budget, and while I've always been a good saver, I can't buy anything I'd like (oh, how I wish I could, as I'm sure we all do). I've made a few card-related purchases since jumping back into the hobby that I regret and pretty much regretted from the moment I laid down my money, but generally I feel like I do a good job at finding deals and not spending just to spend. This blog has made me more money than I anticipated making within my first year plus of blogging, but I've yet to see a penny of it, as I have not reached Blogger's threshold to get paid for AdSense and I haven't yet dipped into my PayPal funds via my association with Yardbarker. So most of the higher-end cards of newer players and vintage cards I seek tend to pass me by, outside of the occasional eBay splurge. Though there have been a few recently (hint hint, future posts filled with eBay goodness).

When I finally came across the card again - by chance really, searching for it on a whim and a prayer - I stumbled upon a number of them, including a couple of BINs on eBay. SGC graded in both instances, the cards clocked in at $35 (SGC 10) and $40 (SGC 40), respectively, with shipping in both cases being three bucks. Not quite where I'd like it to be, but close enough that I could make an exception if I so chose to do.

After many months of not even considering searching for the elusive Campanella, I was excited at the chance to finally snag my White Whale. Of the pair of non-BINs I was watching, one was set to end on January 1st, the other the next day. The card with the earlier end-date had an opening price of 99 cents, no reserve, and was ungraded. It looked amazing, probably in good enough condition to grade out to a PSA 6 at the worst, and while I was at first skeptical about it's authenticity, a quick search of the seller's other items revealed a large chunk of vintage up for auction. The seller easily made between $5000 and $10,000 that weekend, with cards routinely selling for hundreds and on at least one occasion a thousand plus big ones.

The second of the two Roys was graded, PSA 3, and had an opening price of nine dollars, with no reserve in place. I was pretty sure that neither would end up being within my price range, but held out hope as a few days passed and they held steady at bargain prices. As their auctions neared their end, both cards began to slowly climb in price, particularly the ungraded Roy, which jumped past the $30 mark and out of my hungry hands. I kept checking in just to see how much it would sell for, and by Saturday night, some lucky boy or girl had themselves a '50 Campy for upwards of $80.

As I went to bed on Saturday night, New Years Day, my hopes for my number one card sat at about $18. I decided not to check back in on Roy's price until 6:00 p.m. Sunday night, just over an hour before it was set to find a new owner. When I finally refreshed the page, I was pleasantly surprised; that beautiful piece of vintage Dodgerdom was at just over $24. I stepped away from my computer, and when I returned with just a handful of minutes remaining in the auction, the card had not been bid on any further. I waited until there was under sixty seconds left and placed my bid, hoping that it would be high enough and win me my pretty piece of cardboard: 27 George Washingtons.

Alas, the bid was not good enough, as somebody had a higher auto-bid. With time running out, I took one last shot at the card, putting down a bid of $30 and praying it would bring me great success. To my shock, the bid was high enough, and I jumped for joy as the final few seconds ticked away and I could say, finally, I was the proud owner of a 1950 Bowman Roy Campanella!

Thank you, bidders who decided $30 was too much for one of the greatest cards ever made, in my humble opinion. Thank you eBay, for simply existing. My first card from this classic set, and it's the one I craved more than any other. It's easily in my top five favorite cards, and the '50 Campy instantly becomes the centerpiece of my collection, along with my 1933 Goudey Jack Quinn, 1965 Topps NL ERA Leaders Koufax/Drysdale, and my trio of 1880s Allen & Ginter cards (yet to be posted....some fun posts to come). And my higher-end Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw cards surely find their way onto that centerpiece as well.

What can I say, it's a large centerpiece.

It's quite an amazing feeling to finally hold this card in my hand.

Thanks to Dan from The Other World for holding a contest all about card love. If it's not evident from the above, I really love the 1950 Bowman Roy Campanella card. So this is my entry into that aforementioned contest.


  1. So ... do you love it?

    Nice work. I never even consider cards from that period. The highest I shoot for are mid-'50s Dodgers. Once in awhile I'll get a chance to get something from early '50s, but it's never planned.

  2. Man, that's a beaut. Congrats! I'm eventually going to have to start working on the earlier Bowman Bums.

  3. Congrats!!! I love the vintage Bowman cards. I know $30 is a lot, but it seems like you got a good deal for a graded Camp card.

  4. Congratulations on catching your White Whale! It's beautiful.

  5. Great pickup, I would have guessed much more than thirty dollars for that card before reading this post.

  6. Night Owl- I probably should have used the word love more. I was close to saying "adore", but I held myself back.

    Scott- Thanks! Early '50s Bowman is fantastic.

    Charles- Thanks! I was pretty fortunate to finds this deal.

    DB- Gracias!

    Nathan- eBay is a god-send haha.

  7. A little late to the party... but what a great post! Congratulations on grabbing this steal!