What a find!
I was always interested in collecting baseball cards because I had some from my older brother, and loved baseball.
Back in about 1970 or 71, the official “hobby” of collectibles was still quite young. I was starting to buy cards from dealers. By today’s standards they were quite cheap. Cards like Jackie Robinson or Willie Mays from 1956 sold for $6 or $7, as shown in publications like The Trader Speaks.
My friend David and I, also a collector cards, heard of a sale in Brooklyn. We lived in eastern Queens, so we understood this would be a long ride. We decided to take the bus and train and each brought a couple of hundred bucks, hoping we’d get “lucky.”
When we got out of the train, we realized were in a pretty tough section of Bedford Stuyvesant (2 Black Panther Storefronts within the couple of blocks from the train). David was black, and I’m white and though we both had a fairly good street sense, we realized we were a bit out of our element. At 16 between the long ride, train transfers and different neighborhood, it felt like a long way from home.
We went to the home of a guy named Ronald Moore, an early collector. Ronald was both friendly and very knowledgeable about the collectibles. He showed us his collectible items and early hobby publications “The Sports Hobbyist” (circa ’60, ’61). Ronald had to leave town, and in order to raise some cash was doing a big “fire sale.” He had stacks of excellent condition Topps baseball cards from 1957-1962, doubles and triples of Mays, Mantle, Clemente, Kaline. Oh Wow! Hobby-heaven.
We walked out of there, each of us carrying 2 or 3 shopping bags of cards. David and I were both able to make nearly full sets of cards for those years, with plenty of doubles to spare. It was only years later that I realized what a “find” this was. This provided the base for my collection as well as a nice economic cushion, which helped me for example, to pay moving costs into different NYC apartments.
What a find!