Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ebay and Letting Go

Photo--Former ebay logo in an office hallway.  From

I've discovered ebay lately, much to my happiness and my chagrin.  Happiness because I now own about 25 1908-1910 T206s, as well as a few 1935 Diamond Stars and a couple of more Goudeys.  (These are all popular, yet usually-expensive, baseball cards.)  I also now own 1 1887 N172 tobacco card in very good condition, and a great Pedro Martinez-autographed, bigger than 18 X 20 photo, in a walnut frame, with "2004 W.S. Champs" after his autograph.  It is one of the most beautiful things I've ever owned.

So why the chagrin?  Well, let me put it this way: I've shut down the account for now, and there are Post-It reminders on my laptop (which I usually type these on) to not bid on anything else for the foreseeable future.  I have become very good at winning bids.  I have a great system.  This is also a good and a bad thing.  The only specific I'll give is that the 1887 card cost $104 and change, and that's a steal for the card.

This was all well and good but for the hit-and-run driver who smashed into the back of my car as I was stopped in front of a side street that led to the parking lot of my job.  I got hit hard, and was dazed for a bit, and got some neck soreness and a fat lip--and just over $4,300 in damages.  The insurance covers most of that, thank God, but a $1,000 deductible still is what it is.  Considering what I spent on ebay, that was the absolute wrong thing at the wrong time.  (Though I admit that I could have been hurt much more than I was.)

So now the second part of the title of this blog entry: Letting Go.  I have to let go of the hopelessness that you feel that someone could smash into your car and drive away, and the woman who was a witness to it--who was, in fact, hogging the whole side street so that I had no choice but to stop to let her out--did not stay for the cop, or at least offer her name and number, or call 911, or anything.  She saw the car that hit me.  She must have seen it drive away, unless she was too busy driving away herself.  So I have to let go of the anger and bitterness of that whole situation.

But I also had to let go of a couple of things I've had for awhile.  I had to sell a couple of things because I needed the cash on hand.  I have some savings, but I have to leave it there in case something else like this happens.  I went through some of my many baseball things--which I don't usually do--and I had to sell a couple of my baseball things--which I never do.  After reviewing what I had, I set aside a second Dustin Pedroia autograph (this one on a baseball; I have a better one on a large autographed World Series photo of him) and about 50 to 75 baseball cards.

Letting go of the Pedroia ball hurt a little bit, but that's why you get duplicate autographs, right?  This one I got at a Picnic in the Park at Fenway a few years ago; the woman I was dating at the time paid for the expensive tickets and took me, and I had the time of my life--as well as many Sox autographs.  (One of my favorite memories was throwing a baseball against the Green Monster for a few hours on a perfect afternoon.  My spot was just to the left of the Jimmy Fund boy in the circle.)  Anyway, the ball (which had George Kottaras's autograph, too, and you can go to the front of the line if you remember him) reminded me of that day, and so I was sort of sorry to see it go.  I have other autographed baseballs from that day, but still.  I sold it for $50.  I would have asked for more, because it sells consistently on ebay for $85-$120.  I asked for $60 and settled for ten dollars less because I sold it to a co-worker, and he's a very nice guy.

Then I called a guy who had come to one of my yard sales this past summer.  We'd talked a bit and he'd mentioned that he liked older baseball cards, of which I have a plentiful supply.  It took me awhile to decide what to part with, and the way the sale went down, I had to part with a card I'd rather not have had to sell, a 1975 Topps George Brett Rookie Card.  This had been given to me when I was about 14, so I've had it for a very long time.  The book value on it was $40 to $80 in Near Mint condition, which my card maybe was, or maybe was just short.  I also sold 99 commons with it, and a 1975 Topps Steve Carlton, Phil Neikro, Hank Aaron, Dave Winfield (book value--$30 to $50), and Robin Yount rookie card (in faded condition).  I got $100 for all of that, which is a pretty fair deal for both the buyer and the seller.  You never get book value for cards.  It's impressive that I even came close.

Anyway, letting go of that Brett card hurt more because I've had it for so very long.  When I looked at it, I remembered the me that I was at that age.  It was also one of the more valuable cards I've had in my collection since I started collecting at age 12 or so.  But I needed the money, and it was all profit, since I didn't pay for any of the 1975 cards.  And I was never particularly fond of the 1975 cards anyway.  They're really hard to get in decent condition because of the color patterns Topps made them with.  And I'm more into pre-1970 cards, anyway.  The 70s, with maybe the exception of the 78s or 79s, were an ugly time for Topps.

Ebay makes letting go a little easier.  If it gets too much for me, I can just buy another one, maybe in better condition, maybe for even less than I just sold it for.  Years ago, it would have been impossible to replace a 1975 Topps George Brett rookie card if you'd sold it.  Now, it's just a mouse click away.

And I feel that letting go, and adapting, is necessary for growth.  And I've never been particularly good at doing that.  Not that keeping that Brett card forever would have been a bad thing if I'd liked it, or if I'd wanted to wait for it to increase in value.  But it probably wouldn't have gone up that much more anytime soon (although all vintage cards increase in value over time, just because they're old), and I never really liked the card in of itself.  I much prefer '51-'53 Bowmans and '52 and '53 Topps, as well as the '44 and '45 cards, and the 1887 N172s and, of course, the T206s.

I'm moving on, and I needed the money, and I like other cards now (and they're more expensive because they're so much older).  I've changed, and not just in my baseball card preferences.  I would not have been able to sell the Brett card 10 years ago, and maybe not even in the last few years.  But that's what you do with free stuff you're not attached to by anything more than nostalgia, right?

It's possibly a short story in of itself: a card given to me for free when I was 14 was sold (with other cards, but the Brett rookie was the creme de la creme of my 75s, and of the 1975 set in general) for about $75 to $80, with all of the other cards selling for about $20 to $25.  It's going to a new home now, and I know that this is inappropriate personification, but I asked the guy to treat it well, and to display it well.  He said he would, though I have my doubts, as he said he has a billion other cards, including many T206s, just hanging out in bureau drawers or something.  (I asked him to call me about the T206s.)  It's fulfilled its purpose for me, as it turns out, and so I hope it's good to someone else, too.

And if it sounds like I have some separation anxiety about it, it's because I do.  But you have to let go, right?  You have to adapt and change.  That's what the hoarders can't do--and I see now that it's possible to be an emotion hoarder, too.

P.S.--If you're interested in buying any baseball cards, send me an email (the address is at the top of this blog page, with all of my other associations) or place a comment, and I'll get back.  Let me know what you need, and if I've got it, we can talk.  The T206s and the 1887 card are not for sale.

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