May 12, 2020

An Update on the Personal PC Vol. 1

Back on March 31, I set out to tell a story about making my collection more personal through sharing the experience with my daughter and searching for players with whom I share some sort of direct connection. If you missed it the first time around, it can be found here. In brief, I detailed my search to find the second of two 30+ year old, obscure, minor league team set issued cards. Shortly after publishing that post, P-Town Tom wrote a comment that led me on a very fruitful, month-long quest. Tom's comment was a heads up that there were several copies of the 1990 Star Erie Sailors Brian Golden card available on Sportlots. I had heard about the site from many in the hobby community and even signed up for an account a few years back, but never placed an order. This news was all the motivation I needed to break that ice. I spent a good bit of time searching the inventory of the various sellers that had my targeted card listed. In the end, I filled my cart with about 20 cards(rest to be shown in a later post) and checked out. Then I waited. I found the process to be very smooth and I appreciated the notifications when my order had been picked and shipped. A short while later, the package arrived.

This is what I was looking for! With it in hand, I thought this personal PC was complete. I shared the new acquisition with my daughter and we went out to my TCDB checklist to add it to my collection. That's where our story takes an unexpected turn. We checked it off the wantlist and I clicked the link to show her that this collection was 100% complete at 2/2 cards listed. Instead of seeing that, we were met with 'your collection is 66.7% complete at 2/3'. This was interesting because we had just checked this prior to checking out on Sportlots. Where did another card come from? A 'Platinum', limited version of the 1989 Hamilton Redbirds card from my original post on this topic was now listed. There was no scan of the card so I had no idea how it differed from the 'regular' version. One user had it listed in his collection. I sent him a message asking about the differences between the two versions. Then I waited. In the mean time, I began my eBay and Google searches for the newly discovered set/single. At first, the searches didn't produce anything useful. No current or recently sold listings matched. I took a shot and ran the search without the 'platinum' qualifier. I found many of the same listings that had been there before I acquired the base card months ago. After scrolling through results for a while, I found my first lead. A complete set was listed, but the pictured card had a light blue border instead of the red/yellow border on the one I had. I thought it was a listing error, but the description listed the complete checklist and Brian was on it. I messaged the seller, asking for confirmation that the entire set had the blue border. Then I waited... I hadn't received a reply from the TCDB user in over 24 hours and I hoped the eBay seller would give me some good news relatively quickly. A few hours later, the eBay seller replied. He told me that he had previously sold the blue set and all he had left was the red/yellow bordered set. I was disappointed, but seemingly had confirmation that the platinum set had a blue border. I added this search back to my eBay saved list and left it alone. As expected, there were no new notifications after a few days so I decided to stop waiting. I altered my search a bit, checking for '1989 Star Hamilton' instead of adding the team name. A bunch of the same results I had seen before came up with a few guys who had the last name of Hamilton mixed in. I hit the jackpot when I got to the end of that search. The first listing in the section labeled 'results matching fewer words' was for a '1989 Hamilton Cardinals' set. The description seemed to match, but the picture had multiple sets shown and was not clear enough to confirm it was the blue bordered set. I messaged the seller. They replied quickly and told me they had both the blue and red/yellow sets available. They sent me a link to their listing for the blue bordered set and I was shocked by the price they were charging. We negotiated back and forth 2-3 times at which point I was told they wouldn't go any lower for such a limited set. I politely declined telling them I understood, but their price was higher than I was willing to pay since I only wanted the single card. Again, I was disappointed, but at least I knew of a set that was on the market. About a week after our negotiation, I received one of those 'seller has made you an offer' messages. The seller had decided to drop the price by ~$10 which put the asking price just a little higher than my previous top offer. I mulled it over and ultimately decided to accept. I definitely paid more than I wanted to, but the search was over. Then I waited. Several long days later the set finally arrived.

I am simultaneously thrilled and bummed to have these two new additions to my 'personal PC'. Thrilled for obvious reasons, but bummed because the hunt appears to be over(that's part of the fun after all)...or is it? I wonder if there is a 'platinum' version of the 1990 Erie set floating around out there somewhere. Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps I should be patient and wait.

Either way, huge thanks go out to P-Town Tom for helping push me further down this particular collecting road. I suppose I owe him twice the thanks. Not only for the assistance in finding the two new PC cards, but also for providing the motivation to take the Sportlots plunge. I'm sure that I'll spend quite a bit of time down that 'rabbit hole' in the future! Thanks for reading.


  1. Great post! Love the long and winding road to hunt down a grail like that.

  2. I always worry the hunt will be over with my Hampton PC some day. I can feel the winding road. The good thing is there is always more to collect out there!

  3. The hunt. Man, I absolutely LOVE chasing down cards! The unexpected turn was so excellent and I'm glad you were able to chase down the third card. Parallels in 1989? Who would have thought?
    Congratulations and thanks for sharing!

  4. From a personal standpoint, I don't really enjoy the hunting of hard to find cards, especially in the internet era... but I do like reading about the quests that other collectors embark on!

  5. Good point. Sometimes the hunt is the best part!