Friday, February 11, 2011

An Early eBay Story

In 1999/2000, I discovered the great little online yard sale known as eBay. At the time, it was still a neat little auction site...this was before it became the big behemoth it is now that I mostly avoid today.

It was a nice boost to my collection, too, since it gave me a way to look for cards without having to search through card shops or calling dealers, only to have them look for half an hour and then either being a higher price than I wanted to pay or being told that there wasn't much in the way of vintage material there.

So, having a way to toss out small bids on cards and knowing what I was going to get was a great way to justify my internet connection.

I was also looking to work on my 1956 Topps set. My first wantlist page consisted only of 1956 Topps cards. One day early in 2000, I saw this card being auctioned off:

I put in a bid, and ended up winning it, for about $4 plus shipping. So, I mailed out a money order, placed the line for Hoyt Wilhelm in red (which I still do sometimes when I know something's coming) and waited for the card to show up in my mailbox.

About a week and a half later, an envelope from the seller showed up. And this was the card inside it:

While I was satisfied about getting an older card than expected, I was working on a 1956 Topps set and really wanted that card. I wrote a quick email to the seller explaining that the wrong card arrived and asked if I could get the one I actually won for my '56 set in progress?

Of course, I said I'd return the '54 once it arrived. However, I'd lost or tossed away his address and needed it again so I could send it back to him.

He wrote back, apologized for the mix-up and told me my card would arrive as soon as he could get to the post office. And sure enough, in a few days it arrived. However, he didn't put a full address on his envelope and never sent it in his reply. When I had the card in hand, I sent another email thanking him and asking once again for an address so I could give back the original card he sent me.

He told me I could keep it, since he screwed up the order. So, $4 plus shipping got me two cards of a great Hall of Fame pitcher from the 1950s. I really wish I could remember who the seller was, though. I'd love to give him a plug if he's still around.

eBay was great before it became bloated.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Chris ... don't know how to email you on this site, but I wanted to share this with you. It's a guy who has written a book about the game of baseball in the 1970s. He posts things almost every day about players from that generation. Here is today's post:

    Big Hair & Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball In The 1970s
    A funky birthday salute as well to the late Don Wilson, the Astros hurler responsible for the first no-hitter ever thrown on artificial turf or in a domed stadium (6/18/67 agaisnt the Braves at the Astrodome). Don's best season was 1971, when he went 16-10 with a 2.45 ERA, 180 Ks, 18 CGs and a 1.022 WHIP in 268 innings. He was found dead on January 5, 1975 in the passenger seat of his 1972 Thunderbird, which was parked and running in his garage. His death was ruled an accident, though questions regarding the circumstances persist to this day.