Featured Card: 1909-1911 American Caramel (no #), Charles “Red” Dooin
Every once in a while, the eBay gods smile upon me and I’m able to add a graded pre-WW I card to my collection at a price I can afford. The Dooin card shown here is one of those instances. Yes, the corners are heavily rounded, it’s stained on both sides, there’s a crease that threatens to break the upper left-hand corner off of the card, and there’s some light paper loss on the bottom border. However, the card is intact, and apart from the crease does not actually bear any significant damage. In other words, it looks pretty good for a card graded in “Fair” condition.
What made it even better was that I got it for under $25 — that includes the shipping and handling. The 1909-1911 American Caramel E90-1 set is one where you can realistic expect to spend a minimum of $75 for a non-graded example in “VG” condition. Far more often than not, sellers will set the minimum bid higher than that. With that in mind, I feel as though I was incredibly to snag this card for the price I paid.
I know a lot of collectors like to liberate cards from graded-slabs, but I’m not one of them. For odd-sized vintage cards in low-grade condition, to me they seem like the perfect storage vehicle. Yes, their size and bulk creates some storage issues. However, for a card like the Dooin one shown here, the case may very well be helping the card maintain its structural integrity*. I don’t know how weak the card is along that crease on the upper left-hand corner, and I have no desire to find out. Even if the card is mostly intact along the crease, transferring it to a different style of holder involves the potentially of accidentally damaging it further. In the end, even though I cannot touch the card itself, I can still easily view both sides and safely handle it without any worries. To me, it’s a win-win situation.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have plenty of reasons to maintain a love-hate relationship with the grading services. However, in a situation like this — where I bought this particular card without inspecting it personally — I’m certainly more thankful for their presence than not.
* I always like it when I can make sci-fi references when writing about baseball cards.