The walls of my man cave are two different colors. One side of the room is tan and is decorated with loads of red Cardinals memorabilia and a few things NC State (my alma mater). Th other half of the room is red and is decorated by black framed pictures, a series of game used bats from several players, and two large book cases filled with all kinds of baseball books. The point at which the two colors meet is a large double doored closet that houses my 250,000 card collection.
Inside the front corner of the closet I have a box of odds and ends. A schedule from the 1982 Cardinals World Series team. Tickets stubs from the last home game pitched by Darryl Kile, the first Albert Pujols home run hit in St. Louis, and the last game I attended at Busch Stadium II. Lots of scorecards and programs and a few autographs. Deep inside the box is the only picture I have ever taken of myself opening a box of cards. Seriously.
I remember the release of Topps Heritage being a pretty big deal back in 2001. I was an extremely young professional educator and I swung by the Sports Card Dugout in Webster Groves, Missouri after work (The store is still there-great shop) and picked up a box. I probably should have picked up a PowerBall ticket. I hurried back to my place a few blocks away and started opening the packs. The first awesome card I pulled was a Nomar Garciaparra auto. Odds 1:142, or 1 per case. I was ecstatic.
However, I pulled something better a few packs later. Something so big and odd defining that I had to take a picture. I am pretty sure that between 1995 and 2012 I have opened a box of 90% or more of all major card release and this is the box I took a picture to remember. The odds for this card were at more than 1:20,000. (I hate pictures of young me and the man cave sucked in 2001)
If cannot tell what the card is on the left it is a Barry Bonds Topps Heritage Classic Renditions autograph. There were only 25 made which does not sound impressive today, but at the time it was awesome. I took my cards back into the store and showed the owner of the store. In 2001 I was a card keeper, so this box not only yielded my best pull, but also helped me become a card mover. I literally sat in the store for thirty-five to forty minutes debating the finer points of selling the card versus keeping the card. Finally, I decided it was worth a shot. I listed the card on Ebay along with the Nomar autograph. The two cards together sold for almost $1300. The Bonds alone was almost $1100. Not a bad deal for a $90 box.