It pays to be nice

A post from the department of how I try to contribute to the trading card community even though my trade bait is basically non-existent. A couple months ago Cards From the Attic was running one of his sales but when I clicked through to his link his site was gone. So I sent him a message on Twitter and a couple of us took turns doing some troubleshooting. Different browsers. Different computers. Private mode or not. All those basic tests that you have to run because the support representative will ask them.

Anyway I helped out because it was the right thing to do. Computer issues stink and seeing them pop up when trying to run a sale is especially poor timing. Attic said he’d send everyone who helped out  a prize pack sometime. I ❤️’d the tweet but didn’t give it a second thought.

I try and help people out the ways I can. I can’t always do it with cards and that’s just fine. I’ve been the recipient of a ton of generosity from people on Card Twitter; whatever I can contribute back into the community I can. Rather than treating trades as individual exchanges I keep my general trade balance in mind. And with that in mind I’m running a serious deficit.

I don’t often partake in Attic’s sales. I’m too much a cheapskate so I like to wait until there are enough cheap cards to reach the $20 free shipping level. But I always watch just in case and keep my fingers crossed that some of the cards I might want don’t get snatched up so that I can make an offer on a batch.

One such card was a 1952 Topps Hank Thompson with extremely-rounded corners. I’d been tempted to claim it a number of times but held off since I couldn’t reach the free shipping level. When Attic teased last Wednesday’s sale as featuring bunch of 1952 and 1953 Topps, I mentioned that if that Thompson was in the batch I might finally pull the trigger.

I meant what I said but instead Attic said he’d grab it and a couple other beat-up 1952 Giants and send it to me as the thank-you prize pack that he’d promised earlier. Said prize pack arrived late last week and the Thompson is plenty nice despite the 67 years of wear and tear.

I’ve developed a soft spot for Thompson because he’s sort of the forgotten Giants pioneer. He’s overshadowed by both Monte Irvin and Willie Mays but deserves to be remembered on his own as both an underrated ballplayer and the only guy to integrate two teams.

Another card in the batch was this Larry Jansen. I’ve become accustomed to seeing this card in the card sales as well. There’s a copy with a back that’s pretty much destroyed due to the card having been pasted into an album at some point 60 years ago. I never claimed it because paper loss is somewhat of a dealbreaker for me.*

*For whatever reason the Thompson and Jansen never showed up in the same sales too.

While I thought I was getting the destroyed back Janson, much to my pleasure this one is in decent shape and completely readable. Yes the front is pretty rough with destroyed corners but you can see the goofy grin and 7-finger pose.*

*Googling suggests he’s holding up one finger for each of his kids. He’d eventually have 10.

Jansen is an interesting guy too. A gritty and cool ace of a pitcher who won the Shot Heard Round the World game, his rapid decline after 1951 meant that his name wasn’t one that I ever really learned as a young Giants fan.

The last card of the batch was Jansen’s catcher Wes Westrum. Generally better shape than the other cards but yeah there’s a bit of a bite taken out of the corner. Still a decent representative of the 1952 set though

Despite his importance to the pennant-winning Giants teams, I was only familiar with him as a coach and manager. He managed the Giants in the 1970s and the Mets in the 1960s and for whatever reason those kind of things stuck in my brain more.

It’s possible that in many ways my Giants history only really got started with 1958 when they moved to San Francisco. Yes I know about the legends of some of the New York star players but the other guys? No real clue. Which is kind of too bad.

One of the unexpected benefits of moving my collecting into focusing on New York Giants cards this year is that I get an excuse to read about the guys like Jansen and Westrum and learn about Giants history which I didn’t learn as a kid. It’s been a lot of fun so far and the fact that I can only pick up a couple cards at a time makes it easy to just pull up a bio.

What I did expect was to be thrilled just getting cards of the New York Giants. I never even dreamed of getting any of these in-hand when I was a kid so I get a bit giddy just handling them. Getting three in a prize pack? Mind blown.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at, and the web at

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