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Odds and ends as our online auction closes ...

Our online auction closes this evening, and if you haven’t visited it’s worth a couple of mouse clicks, especially if you’re interested in some cool, old-time lots that are more reminiscent of 1985 than they are emblematic of 2010.

The lineup ranges from 1/4-ounce single T206 cards to a great big old monster of 60,000 cards or more, the latter being more than enough to exasperate the most genial of UPS types. I also spotted a couple of my favorite non-mainstream things, including a 1952 Topps Reprint set and two different lots of the incredible Conlon Collection cards from 1991-94. And no, you won’t be wrasslin’ with me: I’ve already got both those issues and at my age movin’ stuff out is a greater priority than adding more to the inventory.

But I gotta admit I’m still tempted by both. I still remember when the 1952 Topps Reprint set came out in 1983: Whew! What an uproar ensued. Up to that time there had never been a reprinting done by the original manufacturer and the idea just scared by bejesus out of most everybody. Except me.

I recall writing a letter to the editor of Baseball Hobby News (Don’t ask why I didn’t send it to SCD, because I don’t know and I subscribed to both at the time.), essentially telling all concerned to take a chill pill and that everything would be OK. For once, I was right.

Fast foward another eight years and the Conlon Collection made its debut, and I was on board from the start. At 1,430 cards – if MLB hadn’t stepped on its crank in 1994 it might have gotten all the way to its intended goal of 3,300 cards – it is still the biggest set ever for a nationally distributed issue.

That whole issue of 1,430 cards ought to be included in every significant public library in the country: the photos of the famed Charles Martin Conlon are that good. It bothers me enormously that such treasures could still be available at such modest prices, but that’s a function of the original issues having been printed at a time when the hobby was much larger and print runs – even of a non-mainstream issue like that – reflected that greater size.

By 1995, with MLB trying to figure out how to recover from its self-inflicted wounds, Megacards had already dramatically scaled back the print run. The final series of 110 is typically much harder to find that the earlier ones, and much more expensive when you do.

For some odd reason as I type this (10:30 a.m. or so), the two Conlon Collection lots are in inverse relation in terms of the bidding. As I read the auction description, both lots have all four series from 1991-94 (1,320 cards), but one lot also has 31 of the 47 Color Conlon Collection cards that were also issued over that period.

Assuming overall condition matches, the lot with the added Color cards ought to be the more expensive of the two, but it isn’t.

Check it out.