Saw something on the Collectors Universe message board the other day that was pretty neat. A guy started a thread saying how he had been tickled to have sold a vintage Topps card from his online “store” to a soldier in Iraq.
No sooner had he mentioned it then one of the next posts asked how much the item had been, noting that assuming it was “reasonable” he would send payment for it and then the soldier could have his payment refunded.
That was a pretty nice touch, and it was promptly acknowledged as such by a number of other posters.
Turns out, the card in question was a 1971 Topps Frank Linzy in a PSA 7 holder, with a price tag of roughly $10. I was a little fuzzy on why a 1971 Topps Frank Linzy would be worthy of third-party entombment, but then speculated that perhaps protective armor is required for everything and everybody that sets foot in Iraq.
The guy who had volunteered to pay for the card kind of archly observed that he was relieved that it hadn’t been a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle or he would have had to start taking up a collection.
He was kidding, of course, but it’s just as clear that – hypothetically speaking – if the card in question been a good deal more expensive than that he would have still pulled the trigger, or barring that ability, probably pretty easily have been able to quite literally take up a collection to do so.
Linking such generosity to the patriotic inclination to support our troops makes it doubly noteworthy, but in truth it’s merely an extension of a long-held proclivity in the hobby to help out others and to treat collecting as a means to greater ends than simply just accumulating vast piles of cardboard.
I could give you the online handles or whatever they call them, but I don’t think they are typically real names, and besides, these kinds of gestures seem to take on added gravitas when done anonymously. I also am pretty sure that the various people on the message boards know who everybody else is.
There’s a good deal of truth in the observation that our two wars currently underway don’t seem to get our collective national attention as much as we might hope, a product, no doubt, of a host of factors, not the least of which is the all-volunteer military, which tends to make Iraq and Afghanistan directly applicable to a small number of Americans in terms of having an immediate family member in uniform in a combat zone.
Small little gestures like this one, or the cheers and thank-yous at airports or simple acknowledgments from citizens all have their place in keeping the sacrifices of so many in public view.