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sole survivor

JP Williams


bill nattress, born in 1878, played baseball for twelve seasons, eight  of those with the minor league buffalo bisons. i'm not a baseball fan  but i started collecting baseball cards in the winter of 1985. i had been fired from my job in houston, texas, and moved back to rhode island to look for a job. i was living with—or i should say freeloading off—a friend. we went to a local flea market in warwick, rhode island, and as i walked around I saw one dealer with a case containing dozens of these small baseball cards. tobacco cards, as i learned. they measure approximately 1 1/4 by 2, so they fit neatly in a cigarette package. i had never  seen anything like them. i fell in love with their simplicity and beauty. i bought a few that day and began learning about these beautiful cards. i discovered that this series of cards contained the famous honus wagner card, considered by collectors to be the most valuable baseball card. why? it seems mr. wagner did not smoke and he refused to have his name associated with selling tobacco, so very few exist. this was 1909. i began collecting this series called t206, which contains over 500 different cards. i discovered baseball card shows and a whole other world of which i was ignorant. these cards were amazing and relatively inexpensive. I think I paid twenty dollars for my nattress card at that time. of course the honus wagner was hundreds of thousands, but not millions as it is today. my most valuable card was a ty cobb. i paid 130 dollars for it. eventually, i accumulated a little over 100 of these cards. time passed and my interest faded as they became more expensive. i hung onto them until I need some cash. in the spring of 1993, i planned to propose to my girlfriend and needed funds for an engagement ring. (i am a holdover from the old south and felt that i needed a ring to propose.) to pay for the ring i sold my collection of t206 cards. mr. nattress is the sole survivor.
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Hook, line, and sinker. Love this post for so, so many reasons. Did you ever visit the flea at Norton?