The term white whale, prior to its bastardization in Triple Threads, meant a card that you had a card out there in the sea of collectors that was virtually impossible to find. To this day, people still chase white whales all over the hobby, and for many of us, they are truly a quest fit for Ahab. In most cases, those whales were usually 1/1s that you didn’t know had been pulled, or a rare card that infrequently hit ebay at an affordable price.
For someone like me, there werent many of these cards that I had on my list. I can think of two specifically, and after last night, both of them were on the captured list. The first one took me forever to find, and I mean absolutely forever. I think I posted at least three times about the 2005 Artifacts Joe Mauer Patch Auto /10 before I pretty much gave up looking, even going so far as setting up multiple daily ebay spam mailers with new auctions. I was searching for about 3 years before it finally popped up on ebay in the middle of last year, and I knew that I absolutely needed to buy it before it was lost again forever. A user on FCB collects the set, and luckily I knew he already had this one, so my competition was going to be easier because of that fact. On the other hand, this card was the coveted number 7 of 10, Mauer’s jersey number, and I knew there would be more people wanting it just for that fact. Even though I couldn’t care less what number in the run it was, other Mauer collectors would definitely have it on their list because of that.
There was a problem though, and it was one I wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with. The card was located in Taiwan, and most card collectors know that cards from overseas are always a risk, especially expensive ones like the Mauer. I put the thought out of my mind and concetrated on the win. As the final seconds ticked down, I entered a ridiculous snipe. You know, the type of max bid that could really get me in trouble if it actually was put to the test. It won me the card at a much higher price than I wanted to spend, but I still had the card on its way to California, and that was all that mattered to me at the time. This was also before Mauer’s MVP run, so prices were considerably cheaper due to it being the off season. I still spent more than I had spent on a Mauer card in over 3 years, yet it wasn’t something that would break my bank. I waited for around three weeks with no delivery, but the card eventually showed up without problem. It is still on my shelf today, and is no doubt my favorite and only current on card Mauer signature. The patch on it is way above average, and to have the hard signed card, great player picture and nice patch is what makes it the centerpiece of my collection. I would sell my Chrome Rookie Auto before I sell this card.
The second card was one that I had been looking for on and off for the better part of three years, but it definitely was not as rare as the Mauer and not worth as much. The reason I wanted it was more for filling a hole in my Vikings collection than it was collecting the individual player, something that hindered my need to search for it daily. The card I am talking about is a 2003 Leaf Certified Fabric of the Game Cris Carter Patch Auto /80, one that I wanted for some very specific reasons. First and foremost was the auto that adorned this series of cards. Carter is notorious for signing like a chump, and this card was one of the only ones I saw that featured his full auto. Second was that this set looked better than any of the other donruss cards that he signed, so naturally, it was the one I wanted. I first saw it on blowout two years ago when someone posted their complete set of these type of cards, and I knew it was the Carter auto I wanted. Because autos and patches were VERY rare in the 2003 set, and because this set had an extensive checklist, they rarely came up for sale.
As if the cardboard gods were taunting me again, the seller of the card had VERY low feedback and even had a few negs on his profile in the last six months. That was a bad sign, but I figured the forty bucks was worth the risk. Well, things really didn’t turn out the way I expected, and my 75 dollar bid was swallowed up pretty quickly into the final 24 hours of the auction. I ended up having to spend 90 bucks to get the card, and I am now forced to play the waiting game and see how this card turns out. I could tell this guy was not an eBay veteran, as the picture in the auction was mirrored and flipped, as well as being quite blurry. He does live in Minnesota and was selling a ton of Carter cards, so I don’t think he is in the market to keep his collection. Ill be sure to let you guys know as soon as I get the card in my hands. Otherwise, I will definitely not hesitate to flip a shit like normal.
In the end, when it comes to White Whales, you need to make a sacrifice in order to cross them off your list. With the Mauer it was overseas shipping and high prices, and with the Carter, its definitely the seller’s profile that I will need to put out of my mind. If these cards were easy to get, they wouldn’t be my whales, so its obvious that certain measures would no doubt be necessary.