Monday, February 22, 2010

Super Sales?

Super Sales?

By Mike DeNero

If someone told me two year ago that I would be totally ginned-up about our online sportscards shop offering a new non-sports related product line, I would have told them they were bonkers (or ginned-up themselves … in the literal sense, of course). But that is exactly what has happened here at Mike DeNero’s Vintage Sportscards over the past couple of years … twice.

Last year, we began the long and arduous process of generating a sizable inventory of 1930s European cigarette cards featuring famous movie stars of the day (e.g., Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, aka the “Weimar Vamp”). We were so ginned-up about these cards that we began to look beyond their gorgeous appearance to learn more about them. In the case of the 1934-1937 Garbaty sets particularly, the historical tale behind the cards – that of the film and tobacco industry in pre-war Nazi Germany – was even more colorful and vibrant than the images of the Hollywood actresses that grace the cards’ surfaces. That discovery started me down the path of co-authoring with my sister, an art history scholar (pen name Kyleigh Spencer), our first (dare I say it) “scholarly” card-related article titled, Cigarettes, Starlets, and Nazis: The Historical Tale of the Garbaty Film Stars Sets, originally published in the Spring of 2009 by Classic Images movie magazine, subsequently published in two-parts by the London Cigarette Card Company’s Card Collecting News this fall, and is scheduled to appear in the immediately forthcoming issue of Collector magazine (formerly SGC Collector). Those publications have helped bring new customers to our online shop and eBay store as well as sportscard collecting veterans who have just begun to discover the unique and exquisite quality of many of the 1930s film stars card issues, including the Large 1935 Ardath Film, Stage & Radio Stars 25-card set, the various aforementioned Garbaty issues, the 1939 Rothmans Beauties of the Cinema, and 1936 Godfrey Phillips Screen Stars sets, to name a few.

Today we officially unveil our newest addition to our product offerings: vintage Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman comic books graded by CGC (to view all of the comics in our collection, click here). Why comics? Why only Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman? Are we getting out of the sportscards business in favor comic books and non-sportscards, such as the 1930s movie star cards and the 1940 Gum Inc. Superman cards? The answers to those three questions are simple: 1) Why not?; 2) Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are the three greatest comic book characters of all time; and 3) Nope, just expanding our scope a bit.

You might ask why we are choosing to expand our scope of product offerings yet again. I would answer that it is solely due to my evolving collecting interests. If you take a look at the inventory in our store, regardless of the product line, you will notice that it displays more like a collection that “inventory.” For example, you will notice that a trend develops among our sportscards – we generally offer only hall of famers (and various other great players) depicted on cards released during the earlier years of their careers that (here’s the most important part) are visually appealing. Thus we typically carry the 1954-1957 Hank Aaron cards, but do not typically offer the 1959 Topps (terrible card design; lame portrait) or the 1969 Topps (nice card design and photo, but Hank was starting to get long in the tooth and larger in the waistline). In other words, we are trying to say that we are largely addicted to the sportscard collecting hobby due to its visual nature.

Such explains our foray into the 1930’s film stars sets and now vintage Golden Age and Silver Age Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman comic books graded and encapsulated by CGC. Take a look at some of those we have to offer (click here) – just get a look at those covers!

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