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Alan R. Moon
Reply with quote  #1 
Congrats Bill. Looks like it's been a great year for your collection.

Seems like lots of high-grade cards from the 50s and 60s have appeared for sale this year. I'm curious if you think this trend will continue?

Bill Bengen
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Alan,

Thanks for your kind words.

Yes, I agree, quite a bit of great material has appeared on the market recently, much of it greedily priced. I suspect that higher prices are drawing cards out from hiding. But cards that are priced way above market will not sell, and I suspect prices are softening. If the stock market crashes again, we could see some real bargains again.

Can't rule out that there are some still major unnanounced hoards of cards out there, waiting to make their way to market. That's tough to predict.

In general, I would be surprised if a lot of 1950-53 material in high grade shows up. I just don't believe that stuff was saved, partially because of the small format in many series. After 1954, anything is possible, as in that recent US Navy Victories discovery.

You've built some fabulous sets yourself. Congratulations on taking the #1 spot in Rails and Sails. Those high Rail numbers are tough!

Best in collecting,

Bill Bengen
tony fryer
Reply with quote  #3 
well done Bill
Bill Bengen
Reply with quote  #4 
Hi all,

As a result of recent purchases, my Bowman Wild West set has attained an 8.0 GPA, the first set ever to do so (as far as I know). As with 1953 "Firefighters", this is another set just a few short months ago I would have imagined would never attain that plateau, or taken many more years to do so. I got lucky and found some great material recently.

As many of you know, this 180-card series has a complex sub-structure, with 8 sub-series (designated "A" through "B"). The series is particularly difficult to complete because Bowman issued the sub-series in parallel sequence: releasing the lower numbers in the sub-series first, followed by the high numbers. Apparently the popularity of the series diminished in the later stages of release, as higher numbers are generally much tougher to locate.

One of my favorite sub-series is the "H" series, which concludes the set. It depicts various Movie Western "stars"-hardly any of whom I have ever heard of! Mainly "B" movie stars and bit players, I imagine. This appears to be a blatant bit of movie promotion, which today is merely amusing.

I love the "Western" genre, and this set has so many wonderful cameo images of the West I can spend hours poring over it card by card. Prospectors; gunfighters; settlers; Paul Bunyan; Indians; steamboats on the Mississippi; it goes on and on in glorious color.

This set is particularly tough to collect in "un-toned" state, as the borders often rapidly oxidize from their original bright white to a less-than-appealing yellow-brown. I believe that white-bordered cards should be awarded a significant price premium. Unfortunately the PSA grading system does not have a "TN" qualifier (I believe it should, as toning bothers me as much as off-center images), so you have to see the card to judge value.

High-grade cards 8.0 and above in this series are very difficult to locate. Only 50 PSA-9 cards have so far been graded, and no GEM-MINT 10's. Like many early 1950's sets, this is a "bear".

According to history, the American Frontier disappered in 1893, well over 100 years ago. That changed our country forever, and not in all positive ways. The appearance of this series in 1950 (despite 1949 issuance date) occurred just as man was entering a new frontier, "space". We have appeared to stall on the latter frontier. Perhaps we need another "Oklahoma Land Rush" on Mars to get us going again. Mankind desperately needs frontiers, even if they are only intellectual ones.

Best in collecting, Bill Bengen

Daniel H
Reply with quote  #5 
Bill, two questions for you. How many of those PSA 9's reside in your set and how far are you from a straight 8 set?
Bill Bengen
Reply with quote  #6 
Hi Daniel,

In reply to your questions, my set contains 14 cards graded PSA-9, no qualifiers. I still have 15 cards in the set below grade PSA-8. So close, and so far! Several of my PSA-7 cards are the highest graded, st at this time a straight eight set can not be built.

Best in collecting,

Bill Bengen
Aaron M.
Reply with quote  #7 
Hey, Bill. A belated congrats on your 8.00 accomplishment. I have been trying for a while to get above 8.00 for Wild Man and found it extremely difficult, so I can only imagine how much harder it is for Wild West with the number of cards. Truly amazing!
Kurt K.
Reply with quote  #8 
Regarding your thoughts on "a new frontier". I've been watching "Enterprise" lately and one of the things I enjoy about it is the frontier motif that runs through the series. It's a prequel to Star Trek, TNG, and Voyager, and I didn't expect that I would like it. But as it turns out, I'm enjoying better than the others (except maybe Voyager-- though it's a close tie). Unlike the other series, Enterprise is the only Federation ship that far in space, and most the other species they encounter are thieves, slave traders, and empire builders-- all taking advantage of decent people who are foolish enough to respond to calls for distress. Instead of cowboys and indians, you have Klingons, Romulons, and even the Borg (tied in from TNG movie). They do a good job of connecting to the other Star Trek series as well. On the surface of it, science fiction and westerns seem to have nothing in common, but in this case, being out in the unexplored badlands with no one to turn to for help is a common theme they both capitalize on with great success.
Bill Bengen
Reply with quote  #9 
Hi Kurt,

Star Trek Enterprise was a terrific series and I was sad to see it canceled after only 3 seasons. It got a bit dark for a whole season with the trip into "the void", to rescue earth from an alien weapon, but I enjoyed the characters, escpecially thos steamy decontamination sequences with T'Pol.

By the way, I knew the father of Scott Bakula, the actor who plays Captain Jonathn Archer in the series. He was Stuart Bakula, and was corporate legal counsel for the 7up Company for many years until it was bought out by Philip Morris in the late 1970's. My family owned a 7up bottling franchise in Metro NY and we had occasional contact with him, a very fine gentleman.

Best in collecting,

Bill Bengen
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