Hunting for the White Whale

Humans have always been hunters.  I’m pretty sure there are cave paintings somewhere of a guy named Grog hunting down a mastodon or woolly mammoth.  Most of us aren’t out hunting for our supper, but most of us in the hobby that actually COLLECT are hunters.  We are on high alert, armed with spears and looking to pounce.

Sound a little dramatic?  Hear me out.

I was thinking last night about a card in my collection.  Combining that with Jason‘s piece from last week and a tweet from one of our followers had my mind racing.

This card from my collection seems quite inauspicious in nature.  Heck, you may be sitting on one of the other 99 of these.  Until a couple of years ago, I didn’t realize it was that difficult to come by.  I picked up my copy in 2003 and if I remember correctly, I overpaid.  It was worth it, I really wanted this card.

2003 Topps All American Campus Connection Signatures #CCZC Amos Zereoue / Avon Cobourne

I have a scan of it on my Flickr page and one of my followers asked me if I was interested selling or trading it.  My answer was no.  I wanted to keep it in my collection.  He told me that he’d been looking for it for a while, with no luck finding one.

At the time, the card had been released over a decade prior.  WVU fans are a pretty loyal bunch and will collect their players, especially if they are in the ol’ gold and blue.  Amos Zereoue and Avon Cobourne are a part of Mountaineer lore, having posted some fantastic numbers in college.  The supply drying up is understandable.  However,  based on, well, pretty much everything I’ve learned in 30 years in the hobby…I felt that there should be a handful of these available.  I was wrong.

From time to time, I will post something and he will ask me if I am ready to sell.  I’m not.  This card is (likely) his white whale.

In response to Jason’s piece, a twitter follower replied: “I’ve been looking for 09 NSCC Score Atomic Beanie Wells (gray/base version) for years. Does it exist? ”  Someone replied that it does and provided this pic from COMC.

beanie wells
2009 Score Atomic #323 – Beanie Wells

I don’t know much about the set, but on the surface, it doesn’t appear to be a card that should be difficult to find.  It sounds like another white whale.

I asked Jason about his personal white whale.  As a Josh Fogg supercollector, he told me that his are 2003 Beckett Sample cards.  He believes that they were not actually produced, even though they are in Beckett’s checklist.  I know Jason well and he is a diligent man.  He is very thorough in his research and dedicated to that Fogg collection.  Heck, earlier this year Blowout Buzz did a post on him and his collection.

My personal white whale for years was this Andrew Shaw/Jeremy Roenick autograph.

2012-13 Limited Back to the Future Autograph #18 Andrew Shaw / Jeremy Roenick

It’s from a 2012-13 product, but it wasn’t until just over a year ago that I finally saw one.  Not only that, I dug deep to find it.  I went to Sportlots and found it.  That was before I knew that site and I was very concerned I would get taken.  I didn’t and the site has turned out to be great for me as a buyer.

LINK:  It’s Raining in Texas and the White Whale has arrived

My current white whale is probably out of my price range, but I’ve only seen one picture of it.  It’s the 1950 Topps Felt Backs #100 Pete Zinaich Brown Version.  I’ve only seen this pic of it.  I found it on

zinaich brown
1950 Topps Felt Backs #100a Pete Zinaich

The yellow version exists.  It was actually offered to me once, but I didn’t see the message in time and it was sold to another collector.

Why these cards become white whales is sometimes a mystery.  In the case of some Kris Bryant autographs, it came out last year that it APPEARS Topps held some back, not releasing them in pack form at all.  (Thank you to Gabe Weeden on Twitter for reminding me of this).  In the case of the Zinaich, it’s a rare vintage card and there’s an element of the unknown on how many exist.  Perhaps the Fogg Samples were never made and it’s a fruitless task.  I know Jason will not stop looking.  The Kyle Schwarber is on checklists as produced, but wasn’t.  What if you were trying to put this set together?

Then there is the curious situation with the Zereoue/Cobourne and Beanie Wells cards.  It doesn’t appear that they should be so tough to come by.  Why are they?

When we find these cards that we’ve been searching so long for, we pounce on them.  Nobody has a chance.  Much like Grog, we are hunters.

What is the white whale to YOUR collection and why do you believe it’s been so tough for you to find.  I would love to hear about it.  Please post in our comments section below!


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One comment

  1. That is one of my favorite cards, but my white whale is 2003 Donruss Classic Avon Cobourne numbered /5. I have 2/5 and 4/5 but have never been able to find any others. I check auctions sites periodically, for years with no luck.

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