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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bruce Yeko who? - A Fascinating Read

The First part of the interview click here.

(This is a continuation of a two-part interview with early hobby dealer Bruce Yeko. The first part of the interview described how Bruce went from a Milwaukee boyhood collector to part-time dealer while in school to a full-time New York City card dealer in 1963. Along the way he dealt with Woody Gelman, Gordon B. Taylor, and Marshall Oreck. Part 2 picks up in the 1960s and continues to the present.)
As a full-time card dealer in New York City in the 1960s, Bruce Yeko started to get less attached to the cardboard. A fellow came in with a complete set of 1952 Topps to sell. Bruce bought the set very reasonably. Since he liked the set so much himself, he thought he would “protect” it by putting a robust $100 sales price on the set. It sold immediately.

With that lesson learned, he dug out a 1952 set missing 11 cards and offered it for $300. That set sold immediately, as well. There were no price guides available to the general public. The hobby pioneers may have priced cards at a penny or so apiece but that didn’t mean he had to agree with them. Bruce put prices on cards that he thought would result in the best results for him. If the price was too high, an item wouldn’t sell and he could always lower the price. Yeko priced star cards at a premium and got the prices he asked.

Business was good; cards accumulated by the millions in the small Yeko residence. Baseball, football, non-sports, tobacco cards, Post Cereal cards, Pepsi Houston Colts and Tulsa Oilers, everything imaginable was purchased and resold. Yeko used trays a banker friend of his found to organize some of his cards. The trays had been used to organize canceled checks at the bank and were the perfect size. At his peak, Yeko sold 3,000 sets of current Topps cards. Assuming about 600 cards in a set, 3,000 sets would mean 1.8 million cards just in current year complete sets.

Continue Reading here:

Normally I wouldn't copy and paste this much although I left plenty uncopied, but I wanted to include the part about the 3,000 sets this guy sold a year.  One of my theories is that vintage 1948-1972 cards aren't particularly rare.  There are huge accumulations out there in addition to a ton of vintage wax that is being released very slowly.  I offer what have been marked for identification as exhibits 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

If this guy was selling 3,000 sets a year and believe you me, there were a lot of set collectors back then that were putting together older sets as well in addition to other dealers, these cards are not difficult to come by.  Keep in mind that the links above are for just ebay and just psa cards. Additonally, there were serious ass collectors putting out $100's of dollars too as referenced above.

For other referenced reading see here, Note in the link to the left how it talks about ordering tons of cases from Topps.  Yeah, it happened.

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