Thursday, March 31, 2016


There have been just a handful of really....REALLY exciting moments for me in this hobby I love over the past couple of years.  But in that time I have picked up some nice cards, new project starters, tough finds and rare parallels.

But none of those compare to the two words....


The term 'white whale' gets used a lot in this hobby (and often misused IMO).  Tracking down that elusive card that has been on your wantlist for far too long.  I've seen guys bark that phrase out when the card has only been on the list for a couple years - not a white whale.  I've seen guys refer to 1/1's as their cosmic find - not a white whale.  I've heard many talk about cards that are fairly available but have just been a little too pricey - again...not a white whale.

To me, a white whale is a card that has been on your wishlist longer than most others.  It's a card that has been constantly on the radar throughout the grueling search.  It's an elusive card, not for its rarity...but for it's lack of availability (and I feel there is a difference).

It's a card that makes you double take triple take when it finally rears its ugly head, produce an unconscious smile that just can't be wiped from your face and prompt you to go immediately into "card acquisition mode".

All this can guess that I had such a card arrive in the mailbox recently.  So let's take a look at it and I will break it down for you.

2005/06 Upper Deck MVP
#P-TL Prosign

While this card might just look like a simple signature offering, I can assure you that there is more to this than meets the eye.

This card has been the top want on my list for a number of years now.  On hobby chat boards, when the topic of "What is your white whale?" comes up.....I post a photo of this card.  It's not serial numbered, it's not uber-rare,'s a sticker autograph.  It's a 10-year-old piece of cardboard and I haven't seen a single copy of it for over 8 years.

So what gives?

Well, it comes from the 2005/06 MVP product which, unlike pretty much every other year of MVP, has a bit of desirability.  It is after all the Sidney Crosby/Alex Ovechkin rookie year.  So while a good wave of this stuff was opened when the product was originally released (to get the highly desirable rc's), the product dried up because everyone got their copy.  Tons of this product just sat on the shelves.  Why?  It wouldn't go on sale for rock bottom prices.  Why?  It had the Crosby and Ovechkin rookie cards.

A vicious circle.

A circle that left a lot of cards like this Linden Prosign sitting in boxes likely never to be opened.

When the product first came out there was a good buzz following the Linden auto.  Like many Linden cards at that time, many of us wanted to pick it up for our collections.  The prices on the first few were high (as they normally are....anxious buyers).  I decided to wait it out and let the prices come down.

Well, the prices never came down because copies of the card never showed up.

I waited and waited......and waited.

After a few years I realized that I may have missed the bus on this one.  In fact, it got to the point where I truly felt I'd never obtain a copy of this card - ever.  I even considered contacting a fellow Linden collector to see if he'd be interested in selling me his copy.  It never came to that, but I thought about it real hard.

When this copy hit the open market I knew I'd have to bid big on it.

A few e-mails to fellow Linden collectors to gauge the interest level (and seeing the initial bids on it) gave me the indication that this would be a hot ticket.  I came up with my "maximum number" and waited for the auction to near its end.

A full day before the timer was to end a bid came across that was a whopper - bigger than the number I had as my maximum.  I was not only surprised that someone would play his hand so early, but worried that this card might not be destined for my collection.

The nice thing was that I had a full day to contemplate.  I decided to up my maximum bid and crossed my fingers.  As the auction neared its end I pulled the trigger.  Sure enough it was just a little higher than the big bid from the day earlier - enough to make me the winning bidder.

I haven't been so happy to win a card in a really long time.

It arrived today and I am absolutely pumped.  I must have stared at it for a good number of minutes.

And while I paid overpaid quite a bit for it, I have absolutely zero buyer's remorse.  It's one I am more than happy to cross off the list and put this chapter of my Linden collection to rest.

And what a 'white whale' is all about.


  1. It's funny how we sometimes review our "maximums" as those auctions end and sometimes we relent and up our "cap". I have done it a couple times and rarely regret it. I hope there is never a buyers remorse for you on this one and congrats on landing one. I am sure it put up a good fight. Also congrats on your patience paying off, 8 years is a long wait between sightings.

    There is an Alex Delvecchio Number Marks from SP Game Used I am still waiting to discover some day (#1). Hope I have the same luck you did.

  2. That was a fantastic story. Love hearing other collectors harpooning their white whales. Eight years sure is a long time.

  3. Great story on the 'white whale'!
    I have two Linden cards here that you may not know exist - not sure if that would qualify for a 'white whale' or not. These two cards are from 1997-98 and are the Valunet Team Canada phonecards. While these phonecards are easily found, these two are not! The one card that is the red '$5' version, has 'promotional' written on the back where the silver scratch bar should be. The buyer was supposed to scratch this silver bar to reveal the bar code for the calling discount. The second card is also from the 1997-98 Valunet Team Canada phonecards. This second 'white' version has a different picture showing Linden in a white jersey. This version was supposed to be used for the autographed version of these cards. In the end, very few autographs were ever released. This card has no autograph on it and again the back says 'promotional' on it. I have been collecting Team Canada for more than 25 years now and in this time I have only seen two of each of these cards. So rare that I bought both! Are these on your wantlist? Perhaps these two cards are another 'white whale' for you!

    1. Hello.

      Is your name by chance Danny? Have we chatted years ago?

      I'd be interested in learning more and possibly seeing some scans.

      I'll throw you an e-mail.