The Curious Story of the 1976 Expos Redpath
As you work your way through my Carter collection, one "card" that may stand out from the others is the 1976 Expos Redpath Sugar Packet. These super rare sugar packets were distributed only in Quebec, Canada, and since most people didn't "collect" them, the majority of these were discarded after use as any sugar packet would be.
My first Redpath was purchased from a fellow Carter collector who was downsizing. I paid $150 for it and it was as hard as a rock with several dark brown stains on it as well as some serious ink fading. I was happy to have the piece, but hoped to one day upgrade. That day came on a Saturday afternoon in March 2016 when a Complete Set of mint 1976 Expos Redpath packets was listed. I quickly offered the guy $150 for the set and he promptly agreed. We even spoke on the phone about how he had come into this unique collection.
The new Redpath was about as pristine as I had ever seen. It had been kept in temperature- and humidity-controlled storage since it left Canada and was part of a large estate sale in Luisiana where an autograph and memorabilia collector picked the set up because it was unique and sports-related. Not knowing its scarcity and value on the open market, he didn't quite know what to charge.
Unlike my first Carter Redpath, this one had dark and clean ink and was very bright white. The sugar was also still granulated and moved around freely in the packet. It's safe to say you probably could have ripped it open and used it to sweetmen your morning cup of coffee. It was as if I had gone into a time machine and gotten a Redpath from a Montreal Diner...it was that perfect.
Upon receiving my new Redpath, I sold my crusty, stained copy to another die-hard Carter collector (who himself was upgrading from a ripped front he treasured) for the same $150 I had spent on it. The rest of the set (including Dawson, Rogers and other stars) was listed on eBay and I more than made my money back...in fact I wound up making a profit!
Now that I had this pristine Redpath, what was I to do with it? Simply keep it in a one-touch and store it away? Nah. That wasn't good enough. Upon the behest of yet another Carter super collector, I decided to send it in to have it graded in the Fall of 2017. First, I tried PSA, but they did not recognize the set and refused to accommodate. Next, I turned to Beckett Grading Services, who gladly agreed to grade it. After all, it was Beckett who listed the packet in their database. Still, there was a POP 0 of the Carter Expos sugar packet, meaning nobody in the world had graded one!
I nervously packaged up my prized possession and shipped it off to Beckett via UPS Priority Mail following their very precise instructions of packaging. This being the first card or item I had ever graded, I was nervous to let it go, knowing if it was lost, I would likely never find another. My mind was set to ease when I saw the actual grader –a fellow named Andy Broome– post an image of my Redpath on Twitter stating how he had never seen one of these before. Yes, one of Beckett's busiest and most well-respected graders (who has graded Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb tobacco cards and Mickey Mantle rookies) was seeing an item for the very first time! I was pretty excited. But...I had no idea what grade to expect.
Well after a few weeks of waiting, my Beckett package arrived on a Friday afternoon. I opened it and there it was, beautifully preserved for eternity in a vacuum-sealed case. It received a Near Mint – 7, mainly because I don't think they knew how to really grade a sugar packet. I didn't care. I was just happy that my Redpath was now documented and more importantly protected from the elements.
To this day, Beckett only lists a POP 1 of this rare and unique "oddball" Gary Carter piece, so I take solace in knowing I have the only slabbed version of it out there.
And there you have the story of the 1976 Expos Redpath Gary Carter sugar packet. A sweet piece of the sweetest Gary Carter collection in the world.
Keep checking back every few weeks as I will be adding more collecting conquests and stories about unique pieces of my vast Gary Carter collection.