Monday, October 23, 2017

One card and a few words

I received a PWE from my great trading partner from the Great white north, the man who always delivers on the more obscure Blue Jays sets and players : Richard . He's also a great source for me to learn about pre-war Candian players and the history of baseball as played in Canada.

In it, a single card, but a very cool one. Richard is trying to put together a complete 1994 Collector's Choice Gold signature set, so if you have any to spare, I'm sure he'd love to hear from you ! Anyway, he came across a duplicate of his favorite player and I was very happy that he thought of me to send it over. I only have a handful of those, but each time I receive one, I'm reminded at how awesome that parallel is. It's quite easy to find really cheap boxes (though for me, with shipping, a $7 box will cost me $50) which makes it interesting to try and complete at least the silver signatures set.


Thanks, Richard !

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Bob Walk Express

Well, Matt delivered. Yet again.
Another great trade package filled with goodies. There were also the results of our box break, but I really don't have anything to show but base cards of 2009 Signature Stars (you can't always win), so I'll skip that part ! Also included were a bunch of supplies (card sleeves, top loaders, magnet holders) that are always a welcomed and unexpected addition.

As for the trade aspect...


I like that card a lot. There are probably hundreds of Scott Rolen autos out there (I won't chase them all !), and I love how it's full of color and on card.


Not a prospect anymore and still a great asset to the Blue Jays ! His signature is all but spectacular, which is too bad because he's a fun player to chase.



This is a real beauty ! Simple design and on card auto on acetate. Doesn't get much better in my world.


Not every day that Matt sends me some Knicks players ! Nice trio of players from three different eras. Starks is one of my all time (goats) favorites, a player I collected and watched closely in the 90s.


And finally, the clou du spectacle / icing on the cake (we say 'cherry on the cake, in France, but what do we know ?) :


Bam ! A 1969 Nolan Ryan in a beautifull hefty screwdown holder ! My mind was blown when I saw that. And it shows that Matt was paying attention when I said I wanted one of each of Ryan's Topps base cards from his playing years, as they spanned four decades. PLUS, I collect Mets cards from that era. Perfect fit. And it's probably the type of card I'd never have chased in the first place, as it's way out of my price range. I know I'll never own his RC, because as iconic as it may be, there will always be other cards I'd rather have for that kind of money. I'm not necessarily a huge Ryan fan (too many walks, not enough control and way, way too Republican for my taste), but he is definitely one of the all time bests, and this second year card is simply and truly amazing.

thanks a lot Matt, definitely a perfect game, which puts you in a category apart from Nolan Ryan !

Monday, October 9, 2017

A box of 1995 SP

As always, I added a couple more things just for me when I shopped for our box break. Most of what I got was uneventful (8 packs of 2016 A&G with absolutely nothing in them, some Goodwin champs and a couple of packs of 2008 UD football heroes), but the other box was great in my eyes.

Because man, do I love the early UD SP products. I'll never be able to buy a box of 1993 or 1994 (the former goes for $1 700 because of Jeter, the latter for a mere $250 thanks to A-Rod's steroids), but the 1995 version was $35. Perfect for me. And it was highly enjoyable to open. First, because there are 32 packs per box and 8 cards per pack. Second, because collation was great (only a few duplicates, and about 5 or 6 cards shy of a complete 207 card base set). Third, because i love the design and photos.


Very few inserts in that product (only 2, actually, if you don't include parallels), but this one has a nice die-cut design. Nothing spectacular, but I'm happy I got Griffey and Big Hurt. Those are seeded 1:5


The mandatory parallels. Even the hologram at the back is in silver instead of gold.


 Four tribute cards to start the set.


Yay, PC ! That Griffey is one of my favorites in terms of base card. Probably because it looks a lot like the 93 flagship base card. Looks like NL teams got blue borders and AL the red ones.


The reason 95 SP cards are so cheap is because the only valuable rookie is this guy. NOMO MANIA ! Nice die-cut and foil treatment too.

And then you have the usual photography...




Remember when efforts were made for card backs to be also attractive ?



And finally, I was very happy to pull one of these, seeded 1:75. I could've done much worse also player wise, with a 48 card checklist. My 1995 Beckett tells me it's worth $80. It must be true, then !

Thursday, October 5, 2017

A box break can sometimes be a blown save

It was my turn for our Transatlantic triple break with Brian and Matt (we need to find a cool jingle, Community-style like Troy and Abed). Boxes from this year have been out of our price range (thanks Aaron and Cody) so I looked into older boxes. And I don't know why, but I always get suckered in by early 2000s checklists, even though odds are against me. Maybe we're spoiled today with our guaranteed hits per box, I don't know. I picked 2002 Leaf, and the result was far from spectacular. Most hits went to my friends, but I have to admit the inserts were kinda cool. Far from what they had going in 97 and 98 (you lazy people), but still way above the base cards.


My sole 'hit'. Yeah, sorry, it's blurry, but it's actually quite shiny !


At least I got a couple of PC cards. I think the cards were designed in about 3 minutes, and the photos chosen in 30 seconds. Some are actually blurry for real.

 This one I needed for my Blue Jays collection




I always find it annoying when a player is shown in his old uniform, but the card bears his new logo. You never know where to put those : Mets or Tigers binder ?

So *cough* yeah, that's all I can show from the break. I open boxes because it's fun. I really (really) never care about resale value (I've never sold a card in my life) or about hits. My problem with 2002 Leaf is that it wasn't that much fun. Not much excitement at all. And I've found it's the case with a lot of products from the early 2000s. I really need to stick to the 90s and cards from 2015 onward. But there are so, so many sets I don't know about from 2000-2008 that I can't help but be a little curious. But it's always come back to bite me so far.

Anyway, a couple of days later, I received my COMC order. A lot of great handpicked stuff in there if I may say so myself !



I'm not that far from having all of Griffey base cards from major flagship brands. Those I added because of The Junior Junkie's posts. I'll never own any of Griffey's rarer cards (too expensive for me and not committed enough) but when base cards are as cool as those, it still makes me very happy.

Most of the cards I picked up next are numbered inserts of PC guys. Ironically, a lot of Donruss/leaf in there too. 1997/1998 were crazy years for card collectors. Too bad I missed out on the action, as I lost interest in 96.


I've read here and there that Andruw was a waste of talent and an overhyped player in the 90s. Maybe for the hype (I wouldn't know, living in France far from Atlanta and the internet in 95 and 96), but I still think he put up great numbers, even in his declining years. I love that die cut job on the UD3


That Leaf card on the left is made of plastic. A fractal materials die cut Plastic X axis to be exact.


A well known insert from Leaf, and I'd never had one in hand. It feels great ! The creative minds at the time were really working full time. I wonder if it'd be considered way too expensive today to conceive that type of card, or the ones that felt like bases, or the ones on wood...


This one I got on Ebay for around $10. I love that retired autograph set !


More Ebay pickups, all from the same seller. The card I really wanted was the first one. I added the others to soften the shipping rates per card. The Matt Harvey has a really cool patch and Chris Sale seemed an interesting pick for just 99cts (the Harvey was $2)


Another Vizquel auto ! I was surprised that my $3 opening bid was enough to secure that card
 You can't collect Bo cards and not own that one. There's a gay-friendly theme to it, undeniably.


More from the Donruss/Leaf masterminds ! The Frank Thomas is all clear acetate and looks great. I was a little disappointed by the Knothole gang. I love the idea, but I don't know, there's something missing.


The banner season Leaf insert of Pat Hengen is one of the cheaper you can find. I feel sorry for those who pulled it from packs. Such a rollercoaster for them. And how can I possibly still be missing Carter inserts ?


This is definitely one of the strangest cards I've ever seen. My very first Pacific Invincible. It's mesmerizing. It's as ugly as it is beautiful. Quite a feat.


Finally, some numbered Jose Cruz Jr inserts. The great thing about Jose Cruz is that he was the new face of the Blue Jays around those years and a very hyped rookie. Which means he was in all those crazy inserts from the late 90s. And considering the career he had, needless to say that those are very, very affordable. Still great cards !

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Nothing but vintage

I missed adding vintage cards to my collection, so I took care of that craving this summer. I already showed the 1960 Mantle, but that wasn't all. It was, by far, the major purchase (as a rule, I do not spend more than $10 on an auto, $8 on a relic or $50 on a vintage beat up card for my own collection. This does not apply to cards I pick for my trade partners), but I added a few needs from my unorganized want list.


I probably know more about the history of baseball than your average person (and way, way more than any average French person), but I'm very far from an expert, despite numerous books I've read on the subject and documentaries I've watched. I know about the superstars from the past, but not always about the semi-stars or noteworthy players. Johnny Pesky is one of those. I read about him in the book The Teammates, and immediately decided I wanted one of his cards. A 1951 Bowman is always a nice place to start. It scanned a little bit weird and the condition is actually better than it looks here. And for $3 I can't complain.


A couple Mets for my PC, and some gold glovers I got for $3 a pop. I really don't mind the pen on that 1961 Kaline


Those cards came from the same seller as the 1960 Mantle. I was hoping to save on shipping, but he didn't offer combined shipping. He ended up sending 6 different PWEs with one card in each. The Mize is severely wrinckled, but still a cool 1952 Topps of a major NY player who apparently was very laid back. My kind of guy. An a HOFer (voted in by the veteran's committee, but it still counts !). Aparicio is, along with Brooks Robinson, the main "vintage" player I collect because of their defensive prowess. The great thing about Aparicio is how cheap his cards actually are. A HOFer's 1956 RC for $6.5, even off centered with water damage is always a great deal


With those acquisitions, I now have half of Brook Robinson's Topps base cards from his playing days. Yay !


I normally send all Pirates to Matt, but I needed some Stargells for my HOF project (to have one card of each HOFer's playing days voted by the Writer's association). I like that horizontal one a lot.

 I bought this one with the Pesky to save on shipping. For the sole reason that I liked it. It's in perfect shape too.


Rod Carew would normally be shipped out to Brian, but same as for Stargell : HOF ! The card is incredibly blurry though, I wonder if they all are. Billy Williams is a HOFer I know very little about. I'll need to look into him (Nick could probably write about him for thousands of words !)

So there you go, a little bit of every thing from over the years. Quite happy with that haul !

Friday, September 29, 2017

The joys of Ebay : a Mantle (very) vintage card

Last July, I was really psyched because I'd won a 1960 Topps Mantle on Ebay at a reasonable price (around $35 shipped). I really do not care about condition, as long as it wasn't doctored or it isn't ripped. From the scan the seller provided, I could tell it was in very poor condition, with parts of the bottom of the card missing, maybe because some tape had been teared off. I could live with that and was surprised to end up with the winning bid (it usually sells for around $60 in poor condition, and they don't pop up that often). So yay, a Topps Mantle base card for me ! And one with one of my favorite designs at that.

First bad surprise, the seller sent it in a PWE to COMC. A PWE for a $35 card. A Mantle card. This doesn't make sense. Second surprise, for the first time, I received an email from COMC asking me if the condition was normal. And I've had some cards in very bad shape shipped over to COMC...I answered that indeed it was the condition as advertised.

And I received the card today.
I expected to be a little disappointed (I had seen the scan up close of the front of the card, and again, it's still cheap at $35), but what I didn't expect was to see how bad the back of the card was. It's ripped in several places and we're far from a 2x3 frame. The really bad part is that there's tape all over the front of the card, annihilating that great cardboard feel we all love. I did not want a laminated Mantle !

As always, buyer beware and I kinda knew what I was getting into, but I would've liked a better description and warning from the seller, and more photos.



Friday, September 8, 2017

If it doesn't fit...

Don't worry, this post has nothing to do with OJ Simpson nor with a Seinfeld episode (that would be cool, though). It's just that I'm about to show a bunch of cards that simply hardly fit my collection. I've written about it many times : it's just that I add as many cards from one seller as possible on Ebay to lessen shipping costs. Most cards I really wanted are going to fellow bloggers, which is why I won't show them here.

Now, for some complete random cards straight from Korea (South Korea, not North, please don't unleash any fire and fury on me)


My first taste of chrome. There were 8 cards total, and they were all for $1.85, which is pretty good considering the Ichiro alone is worth at least that. The Cano is a purple refractor, though it's weird that only part of the card is purple...go figure. The Mitch Hanger at the bottom right is, I guess, a prizm refractor. Why anyone would keep using the word prizm after what Panini did with it is beyond me.


Part of a 5 relic set, with nobody I even remotely collect. Still like 2017 A&G though, so happy to have those anyway.


Full disclosure : I did not know who Garrett Richards is. Now I do. I still don't collect him, but it's a nice on card auto for a mere .99 cts



99cts also, but this time for the lot of 2 on card autos from the always enjoyable Tier One brand. I knew Shoemaker, but not Wisler.


Ok, those DO fit my collection (guess I won't be acquitted). I especially like the dual relic of Andruw Jones and Lofton, two players I like a lot. Each card was 99cts also.