Saturday, March 23, 2019

NY Giants Vintage Pick Ups

One of my 2019 goals is to pick up some vintage era NY Giants baseball cards.  Outside of the top rookies and the high number 1952s, I have a majority of the Bowman and Topps cards so part of the fun in my quest is seeking out cards from sets that aren't represented in my collection and in most cases cards I haven't seen in person before.  I have cards from two such sets that I thought I would share.

First up is the 1941 Double Play set.  I picked up 4 of the Giants cards from this set.


The 1941 Double Play set consists of 75 cards and each card features 2 players - hence the double pay name.  Each player is given a separate number so there are 150 subjects in the set.  The cards measure 2 1/2" by 3 1/8" and have a blank-back.  These were issued and distributed by Gum Products. There are 9 Giants cards in the set so I am almost halfway to the team set.  Cards 81-100 have action photos while the rest showcase portraits.  Of the remain cards, 2 feature HOF Mel Ott and 1 features HOF Carl Hubbell so finishing the team set will most likely be a little pricey.

The second set to share today is a pick up from 1952 Berk Ross.  I picked up 1 card from this set.



The 1952 Berk Ross sets consists of 71 cards.  It is pretty New York heavy with 19 Yankees, 18 Giants and 7 Dodgers.  No other team has more than 4 cards.  These cards are unnumbered and measure 2" by 3".  The fronts closely resemble the 1951 Bowman set in my opinion.  For the Giants team set, the Willie Mays is really the only super high valued card. Once again I am glad I am not a vintage Yankees collector as the Mantle is super high and there are also pricey cards of Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra.  There is a nice looking Jackie Robinson card that is pretty spendy as well.

If you have some recommendations for some reasonably priced pre-1958 sets I should be looking for drop me a comment.  I am having fun exploring some new sets.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

2019 Topps Opening Day Box Break

Just about every year I try and pick up a box of Topps Opening Day at my LCS.  I know it is a basically a slimmed down parallel set of the flagship set but there are usually a few cards with different photos and you sometimes get a sneak preview of some Series 2 cards.  However the main reason I like this set is are the inserts.  I typically find them as interesting or more interesting than the flagship inserts and much easier to complete. 

This year Opening Day features the first licensed MLB card of Mariners pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, my guess is there will be an updated picture in either Series 2 or Update. I was really hoping the Giants would have signed him but the Mariners beat them out.  Hope he has a good career, nice to see a young Japanese pitcher come to MLB.


Not only did I pull the Kikuchi in my box, I got the entire 200 card base set.  In addition to the set I only got 12 double and luckily 2 were Giants - Buster Posey and Dereck Rodriguez. 

This year there are 7 insert sets but I am only going to go after 4 of them.  The remaining 3 are tough pulls and I didn't even get 1 of any of them in my box.  The 25 card Rally Time inserts are found in 1:403 packs, the 25 card Sock it To Me inserts are found in 1:804 packs and the 20 card Dugout Peeks are found in 1:2,560 packs - wow those are long odds.  I was lucky enough to pull a card with some pretty long odds itself:


The autographs in this set are inserted at a rate of 1:971 packs so this Bieber is a pretty solid pull.  There are only 9 subjects in this set and while I would have liked to pull the Dereck Rodriguez this was still a nice surprise out of a $29 box.

I pulled 3 of the blue parallel cards, unfortunately no Giants here although I will do my best to pick up the team set:


Now here are the insert sets I will go after this year.  First up is the 150 Years of Fun set.  This is a 25 card set and I got 18 of them in my box.  This is the most common insert but probably my favorite with a great list of featured players.  Here are my 18:


Just great photo selection and perhaps my favorite insert set of the year so far.

Next up is the annual Mascot set.  This is a fun set and I scored 9 of the 25 cards in this box:


The next set I am going after is the Opening Day set where I got 6 of the 15 cards:


And finally the Team Traditions & Celebrations where I got 3 of the 10 cards. 

So the total number of inserts I am going after will be 75 cards, much better and more attainable than the 530 inserts I am seeking for the Series 1 flagship set.  If you open some of this and want to trade, you can find my want list linked here.

This was a fun break and I look forward to finishing off the insert sets and tracking down the Giants I need as well.  Not a bad way to spend $29.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

A Nice eBay Pickup

Back from my second trip to Orlando in the past month and decided it was time to get a post or two up.  I decided that today I would go with the LIFO method (last in, first out) and share something I got in the mail yesterday.

I picked up a 4 card lot that I came across accidentally.  I still have an eBay search that shoots me daily emails of new 2018 Willie McCovey cards and I saw a posting with this title "Topps Inserts Sp Willie McCovey,Rickey Henderson,Hank Aaron,Ted Williams 2018."  I already have the McCovey SP parallel from last year's Topps but the picture is what piqued my interest:


I hadn't picked up this Henderson card for my Rickey collection so I decided to put in a bid.  The post listed 3 other HOF names but only showed two pictures:


I nice Hank Aaron insert but one I already had, and:


An SP parallel of Ted Williams.  I had seen this card a couple times and love the photo.  Teddy Ballgame is wearing his warm up jacket, practicing his swing in the dugout with what I think is Fenway Park in the background.  The big grin on his face makes the photo, looks like a guy who just loves the game.

The final card was a mystery as there was no photo but as expected the aforementioned card I already have in my McCovey collection ended up being the final card:


In the end I won these cards for $6 delivered.  As mentioned the Rickey was a need and I figure the McCovey can go in the Giants binder since I have one in my player collection.  I will probably see if the Hank can find a new home.  The Williams isn't going anywhere, I love the card.  Any time I run across one of the retired player parallels I keep a hold of it.  I have considered going back to when they started a few years back and collecting all of them but I really don't need another collection.

Overall I am really happy with the pickup and have to appreciate the crappy listing job of the seller.  I have to think if these were better listed the price would have been higher than a $2.26 sale price.  Have you ever picked up something on eBay that was listed poorly and resulted in a good deal?

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Visiting an Orlando LCS

I have been trying to make it a point to visit card shops when I am traveling for work.  This week I went out to Orlando, FL for a work vendor conference.  The highlights included some actual sun and warm weather (it has been a pretty awful KC winter), a tour of some of the backstage areas of Disney World to learn about their world class approach to customer service and a trip to Orlando Sportscards.

I found Orlando Sportscards doing a quick google search.  It was located fairly close to the airport and I had a few hours to kill between my flight landing and the conference reception.  The card store had tons of cards, mostly singles, sorted in all different ways.  They had dozens, if not hundreds of 5000 count boxes with single sorted by team and set along the left wall.  The right wall had display cases with stacks of cards on the top shelves and 5000 count boxes sorted by team on the bottom shelf. 

I started by taking a look at the box of 1957 Topps cards.  As he handed me the box, the owner indicated that the singles were half off the marked price.  I liked that each card was marked so there was a clear understanding of what the prices were.  I wasn't a fan of the cost of the 57s and didn't pick any up, the lowest priced cards were listed at $12-15 in okay condition and even half that is above what I have been spending on commons.

In the back of that same box was a small stack of 1960 Fleer cards, a set I am working on completing.  These prices were pretty good and I ended up picking up these 5 towards my set:


I am within 9 cards of finishing this set and although a few of them are bigger names, I am going to make a push and try to get it done by the middle of 2019.

Next up I looked through a box of 1972 Topps looking for the dreaded high numbers.  They didn't have a ton but more than I have seen in one place in some time.  The prices were really high, which always is my problem with 72 high numbers.  I didn't get any, I can't seeing paying $8-10+ per card when I need well over 100 cards for the set - I may have to end up giving up on the set or saving up to buy a complete set and selling off my partial.  I also looked through several stacks of star card ranging from a couple of 1952 Topps cards up to early 80s rookies like Ripken and Henderson.  I already had most of the cards I thumbed through so I moved on.

Next I asked to see a large box of Giants cards.  It had mostly hits and serial numbered cards.  A lot of the hits were Bowman prospects that never panned out or relics I already had.  I did find 2 cards to add to my haul:

I really like both cards, the 2005 SP Legendary Cuts set has a few great looking insert sets, I need to see if I can track down more.  The Posey Panini Spectra is the Neon Blue parallel /99.  The card looks really nice and is a very thick card.

After the Giants I saw a row of Sacramento Kings in a box in the cabinet and asked to see that.  I have a few Kings cards in my collection but they are a little underrepresented.  I was able to find 3 cards to get from the Kings' "glory" years (can you have glory years without winning a title???):

I now have 3 Vlade autos in the collection, this National Treasures /25 sure is a nice looking card.  I also picked up the other 2 in part based on aesthetics.  I really like the basketball net look to the Bibby relic and find it cool it is commemorating a milestone.  The acetate Bobby Jackson is a great looking card with a nice big signature.

While looking through the Kings stack I picked up a couple KC era hits:

I started a Tiny Archibald collection during Black Friday and was planning on focusing in on his vintage cards.  I couldn't pass up either of these, both are great looking cards.  While I don't plan on pursuing tons of Autos or Relics of Nate, I suspect I will grab a few hear and there if the price is right.

Finally the highlight of the visit was finding this in a display rack:

This is the current issue of Beckett Vintage Collector featuring Greg of Night Owl Cards fame in a article about the SSPC set.  My LCS didn't have it and I hadn't seen it elsewhere.  I am very happy to have it and will be reading through it this weekend.  Thumbing through the magazine, I am super excited to read all the articles and check out all the photos of Babe Ruth along with an article about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in addition to Greg's article.  I am least interested in the price guide at the back but if these articles are good I may plop down the $60 for a 2 year subscription.

All in all, it was a descent store visit, the above stuff was sold to me for an even $60.  I would rate the volume and selection of cards at Orlando Sportscards highly but the prices are a little steep compared to what I find online.  While I understand it and don't blame them, I am a bargain hunter at heart.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A Whitey Sighting

As I mentioned in my 2019 Collecting Goals posts, I have started down the path of trying to put together a 1957 Topps set.  One could argue my time, energy and funds should be focused on my 1972 Topps set since that would complete my Topps run of sets from 1969 to present.  However those dang high numbers but in price and quantity have made me give up in pursuing the set.  Maybe if I run across a place to get some singles for a buck or two a piece or find a nice big lot at a reasonable price I will reconsider.  But for now I am working on 1957 and find it much more fun (and surprisingly affordable).

My goal for this year was to pick up 12 of the 30 cards with book values of $100 or more that I still needed.  In the past when I start older set builds I tend to focus on getting lots of commons first then slowly acquiring the stars later on.  I am hoping this approach prevents me from having a bunch of expensive cards left at the end.

I have picked up some cards that fit the bill on COMC already but recently got my first $100+ card in my possession.  I was able to pick up this Whitey Ford card for $13.99 delivered.


This card is in really nice shape with one exception that I am sure drove the price down. If you look at Ford's left arm you will some some pencil writing, I think it is the number 58.  To my naked eye it isn't too noticeable unless you look really close and with the rest of the condition being so nice I was happy to add it to my set build.

The backs on the 57s are pretty solid as well, take a look:


There is a nice write up and shares the start of his amazing career World Series record.  Ford put up some pretty amazing stats.  I know that wins and winning percentage are not as important to most as they used to be but winning over 74% of his decisions through his first 5 years is pretty impressive.

I love the cartoon on the back.  Interestingly, I did a google search to see if the 45 hits in a game had been broken.  I found some inaccurate information on line but was able to track down a game from 1922 with 51 combined hits - August 25, 1922 Phillies vs. Cubs and an extra innings game from 1932 with 58 combined hits - July 10, 1932 Indians vs. Athletics.  Both of those were prior to the printing of the card so I am guess recording keeping wasn't quite as easy as it is today with baseballreference.com.

My last thought when looking at this card is surrounding the nickname Whitey.  I am not super political but have seen some recent news stories about politicians dressing up in black face back in the 80s and know that there is a decent amount of racial tension in some parts of the country and quite a bit of political correctness in today's speech.  I am guessing the days of a blond dude named Ed being nicknamed Whitey are probably over.

Wish me luck on tracking down some other good deals on 1957 Topps cards!

Monday, February 11, 2019

You Win Some, You Lose Some

For the last several years I have worked on a pretty strict hobby budget, put in place by my wife and I once I looked back over my spending for a few months and discovered I was a bit (or more than a bit) out of control.  Back then, almost all my spending was focused on picking up cards on eBay.  I had searches set up for my major player collections and would try and get every card I needed for all my players.

Over the last couple years, I have noticed my outlets for picking up cards for my collection have greatly expanded.  I buy and sell on Sportlots.  Occasionally I grab come cards off beckett.com.  More recently I have attended a couple of estate sales and auctions looking to add cards to my collection.  COMC had surpassed eBay as the place I spend the majority of my hobby funds.  I have picked up a collection on Craig's List and bought cards off sellers in Facebook groups.  I have watched a bunch of case breaks on Youtube but have yet to take the plunge there.  One plunge I have taken has been getting into a few breaks with Burl's Sportcards.

Burl's primarily offers vintage set breaks but has also offered some Mixer breaks where cards from various sets and years are offered.  You buy a spot and the cards are randomed off.  You are guaranteed a card and usually there are one or two key cards.

I have participated in the last 2 Post-WWII Mega Mixers with mixed results.  The first one, right before the end of 2018 had a 1962 Topps Lou Brock PSA 5 and a 1964 Topps Mickey Mantle as the top 2 cards. Entry into the break was $35, there were only 20 slots and here is what I brought home:


I scored this 1963 Topps Ernie Banks. While I didn't win one of the key prized I do think this was one of the better cards.  Looking at comps on eBay and COMC I think I did pretty well from a price perspective of course.  This isn't the best conditioned card but I think if I chose to resell it (which I won't) I could get more than I paid for the slot.  I have very few 1963 cards in my collection and even fewer of stars so this Banks is staying in my collection and I consider this mixer entry a nice win.

I second Post-WWII Mega Mixer was offered in late January, with one with 100 slots with the same $35 price point.  The key card was a 1963 Topps Pete Rose PSA 6 RC.  There were some other killer cards like a 1954 Topps Mays, 1955 Bowman Mays and 1956 Topps Aaron, Koufax, Williams, Clemente and Jackie.  Lots of great cards, all from 1969 or earlier.  Here is what I scored in this mixer:


Ouch.  Not only is this a card that sells for less that $10, it is one I already have in my collection, in my completed 1969 set.  I love the design of these All-Star cards and while I would have loved to pick up some of the top cards, these mixers are a gamble and I knew the risks.  You win some and you lose some.

There was a 10 card Mini-Mixer that I passed on recently as I had most of the top cards already in my collection.  There is a Pre-WWII Mega Mixer coming up soon that I am eager to hear the details of and hope to enter and a few other 50s and 60s set breaks I am considering entering coming up.  I have really enjoyed expanding the outlets to secure cards for my collection.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

A Major Miner Pick Up

One of my player collections if of former USC Trojan and NBA Slam Dunk Champion Harold Miner.  As I have shared before, I was at school at USC during Miner's three years and lived on the same floor as him during my sophomore year.  We interacted occasionally and actually played a little hoops together.  Not friends but friendly.

I have been collecting his cards since he entered the NBA and my collection of his cards is about as complete as any player collection I have.  My want list is primarily some obscure parallels from his playing days and a few low numbered recent cards of his that Upper Deck put out during a nice stretch where they produced some really nice hoops cards of players in their college unis.

I rarely see cards of his pop up on eBay that I need in my collection.  Last year my only Miner pick ups were an oddball promo and an Upper Deck parallel from a foreign country.  A few weeks back one of my needs appeared and despite a bidding war I was able to bring this awesome card home:


Harold is paired on this 2012-13 SP Authentic card with fellow Slam Dunk champion and Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins.  While I do get excited when I can remove one of the playing days Miner's from my want list and really enjoy picking up low numbered parallels from recent releases, this was my second greatest want for my collection.  My sights are set on a triple autograph with these two guys and Spud Webb.  Interesting neither of these cards is serial numbered but based on scarcity out on the open market, I have to assume they are fairly limited.

I plan on keeping my eyes open for more Miner cards that I need but expect that this will most likely be the only card of his I add to my collection this year.