Tuesday, April 9, 2019

My First Big 1957 Topps Pick Up

After picking up a couple of nice player cards (Ted Kluszewski and a Rocky Colavito RC) and a majority of the team cards from 1957 Topps in a local estate auction late last year, I decided to start the long quest to complete the set.  My typical vintage set building approach has been to buy large lots of commons on eBay or at an LCS to knock off a decent percentage of the set then start filling in the more expensive cards.  I know the Mike Schmidt RC was my last 1973 card and I believe my last 1975 card was the George Brett RC.

I decided to take a different approach with this set and try to focus my set build start on some of the more expensive/valuable cards.  While I know BV isn't accurate for a purchase price, I thought I would use it as a gauge for what cards to pursue.  The auction purchases were a decent start with the Klu booking at $80, the Rocky at $160, the ChiSox team card at $120, the Dodgers at $300, and the Reds and Giants at $160.  The goal I set was to pick up 12 cards (1/month) that have a book value exceeding $100.  After the auction purchases, I was left with 30 cards fitting that level and I am off to a pretty good start with 6 but I have only blogged about 1 so far.  Right now 3 of them are sitting in my COMC inventory and I still need to blog about 1 but a card that came in today's mail jumped to the front of the line.

In my 2019 Collection Goals post I shared that there were 10 cards valued at over $500.  I finally pulled in my first off this list and I wanted to share it:

This is the rookie card of Dodgers HOFer Don Drysdale  I had just gotten my annual work bonus and decided (with spousal permission) that I was going to consider splurging on a card or two and that happened to coincide with this card showing up for auction on Sportlots.  There was a bit of a bidding war but I was able to bring it home for what I thought was a very nice price, especially considering the condition.  It isn't perfect but the corner wear is minimal, the centering is pretty solid and the surface isn't too bad.  For a card that is 62 years old, I think it looks amazing.

I thought since this was a 1 card post I would share the back as well.  Don had a solid first year start to his career but it went up from here.

I am hoping to bring home one more of the biggies in 2019.  I am currently in a Sportlots bidding war with another person for a really exciting card.  I haven't decided what my limit is yet which is dangerous, I just want to win.  I can promise you that despite my sporadic blogging of late, if I bring the other card home it will jump to the front of the blog line as well.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

2009 Topps Factory Team Set

A couple weeks back, Wrigley Wax posted about picking up the 2019 Cubs Topps Factory set.  I had already ordered my 2019 set but in the post he mentioned that he had picked up every Cubs set since they started in 2006.  I remember a few years back trying to fill in the gaps in my collection but falling a bit short.  I decided to check my collection and see which sets I was missing.

I discovered that I was missing 3 sets, 2006, 2007 and 2009.  I did some eBay searching and was able to find the set from 2009.  I couldn't find the other 2 sets and set up eBay search alerts in hopes that they turn up. If any of you happen to run across either set I am still missing, let me know as I would really like to get the full run.

Here is the set as it arrived:

The first few sets of this I kept packaged up but one day I decided to crack them all.  I think it was a play to help them retain their value but why have cards if you can't enjoy them.  Plus how do you enjoy cards when they are sealed up.

I don't recall any of the other sets coming in snap cases, I wish they did as I always get concerned opening up the packages.  Recent sets feature mostly cards with the same photos as the flagship sets.  Occasionally there are a couple of different photos or cropping so I decided to compare this set with the 2009 flagship Giants base cards.

My comparison didn't start off well as the Tim Lincecum features the same photo.  I decided to take the opportunity to share the card backs that are the same as the flagship cards with the exception of the card numbering.   The next 2 cards feature different photos.  I like both Rowand photos, probably preferring the team set showing off his unique batting stance.  Both Cain cards showcase him preparing to unleash a pitch in his home uni  The team set card is cropped a little better in my opinion.

We are 3 for 3 in different photos in this grouping.  Molina's team set card features the first road uni in either set.  Good photos all around in all 6 cards, the only upgrade in my opinion is the Fred Lewis card, I like that his entire body is included on the card, his flagship card could have been improved with a slightly zoomed out photo.

The Jonathan Sanchez card is only the second repeat in the first 9 cards.  I prefer the team set Panda and the flagship Unit cards from this grouping.

Wow, 3 more new photos and all 3 are nice new photos.  The Brian Wilson photo in the flagship set has always bugged me, the coloring on his hat is off a bit and it looks almost blue.  Even though the cropping is better on the flagship card, the better coloring makes the team set card my favorite of the two.

The final 3 cards of the team set feature one new photo and two cards that don't appear in the flagship set.  The Bowker is his only card from 2009 after having 60 cards in 2008.  He is one of the dozens of players to man left field for the Giants since Barry Bonds departure, playing 25 games there for the Giants.  The position doesn't seem any more stable this year with Rule 5 pick up Connor Joe, Yangervis Solarte, Gerardo Parra and already sent down Michael Reed already spending time in left this year.  The inclusion of the stadium photo is the "1 Bonus Card" referenced on the front and I think it is an improvement over the O-Pee-Chee card from the same year as you get a better look at McCovey Cove.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Oddball Acquisitions

I don't think I am alone in finding some pleasure in oddball issues.  From my early collecting days of seeing Hostess and Kellogg's cards to later days of getting cards in my Big League Chew, cereal boxes and beef jerky, these non-standard issues always intrigued me.  I started collecting in 1979 and at that time it seemed perfectly within the realm of possibility that I could acquire a copy of every sports card that was ever made and the oddball cards were the treasures I wanted to hunt down and add to my collection.

I have fairly recently decided to try and build the old Hostess sets but outside of that I haven't been one to actively seek out oddball card sets in my adult years.  I will try to pull in Giants and player collection oddballs and that is what initially drew me into the auctions I won that I decided to share today. 

I already had the Will Clark in my collection but the Barry Bonds card was new to me.  These are postcard sized from 1993 Donruss.  This card wasn't even on my checklist/want list and I have found that frequently with Bonds cards from 1993. It is the year he moved from the Pirates to the Giants and Beckett.com, where I pull the lists for my checklist, don't have a team listed for Bonds on quite a few cards. It takes some luck and happenstance to run across cards like these.  The other cards were just a bonus.

Here is the back of the Bonds card, it is even set up as a postcard with a place for a stamp.  This card has some stains on it that show up much more on the scan and the lot of cards I picked up had damage as a major theme.  Luckily I am not too concerned as the price was low, I would have paid what I did for all of these for just the Bonds.

Here are the other cards included in the oversized card lot:

 First time I have seen these Mantle cards, they are postcard sized as well.  I did some Beckett searching and there are cards with similar fronts put out in 1997 by Scoreboard.  The only difference I can see on the front is where this card says Mantle Home Run Giant, the other card just says Mickey Mantle.  On the back, the numbering is different.  These two cards are 1 and 2 of 7 while the other set numbers them 39 and 40.  Sticking with the damage theme, the one of the left is pretty beat up.

The last 3 cards were definitely filler for me, they are all beat up and I am pretty sure I already have.  My younger oddball self liked tracking down these oddball Donruss sets.

While the Bonds was a nice addition, the best part of finding this auction was actually another auction by the same seller that it connected me to.  The seller offered a really bid combined shipping discount so when I searched his other auctions, I found an oddball set that I had never seen and that I really wanted to add to my collection.  I won it and decided to scan it in its entirety to share:

Not tons of scanning as this is just a 9 card set.  This is an oddball food set put out by Homers Cookies referred to as Homers Cookies Classics.  Here is a quick write up from Beckett.com:

This nine-card standards-size set was sponsored by Legend Food Products in honor of Hall of Famers in baseball history. One free card was randomly inserted in each box of Homers Baseball Cookies. The cards have vintage sepia-toned player photos, with bronze borders on a white card face. The player's name appears in a bronze stripe overlaying the bottom edge of the picture. In black print on white, the back presents lifetime statistics, career highlights, and a checklist for the set. 

I really like the simple front design and enjoy the photos selected for the cards.  Most of them are pretty classic photos that I have seen elsewhere they look good together as a set.
Since the set was easy to scan, I decided to share the backs as well.  They contain a ton of info including a career stat line, the year they were elected to the HOF, 3-5 bullet points about their career and a checklist of the set on each card.

I am a huge fan of baseball history and enjoy picking up cards of legends like this.  I have found it pretty rare to run across cards from a set I have never laid eyes on like this which added to the fun in picking this up.

Its Opening Day tomorrow and even though this season is going to suck for my Giants I am excited.  For the first time in 20 years I am not in a fantasy league so I hope the season keeps my interest when the Giants are 20 games out.  I am skipping out on work a little early tomorrow to catch the game.  Play Ball!

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.