Wednesday, May 29, 2013

State of my Life and the Blog plus a Group Break from Cardboard Collections

For those that are keeping track, my posting and commenting have been sporatic.  I have done very little reaching out to instigate trades but have had a couple people recently offer to send me some wants - Thanks!!!  I shared a few weeks back that things were changing the in ARPSmith household and I thought I would provide an update.

As you may recall, I got a new job that requires me to relocate about 100 miles away from where I currently live.  My new job started almost immediately so I have been living in a Residence Inn during the week and going home on the weekends for the last 6 or 7 weeks.  We put our house on the market and have been looking for a new one.  This leaves my wife at home with a full time job, 3 kids (including a baby) and with the need to keep the house spotless in case it needs to be shown to a prospetive buyer.  She has been handling it better than I could have imagined - she is amazing!

As of today, our old house is in escrow, we have a new house in escrow and the new job is going very well.  We are due to move out around the 26th of June and move into the new house somewhere between the 27th and July 3rd.  (For those of you that might think of mailing things to me, it might be good to hold off after the 20th of June - I will try to send out the new address once we are settled).  The new house is great, it is actually bigger, on a bigger lot with a pool (which we didn't have at our old house).  It is older and has some updating to do but overall we are very happy.  The prices of the houses are similar and with lower interest rates we should have a decent reduction in the mortgage.  It also has 5 bedrooms meaning I will have a room to myself for my sports stuff and card collection!

I will be packing up my cards in the very near future in anticipation of the move but should be back up and going again in mid July.  I scanned a bunch of trade material last weekend in hopes of catching up on my trade posts but doubt there will be much else being posted until I am settled.  I also suspect my collecting budget will go down as our plan it to have my wife take at least a year off of work in our new location.  I am excited about this change despite the lower funding for my collecting.  I hope to turn that into some better content on the blog where I can spend more time dreaming up solid post ideas as opposed to trolling for good deals on cards.

If you made it this far, I am impressed, thanks for reading.  Now onto the good stuff - cards!  Some of my favorite group breaks are the ones put on by Colbey over at Cardboard Collections as he usually picks out some unique boxes that provide lots of new cards to my Giants collection.  This break happened a little ways back and featured boxes of 2000 Topps Gold Label, 1998 Paramount and 1998 Pacific Online.

This time around I almost passed it up as the 2000 Topps Gold Label product only contains Barry Bonds as a Giant and I already had the Class 1.  But ultimately the big gaps I had in my checklist for the 2 Pacific products made me decide to jump in and I am very glad I did.

First up were the cards I received from the Paramount box:
I was very happy to score 8 different Giants base cards and a Robb Nen copper parallel. All of these cards were needs from me - I actually didn't have any cards from this set until the break. I like the photography on these cards, pretty much all action shots with no borders and the nameplate at the bottom doesn't detract much from the picture.

Next up is the Pacific Online:
 I scored 8 base cards, again all needs for my Giants collection.  Today the entire Online theme seems a little dated but I am guessing back in 1998 it impressed some people.
In addition to the 8 base cards, I scored 8 parallels.  These came one per pack and it seemed like only a few teams were getting any and I was very happy to be one of the lucky ones.  The difference between these cards and the base are different colored foil and the back has a code that is supposedly unique to each card.  I read that this code could possibly have won you a more rare parallel.

Finally the Topps Gold.  Pretty early on in the break a Class 2 Bonds came up and I was super happy.  I really wasn't expecting much, if anything from the product, especially a card I needed.  Imagine my joy when the Class 3 popped up shortly thereafter:
That completed the base set for me and made this break more than worthwhile.  Then came the last group of packs and look what came out:

This is a die cut, Class 2 parallel card numbered 098/100.  The card looks great in person and was the pull of the group break.  These older serial number cards sell for a pretty good price and have high book values ($60 for this Bonds). I of course will not be selling it but adding it to the Giants collection - a card I never thought I would have in my collection.

I had the Twins as my second team and scored a small stack of including 10 Online cards, 4 Paramounts and a Gold Label, if interested let me know.

As usual, Colbey through in a few extras into my stack:
Thanks Colbey for the great break.  You mentioned you were probably going to take a little bit of a break but I will be on the lookout for the next one.  Thanks!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

There is Nothing Like a Couple World Series Wins to Dull the Pain

Throughout my youth, the Giants never really stepped up as one of the top teams.  Throughout the 70s and early 80s the stories I most recall about the Giants were the almost move to Tampa and Joe Morgan hitting a homer to knock the Dodgers out of the playoffs in 1982.  As I recall the Dodgers beat the Giants the day before to knock them out of the race but we, as Giants fans, were just happy to punish the Dodgers.  I still loved my team but resigned myself to the fact that I probably wouldn't see a World Series win in my lifetime.

Then came the late 80s with the arrival of Will Clark, Robby Thompson, Kevin Mitchell and the Giants contended for a stretch.  Even made the playoffs.  Hopes were high but in reality, I felt happy that my team was even in the discussion and in contention.  Those were some of my favorite times as a Giants fan and I get tons of joy even today adding a new Rod Beck or Kirt Manwaring card as it takes me back to some of my favorite times as a Giants fan.

Let's move into the 90s and early 2000s with the arrival of Barry Bonds.  I still remember the shock I felt the day the Barry Bonds signing was announced.  The Giants weren't even in the conversation and then all of the sudden, they signed the best player in baseball.  I think it is impossible to argue that Bonds was the best player in baseball for a long stretch, perhaps even the best player in the history of the game.  There were games when he only got 1-2 pitches that were even hittable and would typically wait and wait the hit the heck out of the only good pitch he would see.  We could argue how significant of an impact the performance enhancers had on his numbers but there is no denying his impact during the peak of his career.

With the arrival and investment in Bonds, expectations became higher. Not just for the team but for the fans as well.  Being in contention was not good enough, we wanted and expected to win.  The closest we came was in 2002 when we made it to the World Series against the Angels.  We were a few outs away from closing it out.  Some think that Dusty Baker jinxed it by giving Russ Ortiz the game ball when he took him out with the lead.  When we blew the World Series, I just felt it was the torture I was saddle with for life for growing up and loving the Giants.

To make matters worse, I moved to Orange County, not far from Angels Stadium in 2001 so not only did I live amongst a bunch of fair weathered Angels fans, I was constantly reminded of the Giants failure every time I wore a Giants hat or shirt.  The worst part was going to a game at Angels Stadium and having to sit through the awful pregame video of the stupid rally monkey and the Angles beating the Giants - they still play the video today.  Every time that monkey came on the screen I would get flashbacks to how close we were to having our own World Series.

I ended up trying to be in the bathroom or at a refreshment stand when the video came on and avoided anything that had to do with the World Series of 2002.   A card like this recent addition to my collection would have been avoided at all costs.

Here is the back:
The card is larger than standard measuring about 3.5 inches by 5.5 inches and showcases 3 of the Giants stars with a logo in the background and is serial numbered 0746/1000.

Here is the front:
I assume this was some sort of giveaway during the series as it only designates the Angels as AL Champs.

So why did I pick this up if it brings back such painful memories?  Well the pain has dulled quite a bit over the past 3 seasons.  After the 2010 World Series victory, I was able to sit through the video feeling much better.  When an Angels fan would poke at me and direct me to the "highlights" of the 2002 Series (it happens every time I wear a Giants hat to a game), I could watch without getting sick and would usually say something like "you got yours, now we have ours".  I am looking forward to my first game this year when I can say "you only have one, we've got two", I wonder if I will even get poked.

There is nothing like a couple World Series wins to dull the pain!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Great Vintage Sportlots Pickups & 2013 Collecting Goal - 1972 Set Quest

I have shared quite a few great, cheap pickups from the Sportlots auction site.  I haven't seen too many, if any, bloggers bidding against me over there and I am quite fine with that. I would have to believe that this new great deal I recently received on a quartet of vintage HOF cards would have been less of a deal or nonexistent if some of you were over there.

First check out the 4 cards and then I will share the price.

I picked up this card for my 1970 set quest but ended up getting another copy in a trade.  This is a great card headlined by HOFer Rod Carew.  Reggie Smith was a Giant late in his career and from what I have read and heard, Tony Oliva is someone who is somewhat underrated - he was one of the best for a number of years.

Speaking of former Giants, here is the Baby Bull, Orlando Cepeda.  I nice 1972 Topps card to go towards my set.

It keeps getting better, another HOF star from 1972 Topps - Lou Brock. I don't believe I had ever seen this card in person prior to receiving it.  I love the brightness of the red in his uniform and wonder what is going on off camera when this picture is being snapped.

And the highlight of this package - a 1969 Topps Bob Gibson!  Great looking card and a wonderful addition to my collection.  I have noticed that I have accumulated quite a few 1969 Topps cards.  Maybe someday that will be a set quest.  For now I am going aggressively after the 1970 and 1973 sets and trying to accumulate a nice stack of 1972s.  I have very few 1971s and that will probably need to be next, especially since that is the year I was born.

All right, anyone want to guess the price for the above 4 cards?  4 vintage cards all 40+ years old and all featuring HOFers. No major creases or paper loss or writing.  Can you believe that I got all 4 of these for $4.50 delivered?  I am super excited about this purchase if you are unable to tell :-)

As mentioned, I am trying to get a start on a 1972 set, the two cards above helped as well as these 3 other recent 1972 Topps pickups.

Three addition HOFers picked up a couple LCSs.  I believe the Brock and Robinson were $1 each and Pops set me back $4.  I have picked up a bunch of lots of 1972 cards over the past few months.  My goal starting the year was to accumulate at least 250 different cards from this set.

Total Cards added in this post - 5
Goal for 2013 - 250 different cards
Updated status towards 2013 goal -233/250 = 93.2%

Looks like this will be a pretty easy goal to attain.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Top 20 Recent Vintage Purchases - #1 1959 Topps Willie Mays

Time to finish off this countdown.  It has taken much longer than I expected due to life circumstances but I am happy to have gotten through it to share these vintage cards with you.

So, you may be thinking what can top a 1960 Topps Willie Mays?  How about this beauty:

This is the 6th Mays in the countdown and the 2nd from the 1959 set.  I gave a lot of thought to trying to break up the top 3 slot domination of Willie Mays but I just couldn't do it. I consider him the greatest player of all time and any card from the 50s or 60s is just a gem to add to my collection.  I really have to thank Sportlots auctions for making the addition of many of these great cards possible within my budget.

I hope you have enjoyed taking a look at my recent vintage pickups.

Prior cards in the countdown:

#8 - 1962 Topps Frank Robinson All Star
#7 - 1962 Topps Juan Marichal
#6 - 1958 Topps Eddie Mathews  
#5 - 1963 Topps Orlando Cepeda
#4 - 1958 Topps Ernie Banks All Star 
#3 - 1967 Topps Willie Mays
#2 - 1960 Topps Willie Mays

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Top 20 Recent Vintage Purchases - #3 1967 Topps Willie Mays

This is the newest acquisition of the top 20 countdown.  In my quest to finish off at least 5 1960 Giants team sets as a 2013 goal, I am on the hunt for quite a few reasonable priced Willie Mays card.

This great looking cards of a smiling Mays leaves me with 2 higher numbered cards to finish the team set.  Those are proving fairly tough to track down.  The signature on this card is very different from his current signature, I wonder if this is a fake of if his auto just evolved.  Great pick up and a pretty high ranking, what do the top 2 have in store?

Prior cards in the countdown:

#8 - 1962 Topps Frank Robinson All Star
#7 - 1962 Topps Juan Marichal
#6 - 1958 Topps Eddie Mathews  
#5 - 1963 Topps Orlando Cepeda
#4 - 1958 Topps Ernie Banks All Star 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Oddball Mania

A few weeks back I blogged about some oddball match book covers featuring Willie Mays and asked the question about whether or not oddball issues were considered nice parts of any readers collections.  I only got 3 comments but all 3 indicated that they really like oddballs and I fall into the same category.

I like picking up oddballs of all shapes and sized that feature players on the Giants or even items that just feature the Giants logo.  Let's see what type of Oddballs we have...

Tasty Treat Oddballs:
I am sure most of you have seen these oddballs, smaller than standard size and cut off a box of Twinkees or Ho Hos. 

Circular Oddballs:
 This is a MSA disc of the Isaly's and Sweet William back variety.  I always enjoy picking up cards of the Count.

Hall of Famer Oddballs:
These are some random Superstar oddballs of The Say Hey kid.  I believe the yellow bordered cards came out in 1980 while the red was released in 1982.

Jumbo Oddballs:
Hard to tell from the scan but this is an 8X10 Zenith card of the Home Run King.  I scanned the back to prove it isn't just an 8X10 photo.  I enjoy the photo on this card with the old Candlestick retired number circle on the outfield fence.

3D Motion Oddballs:
Not really sure what this one is.  It has Sportsflic-type motion.  The back has a sticker that says Printer's Proof 33 of 1000.  It measures 5X7 and features great action showing Barry cranking one out of the park.

Magic Rub Off Oddballs:
 These are rub offs released by Topps in 1961.  These two have been transferred to paper but still look pretty cool.  Nice to have picked them up for under $5 delivered.

Cloth Sticker, Team Logo Decal, Pennant Decal and Stamp Oddballs:
This Murcer 1977 Topps Cloth sticker finished my team set of 2.  The Giants decal logo in the middle top was apparently release by Fleer in 1960-62.  The Pennant decal is from 1961 Fleer and celebrates the Giants 1933 World Championship.  the stamp is from 1964 Wheaties.  I had never seen any of the final 3 and found them on Sportlots auctions for $3.25, $5.50 and $3.25 respectively.  I am not sure if that is a good or bad deal for most but for me they were great pick ups of oddballs I had never seen before.

Iron-On Transfers Oddballs:
This transfer is still in its original packaging and measures 5X7.  I am not sure exactly what year this was released but I would guess early 60s and the back shows they were produced for 20 teams along with Mani-Yacks like Mr. Rat Fink and Johnny Jet and Mani-Yack Monster Portraits of Frankenstein, Dracula, Phantom, Mummy, Creature and Wolf Man.  At a bargain price of 29 cents this must have been a pretty cool pickup in the day. I remember having a couple iron on logo shirts when I was a kid.

Well these are my most recent oddball purchases, what do you think?  I plan on keeping my eyes open for more, be sure to share yours as you pick them up as well.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Top 20 Recent Vintage Purchases - #4 1958 Topps Ernie Banks All Star

This card is the final non-Giant and in addition to the final 3 being Giants, you will find they have something else in common as well.  However, let's get to the #4 card:

I am a fan of this All Star design, as a matter of fact, I like most of the vintage All Star sub sets.  The Banks looks great with the blue background and the stars are a great design feature.  Mr. Cub is one of the all time greats and I am very happy to have added this vintage card to the 1960 Topps card of his I have as well.

Prior cards in the countdown:

#8 - 1962 Topps Frank Robinson All Star
#7 - 1962 Topps Juan Marichal
#6 - 1958 Topps Eddie Mathews  
#5 - 1963 Topps Orlando Cepeda

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Top 20 Recent Vintage Purchases - #5 1963 Topps Orlando Cepeda

The #5 card in the countdown is the 3rd and final Cepeda and happens to be the newest of the group coming from the 1963 Topps set.

This card ranks high in the countdown for several reasons.  First, the 1963 design is one of my favorites.  Second, there are two great photos on this card with a bat barrel in the larger photo and a smaller glove extended black and white in the circle.  I was a right handed first baseman growing up so I always enjoy a card featuring a right hander with the first baseman leather. The background on this card looks cool to me as well with the field extending on for what seems like forever.

Prior cards in the countdown:

#8 - 1962 Topps Frank Robinson All Star
#7 - 1962 Topps Juan Marichal
#6 - 1958 Topps Eddie Mathews

Friday, May 3, 2013

Top 20 Recent Vintage Purchases - #6 1958 Topps Eddie Mathews

I have seriously considered putting together a vintage collection of Eddie Mathews.  In addition to really respecting him as a player, cards like this are much cheaper to acquire than you would expect:

This awesome piece of vintage beauty came my way in a Sportlots auction for under $5!  I like the 58 cards with this green background and the old Braves logo is spectacular.  This is the second Mathews in the countdown and the second to the last non-Giant.

Prior cards in the countdown:

#8 - 1962 Topps Frank Robinson All Star
#7 - 1962 Topps Juan Marichal

Thursday, May 2, 2013