Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2016 Black Friday COMC Order #6 - Topps Inserts

Starting in 2006, I decided that in addition to the Topps Flagship base sets, I would collect most of the insert sets.  I have passed on a few retail only sets but otherwise I have done a nice job of adding all the inserts to my collection.

A couple years back I started picking up random inserts from earlier Topps releases and last year I made it official and put together a checklist of all the insert sets and a want list.

Most of what I have picked up have cost me 18-25 cents on Sportlots but I did pick up a few Topps inserts during this COMC shopping spree.

I accidentally filed these away prior to noting the years of each. Plus I am running short on time so without any additional commentary, here are the inserts I picked up:

If you collected Topps products for 1994-2005 and have some inserts laying around, checkout my want list and let's make a trade. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

2017 Collecting Goals

Here we are half way through the first month of the year and I haven't set any collecting goals.  Setting annual goals has been a standard practice for me since before I started this blog.  I am a big list guy, they help me focus and get things done.  I am guessing that this year's list of goals will be shorter than years past - for the last few months I have just been going after what makes me happy in the moment and that seems to be working.

1. Complete Giants base cards for 2016 & 2017 - In my 2016 year end recap I shared how poorly I did with the 2016 Giants base cards.  I have hit up Sportlots to put a dent in it but still have some work to do. I want to stay better on top of 2017.  My one caveat, I am not going to actively pursue some of the higher end base cards from sets like Immaculate or Flawless.  For the sake of this goal, I want to get anything that isn't severely short printed or serial numbered under 100.

2. Complete my 1971 Topps set - At the time of this post, my want list contains 34 cards including Mays, Clemente and 20 high number short prints.  This is a set that is within reach and I actually have 8 of the non-SPs in my COMC account ready to be delivered.  With some focus this could be knocked out by mid year.

3. Complete my 1969 Topps set - I just posted about my start of this set quest and my want list stands at 41 cards.  The biggest hurdles will be Mickey Mantle, Nolan Ryan, Willie Mays and the Reggie Jackson rookie.  Crazy as it seems, I already have Willie and Reggie's cards in other parts of my collection (Giants collection and Reggie player collection respectively) so it will be the second time seeking out those 2.

4. Purge my collection of extra sets and unwanted base - I have put in a ton of time already this winter organizing my cards.  I am close to posting what excess cards I have hoping some of you can use them.  I have resigned myself to the fact that some will end up either at a Goodwill store or in the trash but I am hoping some of you out there can use some.  I have also starting to put together Super Trader packages for all the team to move some extra cards as well.

At this point I think that will be it.  I will still seek out other Giants cards and cards for my player collections.  I haven't decided on what sets I will build (flagship for sure but I don't know what else) or how I will build them (buy boxes/packs or full sets on eBay).  I have recently updated my Set Want List page with all the sets I have been thinking about building.  I am sure all parts of my collection will get some work but my plan outside of the 4 goals above is to go with the flow.  I hope it works out for me!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A New Vintage Set Quest

I have been making good progress on my 1971 Topps set quest and I have expressed my frustration over the high series of 1972.  During one of the fits of frustration, I decided to do a search for a starter set lot of 1969 Topps cards, the next logical step after my 1970s Topps run was complete.

I saw a lot advertised as having 409 different cards.  With the set coming in at 664 cards, I thought it might be a good chance to knock off almost 2/3 of the set.  I knew most of the stars wouldn't be in the starter set but I have also picked up a few stars here and there so I thought what the heck and threw out a best offer price.  I was quite a bit lower than the asking price but I thought I would give it a shot.  Unfortunately the seller rejected my offer.  On eBay, auctions you have place a best offer on seem to stick around your My eBay page for a while and after unsuccessfully trying to find a lot of 1972 Topps high numbers I decided to up my best offer a bit and somewhat surprisingly the seller took my offer.

Within a few days the package arrived and I was excited to go through it to see if there were any surprises.  I was pretty happy to see that all but 2 of the League Leaders cards came in the lot. 

I also scored a handful of All-Star cards:

There were even a few stars and Hall of Famers in the group but none of the huge cards.

As I was going through the cards and I started making a want list it seemed like I was much closer than 255 cards from the complete set.  I counted out the cards and while the auction advertised 409 different cards, I actually got 573 different cards out of 664 cards in the set!  I was shocked

I dug through my collection and found 18 cards towards the set, some of them some pretty nice players:

I also happened to pick up a six pack from Sportlots when I also got some 1971 set needs:

Finally I dug through a couple boxes and found quite a few needs at my LCS:

I was able to finish off the League Leaders subset and pick up one of my favorite cards of Mr. Cub.

The highlight in this group is the pair of Hall of Famers and Jim Mudcat Grant.  I met Grant at a Arizona Spring Training game in Scottsdale a couple years back and bought a copy of his book and got him to autograph it.  He was a great man, had fun talking with him a bit and he was great to my son.

A couple Rookie Cups and some serious star power with Brock and Brooks not to mention a youthful looking Earl Weaver manager card.

These are some big ones here highlighted by Tom Seaver (the most expensive card in the group at $10) and some high numbers including a Bobby Bonds rookie card.

After all of this, I currently need only 41 cards to finish my set including several biggies like Reggie Jackson RC, Nolan Ryan, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays.  This is shaping up to be one of my fastest vintage set builds ever where I didn't just pick up the complete set.  Those 4 biggies won't come cheap but I am on the lookout for a good deal.  I am not looking for graded copies or near-mint cards but I know I have to watch out for reprints.

Wish me luck in my new vintage set quest!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Joy of a Completed 1950s Giants Team Set

It has been a while since I have finished off a vintage Giants team set.  I recently picked up this beauty - a 1951 Topps Monte Irvin card.

1951 is the first set Topps put out and the cards would allow you to play some sort of card game.  I haven't really looked into it but Monte's card must have been a pretty good one with a double.  The Giants team set only consisted of 6 cards and with the addition of Irvin I now have the complete set, check it out:

Completing vintage sets will be pretty rare for me moving forward.  The only Giants I need for a complete Topps run are the 1953 & 1955 Willie Mays plus I need 15 card from the 1952 set including a Willie Mays RC, Monte Irvin and 12 of the rare and uber expensive high number series.  I will probably shift any vintage focus towards the Bowman releases in the late 40s and early 50s.  It sure feels nice to have this one in the books.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2016 Black Friday COMC Order #5 - Core 3 Player Collections

If by some act or decree I had to limit my many player collections (I think I have 16 across 3 sports) down to a top 3, it would be a pretty easy choice.  My picks would be Willie McCovey, Ronnie Lott and Rickey Henderson.  I picked up a variety of cards for my various player collections in the COMC order and thought splitting them up this way would be the way to go.

First up are my Willie Mac pick-ups:

Stretch has a bunch of cards in the 2014 Panini Hall of Fame set.  These 5 all come from what I would call the base set and these represent just 2 of the 3 different fronts available.  Each set has a different photo and a different border and color around the photo.  The top 4 are what are referred to as the Blue Frame while the bottom 2 are the Green Frame.  There are also Red Frame cards.  Each frame has 6 different varieties with different print runs (base /75, black /1, blue /25, gold /5, green /10 and red /50).  This represents 5 of the 18 cards available and with the low print runs I will never get this set complete but will have fun trying.

An insert within the 2014 Panini Hall of Fame release are these Crusade cards.   The blue framed is not serial numbered and is considered the base.  The purple is /50 and the orange die-cut is /25.     I also have a gold die-cut /10 and a red /75 in my collection.  The only missing cards are the black die-cut /1 and the green die-cut /5.  Again a set I won't ever complete but I am pretty happy with where I am at.

These are 4 more random McCoveys I picked up.  The card on the top left is from 2012 Panini Cooperstown, one of my favorite all time sets.   It was on my want list but not only did I have a copy in my McCovey binder, I had one in my Giants binder and at least one in my dups box - oops.  This year's Gypsy Queen was an SP so I am glad to finally pick this one up.  The bottom left mini is from Panini Golden Age and the Ty Cobb back is one of the most rare.

Next up are my Ronnie Lott pick-ups:

I hadn't picked up any 2015 High Tek Lott cards but with this purchase I now have 6 different variations.  I plan to keep my eyes open for some of the rarer parallels as I would like to fill up an entire page.

Here are cards from two different higher end releases. If you are interested in these cards and all the parallels there can be some good deals to be had on COMC from what I assume are people who crack them for the hits then just toss them up on COMC to get rid of them - just stay away from my players!

The last were just 3 random newer release Ronnies.  The Prizm with the Red, White and Blue border is just a great looking card.  Probably my favorite thing about all these cards is that they feature him in his Niners gear.  While I will pick up the Jets and Raiders cards, my favorites are the Niners and Trojans.

Finally a quad of Rickey Henderson cards from the mid 2000's.
I have recognized I have some big gaps on some pretty easy to find Rickey cards from 2002-2007 and this was a start to remedy the situation.  These 4 cards from about the same time frame show Rickey with 4 different squads.  The man got around.

More stuff to come from my 433 card purchase...

Monday, January 9, 2017

Some Unlicensed Beauty

Maybe I am crazy but I think Panini is doing a much better job of designing really nice cards without their license, particularly the higher end brands.  Over a couple of day period, I had 6 cards delivered from two different 2016 releases.  In addition to all of them fitting nicely into my various collection, I am actually a fan of the design and photo selection.  Check them out:

I really like this design with the selection of a year during the player's career and a headline and description of highlight.  The 3D nature of the picture works with Winfield popping out of the top of the photo to extend his bat into the Biography banner.  My only small complaint would be the small size of the bat piece but I think that is a result of all the other elements of the card.  This fits nicely into my semi-neglected Dave Winfield player collection.

Next up is a jumbo jersey swatch of Madison Bumgarner for my Giants collection.  I like the big swatch while still showing a pretty decent sized picture of MadBum.  This card probably suffers the most from the lack of licensing here but I like the picture as he starts up his delivery.

 Another Giants relic, this time of a guy who isn't typically listed as a Giant.  It seems like The Big Cat has made a cardboard resurgence this year.  He has been in a number of high end products, I don't know about you but if he was my headliner in a metal case of Flawless I would be less than happy.  The seller of the Winfield and MadBum cards also had this one with combined shipping so I jumped at adding a new Andres Galarraga to my Giants collection.

Switching to an even newer product, the final 3 cards are from the Panini Pantheon release.  I have watched a few of these boxes cracked on YouTube and it looks like a pretty solid product.  This die-cut along the top Rickey Henderson card celebrates his inclusion in the 3000 hit club.  I really like that it showcases Rickey in his Mariners uniform, the team he was with when reaching the milestone.  The facsimile autograph ads a nice element, this is one of my favorite new additions to my Rickey player collection.

Here is another milestone card, this time of Barry Bonds for his entry into the 600 Home Run Club.  There are also versions for 500 and 700.  This photo selection doesn't appear to have needed any photo shopping, it is a great looking card.  In looking at both the Bonds and Henderson card, you can see the color scheme was changed to match the team colors - I love it when card companies take the time and effort to make that happen.  If I was a little crazier as a collection, I might research putting together a set of these milestone cards but I really have too many collecting focuses at this point.

This final card really excited me when I found it for sale.  It is a bat relic for Roger Bresnahan, a Hall of Famer who started playing around the turn of the century and played 17 years in the majors - 7 of them with the Giants.  As the card shows, he was enshrined in Cooperstown in 1945 and in addition to being a great addition to my Giants collection, he fits nicely on my new HOF card page as well.  Short of my Babe Ruth relic, this marks the relic from the player inducted earliest into the HOF in my collection.

What are your thoughts about recent Panini releases?  Are they getting any better at minimizing the impact of their lack of license?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Trade Post - P-Town Tom Delivers Some Giants Goodies

Time to share a couple of packages of great Giants goodies that P-Town Tom from the blog newly renamed Eamus Catuli! shot my way.  It is highly likely that one or both of these came my way before the Cubs World Series victory that led to the name change.  Congrats on the Cubs' victory, I am sure you are still on the amazing high.

I love adding Barry Bonds cards to my Giants collection and I have found many collectors are glad to get them out of their collection.  I have been hearing some noise about the tides turning for Bonds and Roger Clemens with regards to the Hall of Fame.  Probably not this year but hopefully next year the writers will come to their senses and put my generations best and most feared hitter into the HOF.

 Next up is about half of the team set for the Emotion-XL release from 1996.  These are nice cards with the borders raised and the border material resembling picture framing mat.  I have never seen packs of these and am curious about how they were packaged.

This 2000 Fleer Greats of the Game set is one of my favorites, I actually have a complete base set and remember breaking a box or two in the early 2000s.  The card design is great, photo selection is almost perfect and the border colors work well.

Here are a couple final cards from the first package. That Ring Leaders card is super wild, check out the design and all the colors.  The East Meets West insert presents a dilemma, does it go in the Giants binder or with the insert set I am trying to complete.  Until I get another, has to go in the Giants binder.

I have a number of complete sets from 2016 but for the first time in my collecting career I went the route of buying full sets off eBay more often than not.  That resulted in quite a few holes in my Giants collection this year, even base cards.  Some trade packages such as this have helped out a ton, great 2016 cards here.

I also scored this sweet mini-poster from the 1997 Sports Illustrated release.  You can see the folds in the scan, these are the size of 4 cards and folded up in the card packs.  Most like this one, feature nice colorful photos.

Tom included a nice oddball from a Hall of Fame calendar featuring my favorite player, Willie Mccovey, very cool!

Here are some additional cards that I needed from this trade package.  I have to been getting close to the Score Gold Rush parallel set.  To me that Darryl Strawberry card is a perfect representation of what Darryl stands for.  Hiding in the shadows, stand offish and not the happiest guy in the world.

This final group of cards all were missing from my master Giants checklist.  My checklist originated off Beckett.com and most of these probably didn't have the Giants listed as the team for one reason or another.  While I always enjoy knocking cards off my want list, it is even better being gifted cards I had no idea I needed.

Thanks P-Town Tom for the great groups of cards!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2016 Black Friday COMC Order #4 - Eureka

A few months back I was thinking it would be cool to obtain all the Topps Gold parallels for my Giants collection.  I have done so since 2011 when I decided to super collect the Giants.  I didn't do a whole lot of research into how many, I just went onto COMC and looked for any cards I needed that were under a dollar. Come to find out, there were a lot of cards I was missing.  I was able to fill quite a few gaps but still have a ways to go.

In the spirit of showing all 433 cards I got in this shipment, I scanned these by year.  I also figure I will indicate how many I have left to complete my quest for each year (note, I have picked up a few more since writing this post).  Forewarning - if your eyes are allergic to gold, you may want to skip this post.

 The first appearance of Topps Gold parallels was in 1992.  Going into this, I was in need of only 1 card to complete the 1992 set, card #618 a 4 player Top Prospects card.  I quickly gobbled up the only copy on COMC.  When I was sorting and updating my checklist I was happy to knock this team set off my list.  However after scanning the card I noticed the word Winners across the top.  There is also a Gold Winners set you got through redemption and I already had that set complete so I am still without a complete 1992 set.  My 1993 set was already complete and these other 5 1994 cards

1992 Topps - Need 1/31
1993 Topps - Complete
1994 Topps - Complete

Topps took a break from the Gold parallels from 1995-2000 and started them up again for their 50th anniversary in 2001.  In addition to the base set, they paralleled these for the Traded set as well.  This also started the practice that still exists today of serial numbering the cards to the year, therefore these are all /2001.  My collection was pretty thin on Gold parallels from 2001 and I suspect this set might cost a bit to pick up due to shipping from multiple seller.

2001 Topps - Need 16/26
2001 Topps Traded - 3/8

This is another set with quite a few needs although the Lofton and Foppert cards did finish off the Traded set for me.

2002 Topps - Need 12/22
2002 Topps Traded - Complete 

The trend here continues with the Traded sets being much more complete.  The Boof (what a name!) got me to within 1.  Some solid names in the base set pickup but I am still in need of a couple Bonds cards.

2003 Topps - Need 12/25
2003 Topps Traded - Need 1/12

 Just realized the Giants are fairly unrepresented in the 2004 Topps set.  In a set of over 700 cards you would expect to see in the mid 20s for each team.  These pick ups got me to the half way point on the base set and I already had the Traded set complete.

2004 Topps Needs - 9/18
2004 Topps Traded - Complete

 This is the set I need the most help on, only have 6 flagship parallels - ouch.  My Update set is almost complete.

2005 Topps Needs - 17/23
2005 Topps Update Needs - 1/7

 It was nice to be able to pick up 7 new cards for the 2006 set in this shipment. Still work to do but much closer.  I have a blind spot to this set, I don't remember collecting it very much but I do know I built it from Jumbo boxes.

2006 Topps Needs - 12/22
2006 Topps Update Needs -  2/7

I was able to do some serious, and greatly needed damage to my 2007 want list. These are some of my favorite gold parallels with such a contrast to the black borders.

2007 Topps Needs - 7/20
2007 Topps Update Needs - 1/8

The 2008 set has the most new additions with 14 new cards.  I was able to finish off the complete flagship Series 1 and Series 2 set.  I am a Tim Lincecum All Star card short of the Update set.  This is a team set completely within reach.

2008 Topps - Complete
2008 Topps Update - 1/8

 I love having a couple cards of the Big Unit in this set and happy to be able to pick them up.  I wonder how players treat situations like Johnson with the Giants. He hit is big 300 wins milestone with the Giants and I know he enjoyed mentoring the Giants young pitching staff but I wonder as time passes if his stint with the Giants will ever be on his radar.

2009 Topps Needs - 3/26
2009 Topps Update - Complete

 This is the set right before I placed my focus on the Giants.  I remember picking up a Buster Gold rookie as I was thinking of collecting him as a player.  I am still missing the Bumgarner card which probably won't be cheap to pick up. 

2010 Topps Needs - 4/25
2010 Topps Update - Complete

Since 2011 I have tried to complete the gold team sets as the products come out.  I have been lucky a few times to find a team set from a case breaker for sale or at least a lot.  Otherwise it becomes picking up a card here and there until it is complete.  

The 2015 Topps Update set eluded me for quite a while until I was able to pick up this Matt Duffy in this shipment to finish off all of 2015.  With this Trevor Brown I am still short a Series 2 Bumgarner #600 for the 2016 team set.

I have been picking up a few cards on COMC since this Black Friday shipment since I have some free shipping coming my way and will probably take a pass to see if I can track down some reasonably priced cards off my want list.  I am not close enough to over pay - yet!