Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Auction Kings Proves Bidders Overpay

I just finished watching this week's episode of Auction Kings on Discovery. This week featured a lot of baseball cards that included, amongst others, a '56 Mantle and a Satchel Paige RC. The clip below provides the experts appraisal. The results reiterated my experience at a live auction a few weeks ago where attending bidders overpaid and gave me further reason to believe that live auctions may maximize a collections value far greater than selling online. The gavel dropped on the lot for more than 3x the high range of the appraisal.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tommy Dreamer and My Indy Wrestling Experience

No longer living in the Chicago suburbs and being within a 45-60 minute drive of every major sports and entertainment venue you could ask for, I've spent some time this summer exploring smaller, regional venues. My new hometown in NE Ohio is the base of operations to MCW, an independent wrestling circuit. With a rabidly passionate fan base and a storied history of over ten years, MCW has had major wrestling personalities like Mick Foley, Jimmy Hart and most recently Tommy Dreamer, make appearances, to name a few.

Never having attended an indy wrestling event before, I really didn't know what to expect. Housed in the vacant storefront of a strip-mall, complete with blacked out windows, I was greeted by a friendly girl selling admission at the door. Upon entering the venue, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised with the size of the crowd which I estimated to be close to 200 people. Quite remarkable for a town of 25,000, most of which were packed into the local university's football arena. Mount Union College is a 10x, NCAA Division III football champion, who at one time, and still might, holds the NCAA record for consecutive wins with 73.

As the ring announcer and MC entered the ring, the place went nuts. I was actually a little startled. It was obvious that I was in the midst of long time fans and attenders. I won't provide a detailed match by match report but I will tell you that the level of competition and passion displayed by the wrestlers themselves was spirited and genuine. You could definitely tell who had potential for a larger spotlight as there were clearly a couple of guys that had  the whole package; size, charisma, mic and promo, ring presence and athleticism.

As intermission started, former ECW, TNA, and WWE SuperStar, Tommy Dreamer took center ring, signing autographs and taking photos. $5 got me this sweet autographed Polaroid photo. He was friendly and gracious and truly enjoyed talking to his fans.

His match with a young MCW local Turk kicked of the second half of the show and didn't disappoint. Tommy got old school violent, at one point jumping out of the ring and running to the MC's table to grab the bell and hammer, which he subsequently laid in his incapacitated opponents crotch and then proceeded to smash with a wrench. A match that lasted, a good 15 minutes, saw Tommy the victor (was there ever a doubt?). The card ended with the bloodiest ladders and chairs tag-team match I have ever seen.  One of the best things about the night was the announcement of an after party at the local Mexican cantina where fans got to hang out with the wrestlers, including the night's main draw, Tommy Dreamer. A crazy fun night, I'm sure I'll go back sometime.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Shame of College Sports

The title of this post is the title of the feature article in the new issue of The Atlantic magazine. The subject of college players and the complicity of coach involvement and/or knowledge in areas regarding ill gotten gains as an amateur athlete is a ever recurring theme making front page news. Often times, it seems, traditional sports media outlets that have attempted to shine a light on this issue do so only out of lip service with no real sense to motivate change within the system. That is why the expose featured in The Atlantic struck me because it is really done from a true outsiders perspective with nothing to lose in the way of access, priority coverage, inside scoops, etc. I don't agree with every point the author makes, but I do know that schools make HUGE sums money on the names of student athletes, even when there collegiate careers have long concluded. Is it fair? You decide. Watch the video below, read the article, and then share your thoughts. It certainly is an interesting topic.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tristar- A Customer Service Report and a Question

A few weeks ago I purchased a box of Tristar's new 2011 Obak Baseball. I was disappointed that 50% of my hits were of the same player, Cole White. An interesting story, Cole White is a graduate of West Point, did a 2-year tour of service and returned to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, the club he was drafted with in 2008. Now the cards were each serial numbered to different numbers, one to 50 and one to 75, but as you know, that doesn't make it a different card, and if you try to argue that, you are just wrong, but that is a topic for another day.

I contacted customer service via email and about a week later got a reply asking for proof of purchase and was told that they would then replace the duplicate auto with another randomly chosen autograph. Great! I forwarded a copy of my invoice (the product was purchased online) but then received and email asking that I first provide an image of the two cards side by side. Fine. No problem. Done. But then I get an email saying to mail one of them back. At that point I went, politely, ballistic. What!?!?!? Are you kidding me!?!?!? I have already wasted enough time on dealing with an issue that wasn't of my doing. All I did was buy your stupid product. No in a bush league move instead of just comping me another auto to make me feel that I at least got some value for my $100, you want me to send you the card!?!?!? Bush league bullsh*t is what that is.

Now, I obviously didn't say it in those words, with that tone but you get my drift. Well, anyway I got a reply saying that the customer service rep I was dealing with would talk to their manager and get back to me Monday. (This was a Friday). Well, I was happy to get a reply back saying that I would be receiving replacement autos in the mail. The plural of auto made me curious. As I felt one autograph would be fine. Instead today I received two autographs. A replacement for the Obak dupe, this one of Ron Blomberg numbered to 4/50 and the other from 2010 Pursuit of Matt Hobgood numbered 80/80. So all's well that ends well.

Now a question. Why weren't these cards included in the pack out. They are both on the checklists at those numberings. Does the company keep a handful of boxes and these were pulled from those boxes? Were they reprinted and the numbering added randomly? Did they go buy a box back and pull them from there. Remember all Tristar boxes are numbered as part of the overall security of their print run.

Any thoughts?

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Waiting is Almost Over

One of the products I have anxiously been waiting the release of is Cult Stuff's WWII Military Propaganda Posters set. The poster medium of the WWII era were incredible works of art in their own right and served important functions in military recruitment, workforce motivation, conservation and more. The numerous pieces available to a trading card manufacturer and their easy reducibility make them a perfect subject for a trading card set. Instead of using full bleed, I like the way Cult Stuff placed the posters against a brick wall background. The images below are from their promo set limited to 500. The release date for the boxed set is mid to late fall.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Is Target the new "Hobby" Shop?

I can already hear the collective gasp from the collecting universe. However, let me explain. This thought started when I posted a picture to Twitter last week of a recently closed hobby shop in my area and someone replied that whenever Chris Olds (famous for his Ripping Retail posts) or other collectors buy product from Target the sound you then hear is another LCS (local card shop) closing its doors for good. While to some degree I understand the sentiment, it's not quite that simple.

Read the rest.

In Honor of the US Open . . .

 You're welcome :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

When the Gavel Drops . . . You Bought It!

Actually they didn’t even use a gavel. One of the Midwest’s largest auction companies, Kiko Auctions runs several live estate auctions every month. I recently attended one at the Champion Event Center in North Canton, Ohio that featured an assortment of trading cards, including several vintage lots. Being my first time as a participant, complete with assigned paddle number, I really wasn’t sure what to expect.