Friday, December 21, 2012

Random Thoughts and Musings

Beckett announced their new appraisal service. For $15, per appraisal, they will provide a pricing guestimate on cards that, for years, in the price guide have been listed as, "No Pricing Due to Scarcity". One question, what's changed, that again for a fee, they can now provide you that pricing. Let's call this added revenue stream what it is, a your guess is as good as mine, cash grab.

Panini's Golden Age of Baseball is live and has me intrigued. I know a lot of collectors don't like non-baseball subjects in their baseball products, but in all honesty, I like the variety and change of pace. I get burnt out on products featuring the same couple of hundred player in every  . . . . single . . . . . release . . . . . .year . . . .after . . . .year . . . . . . after . . . . . . .year. I like the look of the cards and the mash-up feel of Americana meets Cooperstown.

I don't understand some of the complaining over the release of Leaf Memories. Delivering hard signed autos on this classic design, in my opinion, makes this version of 1990 Leaf infinitely better than the first one and who didn't LOVE the first one.

I gave away (5) 5,000 count boxes of junk wax. It was very liberating and I do not miss them at all. 

My girls (7 and 4) LOVE, My Little Pony, baseball, not so much. In my continuing effort to share my hobbies with them, I am so excited to give them their collector tin of cards and comic book.

Sosa, Bonds, McGwire, Palmeiro belong in the Baseball Hall of Fame with an asterisk. Dale Murphy deserves in, no asterisk required ;)

I believe this has been the year of the micro-manufacturer. Leaf, Benchwarmer and Creative Cardboard Concepts, the umbrella company for ITG, SportKings, and Famous Fabrics, have done a tremendous job at finding the right formula for their products in terms of value proposition and pack-out configuration.

The early look of Panini's National Treasure's Baseball is proof positive that the Topps monopoly must end.

The scam that occurred over on the Blowout Cards' forum was epic in terms of its development and complexity. I feel bad for the people that got scammed but I'd like to believe that I would never send someone thousands of dollars without knowing what I was getting and had recourse to prosecute for non-delivery. Buyer beware. Just because you talk to people on a forum "all the time" doesn't make them your friend. They are an anonymous, online acquaintance and you should act accordingly.

For me and my family, Christmas is still a very special time of the year as we celebrate the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, without whom, I wouldn't be here today. Merry Christmas to you and your families if I don't post before then.

Artistic License

Are you aware of a relatively new site called Baseball Card Vandals? It's childish, crude and therefore in someways humorous. Whenever sports cards makes headlines on With Leather (no it's not a bondage site your perv) it's a good thing in my book. Click the links above for images like those below.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Book Review: ‘Baseball Hall of Fame Autographs: A Reference Guide'

In his new book, “Baseball Hall of Fame Autographs: A Reference Guide,” author Ron Keurajian, himself a collector and self-taught authenticator, provides a detailed look at the hobby of collecting autographs from baseball’s greatest players. His cautionary tale serves as the backdrop for one of the most accurately detailed reference pieces the sports collectibles market has ever seen. His ability to clearly communicate the complexities of handwriting analysis makes this an ideal tool for collectors.

Read the rest.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Unique Multimedia "Card" Features NFL Legends

When is a trading card not a card? I think there are several answers to that question and while this new twist from KEEPR certainly looks cool, I wish the price point was more like $29.95 instead of it's on sale price of $59.95 (Regularly $64.95). If it were, I'd be a buyer. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

On Card Autograph or Officially Licensed?

What's more important to you as a collector? I posted this as a poll on Twitter yesterday and was a bit surprised at the results. Take the simple poll yourself and see for yourself. What's your reaction to the results. How did you vote and why? Take the poll now.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Panini Cooperstown Fills a Gap in the Collecting Landscape

If my memory serves correct, Panini Cooperstown Baseball is the first product since 2007 SP Legendary Cuts to be built entirely on retired players. This includes not only the base set, but autograph and memorabilia checklists, inserts and parallels as well. With new rules established for the percentage of retired players that can be in an officially licensed MLB product, Panini has had the luxury of not having to adhere to those rules as their entry into the baseball card market continues its successful run.

Readers of this blog now that I am a freak for retired only player products. Reason being is that when I re-entered the hobby some twelve years ago now, trading card companies had free reign to build any type of product they wanted to and quickly realized one of the ways to re-engage former collectors was to include players from their youth in the checklists if not building entire brands around them.

This era gave us products like Century Legends, Fan Favorites, Archives, Greats of the Game, Legendary Cuts, Hall of Fame, Legends Baseball and many more. These products promised and delivered true heroes of the game and didn't need to rely on rookies, prospects the same (100) veterans in a checklist, etc. 

So imagine my elation when Panini announced and ultimately delivered Cooperstown Baseball. I am so happy to report that it didn't disappoint. The first thing you notice when opening the product is the classic black/white photography. The second thing you should notice is that despite not being able to include team logos in their current baseball products, the design team did an excellent job of finding photographs that could be used in a manner that doesn't draw undo attention to that fact. Yes some creative cropping is utilized and necessary but in my opinion doesn't detract from the overall aesthetics of the set. Case in point:






The base set is comprised of (170) cards and is a whose who of baseball greatest players from multiple eras. Some of the noticeable exceptions however, is the exclusion of Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle. The last (20) cards are short-prints and include many of the players licensed by CMG Worldwide including Walter Johnson, Ty Cobb, and Honus Wagner to name a few. These are differentiated by their player images being color tinted. In opening a hobby and blaster box, I have yet to pull one.

A wide variety of inserts, included at a rate of one per pack, makes for a very fun break and serves to further document some of the games greatest players, moments and memorabilia. Yes, memorabilia, but not in the way you are probably accustomed too in the context of trading cards. Insert sets Famous Moments and Museum Collection brings some of the game's prized artifacts to collectors unable to make the trek to the hallowed halls of Cooperstown itself.


 

Other inserts include Ballparks, Induction, High Praise, Credentials, Induction Year and Bronze history:






There are several other inserts that further adds to the enjoyment of the pack busting experience including; Field Generals, The Village, With Honors, Voices of Summer and Hall History.






The ongoing variety really made this a fun break and I will be buying more not only to complete the set but I am seriously considering building a near master set, minus the extensive autograph checklist. Oh yeah I got two of those as well.


These pulls are really cool. Everyone knows the guy on the left. Don Larsen, pitcher of the only perfect game in World Series history. The guy on the right however, you may not know but should. Bob Wolff has called some of the greatest events in sports and ironically enough, called Larsen's perfect game! How cool is that!!  

Friday, November 30, 2012

History of "The Card" an Infographic Timeline


(Click to see the image larger)

THE TRUTH


By now, many of you have read the news, as first reported by the New York Daily News Sports I-Team that Bill Mastro, the prima donna of the high-end sports collectibles auction world has plead guilty to altering the fabled T-206 Honus Wagner card. 

While it has long been suspected by many hobby elites that the card had been altered to earn it's grade of a PSA 8, (which was also the first card ever graded by the company) the cat is now out of the bag. Knowing that the ugliness of a trial would ultimately do more harm than good, Mastro changed his plea after being indicted several years ago for this and other charges including, "routinely defrauding customers, rigged auctions and inflated prices paid by unwitting bidders."


Many of you might remember the ill-fated attempt by Sports Collector's Digest and it's has been "journalist" T.S. O'Connell, some years ago, who had the gall to disable comments on his blog rather than answer critics questions regarding the issue, mine included. Here are links to those posts from several years ago.

TS O'Connell, SCD, Mastro, FBI

T.S O'Connell Loses Hobby Credibility

Mastro Auctions No More

O'Connell's deer in the headlights response to this new  fangled social media platform called blogging and it's intent to be a two-way dialogue and not just another means of broadcast, only served to solidify what most educated collectors already knew and that was the fact that Tuff Stuff and SCD's time in the hobby as a reputable, reliable and newsworthy source of hobby media, were long gone.

O'Connell's defense of his "friend" and the free publicity given to the auctioning of the once fabled Mastro Collection, despite occurring amid these far reaching and damning allegations was indefensible. O'Connell's posts have long been deleted along with the numerous comments questioning the integrity of him and SCD as an unbiased news outlet.

While Bill Mastro had a good run, in the end sweet justice has been served. As for T.S. O'Connell, he's crawled under some rock of obscurity, hopefully never to be heard from again.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Random Thoughts and Musings

Between Twitter and the radio show it's no secret that most of the commentary I used to provide on this blog has moved to those outlets but I know not everyone follows or listens (BUT YOU SHOULD!) Anyway here are somethings that I have been thinking about lately.

Entertainment trading cards- I love collecting products from movies I like and TV shows I watch like Fringe, the Big Bang Theory, etc. I know that not all show can justify a stand alone product but I would love to see a network based card set for USA. it would work brilliantly with their Characters Unite tag line. It could incorporate shows like Burn Notice, Covert Affairs, White Collar, Suits and others.

Topps Five Star Membership- There is absolutely nothing wrong with Topps wanting to make available a club for its high rollers and to provide them some perks and freebies. The problems I have with it are in the language of the application.

  1. To say that the club is for Topps most "passionate" collectors is a bit of a slap in the face to many consumers of their product because it equates passion to $'s spent. How do you think that statement makes the guy who buys a box of every baseball product they buy or the life long set builder?
  2. There is specific language that states that by be accepted into the club you agree to "position Topps in a favorable light". Listen, if I'm spending $10k a year on your product, I am going to say anything I want to, pro or con. Only a company insecure about negative criticism would feel the need to include such language in what is essentially a rewards program.
Five Star Baseball from Topps- I can't afford it so I really don't care. Most of the cards do like beautiful though and it has been interesting to see that even the base cards have been selling for double digits as player collectors pony-up.

Collector Entitlement- There is a disturbing trend that seems to exist amongst many collectors that reflects the notion that in some way card manufacturers owe them something above and beyond the contents of the box they purchase. I don't get it.

Social Media Has Changed Everything- Topps and Panini have given away more product via Twitter and Facebook than I have witnessed in the history of the hobby.

Topps Chrome Football- What a cash cow this product is. At a $100 a box you are getting only 4-cards per pack and (1) autograph per box. The appeal of this product is obviously the on-card rookie autographs and more importantly the gamble of the chance at pulling the likes of the top players in the frehsman class like RG3, Luck, Richardson, etc. Few other products can get away with that price tag and just one hit. Others come close but as this product starts to dry up you will begin to see it in the $110 to $120 range. That's a pricey gamble but one in which many collectors appear willing to take.

No Hockey has me Bummed Beyond Belief- I can't even get myself interested in purchasing new hockey products. Upper Deck Series One is an annual favorite of mine but I could care less this year. Donald Fehr, the NHLPA rep is a greedy fool and Commissioner Gary Betteman is an evil midget. Everyone's a loser so far especially the fans.

Leaf and In The Game- Both companies never cease to amaze me with their pack-out configurations and value propositions. There products aren't for everybody but I am glad they are around. They often show collectors that while the big boys say "It can't be done.", that in fact it can. Case in point. For years, collectors have asked for an image database of serial numbered patch cards to help thwart counterfeits. Time and time again we have been told by the likes of Topps, Upper Deck and Panini that it can't be done. Here is proof in the form of Albert Pujols that it can be done. Ichiro has one also.Way to go Brian Gray! So to all the others, don't say we can't, tell the truth and say, "We don't want too."

PSA Collector Resources- Over the last year, Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA/DNA) have been assembling one of the most comprehensive resources for autograph and game used memorabilia collectors. Their latest initiative AutographFacts provides collectors with a wealth of images of authentic exemplars to compare against autograph collectors are considering purchasing. No other enity in the hobby could provide this depth of information and the fact that it is FREE, I believe, really says something about their interests for the hobby. I know they have been caught up in their own issues and errors but this show of good faith is a much need resource for the collecting community. Well done!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Man Selling Multi-Million $ Autograph Collection to Save Daughter

FBI Operation Bullpen on TV's Masterminds "Foul Ball"

I know it's a bit dated but I think it is good to occasionally re- watch, remember, learn and be aware.

Of Course I Still Collect- Part 2

As promised, here is a look at some other items I have recently acquired for the ole PC.

Fringe is one of my favorite shows on TV but all good things must come to an end and with this being the final season, I was glad to hear that Cryptozoic is going to do a Season 3-4 release. I like small entertainment brand base sets to chronicle the memories of the shows of which I am a fan. However, often times the price for autos and memorabilia from these products are exorbitant and way out of my price range but I picked up this wardrobe card of Anna Torv who plays the shows main character, Olivia Dunham, relatively inexpensively.





In addition to the ring cards in 2012 Topps Update, I really like the plaque cards. I am still getting used to the cost of these manufactured relics but they certainly beat a stamp sized single color piece of supposed, game-used jersey. Outside of collecting all things Chicago, my two favorite all-time baseball players are Cal Ripken Jr. and Nolan Ryan.





I really missed the boat with Derrick Rose. So did a lot of people. Who knew that this SAT cheating, pip squeak from Memphis would turn out to be a league superstar? Obviously some people, but not me, so I am hedging my bets from here forward when it comes to the Bulls #1 draft picks moving forward. Jimmy Butler, welcome to the NBA.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Yeah, Of Course I Still Collect

I've slacked big time since moving from Chicago in taking the time to show off recent PC acquisitions. So I thought I'd give you a look at some of the things I've picked up over the last couple months.

One of my all-time favorite box-toppers, comes from my favorite collecting year of the last twelve, 2005. You may remember when Upper Deck purchased the rights to the famed Wingfield Classic Collection. The collection of black and white photos consisted of some never before seen images. Packed out as a 5"x7" in Sweet Spot Classic, this one of two Chicago greats, was a pleasure to add to my collection.


Wizard World Ohio was a couple of weeks ago in Columbus and I made the track down there. Very small compared to other shows but I did manage to run into one of my favorite sports card artists, Brian Kong, and picked up these two sketch cards


Isn't that just A-W-E-S-O-M-E!! Makes for a killer Halloween costume too. I don't care what anybody says, the Dark Knight is one of my favorite all time movies and Heath Ledger's Joker was amazing.



If I ever see a single color jersey swatch in a trading card again it will be too soon. That is one of the reasons why I L-O-V-E the ring top cards in Topps 2012 Update, so I just had to get the ones for the two players I collect.



My guilty pleasure (at least one of them) is being a fan of female wrestling and as of late the IMPACT Wrestling Knockout's roster has been blowing away the WWE Divas and while none of these four ladies step into the square circle anymore (or rarely), these are two of my favorite redheads on the planet and two brunettes I always appreciated. I can't believe I paid just $9 total for both of them.





More to come later . . .

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

From Commodity to Collectible: Autographed Mini Football Helmets

Often times the most enjoyable collectible is the one you create yourself. Not in the sense of fabricating one but in the sense of having one autographed by a favorite athlete. Perhaps no other medium displays a full signature as vibrantly as a licensed replica mini football helmet.

Read the rest.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Baseball's Triple Crown an Eclectic Club

Baseball’s Triple Crown is perhaps the loftiest and rarest of achievements: leading the league in batting average, home runs and RBIs (runs batted in). Despite the game’s 150-plus-year history, it is a feat that had only been accomplished a total of 15 times, by 13 different players, prior to this season.

Read the rest.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Collecting McFarlane SportsPicks

In the wake of the demise of the once coveted STARTING LINEUP sports figures produced by Kenner, a new player entered the figure market in the form of toy and comic book creator Todd McFarlane. In the year 2001, McFarlane produced his first line of figures, which were called SportsPicks. McFarlane is a sports fan and former partial owner of the NHL Edmonton Oilers franchise. So it came as no surprise that the first SportsPicks series were comprised of hockey players. McFarlane was able to secure a license from the player’s association, the NHLPA, but not the league itself (NHL). As a result, the represented players are dressed in team colors but without team logos.

Read the rest.

Friday, September 21, 2012

It's Almost Guaranteed Some of Your "Game-Used" Cards . . Aren't

A couple of weeks ago now, Cardboard Connection's legal analyst, attorney, Paul Lesko, was doing some research and fact checking into a follow-up on a case involving four sports memorabilia dealers convicted of various fraud charges related to the sale of bogus sports memorabilia. In so doing, he came across an interview with one of the defendants that alleges some pretty damning charges against the trading card manufacturers and Upper Deck in particular.

You can read the whole article here and listen to a spirited discussion on the topic on last Wednesday night's Cardboard Connection Radio show here. Since that time, we have invited the trading card manufacturers to make a statement about these allegations. To date, we have not heard one single tangible comment other than from Panini's Tracy Hackler who said the company will be making a statement at some point in the future. In all fairness, Donruss was the company mentioned which as you know, is no longer a legal entity.

The crux of the issue came to a head with this comment in the FBI interview with Authentic Sports Investment's (ASI) owner, Brad Wells, where he states the following:

"WELLS was asked if the card companies knew that what he was selling to them was not game used. WELLS said that the card companies were too smart to put their beliefs in writing but they knew a lot of what they were buying from resellers like WELLS was not game used. WELLS recalled a conversation he had with UPPER DECK buyer MIKE O'GRADY at the Anaheim, California National Sports Collectors Convention approximately three years ago. During the conversation, O'GRADY told WELLS that UPPER DECK needed eight DEREK JETER jerseys and they were willing to pay between $1,000 and $1,200 each. WELLS told O'GRADY that he was paying between $3,500 and $5,000 for JETER jerseys from STEINER SPORTS and STEINER SPORTS obtained their JETER jerseys directly from the New York Yankees. WELLS told O'GRADY that by only paying $1,200 for JETER jerseys, UPPER DECK was inviting fraud. O'GRADY said that UPPER DECK knew what they were getting, but they needed the JETER jerseys at the minimum price."


In my most humble of opinions, this is pretty damning stuff at the worst and reputation damaging at the least. The alleged activities took place from 2005 - 2009 and would include some of my favorite Upper Deck products of all time. While all the manufacturers were named, it appears that it was specifically Upper Deck that was willing to "play ball".

We as collectors deserve a statement, an explanation, a promise of remedy, something, ANYTHING, but all we have received so far is silence in the hopes that we as collectors are too ignorant or uniformed to know or care about the issue in the hopes that it will just go away.

It's not going to go away. Not if collectors inundate Upper Deck for answers. Knowing the financial straits they have found themselves in as of late, and in light of these allegations and their guilty verdict in a previous counterfeiting case (Yu-Gi-Hh) how does it make you feel about their $570 hockey product, The Cup, their $610 football product, Exquisite, and their $675 basketball product Fleer Retro?

Your turn. What do you think after reading or listening to the aforementioned information?


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sports Tickets—An Under-Appreciated Collectibles Category

There is not a more genuine or tangible connection between a fan and their team than a game ticket. A ticket captures a moment in time, forever preserving the memories one experienced at that particular game or event. That’s why so many people keep them as treasured souvenirs. However, having attended the game or event in person isn’t necessarily a precursor for tickets being part of an actual collection. On the contrary, tickets may be displayed in numerous ways to become instant conversation pieces, regardless of your attendance at the depicted event.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Are You Ready For Some Football? QB's Quiz 2012

It seems like it's been awhile since I posted one of Mental Floss' quizzes but with tonight marking the kickoff of the 2012 football season, today's quiz was particularly appealing. Oh man is this a good one. Take your time and don't choke ;)



Sunday, September 2, 2012

I'll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours: Blocked eBay Bidders

are-you-normal, asiatradingcorp, atazmatic_32, bighorns81, carddood, cban84, chopperfan55, crystalballer32, dalsubfan, dave03091965, dunesfield, easyink, ilovesports68, imaman, kenkim2000, kw87fan1, marcdvigil, memorabiliaandcards, missgemmint, mobiledeb, montano999, nickequip, nkybats2012, oct23may24, ourneeds777, pacers66, parsetdx, plaster32, ponnylowman, pureipod, raulkongen, roy_hobbs17, sg67sg67, tacticaladvantage, teacherdude70, tlangmacher, tna2017, tntrocks8, torostradingpost, triple-k-sportscards, wonderking-2008, you_catcat, , kozmo6767, signmine_1, nywiz2, spartancards18

This list is going to get monumentally larger due to a new personal eBay policy I am instituting in light of the fact that the blowhard, quarter squeezing, fee fanatics at eBaySucks have just completely abandoned providing any legitimate recourse to sellers. When you run a small business, cash flow is a vital financial function. When that process and function is allowed to be hindered by external forces and policies, it can be detrimental to the viability of a business.

THAT ASIDE I JUST DON'T GET WHY YOU CAN'T IMMEDIATELY PAY FOR YOUR $5 ITEM YOU INSENSITIVE, SELFISH, IGNORANT SCUMBAG!!!!

There are circumstances when I have allowed a seller extra time to pay due to the high selling price of an item or being out of town etc., and all it takes is a little communication. But when I send you an invoice, email you 2 reminders, open an unpaid item dispute, send another email, I mean seriously WTH! Yeah its only $5 but when you multiply that towards dozens of unpaid items it adds up quickly,

So please feel free to share your blocked bidders in the comments. Plain and simple, if you don't pay for your item within 5 days, from now on the item will be relisted, and you will be blocked.

Just say no to dead beat eBay buyers.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rick Harrison and the Case of the Bogus Joe

Last night on Pawn Stars, Rick Harrison, the shop's owner, went against his own rules and in the process got taken for $13,000. That is a lot of money no matter what way you slice it and quite frankly Rick knows better. When presented with a copy of the book, "Say It Ain't So Joe", supposedly signed by the legendary player, Rick didn't hesitate to begin negotions all the while saying, Joe Jackson was illiterate and few of the signatures on the market are actually legit.

After he acquired the book, the Old Man, visibly upset, sent him to their rare book dealer who after showing him a known example of Jackson's signature had to break the bad news to Rick. Submission to PSA/DNA did not help Rick's case either and now he is stuck with a bogus autograph. Knowing that no business person can afford to take a loss like that, my concern is, what is going to happen to that autograph now?

Here is the only known example of a "Shoeless" Joe Jackson signature that all the major authenticators can agree upon as being legit. The ONLY one and yet how many have we seen in the marketplace in recent years?



Take the poll below.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thoughts, Musings, Rants and Other Nonsense


The inclusion of Civil War era relics into Goodwin Champions brings a whole new level of collectability to trading cards and I would not be surprised to see a company broaden this concept into specific historical sets as stand-alone products. While some have been done like America at War and WWII Propaganda, imagine some of the concepts you could apply this too, and not just military either.

The History of Flight- Cut autos of Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, Orville & Wilbur Wright, the Red Baron, Chuck Yeager. Relic/Memorabilia cards of: worn flight suits, navigational charts, plane parts, etc.

Regardless of what Mark Sapir told us on Cardboard Connection Radio last week, I am convinced that there was a concerted effort to make the Allen & Ginter code easier this year. I wonder if now they feel they made it too easy. Who is smarter; the one that builds the code program or the guys that solved it?

SEREAL, a trading card manufacturer in Riga, Latvia is the license holder for the KHL (Russian Hockey League). They have players from all over the world and while their primary market is obviously Russia and Eastern Europe, I can’t help, after opening a box, thinking that they are missing an opportunity by not having the cards printed in English and French as well. The product is solid and could compete in North America given the price point. I know it is a very small and narrow market but nothing venture nothing gained.

I’m sorry but on the heels of the self-proclaimed #1 Authority having zero, zilch, nada, media presence at the Industry Summit this past March, what does it say about their credibility as a hobby news source to post their image gallery 8 days, AFTER, the National has concluded. I don’t know maybe I’m splitting hairs, whatever, just seems bush league to me.

I am very happy for Mike Berkus and John Broggi, the organizers of the National, and all who exhibited. It sounds like several companies really stepped up their game in terms of delivering a value added presence for attendees in the form of autograph guests, premiums and after-hours events.

An NHL lockout, while not in any way a death blow to the hobby, would certainly hamper what has been a growing collector base in no small part due to recent events; (2) Original Six teams winning The Cup in the last three years, a big market franchise in LA winning its first Cup, successful sponsorships and presence by trading card manufacturers at NHL events like the Draft, Winter Classic and All-Star Game.

Baseball has some great story lines right now; Mike Trout is incredible, Bryce Harper is living up to the hype, the Washington Nationals are dominating, Pittsburgh, yes the Pirates are battling for a division race, BIG trades, and more.

Football is just around the corner and collectors are chomping at the bit to see if Andrew Luck and RGIII are the real deal.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New Book Details How Our Hobby Came to Be

The post-war years of 1948 to 1955 ushered in the modern era of baseball cards. It was the result of what Dean Hanley describes in his new book, The Bubble Gum Card War, as "the perfect storm." With the end of World War II, rationing also came to end. Bubble gum manufacturing came back in full production. The key ingredients to make the sugary treat were, once again, readily available.

Read the rest . . . 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

On the Eve of the National: Hey Rookie!

If Twitter is any indication, there are a handful of bloggers who will be busting their proverbial National Sports Collector's Convention cherry this year and the blogsosphere will better for it as a result. For them and all other first time attendees, some words of advice from a veteran.

I urge you to display restraint, and caution even, as you enter the hallowed halls of sports card and memorabilia Mecca. Use a discerning eye and an even tempered approach when haggling with dealers.

Bypass the pricey convention fare that truly sucks anyway and eat a big breakfast instead. Bring water. Sit occasionally. The National is a marathon not a sprint, treat it accordingly and pace yourself. Divide and conquer. Designate a particular day to a certain section of the show floor and then another in subsequent days.

DO NOT BLOW ALL YOUR MONEY IN THE FIRST DAY! This is a classic rookie mistake that has gotten the best of many collectors leaving them to ogle other collector's purchases with wanton lust or to bust out the dreaded plastic and face the wrath of wife upon your return at the show's end. When in doubt, phone home. Her response to your pleaded begging for that "must have item that is so awesome but out of the budget by a mile" just might surprise you. When that fails, and you run into the next "must have item that is so awesome but out of the budget by a mile", remember the wise saying of National goers before you, "it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission".

The show's conclusion lurks like some distant fantasy on day one but rest assured, it will end my friends, quicker than you think and  leaving your legs sore from miles of walking and your back sore from bending over endless 5,000 count boxes looking for '90's inserts and vintage gold. 

Butt chaffing is a serious possibility so Gold Bond yourself. You'll thank me later. 

If you believe in suffocating your cards in plastic, forever sealing them in a permanent state of entombment, take advantage of onsite grading specials which will save you money on shipping. Take advantage of the wrapper redemption program even if you don't specifically collect the cards being given away. You can always sell them on eBay.

Find out where the Steiner Sports after hours party is and GO. Get there early and stay late. You never know who you will meet. If you do have the opportunity to meet an athlete, remember that the story and the experience will be better than any autograph you could ever get, so don't be THAT guy. (Unless other people are and then it's totally cool!)

Challenge Mark Sapir and Clay Luraschi to a game of against the wall. BUT be careful what you wager, they are very, very good. Stop by Panini and tell Tracy Hackler you appreciate all the information he divulges on the Knight's Lance. Tell Scott Prusha thanks for all the giveaways they do throughout the year. Tell Chris Carlin and Greg Kohn at Upper Deck that SP Signature is the biggest abomination in trading card history and to just admit it. But, if you are a hockey collector, acknowledge their quality products during the years of monopoly licensing. Tell Brian Gray to keep kicking in the door of conventional thinking in product development and licensing. Tell Brian Wallos of Benchwarmers that he is the luckiest man in the world! Tell Dr. Brian Price, and damn well refer to him as DOCTOR, to keep up the quality work but to lighten up on the sticker autographs he swore at one time he would NEVER use.

Be prepared to stand in line and wait and wait and wait some more; for your VIP passes or tickets, for redemption programs, for autographs, for food, for cabs, sometimes even for the bathroom. Just chill out, make sure you have Twitter on your phone and follow the #NSCC hashtag so you stay connected and don't miss anything while you are w . . a . . i . . t . . i . .n . . g.

Most of all have fun. Don't be a jerk. If in doubt, let the kid have it. Use your manners. Take pictures. Don't forget to ask someone to take pictures of you with people and at places. They will. Just ask.

To all my friends, fans, readers and followers, enjoy the National!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Shame On You Upper Deck

Well now we know why they decided to not preview this ridiculous sticker dump of a product and instead decided to "let the product speak for itself." Which as it turns out was a polite way of saying, "This product sucks, we know it sucks, we aren't proud of it but we had to do SOMETHING with all these assets we had lying around."

If I was a distributor or dealer left holding the short end of the stick(ers) with this garbage I'd be inclined to boycott the company. I'd love to know what the terms were with this product to distributors. Was it forced upon them with other orders? Is there a return guarantee given there was no preview? (Hahahaha yeah right)

While this is a top contender for worst designed product ever, it probably loses out to Tristar Signa Cuts or some of the early products from Tri City Sports but honestly, Upper Deck should be held to a higher standard and that is why in my opinion 2012 SP Signature Edition Baseball is the worst trading card product in the history of trading cards.

The secrecy surrounding the release of what they KNEW is a crappy product just proves that their time in the market has clearly come and gone because THIS junk, isn't the Upper Deck I grew to know and love. This is an abomination and a seedy underhanded ploy to drive revenue by any means necessary.

Anyone who spent money on this product deserves a refund and a public apology from Upper Deck.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Top 25 Product Releases of the Last 10 Years

As determined by factory cost vs current selling price according to this link posted by DealerNetB2B on Twitter earlier today. What do you think is on the list? 2010 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects and the chase for Strasburg? 2011 Bowman Chrome Baseball and the chase for Harper? Football products from 2004 with Eli Manning RC's? 

Nope, nope, and nope. In fact 20 of the Top 25 products are basketball. Only a single product from the other major 3 sports (football, hockey, baseball), golf, and Yu-Gi-Ho made the list. 

Now you could analyze each of these products and come up with multiple reasons why they are selling at the prices they are but at the core is the international fascination with the game and the deep pocketed speculators that are attracted to the hobby from a purely investment standpoint. 

High-end basketball singles repeatedly and continually return a greater percentage from sales on the secondary market than any other sport. It's also one of the reasons basketball was the first genre to have a $500 per pack product. 

When I saw this list, it was no surprise that 2003-04 Exquisite was at the top of the list. However, I must admit I was surprised to see the sport so thoroughly dominate such a list in its entirety. I suppose I shouldn't have been. 

Baseball may rule the vintage market but when it comes to modern wax, no sport can touch basketball. 


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How Will the New BCS Playoff Format Benefit Collectors?

College football fans have been clamoring for years about the need for a playoff format to determine a National Champion instead of the myriad of polls and computations. While far from perfect, in my opinion, it's a step in the right direction.

Collectors will see potential benefit by the exposure players will receive in the National spotlight. Often times our Bowl watching habits are determined by the teams playing and our level of interest for those teams. Now, much like the NFL, regardless of who is playing, I imagine more people, collectors included, will be watching.

I know some people are idiot savants when it comes to draft prospects but for the less in tune collector (like myself) I believe the new format will help identify potential draft prospects earlier in the process leading up to the draft.

Maybe not. What do you think?


Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Magglio Ordonez Collection

I have always had a fond appreciation for .300BA, 30HR, 100 RBI guys. Any way you slice it, that is solid production that any team in the league would appreciate having on their roster at multiple positions. So it was with my White Sox and Magglio Ordonez when I really started ramping up my collecting pursuits 10+ years ago and at the time I heavily pursued his cards.

Unfortunately for me, when Ozzie Guillen became manager, Ordonez was one of the first pieces to be moved in the Sox quest for their eventual championship in 2005. Being prone to injury, a defensive liability possessing a lack of situational hitting and base running skills, coupled with his salary, doomed the slugger as he became the poster boy for the antithesis of what Guillen wanted in his players. 

Trading Ordonez for an eventual World Series Championship was well worth the sacrifice however.

I have what I feel is a pretty nice Ordonez collection, but as you know I am focusing on quality over quantity at this point in my collecting career and it is now time to pass this player collection on to someone who will appreciate it.

Here are some pictures and the details and highlights are as follows:

Total Cards:  Approximately 290

Game Used Cards: 31

Autographed Cards: 2

Graded Cards: 2

The collection starts fittingly enough with (2) PSA Graded Rookie Cards:

1998 Bowman Card #185 PSA 8 NM-MT
1998 Bowman Chrome #185 PSA 9 Mint

Autograph cards include:
A hard signed 2004 Fleer Genuine, Genuine Insider signature card, serial numbered /250

2003 Topps Tribute Contemporary Collection, Modern Marks on card auto.

Key Game Used Card is the 2002 Fleer Flair Sweet Swatch over-sized jersey card featuring a jumbo 2-color pinstripe swatch. 

The collection is housed in a binder with a sweet color 8"x10" MLB authentic photograph on the cover.

If you are interested, you can find it here or email me an offer to: thevotc@gmail.com 



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Set of the Day- 2003 Topps Gallery Hall of Fame Edition


2003 Topps Gallery Hall of Fame Edition is one of my favorite products of all time. It combines two elements that I love in a trading card product; art and retired greats. 

The relatively small base set of (74) cards was augmented by an SP variation set of equal size. Changes in the art ranged from complete background changes to players missing a uniform patch.

The entire base set was all issued in a parallel refractor version. Both the refractors and variations were seeded 1 per pack. For the true master set builder, the SP variations were also issued as a refractor parallel at just 1 per box.

Topps Gallery had a product configuration of 5 cards per pack and 20 packs per box.

The set was accompanied by several requisite relic and autograph inserts but perhaps the coolest of all of them were the Currency Connection inserts seeded 1 per box. These cards paired a Hall of Fame Player with a coin from that player's era.

I am parting with a near set lot loaded with SP variations, refractors and more! Check it out.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Set of the Day- 2002 Fleer Greats FALL CLASSIC

The run of Fleer Greats of the Game products in the early part of the last decade, delivered some great tributes to retired players. The 2002 Fleer Fall Classic set consisted of (100) base cards with the first 90 featuring a single player and the remaining ten combining some of the best to ever play the game on a single card.

Inserts sets included Rival Faction, Hall of Fame Plaques, and Series of Champions.

The Rival Factions set while aptly named for the first several dozen cards out of the (43) that comprise the full set, the pairings then cross generations of great players from a single position, teammates, etc., creating a slightly more confusing context for the set name.

Hall of Fame Plaques deliver a reverse coloring from the traditional yellow and brown placards and are beautiful! pictures do not do them justice. The set consists of (30) all-time greats to play in the World Series.

Series Champions features (19) iconic players and a particular moment in their respective Fall Classic.

If you are interested in picking this set up and some great inserts, I have a deal for you.