Barry Bonds is the key card to the set. High book value is $8, though you'll have a hard time selling it for that much. I picked this up for less than a quarter at the GT Sports show. Like several "super" cards of its era I found at the show, it was overprotected. I bet someone was thinking of getting it graded. This card is headed to my Barry Bonds player collection.
2012 Topps would look so much better with this wood border instead of white borders. Just sayin'.
2012 is still five months away, and Tribute won't come out until at least February 7, but Topps released preview images today.
Why so soon? Maybe they're trying to pull attention away from all the criticism of the flagship release coming out at the same time.
So what are they offering for $50 bucks a pack? One hit - you have a 50% chance of pulling an autograph (the other packs contain relics). You'll get some base cards and parallels, but for $50, you're counting on the hit.
Let's see what'll end up in the trash or quarter box:
The base cards. A photo on refractorized foil, as always. I like the presentation of the player's name, team and position at the bottom compared to last year. I've always thought the Tribute base cards are some of the most beautiful base cards issued.
Also doomed for obscurity are the parallels. Yeah. That's not what you spend $50 for though, is it?
Let's see some hits!
I get it, his position is first base, and the set's called Positions of Power! Yeah. Two big plain swatches.
I'm no Mets fan. Is Jose Reyes really called Rocket Reyes? I don't mind the die-cut relic windows. I'd rather have this dual relic than the 1B dual relic above. On eBay, this would be an 11-swatch 4-color patch relic!
For $50, every relic should be a patch. Either Topps is making a fortune off these things or they're paying way too much for their autographs and game-used material.
Speaking of actual patches:
Is that what a 1/1 patch should look like? A plain stripe? I get that Nolan Ryan jerseys are kind of rare, but I'm really unimpressed with what should be the best looking patch in the previews. It could be worse. For $50, you could pull this $3 relic:
Okay, maybe $10. It looks like it's a dual relic. How plain are my swatches...
Oh yeah. It's a limited-to-15 gold parallel! With a single, tiny, oval shaped plain gray swatch! Sorry, Mike, you deserve better. Even at 1/1, this card wouldn't interest me. The swatch is too small and too plain! For $50, I expect a patch. It's not like Topps puts a bunch of Mike Schmidt patches in flagship Topps sets.
Well, at least there are autographs in every other pack (and from the information I read, maybe a bonus one in the occasional relic pack). Face it, relics aren't that popular anymore anyway (maybe because Topps puts out so many boring, plain swatches instead of cool patches). The autographs - on card especially - are the most coveted part of a player collection.
The autograph checklist is impressive, at least with the announced names. The "many others" part at the end of Beckett's review worries me, but from all the other names listed, Albert Belle is the only one I wouldn't really care for. I like the design, because there is plenty of room for an autograph and nothing is detracting from it. The card is all about the autograph.
Topps loves its royal purple color, and the 1/1 autograph parallels show off the violet. The crazy gold frame may highlight the autograph, but it also draws the eyes away. These sticker autographs are supposed to be bonus autographs randomly inserted in packs, so you could theoretically pull a Matt Kemp 1/1 autograph and a Sandy Koufax on-card in the same pack. Speaking of Mr. Koufax:
I really like these black autographs. I'm sure I'll get tired of silver pen quickly if it's used frequently.
My verdict: At $50 a pack, I've already said I expect a patch on every relic, and that's not happening. However, the base cards always stand out and the autograph list looks promising. I can't afford this stuff, but I'd give it a preview rating of 3.5/5. Fix the relics, for crying out loud! If the relics were better, it could easily be a 4.5/5.
I took some of the last of my cash to Japantown here in San Francisco and browsed the offerings of a couple of the collectibles stores. I get the impression that most Japanese don't do cards. Most of the collectibles stores around here carry figurines, and they aren't made by McFarlane. They generally focus on anime and cutesy things. I grabbed a few promising pieces and ripped them open when I got home.
If you're not familiar with these things, they're packed in a bag or box such that you can't see what's inside, just like a pack of cards. There are several different options, sometimes with variations. Until you open the package, you don't know which figure you have. It seems that at least with some releases some figures are more rare than others, especially with some of the variations.
The first of three packages I bought was a small key chain/backpack fob thing labeled "FOOD" in English. Each piece is packaged in a little sealed plastic bag; the box contains pictures of all the possibilities. Inside each package is a list of figures and probably information on rarity. You can enlarge the scan to see all the options. It's difficult scanning these things since they don't properly sit flat.
These are mostly desserts, though the burger and the pancake stack look great. I ended up with figure 2:
You can see the key chain attachment at the top. Yummy, right? I'm not even sure what this is. I'd prefer a dessert. I'll probably buy one more just to try for a cool dessert.
The next piece came from different food set. They look like sushi. I don't eat sushi, but as far as food goes it's one of the most beautiful. Someday I may give sushi a try. In the meantime, here are my non-edible food choices:
Really, I couldn't go wrong with any of the pieces. I pulled item 12, which looks really cool especially when I photography it using a macro lens:
The chopsticks are plastic. The whole piece is. Some assembly required - the plate, two pieces, and chopsticks are all individually posable, if posing food is your thing. I may have to buy several more of these. If you want a size comparison, the plate is a little bigger than a quarter.
The third and final piece was of something you wouldn't normally want around your food. We're talking life-size bugs, here! I thought this would be kind of fun. While the other two came in bags, this set comes individually boxed. It's still a mystery which figure you receive until you open the box, and to make things even more exciting, one of the figures is a mystery figure. Here's the sheet:
The non-beetles are the most attractive, though all of them are enticing. I had a 50/50 chance of pulling a "cool" figure. Did I? No. Well, it's still cool, just not my favorite:
That's one big beetle thing. For a size comparison, it's about the same length (left to right as you see in the picture) as a baseball card, though it is a little narrower. As far as I know, it looks real. Unless you flip it over - it has a tiny, powerful magnet so you can put it on your fridge and freak out your parents, wife, sister, etc. Being a larger figure, it was a bit more expensive, but I may buy a couple more.
I really like the food ones, and there were some larger options that I might explore next month. This is my first time opening non-character packages. I usually pick up cool-looking anime ones, and I never attempt to finish a set. Here's one I bought last time I browsed the shops (nearly a year ago):
I took this photo with my iPod, so it's blurry. She's cute, and naked. I put a small stand piece to cover up some naughty bits. Most figures aren't so revealing, and are great little displays.
I'm not about to stop collecting cards, but these are fun little diversions from two-dimensional pictures of men!
Speaking of being hungry, I spent the last of my cash yesterday and now I want some fried rice for dinner. I wonder if they take debit...
Let's look at some more of the cards I picked up at the GT Sports show last weekend, shall we? This time, I have a collection of award winners and statistical leaders.
I didn't do too bad with this collection, though I wish I could have found more. There are several players who are elusive, mainly because their only cards are vintage. The Harmon is part of a set that took me years to put together, and I had to just pick up another. Most of the others went towards retired numbers, statistical leaders and clubs, and Gold Glove awards. Michael Bourn filled a hole that now gives me a 20-year complete run.
Here are some more leaders. Rickey filled a couple spots here and there, as did Mattingly. I didn't need so much Reggie, though a card of him in an A's uniform was one of those goals. It was neat finding both the regular and variation Reggie, even though the red (variation) doesn't carry too much of a premium.
A four-spot of Kirby was a must-have grab, and I needed to slip a Mickey (ha ha!) into my collection. Amazing, I didn't have a huge stack of them laying around.
There's a store in the East Bay called Urban Ore. It's a reuse store, filled mainly with old doors, toilets, sinks, windows, furniture, tools, and other household cast-offs. They get donations from regular houses as well as businesses and production companies (think: small theaters). I love to head over and take a stroll through the giant warehouse and yard. They have some awesome stuff and if I had my own place where I could put things, I could easily walk out each time with some fantastic finds. One little drawer I like to take a quick peek in usually has a handful of baseball cards.
For the past year or so, I've found nothing better than a small selection of poor-condition junk-era baseball and basketball cards. I finally had some luck with a rubberbanded stack of vintage!
This is all the football I grabbed. I didn't get them for any reason other than I didn't feel like sorting them out. I really like that Kermit Alexander card - it's like a little league (whatever football little league is called) posed shot that would end up on a big button your mom would wear to the games.
This is a small collection of the vintage baseball, but it gives you an idea what was there. The '68 is in really rough shape, and I think it was the only '68 in the lot. The Freehan 1970 Kelloggs card is one of three I bought, and they too are well-loved. None of the cards are in high condition, but when it comes to vintage, I'm not picky. All the cards I found will go to future set-building endeavors. Without trying, I'm doing a decent job of stacking up some '60s and '70s Topps!
So, what did I pay for a stack of roughly 50 vintage Topps baseball and football?
It pays to keep your eyes open, even if it takes a full year!
Inspired by a link on another blog (I forget which, now), I participated in Just Collect Cards' big vintage clearance-style auction. All their auctions that week started at 99 cents, and shipping was $1 for the first card, and a maximum of $5.
I went for the $5 shipping deal. I was mainly interested in some oddball old sets - a couple Topps Stamps sets, my first World War II-era card, etc - plus some vintage Topps cards. At some point, I noticed a whole bunch of Sweet Caporal actress cards (N245), as well as a couple other tobacco cards.
I bid on every one at $1 each, and won most of them. They're not in perfect condition, but who cares? There are two oddballs in the scan above. Miss M.B. Carstairs is a member of a motor boating team; the card is a Lambert & Butler 1926 Who's Who In Sport. You might notice the truly-tiny card sitting above it. I'll feature it later in the Cardboard Zoo, but for now, just know it comes from the first Topps set to feature baseball players. An amazing grab for me! Back to the N245 cards: I'll be attempting to put together the set eventually (48 cards, according to my sources). More on this in the next month or so.
Speaking of amazing grabs, what on earth is that fine young lady doing in the bottom-right card? I love vintage glamour shots, and these Exhibits are fantastic additions to my non-sport collection.
Here's another Exhibits card that didn't fit on the scanner. The coloring on this gives it the feel that someone might have hand-painted her suit after printing.
One more non-sport, this Honest Long Cut card of some unknown actress. I'll have to do more research on the set. [Update: This is an N150, from a very large set of similar subjects.]
Now how about some baseball? I picked up some rare vintage cards from Just Collect, but those are being shown on Cardboard Zoo over the next week or so. The following cards came from homeplatecards, mainly in a series of lots.
Other than the rare sets, msot of the vintage was packaged in lots by year and team. There were duplicates, but I'm not complaining - I'm using most of the cards for projects instead of set-building. I'm keeping the "extras" for eventual set building, though!
The 1962 cards show that the players were traded at some point, and the card owner kept track.
Between two lots, I also picked up these 1973 cards. The checklist has a couple marks, but otherwise these are in great condition. I didn't realize Sweet Lou was in the lot until I looked at the cards.
Just Collect has some auctions ending very soon, but their offerings are all full price. I'll be keeping my eye on their listings for more vintage deals, though. The cards were well-packed and the oddball baseball cards were in semi-rigid sleeves with identification labels (not sure if that's how they always do things).
I limped out the door of the GT Sports card show late Friday night with a bag full of finds. After more than three hours of sifting through quarter boxes and hobbling around the floor, I spent about $80 and ended up with somewhere around 500 cards. Some of those are headed for the Cardboard Zoo, and it will be months before I need to scan more after hours of work yesterday. I found a small handful of set needs, several cards for my player collections, and what I hope to be a successful assault on my Awards/Leaders collection.
As always, I'm going to milk this as long as I can, so bit by bit, I bring you the first of my GT Show Finds!
No overhyped relic-replacing manupatches here. These foil-etched, photo-filled letters have more style than any of those poorly-autographed letters. I like manupatches, but when I saw these all together I had to grab them. If reverse spelling is too difficult for you, these are the "PIAZ" in "PIAZZA" and if you look at his name towards the bottom, each Z and A have separate cards (the placement of the letter is in yellow). This set comes from 1997 New Pinnacle, but the set saw a second release in 1998 Pinnacle. The 2005 Zenith set again copied the format with a few more players, a gold parallel, and a relic version.
I'm not really a Piazza fan, but finding 67% of a full player set for less than a buck inspired me to try to finish it. I'm looking for cards 5 and 6, the second Z and second A, of course! In internet-land, these cards don't come so cheap - Piazza books for $8/card and the cheapest A is about $4 on COMC.
As I upload these two photos, I remind myself that I am quickly approaching the 1GB limit for Picasa. Have you had that problem? What have you done about it? I upload photos full-size, which means mega-megabytes. Perhaps there's a way to bulk-resize my photos through the Picasa app. Otherwise, it's $5/year for 20GB.
Now that the fun is over from attacking 2012 Topps, and Lineage is in the past, things are going to be fairly quiet in the card world. For the next month or two, the only releases to hit shelves will be expensive ones, like Chrome, Finest, and Marquee. While one of my collections dabbles in a bit of that stuff, most of my pickups will be from eBay and card shows. This is a perfect time to attack some of my other collections.
This week was an inspired one, full of here-and-there errands, odd jobs, and chores. My baseball card chore list is quite long. There more I can do with my cards, the better, right? The major task I attacked this week was the sorting and bindering of part of my Awards/Leaders collection.
Two three-inch binders sit in storage in Georgia, half-full of pitchers who threw no-hitters, Cy Young and MVP winners, and season stolen base leaders. I can't do much with those on the other side of the country, but I added a few categories over the past year that aren't in the binder. One of those is the Gold Glove award. This was the first position-related award added to my collection. It has been given yearly since 1957; The 1957 award was given to one player from all of baseball at each position while subsequent years included one award per position for each league. There have been a couple ties, resulting in two players at a position for one league. Nine hundred sixty-five total trophies have been given to date, not including the all-time award given in 2007.
It's a fun project sorting cards into fifty years, especially when the cards themselves give no indication of the year! I found a technique that worked fairly well, and put the cards into a binder, one page per "team" or two pages per year. I knew there would be several empty spots, especially through the 1970s. It turns out that I need almost 350 cards, 70 of them for 1980 awards and later.
One of the joys of putting cards into a binder is seeing a complete page. Missing 1/3 of the "set" means there are several incomplete pages. The first complete page is the 1990 NL team, including greats like Greg Maddux, Tony Gwynn and Ryne Sandberg. The first complete year, 1997, is less impressive; Maddux returns, as does Ivan Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. Most incomplete teams after 1980 are missing just one card, such as Buddy Bell (six times), Devon White (four times), and Torii Hunter (six times). Michael Bourn is the only player missing after 2006. (Before you offer to send cards, know that there was a card show last night where I could have picked up some of these cards - I'm writing this post before the show.) Stats are fun, huh?
The other position-specific award is the Silver Slugger, which is given to the best hitter at each position. This award wasn't started until 1980, for a total of 559 awards (one year saw a tie at one position). Some players have won awards at multiple positions; Pujols won the award at third base in 2001, outfield in 2003, and first base four other years.
Of the 559 awards given since 1980, I have cards for all but about 35 cards - twice the success rate of the Gold Glove award for the same period. The most recent missing card is 2007's Micah Owings. Between Owings and Morgan Ensburg (2005), there are only two cards missing between 1991 and 2010. The first complete team is the 1980 AL team, including Robin Yount, Reggie Jackson, and George Brett. There are plenty of missing cards in the '80s, so the first complete year doesn't occur until the 1991 season that starts the massive block of full teams.
Since the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards were bundled in with the other awards in my list, I didn't realize how close I was to completing at least one of them. My goal over the next month or so will be to finish the Silver Slugger collection and to make as much progress as possible on the Gold Glove set. I'm not sure how successful I'll be at either one given the uncertainty of the next six months, but hopefully my upcoming clearance sale will bring in a couple trades as well.
I still have one binder left with several pages. I need to figure out what to display in that one!
By the way, how cool would it be to have a replica of each of those trophies (of your favorite recipient, of course) sitting on a shelf?
I've been meaning to do this for a while, and now I have a little bit of time and effort, so let's get it out of the way. I slept in until 1pm today, not sure why (I guess I needed it), so since the day's wasted already it's not like writing this will take me away from something important!
First, if I owe you cards, you're holding cards for me, etc - let me know if you're not listed below. Heck, even if you are listed, send me an email so I know you've got something for me.
Don't think I'm trying to wrap these up ASAP, unless that's what you want. If we're still working on stuff, that's cool. I just want to clean up any loose ends and re-file any cards that aren't part of trades. And I want to make sure I have a list of who's holding for me so they don't feel like they're waiting forever. If there was no deal to be made, etc, say it. You won't break my heart. And if I was supposed to mail these suckers out, remind me what you sent so I can get my butt in gear.
mmmrhubarb, I'm holding that Jacque Jones you asked for.
BA Benny, I have a Teixeira jersey and a couple other Allen & Ginter inserts (2009?), a couple Frank Thomas and a couple Griffey Jr.
moremonkeys, an old Zeenuts card, Teixeira Bowman's Best, and an Alomar Stadium Club Members Only
Greg Z, Diamond Duos Koufax/Kershaw and Diamond Anniversary parallel Jason Heyward
Colbey, a bunch of 2011 Topps, inserts, and Opening Day
Derek, I think he's gone but I have a small selection of Braves
potch/DW: you just emailed me, I think, but I have some '11 A&G, a few retired player inserts (mostly Reds), and a Barry Larkin jersey
Spiegel: three Ryan Braun cards, Ichiro '11 Bowman gold, a couple other inserts
Dennis, Too Many Grandersons: a whole bunch of Tigers including a Curtis Granderson jersey refractor from 2008 Bowman Sterling
Cheap Card Collecting: I have your Lineage Giants
????, a small stack of White Sox cards
Dominic, I haven't forgotten you. I have five decent relic cards here and I'm hoping to put together a bit more before I ship to you.
SO, if I don't hear from you on the above I'll assume you're not interested anymore (other than Dominic, and rhubarb, potch, and CCC, because those are recent). Just send me an email, or leave a comment. Some of these were just offers, and some were requests.
I have plenty to show and tell, but for now just a quick bit of info for those of you planning on or thinking about attending.
If you went to the TriStar show in January, you should be familiar with the location and layout of the show. This one is held in Ballroom D, which may be a little smaller. I somehow spent over three full hours digging through quarter boxes. There were some autograph/photo op sessions going on tonight, and from the look of things lines were handled well. There was a decent crowd for a preview night and I think every dealer was there. Card collectors will want to head to the left when they enter for the highest concentration of quarter boxes and overall card dealers. Most of the souvenir dealers are to the right and in the back. Be sure to stare in awe at Vida Blue's Cy Young and MVP awards on display in the back row. I'm guessing crowds will be lighter and cards will be cheaper on Sunday. It's $10 to get in.
I found out about a new show next month. Here's where we stand, to the best of my knowledge:
September 10/11: Tanforan Mall (San Bruno/Peninsula)
September 17/18: Vallco Mall (Cupertino/South Bay)
September 24/25: Serramonte Mall (Daly City/Peninsula-San Francisco)
I stick with my recommendation that if you go to one show next month, make it the Serramonte show.
I've also heard the October 16 show at the Date Avenue Holiday Inn in Sacramento is supposed to be decent. There might be a road trip in my future!
Of course, if you're not from Northern California, you probably don't care. But if you read this far, thanks for sticking with me!
I was going to just call this post Miller-Coors, but then nobody would get the connection. You see, Miller and Coors joined forces in 2007. Coors Field is where the Rockies play, the favorite team of hiflew of Cards From the Quarry. Miller Park is the home of the Brewers, the third and final team I purchased in his July box break!
Get the connection now?
Let's just look at pictures of beer makers on cardboard.
Wait, that's not right. Though I have that set.
First, a bunch of those 1994 Stadium Club cards, this time all horizontal. The Pat Listach card is great. I like the Cal Eldred too. The design of these cards is a little awkward at first, but it's unique and not exactly ugly. It's grown on me over the years.
There weren't many Dugout Axcess Brewers cards. That's fine, though I like this set.
I was glad for this card, though - a Frequent Flyer insert card. It's designed to look like a frequent flyer card on the back too, and even has a fake magnetic stripe. I'm not sure I'd want to fly Axcess Airlines, given the quality of the set.
There are several Brewers in the Crown Collection set. Again, all the regular cards have action shots, while the team checklist is posed.
One of these cards is not like the others... I was quite glad to have this rare "Platinum Blue" parallel. Pacific did some strange numbering in several of its parallel sets. 67? Where does that number come from?
There were only two Brewers in the Flair Showcase box. One of them was a base card, and the other a Wave of the Future insert.
Three 2007 SP Rookie Edition cards - a couple "veterans" and one rookie throwback:
Ryan Braun, if you can't read the foil! This is a pretty good pull - probably the best non-autograph Brewer card in the box.
And back to the bright and white - Fleer Focus JE. A couple base cards here, but I also ended up with:
A Richie Sexson jersey card! So this really is a Jersey Edition!
By far, the Brewers were the best of the three teams I picked up as far as hits, though there was something good in each lot. The Frequent Flyer insert, Platinum Blue parallel, and Shirtified jersey all head to the Zoo. All the rest are for trade!
That does it for the Cards from the Quarry group break. I believe that's the last break I've participated in other than the upcoming Marquee break.
What does the word padre mean to you? The only thing I can picture is that little guy in the 1970s Padres logo with the bald head wearing that brown robe. Padre means father in spanish, and its application in San Diego relates back to the missions scattered along the California coast.
So it's time to find some religious men. Or baseball players pretending to be religious men. These are the cards I pulled for the Padres in hiflew's July break at Cards from the Quarry.
Okay, let's get the Stadium Club out of the way first. Again it focuses on action shots and interesting poses. Derek Bell looks kind of unhappy in that shot. It's in his eyes. Go on, look. See into his soul.
There weren't any Gwynn base cards, but there was a pair of subset cards from the base set - one of them the gold parallel. Don't you love parallels where the only difference is the color of the foil used on the card?
Now the Fleer Focus JE cards. No Gwynns here, either, but there is a superstar-reliever Trevor Hoffman card.
And here are the Dugout Axcess cards. Most of the photos are at least somewhat interesting, but you mean to tell me you can't find a good action photo for Tony Gwynn, of all people?
See, there's an action photo of Tony Gwynn. You just stuck it through the digital filter for the subset! I was glad to get all three Gwynns! Plus, the Kevin Brown insert is needed.
Now, Crown Collection. Not that I paid much attention to Wally Joyner (and I wasn't paying much attention to baseball in 2000), but I didn't realize he was a Padre. Pacific liked taking pictures of players running the bases. Poor old Tony Gwynn looks like he's about to have a heart attack, and the team checklist card (bottom right) shows us why - by 2000 he was getting old and heavy. He still looks like that, 10 years later. I told you I randomly met Tony Gwynn in December, right? If only I had this card with me at the time. I could have got his autograph!
But this will do instead. Inserted one in 145 packs, it would take over 2000 packs to complete the set (going by the odds). I am very happy to have this! The white part is actually a net type of thing!
And here we have some SP Rookie Edition cards, all of quality Padre pitchers. No inserts or autographs (I don't think the product had inserts), but three good cards anyway.
SP put the rookies in the base set multiple times - one on a regular base design, and then on an older SP design, and shortprinted them. This Koooooooooooooooooouzmanoff isn't a big hit, but it's a nice little card.
Last, some Flair Showcase. Again, just like the Orioles card from earlier today, the Piazza has a different background than the Hoffman and Giles, but it's still a base card. Piazza looks funny in that Padres hat. Funny because it's a Padres logo, and funny because it looks extremely tall. Hmmm... photoshop? Really bad photoshop? I lucked into an insert, too:
I don't think Ben Johnson amounted to much. He was the Padres Minor League Player of the Year in 2005, batting .312 in AAA, but was never successful in the majors.
Obviously, the Gwynns are headed for the PC (there's an extra Crown Collection card available). The Kevin Brown Dishwashers heads to the Zoo. Mark Davis heads to the awards/leaders collection. All the rest are for trade!