Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Player Collecting: My Thoughts

I've already talked about my player collections at various points in this blog's career. But a recent post by the Lost Collector, referencing an article by Sports Collectors Daily that I too had read, got me thinking about how my "PCs" have developed.
Of course, by PC, I mean player collection. Yes, I have a "personal" collection too, but the details of that are best saved for another post.
I've tried briefly to be a "super-collector" like TLC for Tony Gwynn and Nolan Ryan, and Hackenbush mentions that his attitude is the best (and possibly only) approach. It's certainly true that owning all of a player's cards is virtually impossible now - the one-of-one cards alone mean some singles may never see the light of day via auction or otherwise. But you don't even have to get everything you can.
Knowing that, I do have three "super" PCs. Geoff Geary was the first, later followed by Charlie Hough and Buck Farmer. I have my reasons for each of those three, but they are super collections for personal reasons, not really on-field performance reasons. I'd like to have all of their cards, but I know it's just not possible. For Buck, I have split his cards into "should have" versus "like to have" based on the print runs. I'm very happy to say I have several one-of-ones but someone else out there is sporadically grabbing them too, at big prices.
It is possible to have "all" of a player's cards, if you define "all" in a reasonable sense. What that means will be determined by your wallet and interest. I collect Jose Altuve like this - for me, "all" of his cards are the base and inserts. If I get parallels, I add them to my collection, but I don't hunt for them like the other singles. I'd like to add an autograph and relic cards at some point, too.
I have a third tier of player collecting and it's the easiest. Following the "traditional" approach that one probably would have had in the 1960s or 70s, I just get the Topps flagship card for several players each year. There are 22 players in this category, and some of them are retired, so the collections are "complete" to my liking. I've spiced it up a little by adding a bat relic card, jersey relic card, and a figurine or bobblehead to my requirements, but it's a good way to have a small PC collection that can "honor" my favorite players but not break the budget.
I think the key is having a goal that is attainable but challenging. It really isn't hard to get all the flagship cards (unless you collect Mickey Mantle) but player collecting isn't my main focus. Going after non-parallels, or only pink parallels, or something like that can add a bit of a twist.
And while there may be hundreds of cards for a player in one year, it's so much easier to get rare cards than in the past. I've had a lot of luck with eBay for my Buck Farmer collection, but Just Commons, COMC, Sportlots, and even's marketplace have proven themselves to be good sources of singles. The internet is an amazing thing, and there are plenty of message boards and the blogs themselves to complete trading.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015

New Release: 2015 BBM Hanshin Tigers

Looking at the scan folder from July (yes, July) I'm obviously way behind on posts for new releases. And the season itself is drawing to a close. But I'll chug along as best as I can to get these sets out there in the nothingness...
 The Hanshin Tigers set for the year has 81 cards. The front design is very simple with full-bleed photos. The backs are standard. Seriously standard.
 There are a few subsets for the Tigers set. The Mascot card isn't exactly a set but it's worth noting, especially because the team's record for the past five years including some detail for last year is printed on the back.
 Reliable Pitching Staff is a subset that features the team's pitching rotation. Backs of these show game-by-game statistics for the first month of the season.
 And Dynamite Row rounds out the subsets with a look at the team's biggest hitters.
 Most teams have only two insert sets this year, but the Tigers get four. Burning Bright is the meaningless one. Why is this player in this set? We will never know.
 Rescue From Overseas is a bit more obvious - the team's foreign players are featured in this four card set.
 The best younger players are in the five card New Age Builders set. Though again it would be really nice to know why they're in this set.
Last, there's a six card set for Shintaro Fujinami. With a black background and fancy gold foil it looks elegant.
 The hits in this set are all autographed. The super-premium hits are the silver (above, 15 copies each for nine players) and gold (1 of 1, nine players) vertical design cards.
 Most autographs are the usual horizontal ones, with the usual serial numbering to 60 cards in most cases.
Three combo signature cards can be found, numbered to five copies each.

And finally, boxes offer the chance at three Cross Sign cards, numbered to only 9 copies each.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

With a Li'l Bit o' Luck

Back in June or early July, I wasted more than too much time browsing the card listings on Yahoo Japan Auctions. I occasionally come across a seller with a bunch of cards I'm interested in at good prices, and this was one of those times. Most cards below ran only 10 yen (about 10 cents - actually, 8 cents with the current exchange rate) each, with the relics going for only 50 or 100 yen!
 The seller had no photos, I believe, and sometimes vague descriptions. But at a dime each I took my chance. I was hoping this was one of those Upper Deck Baseball Heroes cards, but it just turned out to be a single from Collector's Choice. That said, I really like this card and forgot this subset actually existed. I like how the stats on the back show his whole career, and hide the fact that Ruth finished with the miserable Braves - sure he was with Boston in his last year, but he could have gone back to the Sox for one last hurrah, right? Okay, we know better, but still...
 Awesome! I love art cards.
 I think the seller was either a player collector or came across a bunch of player lots and was breaking them up. I ended up witha  bunch of Burrell.
 I got a great deal on this Ripken insert. Most of the cards went into my type collection.
 When Burrell and the Phillies came to Atlanta, the outfield fans would heckle poor Pat all game long. And then he ended up on the Giants and I had to like him.
 Donruss dumped a whole bunch of pointless inserts on pack openers in the mid-00's. They frequently had potential but came up short on execution.
 A pair of Rolen relics!
 Cheap relics are a type collector's best friend.
 Remember when companies bought anything and everything to put on relic cards? At one time I had a "master" list of everything that I knew had been used as relics in an attempt to eventually have a type collection of those. I may try that again sometime in the future.
 A young Burrell.
 Pacific tried. I'll give them that. There were some pretty cool inserts tossed into some of their packs. This isn't one of them.
 Pacific was one of the first to do rainbows, and there were some really low-numbered parallels in their product. Confusing and pointless.
 But then they also made these cool "playing cards" as well... with parallels.
 At the same time, Upper Deck tried to go "futuristic metal modern shiny explosion busy design" on us and just made crap.
 Topps had several "misses" with sets in the '90s, but in retrospect they are pretty cool. Topps Stars still doesn't appeal to me, but Tek, Embossed, and Laser are great.
When I buy on eBay, I usually have to tack on $3 for shipping, and the lowest auctions usually start at 99 cents. One card, $4. But a YJA auction starts as low as a penny, shipping is usually about 80-100 yen with very little increase per card (I've received whole 90-card sets shipped for as low as $2), and for sellers who accept Japan Post payments, I pay no money transfer fees.

And stuff like this often goes unsold if I don't buy it. More for me!
(Inspiration for today's post title.)