Saturday, November 24, 2018

Twin Brothers from Different Mothers - Rip van Winkle Edition

Gosh, I haven't had a post in this particular "series" in six and a half years. I gave this one away the other day, but I thought I'd make it a formal post anyways.

Image result for leather village people

Neal Walk and the Leather Biker Guy from The Village People

Thursday, November 22, 2018

New Collecting Focus

Happy Thanksgiving!

The blog title may oversell it a bit, but I am adding a new dimension to my collecting.  In one way, I already have enough to keep me busy.  But, my quest for autographed 1960 and 1961 Fleer  cards have never excited me the way my similar effort on 1963 did. Consequently, that project has gone stagnant and I haven't added anything new since June. It's not dead quite yet, but it is getting there.

I am still going to be collecting vintage baseball sets, but I have been struggling to find something new to collect to add a bit of serendipity to this hobby.  Don't get me wrong. I still love collecting baseball sets but, like baseball itself, it can be a little staid at times.  1972 (and to a lesser extent, 1975) Topps added a little bit of hipness to the design.  but, for the most part, vintage baseball card design is a serious, buttoned down affair.

So, what have I decided on?

Vintage basketball cards! It is no secret that I have increasingly taken to basketball over the previous few years, what with the OKC Thunder here in town.  I think this will generally mirror my baseball set collection:  Topps sets from 1979 and earlier, plus the 1961-62 Fleer set.

As you can see below, the design of the 1972-73 set is funky.  The previous years set has a similar vibe.  Even though subsequent sets aren't as impactful as those two sets, I find that the Topps basketball sets are more colorful and offbeat than baseball, Granted, the 1980-81 set is going to look familiar to baseball collectors, but I don't plan on building that set, so it doesn't count.

Baseball collectors make a big deal about Oscar Gamble's 1976 Topps Traded card, but as you can see, basketball cards were already sporting gloriously large hairdos at least 4 years earlier.

Neal here looks like he moonlights in the offseason as the leather biker in The Village People.

Now Jim looks a lot like a high school math teacher who is overly enthusiastic and probably has a kitten-hanging-from-a-branch inspirational poster on the wall in his classroom.

In all seriousness, it appears that most of the cards in the 264 card set (of which I have 66) are of the posed and matted version seen above.  But, there are also action shots

And Championship series subsets.  As you can see, this was prior to the 1976 merger of the NBA and ABA, so there is two championship subsets.  The set itself is divided between the two leagues, with cards 1 to 176 focused on the NBA and the ABA getting cards 177 to 264. Basically, the set was three 88 card sheets with the senior circuit getting two sheets and the upstart ABA (which formed in 1967) getting one.

The highlights of the set include the (Doctor J) Julius Erving rookie card, along with cards for Wilt Chamberlain, Pete Maravich, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Actually, all four of those guys have two cards each: their base card along with a card in the All-Stars subsets.

Speaking of basketball:

This is my place on the waitlist for OKC Thunder season tickets.  Based on the way I've moved up the waitlist, there is a chance I'll be qualified for season tickets next season (2019-2020), though it is probably more likely that it will be the season after that. 

That's it for now.

What I am listening to: Thunderstruck by AC/DC

What I am watching: "God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly"

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Art Cards - Yah or Nah?

Since I maintain two player collections, I am constantly looking for new cards for those players.  At this point, it is a rare occurrence to find something I don't have. I do occasionally run across art cards, which are non-licensed cards generally produced by independent artists, and I will often buy them.  But, I tend to run hot and cold on these cards.  Let's take a look at why that is.

These Edward Vela cards are very nice. The reference to being a giclĂ©e print means they were digital images printed using an inkjet printer.  That is fine because these are well done. Vibrant colors, glossy finish, and on a heavy stock of similar weight to licensed trading cards.

My only complaint about these cards, and it is a minor one, is the images. Since I am looking through all new Paul Blair listings on Ebay daily, these images are familiar to me.  Each are commonly seen on 8x10s for sale.  Further, card #2 is the same image used on the 1999 and 2001 Fleer Greats of the Game cards for Blair, in addition to the 2003 AT&T Heroes to Heroes card.  Overall though, this is minor gripe.  These cards sell for $5 to $10, so I would expect that the process is basically running a digital image through some Photoshop filters to render them like paintings.

This card, part of my Johnny Antonelli PC, was a major disappointment.  The stock is similar to what is used on greeting cards. Heavier than construction paper, but much thinner than normal trading card stock.  Additionally, as you can see, the colors aren't very bright, almost as if the printer was running out of ink.  I like custom cards with backs, but this one is uninspiring.

This is my latest art card pickup.  This is generally a really nice card. Nice stock, well designed, bright colors.  It falls into the "cards that never were" genre.  The final series of 1959 Topps baseball included cards for a number of that years All-Star game participants.  While Antonelli was on the team representing the Giants, he didn't have a card in that subset.  This art card corrects that.  My only complaint about this card?  The back is blank. Since this card was $5 delivered, I get that the artistic process needs to be limited in order to make this a profitable venture. However, I would have gladly paid $10 or more for this card with a printed back.

There is another art card seller on Ebay that also has a Johnny Antonelli card available. I haven't purchased the card because, even though the card image is quite well done, the listing description reads as follows:

Maybe I am just a different version of curmudgeon, but the combination of thin stock and negativity just turns me off.  I'll buy from someone else.

Finally, there is one other art card in my collection and has been so for 6 years. It came to me from Cardboard Junkie.  You can read about it here.

So, to my half a dozen or so readers, how do you feel about art cards? Do you add them to your collection?

What I am listening to: Rolling in the Deep by Adele.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

October Card Show Haul - Vintage

Last weekends card show was also fairly productive with regards to my main collecting focus, vintage cards.

I found three 1978 TCMA The 60s cards I needed for my set, including the smiling Ernie Banks above.  This was a minor coup, as I rarely see these cards out in the wild. In fact, these were the first cards from that set that I have seen in nearly three years. I have seen an eBay seller that has a you-pick-them Buy it Now listing, but have never pulled the trigger because I've always had bigger fish to fry. 

Speaking of which:

I found the last three cards I needed for my 1972 set, including Carew. The 1972 Topps set, that I began working in earnest on December 19, 2015, is now complete.

Eleven more cards for my 1970 set, which leaves me 124 to go for completion.  This will still be a challenge, since 76 of the cards I need are in the semi-high and high number series.  Thankfully, the only major stars I still need are Clemente (#350), Banks (#630), and Kaline (#640).  Now that I have, generally, exhausted the local supply of cards, I expect that most of my progress from here on out to completion will come from eBay. So, if history is any tell, this will probably take at least another year to finish.

Twelve more 1968 cards, leaving me 113 to complete the set.  Unfortunately, with this set, I need most of the major stars, including the outrageously expensive Nolan Ryan rookie card. In fact, the *only* major stars I have for 1968 are Mickey Mantle, and the Aaron and Rose cards above. Even though I need less cards to finish 1968 than I do for 1970, I expect that this set will take closer to two years to finish because of the lack of star cards already in my collection.

Woo-hoo!  I completed a second set at the show. Granted, it was only the 33 set 1968 Topps Game, but I got the last card I needed for it.

 Nine more cards for my 1965 set, including Mr. Koufax.  I have a total of 105 cards so far for this 598 card set. Is that number high enough to say I am officially working it?

Lastly, I encountered a new seller at the show who had some of the oddest discount boxes I have ever seen.  They were, in many ways, your usual discount boxes in that they were full of modern parallels, short prints and no-name relic/autograph cards.  But, then you would find the occasional gem that really had no place in a discount box.  I found a Don Newcombe stadium pin in a dollar box which I sent off to Night Owl.  I also found this nice condition 1938 Churchman boxing card.  I don't have much interest in putting together the whole 50 card set, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to add an 80 year old card to my collection.

So that is about it.  There won't be another local show until December and I have plenty of farm projects to keep me busy until then.  I may trawl through eBay to work on some of my sets, but I don't expect much activity in the next two months.

What I am listening to: Rock the Casbah by The Clash

Monday, October 29, 2018

October Card Show Haul - Modern

I had a pretty good time at the October OKC card show.  I managed to snag a decent amount of vintage and decided to spend some time looking through the discount boxes of modern cards.  I mainly just grab a stack about two inches thick and quickly scan through them to see if anything interests me. I probably miss a lot this way, but since modern cards aren't my collecting focus, it doesn't erally matter.  It is more about the experience. So, what did I find?

I got 15 2003 Topps Tribute glossy cards. There were more in the box, but I skipped over the modern (1980s or more recent) and focused on the old timers.  In retrospect, I probably should have grabbed them all because I really like these cards and wouldn't mind putting the set together.  I chose this Fisk card, with it's iconic image, as the representative in recognition of the Red Sox seemingly inevitable march towards World Series victory.

Because I hate the Red Sox, I had to sooth my soul with this Upper Deck bat relic, also featuring an iconic image of Bucky Dent crossing the plate after hitting a clutch home run in the 1978 one game playoff for the AL East title .

 2012 Panini Golden Age Rusty Staub bat relic.  Lately, I like finding cheap relics of great players. There is no rhyme or reason to what I look for or get.  Just a good player and a design that appeals to me.

Again, this fills no need in my collection. Just a 2014 Panini  Hindu back Joe Jackson Mini. 

2015 Panini Royale Crown die cut Hack Wilson (43/75). Interestingly the surface of this card is actually a shiny silver even though it scanned blue.

This is from the 2004 Upper Deck Yankee Classics set. I built this set back when I first got into collecting.  I had bought a box and got three autographs in the box, but no one to elicit a big reaction: Kevin Maas, Don Baylor, and Rick Cerone.  It might be fun to add more autographed cards from this set, but it isn't something I am going to prioritize.

Up next: Vintage!

What I am listening to:  Blacklist by Exodus (NSFW)

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Heckuva Mailday!

I'm slowly dipping my toes back in the hobby pool. Not a lot, what with the holidays nearly upon us.  But, a little.  I have a show today where I would like to get one or all of the remaining 1972 Topps cards I need to finish my set, though I am not particularly hopeful.  Perhaps, I'll knock off some of the 139 cards I need to finish 1970 or some of the 125 I need to complete 1968. It is entirely possible I do none of that and just trawl through discount boxes for cards that catch my fancy.  The show is small enough, with (normally) only one seller that specializes in vintage that I need to be flexible.

But, enough about that. I have more exciting news.  Yesterday, two Ebay wins showed up at the end of the driveway.

There it is!  The final card I needed to finish my 1956 Topps set.  This journey started back in 2011, quite soon after I got back into the hobby and got serious about a year ago as I found myself well past the halfway point.  And now it is done.  I'm still thinking about my next "super" vintage set to work on. I am leaning towards 1954-1955 Redman, but it may end up being 1955 Topps, for which I am already past the halfway point and need only (!) 95 cards to complete the set.  Of course, I have none of the major stars from that set, so it won't be as easy as the final half of 1956, where I had been acquiring stars for a number of years leading up to my final push towards completion.

AT this point yo may be wondering if I managed to acquire another want for my 1963 Fleer autographed set project.  Not exactly.  I still sit a 64 (out of 66) cards.  This Lou Cinton above was intended as an upgrade. You see, the Clinton in my Fleer binder was in only fair condition.  When the card above came up on eBay, I threw a lowball offer of $9 at it and, surprisingly, won.  Exciting, huh?


The thing is, I have been very slowly transitioning my signed Fleers from raw to slabbed and authenticated.   So, every few months I'll send two or three cards in to be authenticated.With the set split between a binder and a  PSA storage box, I failed to realize that I already upgraded this card in March of 2017. I'm not happy about it, but given how little I spent, I am not going to obsess over it. At some point, I may sell one off.

Long time readers, all 2 of you, may recall that for a number of cards I already bought them slabbed and broke them out of the plastic jail, because the signed set displayed really well in binder sheets.  But, when I got to the point where I have most of the set signed, I started to think about this not only as a collection, but an investment.  I know I shouldn't do that. But, I am about 10-12 years from retirement, and it seems I automatically classify every major purchase as an investment or a depreciable asset. I can't help it.  Sorry.

What I am listening to: Cool 'n' Out by Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Meh Vintage

I am primarily a vintage set builder. You  know this.  Now, not all vintage sets appeal to me.  1955 Bowman, the TV set, doesn't. Neither does it's wood-grained cousin, 1962 Topps.  But, for the most part, I love vintage.

I am one card away from completing 1956 Topps and three cards from finishing 1972 Topps. While I have 1965 and 1968 Topps underway, I've been casting about looking for a new pre-Topps vintage set to start. So, recently I saw a 1936 National Chicle Fine Pen Premium (R313) that really appealed to me. Specifically, this one, with Lloyd Waner and Gabby Harnett.  I bid on it, but didn't win.  On a lark, I threw a low ball bid at a lot of 5 low grade R313s and won.  So, for $12 delivered, I received:

Not a fan. 

To be clear, I really like the pictures here,  Where I fall off the wagon is that the material is basically heavy magazine stock. My expectation was something more along the lines of the 1947-1966 Exhibits or 1954-55 Redman.  Looking at online resources about this set, it is clear what stock the cards were made from.  I should have known better, but lesson learned.  Don't make emotional bids.

So, back to the drawing board on some other vintage set to work on.  While I still really like 1949 Bowman, the hugely expensive Robinson and Paige cards really turn me off.  Red Man or the Exhibits are possibilities, although both have one card that is really expensive (I'm looking at you, Mickey Mantle!)  I am not sure what to do to find a nice vintage option that doesn't break the bank.  Suggestions?