Thursday, June 7, 2018

Closer Still

Since my last post, I've acquired more 1956 Topps cards.  A few through trades, but most through Ebay set break auctions.  I've not been posting as I have been busy at work and various projects around the farm.  But, three more arrived today and, since we had a major rain storm today there is little I can do outside tonight.  So, I am going to post the 3 '56s that showed up today:

I am not quite sure what to make of Sherm Lollar's sneer, so I'll just put him in the binder and move on. With these three, I am down to needing 26 cards to finish my 1956 set.

On a related note, last week I booked my flights to Cleveland so I can go to the National show.  My parents live in Cleveland, so I'll be flying in on Friday, crashing at their place and attending the show on Saturday and Sunday. I don't fly out until Tuesday morning, so I am considering running out to the Cedar Point amusement park on Monday.

My goals for the National are to look for one or more of the three 1963 Fleer's I don't have in autographed form (Clemente, Boyer, Farrell) and or finding an affordable 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle. That's it. Obviously, once I get there, who knows what will happen.  But, I am mainly going just to see what it is all about and work on my hard-to-finish projects.

Anyone else going?

What I am listening to:  Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley and k.d. lang

Friday, May 11, 2018

Coming Into View

If my blog has accurately followed my collecting, I have been working on 1956 Topps since August of  2011. I never expected that I would finish the set, but nearly 7 years on I am finally getting within striking distance of just that.

With these 4 cards, I am down to needing 43 cards to finish the set. I have most of the bigger stars like Aaron, Clemente, and Mays.  The biggest names I lack are Mantle and Koufax.  I am getting close to pulling the trigger on an airline ticket to Cleveland for the National Show and I think that would be a great place to look for affordable copies of one or both of those two.

What I am listening to: Angel From Montgomery by Tedeschi Trucks Band and Bonnie Raitt


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Blog Bat Around - All Autograph Team

Via Night Owl, I learned about a Blog Bat Around started by Torren' Up Cards about an All Autograph Team. I am primarily a vintage set collector and though autographs are mostly not my focus, I do have a small project of collecting autographed versions of the 1960 to 1963 Fleer baseball sets.  Of course, like any collector, I do come across autographs at shows or in the occasion modern hobby box that catches my eye.  

I reckoned that doing an all start autograph post would be easy using just my signed vintage Fleers and quite a bit harder using anything but those cards. So, I decided to try to do both. Luckily, most of my autographs have been posted here, so I just had to cut and paste links. So, this went quicker than I thought.


First Base

Second Base


Third Base

Right Field


Left Field


That was fun!

April Card Show

It has been a while since I went to a card show.  The bi-monthly OKC show was yesterday, although I wasn't planning on going.  Earlier this spring, we had someone come in with some heavy equipment and clean up an overgrown fence line next to the house and knock over/bury a ramshackle old loafing shed out by the barn.  I've been steadily working to put new fencing in, but progress has slowed with the NBA playoffs going on. My plan for Saturday was to prep the fence line so that I can get started dropping posts in during the week.  Alas, it was raining when I woke up and the forecast was for more of the same until evening. So, I decided to go to the show.

My main goal was to make some progress on my 1972 Topps set, for which I am only 47 cards away from completing. Secondary goals would be to make some headway on any of the several other sets I have in some notable state of completion (1955, 1956, 1968, 1970.)

The show was sparsely populated with a dearth of both sellers and customers.  But, my main vintage guy was there and I settled in at his table.  He didn't have many 72s and none that I needed.  37 of the 47 remaining 1972s I need are high and semi-high numbers, so progress has slowed down considerably. I get skunked more often than not and when I do knock some off the want list, it usually is only a handful of cards.

So, without much luck there, I turned attention to the secondary sets.  I was similarly blanked on 1970, where over half of the remaining 144 cards I need are high and semi-high numbers.  Luckily, that is where my bad luck ended (until, at least, the evening Thunder-Jazz game. Hoo-boy.)

I managed to find 47 cards I needed for the 1968 set I started recently when I won an auction for a reasonably priced starter set.  I now have 348 of the 598 cards; good for about 58% completion.  I already have the Mickey Mantle card in the set, but lack the Nolan Ryan rookie card.

I also managed to locate 8 cards for my 1955 set and I stand at having 116 of the 206 cards; good for 56% completion. That sounds pretty good until you understand that Al Rosen is the biggest star I have in a set that includes Sandy Koufax and Roberto Clemente's rookie cards.  Needless to say, this set will take years to complete. And when I use the plural of year, I don't mean 2 or 3.  This will probably be a five plus year project.

1956 Topps is another story.   I managed to find 12 cards I needed, bringing me up to 86% complete (295 of 342 cards are in my possession.)  With this set, I do actually have a number of the major star cards including Ted Williams, Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron, and Roberto Clemente.  The major cards I don't have yet are Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, Pee Wee Reese, and the second checklist card.

Looking back through my history, it seems I picked up my first 1956 cards during the summer of 2011. Which means I have been working on this set for 7 years now.  That Mantle card will hurt, but it would be cool to finish in under 10 years. So, I am going to start planning ahead. 

Note: I have a handful of 1955 and 1956 duplicates if anyone is working on the set and has a wantlist.  Condition is low to mid-grade.

So, that is about it. I am still keeping my eye out for affordable autographed 1961 Fleer cards and  I am planning on hitting a couple of local card shops in May to work on 1968. But, I don't expect to go to the June card show since the main vintage vendor will not be there.  I'll probably skip August also, since it will be only two weeks before our annual fall trip to Cedar Point and I'm going to save money for Fast Lane passes so we don't have to wait in interminably long lines to ride the roller coasters.

It is possible I will head to Cleveland in early August for the National Show, but I haven't decided yet. So, I cannot speak to the level of blogging activity in the months ahead. Not that it would be all that noticeable given that I have been averaging about two posts a month for the last 4 years.

What I am listening to: Family System by Chevelle

Sunday, April 1, 2018

New PC Addition

It has been a while since I added anything to my Paul Blair player collection.  But, something came up recently that I didn't have.

Strictly speaking, I have this card already. It is from Upper Deck's 2004 Timeless Team set.  It is one of two different cards featuring Paul Blair: one as a member of the 1969 Orioles and another as a member of the 1970 Orioles.  Yeah, I don't get that either.  

Anyways, these cards come in a number of variations.  There is, of course, the base card version. Then there is a bronze version numbered to 50, which is the card above.  Then there is a gold version numbered to 5 and a platinum 1/1.  Additionally, there is an autographed version. I have all but the platinum 1/1 for the 1970 team version.  For the 1969 team card, I only have the base and the autographed versions.  I probably have seen the others, but didn't recognize them. In my Ebay searches I tend to scan images quickly and zoom in on anything that isn't familiar.  With a total of 16 saved searches, there isn't much choice. But, I guess I need to change that now.

What I am listening to: Caleb Meyer by Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Blog Bat Around - My Projects

1.  Topps Vintage Flagship through 1979

Let's be realistic here. I am never going to finish 1952 Topps. That Mantle card is not in my budget.  Even if I won the lottery, I still wouldn't drop that kind of coin on a baseball card.

But, I do believe I can finish a large number of these sets.  In fact, here is my progress after about 7 years collecting.

Year Total Have Percent 
1952 407 2 0.5%
1953 280 6 2.1%
1954 250 1 0.4%
1955 206 56 27.2%
1956 342 283 82.7%
1957 354 0 0.0%
1958 495 9 1.8%
1959 572 3 0.5%
1960 572 22 3.8%
1961 587 3 0.5%
1962 598 4 0.7%
1963 576 7 1.2%
1964 587 19 3.2%
1965 598 95 15.9%
1966 598 7 1.2%
1967 609 2 0.3%
1968 598 311 52.0%
1969 664 7 1.1%
1970 720 576 80.0%
1971 752 752 100.0%
1972 787 700 88.9%
1973 684 684 100.0%
1974 728 728 100.0%
1975 660 660 100.0%
1976 704 704 100.0%
1977 660 660 100.0%
1978 726 726 100.0%
1979 726 726 100.0%

16040 7751 48.3%

I stop at 1979 because that was the last set I was exposed to in my youth and the Topps sets after 1980 don't really appeal to me aesthetically (1983 is okay, but that is really about it.)

The chart above is slightly misleading.  I have completed 1974. Sort of.  I am one card short of the master set.  I have all the checklists and traded series, as well as all the Washington Nat'l League variants.  The one card I don't have is the San Diego large print variation of card 599.  I have never got it because it usually sells for over $30 and I have a hard time paying that much for what is essentially a nondescript common.  But,  I probably should get over that.

Anyways, my main focus at this time is 1970 and 1972. I hope to finish at least one, but ideally both, in 2018.

2. 1960 to 1963 Fleer Baseball Autographed Sets


 This didn't start as an autograph project. I always liked 1963 Fleer and decided to build it.  That led to building 1960 and 1961, even though I am not enamored with their design.  On a lark, I sent a couple '63s out to a signing and off we went with trying to rebuild that set in autographed form.  As that project slowed, I decided to extend the project to the earlier Fleer sets.

Here is my progress to date.  Note that many card subjects in 1960 and 1961 died prior to the set being issued, so I measure progress against the number of cards of players who were living when the sets were issued:

Year Total Cards Possible Have Percentage
1960 79 40 7 17.5%
1961 154 95 16 16.8%
1963 66 66 63 95.5%
Total 299 201 86 42.8%

3.  Player Collections (Paul Blair and Johnny Antonelli) 

I am up to 124 unique Paul Blair cards and 62 Johnny Antonelli.  There isn't much left to add to these.  There are a couple O-Pee-Chee Blairs I need and I still need a Jello Antonelli. I am sure there are some regional issues out there yet unknown to me.  There are number of unlicensed issues that basically consist of cut autos in card form. They are generally issued in small numbers (I hate artificial scarcity and will not reward it) and they generally don't ever feature actual photographs of the actual person. So, I don't collect those.

4. Various Modern Sets that catch my fancy

I pretty much avoid modern sets.  As I have said, all the variations and short print artificial scarcity just ticks me off and I'd rather focus my limited funds on vintage.  Occasionally though,  a modern set will cut though the noise and interest me.   Here are the ones I am (sorta) working:
  • 2009-2011 Tristar Obak. 
  • 2000-2004 Fleer Greats of the Game.  I don't include 2006, because it was the first GOTG set after Upper Deck bought out Fleer and, frankly, it had absolutely none of the charm of it's predecessors. In fact, it has no charm whatsoever
  • 1991-1994 Conlon.  The first three years are complete.
  • 1993-1994 Ted Williams

5. Various Vintage Oddballs

I actually have more of these than I expected.  My approach to collecting has been to maintain focus on a small number of priorities. That is what I thought anways.  It is true, in a sense, since I still place much of my collecting effort on only one or two Topps vintage sets at any given time and the Fleer autograph project.  But, dang, I've got a lot of things open.

  • 1959 Fleer Ted Williams
  • 1961 Golden Press
  • 1968 Topps Game
  • 1970 Kelloggs
  • 1978 TCMA The 1960s
  • 1972 Sunoco Football Stickers
  • 1974-75 Loblaws Hockey Stickers

What I am listening to: The Perilous Night by Drive-By Truckers

Thursday, March 15, 2018

1963 Fleer Autograph Project - Part 63

It is late and I've been up 21 straight hours.  I got up at 3:00 AM this morning and left home at 4:00 to catch a flight to Houston to attend an industry briefing on the expected effects of the recently imposed steel tariffs (Long story short, they won't do what they are intended.) At the end of the day, I started my trip home that, unfortunately, included a 3 hour layover in Dallas.  I am home now, but it is after midnight and I am wound up.  So, I am going to have an adult beverage, crank this post out and hopefully get some sleep.

Here it is.  The 63rd autographed 1963 Fleer card (out of 66 total cards in the set) that I have added to my collection.

I snagged this on EBay in raw form for less than $40 and sent it off for authentication.  It arrived back today.  I only have three cards from 1963 Fleer that are not autographed:

38 - Dick Farrell
56 - Roberto Clemente
60- Ken Boyer

At the moment, I am still planning to attend the National in Cleveland this summer. I have family in Cleveland and it is a good opportunity to visit.  If I do end up going, adding one or more of the three above will be my goal.  I expect that Clemente will never happen, but I would be pleased to eventually add the other two.

What I am listening to:  Jackson by Carlene Carter