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?

Saturday, October 13, 2018

October Mini-Show

There is a local LCS here in the Greater OKC Area that has a small show on the first Saturday of every month..  Al's Sports Cards and Gaming is up in Edmond, which, being a 50 mile drive, isn't local for me. But, I had to buy horse feed and wormer at the farm store near the Remington Park race track. That got me over half the way there, so I decided to roll on up and see what was going on.

As usual, the show had about 6 sellers, only one of which had any vintage.  I was probably only at the show about 45 minutes, and didn't spend much at all, but I did buy a few things.

I found 5 more cards for my 1972 set, including the three above.  This leaves me with three cards left to complete the set.  Of those three, two are semi-high commons, 537 (Bob Locker) and 645 (Jim Maloney.)  The third card is 695 (Rod Carew), which I rarely see selling at what I consider a reasonable price ($20-$25). Getting this late in the set building process, I will probably weaken and spend more than I want just to get the set done, but I am going to try and avoid that fate.

I trawled through some discount boxes and found a couple things that interested me.

A 2001 Bowman Reprint Bat Relic of Minnie (Orestes) Minoso.

Nice little oddball here. It is actually a playing card. The 10 of Clubs to be specific.   The restaurant was a St. Louis institution for many years, but has been closed nearly 30 now, victim of a business dispute with former Musial teammate, Joe Garagiolo.  For more information, see this article.

What I am listening to: Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Post Season Baseball!

My Yankees just won the AL wild card game against the Oakland A's.    Can you see me sitting in my living room yelling at the TV for nine innings?  You can? Well, you'd be wrong.  What was I doing tonight?

Pre-season basketball, baby!

What?  I went to a meaningless hoops game when there is playoff baseball?  Yes, I did.  Shame me if you must, but I did.

My wife and I bought a half season package to the OKC Thunder this year. We have tickets for 20 regular season games and tonight's preseason game against the Detroit Pistons.

We have also on the wait list for season tickets.  Last year, we were around number 950 on the season ticket wait list.  It will be a few years before we are in a position to buy season tickets. The past two years we have bought 6 game packages and usually attended 8-10 regular season games, plus the home playoff games. So, we decided to see how we would manage a half season commitment.

See, the issue is that, as many of you know, we own a horse farm in rural Norman Oklahoma.  The Thunder play in downtown OKC, a 30-45 minute drive away. I work downtown and my wife works a few miles away near the state capitol.  Attending weekday games means one of us has to leave work a bit early, drive home, do the evening farm chores, then drive back downtown for the game.  It makes for a long day.  We've been able to manage it in the past, but the difference between 10 games and a 41 game season is substantial.  So, this is an experiment year.

Anyways, I am sure you don't care about my first world problems.  I mainly post this because I am thinking of starting a basketball trading card collection. I haven't really decided what to do yet.  I am considering just becoming a team collector for my beloved Thunder.  With them entering their 11 season since moving from Seattle, this could be manageable. But, as a baseball set builder, the draw to that type of collection is undeniable.

I'll probably make a decision and start after the Christmas holidays are over. In the mean time, don't hate on me too much for my poor decision making.