Saturday, February 28, 2015


In a previous post, I talked about how progress has stalled on my two player collections, Paul Blair and Johnny Antonelli.  I have pretty much all of their major issues and, consequently, I am mainly looking for cards from regional or specialty sets.  I have EBay searchs set up that send me a daily email with new items. I dutifully look at the results daily, but to be honest, nothing new ever seems to pop up. Just the same old base set cards.  Now, that isn't entirely true, but it is so far in between seeing anything I need, never is a fairly close approximation.

However, not too long ago, something popped up on EBay that caught my eye.

It is a lot of 9 autographed Blair cards.  Most of these cards appear to be normal base cards or insers that were signed after issue.  Most I don't need, but two I did.  I ended up paying $36 delivered for this lot. Was it worth it for two cards?  I should have been.

This first card is a CMC minor league issue from 1990. You can see it on the bottom row, second from the right. The second is on the top row, all the way to the right: a 1994 Nabisco All Star Legends. I have only seen these come up twice on EBay in the last 4 years and I have never seen them in any other forum or card site.  The first time on EBay it sold for about $68. The second time, it sold for $105. So, I consider it a major coup to find it hidden in a larger lot that I was able to pick up for cheap.

Unfortunately, the purchase ended up going completely sideways.  The seller shipped with tracking, so I watched the USPS sight obsessively.  Finally, it arrived at my local post office on Monday and was Out for Delivery. The weather was bad on Monday and the mail hadn't been delivered yet when I got home from work.  I was out back feeding the horses when, between 6:30 and 7:00 I saw someone stop at my mailbox then drive off. I went out to the box and my cards weren't there; only a couple of bills.  There was no update on the tracking until the Tuesday afternoon, when the tracking was updated to show the package was delivered at 1:20 PM..... the previous day!

So, I filed a complaint with the post office explaining a) the mail wasn't delivered at 1:20, it was delivered at around 6:30 and b) the package wasn't there.   And what does the post office do? Pretty much nothing.  The talked to the carrier who swears that he delivered it at the time shown.  I doubt that is true. I live on a busy street and have a fire station next door. The likelihood anyone stole it out of my mail on a snowy day is remote. They said they have a lot of new carriers, so my guess is that the carrier either lost it or delivered it to the wrong address and won't fess up.  But the post office says there is nothing they can do, so cie la vie, I guess.  My great deal is gone.

I am going to have another high value delivery here in the next week.  At this point, I cannot trust the carrier, so I am going to have all my mail held at the post office and I will pick it up there. Less likelihood of something going wrong that way.

What is that card coming soon?  I ain't saying, but I am so excited I feel 9 years old rather than 49.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Mini Sets!

And by that I don't mean sets of minis (Sorry, N.O.)  I mean small sets. Nowadays, they usually take the form of inserts.  To a certain extent, so they did in the distant past. But, not always.  I am, first and foremost, a vintage Topps flagship set collector. I have been working my way through the 1970s and will keep working backwards through time. I figure I will finally get to 1952 when I am an old man.  I will empty out my bank account, cash the Social Security check, buy a 1952 Mantle, slide it in the Ultra Pro pocket, stare at it for a few minutes, then die completely broke and completely happy.

But, being a vintage set collector means dealing with long dry spells, especially when working on a set issued prior to 1974.  Before then, Topps issued sets in series and the high number series were issued late in the year, overlapping with football. Consequently, they didn't print as many of the cards from those late series and high number cards are difficult to acquire cheaply.  Luckily, I can be a capricious collector. While I have a single main focus, I tend to come across things that catch my fancy.  These have (inadvertantly) served to help fill in those long dry spells set collectors often encounter.

In my case, these diversions are often small sets. By small sets, I generally mean sets with less than 50 unique cards.  Sometimes, they are insert sets, like the 1968 Topps Game cards or the 1969 Topps Deckle Edges. Sometimes they are standalone sets, like 1961 Golden Press. 

At a show last year, I encountered Golden Press in the form of about 12 cards that I snapped up for a song. This is a 33 card set that, in my understanding, came as an attachment to a book, from which they needed to be detached.  That said, I put them in my miscellaneous vintage binder, added a want list to my sidebar, and promptly forgot about them.

Fast forward to a short time ago when, out of the blue, Greg from Plaschke Thy Sweater is Argyle contacted me saying he had a few of these cards at the cardshop he worked at and asked what my condition requirements were. I responded that as long as they didn't look like they were used by a baby as a pacifier, I was good.  Fast forward to yesterday and a package arrived in the mail containing these:

Now there is a problem here. Greg was under the impression that he owed me something for a card I sent him a time back. Problem is I sent that card because he went way overboard on his half of a trade we made back in 2012.  So now, he thinks we are even, but I think I owe him.  In and of itself, that isn't a problem.  Card bloggers will often just send things to each other without any formal trade having been worked out.  The problem is that Greg is working in a card shop in Cali. How the heck am I going to find anything out here in flyover country to send back that he doesn't already have access to? How I ask you? How?

PS Thanks, Greg! 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

With a Little Cash Thrown In

I mentioned in my last post that my trade of the 1938 Goudey Jimmy Foxx included some added cash in addition to the 1956 Topps Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente.  So, what did I do with that added cash?  I added a new card to my Johnny Antonelli player collection:

This is a 1958 Hires Root Beer test issue.  This is part of a rare 8 card test issue that preceded the more familiar Hires Root Beer "knothole" set. Antonelli is featured in that set, as well, and I featured that card a couple of years ago in this post.

I haven't added many new cards to this PC in a while, although I still lack a commonly available card of his, the 1952 Topps issue.  There is another card of his that I am aware of, a 1954 NY Journal card/ticket that I have seen on EBay, but never at a price I am comfortable paying.  I am continually keeping my eye out for cards for this PC, but I think I am getting close to wrapping it up.

Speaking of PC, additions to my Paul Blair player collection have similarly slowed down to a near halt.  Several months ago, I did see a Paul Blair card I never even knew existed.

It is from the 1981 The Franchise set featuring members of the 1966 Baltimore Orioles. I haven't found much information about this set, though I haven't looked very hard.  From what I can gather from a short blurb in the 2011 Standard Catalog, it was generally a regional issue that focused on special interest subjects.

My Blair PC now consists of 109 unique cards.  I am similarly finding it unusual to see anything I don't have. Even when I do find something new to me, like several of the Topps Venezuelan cards, they are out of my price range.  I do have some OPC cards yet to add and should start looking around for them.

To continue this stream of consciousness for another paragraph, I am considering starting a PC of famous Oklahoman players not named Mickey Mantle.  I would start out with Allie Reynolds, Paul and Lloyd Waner, and Warren Spahn.  Granted, Spahn was born in Buffalo, NY he is considered an Okie having lived out his retirement in Broken Arrow, not too far from Tulsa.

Coming up:  Progress on a mini-set that I started a year back or so.

What I am listening to:  Burning Bridges by Lucinda Williams

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Trading Up

About two weeks ago, I posted about my winnings from a group break over at Net54 Baseball.  You may recall I won a 1938 Goudey Jimmy Foxx. I really liked the card, but it did not fit in my collection. So, I ended up deciding to trade it away.  I posted about wanting to trade it for 1956 star cards over at, again, Net54.  I was able to work out a deal to get two cards I needed for my 1956 set, along with a little extra cash thrown in. Here are the cards I got:

I know, I know.  The Clemente is crooked.  I know that may offend some of you, but I had a long day at work and just got in from doing the farm chores in the cold. All I want to do is get some sleep.

With these two cards, I only have Mickey Mantle and Sandy Koufax left to get out of the cards with the highest book values.  I am not out of the woods, to be sure. I still have a fair number of cards to go from the second tier , like Al Kaline, Ernie Banks, Duke Snider, and Harmon Killebrew.  But, it does feel good to get these two out of the way.

How am I doing overall on the '56 set?  I am at about 160 cards from the 340 card set. So, I am getting close to half way.