Sunday, August 14, 2016

Fleer Autograph Project - Parts 55 and 56

The 1983 Fleer Project was one of several blogs that led me back to the hobby. I admire the ambition and focus that it takes to build an autograph set of a major flagship issue.  Having to work on a set of 500+ cards seems daunting.  I have too much going on in my real life and my collecting life to be able to take on such a challenge.  Building an autographed 1963 Fleer set, with only 66 cards, has been enough challenge for me.

I went back and looked. I started this quest when I sent some cards out to a public signing in June of 2012. So, I've been working on this for over 4 years.  While I have been moving inexorably closer to completion, it has been something of an asymptotic approach.  For those of you versed in math, you know what I mean.  For those of you who aren't, no worries. Here is an asymptotic curve:

Point being, that the closer you get to the top, the longer the time it takes to make that move.  In some asymptotic curves, you never make it there. While I believe this generally holds true for this project, I did make a fairly significant leap towards completion. I found a seller on EBay who had several autographed '63 Fleers for sale, two of which I needed. I checked around and the seller, Jim Stinson, actually has a great reputation in the hobby world, not just on EBay.  So, even though these cards weren't authenticated, I went after them.

I managed to win both (obviously.)  The Kanehl was a bit steep at $43, but there has been a signed Kanehl card on EBay periodically over the last year where the seller wanted around $125.  I tried a couple of times to talk sense into that seller, since no Kanehl autographed card has sold on Ebay for more than $55, but he stuck to his price.  So, I consider this card a bargain.  It isn't the prettiest signature, what with being ball point, but that is fine with me.

The Siebern, the first such example I have ever seen, came to me at the bargain price of $15.  So, now I have 56 signed 1963 Fleer cards from the 66 card set.  Who do I still need?

Willie Mays
Vic Power
Tom Cheney
Vada Pinson
Bob Purkey
Dick Farrell
Joe Adcock
Roberto Clemente
Ken Boyer
Gene Oliver

You can probably see what I mean about this being an  asymptotic quest. With Mays, Clemente, and Adcock (the card itself was short printed) on the list, I have no reasonable expectation that I will ever make it.  But, that is okay. I am pretty psyched how far I have made it.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Hello World with a Package from Night Owl

Gathering from how much dust is laying around here, I am guessing it has been a while since I posted.

*looks at blog home page*

Yup, 13 total posts this year and none since May 11.  While I haven't been completely inactive on the hobby front lately, I didn't have much going on.  The adult world has taken the forefront the last couple months. On the good side, I finally upgraded my commuting vehicle from a 2006 Honda Civic (with over 210,000 miles) to a 2015 Ford Fusion.

On the bad, one of our horses passed away last month. It is said, for us humans, that a large portion of our medical expenses are incurred during the last few months of our lives.  The same is apparently true for animals, as well. 

Obviously, this isn't why you are here, so I will dispense with the elegy, though I could go on for a while about my old friend, Jack.

Some time back, I sent some cards to the Dean of Baseball Card Bloggers, Night Owl. I don't often send cards to him because my collecting focus and process doesn't lead to me having a lot of duplicates. But, when I can send some I like to do so. I cannot begin to state how much pleasure I get from reading what NO writes.  Sending a meagerly filled bubble mailer his way every once in a while is what I consider small recompense for the service he provides.

That said, he asked what he could send in return.  My main collecting focus right now, such as it is, is 1972 Topps. That is a set NO is also working on and is further along than I am.  I didn't expect him to have many to send.  I am not much of a modern era collector, with most my focus on pre-1980 Topps sets. So, I offered that I also like throw-back type sets that feature old timey players.  Any modern sets that catch my fancy tend to fall into this category, like 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game and (to a lesser extent) the 2009-2011 Tristar Obak sets.

A bit over a week ago, a bubble mailer appeared in the mailbox. I wasn't expecting anything, so I was a little surprised when I saw it was from Night Owl.  As my memory isn't what it used to be, it took a moment to remember our last conversation.  Anyways, the package did not disappoint. It included a bunch of cards from the throwback sets I like.

I'm not real jazzed about the 1989 Pacific set that the above card is from.   While I do tend to favor card sets with simple designs, this set is uninspiring.  Gray (sorta) works on 1970 Topps, but '89 Pacific is a snooze-fest.  Plus, it may be just me, but that painting/picture of Lefty Grove is kinda creepy looking.  This is a set I probably won't build.

This is one of three Renata Galasso cards NO sent.  The Galasso set, issued in 6 series between 1977 and 1984, were the first non-Topps sets I completed when I re-entered the hobby back in 2011. I love this set, which borrows it's front design from 1960 Leaf. 

This is from the 1982 TCMA set Baseball's Greatest Sluggers. I haven't found much information about it in my admittedly cursory searching.  It appears that the 45 card set came in multicard sheets, as the card above has perforations around the edge.  I will definitely collect this set, along with the Hitters/Pitchers companion sets.

The All-Time Athletics set was released in 1983 by TCMA. It appears that during the 1970s and 1980s, TCMA released a whole series of All-Time team sets.  Prior to the above set being issued, TCMA has issued sets covering the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, White Sox, Tigers, NY Giants. There were four of 12 card sets in 1983: Athletics, Cardinals, and Pirates, with the Pirates having red and blue frame variations.  Then in 1986, it appears TCMA issued All-Time sets for all the extant teams not covered by the previous releases, including the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners who were only entering their 10th season of existence in 1986. It would be fun to put all those sets together and I think I will.

This card was issued by TCMA in 1985 and is a re-issue of 1947 Play Ball.

Ah, a non-TCMA issue. This is from the 1987 Hygrade All Time Greats, a 102 card set. I like this set as the painting-type images are better done than those in 1989 Pacific and the back is somewhat reminiscent of the 1960 and 1961 Fleer sets.  Hygrade appears to have only existed as a card company for that one year.

This card must have been hard for Night Owl to give up, what with his love of food issues. It appears this is a 33 card set, with 11 cards covering the Golden Era and the other two covering the Modern Era and divided equally between the AL and NL.  Another fun set I intend to complete.

That was quite the haul, but that wasn't all NO sent.

He also sent me 5 really nice 1972 Topps. I had all 5, but three of them, including this Maury Wills In Action were upgrades for me. 1972 is, or should be, my main focus right now.  The problem with it is that it is a huge set with 787 cards and was issued in series.  Series 5 and 6, 130 cards each, are the hardest to come by since they were issued in smaller quantities due to being released late in the season when attention had already turned to football cards.  Series 5 isn't horrible with $4-$6 book value on commons, but series 6 hurts with commons coming in at $12-$15 BV. 

Where am I on 1972?  I need 247 cards to complete the set, with 65 of those from Series 5 and 95 from Series 6. I generally try to target cards in EX  for 1/4 to 1/3 of book value, so it is a slow process. At this point, I am guessing that I am looking at least another year to complete the set.

As I mentioned, there has been a little hobby activity over the last few months that I will try to share in the days ahead.  But, in the mean time: Thanks Night Owl!  A great package!