Monday, January 27, 2020

On Fire!

One day after stating the blog would return to being silent for a while, I am back with another post. I am on fire!

What could be the catalyst? An envelope from Night Owl!  What did I get?

This is the 8th card I have received from the 15 card Mares and Stallions insert set in 2019 Allen & Ginter.

The cards were wrapped in paper inside the envelope. The first thing I saw as I unfolded the paper was the name "Clayton Kershaw" and I was confused.  Why would he send me a Kershaw card? Once I completely exposed the card, it all came back to me.  A while back he showed this card on his blog and, in what I thought was a throwaway comment, said that if he ever came across another, I'd happily trade for it. I had completely forgotten until this showed up and I cannot express how happy this makes me. It has been added to my binder of horse themed cards.

On a separate, but related note, I have to express my admiration for Night Owl.  I have been told I am a good writer, but it is in the context of business communication.  My boss tells me that my executive updates never have to be corrected for spelling, grammar, or to increase clarity.  But, when it comes to creative writing, I am a complete failure.  Some people have what it takes to write creatively. Others don't. I don't, but NO does.  How he writes for his work, and then cranks out multiple blog posts a week for years on end is nothing short of amazing.

And I think he may have included a little of that magic in this envelope.  As I re-sleeved the partial 1973 Topps football set I bought over the weekend, a tiny little spark crossed between two synapses in the over-ripe melon I call a head.  And I actually have an idea for a blog post that is more than just showing off what I got at the most recent show.  I have already started the research, but there is much more to do. I hope to have it out by this coming weekend. I m pretty excited about it.  Stay tuned.

What I am listening to: "Why Not Me?" by The Judds

Sunday, January 26, 2020


With my newfound desire to remain laser focused on my primary collecting goals, I headed off to the every-other month OKC show yesterday morning (Saturday.)  My main goal for the show was to see if I could find any of the few remaining cards I needed for my 1968 and 1970 sets, and to look for additional 1960 and 1965 set needs. I took along my 1956 Mantle I won in a recent set break to  see if I might swing a trade for some of the 1955 Topps stars I need.

And that is where everything went off the rails.  I found none of my '68 and '70 needs and the 1960 cards were priced above my target range, so I left them be. There were no 1955 star cards to trade for. However,  I did manage to find one card for my 1965 set at a cost I was comfortable with.

Only 167 cards left to finish that set.  Great progress today.


So, in the interest of not leaving early, I kept looking and managed to find 8 cards I needed for my 1972-73 Basketball set, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and The Logo.

I also managed to pick up a  few game-used cards for Hall-of-Famers from the early 2000s for a few bucks each, and an autographed Gil McDougal from the Upper Deck Yankee Classics set. I bought a box of Yankee Classics early in my return to collecting and finished the base set.  I only have  few of the autographs, and no real intent to finish that part of the set, but it was only $5.

The Duke Snider seems familiar.  I think I may have traded one to Night Owl.  (If I haven't, NO, and you want it, let me know. I found a two of your 1956 needs and I can send it along for the ride.)

I also found this Wheaties Pete Rose card. I don't know anything about it, as it has a blank back.  I am not a Pete Rose fan, but I thought it was a neat looking card.

Where things really got off into the ditch was when I bought partial set of 1973 Topps football partial set, with 348 out of 528 cards. I really don't need another tangent in my collecting. Particularly a sport I no longer follow.  But, I had a bunch of these cards as a kid and seeing them set off a wave of nostalgia.

I absolutely love that Joe Greene card and Tom Dempsey is quite the model of physical fitness there, isn't he?

But, the piece de resistance, the thing that made the whole day worthwhile, was found hiding in a 400 count box of low grade 1960s commons.

That is a 1922 American Caramel (E120) Joe Harris.  It is bent five ways from Sunday and has a little paper loss on the back, but Beckett says they are worth $30 in poor condition, so I am happy with the having only dropped a $20 on it.  I always drool over pre-war baseball cards, but don't really have the wallet to pursue building those sets. It might be fun to start a type collection where I just find one example from each of the various sets.  I've already got one T206, so I guess I am well on my way! But, I've got enough going on that I am not about to start any such thing until I am getting closer to finishing the Topps 1960s sets, of which I have I have finished exactly zero so far.

So.  Two posts in just a few days.  I haven't done that in forever.  But, it is likely to be short lived.  I'm not planning any major activity until the late April show in Dallas  While there may be a post here or there, and I suppose there is a chance the creative muse hits me, but we'll now return to your regularly scheduled non-programming.

What I am listening to: You're No Good by Linda Rondstadt

Friday, January 24, 2020

Bouncing Around

I've been bouncing around a lot lately.  My life has been unfocused and, seemingly out of control.  After Christmas, I flew up to Ohio to visit my mother and, apparently, sat next to Typhoid Mary on the flight home New Years Eve day.  What I thought was a common cold those first few days of January took a turn for the worse and I missed half of the first full work week of the year.  I don't get sick often. I generally get one cold a year and something more virulent once every 8 or 10 years. So, being laid up for several days really knocks me off my routine and I'm not sure I am back on it yet..  On top of helping my wife, who I managed to infect, this week I had to do performance reviews, which are never fun, even thought I have a great group of people.  

My hobby activity is similarly characterized by a lack of focus.  Well, that probably isn't completely fair, as the genesis of this post reaches back into November and doesn't really speak to my current efforts. But, you get the point.  Back in November, I discovered a new auction house that had a lot of 5 autographed 1960 Fleer cards.  The auction itself was something of a mess, as the auction house really wasn't ready for primetime. But, in the end, I won the lot and received my winnings.  So, no harm no foul.

The lot was accompanied with an auction LOA from JSA. Auction LOAs are just temporary authentications offered (probably at a discounted rate) to the auction house to help with the auction bidding.  The LOA expires a short time after the conclusion of the auction and the buyer has to resubmit the items,and pay, for a permanent certification. 

Anyways, given the nature of this part of my collection, I really am looking for authentication. So, I ended up sending my winnings in to PSA and, not surprisingly, they all came back as authentic.  And, here they are:

Five Hall of Famers from 1960 Fleer.  The cards themselves cost me approximately $24 each before PSA took about another $30 each. But, autographed cards of five great players for a bit more than $50 each is a pretty good deal, if you ask me. 

I hadn't done much with this part of my collection since fairly early in the year.  As I thought about what I want to accomplish this year,  I set myself a modest goal to get up over the 50% level of possible autographed cards from the 1960 through 1963 Fleer baseball sets.  Where do I stand at the moment?

So, I basically need 4 more autographed cards to get to that milestone.  I've mostly been bottom feeding on the 1960 and 1961 portion of the project.  I hope this year to add at least one of the more valuable autographs in these sets. But, time and circumstances will tell.   

What I am listening to: Small Paradise by John Mellencamp

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Continued Good Luck

Previously, I mentioned that I wouldn't enter any vintage group breaks for sets I was close to completing.  It would only stand to reason that I wouldn't enter breaks for sets I have completed. Right?  Wrong.

I also mentioned previously that I am weak.  And in the battle between logic and weakness, guess what wins?  That's right: weakness.

Last week, I ended up entering a Burl Sport's set break for 1956 Topps, a set that I finished in 2018.  I shouldn't have, but the allure of the big names drew me in and and I figured, at worst, I could probably upgrade some of the cards in my set.  I was disappointed as we passed through the 30s, where Robinson, Aaron, and Clemente reside, without hitting anything.  But, my disappointment was short lived:

I managed to hit the Mantle card.  As you can see the card is pretty severely diamond cut. Since the break was just last night (Saturday), I obviously don't have it in hand, but I am guessing it has less eye appeal than my current Mantle.  If that is the case, I am considering flipping it for something I need, like a couple of the bigger name star cards from 1955 Topps or perhaps adding a few of the rarer autographed cards to my 1960-1963 Fleer autographed sets.  I'll take some time to think about it, but it seems unlikely I'll hang on to it.

Speaking of my Fleer autographed card project, I should have another post coming up soon with an update on a recent acquisition for that set.

What I am listening to: Call Me by Blondie


Saturday, January 11, 2020

Topps Wasn't The First

I've been around trading card blogs long enough to have seen a few complaints about how Topps keeps re-using images in multiple sets across a number of years.  This is something you may hear from team or player collectors,  I was struck today that this isn't an issue particular to Topps or even to modern trading card issues.

As you may know, I have a side collection of horse themed tobacco cards. I had recently acquired the 25 card 1926 British American Tobacco Prominent Racehorses set.  I was getting ready to put it in sheets and add it to my binder, but needed to move the collection to a larger binder first.  As I was moving the pages from one binder to the other, I saw something familiar.  A sheet of cards that looked identical to my new set; the 1926 Ogden's Derby Entrants  I normally check what I have before bidding on something, so I don't end up with duplicates. So, I had a sinking feeling that I messed up.  That is, until I looked closer. See for yourself.

So, I was relieved that they were different sets, but they did have identical card numbers.  So, it did raise a question in my mind as to how they were related.  Here is what I found.  Ogden's was a 19th Century British tobacco company. In 1901 it was bought by the American Tobacco Company.  Also in 1901, the Imperial Tobacco Company was formed by the merger of 13 different British tobacco companies; most notably W.D. & H.O. Wills and John Player.  The following year, American and Imperial formed a joint venture: the British-American Tobacco Company.  The joint venture was to do business globally, but not in either of the partners home territories.  

In 1911, the American Tobacco Company became one of the early victims of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and was ordered to dissolve (on the same day as the more well known Standard Oil.)  Presumably as part of the dissolution, American Tobacco sold off it's shares in B.A. T.  So, these two card sets that were issued 15 years subsequent, were both associated with the Imperial Tobacco brand.  

So, there you have it. Laziness in the production of trading cards is, at least, a century long phenomenon. 

What I am listening to:  Sing Along by Sturgill Simpson