Sunday, December 8, 2019

A Football Card Experiment - Game 13 - The Chiefs

In an attempt to increase the size of my very small football card collection, I'm picking up and featuring one new card for each of the Patriots' 16 regular season games this year.

This week's action should be very interesting, as the 10-2 Patriots host the 8-4 Chiefs at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA in the second slate of games.  New England might be the most questionable 10-2 team of all-time, and they've largely been winning despite the offense as of late.  If this game were in Kansas City I'd be betting on the Chiefs, but being in New England it's closer to a coin flip if you ask me.

For the football card project, I'm getting back to featuring New England's opponent this week, with a Chiefs card from the late '60s...

This is actually my third card from the 1969 Topps football set now, which is somewhat amazing given how few football cards I own overall.  While not that aesthetically pleasing, I tend to lean towards obtaining cards of kickers and punters for some reason.  Also, if you think the Cleveland Indians' "Chief Wahoo" logo is insensitive, check out what the Chiefs were rolling with during this era.  Give them some credit I guess for being ahead of the curve in switching to their current arrowhead logo?

As for the subject of the card, Jerrel (single 'L', mis-spelled by Topps here) Wilson was with the Chiefs for 15 of his 16 professional seasons.  He was one of the better punters of his time, with multiple Pro Bowl selections, and is actually enshrined in the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame!  I didn't know this when I grabbed the card, but it turns out this is his rookie as well.  Not too shabby for 73 cents, thank you COMC!

I've probably mentioned this before but I absolutely love the backs from this set.  I can't think of too many (any?) other cases where a company went with a solid black background on the reverse of a card.  It really, really works well with the white text and the green ink used for the card number and inset box for the cartoon.  Sharp, clean, and easy on the eyes.

The write-up reinforces what I mentioned above about Wilson being one of the top punters in the game at the time.  Love the cartoon too, a 72-yard punt is pretty damn amazing.

So, there's your football card for this week.  Just three weeks more to finish out the season, at which point I plan on reviving my Signature Sundays autograph posts in place of these football-themed ones.

Enjoy the NFL action today football fans, and thanks as always for stopping by!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Fivers - Parkhurst Action!

Fivers is an aptly named series of ongoing posts, each of which will feature a single card that cost me $5 (give or take).  Today's entry came in just a bit under $5 actually, $4.04 to be precise...

This beauty represents my third card from the 1957-58 Parkhurst set.  As hockey card collectors know, just about any card from the 1950s or earlier is relatively scarce.  I was pleased to bring this one home for just a touch over $4 with free shipping during an eBay sale recently.  If you look closely you can see that there's a surface wrinkle going down the center of the card, but it doesn't detract much from the card's appeal if you ask me.

The in-game action shots in the early Parkhurst sets are particularly cool, and this shot of Barry Cullen scoring on the Canadiens is no exception.  Modern day hockey fans will notice two significant things missing from the photograph on this card; helmets, and advertisements on the boards.

It's interesting to note that the back of the card references the fact that rink sizes were not yet fully standardized across the league.

So, there's my latest hockey card pick-up.  Back to scanning and cataloging the second cube of Red Sox from Billy for an upcoming post.  Enjoy your Friday evening, and thanks as always for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

1950 Bowman Project - Vern Stephens

Someday I'd love to finish off a run of complete sets from the 1950s; one for each year between 1950 and 1959.  The obvious choice for a 1950 set is the beautiful Bowman release.  I've been (very) slowly picking away at completing this one over time, though it hasn't exactly been near the top of my priority list this past calendar year.  Nonetheless, I have my latest example to share here today...

Today's subject is shortstop Vern Stephens of the Boston Red Sox.  Vern's name may not be as recognizable as some of the total superstars of his era, but he was a fantastic hitter, especially for a shortstop.  He was either an All-Star, got MVP votes, or both for ten consecutive seasons between 1942 and 1951.  He led the league in home runs once, and in RBI three times.  While not inducted in Cooperstown, he is indeed a member of the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.

Not the most exciting write-up on the back, but you do get some sense of his statistical dominance around this era.  Pretty amazing that Boston was able to land a talent like this via trade in 1947.

This may not be a card that's fit for grading condition-wise, but it's right in line with most of my small number of cards from this set so far.  Maybe a touch rougher than some of them if I'm being brutally honest, but not noticeably different.  Happy to add a vintage card of this Red Sox slugger to my collection!

A dozen down, just 240 of these small works of art left to go.  Maybe someday!

Set Progress:  12 of 252 (4% Complete)

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Topps Star Wars 40th Blaster

With the final of the nine films in the original Star Wars saga dropping later this month, it seems like an opportune time to feature this blaster that had been collecting dust in my card closet for a couple of years now.

This was a really fun set that Topps released back in 2017 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Star Wars franchise.  I wish I'd actually grabbed another blaster or two of this back in the day, as it's an entertaining set, and the cards aren't available very cheaply on the secondary market these days.

The blaster contains 10 packs, with 6 cards per pack.  Add in the one-per-blaster manufactured medallion card and you're walking away with 61 total cards for $19.99.

I'm not going to show every single card from the blaster, but instead just scanned some of the more interesting highlights as I went.  Let's get to it!

What I like most about this particular set is the sheer variety found within the checklist.  Unlike other Star Wars sets that simply follow the plot of one or more of the films, or simply have a card for each character from the franchise, this release is all over the map.  One of my favorite subsets features posters from the various movies over the years.

There's some great custom artwork on the checklist as well.

Another thing I love about this set is that it's an education in the world of Star Wars when you thumb through each pack.  For example, despite being a child of the '80s/early '90s I'd never heard of this "Star Wars:  Droids" cartoon show before.  Somewhat surprising given that it was released just after my third birthday, but then again in the '80s it wasn't easy to find television shows like it is these days in the world of streaming.

The back of each card does a good job giving you a run-down of the content.

Here's another cool promotional poster, in Spanish this time!

Mos Eisley Cantina!

In each pack you get five base cards and a single parallel, typically a green parallel which is the most common.  I was smiling big-time when I pulled this one.  The two made-for-TV Ewok movies from the mid-'80s were absolute staples in my household growing up.  Our home-recorded VHS copies practically got worn out.

I'm not too proud to admit that as a grown adult I own both films in my Amazon Video library.  Possibly my favorite card in the entire blaster right here based on pure nostalgia alone.

Some of the cards towards the beginning of the checklist do simply feature famous scenes from the films.

While not particularly accurate (especially with respect to Princess Leia), how cool is the artwork on this one?  I love the small details like the row of Storm Troopers along the very bottom.

As a kid, Return of the Jedi was my favorite of the original trilogy, just because I was young enough to really like the Ewoks (though I can understand why older Star Wars fans may have been turned off by them).  I mentioned this in the pack of this stuff I posted back in 2017, but my brothers and I just about wore out our VHS copy of this back in the day, same as we did the Ewok films.

Here's another green parallel, paying homage to the release of Rogue One back in 2016.  I saw this film in the theater with my wife and thought it was a good effort by Disney.  Much darker and with more of a "war movie" feel than other films in the genre in my humble opinion.

Best artwork in the blaster?  Yep, I'd say so.

When I ripped some of this back around its release date I learned about the Star Wars radio broadcasts, and this time around I pulled the green parallel of that same card.  In the two years that have passed since that first hanger pack of this product and today's post, I purchased all three broadcasts on Audible, and have listened to each of them.

Simple, but effective design here.  I like the minimalist aspect of this one in contrast to a lot of the "busier" artwork cards.

Was pumped to pull another card of my favorite film in the franchise from childhood.  Plus the green parallel works well on this one with the largely green planet of Endor in the background of the action.

Here's a cool one.  According to the back of the card this was a design used on a lunch box in the late '70s.  I would have brought this lunch box to school with some serious pride as a grade schooler back in the day.  Hell, I'd probably turn some heads bringing my lunch to work in this now as a 37-year-old!

Love the predominantly red "evil" vibe with this artwork.  Good stuff.

While it would have been more appealing to me had I pulled a card featuring one of the Star Wars toys from my youth, this still evoked the same feeling of nostalgia in me.  My brothers and I had quite a few Star Wars figurines growing up.  Another example of this set really covering all aspects of the Star Wars universe, not strictly the films.

This one made me chuckle, because I had this exact DVD boxed set maybe a decade or so ago.  I sold it when I upgraded to the Episodes 1-6 Blu Ray boxed set a few years back.  That will probably be the last round I purchase in physical format, as Blu Ray finally fully succumbs to streaming services over the next few years.

I chose to feature this one because I thought it was one of the more striking images from the recent run of Disney films.

Another cool poster here.

While the green parallels are the most common, you get a single blue parallel per blaster (or hanger pack) if memory serves.  I'm happy that mine at least featured an iconic scene from the original trilogy.

Finally, as promised, each blaster comes with a commemorative medallion.  I landed R2-D2 with a death star medallion.  These medallions seem pretty popular on the secondary market, with available copies of most on COMC going for $10-$15 or more.  Maybe I'll sell this one someday if I ever get around to sending a box of cards in for my port.

So, that's a wrap with respect to this blaster of Topps Star Wars 40th Anniversary.  A fun little set for sure.  I should also note that there were buybacks included in this release, though I'm not sure it's even possible to pull one from a retail blaster like this one. 

I'm certainly looking forward to the finale of the 9-episode saga later this month.  I'll be catching it in the theater for sure.

I'll be back with actual sports content tomorrow, in the meantime thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

A Football Card Experiment - Game 12 - The Texans Bore Me

In an attempt to increase the size of my very small football card collection, I'm picking up and featuring one new card for each of the Patriots' 16 regular season games this year.

For the second straight week the 10-1 Patriots face a team from Texas, as they square off against the 7-4 Houston Texans in the prime time game later tonight.  Since my interest in football cards is for the most part rooted in vintage, and the Texans are the youngest franchise in the NFL, I couldn't really manage to find a Texans card that I liked.  No big surprise there.

Instead, I went completely off-script this week with this old-school Chicago Bears card...

I picked this card up because I enjoy the design.  It's my first 1959 Topps football card, and I have to say that I like what they did with their final football set of the decade.  There's sort of a burlap effect with the way the plain color background is printed.  I think it would be interesting to see what Topps' 1958 baseball set would have looked like with a textured background like this.

Given my limited knowledge of the game of football it should come as no surprise that I'm in no way familiar with Stan Wallace.  A cool looking card nonetheless though, and I really like that logo of the bear on top of the football in the upper left.

Relatively plain card back, though I have to say the layout is easy on the eyes.  The write-up is short but descriptive in a great way.

I'll be back next week to continue this series.  In the meantime, thanks as always for stopping by, and enjoy the NFL football action today!

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Down-Grading - 1971 Topps Hank Aaron

Of the many cards I've sold off on eBay in recent months, there was one that stood above all others.  The 1971 Topps Hank Aaron pictured above, in a PSA 8 slab, is a card I'd acquired back in June of 2007.  This was a time before I owned a home, and as a result had a lot more disposable income to spend on cardboard.  I'd just gotten back into the hobby after more than a decade away, and had an unofficial goal of acquiring all of Hammerin' Hank's Topps flagship cards in graded format.

Fast forward a dozen years and while I'd still like to acquire all of those Aaron cards eventually, I don't feel the need to spend the money to get them in the sort of condition my '71 Aaron was in.  So, this card was an obvious candidate to list when I decided to start letting some cards go on eBay earlier this year.

To my surprise, I netted a cool $265 for this card, almost exactly twice what I paid for it back in 2007.  Since I've done a good job of saving most of my proceeds from my card sales over the past few months, I decided to treat myself to a little spending spree with the proceeds from this Aaron.  In the end I walked away with five graded cards in exchange for this one.

Let's take a look at how I did... 

First card up, the exact same card?!?!  You got it!  The thing is, it's not that I don't love this card, it's just that I don't feel the need to own a near mint/mint copy like I had previously.  At $35.50 I was able to score this beauty, which is above and beyond what I expect out of my '71s condition-wise.  Besides, it will go so nicely with the Nolan Ryan and Frank Robinson cards I scored from this set earlier this year, both of which are also in PSA 4 slabs.

This was an obvious choice, as I now truly don't feel like I "lost anything" with respect to my collection in this exchange.  Got the same card I started with essentially, only with a pile of cash to use to pick up some other great cards.  Speaking of which...

What can I say, I couldn't resist the opportunity to land another of Hank's iconic Topps cards.  A classic pose on this 1967 release.  '67 was a typical dominant year for Aaron as well, as he led the National League in runs scored, home runs, slugging percentage and total bases.

I've been focusing on 1950s baseball for the most part over this past year, but it feels good to flesh out my '60s collection of one of my boyhood idols.  A really nice looking card too, good eye appeal and I felt I got a steal using $59 of my proceeds to secure this one.

Next up, another Hank Aaron!  I promise this is the last one in today's post.  The 1962 Topps set has really grown on me over the years.  Like all sets from the '60s, there are some duds on the checklist, and more cap-less ballplayers than I'd care to see in any set.  When paired with the right photograph though, the design results in some truly beautiful cards.

I was drawn to this one because it looks absolutely stunning for a card graded a mere "VG 3" by PSA.  When I first got into graded cards in the late 2000s, I made the mistake of being obsessed with the grade.  I wanted all of my cards from the 1960s to be in a PSA 7 grade, no exceptions.  At some point though, I realized my OCD was hurting me, and preventing me from owning some of the very cards I desired most.  Nowadays, I just pay attention to the way the card looks, and couldn't care less about the grade.  In fact, if I can find a card that appears "under-graded" like this one I'm even more pleased, as it just saves me coin in the end.

Nonetheless, a 3 seems pretty harsh for this one, doesn't it?

Let's look now at the final two cards from this flip, neither of which feature Henry Aaron...

Another player I've really been drawn to in recent months is the great Roberto Clemente.  He's not nearly as represented in my vintage baseball collection as he should be, and I set out to rectify that with some of the proceeds from this sale.

Honestly, I'd love to one day acquire all of Clemente's vintage flagship Topps run, so in this instance I wasn't even looking for any one particular card.  I just knew I wanted a vintage Clemente, and was prepared to pull the trigger on whatever the best deal was that I could find.

This card felt like the best value, in amazing shape with just about perfect centering for $52.  I could not be more pleased with this pick-up, in fact I'd say it may be my favorite card of today's grouping, though that's certainly a tough call to make.

With four vintage baseball cards procured, I wanted to do something a little more off-the-beaten-path as far as my collection goes with the balance of the proceeds.  I've been trying to think of some iconic, yet affordable, cards from the other major sports for my "Cardboard Keepers" project, and ended up going that route with the rest of the funds.


Pretty sweet, huh?  Though I don't collect basketball cards strictly speaking, I like the idea as I mentioned above of at least landing a handful of cards of the best in the history of the game.  High atop that list would have to be the great Wilt Chamberlain.  Dude averaged more points in a season some years than most players ever achieve as a single-game career high, and is still the only player in NBA history to score 100 points in a single game.  Chamberlain is a household name, even in a household that lacks basketball fans.

When it came to selecting the first card to represent the man in my collection, the choice was easy.  I'm admittedly a total sucker for the "tall-boy" cards that Topps issued in the '60s and early '70s.  I already had hockey and football examples in my collection, so picking up a basketball counterpart was a no-brainer.  Besides, there's something about a tall basketball card in particular that just feels fitting, right?  I'm sure I'll be inducting this card into my Cardboard Keepers album in the future.  In fact, that's probably the case for all five cards in today's post.

So, that's the story of probably my single greatest card flip of 2019, and one of my better flips of all time.  How do you think I did?  If you had a couple hundred bucks in Paypal credit from a sale to spend on cards, would you pick up a few heavy hitters like this?  Maybe a bunch of small cards instead?  Use it all on a single white whale?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Thanks as always for stopping by!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

I Sold My 1953 Topps Cards! Part 3

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who are celebrating it today!

Back in October, I made the decision to sell off the majority of my 1953 Topps cards for a tidy profit.  I invested most of the proceeds right off the bat, but wanted to make sure I treated myself to some nice cardboard with the return funds as well.

In the last installment of this series I picked up 16 cards towards my rebuild of the '53 set in ungraded, raw format, for an even $40.  Well, we're going back to the 1953 Topps well today with another decent sized batch, this time acquired via eBay.

I won't provide commentary on every card since there are so many, but here's my haul...

I've mentioned before that I'm particularly intrigued by vintage cards that feature franchises of the past, so I was really happy to land this Hank Thompson, outfielder for the New York Giants.  Enough so that this was the third most expensive card in today's post at $6.40.

Ditto.  Love the St. Louis Browns cards from this set in particular thanks to the fantastic team logo that's prominently displayed.  Most of the cards in this order were less than $3.  What can I say, I'm starting with some of the low-hanging fruit in this second go-round.

It's especially rewarding when I'm able to land a card that I didn't have previously in the lot of graded cards that I sold off.  Hal Rice here was an example of exactly that.

I grabbed a few Red Sox that I already have in graded format within this lot as well.  The prices were just too cheap to pass up, and I don't mind having a duplicate raw copy of these in case I ever reach the point where I put this set in a binder.

Aside from the Red Sox, the Brooklyn Dodgers are my favorite team to acquire new '50s cards of, so of course I snatched up this John Rutherford.

Grady Hatton possesses possibly the most interesting background in today's entire lot.  Love the water tower behind the outfield fence there.

I've got a special place in my heart for Fred Hatfield, since his 1952 Bowman release was one of the very first vintage cards I ever owned as a kid (still have my original copy in fact!).

How awesome is that Philadelphia Athletics logo?

Maybe it's just me, but Johnny Groth resembles the Browns' logo just slightly in this portrait.

This Del Rice is perhaps the poorest condition card in today's lot.  Still a perfectly acceptable card for this run at the set though, and especially so given that it set me back less than $2!

Many of these suffer from one or two small flaws that prevent them from being pristine or grade-able copies, like the upper right corner on this Danny O'Connell.  My only criteria is that the cards are reasonably priced, and visually appealing.  I'd like to avoid any total train wrecks condition-wise, but a touched corner isn't going to scare me away.

Not one...

...but two cards in a row featuring scoreboard backgrounds.

Not one...

...but two cards in a row featuring an American flag off in the distance.

The most expensive card in today's post, at just a hair over $7.  I had to pay the "Yankee tax" on this one, but so many of the others were such a bargain that I didn't mind.  In the end I kept the total to around $3 per card averaged out.

Couple of Senators on very similar cards here with Frank Campos...

...and Connie Marrero.

Love the smokestacks in the background on this William Kennedy.

Bill Connelly represents probably the finest card in the lot as far as condition goes.  This one looks every bit as nice as many of the graded examples that I sold off!

I was particularly happy to reel in this Mel Parnell, given that he's one of the Red Sox I am still missing from my graded team set.

Another stunner here as far as condition goes, and a nice low-number card to knock off at card #4 in the set.

One of the more unique backgrounds in today's grouping belongs to Billy Hitchcock and the wooden fence.

Closing things out we've got another pair of New York Giants.

Well, that was exhausting!  If you kept count that was 33 cards from this iconic release.  My take home price for this lot was $98.20 with free shipping.  With a handful of today's cards being Red Sox that I already had graded versions of, I didn't necessarily add 33 new cards to my set total, but I'm now at 63 different cards and counting overall in my second attempt at this set.  Nearly a quarter of the way there already!

Still have plenty of funds left from the sale to play with, and I promise that we'll take a break from the '53s in the next installment of this series.  Until then, thanks for stopping by as always!

1953 Topps Sale Breakdown

$1,000.00 - Invested/Saved
$138.20 - 49 1953 Topps Singles

Remaining Funds:  $611.80
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