Friday, March 5, 2021

Weekly Round-Up - A New Endeavor & a Legend Takes a Break

Boy it's been a rough and challenging week on the work/professional front.  Glad I have cards, this blog, this hobby and this great community to keep me engaged in something I enjoy.  I've been busy on the card front, here are some recent updates...

I've been really busy with creating content for my new YouTube channel.  As I said before, I have no intention whatsoever of abandoning this blog after more than a dozen years running.  That being said, I am really enjoying a fresh way to generate hobby content.  It's certainly a lot less time consuming to turn on a camera and talk for a few minutes than to scan cards and type up a post, and some cards just plain look better on video.  Each outlet has its strengths and weaknesses.

If you have a few minutes to stop by, maybe you'll enjoy some of the videos.  Maybe you won't and that's okay too, but I do keep them to less than 10 minutes in length so I won't waste too much of your valuable time!  Anyway, in my latest video I showed off the absolutely awesome Ovechkin card above, which is now my second favorite card of The Great 8!

Here's one more Ovi while we're at it.  Recently I stumbled upon a seller who had no less than 10 of these retro box bottom cards from 2008-09 O-Pee-Chee for sale for 25 cents each.  I've always loved the retro parallels this year, and completed the entire 600-card set in retro parallel format, but I didn't have any of these box bottom cards.  I bought all ten copies of Ovechkin for $2.50!

Getting excited for baseball season, and I showed a few nice Rafael Devers pickups on my YouTube channel earlier in the week.  Here's one that I did not show though, a "Green Festive" parallel from the 2018 Bowman Holiday set.  I thought it was kind of a cool oddball rookie of Raffy, with the whole holiday sweater vibe in the background, and it's numbered to /99 as well.

(Yes this is an official Fuji RC, and no it's not for sale!)

Lastly, and most importantly, I wanted to give a huge shout-out to Mark, aka San Jose Fuji!  He announced yesterday that he'll be stepping back and taking a break from operating his blog for a bit due to fatigue and burnout, which is certainly understandable.  I will certainly miss his enthusiasm for our hobby and his awesome weekly recap posts that have turned me onto many awesome cards and many other great blogs as well.

I think you will all agree with me that Fuji has absolutely been one of THE most supportive people out there when it comes to reading all of our blogs and providing insightful comments over the years.  In fact, I'd wager he's left more comments on card-related blogs than anyone else in history?!?!  Prove me wrong!

In any event, I am so appreciative of everything that Mark does for our hobby that I wanted to specifically thank him here.  Fuji, I hope you enjoy your well-deserved break, get your collection organized and enjoy some other aspects of our hobby, and I guarantee you we will all be here to resume reading your fantastic content if/when you ever decide it's time to return!  THANK YOU, you are truly a "Shoebox Legend" in my book!

To everyone else, thanks as always for stopping by, and be safe out there!

Sunday, February 28, 2021

The 400-Goal Club - Bellows, Sittler & Fedorov

Time for the next installment of The 400-Goal Club, where we look at some potentially lesser-known (at least to the casual fan) scorers who hung up their skates after topping 400 career NHL goals, but prior to reaching the esteemed 500-goal plateau...

Brian Bellows - 485 Goals

Here's a name that's very familiar to fans of the game during the 1980s, Brian Bellows!  Brian was the second overall pick in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft, and made an immediate impact for the Minnesota North Stars.  He scored an impressive 35 goals as a rookie in 1982-83, at just 18 years of age, and never looked back during his tenure with Minnesota.  After an amazing run through the 1980s with the North Stars, Brian was sitting on 342 goals after completing his age 27 season, and looked like a lock for both 500 career goals and the HOF.

After a trade to the Canadiens, he won the Stanley Cup in his first season in Montreal.  In the following seasons though he'd miss significant numbers of games, and was out of the NHL entirely after his age 34 season.  He finished just 15 goals shy of 500, and since that one Stanley Cup is the sum total of all the hardware he accumulated during his career, you rarely if ever hear him mentioned in conversations about who should be enshrined.  Certainly a member of the Hall of Very Good, though!

Again, I chose this 2012-13 Panini Classics Signatures auto for the post, because these cards are just plain awesome.

Darryl Sittler - 484 Goals

Finishing with one career goal less than Brian Bellows is longtime Toronto Maple Leaf Darryl Sittler.  He was a consistent 30 or 40+ goal scorer into his early 30s, but as with Brian Bellows time was not on his side.  Like Bellows, his final NHL campaign was his age 34 season.

Even though Bellows won a Stanley Cup and Sittler did not, Sittler is the one enshrined in the HOF.  His peak years he was a more dominant player than Bellows.  He had two 100-point seasons and another five 90-point seasons, whereas Bellows never achieved triple digits in points in his career. 

Great card here from the release that I personally think is the best hockey set ever created.

Sergei Fedorov - 483 Goals

Probably my favorite player who will be featured in this entire series, Fedorov was an absolute beast during the height of my childhood hockey fandom.  I spent many hours with my street hockey net, stick and ball in the yard on the side of our house emulating Sergei as a kid!  His 1993-94 season alone cemented him as one of the best ever, as he scored 56 goals, 120 points, and won the Hart, Pearson and Selke trophies!

Sergei added another Selke Trophy and three Stanley Cups (all with Detroit) to his resume in the seasons to follow, but finished 17 goals short of the 500 mark when all was said and done.  Fedorov played until his age 39 season, but saw his goal-scoring totals decline rapidly in the few seasons that he hung on after the lockout.  As with the first two guys in today's post, he had done most of his goal-scoring damage by his early 30s.  This post isn't a good omen as far as Ovechkin's chances of toppling Gretzky's goal record I guess (though he did have one earlier today!).

For Fedorov's card I chose his iconic 1990-91 O-Pee-Chee Premier RC.  Could just as easily have gone with his iconic 1990-91 Upper Deck RC, but this one wins the coins flip and makes the blog.

So, there are your next three members of The 400-Goal Club.  I'll be back soon with more of these posts, and the names will get more obscure as we move down the list.  In the meantime thanks for visiting my little corner of the internet, stay safe, and happy collecting!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

YouTube?!?! Yep, YouTube!

While I'm still sticking with this blog going forward, and have no intention of abandoning my posting here after so many years, I've decided recently that I want to experiment with some video content as well.  One of the reasons I don't post here as often as I'd like to is that the process of scanning, cropping, typing and editing a post can be very time consuming.

Sometimes I'm looking for a faster and easier way to share content, and after admiring other collectors on YouTube from afar for some time now I've decided to take the plunge myself.  If you are on YouTube I would truly appreciate it if you'd be willing to check out my channel and maybe even subscribe.  As I've done on this blog over the years I'll be showing off a ton of random cardboard content, and I really think and hope that it will be enjoyable.

If you're interested, you can find me here.

As a teaser, here's the epic card that I talk about in my very first video:

If you're someone who enjoys YouTube, I truly hope you'll join me over there.  If not, no worries, I'll be back here soon with more blog content.  Either way, thanks for your support and time!

Stay safe out there, and happy collecting!

Friday, February 19, 2021

The 400-Goal Club - Anderson, Ratelle & Ullman

A lot of focus is put on NHL players who achieve the famed 500-goal plateau during their careers.  This is a significant milestone indeed, and nearly everyone who has surpassed 500 career goals is enshrined in the HOF.  

What I thought might be just as interesting as looking at the game's all time great scorers in the 500-goal club, and in fact more interesting in some ways, would be to look at players who are members of the 400-goal club.  With that, an idea for a series of posts was born.  In batches of three, I plan to feature in this series players who surpassed 400 career goals, but who hung up the skates for the final time before reaching the infamous 500 milestone.  I'll show a card of each player from my own collection as well, as long as I have one that is.

So, you won't see active players who would otherwise meet the criteria in these posts, like Sidney Crosby or Eric Staal, but you will see plenty of retired greats like tonight's trio...

Glenn Anderson - 498 Goals

Talk about coming tantalizingly close to the big number!  Nobody has retired to date with 499 career goals, so Glenn's 498 give him the distinction of coming the closest to 500 of any player who fell short.  It's amazing that he didn't try to eek out just a few more games, though it seems there weren't any takers remaining in the NHL during his final (age 35) season.

Maybe Glenn wasn't all that bothered by coming up just short of 500 career goals though, considering he won an amazing six Stanley Cups as a player, and is enshrined in the Hockey HOF regardless!  There will be some names in these posts that were a surprise to me, but Glenn is not one of those, having played on those powerhouse Oilers teams throughout the 1980s.

I've got nearly two dozen Glenn Anderson cards, but none of them are all that exciting to me, so I went with this nice photograph courtesy of 1986-87 Topps.

Jean Ratelle - 491 Goals

The next spot down on the list goes to Jean Ratelle, who spent his entire two-decade-plus NHL career with the Rangers and Bruins franchises.  While he was an amazingly successful player from an individual stats standpoint, and played on some really great teams in the early 70s, Jean never won a Stanley Cup, in contrast to Glenn Anderson's six.

Nevertheless, he did capture some individual hardware throughout his career, and was 6th all-time in points upon his retirement from the NHL.  Like Glenn Anderson, he is enshrined in the Hockey HOF.

This beautiful 1967-68 Topps card was a real steal off of COMC a couple of years back.  Got it for just a couple of dollars due to some paper loss on the back.

Norm Ullman - 490 Goals

Finishing just a single goal behind his contemporary, Jean Ratelle, is center Norm Ullman.  Norm had the benefit of playing on a line with guys like Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay early on in his career, but he was no slouch himself.  In fact he led the entire league in goals during the 1964-65 season.  His case is an interesting one because he spent the final two seasons of his career in the WHA.  It's almost certain that he would have surpassed 500 career goals had he scratched out two more NHL campaigns.

Norm is also enshrined, and it's not surprising that all three guys in tonight's post are given that I began with the highest goal totals in the 400 club and will be working my way down that list.

I absolutely love the amazing photograph, and bold on-card autograph on this 2012-13 Panini Classics Signatures autograph. If you were following my blog back in 2013 then you may recall that I went somewhat crazy acquiring these autos, so I'm sure a few more of them may resurface in these 400-Goal Club posts.

So, that's a wrap for this first installment.  I expect this series to get more entertaining as we go, as the names will become a bit more obscure the closer we get to the 400 mark.  Hope you enjoyed this look at some of the more under-appreciated scorers in NHL history, and thanks as always for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Shiny Prizm Hockey


Basketball and football card collectors (not to mention retail flipper guys) love Panini Prizm, and it seems to be one of the most popular sets in those sports year in and year out.  When it comes to hockey though, there was only one true Panini Prizm set released before Panini lost their license to produce NHL trading cards, and that was the 2013-14 set you see above.

True, there were some Prizm cards released as part of the Rookie Anthology set the year prior, but this 2013-14 release is it when it comes to a standalone Prizm hockey set proper.  The cards are absolutely gorgeous if you're a fan of shiny like I am, and the parallels have that fantastic Panini etching, a practice that Topps unfortunately abandoned for its refractors long ago.

I've been making an effort to pick up some parallels of star players, HOFers, or even just members of the Hall of Very Good from the set, before they become the latest thing to skyrocket in price.  Thankfully all of the cards I'm showing here today, including my first two Silver Prizm parallels of David Krejci and Ilya Kovalchuk here, cost mere pocket change on Sportlots.  Even in these crazy times for our hobby, there are still outlets for cheap, satisfying pick-ups to keep us going if we look hard enough.

I like the colored parallels even more than the silvers.  This Patrice Bergeron Red is so fantastic that I bought both copies the seller had available at 75 cents!  Bergeron, Chara, Marchand, Krejci and Tuukka Rask are generational greats in the history of this franchise, and along with sniper David Pastrnak are having another great campaign here in the 2020-21 season.

This generation's "Little Ball of Hate" is really filling in the shoes of the original namesake, the great Pat Verbeek.  His next goal will be the 300th of his NHL career, so he has a legit shot to top the 500-goal mark, just like Verbeek did.  Grabbed three copies of this one, and they look really nice all in a row in a Z-Folio.

Already had a copy of this Lucic, but grabbed a second because the price was right.  "Luc" has bounced around some in recent years, but he had some really exciting seasons in Boston as a goal-scoring bruiser that I will always remember fondly.

Heavy Bruins theme here with the Red parallels, but like I said this was the group that won a Cup for Boston and was a regular playoff contender.  I saw this particular iteration of the team play in person so many times during this stretch, so I enjoy picking up cards of all these guys.  Grabbed a pair of this Red Krejci card.

I swear I'm not an Ilya Kovalchuk super-collector or anything like that, he was just a really solid player that happened to be available cheaply is all.  Besides, how fantastic do these Red parallels look on New Jersey Devils cards?  Fantastic enough that I bought three of these, that's how fantastic.

Ditto for the Ottawa Senators.  Mika Zibanejad (whose hair is now much longer than what you see here) has been slumping a bit for the Rangers this season, but this is an amazing looking piece of cardboard.

Hall-of-Famer Martin St. Louis for under a dollar?!?!  I'll take two!  Hell, I'd have taken ten at that price, but alas, there were only two available.

One-time Boston Bruin, one of the top scorers of his era, and potential future HOFer?  Sure!  Snagged a pair of these for the Z-Folio as well.

The Capitals look absolutely stunning on these.  Very high on my list of hobby goals is to acquire a Red Alex Ovechkin, but I have literally yet to see a single one available at any price point in the many weeks I've been searching.  If you have one, I will pay handsomely in trade or Paypal credit!  For now, happy to have a pair of these Backstrom cards, featuring one of the premier set-up men in the business, and the man who has assisted on many an Ovechkin goal over the years.

Hall of Fame for Getzlaf?  Not sure, but certainly the Hall of Very Good, and the face of the Ducks franchise for about a decade and a half now.  I happily grabbed three of these for the combined price of less than $2.

Another guy who has sort of been the face of a franchise since he came into the league, or shortly thereafter.  Only picked up one of these but in retrospect probably should have bought a trio.  Benn has never won a Stanley Cup, but did pick up an Art Ross Trophy back in 2015.

Pleased to land this Joe Thornton, the man who currently has the 14th most career points in NHL history.  The only reason I'd be excited to see Toronto win a Stanley Cup this year would be so that Jumbo Joe could hoist it at last.

With the Thornton card in my order, it made sense to pair it with his longtime teammate Joe Pavelski, so I threw this one in too.

Would have been cool to pick up a Red of each of the Sedin twins, but since the seller had just this card I ended up with two Henriks instead!  Obviously this one would look better on Blue, or even more so Green, but this is the card I ended up with for now.

Your eyes may be sore from looking at all that bright red holo foil, so let's calm things down with a trio of soothing blue cards before we call this a post, shall we?

Well, what do you know, I did land a Blue Sedin.  Yeah, that looks way better with the Canucks colors than the Red does.  Again, Henrik was the only Sedin brother available in blue, a Daniel collector must have cleared out his inventory before I arrived on the site.

Once again we have Ilya Kovalchuk.  Looks like I'm well on my way to a rainbow of this card.  This one, and the final card up next, are actually Blue Pulsar parallels.  If memory serves, these were exclusive to Prizm product purchased at Wal-Mart.  They seem to be some degree rarer than the standard Blue parallels, anyway.

Finally, we have what may be my favorite card of this entire order, a Blue Pulsar Patrice Bergeron.  One of the under-rated players of the modern era, and one of the greatest ever to don a Bruins sweater.  Very, very happy to have this card in my Prizm hockey collection.

So there you have it, a bunch of really shiny and really colorful hockey cards that I managed to find on the cheap, even during these insane times in the hobby.  If you have any of these Prizm hockey parallels available to trade let me know, and if not thanks as always for stopping by my little corner of the internet!

Friday, February 12, 2021

Cardboard Keepers - LeBron!

Time for the next installment of Cardboard Keepers, a thought experiment in which I theoretically whittle my entire collection down to just 2,000 cards; 1,000 baseball keepers, and 1,000 "other" keepers.

Today's entry into this project is a basketball card, and I'm virtually certain this is the first time in the history of this blog that back-to-back posts have been basketball-related.  Don't worry, I'm not turning into a full-on b-ball collector or anything, just kind of worked out this way for whatever reason.

As many have commented on recently, this hobby has gone absolutely insane recently.  I'm not sure how long it can keep up like this, or how long I can remain a collector if it does, but I'm trying to make lemons out of lemonade and take advantage of some of these outrageous prices to sell some things I am no longer interested in and pick up some significant cards with the proceeds (before I can no longer afford them, which happens in a matter of days in this climate).

This card is an example of just that, as I funded it entirely from eBay sales just last month:

Yes, the newest inductee into the Cardboard Keepers project is my first (and only) LeBron James rookie card!  I know his Topps Chrome RC (and it's various parallels) is considered the LeBron rookie to have, but since that now sells in good condition for more money than I paid for my new car four years ago, that wasn't happening.

I settled on this Bowman Rookies & Stars card instead.  It was right in the range of what I could afford in a PSA 9 based on the sales I'd made, and I really love that it shows him in his actual Cavaliers uniform (that Topps base card where he's wearing the white suit makes me cringe).

When I started to think about basketball players that I'd want in this collection alongside Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain (the only two basketball inductees so far), LeBron was an obvious choice.  I'll leave the debate about the all-time GOATs to someone with more basketball knowledge than myself, but is there anyone who thinks there's been a greater player in the NBA these last 20 years?

Here's a look at the back.  I like the layout actually, though I totally see how some could consider it overly "busy".

And now for a small rant about the state of the hobby.  Cards, not just select cards but seemingly ANY card that I develop an interest in, are literally rising in price exponentially by the week.  I purchased this card less than one month ago now, and while I won't get into the exact price, I will say that it cost me "three figures".  And it wasn't $999.99 either, it was a good deal less than that.

Well, in the few days that it took for the card to arrive in the mail, it rose to about a $1,200 card in a PSA 9.  In the couple of weeks since then, it's now eclipsed $2,000, and continues to trend upward.  Increasingly I get the feeling that, with the types of cards I'm searching for during my mission to condense and pick-up iconic cards, if I don't buy a certain card now, I will never be able to afford it again.  This "FOMO" landscape is not how I want to enjoy collecting, and there is no way that prices can continue to increase at this rate for very long, it's simply mathematically impossible.  I mean, at the rate things are going is this going to be a $10,000 card by the summer time?  I don't see how that's possible, even though I continue to be proven wrong on that front over these past 12 months.

I'm curious how you all are handling this new climate that we find ourselves collecting in?  Are you trying to make lemons from lemonade, and flip some overvalued cards into other more expensive overvalued cards like I am?  Are you just waiting it out for a bubble to burst?  Will the bubble ever burst, and will collecting ever again be what it was for us prior to 2020?  Ready to give up and find another hobby completely, perhaps?

Alright, sorry for the rant there, I'm just highly concerned for the future of this hobby.  If kids these days are completely priced out, and they can't even grab a pack of cards at the local big box store while shopping with Mom and Dad because the flippers cleared the shelves, will there even be anyone left who cares about sports cards in 20-30 years?  

For me at least, and for many collectors that I know, a big part of what we love about this hobby is the nostalgia factor.  If my Dad hadn't been able to purchase any cards for me as a kid because they were unavailable everywhere, and out of his price range when he could find them, I know for a fact that I wouldn't be a collector today.  I'd love to hear in the comments from anyone else who has similar worries, or even a contrary viewpoint!

As for the non-baseball Cardboard Keepers collection, it is up to 29 cards in size now, and can be viewed here.  I've still got a long way to go, with 971 cards remaining to be selected.  With the way things are going it's looking doubtful that I'll ever finish this project, yet at this point anyway I intend to keep plodding along.  I'll be back soon with the next card or group of cards for the project, but until then thanks as always for stopping by! 

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The Basketball Z-Folio Project - The Beginning

Over the past year, while working on selling off some things and condensing my overall collection down, rolling many small sales up into fewer, "bigger" cards has been my MO.  While I still believe this is the approach that's right for me at this stage in my collecting journey, it does leave me with a hole when it comes to the "have some good, cheap fun" side of the hobby.

Towards the end of last year I started to think about ways that I could still enjoy this side of collecting, but avoid things growing and sprawling out of hand in terms of sheer number of cards.  I settled on an idea of creating a single Z-Folio album for each of my lesser-collected areas of trading cards (football, basketball, non-sport, etc).

 If you're unfamiliar with the Z-Folio album, here's the one housing my basketball project.  These come in many different colors, I chose orange for this particular collection because it just seemed appropriate for the sport.  Last I looked they're around $25 on Amazon, with slight variations in pricing for certain colors. 

No, this one did not come with the hoop on the front, that's a custom sticker my wife created for me using her Cricut craft machine.  I'll probably add some more stickers to this over time, but for now at least I can easily look at this and determine what's inside without opening it.  Speaking of opening it, here's the first thing I like better about Z-Folio compared to your standard binder:

Yes, the Z-Folio zippers shut, all the way around the album.  While some may see this as an annoyance, I actually appreciate that it should keep the majority of dust out of these pages, and hopefully avoid that weird layer of "film" I sometimes see develop on the top of the first sheet in my standard Ultra Pro binders over time.

Inside the Z-Folio are 20 pages, each with 9 pockets on the front and 9 on the back, for a total of 360 available slots in the binder.  There's a solid black cloth backing on each page, so that the cards are housed back to back on a sheet.  Obviously this is not an ideal setup for those who really enjoy looking at the backs of their cards in binder form.  Are there a lot of those folks out there, though?  In fact, I know quite a few collectors that put their cards back to back in a standard Ultra Pro sheet anyway, just to economize space.

Besides, another thing that I really love about these is they are taller than your standard binder/sheets, and are designed for the card to fit within each slot while encased in a penny sleeve!  As you can see above, sleeved cards fit nicely right into each pocket, sliding in horizontally.  So, if you do want to have a look at the back of your cards (or shuffle around and rearrange what you have in an album), it's very easy to remove them without risking any damage.

So yeah, that's a bit about why I've really come to love these Z-Folios after learning about them in a YouTube video months back.  As I mentioned, I'll be looking to fill this one here with 360 cool, totally random basketball cards.  

Let's take a look at what I've got in the album so far...

You've seen this cheap Prizm Pink Ice Ray Allen parallel on the blog before, and in some of the photos above.  I'll buy amazing shiny basketball cards like this for less than a dollar for this project all day long!

Speaking of which, I'll likely dedicate an entire 9-pocket page to different variations of this Paul Pierce card.  So far I have the Pink Prizm to match the Ray Allen...

...and this Red White & Blue Prizm.  I've got at least a couple more parallels of this card on the way, whenever my COMC order from a couple months back eventually arrives.  In fact, there are quite a few singles for this project within that overall order.

Next up, a trio of Shaq rookies.  I was at a very impressionable age with my childhood collecting when O'Neal rose to fame, and even though I was never a big basketball collector I acquired a couple of his rookie cards at the time, at the local pharmacy where they had a small card shop setup with a display case up front.

The two that I prized most were this Skybox rookie (which I funded with money from raking leaves, if I recall) because of the really great photograph...

...and the Ultra RC, which I think was an under-rated card for a very long time.  I know it's not very rare, or super valuable, but this card is damn awesome.  Those foil ROOKIE ribbons on the first couple of Ultra sets across all sports were highly coveted among my group of childhood collecting friends.

Also tossed in this 1977 Topps White Back Dave Cowens card, which I picked up a long while back off of COMC just because it was cheap, and because I liked the photograph of the Celtics HOFer.  Look at those socks!  Like something my dad would have worn to go along with his "fanny pack" when we were walking around Disney World circa 1990.

Finally, the latest addition to the binder, and the card that caused me to get my act together and create this post finally!  I received this Mark Jackson card recently as a contest win from The Diamond King!  This card suddenly became quite popular a while back when it was noted that two well-known evil people are seated courtside along the left border of the photograph there.

Sort of a creepy card for sure, but an interesting one that I really wanted to include in the binder right from when I first conceived of it.  Big thanks to The Diamond King for holding the contest and sending me this one gratis, and thanks to everyone else for stopping by and reading a little bit about basketball cards from someone who knows admittedly very little about them.

With these 8 cards in the Z-Folio, I still have the fun of hunting and selecting 352 more before I call the project complete.  If I ever reach that point even, then I'll treat the binder like an un-numbered franken-set I suppose, where a new card can be accepted in only by booting an existing one out.  I'm a long way from having to make any of those decisions though, which I'm happy for since I enjoy the thrill of the hunt.

What's your opinion on Z-Folio binders if you've ever seen them?  Do you use any to store aspects of your own collection?  As you can see from this shot of my home office bookshelf, I've been bitten by the bug.  I'll be posting from time to time on what each of these is, and keeping you updated with my progress on each here on the blog as well.

In the meantime, thanks as always for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Cardboard Keepers - Black Sox Red Sox

Time for the next installment of Cardboard Keepers, a thought experiment in which I theoretically whittle my entire collection down to just 2,000 cards; 1,000 baseball keepers, and 1,000 "other" keepers.  This is a rant for another day, but more and more as this hobby has "evolved" over the course of the past 12 months, I'm starting to believe that it is never going to be the same again.  

I'm more committed than ever to reducing the size of my collection overall, and am more and more leaning towards making this Cardboard Keepers thought experiment a reality.  Part of this is my desire for more space and less clutter, another part is frustration with parts of the hobby.

Recently, I tallied up all of my graded cards for the first time ever, and I ended up with a total that exceeded 800 slabs.  Pretty shocking number, even to the guy who purchased them all.  Now, those were accumulated over 13 years back in this hobby, but still, that's entirely too many slabs to have around here.  I've been selling on eBay like crazy while this market is hot, and have been making multiple trips to the post office weekly just to keep up with the sales heading out the door.

Like I said, more about all that stuff soon, but for today's entry into this project we have a card that survived even this most recent and more aggressive phase of purging, a true Cardboard Keeper...

This is one of my absolute favorite pre-war baseball cards.  I love it for a couple of reasons, most notably that absolutely fantastic Red Sox jersey!  I am an absolute and total sucker for any pre-war cards that feature that particular uniform, and there are precious few of them (this is the only one that I actually own).  Secondly, I love the concept that this card is so old that it actually features a young Ed Cicotte, a full decade before his reputation would forever be tarnished for his participation in the 1919 Black Sox World Series scandal.

I purchased this card all the way back in 2014, and even though it wasn't exactly a jaw-dropping sum in the grand scheme of things (<$250), it was still something that as a 31-year-old I had to give serious consideration to before picking up, and one of my more expensive pick-ups in this hobby at that time.  I'd be hard pressed to find one that looks this nice for less than twice that amount today.

For those that collect slabbed cards, this is a primo example of why you should buy the card and not the grade on the top (known as the "flip").  This card presents amazingly well for a piece of cardboard that is well over 100 years old now, yet received a "FAIR 1.5" from the folks at PSA for two reasons.  First, there's a crease in the upper right corner, very hard to make out but if you look closely you'll see it there.  Secondly...

...there's just a bit of paper loss on the back, at about the mid-way point there.  Does not bother me in the least, given that the back is just a checklist of the 25 subjects in this set, and overall still looks good despite the paper loss.

Besides, just look at this front!  It's absolutely glorious.  This card is, and will forever be, one of my favorite Red Sox cards in my entire collection.  With 100+ years in the rear view I think the fact that Cicotte was involved in the Black Sox scandal actually makes this card even cooler, if anything.  Some of my other pre-war Red Sox are already listed on eBay, and others will be joining them soon, but this is one card I simply could not bring myself to part with.

For that reason, this one was an easy choice for my Cardboard Keepers baseball collection, which is now up to 39 cards and counting, and can be viewed here if you're interested. I'll be back with more keepers soon, in the meantime thanks as always for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Cheap Slabs - Orange Jee-tah

Welcome to the latest installment of Cheap Slabs, a recurring series of posts where I attempt to show that collecting graded cards does not necessarily need to be an expensive pursuit.  Ground rules for these posts are simple; the card(s) shown have to have cost me less than $25 before taxes and shipping.

Today's card actually represents my final purchase of the dumpster fire of a year that was 2020, as I picked up this shiny HOFer on the very last day of the year...

I'm not one of those Boston Red Sox fans who "hates" the Yankees.  In fact, as a fan of the history of the game, I actually respect the organization a great deal.  On top of that, out of the many, many HOF stars who have donned the pinstripes over the years, Derek Jeter is certainly one of my favorites.

As a kid who collected in the early to mid '90s, Jeter was one of the biggest rookies/prospects of the era.  Even though I'd never seen him play a game at that time, I knew from talking with my friends, reading Tuff Stuff magazine, and checking out the display case at the local card shop, that Derek was a big deal.  Later, in high school and college, I'd watch him grow into a leader on a team that won four World Series championships in a five-year stretch.  Then, as an adult, I witnessed him win another championship for New York, and accomplish the famed 3,000 hits (which he crushed, finishing 6th all-time in hits).  Hard not to respect a guy like that.

Combine all of this with my love for shiny cards, and for the colored refractors from the Topps white border years in particular, and I was absolutely helpless in the face of this fine PSA 9 a few weeks back.

Here's the back, you can click the image for a larger version if you'd like, but trust me that there are a lot of italics, bold, and even some red to be found in that statistics table.  

Always liked the layout of the 2011 set.  Always liked the 2011 set period, actually.  One of the best designs of the 2010s, the beautiful Cognac and Platinum Diamond Anniversary parallels (including retired legend variations) in the base set, Chrome Atomic Refractors that were slightly more plentiful at 225 copies each, and of course the famed Mike Trout.  Yeah, 2011 was a great year for Topps flagship/Chrome!

Here's a great look at Derek in all his shiny glory.  A great-looking card if you ask me.  I still want to get a really nice Jeter RC (or two) for my collection, but in the meantime I'm happy to have snagged this card on the cheap.  Have a feeling it's going to be hard to find his refractors graded at less than $25 once he finally gets inducted this upcoming summer.

That's all for now, thanks for stopping by to check out my cheap slab.  Stay safe out there!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...