Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Stickedy Stick Stick!

I am many months behind on thanking my hobby friend Angus of Dawg Day Cards for some wonderful stickers and cards that he sent my way.  Let's rectify that now...

We'll start off with a pair of stickers from the 1982-83 Topps Stickers release.  These are notable in that only O-Pee-Chee produced a full-fledged licensed trading card set of NHL hockey cards in 1982-83 (my birth year!).  These stickers are the closest Topps got that season.  For my Whalers team set Angus supplied me with goaltender Greg Millen...

...and Chris Kotsopoulos, whom I remember fondly thanks to his airbrushed atrocity of a card in the 1989-90 O-Pee-Chee set.  Seriously, check this out:


Sticking with the theme of under-sized cards for the moment, we've also got a pair from the 1988-89 O-Pee-Chee Minis set.  These bring back fond memories from my collecting youth.

I think I have a complete set around here somewhere, but have never found the time to scan it in and add the cards to my collection proper so these qualify as "new to me" for now.

How about some more stickers?  The next few are from the 1986-87 O-Pee-Chee Stickers set.  These are a little tricky for collectors to track, since some stickers like Dave Babych here feature a single player on a full sticker...

...yet others combined two stickers on a single backboard.  This sticker is actually both #51 Ron Francis and #190 John Vanbiesbrouck.  You can actually see the sticker numbers in the lower left below the photo (you can click the image for an enlarged version).

Mike Liut's sticker is of particular interest, knocking a Whalers need off my list while simultaneously providing me with a tremendously awesome oddball of The Great One!

Sylvain Turgeon received his own full-sized (though smaller than a normal modern-day trading card) sticker.  I have no clue how O-Pee-Chee went about determining who received their own sticker vs. who was teamed up with another player.

Hockey fans will recognize long-time Blackhawks and current Panthers coach Joel Quenneville on the left side of this one!

Believe it or not, there were a small handful of cards in the package that are normal size, and that won't stick to anything without some glue or tape being involved.  The first of those is this obscure 1992-93 Upper Deck McDonald's All-Star of center John Cullen.

The next three cards were the shocker of the package for me in terms of "I don't have this already?" factor.  I probably had two dozen copies of this John Cullen All-Star card from 1991-92 Pro Set growing up, but somehow none of them survived into my adult collection.  According to The Trading Card Database, this completes my 1991-92 Pro Set Whalers team set!  28 years turnaround time on that, not too shabby.

I picked up a complete set of 1990-91 Score not long after re-entering the hobby.  In fact, I put together a rather lengthy post on the release back when I had a lot more time for blogging in 2010.  This Adam Burt, however...

...and this Terry Yake, are from the Canadian version of the release.  Still working on cobbling that team set together all these years later, and these were both needs to that end.

That does it for the hockey cards this time around, but Angus hooked me up with some sticky baseball "cards" as well.  A nice pair of well-known names here with color commentator and fan favorite Jerry Remy...

...joining the great Tony Perez.

I generally prefer action shots, or obscure photos, to standard portraits.  With that being said, this is how you design a portrait-based set in my humble opinion.  This is my first 1988 Panini sticker, don't recall ever having seen one in hand actually.  I'd make it a point to grab more of these if I ran across them at a show, or at a discount online.

We'll close out the package with a batch of 1986 O-Pee-Chee stickers.  Like the hockey release from the same season, the majority of these team up two smaller stickers on the same backing.

Always love a new Oil Can Boyd!

Not the most flattering photo of Marty Barrett here.

Anyone?  Yep, that's the infamous Bill Buckner, may he rest in peace.

This one had me stumped, but it's Bob Stanley.  In my defense I would have been around 3 years old when these were released.

Tony Armas...

...and no mistaking this one, HOFer Wade Boggs!

Lastly, there were some solo stickers in this set, same as the hockey.  Wade Boggs got the full-size treatment, which is understandable given that he was an absolute superstar in his prime around this time.

That's a wrap for tonight.  If I still had a Trapper Keeper I'd consider peeling these stickers and putting them to use, but as it is I think I'll keep them with my Red Sox baseball cards for now.

Angus, thank you so much for the thoughtful surprise, and I sincerely apologize for taking so long to get these posted.  They are absolutely appreciated and have been given a good home!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Buyback Franken-set: Defeat, Defeat, Defeat

A three card buyback post is all time will allow for to start the week here.  Let's take a look at a trio of Heritage box-topper buybacks, my favorite type...

1970 Topps #272 - Hector Torres

This Hector Torres is my first 2019 Topps Heritage buyback, featuring the 1970 Topps originals.  I grabbed this off of COMC because I find the jacket-under-jersey concept comical, and because it was cheap at 85 cents.  Standing in its way as far as the franken-set binder goes though is an older Heritage buyback...

...Jerry Lumpe's 1959 release.  As much as I'd like to get my first 2019 Heritage buyback into the franken-set...

...I just don't think this one can supplant the Lumpe.

1969 Topps #406 - Phil Ortega

Next up, Phil Ortega courtesy of 1969 Topps.  Between the palm tree and the "sandy" feel to the ground behind Phil, this photo almost has a tropical feel to it.  I gravitated towards this one on COMC because, like the Torres above it was only 85 cents.  Besides, I love cards featuring teams that no longer exist.

This one's also blocked when it comes to franken-set induction though, as Lee Elia's 1967 card is already in slot 406, also in Topps Heritage buyback format.  These are actually pretty similar cards when you get down to it.

In the end I decided to leave Lee Elia where he was.

1964 Topps #92 - Steve Ridzik

Rounding out today's trio is another Senators buyback, featuring pitcher Steve Ridzik's 1964 Topps release.  In my experience, Heritage buybacks from this particular year haven't been quite as easy to come by.  Even as I close in on 1,400 total buybacks now, I have less than ten 2013 Topps Heritage 1964 Topps buybacks.

Coincidentally enough, as with the first two cards in today's post, this Heritage buyback also runs up against an existing Heritage buyback for the franken-set.  In this case I really like the image on this '67 Ray Washburn, with the jacket-under-jersey look (for the second time in today's post), and some '60s fans seated in the background.

Hate to say it, but have to stick with the Washburn.

Today's contestants may have gone 0-for-3, but I'm never disappointed to add any new Heritage buybacks to my collection, even if they end up in my box of franken-set rejects.

My next post in this series should see me crossing the 1,400 total buybacks mark.  That's a pretty insane number if you ask me, but there are still plenty more to come!

Franken-set Progress: 653/792 (82%)
1990 Topps Buyback Set: 119/792 (15%)
"Rejected" Buybacks: 622
Total Buybacks in Collection: 1,394

Sunday, October 27, 2019

A Football Card Experiment - Game 8 - Ain't Got No Browns

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 week 8 action, the 7-0 Patriots host the 2-4 Cleveland Browns at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA with a local kick-off time of 4:25 PM.  The Browns look to shock New England's home fans with an unlikely road victory, while the Patriots hope to maintain a perfect record at what will mark the halfway point of their season.

Here's the card to commemorate this week's game...

Yep, it's another tallboy and yes, this week for the first time all season we have a Patriots card!

I left this series of posts pretty well open-ended in that I just wanted to acquire a new football card for each game of the season this year.  I'd like to have some variety in my football card collection, especially given how small it is, so I wanted to avoid a situation where I simply ended up with 16 new Patriots cards.  To that end, I've actually featured a card of the opposing team every week up until now.  I didn't land any Browns in the small birthday eBay order that kicked off this project, and haven't managed to pick one up since, so today it's a Pats card for the first time.

1965 Topps has by far been the most popular set in this experiment so far, as this is now my third card from this release.  The first two featured New York Jets, so I'd say this one is my biased favorite so far.  I'm somewhat surprised by how cheaply this can be acquired compared to their '64-65 Topps hockey relatives.  As an example, this card was added via COMC for the lowly price of $1.25.  That's about what I plopped down for a Kit Kat bar for my wife at the pharmacy counter the other day.

The back has a nice cartoon that references Long's All-American selection, and the write-up mentions his durability/iron man streak.

I'd be tempted to take a crack at a Patriots team set from this release sometime in the future, but since I have way too many irons in the fire already I'm content with just this one card for now.

Enjoy the NFL action today football fans!  Until next time, thanks for stopping by...

Saturday, October 26, 2019

I Sold My 1953 Topps Cards! Part 1

When I returned to collecting back in 2007, one of the first decisions I made was to chase the 1953 Topps baseball set.  I had fond memories of this set from my collecting youth, thanks mostly to the 1991 Archives reprint set that came out at the height of my kid collecting frenzy.  Back then I always imagined just how cool the over-sized originals must have been, and the thought of getting my hands on some of them really appealed to me.

Now, when I decided to pursue this set at this stage, I was just 24 years old.  Far enough into full-time working adulthood to be bringing home decent money, but not so far along as to have a lot of financial obligations dragging me down. 

These factors, combined with a dash of naivete and a sprinkle of OCD, resulted in a decision to try to build the entire set in PSA-graded form (the naivete part), and more specifically in a PSA 6 (the OCD part).

This seemed like a good idea at age 24, and for the first few years I got off to the races fairly well, as you can see above.  As time rolled on though, I was less and less willing the pay the premium required to land some of the bigger stars.  Hell, even commons in this grade are rarely available for less than $15-$20 a pop, and high series commons go for multiple times that.

The stars and HOFers, as you'd imagine, are much worse.  For example, after not having the balls to pull the trigger on a PSA 6 Mantle or two back in the day in the $1,500 range, they've now gone up in value to four to five times that amount in the ensuing years.  That alone is a deal-breaker for the project, as I don't make the kind of money to shell out multiple thousands of dollars for a single card.  In fact all these years later I've never even shelled out the $1,500 that I could have had a Mantle for back then for any other single card, nor do I anticipate doing so any time soon.

I'd still grab a card or two here and there as time rolled on, and never fully bailed on the project.  In fact, I got well past the 1/3 complete mark and was even closing in on the halfway point.  It became more and more apparent though that due to my many other collecting interests I was never going to get there in this format.

Right when I was going through this inner turmoil, and working on purging cards and minimizing the size of my overall collection anyway, I was contacted by someone who found my set on the PSA Set Registry to see if I was interested in selling.  Since this is already a longer post than most here I'll spare you the details of the negotiation, but in the end I parted with 102 graded 1953 Topps cards.  The price we settled on for the lot was $1,750!  This one transaction netted me more money than all of my other collection purge sales over the past few months combined.

The cards I got rid of, with one exception (HOFer Hal Newhouser), were all commons or very minor stars.  The 102 cards I parted with though weren't the entirety of my '53 collection.  I decided to hang onto all of my Red Sox cards in the hopes of completing a team set in graded format; a much more realistic and attainable goal.  All of the cards in the remainder of this post are cards I held onto and did not include in the sale.

It just made sense as I was mulling things over.  I already have about 2/3 of a team set, and without a Ted Williams card in this release figure it won't be too hard to fill in the missing pieces, especially not with a huge lump sum of money in hand after the transaction.

Most of these have seen the light of day on the blog over the years, such as Ellis Kinder, who debuted here back in 2013.

To really make me feel old, this Maurice McDermott was the first '53 Topps Red Sox card I ever featured here on the blog well over 11 years ago now!

Dick Brodowski's card is famous for being one of the earlier night cards in the history of our hobby.

Just because there's no card of the Splendid Splinter to be found in this release doesn't mean that a Red Sox team set is completely bereft of HOFers.  George Kell's enshrined in Cooperstown after all.

Here's one I don't believe I've ever shown before, but am particularly proud of.  Of the dozen or so Dom DiMaggio cards I've got in my collection, this might be my overall favorite.  How could you not love that smile?

Old-time ballplayers had the absolute best nicknames, no?

Al Zarilla wraps up the lower series as far as my current Red Sox cards go.  I do have two from the dreaded high number series that I held onto as well however...

...in outfielder Gene Stephens...

...and shortstop Milt Bolling. 

Those of you with a sharp eye and a familiarity with vintage sets may have noticed that Milt here is the final card on the checklist at #280.  As vintage collectors know, the first and last cards in each set typically demand a premium.  When collectors would sort their cards in order for storage or transport, these were the cards that were exposed on each end of the stack.  As such they often took the most damage in the form of sunlight exposure, dings, damage from elastic bands, and more, and are in most cases more difficult to find in good condition than other cards in the release.

Despite the fact that most fans have likely never heard of Milt Bolling, this is a three-figure card in this grade all day long.  Couldn't bring myself to part with this one.

So, that's the beginning of the story of how I made the tough decision to part with the majority of my '53s.  The story doesn't end here though.  The goal with my ongoing collection purging is to not only conserve space and simplify, but also to use the proceeds to set myself up for the future financially speaking.  To that end, right off the bat $250 from this sale went into my long-term savings account, and $750 into my growing stock portfolio.  I have a feeling I'll end up saving a good deal of the remaining $750 as well, but also promised that I'd treat myself to at least some new cardboard as a reward for pulling the trigger on this transaction.

In the next installment of this short series I'll show off a couple of the cards that I landed with proceeds from this sale.  Until then, thanks as always for stopping by!

Have you ever waved the white flag on a significant collecting quest like this, and made a tough decision to part with the cards either in trade or by sale?  If so, I'd love to hear about it in the comments...
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