Monday, May 4, 2020

Odds & Ends

My mind seems to be a bit frazzled lately, understandably.  In some respects I'm finding it hard to focus within my hobbies, so let's just embrace that and go with a random post for today featuring a bunch of odds & ends. 

First of all, it's Star Wars Day for those of you who aren't aware (May the Fourth Be with You!).  Let's take a look at a handful of favorites from my admittedly small Star Wars card collection...

I love buybacks, and I love Star Wars, so of course I love Star Wars buybacks.  These were included in a 40th Anniversary set a couple of years back.  I don't seek them out much if ever anymore, but I did accumulate a dozen of them including this classic R2-D2/C-3PO card.

Since I also love acetate cards, I'm draw to the Topps Star Wars High Tek releases.  I'd never bust a box of this myself as it's relatively expensive, but I do grab singles off of COMC (or at least did...) from time to time.

I love this one because, while it's not generally considered among the franchise's best films by most hardcore fans, I really do enjoy Return of the Jedi.  We had a home-recorded VHS version when I was growing up and my brothers and I watched it dozens of times.  This card reminds me of that epic scene from that film with Jabba the Hutt making the protagonists walk the plank in the desert.

Since I enjoyed Return of the Jedi so much, I'm one of those fans who isn't bothered by the Ewoks at all.  In fact, I'm not too proud to admit that I own both made-for-TV Ewoks movies from the '80s in my Amazon video library (and have watched them both within the past year).  This "Logray" auto was a cool, cheap pick-up off of COMC back in the day.

Last Star Wars card for today, I promise.  This riff on the '80-81 Topps basketball design is a great homage to some of the villains of the franchise.  Anyway, that concludes our brief look at Star Wars.  I may watch one, or two, or three of the films from the original franchise tonight as a tribute.

Side note, I'd really like to pick up a copy of the Larry Bird/Magic Johnson RC from this set someday for my Cardboard Keepers collection, but wow is that card in demand!

Moving on...

Here's another of those Helmar Polar Night art cards I picked up last summer.  These don't draw many views or much reaction in their own posts, so I figured I'd lump this one in here to get it cleared out of my scan folder.  Love the old school catcher's gear.  I'm telling you, Helmar makes some absolutely beautiful and vibrant cards.

What else?  Well, I've been using the increased amount of spare time that comes with sheltering in place to make amazing progress on organizing and condensing my collection.  It's something I started long before this pandemic, but have really been able to fast-track.  My ultimate goal is to have every card in my household scanned, added to my inventory on TCDB, and neatly sorted to where I can locate any card instantly.  It's a tall order, but it's a marathon not a race, and I'm enjoying the process.  In fact, as great a feeling as that accomplishment will be, there will be a little disappointment mixed in if I ever do get there.

The process has forced me to confront quite a few "I'll get to it some other time" projects that I'd been procrastinating on for a long time, which has been cathartic I have to say.  For example, I recently went through a childhood baseball card album I had featuring my star player cards.  The binder itself was in pretty rough shape after many years of storage in my parents' basement, but I finally went through it.  I chucked some cards that were absolutely beat, as well as the binder and sheets themselves, but I was able to salvage quite a few awesome cards and re-welcome them into my collection proper:

I loved this card back in the day.  Sure, McGwire's true recognized rookie card came back in the 1985 Topps set, but he was pictured with Team USA on that card.  It was his 1987 release where we got our first glimpse at the slugger in Oakland A's green.  When I was ten years old I figured this card would make me rich someday!

Sportflics (or SportFlix, as noted here) made some really off-the-wall cards in the year or two before I wrapped up collecting for the first time.  I absolutely loved them.  This card takes me back to sitting on my buddy Shawn's bed on a summer day with our cards spread around negotiating trades.  I actually would really like to finish this particular insert set, if memory serves it's only six cards in size.

Even though they don't scan so well, I also adore these Cyclone Squad inserts.

Was happy to find a nice, mint 1989 Fleer Nolan Ryan in the binder.  He's one of the players I'd love to complete an '80s run of at some point, and this was a hole I needed to plug as far as that endeavor goes.

Ditto for this '84 Ripken.  I actually purchased this at an antiques store in Putnam, CT somewhere between 25 and 30 years ago.  I can still recall how excited I was on the drive home to have a copy of this one.

I do not recall the origins of this Fleer card, however.  I think I'm getting close to having most of Cal's '80s cards from the major producers in my collection at this point.  I'll have to do a formal tally once I finish my organization here...

I've talked numerous times about my love of 1994 Stadium Club here on the blog.  Like my all-time most nostalgic set, 1990 Topps, I can totally understand how some collectors would not be very into this design.  I was 12 years old though when this set hit shelves in the summer of '94, and I couldn't get enough of these.

Not much to say about this one, except that 1990 Leaf was a great set.  I am trying to reduce the size of my collection these days, so I have to really prize a set in order to try completing the entire thing.  To me, 1990 Leaf falls just short of that threshold, but I do hang onto Red Sox cards and stars from the release for now anyway.

Next up, a couple of cool subset cards salvaged from my Rickey Henderson pages.  Even back then as a kid some obsessive qualities were present, as I'd organize my cards by player within the binder, alphabetically by last name.  Then within each player's section they'd be organized by year, then by brand alphabetically, then by card number.

Always been a fan of Rickey, so these two (which are in fine shape) were no-brainers to adopt into my adult collection here.

As was this one, a 1989 Topps Traded card that signifies Rickey's return to Oakland after his stint with the Yankees!

Just a regular old base card here from a mid-'90s Score release.  Despite my drastic reduction in collection size, I still find it hard to part with any Griffey card that's not a double.

One more from '94 Stadium Club!

See prior comment about Griffey cards.

A 1997 Pinnacle Nomar Garciaparra here.  This would have probably been one of the last cards I acquired as a kid.  I was a freshman in high school when this set came out, and had pretty much put sports card collecting behind me for the next ten years.

Loved me some Will the Thrill back in the day.  I actually still have a decent-sized player collection of his, which I'm about halfway through entering on TCDB.  It's mostly cheap singles like this one, but I do have a couple of autographs and relics in the mix too just to spice it up and give it a little variety.

Always liked the image Topps chose for his '93 flagship card.

Here's one from later on, with the Rangers.  Like the Nomar above, this would have been acquired just as the sun was setting on my childhood baseball card collecting days.

Who else remembers what a big deal the foil ROOKIE pennants on early '90s Fleer Ultra were?  Maybe it was just me, but among my buddies these held a premium as far as trading went.  When I came across this one featuring HOFer Mike Mussina it made me chuckle.

I recall quite a few of these Upper Deck Comic Ball cards being around in our card boxes as kids.  While they don't do a whole lot for me now (Topps Kids is a way better set in that realm), I had to hang onto this one featuring The Texas Express.  Also, I guess this counts as half a Red Sox card due to the cartoon portion?

That's a wrap as far as the cards I held onto from that particular portion of that binder.  Let's see, what else...?

From the "What was I thinking?" files, here's a slabbed 1979-80 Scoring Leaders card.  I picked this up a year or two ago because I was on a run of adding new Gretzky cards to my collection, but in retrospect this was a silly purchase.  It ran me less than $20, but thanks to Topps' decision to black out the names on all the cards in their '80-81 release and make them "scratch-off" it's not a set I'm all that fond of.

I guess you can't really go wrong with a PSA 9 Gretzky that pays homage to his amazing rookie season, right?  I mean, he's the GOAT!  Honestly though, when I get restocked on bubble mailers and feel better about frequent trips to the post office I'll probably sell this card off and put the funds towards something I'll enjoy more.

Speaking of the GOAT, there are some that feel French phenom Kylian Mbappe is or will be the greatest soccer player in the world.  Mentioned in the conversation anyway alongside names like Pele, Messi or Ronaldo.  When cleaning through my "other sports" box I came across two of these Panini Instant World Cup cards from the tournament where he really became a household name among soccer fans back in 2018.

These are sort of like the Topps NOW of the World Cup, limited in print run to however many Panini sold at the time.

It's been absolutely crazy what Mbappe's cards have been selling for lately.  I've heard that the Michael Jordan documentary is leading to spikes in card prices for some of the other "greatest players" in their respective sports.  I don't know if that's the cause or not, but I do know his cards have been selling for absolute bananas prices.

While I'm holding onto these two (and they're not all that valuable yet anyway), I did part with four other Mbappe cards recently as part of two separate but equally awesome "eBay flips".  I'll have those posted to the blog soon, and believe me the results are pretty incredible.  Right up there with my recent maneuver that led to the Michael Jordan RC even!

This post is getting long though, and I've got to wait for some of the cards from those flips to arrive in the mail anyway, so for now we'll call it for today and leave you in suspense on that front.  Thanks for stopping by.  Until next time...


Fuji said...

That 89TT Rickey is a great card. I'm sure hearing the news of him coming back to the A's was music to my ears during the summer of 1989. I just wish Topps had not zoomed in so much on that card. It would have been cool to see his entire bat in the photo.

Tim B. said...

Awesome randomness. Happy Star Wars Day!

Elliptical Man said...

Voting for the Rickey Henderson record breaker card.

Laughing at Oakland's 1982 leaders: .267 and 4.21.

Boba deserved better. As did Darth Maul.

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