Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Cheap Slabs - Devers Bowman RC

There's a myth among certain collectors that collecting graded cards has to be expensive.  It sure can be, but it doesn't have to be!  In the 'Cheap Slabs' series here on the blog, we'll look exclusively at graded cards that cost me $25 or less to add to my collection...

Today's card is a very cheap rookie card of one of the best offensive players to debut for my hometown Red Sox in the past few years...

It's the standard Bowman rookie card of third baseman Rafael Devers, in a nice PSA 9.  I've already got a raw copy of this card, maybe even a couple, but I couldn't resist snatching this one up given that it cost me just $6.25 of COMC store credit!

Devers has had some issues in the field at times, but has been a great hitter in the Boston lineup early in his career.  He led the league in both doubles and total bases last year, his age 22 season.  While his numbers dipped a bit in 2020, I'm considering this past "season" an anomaly as far as my collecting goes, and am just as excited to pick up new Devers cards now as I ever was.

Here's a look at the back, way too busy if you ask me.  In fact, I'm not generally a huge fan of Bowman sets for this very reason, but in this case it was a cheap enough rookie of a player I like a good deal.

So, there's my latest cheap slab.  I actually picked this up many months ago, as evidenced by the fact that I actually have it in hand despite not receiving either of the two COMC orders I've had shipped to me this year yet.

I've got plenty more cheap PSA-graded cards to share in future iterations of this series, but until then thanks as always for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Rink Collection Complete!

Today I finally get to begin showing off some of the contents of a really spectacular trade package that I received over the summer from Mark, aka 'avsbruins65' on TCDB.  Mark sent so many great cards that I can't show them all off in a single post, so let's start with a batch of '90s Whalers parallels!

Yes, it's 1995-96 Pinnacle Rink Collection!  The short-lived Rink Collection parallels are some of my absolute favorites of the entire decade that was the '90s, and I was totally pumped to find a handful of these in the package for my ever-growing Whalers collection.

Always loved this shot of defenseman Adam Burt taking an awkward puck to the face!

These are so appreciated, because I've mainly focused on the inaugural '94-95 Rink Collection parallels to date, and only had one lone Whaler from this '95-96 set prior to receiving Mark's generous package.

Great shot of the Whalers uniforms of the era here, as Robert Kron engages in discussion with the referee.

I've mentioned many times before how Hartford fans were conflicted about Glen Wesley.  He was a despised member of the rival Bruins for many years before donning the Whalers green and blue.

Unfortunately, as we now know, the team was just a couple of seasons from its demise move to Carolina when these cards were issued.

Love this Geoff Sanderson, the blue uniform looks great on these particular parallels.  As is always the case with Dufex or foil cards, these look infinitely better in hand than they do in scans.

Lastly, my favorite card of the bunch, Darren Turcotte posing with (presumably) his son in front of the net.  Pinnacle had some great photographs in their mid-'90s hockey releases, quirky portraits like this one included among them.

What's especially great about the eight cards I showed in this post is that they complete my '95-96 Rink Collection Whalers team set!  I'm really starting to feel like a serious team collector now, with not just team sets completed but team sets in parallel format as well.  With these added to my collection on TCDB I'm now up to 1,836 Whalers cards and counting, good enough for third place on the site as far as largest Hartford Whalers collections go.

Mark, thanks for these great cards, they are very much appreciated!  Everyone else, enjoy the rest of your Tuesday and I'll be back soon with more goodies from Mark's package.  Thanks as always for stopping by!

Monday, September 28, 2020

Unconventional Cardboard Storage

Living in a part of the country that's ripe with antiques and country stores, I'm always on the lookout for card storage mechanisms that look a little more attractive than the white cardboard boxes much of my collection is stored in.  Recently, I stumbled into a couple of cool items on this front, so I thought they might make for an interesting post and a nice break from the stream of "look what cards I got" posts.

First up, this Wilson's Certified processed cheese box.  Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like; back in the day these little wooden boxes were used to ship about 5 lbs each of processed cheese!  Quite a few of these survived to the modern age, and they're not all that rare to find to be honest.  I just love the worn look and history of the thing, certainly more aesthetically pleasing in my home office/card room than some of the alternatives like I said.

Here's a look at one of the front panels, great shot of the Wilson & Co logo.  American-made, in Wisconsin baby!  Those of you with a keen eye have probably already picked up on why I brought this box home with me.  I had a sneaking suspicion, which proved to be correct...

...that the box is the absolute perfect size to hold PSA slabs!  This little box will secure between 40 and 50 PSA-graded cards by my estimation.  Of course, it'll do just fine for penny sleeved or top-loaded cards as well, and would hold even more of those.  Best of all, it set me back only $10 or so, no more than one of the assemble-yourself BCW cardboard boxes would have cost me most likely.

Believe it or not, I found another storage mechanism in recent weeks though that is even cooler than that.  Check out this ornate beauty!

This box absolutely intrigued me the moment that I saw it.  I've never really seen another box like it.  It's got some serious weight to it, and is felt-lined along the bottom, as well as throughout the interior.  The craftsmanship is actually pretty stunning, really nice solid wood with some cool little touches like the striping down the sides and the design on top to really give it a luxurious feel.

Here's a look at it from the side.  There are a pair of hinges on the back, and the top actually folds back on those to reveal the inside, as opposed to coming all the way off.  Any guesses as to what this was?  Give up?  Well, it turns out it was some type of display piece for a high-end retail store that was used to display a cutlery set that was for sale!

Obviously, since it's being featured here, you know what I thought of right away.  There are three divided sections inside, all felt-lined as I mentioned, and if I removed a couple of modular inserts that were in place above each to hold the cutlery, they looked like they may be the perfect little cubbies to store some cards in!

Here it is opened up with some of my graded baseball cards stored inside...

As you can see, each of the three sections neatly holds two rows of graded cards, with enough room down the middle to make flipping through and pulling cards out a breeze.  The bonus shelf in the back works perfectly for horizontally-oriented cards like my Nolan Ryan RC there.

For now, I'm storing all of the cards from my Cardboard Keepers experiment in this case, but at some point there will be too many of them to contain in here.  At that stage I might re-dedicate this as my spot for a valued graded player collection, like Nolan Ryan or Wayne Gretzky.  Whatever it stores though, it looks absolutely awesome in my office and is a great way to display my collection with pride.

With these now in use, my working desk is so much more pleasant a place to sit and sort, and blog about cards.  What used to look like this... looks like this...

Ah, much better!

Put these together with my card chest that I use for COMC yet-to-be-posted cards, and things are looking nice in my home office here.  Of course, I still have way more cards than I do cool and unique places to store them like this.  Hopefully, as I keep my eye out for more interesting storage mechanisms while simultaneously reducing the size of my collection, I can increase the percentage of my cards that are stored in something cool like these boxes.

How about you, have you ever used or do you currently use any non-standard storage mechanisms for your collection?  If so, I'd love to hear about them in the comments.  Thanks as always for stopping by!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Cardboard Keepers - First Football Card!

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 not only the first football card to be selected, but it's also brand spankin' new to me, as I just picked it up a couple of days ago...

Always wanted a Johnny Unitas card, and always loved the simplistic design of the 1964 Philadelphia football set.  This one is made even cooler by the fact that the Golden Arm was named NFL MVP in '64, his second of three career MVP awards.

I scored this copy at a small antiques store in my neck of the woods for the very reasonable price of $15.  It's in remarkably good shape, and I'm thrilled to have this be my lone representation of Unitas in my collection to date.

Here's a look at the back, nice and clean as well.  Pretty rough cartoon if you're a Steelers fan!


That's really all for today, just seemed like NFL football Sunday was the perfect day to unveil this beauty.  I may not have many football cards, but I sure am glad to have this one, and it's certainly a worthy card to be the first football representation in this project!

The non-baseball Cardboard Keepers collection is up to 28 cards in size now, and can be viewed here.  I've still got a long way to go, with 972 cards remaining to be selected.  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!

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Bass Ackwards Sox from Shlabot (nik)

I'm so behind on thanking people for the wonderful cards they've sent me, mostly thanks to two considerably large packages that arrived these past few weeks.

Since getting through large volumes like these two packages is what often delays me, I figured I'll break them up into a series of smaller posts in the interest of making at least some headway here.  Along those lines, here are ten random Red Sox cards I got a while back from my now longtime hobby friend Joe Shlabotnik!

Because the new Blogger is awful, these ten cards are once again in the reverse order that I scanned them for this post.  Not the end of the world here, but this is really going to put a crimp in the way I process certain posts, including my Buyback Franken-set posts.

Anyway, cool Bazooka Johnny Damon!

If you're a Red Sox fan and the name Stefan Bailie doesn't ring a bell, don't be too hard on yourself.  He topped out at AA about 15 years ago.

I certainly recognize this Jose Vaquedano card, but it must be because I have a Chrome version or some parallel, because this base card is new to my collection according to

Rounding out the trio of prospects, Jeremy West.  Again, never made the show to my knowledge.

How about some more familiar players?  Great action photograph on this early-career Kevin Youkilis.  Not really a fan of this particular uniform/hat combo I have to say.

Really nice photograph on this Derek Lowe.  I miss Upper Deck baseball cards (and Topps hockey cards, for that matter!).

Metal Universe!  Saberhagen was certainly in the twilight of his career when this set was issued, but this is a great card (even if it scanned terribly).

An interesting foil Stadium Club card here.  The design is a little busy for my liking, but what a great shot of Eck's signature delivery.  A couple of fantastic pitchers there who are not typically associated with Boston.

Joe hooked me up with a need for my 1984 Fleer team set, in the form of this checklist.  This is actually the back of the card, as you can see the card number in the lower left corner there.

Here's the front, occupied by the White Sox and the great Tony LaRussa.

We'll close it out with my newest Nomar, a Record Numbers Topps card featuring a whole lot of fireworks.  This is the 132nd Nomar Garciaparra card in my catalogued collection, though I certainly have more to catalog.

Some solid new additions there, thanks Joe!  As I said, this is just a small portion of the Red Sox that were found in this package, so I'll be back soon with more.  Hope everyone is enjoying the fall, and staying safe!

Friday, September 11, 2020

Cheap Slabs - Verlander RC

There's a myth among certain collectors that collecting graded cards has to be expensive.  It sure can be, but it doesn't have to be!  In the 'Cheap Slabs' series here on the blog, we'll look exclusively at graded cards that cost me $25 or less to add to my collection...

Today's card is a rookie card of one of the most dominant pitchers of his generation, Justin Verlander!

Pretty nice, huh?  I won this card on eBay a couple of months ago, while sheltering in place.

Verlander could hang up the spikes today for good, and would still retire as an 8x All-Star, World Series champion, AL MVP, 2x Cy Young winner, AL Triple Crown winner for pitching, Rookie of the Year, 3 no-hitters, 3,000+ strikeouts, and more.  Justin's an absolute lock for Cooperstown, and it's crazy to me that his rookie cards are still as cheap as they are at this point.  Just how cheap?

This card was had for $12.50.  I know pitchers don't get a lot of love, and everyone just wants to collect Ronald Acuna and Juan Soto, but come on!

These 2006 Bowman Heritage cards were inspired by the '49 Bowman set.  Of course, the '49 Bowmans were miniature in size, but good enough.  There actually are mini versions of these that are similar in size to the original '49s, but I'm betting a Verlander mini might set me back more than this full-sized version did.  I'll certainly be keeping an eye out though!

That's about all for tonight, just a really cool card of an under-rated (at least in terms of his perceived value in our hobby) star hurler.  Further proof that if you look hard enough, you can find some pretty great cheap slabs out there!

Thanks as always for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Cardboard Keepers - Joltin' Joe DiMaggio!

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

Today's keeper card comes courtesy of an epic eBay flip that I already showed the results of earlier this summer.  In case you missed it the post can be found here, but in a nutshell I sold a single soccer parallel that I pulled from a pack in 2018, and turned it into this:

I'm going to spare you any long-winded summary of what a great player DiMaggio was, after all I went on at length about my love for this card when I first posted it only a month or two ago.  Suffice it to say that never in my life did I think an authentic, playing-era Joe D card would call my collection home!

While the front is really where it's at when it comes to this particular card, the back has a nice early-career write-up on the Yankee Clipper.

So yeah, there you have it, a real beauty with Joe swinging for the fences.  Not only was this card a very obvious choice to make the list of my top 1,000 baseball cards, but I think I'd probably include it in a list of my top 25 baseball cards, even.

Based on that, this was an easy choice for my Cardboard Keepers baseball collection, which is now up to 38 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! 

Monday, September 7, 2020

200 Bogaerts Cards! (and Other Great Parallels)

Let's take a look at the contents in the latest of many, many dozens of back and forth PWEs I've exchanged with my good collecting buddy Mark Kaz, formerly of the blog This Way to the Clubhouse.  I'm already woefully behind on posting this trade package, plus two other great ones that showed up just after it, so let's see what nine cards Mark shipped my way already...

In the lead-off spot is the most significant card in the PWE, this Orange parallel of Xander Bogaerts' 2020 Topps Big League card.  A nice-looking Bogaerts card to be sure, but the reason I'm so excited about it is because it's the 200th different card of Xander in my formally organized and cataloged collection!  Pretty good milestone there, I think the only other baseball player in that boat so far is David Ortiz just due to the sheer number of Big Papi cards all Red Sox collectors end up with.

This card will be a tough act to follow due to its significance, but let's see what else Mark included...

Another cool parallel from Big League, this one from the 2018 edition.  I had an amazing streak of attending events at Fenway Park, whether Red Sox games, concerts or otherwise, at least once and often many times every year for about two decades, until COVID-19 stepped in and ruined 2020.  Hope to be back in 2021 to begin a new streak.

LOVE this one!  Pacific was doing some really wild things with cards in the late '90s/early '00s, and this 2000 Revolution set is a prime example.

I'm a total sucker for a good X-Fractor.  While the 2006 set may not hold a candle to my personal favorite X-Fractors from 2014, these are beautiful cards nonetheless and the red works incredibly well for Boston cards in particular.  These are also somewhat rare, at just /250 copies each.

I accumulate a few of these exclusive Holiday cards from year to year, but this Rick Porcello is the first time I've seen one of the Metallic Snowflake parallels in hand.  This is a case where the scan absolutely does not do the card justice.  In fact, I enjoy this one enough that I may seek out some other Sox on COMC.

Thanks to, I learned this Fred Lynn is from the 2003 Topps Tribute World Series set.  My first card from that release, and I love that it's so incredibly shiny!

This 1994 Score Gold Rush parallel is one of those cards that makes me realize how badly I need to Windex my scanner bed.  In hand it's actually quite nice, but you'll have to take my word for it.

I believe this Artist's Proof Blue Eddie Mathews is actually a Boston Braves card, but we won't hold that against Mark.  Especially since I enjoy all Boston-based sports cards, as well as the retired stars from the recent Diamond Kings releases.

Perhaps the most visually stunning card in the PWE, this Pink Refractor from 2018 Topps Chrome Update Edition is just beautiful in hand.  The players absolutely pop off the bright surface on these.  I will absolutely try to complete a team set, even if there is a somewhat tough Rafael Devers card in the mix.

Mark, thanks so much for these great additions to my Red Sox collection!  I miss your blog big time, but I'm glad we get to continue strengthening each others' collections anyway.  To everyone else, thanks for stopping by.  I'm finally starting to come out of my job-related funk here and get back to posting, and I have some real good ones in the hopper, so check back in soon.  Until then, take care out there!

Thursday, September 3, 2020

The Itch to Rip - Big League Blaster Finale (Upside Down Thanks to Blogger!)

Well, this post was supposed to be the third and final installment from a recent blaster of 2020 Topps Big League I ripped through.  For the second time though, after painstakingly scanning and cropping every single card in the blaster, the new-fangled Blogger uploaded them all in the exact reverse order for me.  What a great feature!

No way in hell I'm spending the time to adjust these at this stage, so let's see the rest of this blaster backwards and upside down, shall we?  Seems fitting for 2020, anyway...

What you see there is my Mike Trout box bottom (or more accurately box "side") card.  Yep, I cut mine out with scissors and put it in a penny sleeve.  I'm a total sucker for box bottom cards of any sort, and when they feature the best player in baseball all the better.

Oh, and there's one of my five blaster-exclusive blue parallels, jammed right up against the Trout with no room to write in between, because of course it is.  HTML is a big messy block with the new Blogger and I'm already getting a headache, so instead of splitting them apart you get both at once.  Moving on...

More of these exclusive blue parallels, that were supposed to come last and now are first.  At least I know a couple of Mets collectors I could re-purpose this one to.

Puk RC.

Cool image on this Willy Adames, but in these days of minimizing my collection it's not a keeper for me.

Final (or first!) blue parallel, looks good on the Cubs anyway.

Now, let's get to the final pack in the blaster and keep working backwards.  I won't provide commentary on every single card, and odds are you've seen these by now...

Rafael Devers sighting!  Also, Whit Merrifield is sneaky good.  I used some of my card sales proceeds to pick up a nice graded rookie card of his this summer, will have to show that one off soon.

Shut down for the rest of 2020, ouch.  Nice parallel though!

I mentioned before that these caricature inserts are tentative keepers for my collection.  For now, anyway.

Juan Soto, another guy I've picked up a card or two of recently...

Also shut down for the season, this pack was cursed it seems.

Here's the first card from the final pack, and now...

...the wrapper for the pack we just opened.  The joys of posting upside down.  Let's see the next pack, shall we?

Okay, sarcasm aside, I was really happy to pull Xander Bogaerts' base card.  This is my 199th card of Bogaerts in my organized collection, ready to cross the big 200 threshold at any moment!

Doing pretty well with the one-per-pack orange parallels I'd have to say.

I like this guy, just not too high on this particular insert set.

One of the many hot rookies in today's hobby.  Maybe I'll try to get this graded, receive the world's first "Super Gem Mint 11" from PSA, and then sell the card and retire?

I really like the candid photograph Topps went with on Vlad Jr's card.  This would fit right into a Stadium Club set no problem.

Once again, the wrapper for the pack we just saw.  Let's check out the next one here...

I thought these Defensive Wizards inserts were cool in a very '90s way at first, but I find I'm tiring of them quickly.  No longer planning to collect this insert set, and will purge these in one of my outgoing packages here.

The nice orange parallels continue with this fantastic photograph.  Cardboard perfection!

Arguably the best photograph in this post belongs to this Carlos Correa base card.  Remember when he was one of the hottest young stars in baseball?

This guy's got a great last name, I have to say.

And here's another wrapper, indicating we've reached the beginning of another pack.  But wait!

Here's the blaster itself, indicating that we're reached the beginning end of this post...

Despite Blogger's best efforts to prevent me from showing it to you, I hope you enjoyed this bass ackwards conclusion to my 2020 Topps Big League blaster.

Next up I have to get to a couple of thank you posts for some collectors I'm long overdue in giving their props to for cardboard they sent my way.  Until then, thanks as always for stopping by!

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