Monday, November 23, 2015

9 men out (of binders)

I'm jumping on the TJ aka Junior Junkie bandwagon, as I know a great idea when I see one ! It's simple and easy to put in place, which is perfect for me.
It did take me a while to look at my binders and pick just nine cards. And I actually cheated a little. Not that I don't absolutely and definitely love the cards that I picked, but they do not include any of my Blue Jays cards (I have plans for those later) nor any vintage. I also left out basketball, obviously.The cards that carry the most sentimental value to me are those that I acquired 20 years ago, and I'm pretty sure that it shows. I treasure those as it was insane trying to collect baseball cards from France in the 90s. Straight stupid, even, as there were no card shops and no internet. I could only count on my summer vacations in Cleveland with my meager allowance (I was 16) to accumulate as much as possible. Then again, maybe this is exactly what made it so thrilling to me...

Tadah !

See how impressive that is ? Total book value is probably around $6. Yay, I'm rich. If somebody else happens to be stranded with me on that island, he'll be so jealous.

Now, for a closer look

This is the only card from those 9 that I actually bought recently. But UD Masterpieces might be the most impressive set I've come across. I only have a handful, so if anyone's got some extras, I'd love to trade.

 It was very hard for me not to include just 93 UD cards. But I figured a couple would be enough. Of course I picked a Then & Now insert that I pulled from packs at the time. Getting the complete set was one of my first goals on my collecting agenda when I started collecting again 18 months ago.

I think this is a great example of what I love about 93 UD. The design, the photography...everything is perfect. Plus, broken bats are always a great sub-collection idea.

I never could open packs of 95 UD back then (I was in Cleveland in 93 and 94), but I did buy that promo. I definitely overpaid for it (but that's the very principle of collecting cards in the 90s), as it cost me $8, but it felt really special to have a Griffey promo. Still does.

As with 93 UD, it was tough not to include just Griffeys. But since I can't compete with TJ, I just chose two. Including what is for me the best insert set of all time : 94 Leaf slideshow.

This one I traded for at the end of the 90s. Can't remember for what, though. Maybe my Frank Thomas 93 Stadium Club First day issue. It's got a great wooden feel to it, and it's NUMBERED. Now that's fancy for the 90s. Only 5 000 of those puppies exist in the whole wide world.

93 UD and 93 Topps were my first taste of baseball cards. They're the reason why I was hooked from the get go even though I knew nothing about the game or its rules. Because of the Jeter rookie, it's not easy to find cheap boxes for both series, but I'd love to open some one day.

Yup, this card looks very random. But Frank Thomas was the face of Leaf at the time and I loved that set. There was just something very cool about it. This one I also pulled from a pack. I couldn't buy a lot of wax as I didn't have enough funds for everything, so I was very careful as to what I chose.

Not exactly a fan favorite, but this card looks great. Those were randomly inserted in 94 Stadium Club packs, (1:24) and I actually pulled a few, including the Piazza. But this one still gets my vote.

Well that was fun, so thanks TJ for the idea and the nudge !

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The (il)logical song

As you all know, I tend to buy the most random things off ebay, depending on what I can find to lower shipping charges per card. It helps me build up my collection and find things to trade for, but it hardly helps me to stay focused on just one aspect of my collection.

That being said, there is a certain logic to what I buy. Or at least I hope there is

Brooks is strictly PC. I now have something like 8 of his regular playing days base cards, which is starting to look like something. That 68 card is in pretty bad shape, but then again it cost me $2 (and $3 for the other).
 Just some players I like (and I'm hoping to add as many Aarons as possible, though I can say goodbye to his RC). Brian, if you ever read this, let me know if you need that Killebrew.

I love that 1960 set, so whenever I can add some cards for cheap, I jump on the opportunity. This time, I was mainly after that Aparicio card, and I'm glad I landed it (not that Aparicio cards are tough to get, he isn't exactly wildly collected). I got the Curt Flood more for his place in baseball history and labor disputes than for his 7 Gold Gloves, ironically.

I got the other two because of the one at the center, the Scott Rolen auto. Still a great looking set though, despite those horrible Angels colors.

I just like Fan Favorites autos. And had no idea who Lenny Harris was.

Another favorite set of mine, that I only read about recently (probably on Gavin's blog). I saw that Dave Stieb was on the checklist, so I hurried and acquired the one that was up for auction. I paid $10 shipped for the two cards.

Now those are even more logical. Delgado is on plenty of this year's checklists, so that makes me happy. Five Star is a pretty cool set too.

Another Vernon Wells auto (woohoo), this time on a sweet-spot like card.

And finally, more filler cards. Stackhouse (dubbed the next Jordan, and at least it was more true than with Harold Miner) had some very decent years, too bad he was injured so much and traded to 50 000 different teams. I picked it up because I really liked the on card signature. As for Reggie Theus, it's just a great looking card from an awesome set.

So there you go ! Just me showing off random logical cards. And now thanks to me you all have that Supertramp song in your heads. You're welcome

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Crappy Teddy

I've said it many times, my main collecting goal is to simply acquire cards I couldn't get when I was a 16 year old pimply adolescent (actually, my face was quite clear, but I figured the image would be more vivid). Collecting cardboard is really not an investment for me. You'll never see me buy a graded card (or only because it's available for cheap) and never will I send one to get graded. It's always nice to know that all the money I spend isn't wasted, of course, and that I have some that I could actually sell for something, but it's far from what makes me enjoy the hobby.

I love vintage cards because of their direct link to baseball history. And I like to imagine how kids of that time would idolize those 'cardboard Gods' and have fun with their cards. No money would be exchanged, of course, as it all came down to trading. As a teenager without any money, anything over $10 seemed expensive, especially for a card. I'd look at all those Griffey inserts, knowing I'd never have them (ha !), and those 3 or 4 figures in Beckett (ha !) for vintage cards made my head spin. And since I thought they were really out of my league, I never took an interest in them. Until recently when I came back into the hobby, and discovered that cards in crappy condition were only worth 5% or 10% of BV. That opened a brand new world for me. Because now I have some money (not a lot, let's not forget I sell books for a living, but enough to get by and have some extra cash. I don't have a family, no kids, no wife, which keeps my daily expenses at a minimum), I can start adding some nice crappy vintage to my collection.

And I love it.

My main objective for example a year ago was to own a Topps Ted Williams card. 54, 55 or 56 would do. I wasn't really serious about it, but I did look around regularly. There are rules that I try to follow : no more than $10 for a modern card (except if it's for one of my trading buddies) and no more than $20 for vintage (as it means a $200-400$ card in bv if I take a poor condition card). Except for a Mantle or a Ted Williams or a Robinson, where I'd be willing to go up$50. Yeah I know, we're talking big money there. It's not a lot per se, and I can largely afford it, but to me it is for a single card.

And last month I felt it was the right time to try and add one to my collection.
Which I did.
 I got a pretty good deal, as it cost me $45 shipped and it has no noticeable creases.
And it got here yesterday, after transiting through Comc. Just when I needed the distraction the most.

It's a beautiful card. It's a piece of history. And it's mine.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Life of Brian

I see trading as a sane competition where you always try to outdo your (opponent) friends, while still staying reasonable budget-wise. This means paying attention to what the other person collects, of course, and sometimes going the extra mile and actually buying cards just for him. Brian is a very, very worthy opponent, and he ones again proves it with an amazing collection of various PC needs and other surprises. Made even more fun to open by the fact that the cards were protected inside a box of  480 piece-puzzles. And puzzles are always fun (ok, they weren't included, this doesn't make sense, don't mind me, I'm just babbling).

Fun picture of a player that's one of the faces of the Mets from the 60s & 70s. He actually spent his entire career as a Met. Great idea to include his auto, even though it's a modern card !

Vintage ! This is my very first 1963 Fleer card. I might try and put the (small) set together sometime. Right now, the cards of Koufax, Mays, Brooks Robinson and Clemente are very high on my vintage want list.

I didn't even know that set existed. And I call myself a Gold Glove fan...Nice looking cards, all PC, and all fielding.

One of the hottest inserts of the 90s, this Kirby was worth (according to Beckett, but Beckett was the market) north of $30. Not anymore, far from it, but this is my first 94 Hot Glove insert (as a matter of fact, I had the Lofton one in my comc cart), and I love it, even though I prefer the 95 design.

Bo knows oddball, Bo knows Leaf and Bo knows modern & shiny !

More Pc ! Well, technically, Olerud isn't, as he's in a Mariners uniform, but hey, he still had 3 gold gloves and is a Blue Jays fan favorite, so he's welcome. Oh, and the Vizquel is one of those low numbered variations (/50)

I have to admit I didn't know much about Frank White before putting my Gold glovers PC together. Those two are great additions to my budding collection.

Oooh, football. The Neon Deion is low numbered to /21

Same concept as the Deion Sanders card with the low numbered Delgado, that matches his uniform number. It's die-cut and pretty cool looking. I also love those Ex 2001 acetate cards.

 This here is a black bordered mini (I had to check). Tougher to pull than the regular ones, obviously.

almost 20 years ago, I traded for the bronze version of that card. It's been on display ever since, as I absolutely love it. It was one of my most prized possessions, before I started collecting again, with it's whopping $12 BV. I'm very very happy to add the silver version of it. Leaf signatures was ground breaking to say the least.

And just like that, I have my very first baseball printing plate. My very first Blue Jays printing plate. And it's Bautista. Not just any Blue Jay, mind you. This is an insanely cool card to have. People used to be really mad that all of a sudden there were 1/1s, but now that they're everywhere, I think they're kind of nice to chase. Unless of course you're crazy enough to want an exhaustive collection...

Thanks a lot Brian, I sent a little surprise your way as a thank you, and the rest of the trade package went out today !

Friday, November 13, 2015

Triple box break

Well, it's once again chaos here in Paris, so in order to take my mind off what's happening at the moment, I figure I might as well write a blog post...

I'll just show off my share of our triple box break,hosted by Brian. He also included some amazing cards for our ongoing trades, that I'll show soon, when I'm in a less sad mood.

The boxes opened were some 2013 Topps minis, 2006 Upper Deck Future Stars and 2010 Bowman Chrome

It's an Abreu hot box !

Soler's clear path to greatness was obviously obstructed, as he only pitched a few games in the Majors. And below, you can'"t really tell from the scan, but it's a Martin Prado redemption ! It expired in 2010. Maybe if they get a licence back, I'll be able to ask for that Prado auto...

And finally, a pretty cool hit, at this is the Refractor auto of top prospect Gary Sanchez. He's a really big deal right now, as he won the MVP award at the AFL Fall Stars game. Plus it's number 005 / 500, so it looks pretty. Sorry Kenny, I'm holding onto it for now !

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Supreme de Blue Jay

Five Star, Museum Collection, Supreme, Tier One, Tribute, Triple Threads, Dynasty...I tend to see those as one same and giant overpriced product (Dynasty being in a league of its own). And since never in my right mind will I consider buying a box of any one of these (too much stress, not enough money, and it simply isn't any fun), I end up buying here and there what I need for my collection.

Because I'll admit it : those are beautiful cards.
And I think they did a really good job on this year's Supreme design. A nice mate finish and stylish die-cutting.
This here could be a reverse box, as I picked two cards off Ebay. And each box of 2015 Supreme contains 2 cards (2 autos). At $70 per box, it's an affordable lottery ticket, but still the lottery. When doing a real reverse box, I understand that you spend on cards what you'd spend on a box, without the element of surprise, by definition. I did not feel like spending $70 on a couple of cards. Instead, I spent $5 for the two cards combined. The fact that they are not numbered helps keep the prices very low. There's even a Delgado one that exists (and an Alomar), and I'm sure I can get it for cheap.

So there you go ! I'm quite happy with those

Yeah, that auto is kinda ridiculous, even more from up close...

Monday, November 9, 2015

Transatlantic triple breakdown

As you all know by now, Brian from subjective and arbitrary has joined the box breaking fun we've been having with Matt. Now don't worry, everything's been going just fine between Matt and I, but sometimes you need to spice things up in order to maintain a little spark. Congratulations Brian, you're that spark.

The whole point of those breaks is first and foremost to have fun opening packs of cards, but also to accumulate trade bait for the blogosphere. So far, we've been having a ton of fun, but we haven't really hit it big yet. And my end of the break is no exception. Some nice cards are coming my way courtesy of Brian and the few boxes he picked, and I feel bad that I can't send anything substantial in return. But alas, such are the laws of box breaking. Maybe I should choose my boxes better, though, there's room for improvement ! I've really been striking out on early 2000s boxes, despite drooling on the checklist and its possibilities. I suppose that's the key word....(possibilities, that is. Not drooling. Drool is never a key word in anything).

Anyway, this short post to show off what Matt pulled for me in his 2014 PANINI (!!!!) Classics box. I'm not too impressed by Solarte, but it sure is a nice looking card, with that pinstripe to top it. And as I said the other day, the Big Hurt relic was his, as he had the White Sox (we drafted teams this time instead of going NL vs AL, or attributing divisions). But instead of having the card cross the ocean twice, he let me have it right away. That's how couples last : kindness and understanding.

Friday, November 6, 2015

A not too shabby box break : 2015 Topps

It was my turn to host our transatlantic triple box break (featuring Matt and Brian), so I picked a box of 2002 Spx. I don't have much to show, as all the hits (if we can call them hits) are going to my friends. Oh wait, there IS one card, as Matt already traded it to me without even having to send it back to me. How convenient ! But I'll show it at another time.

In the meantime, to lower shipping charges, I added a box of 2015 Topps series one. I was waiting for the right time to purchase one, and the price (and time) were perfect. And the least I can say is that I was wright to wait a little bit...

The usual parallels, and at least I landed a Blue Jays player, so yay

More parallels, this time with Gold. Getting a couple Diamond backs PLUS Ventura seems a little cruel, but at least there's Polanco, and we all know where that card is headed.

The auto checklist isn't very impressive, so I wasn't particularly excited about the idea of getting a relic or an auto. But this will do, especially with the Red Sox collectors out there.

Hum. Buybacks. The Ralph Houk is kinda cool, but there's a huge crease + writing on the back. If I want a poor copy of a 68 Topps Ralph Houk, I know how to get one.

Ok, then it got interesting :

I don't know if you can tell from the scan, but it's a silver framed parallel. Super thick, super heavy (there were only 2 cards in the pack), plus it's of Konerko on his great sunset card (hi Nick !). Numbered 13/20.

And then it got very, very interesting :

A clear acetate parallel card, numbered 10/10, of a few players that are a little popular. Amazing pull ! Plus, it's actually really great looking.

So yeah. That was a fun box to break. To say the least

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thank you, mister Matt Plank

Each time I write about the cards Matt sends me in our usual trading battles, I seem to repeat myself in superlatives. It's just that...well...yeah. At least. And much more. We've been sending packages back and forth for over a year now, and it seems that Matt knows my collecting habits to the point. He warned me that he was having trouble winning bids on Ebay for Blue Jays players (I guess that's what happens when you make a run in the post season (one day I'll write about that ALCS game six and how it literally gave me nightmares and kept me awake all night)), but that he found a couple of cards that might fit my collection and that packed a punch.

And boy oh boy did that package ever !

Glad to hear he's finally ok and getting healthy. For those who didn't follow, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in April, chose to play anyway, and had it removed this October. The surgery was a success and he's now cancer-free.

I chased the regular version the minute I saw that Devo was in this year's Fan Favorites checklist. Matt surprised me with this great Gold parallel version, numbered 48/50

Adrian Beltre isn't in my official Gold glovers' list, as I've only listed those with at least ten, but his four awards aren't too shabby, and make him one of my favorite players. Too bad he plays for the Rangers, but hey, nobody's perfect. That low-numbered, great looking, 4 colour patch card is amazing

And finally, just like that....

Yup, absolutely. When I first saw it, I couldn't believe my eyes. I never in a million years thought I'd one day receive an on-card auto of the Iron Man himself in a blind trade. This is an incredible addition to my collection, I'm really baffled. I could'nt care less that it's unlicensed, as I love that little Leaf logo up there, and the signature simply looks great. I remember how he single handedly put baseball back on track with his record, despite the previous year's strike.

Thanks Matt !