Sunday, August 27, 2017


As you saw the other day, I received a bunch of various boxes. Nothing of value to be expected from any of them, except for a ton of pack busting fun (yay, semi-junk wax !). There was some 2010 Topps (because it was cheap and came in a small cereal box), some 2013 Topps opening day jumbo pack (nothing to show from it. 2013 Topps was boring), a box of 2009 UD series 2, a 2016 SC blaster, a box of 1995 SC series 2, some 2007 Upper deck blasters (nothing to show here either, 2007 is one of my least favorite UD sets of all time), a box of 91 Upper Deck (one of my collecting goals is to get as many 90s flagship UD as possible. I could just go for the factory sets, that are as cheap as buying a box, but where's the fun in that ?). I also added some 93 hockey and football (all Upper Deck) to remind me of a time when I'd also somewhat collect those sports, but also because they were $10 each. I'll show those in a later post.

Though I wasn't expecting much in terms of sheer value, there were a few interesting things in there that will find their way into binders and trade packages :

When you buy a 7 pack retail box of Stadium Club, you expect a few cool cards, some parallels and the usual inserts, but don't hold your breath too much on pulling an auto. And even less a 1st day issue AND an auto (the Hunter Pence is a 1st day). And $3 a pack is in my range. It's the top of my range, but still my range. Matt pointed out to me that Nola was having a great year despite playing for the Phillies, so I'm kinda happy I pulled that on card auto. Jose Altuve is another guy having an ok year...

yay, holograms ! We all have tons of those, but I was surprised to see that in my box of 91 UD, there were only 4 different ones : Twins, Yankees, AL and NL. Go figure...

There were 6 Aaron header cards. 6 ! Not exactly SP

I've always been a fan of the Baseball Heroes insert set (and basketball heroes, for the matter. Maybe I should try getting those from other sports). It was quite easy and inexpensive to chase, and it looked good frames or in binders. Getting an almost complete set from a box is pretty cool also, even though I already had them in my collection. I'm glad I pulled an SP (the Ryan/Henderson), though I would've preferred the Michael Jordan one.

I did the mistake of taking a high numbers box. And I know it's not a good idea, as you get way, way too many duplicates from numbers 700-800 (as they put 3 times more of those in a pack compared to the other lower numbers), and too few cards from other numbers. I would've liked to pull the Griffey (I have one, of course, even several, but have never gotten one fresh from a pack), but at least I got the 2 major rookies.

There are some interesting photos in 2010 Topps. I wasn't around then, so I don't have much of them, but I can't say I hate the design either. There was one Chrome legends card per cereal box, and I'm quite happy with a Mantle.
The Pedroia is a little silly from my perspective, as it's from the 'cards your mom threw out' insert. Would throwing out a 2007 Pedroia card be such a bad thing ? (nothing against Pedroia, of course, it just makes me chuckle to think that anyone could believe that card has any value)

yay, 1995 Stadium Club ! I busted a box of series one not so long ago, but I still wanted more from that set. The inserts are great, as often (Ring leaders are awesome), and seeded only 1 per box.

But of course, as always, the photos steal the show :

One of the best Gwynns out there !

Next : the 2009 UD box. It was cheap enough (around $25) and I only have a handful series 2 in my collection. Not my favorite design, but the photos are still nice, and there were a ton of cards in that box ( they looked more like jumbo packs) and no duplicates. hich is good when each series counts 500 cards.

The Goodwin Champions are preview cards, and i'ts always nice to pull an MJ.

The box didn't promise any auto or relic so I really did not know what to expect (the joys of retail). Those are uneventful, but I was still happy to pull a Pirates card for my friend Matt.

I didn't spot that card at first, as I thought it was a subset (I already had the base card and knew that wasn't it). After turning it over and seeing 1995 stats AND the same card number as the base card, I looked it up. Turns out it's quite rare. UD issued 20 different base cards to commemorate their 20 years making Griffey cards. It would've been more logical to give it #1, but then it would've screwed everything up as they gave out card numbers depending on teams. Here, it's #855. There are some on COMC at $40 (ha !) but they usually sell for $10 to $25. Not bad ! It is headed over to our favorite Junior Junkie's, of course.

Finally, some Starquests, and I'm showing them according to their scarcity. The first is a black one (super duper ultra rare), then Emarald, (super duper rare), then Gold (just rare), then blue uncommon (what on earth is an uncommon ?) and silver common. Nothing too exciting about Starquest, especially since I really hate it when they make different levels of rarity for the same card. One parallel should be largely enough in my book.

Well, I busted over 200 packs in just a couple of days, which should take care of my craving.
For now

Friday, August 25, 2017

The real cost of collecting cards from overseas

This post isn't a rant or a way of whining publicly, but just a way of informing people of how it is, exactly, to collect baseball cards overseas. I've written about those issues numerous times when I first started, but a lot of things have changed over the last couple of years.

First and foremost, the cost of postage : this makes it difficult to find trade partners, as you really need to be committed in a relationship to dish out $20 to $30 to send more than 50 cards(around $14 for less). I'm fortunate enough to have such friends, and I'm always ever so grateful. I believe Canadian collectors have the same problems. The cost of postage has really gone up in 2 years, with successive waves. I used to be able to find Ebay sellers who'd send cards from the US for $7. Now it's $14 minimum, and $20 more often than not. It's a lot for just a couple of cards, especially considering I hardly buy any cards worth more than just a few dollars.

The cost of postage has an effect on Ebay and trading, but also on my other sources : justcommons and COMC. They're absolutely great at justcommons, and will charge you exactly the shipping cost, minus the advantages they offer to US residents. Which means I could pick out 300 cards and only pay $14 postage. Now, it's closer to $24. It's "only" $10 more, but it's for $40 to $50 worth of cards at best. The cost per card drastically goes up. I'll still continue shopping there because I love their service and it's still way worth it, but still, it's more money put in S&H and less in actual cards.

With COMC, it's worse. They used to have a $3 flat rate to send out to Europe. It takes 6 to 8 weeks, but with such cheap rates, you can be a little patient. Now, it's $4.99. Still worth it if you only buy directly on COMC. Where it becomes tricky is if you use their mailbox service.A great idea perfect for overseas collectors who can have, for basically free, a mailbox in the US, for Ebay sellers who won't send overseas or who charge ridiculous postage for it. Comc would just charge .50ct per card, with a $2 minimum. So if you win say a couple of cards for $3 each, you'll pay $6 + $3 shipping to the seller, plus $2 to COMC, plus the shipping from COMC to your place (but that doesn't really coun't, you always find more cards to add to the shipment to make it worth it). $11 for $6 worth of cards. This forces you to shop as much as possible by just one seller, but that's the case with any collector even in the US who wants to absorb the $3 shipping. But now it's changing. COMC want to offer a better service, and for this they need to charge more. It's now $3 per package PLUS .60cts per card. So now, it's $6 + $3 + $4.2 for Comc. $13.2 in all. I just won an Aparicio card, that cost me $13. Add $3 shipping and $3.6 COMC fees, and it puts it at close to $20. Out of my usual range for that type of card. This means I'll now have to be even more selective when it comes to Ebay purchases, as I never buy anything high end or really valuable. When you buy a $100 card, it doesn't really matter if you pay $6 more for various fees.

Shipping also has an impact on my box purchases. Places like Dave & Adams and Steelcity offer great rates, but only with UPS. If you go with the postal service, it'll usually cost $20 more than UPS once you've reached a certain weight. Before that, it's roughly the same. The problem with UPS is that you know you'll pay customs fees and you also know you'll pay their brokerage fee ($15 more). I just bought a bunch of boxes for a friend and me. There was $280 worth of product in it (about 15 boxes (yes, we like bundles and cheap 90s cards)). I paid $120 shipping plus $110 for customs and UPS fees.

I'm used to all this, it comes with the overseas territory, and I'm basically really glad I have access to cards to begin with. It wasn't the case 25 years ago before the Internet. But outside costs are really escalating. There are a few retailers who sell boxes here, so you don't have to pay customs and shipping, but they include those in their own final price, so it comes out the same. You just need to try and buy smart and go for what you really need. It's fun to bust open packs, but I know that I'll have to pay at least an additional $10 in fees for each box purchased, and that's if I'm really good at optimizing costs. And since I'm mainly interested in boxes that are in the $10 to $25 range, that's a lot to add...

Hope this wasn't too long, I guess I just needed to vent a little !

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Box Bomb

Well, this should be fun...

I'm a big early 90s guy (and Upper Deck), including Hockey and Football, so I'm happy to have some to bust. There's going to be a ton of pack busting going on !

Friday, August 11, 2017

Happy Birthday boy

Those who follow me on twitter already know about this, but just as I was whining a couple of months ago about how nobody around me could possibly offer me the perfect baseball-related gift, my girlfriend surprised me with arguably the best present I've ever received :

A signed Ken Griffey Jr baseball. And not just any baseball : one from 91-93 (it's a Bobby Brown American League one), aka my favorite era in baseball and in memory lane. Ballpoint, sweet spot, there's nothing not to like about that signature. I had actually brought home from the US an official baseball just like that one, but it's all faded now and doesn't even have that distinctive baseball smell anymore, so what's the point ? So, yeah, I'll cherish this one for a long time...

And yesterday, my close friends received the gift they'd planned for me :

An official Blue Jays jersey, with my name stitched on the back, along with the big 4-0. Surprisingly enough, I don't own a Blue Jays jersey with their old logo. I only have a white one with Blue Jays written accross it. Nothing too exciting. Needless to say, I love that one ! I might try one day to track down a Candian Day red jersey, but the idea of a 200$ price tag because of shipping and handling is a major, major bump on the road.

None of my friends (nor my girlfriend) will read this, but I'm sure they know I love them. I shall now parade all over Paris amongst all those PSG soccer jerseys (I don't know if you followed, but they just acquired the most expensive player in soccer history : the Brazilian star Meymar, for 222M € (250 M $)) with an encased baseball in my hand.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Back buying on Ebay

Woohooo, I received some cards today ! I bought a few things while on vacation, mainly vintage, but I also shopped around a little for Matt and Brian (and a couple others !). While I was at it, I added cards for my own collection, depending on what the seller had (I only bought from 2 different sellers). I won't have much to show, I'm afraid, as I try to keep the other cards a surprise for my friends, plus I'm scanning those with my phone at work (yeah, the month of August in France is brutal. Everybody's on vacation (we get 5 weeks paid vacation here, might as well use them when it's nice out and all cram at the nearest beaches) where the light is less than perfect.

Ah well.

I'm still happy to post cards ! (I wonder if that can be counted as a vacation pun ?)

Wow, now that's of the few 2017 cards I own, and the second one of Morales. I've lost track of mini parallels, I don't even know how scarce those are...hold on, I'll go check...Ok, those are 1:10. Yay.

The day they started making parallels of inserts was the day everything started going wrong in this hobby. I would've prefered the orange parallel, at least it looks kinda funky. Not a big fan of the design there. They should've done something more along the lines of Ring leaders from the 90s.

Aaaah, throwbacks. I'll never make enough fun of those. I grabbed them because they were cheap and the pack had a couple of Blue Jays in it (silly team collectors...). I saw that there are different degrees of scarcity, Red being the most scarce. There's one of those included. Topps really needs to understand that we do not want to rediscover 80s and 90s Topps (and even less early 2000s). We were already there at the time. Our generation makes the hobby, and our generation has stacks and stacks of those. But hey, there's a stamp on those 2 million cards they inserted. That makes it special.

Finally, some Gold glove relic ! This morning, when I looked at some baseball news on my tablet, it read 'a cat runs on the field and then Yadier crushes..." and the rest of the text didn't appear. I wasn't really awake, so I really thought he had crushed that poor cat, Winfield/Seagull style. Turns out it's a grand slam that he crushed. Oooooh. Much better.