Friday, August 24, 2018

In Company (Flow) of 97 inserts

So here I am again, a day after receiving my new COMC package filled with inserts from the 90s. This time, I picked 1997 (I'm a simple guy with simple methods). There are a lot of inserts I never saw in person or didn't even know of, mainly because living in France in the 90s made it difficult to collect (obviously), despite my Beckett subscription filled with people wondering how much their cards are worth (hint : not much now). But also because I mostly collect Blue Jays cards, so if a Blue Jays player wasn't included in that set, chances are I never saw it.

The mid-90s were an awesome time for Hip hop (the type of music I was heavily into back then. Still am, actually), that many call the Silver age (or the true golden age, depending on how you see it), and it included albums such as Company Flow's Funcrusher Plus (yeah I know, I'm boring you, but I just wanted to explain my title !). And I'm wondering if 1997 wasn't also the turning point for baseball cards. There was Leaf Signatures the year before, but Uper Deck changed everything with their game jerseys, and just by looking at the inserts I receive, I can tell that that was a veery, very strange year for collectors. I wonder how much packs sold at on average ? In 1994, there were $7 packs (Finest or Flair) and that was unheard of. Who was collecting back then, do you remember ? If I had to guess, I'd go with 3$ to $4 for a normal pack of something like Upper Deck. It must have been absolutely impossible to keep track and keep up with the production.

But man are those cards fun to get 20 years later ! I'd prefer the thrill of finding them in packs (especially at 1:144 or 1:72 odds), but ah well, receiving them in my mailbox after only a $5 shipping fee is fine also.

Those cards don't really scan well, bur they're all shiny and new ! I'm pretty sure the Blast Master can hypnotize you. What I love about all those inserts is that every manufacturer was game.

You can't make those up...the UD3 Marquee Attraction is really beautiful. And it still cost me close to $3 today, which is a lot for me to put in a single card that's not vintage.

Die-cut acetate at its best ! The HR King is actually quite shiny also, and transparent (it's not white at all). FOr the Hall or Nothing, I had to get the cheapest guy, and as it often turns out, it's either Belle or Vaughn.

 The texture on that Blast Furnace is also really interesting. It's all soft and transparent.

This is just crazy...oddly enough, the Claim to fame (it's from 1996, I realize now...oops) is the most sought after although it looks a little cheap today. That Matt Williams card is incredible

I ws too lazy to scan the front of that Big Hurt Passport to the majors card, and the Rolen is a fun pull out (I wonder if Rolen's actually ever been called a fun pull out by anyone before)

So there you go, just a sample of the inserts I got ! The rest (about 40 others) were more your usual run of the mill kind of cards.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

90s inserts OCD

I've finally come to terms with the fact that I simply can't buy boxes of cards from the 90s and pay 3 times their value because there's an Ocean to cross, just to get a few cool inserts and tons of duplicates.

So I went the short route : COMC.
I picked up my old Beckett and started looking at every set made in 95 and 96 (and there's a bit of 97 too) and grabbed as many different inserts as I could, as there are many I never saw in person, as I mainly focus on Blue Jays players. And obviously, since Frank Thomas or Griffey didn't play for the Blue Jays in the 90s, Toronto players didn't appear in each and every insert set. I will show most of my findings here (there are a dozen more that I did not scan and that aren't really that interesting to begin with but needed to find their way in my binders), along with their seed ratio (not sure that's a word) and book value in 98 compared with what I actually paid for them (and COMC, because of their .50ct minimum fee isn't the cheapest option in the world). Because we all love BV. Especially the high column.

First, Blue Jays cards, yay ! (and yes, I count that Molitor Total Bases as a Blue Jay, even if there's the Twins logo down there. Seeded 1:72 then, worth $6 and paid $1 for it). Nothing very high end or exciting actually. The Alex Gonzalez Potential unlimited was seeded 1:32 and the Molitor Big Sticks was 1:48, but they were'nt worth much then nor now. I really love those Predictor cards too.

 NOMOMANIA. 1:9 bv $10, paid .88cts for it. Not Flair's best design but it's ok.

 I love early SP and I collect Maddux, so bingo. 1:40 $15 BV, .99cts on comc.

 This insane insert was totally new to me. There was a protective sheet on it (that I immediately removed, of course) and the right is mirrolike. It scanned quite well, I love the effect. 1:16 BV $30 (yes, you read correctly), cost me .50ct

 Not the scarcest of Griffeys, but still a very nice one. 1:4/ $10/ .73cts

 I love this one. Then again, what's not to love with Topps Laser ? Except maybe the fact it must have been a nightmare to put those in top loaders or binders. Worth a couple dollars back then.

 I got this one for the design and because it fits my Brooks Robinson collection. 1:12/ $6/ .85cts

 This might just be the ugliest mainstream set ever produced, yet it's amazingly addictive and fascinating.

How can Fleer be responsible for Pro visions AND hot gloves is beyond me, but this set is gorgeous. I already have a few (including the Griffey) but could easily add more. Especially since they're way more affordable than those from 1996 (that are the real showstopper but way out of my price range). 1:25 / $8 / $1
 I don't know how I feel about the Christy Brinkley collection. It's silly enough that I like it, but then again, only Braves and Indians players on sometimes very cheezy pictures, what's the point ? My favorite is the Kenny Lofton stealing a base, but it was a tadd too expensive compared to this one (it cost me $1 and I already feel it's way too much)

Now this photograph set I really love. I now own half of the entire set so I might as well complete it one day ! Those were seeded 1:6 so you could get them cheap even 20 years ago.

 For some strange coincidental reason, I got two Bagwells on woodlike panels. I really love those cards, especially the Picture Perfect. I traded for a Piazza one from that series 20 years ago and it was one of the highest valued card I owned (BV around $20 I believe, which shows how huge a collection I had in terms of value).Leaf limited Lumberjacks : SN /5000 / $20 / $2. Leaf picture perfect : SN / 5000 / $15 / $1.63

 I've mentioned it before, but of course Andruw Jones was everywhere after his amazing rookie season and postseason performance. 20 years later, his cards are dirt cheap, even for scarce inserts. So that's very cool.
1996 Bowman's best Best cuts Refractor : 1:80 / $80 / $2.24 (yeah, maybe not the best investment at the time)
1997 Donruss elite turn of the century : SN /3500 / $20 / 0.55 cts
1997 Donruss Limited fabric of the game : SN /1000 / $30 / $1.04

Those are all very cool also. The Spellbound must have been a pain for player collectors (right, TJ ?)
1997 Leaf get a grip : $15 / 0.99cts
1996 leaf limited rookies : 1: 7 /$15 / 0.43cts
Spellbound : 1:19 / $12 / 0.74 cts
Flair wave of the future : 1:4

 Those two are also amazing and I'd never have been able to add them to my collection 20 years ago. I have the Griffey Photo Gallery already, and traded for it 20 years ago, and it stayed all that time in a screwdown on one of my shelves. This collection holds a special place in my heart. It was seeded 1:30. BV for the Thomas was $20 and I paid $2 for it. The hit parade was 1:48, bv $20 and it cost me $2.25 (I really wanted it)

And finally, more scarce inserts of a big (hurt) name that I got at a great price. The Hot list one, of which "only" 10 000 were made, was worth $20. Got it for $1.25

So there you go ! sorry about all those numbers, but it was fun to compile and compare ! All in all, beyond the numbers and prices, I especially enjoyed just adding them to my collection and discovering brand new designs and cards. I'll also do this for 97 and 98 (but after that it simply got way too crazy and out of hand)

Thursday, May 10, 2018


As I mentioned yesterday, I got a box of 2018 Opening Day. Simply because a French (well, THE French) online dealer had a box for $30, and it's always nice not to pay customs and shipping fees. I like this year's design. It wouldn't make me want to buy a box of flagship, but it's a major improvement compared to the past couple of years.

I actually did quite well, as far as that product goes. I just wanted to add a few cards to my various Pcs and check out some players in their new uniforms along with their stats from last year (yeah, I tend to get my baseball knowledge off the backs of cards, it keeps me from spending way too much time on Fangraphs), but ended up getting a tad more.

The one semi-annoying thing is that for some weird reason I got 199 out of 200 cards from the base set. I'm only missing card #1, and that's Kershaw. Weird collation technique.

It doesn't look too impressive like that, but it's actually a really tough pull, as the odds are 1:4951. 3 times scarcer than a mascot auto. But way less sought after, of course. Still a fun card to have, though looking at the card, I have no idea what part of the fabric it is.

Those are seeded 1:9, and it's always nice to get a Trout and a Seager. The Encarnacion National Anthem is also somewhat tougher to pull than the usual OD inserts, at 1:286

Yay, mascots !

And finally, of course, this year's poster boy. I've watch him pitch a few times and have to admit that he's pretty exciting (and seems like a likeable guy). I do not, at all, understand how his cards can fetch such high prices (supply and demand, I know, but in that case people seem to speculate when prices are at the highest. Just seems weird to me. I guess it shows how we react to consumerism when we want something right now). This opening day card, for example, sells for $6 to $10. The base card. Of Opening Day. This is way beyond crazy. But hey, it gets people talking about the hobby and maybe card makers can get creative again.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Straight from the 70s to the 90s

Last week I received my cardbarrel order (I won't be showing it because I'm lazy, but I added a bunch of Baerga and Beltre cards to my collection, so that made me happy), and today it was my Comc order's turn to show up in my mailbox (plus a box of 2018 Opening day I got from a French retailer for $30, which is very cheap by my standards). I've got to say that even though I was disappointed that their rates for their mailbox service have gone through the roof, I have to admit that they've been much faster at sending out international packages. I used to have to wait 4 to 6 weeks, and now it's only about a two week wait. 

I concentrated on 3 topics : 70's cards picked from Night Owl's top 100, Blue Jays inserts from the mid 90s and 93 UD inserts to try and complete the master set.

What a perfect group of 7 cards. The Pat Corrales card informs me that he was included in the trade for Luis Aparicio, another one of my PC. Everything comes together. Those last 3 cards are all majestic in their own very special way.

 Turns out I already had the Will Clark and Justice 5th Anniversary. I really need to get my act together. I completed the base set (except for the Jeter RC, but that can wait) and am only missing a dozen inserts (including a bunch of checklist and header cards I don't care that much for) along of course with those very tough to find Highlight cards.

I'm starting to have a very solid Joe Carter collection. I can't be missing that many of his cards, besides impossible to find parallels and very scarce inserts. All of those here look great (someone, somewhere, actually spent more than 3 minutes thinking them up, unlike what we see today), and that Leaf is a preview.

Robbie ! Pacific!!

Those Hot Gloves inserts are impossible not to love. I also really like that Heading for the Hall insert, which is the most expensive card in the lot along with the Reggie Jackson (ie around 2$). Molitor was, indeed, headed for the hall, but not in a Blue Jays uniform.

Aaaah, the (in)famous Leaf signature series cards. This has to be my tenth of the series. Great to be able to pick those obscure names for cheap twenty years later.

I like adding Cruz Jr cards because they remind me of how popular he was around 1998, when I got the Internet for the first time and started trading on AOL. He didn't stay popular very long...But at least, like another favorite of mine, Andrew Jones, I can find him in all the cool late 90s inserts and get them at fair prices now.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Dodgers Redeem-Team

I don't remember if I wrote about this (I'm inexorably getting old), but I pulled a redemption card from 2016 Stadium Club a few months ago. Nothing fancy, but it was still my very first redemption card pulled, so that's always a little bit special. I had purchased a Charles Oakley Panini redemption card a couple of years ago, but after a year, I got tired of waiting and they sent a replacement (a Drummond auto, it turns out). This time, it all went as planned and I only waited two months for my card. They send it by Fedex, which is always a pain when you aren't home, but it turns out today s my off day from work (aren't you all glad to know all those small bits of information ?). It must cost them a fortune to send overseas, but at least the service gets done !

Tadah, there it is ! I have since of course removed the sticker, but I left it in the scanner just to prove that I wasn't lying, that it was indeed a redemption and not just your usual inserted autograph. I wouldn't want you to feel cheated.

Things have been exceptionally slow on the card front. All of my cards are sorted and put in corresponding binders and boxes, which never happens. Which is why I quickly placed an order with COMC and Cardbarrels. No boxes for now, because nothing's really caught my attention. I should probably wait for all that Ohtani craziness to cool down anyway (and still be very excited in front of my TV each time he shows up).

More to come very soon !

Monday, March 19, 2018

All in all, another card in the wall

I've been wanting to do this in a while, and I finally got my lazy ass moving for once. I picked about 60 cards, after looking at all my binders and top loaders, so I suppose those would be my all time favorites (besides my 56 Ted Williams and 1960 Mantle, and all my autos). I'll just make sure they don't get exposed to direct sunlight, as I don't have duplicates for 95% of them.

This shows a few things : I like Griffey, I like Blue Jays, and I'm definitely a 90s guy. I don't even think there's anything from the last 15 years besides that Topps Now card.

I still need to put everything in place and add some Minis on the side to complete the project, and tadah, up on the wall it goes !

Edit : here's the finished project \o/

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

More COMC randomness

I've been having a lot of fun rounding up cards on Comc lately. I tended to stay away from it because I don't like spending .50cts for common or base cards (and I know it's because of fees, but still), but it's great for late 70s beat up cards and for 90's inserts. But since I don't use Ebay anymore because of growing basic fees from Comc for their mailbox service, it leaves me some budget to spend on cards I like (this just may be ironic).

Anyway, I received the order I passed in January, and as usual, there's a little bit of everything, depending on my current obsessions.

I tend to forget things (I'm getting old), but I'm pretty sure those are from NO's Top 100 70's cards. That Fisk card is a beauty indeed.

I love those Deckle cards. And more cheap Aparicio cards for the PC. I still need 57 through 59 and 63 through 65, and I won't find those for cheap on COMC.

The Ty Cobb is an insert from the Ted Williams card company. I liked those cards, I remember buying a couple of packs at the time. The 90's Dominators is, for some reason, one of my favorite inserts design of all time. Go figure...I have no idea why I collect Frank Thomas cards. He was a major force at the time, of course, but not that spectacular. Maybe it's his calm demeanor, or the fact he played a few months for the Blue Jays, or just that he was omnipresent in baseball card guides when I was collecting heavily.

Of course, there had to be Blue Jays cards in the mix. I went for 93 and 94 inserts I was missing. It doesn't get much uglier than those pro vision cards, but they're impossible not to love (I really need the Ozzie Smith from that set)

Those Gold Leaf stars were very popular, and it's a beautiful Molitor card numbered to...10 000. And inserted at a rate of 1:90, it gives an idea of (over) production figures.

I've said it before : I know I'll never be able to get as many Griffey cards as I'd like, so I'll focus on his base cards of major brands. It's weird that I didn't have that Fleer RC, and that Ultra and that Skybox or really sharp.

 I grabbed a few early 90s affordable inserts, including that Diamond Kings. As cheezy as they are (c'mon, DK cards ARE cheezy), you gotta love them. So much color on that 94 edition !

What were Fleer thinking on that last card ?

  Ultra ! Thanks to that shipment, I'm now only missing about a dozen base cards of flagship products. One baby step at a time...

Big Hurt, Griffey, Bo...I'm such a collector's cliché. But still, reading about his heroics in French magazines (well, magazine singular, really, there were 3 magazines covering basketball but only one writing about the other american sports) made me buy his (very poorly written) biography, and now here I am, collecting his cards...I like adding football cards to my collection because I know close to nothing about them, which means I'm always discovering new designs.

Finally, here are older Knicks cards. A couple fan favorites in Monroe and Frazier, my first 80-81 card (I have no idea who Larry Demic is, but he was with Kareem so I picked this one up. Always cheaper than the Magic/Bird RC combo). Those are also my first 86-87 famous Fleer issue. Simple design made iconic because of all those (Jordan anyone ?) RCs and XRCs inserted.

Yay, 90's basketball ! those all look great. I especially like that Team MVP UD that I was never able to secure 25 years ago.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Matt, Brian and Kevin walk in a Gallery

Brian had a box of 2017 Topps Gallery just waiting to be opened for one of our breaks, which explains why it follows Matt's break so closely (I suppose it's my turn now !). This time, I didn't get all the hits, but there was an auto in there for me. My hot streak continues !

Some nice inserts and the usual (insanely boring) parallels. That Trout is a very nice card, and I had to look up who Arroyo is...

Hooray for Blue Jays ! The Alomar is a very nice insert. I like the overall design and card stock, but there's still a little something missing (more action ?) to make that a memorable set.

thanks for the break, Brian !

And as always, some bonus cards for my collection !

I used to think those were the ugliest cards ever, but now I absolutely love them. A great couple of vintage tv set cards for my NY Giants collection.

The Guerrero Jr is a parallel, and something tells me I'll have a hard time finding his cards..I'll stick to base cards for the moment ! The Devon Travis was the only one missing to complete the 2015 Heritage team set, so thanks for spotting that SP ! And finally, a very cool on card Stroman auto. Arbitration was tough, apparently, but it looks like he'll be on track for this season.

More Blue Jays cards I needed ! First time I've seen those Holiday cards. Not sure what Topps is trying to do, there...Can't wait for 2020 and the end of their monopoly. Let's hope the league allows new blood in the mix. I thought the system in the 90s (well, early 90s...) was good, with each brand allowed what, 5 products ? I understand the market isn't what it used to be, with far less people buying, but a little competition won't hurt. That Pat Hentgen is from a box set from 97 Stadium Club I had no idea existed. It's not even in the tcdb. Well done !

Thanks to Brian, I now own 9 different Kiermaier cards. My collection is impressive !

And finally, more PC? including a couple of Knicks cards (and that Ewing that I did not have. And I have a LOT of 90s Ewing cards...)

Thanks again Brian, can't wait for the next break !