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)