Thursday, May 9, 2024

2005 Topps Pristine Legends refractors

Here's something that's been an upper-level collecting priority of mine for at least a couple years, yet I haven't really been documenting the progress much on the blog for whatever reason. (Laziness?) I'm going for a set of 2005 Topps Pristine Legends.. not a standard base set, but a frankenset that's mostly (base) refractors.


The first 100 cards in the set are in a design riffing on 1965 Topps, a favorite set of mine that was one of the first (the 2nd?) vintage sets I completed after returning to the hobby as an adult, and pair that with my love for refractors, you can see how I stumbled upon collecting the set. These pseudo '65s were also made available in an "uncirculated" state:


I don't have much preference between encased or not. On one hand the case makes the card feel a bit more special-- not to mention the added protection-- but they're bulky and take up more space. Plus those cases scratch up pretty easily if the owner(s) weren't good about keeping them in team bags.


All 140 cards are paralleled in gold refractors numbered out of 65. These are touted as being "die cut" but in reality it's just a deckle-edge, cut reminiscent of an old O-Pee-Chee card. lol. So yeah, I don't really chase these, but if the price is right, I may bite.


Cards 101-125 mix things up and use a design inspired by 1982 Topps. You don't see a lot of licensed collegiate cards released by Topps from this time, so there's some novelty there. Like with the rest of the checklist, some are encased and some aren't, and there are /65 gold parallels, however the base refractors are /199 (with the non-refractor base numbered /1999), so they're tougher than the first hundred cards. And the checklist gets more SP'ed as it continues.


Cards 126 through 135 go back to the preintegration days for some greats who played back when racism was a bit more in-your-face than it is today. If this design is paying homage to an old set, it's not ringing a bell with me, so let me know in the comments if I'm missing something (Closest I can guess is 1951 Topps maybe?). I was stoked to add the Buck O'Neil as he's a PC favorite and I had been after it for a while. They put FOUR different Josh Gibson cards in this little section of the checklist, so I've still got 3 to go. These refractors are numbered out of 99 and look great in the light with so much "blank refractor" space on them. The non-refractors are /999 and there are /65 gold refractors, though I don't have any.


The checklist wraps up with a 5-card subset in a '53 Topps-inspired design celebrating "The Little League Years" of Gary Carter, Bo Jackson, George Brett, Joe Carter, and Nolan Ryan. I don't have any of these yet, sadly. The base refractors are out of only 25 copies, so in this instance, the /65 gold refractors are actually more common than the base. I took a run at a gold Bo that popped up recently, but got outbid as it ended up in 3-digit territory. If I'm ever to finish this frankenset, I will probably have to give in and allow non-refractors for these last 5 cards (which base are numbered /499, so still not that common). It just feels weird to pay $100+ for a card picturing a Little Leaguer, even if the kid went on to stardom, you know?

Anyways, yeah.. fun set to work on. I'm currently at 55% complete, so this quest won't be wrapped up any time soon, but I'll keep chipping away with a card here and a card there.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

A little Bush and some Big Hurt

Happy for Reggie Bush getting his Heisman back. Got a small PC going for him because he’s a "local kid" for me; went to a rival high school in my district a few years after I graduated. Some highlights of what I've got:



In other news, the one "random card" in my COMC order (ie, not for a specific hobby project but just because I thought it was cool) was this die-cut Frank Thomas:


This was an example of "music on cards" I didn't have, and yeah I thought it was cool.


Frank Thomas CD collection is now up to a robust 2.25 discs. Actually that die-cut isn't quite a quarter of a CD. And they had to fudge the size:


Here lined up with a standard-sized CD.



In more Frank Thomas content, my rotating cardroom display is currently featuring my variety of his 1990 Topps card. Nothing here cost me over a buck! I don't have an original NNOF, but I do have the 2010 Topps "Cards Your Mom Threw Out" reprint in both standard and tough original back variation (...lucky cardshow finds).

But technically the rarest of the cards in this display is the "white border" card that no one else has:


Yeah ok, so it's just "cardart" I made by bleaching the borders for a year or two, and so therefore no "value" there, but I love it and consider it one of my top Big Hurt cards.


Here's another shot in late-afternoon sun where you can really check out the texture of the card. It's a little sloppy around the inner border, but man, it was a big sense of accomplishment when I finally got the last of the gnarly 90s border to finally disappear.  One could make a case that this is also a "partial NNOF" because of the "M" imperfection. LOL. 

Thanks for reading and follow your dreams.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

more moldy oldies

Geena Davis here is taken out of context from an old SNL skit I saw the other day, but I figured it'd make for a quirky intro to another post documenting my quest to build a run of Topps flagship from the 70s.


GCA kindly thought of me while at a recent card show and sent more help with the back end of 1972 Topps, still considered my top priority as far as trading goes. Now that's the kind of PWE I like to see. Much appreciated, my friend! I was already in his debt before this, but I've got a solid return shaping up to square things shortly.

-   -  - --o


Next up is a package from another long-time blogger bud, Bo from Baseball Cards Come to Life. He's one of the most solid traders I've had the pleasure to deal with, and it's so refreshing that condition means nothing to him. Sadly after so many swaps with him over the years, since I don't rip product or hit the card show anymore, I really have to scrape around my collection a while to find anything else to trade him. But luckily this time I was able to sort out some dupes for him from my old Kellogg's setbuilds, plus I had a few vintage Japanese cards in my Mike Reinbach PC that I ended up with dupes of, so that all added up to a respectable return for a healthy stack of vintage needs Bo was anxious to pull for me, with the understanding that my standards for condition have lowered considerably. Yeah, really at this point in my life, I'm just looking for the satisfying closure of completing some sets. I'm not concerned about their value and I don't plan to ever sell them, and honestly I'm at the age where I could drop dead of a heart attack or whatever any day, so time's a-waistin'! That Johnny Bench card seems like it spent at least one recess period in some kid's pocket, but yeah, if that's the Johnny Bench card in my '77 Topps set, so be it. My set was at 46% complete, but thanks to this fat stack from Bo (with some of the bigger names on top), I'm now up to 65%. Not bad. Thanks again, Bo!

-  - - --o

Just got in my latest COMC order yesterday in that I placed near the end of January, so I'm excited to finally get that stuff in. Really shows you how I rely mostly on trades for setbuilding because there were zero vintage setbuilders in the order. I probably should start shopping around more to get serious about finishing off more sets, but seems I'm always busy searching for other cards online. I'll try to post about more from that order soon, but here's a couple vintage PC needs I picked up..


A couple more mid-70s Mike Reinbach cards from Japan, both featuring a powerful swing. I still need a bunch his Calbee cards, but they seem to pop up a lot more often these days. Back when I first started collecting him, they were few and far between, but now there's always an assortment on COMC. I've been known to upgrade cards I already own if the price is right (and that's how I ended up with the dupes to send Bo). These were needs, not upgrades, though, and this pair is in really nice condition. Like, I thought these cards were originally distributed in bags of chips? Somebody took good care of them.

Anyways, that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

The card show comes to me

Saturday was a first for me, having not one but two fellow cardbloggers hand-deliver boxes of cards to my door. How great is that?! First was Kevin from The Diamond King who was down in my neck of the woods Saturday morning for the local card show. Then in the afternoon, Rod from Padrographs dropped off another box while I was out walking Ruby. Plus I received one eBay pick up in Saturday's mail, one that happens to be a triple-bullseye for my collection: Christmas Card of a PC guy in my #1 set, 2004 Topps Retired refractors (and it was cheap). Oh, happy day!

Starting off the recap with a royal visit from The Diamond King. This came about because I had been working up a few neat Mark McGwire cardart things with the intention of putting them on eBay for my continuing side-hustle trying to generate enough income to where my wife won't hound me to find another real job quite yet, and generate enough walks to the post office to keep my crazy dog tired. Since Kevin is a big McGwire collector, I figured I'd check if he was interested in trading me for any of them. I know cardart ain't for everybody, so I try not to force it on folks if they don't want it, but I feel guilty if I don't at least offer my buddies dibs on anything they might like of their top PC guys.

Anyways, he was agreeable to trade and a few days later brought me over some great stuff. I think the only other time Kevin and I met in person was when he dropped off cards back at my old house, and we moved in 2020, so it's been a few years. Nice to see him again and have a little chat over cards.


The bulk of what he had for me was a nice lot of Kellogg's for my long-term collecting goal of putting together a run of those classic cereal cards. Excited to check these off my wants.


He also had a bunch of supervintage he offered me since he knows I'm into old stuff like that, with the caveat that who knows if this stuff is legit or perhaps reprints or even counterfeits. Sometimes you just find random stuff digging through cards at a card show and you roll the dice on card that might be something or might not. But yeah, regardless, these are neat additions to the pre-war randomness in my collection, hopefully working a few of them into my Vintage Frankenset project.


I've never been hunting and only went fishing a couple times in my youth, but I can still appreciate the interesting artwork on this series. The last card is "Ratting" and features a young lady swinging a stick at a rat.


Nice minicollection hits for me here.. The top cards are both 12/25 and the bottom lucky lady is 1/3. Love the green ink! Ryan Shamrock is a ring name for Alicia Webb, a.k.a. Symphony, who had a brief pro wrestling career around the turn of the millennium.


Some modern cards of my Padres.


I hope Trout has a good comeback season. The first card seems to be an oddball from 2021.


Some favorites of the past. The '75 Thurman was a need for my setbuild Kevin had just picked up for me at the card show. What a guy! I also needed the Reggie image variation for my 2011 Topps parallel frankenset.


Kevin had a big stack of serial numbered cards for a future giveaway and was kind enough to let me go through and cherry-pick out some PC guys of mine, heavy on the Kris Bryant.

Thanks again, Kevin! Great to swing the in-person exchange with you. Hope we can do it again before too long.

-  - --o


While Ruby and I were out on a nice little hike around the local golf course, Rod was popping by with a box of cards to leave at my doorstep. Sorry I missed him, but excited to thumb through the stack of cards he had available for me.


Love to score cards of the various hot young players that don't make it into my collection much these days since I don't rip new stuff or hit the card show anymore.


There were a few hundred cards in the box, mostly from Rod's recent box busting extravaganza probably, with a big chunk of them fitting into my collection like the PC additions above.

Oh buddy.. glow-in-the-dark dinosaur sticker. Rod is a champ always looking out for glowing stuff for me!

Big thanks, Rod! Always a blast getting cards from you. I hope I catch you next time.

-   - - --o

And then here's that sweet eBay win that came in to really round out the day...


Vida Blue! It's a weird photo choice, but still!


This is an "upgrade" to the 22/25 refractor I already had. Lucky for me the seller botched the listing a bit and I ended up getting this one cheaper than I expected.

There are a total of 76 cards in the 2004 Topps Retired autographs. Of those 12/25 "Christmas Cards" in existence, I've now got 11 of them. That's over 14% of the Christmas Cards in 2004 Retired (which is "the set" my collection is built around, basically). So that's kinda cool!

Thanks for reading and have a great week.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

70s progression

I think it was around 2017 when I decided I'd make a run at completing all the Topps flagship sets from the decade of the 70s. Part of my motivation for this was to really open up my wantlist and facilitate trading back when the blogs were boppin'. But then that all slowed down plus the covid boom bumped up vintage prices, and so the "last updated" dates on my setbuild spreadsheets haven't been getting updated as frequently in recent years. But I keep up with them in a "slow and steady wins the race" outlook.

It had been years since I traded with Scott Crawford, and it took us a few months of rounding up cards and dealing with distractions, but we were finally able to swap some cards. Scott stuck to the 70s and helped me sweep the cobwebs from many of those wantlists of mine.


Some popular dudes in the mix here. My 1970 Topps setbuild is up past 55% complete now, though it'd be foolish of me to consider myself over halfway done, as I don't have much out of the biggest cards and high numbers. But yeah, I love to get whatever I can via trades in sort of putting in me a good position for when I'm eventually ready to start targeting a Ryan and Bench down the line. But yeah, I have no doubt that 1970 will be the last Topps set of the decade I finish (if I even ever do), since I've already completed '71 and '73, my '72 set is entering the high number home stretch, and '74-up aren't too tough thanks to being all one series.


My 1975 Topps is tantalizingly close to 90% complete now (89.24%), with 71 cards missing. Some fuzzy corners here, but still happy to add them-- especially stoked to see the Mantle/Aaron when thumbing through the stack. Maybe they'll get upgraded someday, maybe not. Seems the older I get, the less concerned about condition I become. Not like I'm planning on ever selling the set when I finish it, I just want to be able to say I've got a complete set of 1975 Topps. Maybe I'll make a push here in 2024, since it'd be kinda cool to complete it during its "Topps Heritage tribute" year.


Even with this robust lot from Scott, I'm still under halfway with 1976 Topps. Not long ago I nearly tried to negotiate for a complete set from another trader dude who broached its availability to me, though that didn't make it into our finalized deal. But yeah, '76 Topps seems like a set that would make sense to get at once as a set since there aren't much in the way of "big money" cards in there jacking up the price. But for now, I'll keep chipping away at it the classic way.


Similar to '76, my '77 Topps setbuild hasn't quite hit the midway point, but keeps chugging along.


Here we go! 1978 Topps is rounding the corner now, with just 18 cards left (97.52% complete). I should try to scoop up those last few cards sometime soon. Already got the big ones.

Thanks so much, Scott! I really appreciate the cards!

- -o

Tacking onto this trade post a combined shipping eBay order I got in this week that also contained a couple 70s needs.


Here are some old cards of white guys looking off to their right. Roger Craig is the first '57 I've added in a while. Just 79 cards remaining there, but I've been at it for about a decade now. Hey, I might complete it someday.


The Yaz refractor was the card that spurred the purchase. I'm ga-ga about All-Time Fan Favorites refractors (/299) and will snatch them up at the right price-- even if I already have them! A lot of sellers ask a lot for them, even commons, but once in a while a nice star pops up cheap. I don't often blog about them as they come in, but going after the full run of all 442 ATFF refractors is a hobby priority of mine these days and I expect that project to be completed before 1970 Topps, for what it's worth. I also love the shiny Killebrew I found while looking through the seller's other items. It's from 2004 Upper Deck Diamond Collection.


A couple serial-numbered cards of future Hall of Famers. I don't really PC Verlander, but the purple sonar refractor called to me, not having seen that style of shiny card in-hand. Not that I want to encourage the endless amount of parallels these days, but it looks pretty cool. My wife has mentioned having a mild celebrity crush on Justin, so I might display it on the fridge in a magnetic-backed top-loader for her to also enjoy. For the record, I've never been into the swinger scene (despite having a buddy into that during my 20s), but Mrs. Verlander could probably convince me to at least consider it. lol


Finally, I don't go after basketball cards often, but this 1995-96 Finest refractor wasn't listed (priced) as being a refractor, so I grabbed it for just a buck while amassing 8 cards to get the seller's promo special shipping deal. (Basically felt like I was buying the Yaz and getting a few bonus cards thrown in.) Gheorghe Mureșan is a player I recognize because he did that movie with Billy Crystal. I like how the protector film text isn't covering any skin, otherwise I'd be more inclined to peel it.

That'll do it for today. Thanks for reading.

Monday, March 18, 2024

1988 Topps pack rip

Quick pupdate: Happy to report Ruby is doing a lot better now. The tube is out and the stitches are scheduled to come out this weekend. She's always such a happy, high-energy dog that it was tough seeing her so miserable/drugged-up for those few days, but she's doing a whole lot better now.

Just wanted to cleanse the blog with some better vibes after a stressed-out previous post, so let's grab something from my little stash of unopened packs and make a quick post out of it.


Here's a pack of 1988 Topps. It's a set I like to work with for cardart because, well for one thing all 792 cards are essentially commons since they printed so much of it, so they can all be scored for the site minimum price at Sportlots. And the blocky white borders make for good canvases for drawing on or cutting around.


Seems the last several old Topps packs I've opened have had shattered and/or gross-looking gum, so it was a nice change of pace to see a full stick of enticing pink gum.


Not a lot of starpower in the pack, but the Fernando and the rookie cup Greenwell are ok pulls for me.

Welp, that was a little anticlimactic, so let's see what else I've got available to rip.


1990 Upper Deck. Another good cardart source for me with plenty of iconic cards that aren't worth much because there are so damn many of them in existence.


Nice! Nolan Ryan and a Larry Walker rookie make this pack an easy winner.


Sammy Sosa would have been a decent pull, too, but the surface wear on the cap kinda ruins this particular example. So much for "pack fresh"! lol

That's it. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Incoming Cards™

All is not well at Baseball Card Breakdown HQ, with my dog Ruby getting a serious injury in a dust-up after she playfully surprised a mean dog at the park. Not life-threatening, but there's a pretty nasty gash on her side, now stitched up with a tube. It'll likely be a rough couple weeks of healing but she should be back to her over-the-top self soon. I'm pretty exhausted from all the stress and hours waiting at the emergency vet the other day, but glad that day is in the rearview now.

I've been meaning to do another one of those posts where I get around to showing off some incoming cards I've gotten recently, specifically non-purchases this time. (The post title is joke referencing Penny Sleeve's latest post.) So let's do that while I keep one eye on the dog (We try to give her plenty of time not in the Cone of Shame, but that means we need to make sure she doesn't mess with the area or get into any trouble otherwise).

When the Diamond King ran a quick contest where he'd try shopping for some cards for you at an upcoming card show, I tried to keep my entry comment request simple, asking for refractors of notable players or cheap star cards for cardart if I won.

Lucky me, my name came out on top and before long I received a pair of PWEs with my winnings.


Really nice selection of shiny stars, heavy on Padres. And here's a better look at that center Khris Davis...


Christmas Card! Kevin mentioned this was one he had set aside for me for a while.


The non-refractors were way better than I was expecting. I needed the Jim Palmer for my '76 setbuild, and the others are all nice PC additions. I think only the Betts is a dupe for me, so maybe that one'll get defaced in the name of art at some point.

Big thanks, Kevin! I really enjoyed these!

-   -  - --o

Looks like Zippy Zappy is still working on slimming down his collection, as I got another recent package from him.


Three baseball autos, a couple cards of a lovely lady, and a hockey printing plate. Not too often somebody drops a random 1/1 on you!


Some little Star Wars canisters from Japan (once containing cookies?) along with sleeves n' such (not pictured) that I'll find a use for.

Thanks again as always, Kenny! I hope you keep mailing me random cool shit for years to come. lol

-  - - - ---o

John Miller surprised me with a nice bunch of cards a week or so back.


A nice group of Gavins here.


Big Brian Giles lot. I should sort out the PC one of these days and enter it into TCDB as I bet I'd be a contender for the top spot with so much help from traders like John over the years.


Love whenever I can add to the Caminiti collection.


A few other highlights from the package. Thank you, John! Always appreciated! I need to find some Braves for you or at least make some more bubble customs for you and Bob like I've been meaning to.

Thanks for reading, and thanks again to Kevin, Kenny, and John for the cards.