Sunday, May 1, 2016

Pairs of serial numbered cards

Time for more of my haul from the card show. To refresh your memory, I picked up 120 cards for a quarter each. After such a big haul, I often grapple with how I should work the cards into a blog post.. trying to find a theme, or separating the cards into groups or whatnot.

This post features a few guys I collect, each represented by a pair of serial numbered cards. Um, perhaps we could make this more interesting by trying to declare a winner between each match up. Yeah, let's give that a shot. 

Ernie Banks 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game 292/500 vs. 2002 Donruss Classics 521/1500. Gotta go with the left here. The powder blue border is nice, plus it's 3 times as rare as the other card.

Eddie Murray 2011 Topps Marquee 109/199 vs 2011 Tier One 597/799. Hmm.. both cool cards. Guess I'll have to give the win to the Marquee thanks to the scarcity.

Al Kaline 2013 Triple Threads 321/650 vs 2011 Gypsy Queen 188/999. GQ has the cool gold border, and nice to see the stadium background, but ultimately it's a boring, awkward pose. The TT card has got the action. Hate to seem like I'm awarding the win to the lowest numbered card every time, but yeah, Triple Threads wins this one.

Johnny Bench 2011 Tier One 390/799 vs 2011 Triple Threads 1196/1500. Here we go with an underdog win. The red border of the Triple Threads card beautifully frames the photo.

Jake Peavy 2005 SP Collection 228/299 vs 2010 National Chicle 293/499. We're taking a break from the HOFers for a former Padre standout I kinda still collect even though I should probably call the PC good at this point. Gotta go with the Chicle here. That set is hit-or-miss with the artistic renderings looking either kinda cool or pretty dumb, but this is a good one. Nice refractor shine to it.

Adrian Gonzalez 2011 Tier One 784/799 vs 2013 Triple Threads 209/650. Like Peavy, a dude I collect thanks to his days in San Diego though I'm trying to stop, but hey, a cheap, numbered card is hard to pass up. I think I'd give a slight edge to the Tier One card here.

Randy Johnson 2005 Donruss Classics 189/800 vs 2014 Triple Threads 274/325. Let's give this one to the TT.

2002 Gold Label 210/500 vs 2014 Museum Collection 18/199. The Museum Collection card looks good, but it's hard to go against Gold Label.. always a great looking set.

Lou Brock 2005 Playoff Absolute 12/150 vs 2010 Triple Threads 387/525. Our final bout, this one is not even close. The Playoff card has the lower number, but it's obviously a naked card designed for an auto or at least a relic. TKO for the TT card here.

So there you go, a pair of numbered cards for a bunch of Hall of Fame guys plus a couple former Padres crashing the party.

Thanks for reading!
. . .
Oh, now that April is over, let's check out the handwritten post contest entries. There were a dozen people who made such a post and commented on the entry post with the URL to it.

I know there were a few others who did handwritten posts but didn't officially get in on the contest due to not posting the link in the comments. But rules is rules. I did kinda bend the rules a little for JediJeff and his punch card post, but it was in the spirit of the contest, so I let it count.

Did you guys see a spike in hits on your handwritten posts? The one I did is easily my most popular post of 2016 so far, with nearly 900 views! I hope bloggers had fun with the concept and maybe even do another handwritten post once in a while for the heck of it, even without the incentive of a contest.

Ok, so let's assign numbers (not pick a winner) to the entrants..

Let's say the winning number is the total number of runs scored in this afternoon's Padres vs. Dodgers game (5/1/16). Anything over 12 loops around (so, 13 = Tony L). The game has already started as I type this (no score in the 1st inning), so I'd better get this post live ASAP. Good luck to all participants!

UPDATE: Kershaw pitched a shutout and drove in the game's only run to beat San Diego 1-0. So Tony L. stands as the winner. Congrats, Tony!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Return to the Quarterbox (Card show recap)

I was pretty efficient at the card show today. Came in and went straight to my usual guy's bins. I wasn't too impressed by what I was seeing in his dollar bins (7 for $5), so I slummed it down in his quarterboxes. Ended up with 120 25¢ cards, nearly half for trade fodder (lots of Braves, Pirates, Cubs, and Brewers). Probably not as impressive of a haul as last month's quarterbox crushing, but I was satisfied and called it good with just that one purchase. I kinda feel bad that I didn't even look at any of the other dealers' stuff, but it's not like I haven't been buying a bunch of cards lately. I even got a big COMC order delivered today. So it wasn't too hard for me to have some restraint.

Let's look at a few of my pickups.

I was ready to ask Mark Hoyle what these were, but a quick COMC search answered my question: 1971 Dell MLB Stamps. Yaz, Kaline, and Seaver. Nice vintage PC additions.

A quartet of quarter cards for my Vlad PC. That guy was a beast in his prime. Due to my love of quirky cards, I had been wanting to get one of those "net" cards from Pacific, so I was happy to come across this one.

Here's a better look at the net. It's fun to take it out of the top-loader and sleeve to give it a touch. It's not game-used or anything, just another funky gimmick from Pacific. And my blog's hits always go through the roof when my jade plant makes an appearance. I brought a tiny ~2 inch piece of plant from my back patio with me in a plastic bag when I moved up from San Diego and was able to grow it out up here. I even split it off into another plant and discovered jade plants do not live through Portland winters outside. But enough botany, back to cards!

Parallels #'d /99 for a couple active pitchers I collect, Chris Sale and Cole Hamels.

Man, I really like Pristine. These faux 65s are great looking cards.

Am I starting to collect Bartolo Colon? It's tempting, but I probably shouldn't. But these 2 low-numbered cards were too hard to pass up. The encased Pristine card is #'d /99, while the Triple Threads is /150.

I think I'm gonna stop today's post here, but I'll likely be showing off more cards from my haul throughout the coming week.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A box of 2016 Topps Museum Collection

If you've been following this little saga, Topps asked me to be a dear and stop selling custom cards that happen to bare a striking resemblance to Topps brand cards. I complied and they showed their gratitude by sending me a box of 2016 Museum Collection. These things sell for around $180, so it's definitely a generous gesture, and very appreciated.

Let's rip this puppy and see what's in there.

There are 4 packs (mini-boxes) in a hobby box, each containing a hit and graced on the outside by the legendary Roberto Clemente.

Pack 1:

The Reggie Canvas Collection is kinda cool. The 3 base cards don't do much for me. As for the hit..

(Sorry that the foil text on a dark background makes these hard to read in photos/scans.) Byron Buxton auto/relic 67/99.. Nice. He's a highly touted top prospect who has yet to cash in on his immense potential on the major league level, but you gotta believe the Twins will give him ample opportunity. Off to a slow start this season, but hopefully he comes around.

Pack 2:

Nobody I really collect in the base cards here, but that's a nice quad-relic...

Pad in the Hall, Mike Piazza #'d 54/99. He's a guy I collect. Nice addition to the PC.

Pack 3:

The non-hits are highlighted by a Yoenis Cespedes parallel #'d 174/199. And for a better look at that relic...

Jay Friggin' Bruce. Gotta be a sad trombone whenever you pull a hit of him these days, even if you're a Reds fan. Too bad, too, as that's a great looking relic, with that badge/shield shape and the stripe going right down the middle. #'d 41/50. If this were like Trout or Harper I'd be crapping myself over it.

Last pack, #4:

Base cards highlighted by a Kris Bryant. Looks like every pack has a parallel, though the bronze parallels are the most common and unnumbered, represented here by Chris Davis.

My promised on-card auto is Mr. Stephen Piscotty, not a bad pull. #'d 134/299. He had a nice partial season debut last year and is doing fine so far this year, patrolling right field for St. Louis. I recently drained all my decent Cardinal tradeable cards on Madding to score a Michael Conforto auto, so this is a nice hit for me. It very well may end up with said Portland neighbor one of these days, but for now I'll enjoy it as one of the better cards from this box that I was magnanimously gifted directly from Topps.

So yeah, not a terrible box, but no huge mojo hits nor all that impressive as far as guys I personally collect, but still a fun box to bust, especially seeing as I didn't pay $180 for it. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth (again, I'm very grateful for it!), but this box could probably be considered a dud, seeing as none of the hits would be likely to sell much above single digits on the secondary market. The lowest numbered card was the Jay Bruce #/50; pretty high for a box of this type of product. But with my luck ripping cards, it was to be expected. Maybe someday I'll pull an auto of Koufax, Trout, or Harper or something like that, but not this time.

Let's see.. the untouchable/PC cards for me here are the Reggie canvas, Piazza relic, and Bryant base.. otherwise, I could be talked out of these, so check out my wantlist and get in touch if you'd like to propose a trade for anything.

Thanks for reading and big thanks again to Topps for the high-end gift!
. . .
Contest reminder.. I'm running a little "handwritten post" contest for my fellow bloggers this month. If you've got a blog and want to take part in the contest, get your handwritten post up by the end of April (Saturday night). Don't forget: to be entered in the contest, you must post a comment on this post with the URL to your entry.

Speaking of which, another guy who got a box of 2016 Museum Collection is Sport Card Collectors, and he's got a contest going to give away one of the hits from his box. So go check it out and enter. SCC just won himself another contest! It's really ridiculous how often his guy wins stuff, as I've noted here before. But he also runs a lot of contests, so I guess it's good karma coming back to him.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tiny follow up to yesterday's post

Topps came through with an awesome "no hard feelings" gift!

Looking forward to busting this.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Gentle Art of Selling Customs (aka Finally Got My Cease and Desist!)

I've been photoshopping up digital "cards that never were" since the early days of this blog. Last year, I began taking it to the next level by printing out hardcopy customs. I eventually got pretty good at it and was so happy with the results that I wanted to spread them around a bit. These days, the majority of trade packages I send out have at least one custom in them to spice up the batch of cards and give my own personal touch. I know not everybody cares much about "fake cards" but most collectors at least get a mild kick out of a well-crafted custom, treating them as quirky oddballs.

I got to the point where I was so proud of the cards I was coming up with that I started trying to make a few bucks selling them on eBay and Twitter. It was slow at first, but eventually I got into a groove for a stretch where I was maybe selling a card or two per day at around $5 a card. After various costs/fees, it wasn't much, but I got to the point where I was pretty much supporting my hobby purchases with my PayPal balance rather than the associated bank account. So that was nice.

This Trevor Story card of mine was a good seller. Topps Now is a great idea. Topps won't get shut out with any out-of-nowhere rookie sensations thanks to this card-making system. But even with the several ToppsNow Trevor Story cards available, I saw quite a bit of interest in this faux 1983 card for the rookie who came out of nowhere to a blazing start this season.

But perhaps I flew too close to the sun, getting brazen offering it and other customs on Twitter. Two or three haters started tweeting shit like, "Does @toppscards know he is making fake cards with there (sic) logos[?]" The next morning (moments after I started drafting this rebuttal post, funny enough), I got a firm but polite email from Topps' Deputy General Counsel essentially telling me to stop selling fake Topps cards.

I gotta admit it gave me a big smile. It was an honor to have even gotten on Topps' radar. Just some collector fanboy printing a small handful of cards on his home printer, apparently good enough to threaten Papa Bear of the baseball card world. For a trip back in time, check out my January 2015 blog post "Concern over counterfeit and custom cards on the market" highlighting my feelings over the rise in ease of making customs, and more dangerously, counterfeits. I lamented the fact that Topps seemed to do nothing to stem the tide of fake cards flooding the market. So in that regard it almost feels like a win.

I've made no secret on this blog over the years that I'd love a job in the sportscard industry. I'd like to think the fake cards I've come up with over the years have been like a "portfolio" showing that I'm capable of coming up with good ideas for cards and adequately executing those ideas. And the fact that I've put out several customs that've seen strong interest has helped validate that for me.

To my credit, I definitely never attempted to counterfeit any cards nor tried to trick people into thinking my customs were actually put out by Topps or whomever. I always made it very clear that the card I was making available was a fan-crafted "card that never was" meant to fill a void real card companies hadn't filled. My customs were clearly marked as such on the back. There's no doubt that my customs were supplementary to real cards, never in direct competition.

But yeah, I may have gone a bit overboard and totally understand Topps draping a wet blanket over my little operation. I hope they continue their pushback against fake cards-- Counterfeits, specifically (customs aren't really that big of a threat), but yeah.

And for the record, any profit I made from selling customs went straight back into the hobby. I recently pre-ordered a couple hobby boxes of 2016 Topps Archives that I'm excited to get when that product releases in a few weeks. I also used that Trevor Story custom money to buy a real Trevor Story card:

I can tell you that without the extra padding in my digital wallet, I would not have pulled the trigger on that card. Big picture, me selling a handful of homemade cards helped the hobby and Topps way more than hurt it.

But yeah, I've agreed to not sell any more Topps custom cards going forward. I quickly compiled with Topps' request the day they sent it and did my best to remove any posts/tweets where I had offered faux Topps cards for sale. They were pleased with my cooperation and even offered to maybe send me some product as a thank-you if I'd be so kind as to provide my address. Realizing this might just be a ploy to have my information on file with their legal department, still I couldn't resist the possibility of free cards, and happily responded with my full name and address. I'll let you know if anything shows up. (Update: They sent a box of 2016 Museum Collection! Nice!)

Let's wrap up this post. Will I stop making cards? I don't think I can; it's like a form of self-expression for me. But I'll definitely do my best to tread lightly in regards to stepping on toes from a legal standpoint, especially if I attempt to make a buck off them. I'm thinking more original designs and tributes to forgotten oddballs. I'd love to follow in the footsteps of someone like fellow custom card creator, the guy behind Gypsy Oak, who seems to squeak out a living cranking out original-ish cards. But he's an incredible artist whereas my sketchcards would barely get me a passing grade in a high school art class, much less make me any money. So my dream of supporting myself with baseball cards is not likely to be realized anytime soon. Still though, making cards is a lot of fun. This is a great hobby and I'm happy to be an active part of it.

Very cool Roberto Clemente 1965 penny card I got from Gypsy Oak
So there you go.
Thanks for reading!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Deja Vu.. another 2016 Donruss blaster flies into my cart

Just like last Saturday, I bought another blaster of 2016 Donruss at the grocery store today. It was the last one they had out. Would that be good luck for me?

Ever the groundbreaker, I took a photo of the blaster in mid-air. Because why not.. you know what the box looks like.

Panini should do a separate set with just these.. like "Donruss Heritage". Photo-wise, these tend to be the most interesting cards. Rickey walking around carrying stolen bases is pretty cool. The rest are available for trade.

Nothing too notable in the inserts, but these are fine.

Base cards of some guys I collect.

Base cards of guys I don't collect (available for trade). Nice to see the Expos make it into the set via Andres Galarraga.

Gawl dang it, my two "best cards of the box" are both Giants. Boo. They were back to back in the same pack, too. At least the relic is a nice big piece of orange jersey (better than a plain white swatch, right?), though the name Tyler Beede means nothing to me. It's unnumbered. The Matt Duffy press proof is #'d 84/99. The only Giants fan I ever trade with, ARPSmith, has been MIA for a while, I think changing jobs or someshit, so these will likely collect cobwebs in my tradebox unless any of you guys want to trade. Just drop me an email. I know I've got a few pending interested parties from my last few trade bait posts, but I'm hoping to get a batch of packages out here shortly. If you were interested in something from me in the past and I've left you hanging, please don't be shy to drop me an email to rekindle a deal.

Anyways, this box probably wasn't as good as the last one with the A-rod bat chip, but could have been worse. I doubt I'll buy any more of this stuff, though. I was on the fence about this one as it was, and I think I'm good with two.

Thanks for swinging by!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Minor League lot

If you've gone looking for modern minor league cards on eBay, you know there's really only one game in town: gosportscards. That guy has the hook-up for minor league issues from the past few years. I snagged a few singles from him the other day to take advantage of combined shipping. Here's what I got..

Zippy Zappy gave me a heads-up the other day that John (formerly known as "Johnny") Omahen has a retail-only autograph in 2016 Bowman, releasing 4/27. I'm very excited about this and will likely try to rainbow it with all the parallels I can get my hands on. But for now, I've grown my Omahen PC with this pair of 2015 cards. I'm hoping he can become just the second guy from my high school to ever pitch in the majors (after Tom Fordham in the late 90s). His is a nice story, as after being released by the Marlins and spending 2013 on an independent team, he latched on with the Diamondbacks organization and had a fine 2015 season, going 13-3 with a 3.07 ERA. Looks like he's off to a rocky start in AA so far this year, but it's still early.

Finally got my first real Brian Carroll card! Maybe you remember last year I made a few customs and had an adventure at the ballpark attempting to get them signed in person. Another Guy From Granite, he battled injuries to finish 2015 strong, ending up with a .306 average and 14 steals in his first professional season. Not sure where he'll play this year, but I'll be keeping an eye out.

Travis Taijeron is back in AAA this season, but you gotta figure he's waiting in the wings if/when the Mets need any outfield help. I was a little surprised to see him shut out of the 2016 Bowman checklist after impressing last year in AAA and this spring training. Hmm. Well, hopefully he gets another mainstream card soon, but for now, this lot of 4 minor league cards will tide me over.

Ok, now we've finished with the players who went to the same high school as me, and moved on to the players named Gavin portion of the order.

Seller gosportscards always puts the keyword "rookie" in his eBay listing titles. Sometimes this makes him look kinda stupid, as this Gavin Floyd card definitely ain't no rookie. He had 5 rehab starts for the Gwinnett Braves in 2014. Since he's only got one card from his stint in Atlanta (2014 Topps Update), I thought it'd be cool to pick up this minor league Braves card. Mr. Floyd has been having a good start to 2016 out of the pen, looking like a shrewd pickup by Toronto. Hopefully he gets a card as a Blue Jay soon.

Gavin Glanz is a guy I successfully got a TTM back from last year. He had some good starts in 2015, but ultimately finished the season at 2-5 with a 4.84 ERA in the low minors. Not sure where he's at this year, but I'll be rooting for him.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, everybody!