Sunday, March 26, 2017

Dropping the Hammer on my 1957 Topps setbuild

The other day I caught wind of a "flash coupon" from eBay that was $15 off any purchase of $X amount. With less than an hour left to take advantage, I searched around for a nice vintage card I needed that I could find priced low at or a little above that amount. I ended up with this bad boy..

Not just a big card for my '57 setbuild, but a damn fine Hank Aaron for my collection, now the earliest card of his I own. Plus 1957 was arguably his finest year, as he won his only MVP award and World Series.

It's an uncorrected error, with a reversed negative making Hank appear to be lefty. The backwards 4 in the jersey number is the other obvious sign that something's up with the photo.

If I'm going to spend significant money on a vintage card of big-name player, I like to go graded, simply because of all the counterfeits out there. Still irks me that counterfeiters can get away with selling fake cards simply by saying "it's a reprint that doesn't say it's a reprint." Yeah, that's pretty much the definition of counterfeit. But Topps is apparently fine with that behavior, and eBay doesn't care, so it's rampant on there. I'm sure many of those "reprints" end up being bought and then relisted with the new seller forgetting to mention the fact it's a reprint. I've ranted about this shit here before, but man, it really bugs me.

But yeah, anyways, I bought this PSA 4 Hank Aaron. With the $15 off coupon factored in, this is easily the cheapest of the completed listings for similar PSA 4 copies of this card, so I think it was a solid deal. I probably should have focused on big names I still need for 1965 Topps, but maybe I panicked a bit with the clock running and jumped to searching 1957 cards, even though I really shouldn't be focusing too much on that set yet. Oh well. Feels good to have both the Mantle and Aaron out of the way for my '57 set, even with a long road ahead of me there.

I picked up these 5 in my latest COMC order, searching by lowest price and seeing what was available in decent condition for a buck or less.

And Robert from $30 A Week Habit dropped a dozen '57s on me earlier this past week. Great looking cards! I definitely don't have many Brooklyn Dodgers in my collection.. in fact, I'm at a loss trying to think of any other vintage Brooklyn cards I've got, so Al Walker here might be the first.

And the other six. Very appreciated! With just a couple more cards, I'll crack 10% complete with 1957. (Wantlist here, in case anyone else can help.)

Robert also included a trio of needs for my 1965 Topps build. Now just a couple more cards away from being 75% complete! The 7th Series checklist is one of the very few variations in the set. Basically this version has room for 2 more rows on the bottom. There's a variation with slightly larger text that only has room for 1 more row on the bottom. Yeah, it's not the most exciting variation.

Big thanks for the cards, Robert! I've got a return for you packed up and ready to be dropped in Monday's mail.

And since this post has morphed into a trade recap, let's close with the other cards I received from the cardsphere this past week... which coincidentally also happen to be vintage cards sent by a guy named Robert...

Commishbob, the Five Tool Collector himself, read my recent post showing off my Hoyt Wilhelm collection and kindly volunteered to fill some open slots for me. Love 'em! Obviously the '63 is the star of the show here, as the other 2 feature generic blacked-out caps due to Hoyt bouncing around at the end of his career.

Thanks, Bob! I'm working on dropping a little return your way soon as well, even though you graciously said it wasn't necessary.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Card Show Vintage Blaster

Solid card show haul today. Biggest purchase was 120 cards from the 20¢ bins. Another was 7 cards for $5 (which were all #'d and/or auto'd football cards bought for trading buddies of mine), and then 20 $1 cards.. and it's this last purchase I'll be showing off here today. While some of the cards might not have been awesome deals (I sorta had to struggle to come up to an even 20, but the old guy seemed nice and I didn't want to make him make change), but still a nice showing of cards for the retail price of a blaster. The guy had a bunch of overproduction era stuff, but I did my best to sniff out the vintage.

Beat to hell or not, I don't think I could pass up a 1952 Topps card for a buck, so this creased Cliff Mapes was a no-brainer. Looking him up... His career wasn't super impressive, but he did get a couple rings as a backup outfielder on the Yankees. He's also known for being the last guy to wear Babe Ruth's number 3 before it was retired, plus he wore number 7 right before Mickey Mantle.

I actually already had these 5 cards. I think the Sparky is an upgrade over what I had in the PC (Love this card because it's the closest to a Padres card he ever got after being a coach with them in '69). The '71 Lou Brock is in pretty decent shape, and it's a semi high number, so generally not a cheap card, so I added it to my stack even though I've already got one in my set, plus I'm pretty sure another one in the Brock PC (this one might be an upgrade?), so I guess it's trade bait. The same could be said about the '71 Dick Allen, though it's in rough shape with a couple major creases. But yeah, I love that card, even with the photographer's knee in the shot. One of my prized possessions is the original match print photo for the back photo from Topps Vault. The Dwight Evans RC would have been a screaming deal for a buck but a kid named Russ wrote his name on the back. But hey, good enough to add to my Dewey PC. And the Davey Lopes RC looked too nice not to pass up.. might be an upgrade for my set.

A couple set needs. I had the Red Sox team card marked as "pending" on my list, but I didn't bother to check it until I got home. Oh well, if I end up with a dupe, I'm sure someone would give it a good home. The 1964 Leon Wagner isn't in great shape, but it's a tricky high number, so I figured it was worth the buck even with a crease that seems to be threatening Leon.

When I was finishing up my 1973 Topps set a couple years ago, these blue team checklists were deceptively tricky to complete and I had to settle for many of them marked up on the back. So when I saw all these unmarked beauties, I had to grab them up to upgrade.

The '68 Strikeout Leaders is cool in that it's all HOFers, though the surface is pretty worn. It'll go toward my Gaylord Perry PC if it's not already there (or if it is, then to the Fergie Jenkins PC). Tommy John is a guy I'm always on the cusp of collecting, but never really commit too. Looked like a nice '66, though.

This last card I don't care about at all, just threw it in for the case. I'll find something fancy to imprison in there.

So there you go, my "vintage blaster" from the card show.
More from my card show haul on the way soon.
Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Kris Bryant transcendent throwbacks

You may recall the ridiculously priced product that was 2016 Topps Transcendent. Each box came with an invite to a party in Vegas attended by Kris Bryant. Attendees also got a bunch of exclusive cards. There was a set of 65 Kris Bryant cards, one for each flagship Topps design, and each numbered /65. One particular guy got his set slabbed by PSA and was auctioning them separately on eBay. I was hoping to score one for my collection. Some of them ended up going for a lot of money, but when the dust had settled, I ended up with not 1 but 3 of the cards that finished on the lower end (though still not cheap).

This is one I was really hoping to land. Not that the photo is all that interesting, but I've got a softspot for 1993 Topps, as it was the last product I ripped as a kid before straying from the hobby for a couple decades. I would have loved to score the 1990 Topps and/or 1991 Topps version of these cards, but they got a bit out of my price range.

This is a really cool looking card. I've been warming up to 2002 Topps lately.

This one in the 1999 design is pretty cool, too. But as it's my least favorite of the 3, I've been halfheartedly trying to sell it at a healthy profit to recoup some of this trio purchase. After all, I was only trying to win one, and kind of got caught off-guard with three. But there are worse things in the world than if I don't get any takers and end up keeping it.

I didn't see the backs until the cards arrived. I was hoping the backs would match the front design, not just a new generic back shared by them all, so I was happy when I got them, flipped them over, and saw a reasonably accurate reproduction of each year's back, though with a message about the card's background instead of stats.

Sorry these back photos aren't very good, as I was in a hurry and didn't take them out of the team bags. (I redid the front photos, but not the backs.)

So yeah, pretty neat additions to my modest Kris Bryant PC.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

buying cards out of spite

More than once I've bought a card online and then found it at the card show significantly cheaper (or vice versa), and proceeded to knowingly purchase a duplicate purely out of spite.

In a similar story, not long ago I saw a post from guy on the cardsphere who happened to end up with a Gavin Lux blue refractor Bowman auto. In his post, he said it didn't really fit his collection and would probably end up selling it. I hadn't traded with this guy before, but felt confident about working out a swap so I dropped him an email with a pretty solid trade package offer of cards that fit better into his collection for roughly the same estimated value as the Lux. Days turned to weeks and I never heard back from the sumbitch. Sure, he's got no obligation to agree to a trade with me, but at least a "thanks but no-thanks, man" reply would've been cool. Even if he wasn't keen on the cards I was offering initially, we probably could have easily hammered out a deal agreeable to both sides.

Anyways, fuck em, I just scored the card off eBay, so I added it to my collection one way or another, though flipping some cards for it would have been preferable.

This is a great looking card, and #'d 7/150 on the back.

Lux is a top prospect at shortstop for the Dodgers. Though at only 19, and with Corey Seager expertly manning short for LA these days, Gavin likely won't be rushed up the ladder. Wishing him a strong 2017 season in A ball.

I'm gonna fill out the rest of this post with some other recent additions to my all-time Gavin collection. I believe these were from a COMC order a while back.

Gavin Brown is a new name for the minicollection. His career only lasted a couple years in the minors. He was pretty versatile, doing some catching, though mainly stuck to the corner outfield spots. Even pitched an inning once. Reminds me of what the Padres hope to do with Christian Bethancourt this season, being a super-utility guy who can play outfield, catch, and pitch, all on the regular.

Gavin Hoffman is another guy I don't think I previously had a card of. I don't know much about him other than he played at Penn for a couple years and set some school records there after transferring from Northwestern in 1999. Doesn't look like he ever ended up going pro.

I've got 5 or 6 Stewart Gavin cards, making him the top non-baseball Gavin represented in my collection after the NFL's Gavin Escobar. But I believe this is my first card of him from his Whalers days. Gotta love that logo. ..though I'd like to believe the whalers that the team was named after were just big fans of whales, the awesome giants of the sea, not hunters of them. But oh well.

That's it for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Mailbox Domination

A got sweet package from John Miller of Johnny's Trading Spot early in the week, but been quiet on the cardboard front since then, though I'm still waiting on Saturday's mail as I draft this up, so maybe there'll be some last minutes additions to this weekly trade roundup, but for now, heeeeeere's Johnny's cards he sent.

Looks like he came across a cache of 12/25 patch cards.. very cool! These are a big step up from plain white or grey swatches that I'm more accustomed to. I definitely didn't have many "sick patches" in my collection, much less Christmas Card sick patches. Don't know who Mike Scott or Tavon Austin are, but still very appreciated additions!

And a couple more 12/25 memorabilia cards! Barkevious Mingo is a great name. As for the quad relic, the names are tough to read, even in-hand, so here's the back...

Pretty cool.

John also included this large lot of cards for my 2011 Topps parallel frankenset project. Some I needed, some I didn't, but when the dust had settled and spreadsheet was updated, he had pushed me over the 1/3 complete milestone! Kinda crazy to think that with how many of these things I have, I'm still just a third of the way toward my goal. Plus there's still the Trout RC to worry about. Honestly, I briefly considered nixing this ridiculous project a while back. But I like it because it widens up my general "wants" and gives traders a better chance to find cards I need. And I appreciate these parallels a lot more than I do random junk Padres.

This lot also marked the first time in my life I've brought cards to work so I could mark them off my spreadsheet during a break. It almost backfired on me as it was rainy going home and I hadn't packed up the cards quite as airtight as I should have. But luckily they didn't seem to take any water damage.

Big thanks, John! Hopefully the latest batch of "same names" for you arrived safe and you're happy with them. (Update: from the looks of his latest post, looks like everything's good.)

 - - - --o

Ok, guys.. Saturday's mail just came and guess what, there was only one card-related mailing in there.. and it was a package from.. John Miller! LOL. That means John runs the table for the week as far as incoming cards from the cardsphere. This second package is actually my prize for being one of the winners in a recent contest he held. Let's see what I won!...

Ha, another big lot of 2011 Topps parallels! Nice! Some solid names here. Looking forward to sorting these out and updating the spreadsheet.

In addition to all the diamonds and liquorfractors, there were 3 lovely Chrome atomic refractors, each numbered /225. These are beautiful cards. Even my wife who was in the room when I took this photo commented on how pretty they are.

However the big star of the 2011 parallels is one that I missed my first time flipping through the cards...

Boom!... Awesome Anthony Rizzo diamond RC! After the Trout, this is definitely one of the most sought-after cards in the set.

It wasn't all 2011 Topps parallels, though, as John also gave me a couple Trevor Story cards, a Gavin Floyd, and a John Donaldson. The gold Story is /2017 and the blue Gavin is /500.

And ending this post with vintage, here's a 1970 Hoyt Wilhelm I was missing from the PC. Super happy to see this among the cards in the package, even with a creased corner.

Again, thanks so much, John! Great stuff all around.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Pabsts n' Padres

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everybody! For my fellow connoisseurs of suds out there, if you're like me and prefer nicely chilled beverages, I gotta recommend these Yeti Rambler Colsters. I don't know the science behind it, but they sure do seem to keep cans and bottles cold for a long time. My wife got us a couple of these for Christmas and we're both very happy with them. I've decorated mine with a couple Upper Deck Padres hologram stickers.

I also recently got a new stainless steel water bottle and I'd like to smack a few Padres holograms on it, too. So if any of my trader buddies reading out there have extra Upper Deck Padres hologram stickers, please send them along next time you send me cards!

And now let's check out a few more of my Padres-centric pickups from my latest COMC order. Most of these aren't actually Padres cards, but close enough for me.

Here's a boring old Eric Owens Fleer Tradition card.

Sike, it's some parallel #'d /200 on the back. Owens is one of my favorite semi-obscure fan favorites to collect, so it's nice to pick up a new card of his once in a while.

I had bought this card at the last card show, and when looking up what it was selling for on COMC, to my chagrin, there was one for only 37¢ so I bought a dupe out of spite. I'm thinking maybe I'll punch a hole in the top and turn it into a Christmas ornament. Not even joking.

Here's another shiny card. I love orange refractors, and picked up a few different ones in this order. Turns out I need this Chrome card for my 2011 Topps parallel frankenset, so I guess it'll go to that box instead of the Jake Peavy PC.

My Nate Colbert collection has pretty much stalled after a halfhearted attempt at supercollecting San Diego's home run king a few years ago. I was happy to find this minor league manager card I had never seen before from 1995 pop up for a buck.

Don't tell Nachos Grande, but I picked up a few cards from his wantlist so I'd have something to trade him back for the last batch of cards he sent me. Among them was this Tony Gwynn 3000 Club diecut that I decided to hang onto myself. But don't worry, I did send Chris a few other cards he can use.

I did a curious search for autographs sorted by cheapest-first to see if anything jumped out at me, and ended up with this Cliff Floyd Stadium Club auto for just $1.25. Back when he was a #1 draft pick in 1991, he was one of the very first certified auto cards I ever got.. some Front Row mail order thing. So I've kinda collected him since way back then. He finished his career with a brief stint in San Diego in 2009, which I was happy to see, even if he had nothing left in the tank by then.
Ok, I even dug up a picture of the aforementioned 1991 Floyd auto that I've hung onto after all these years:

Ha, compare those two autos. The '91 signature is quite legible. Not so much 2015.

He had a few real good years and even got himself a ring with the 1997 Marlins. But Topps may have flooded the market a bit with his auto in recent years, so now you can find one for $1.25. So much for that Front Row card ever bringing in huge coin. (Still better than the other Front Row auto I bought as a kid: Tyler Green, pitching bust for the Phillies. I got rid of that one when I moved out of San Diego.)

Finally for today, here's a Phil Nevin auto from 2016 Archives. I was just about to buy the blue (/199) parallel, but then decided to pay a couple bucks more to get the red (/50) parallel. It seemed to make sense from a math perspective. But now I think the blue border card looks better and I kind of regret my decision. Hopefully I wind up with a blue one someday, too. I got a couple other Archives auto parallels, but they're not Padres related so I'll save them for another day.

Again, Happy St. Patrick's Day and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


I got another COMC order in the order day, taking advantage of a free-shipping scratch-off code from Black Friday that expires at the end of the month. It's the second one I got from that haul, after using one on my previous order around New Year's. Folks tend to think you can only use one, but that's not exactly true. Once you hit a free-shipping code, stop scratching.. save the rest of the scratch-off cards until after you place an order. Then if you hit another free-shipping code, it'll work for ya. But yeah, if you already have an unused free shipping code on your account, you can't add another one ( is my understanding).

It's also worth noting that the codes are non-transferable. A while back, a friendly cardsphere buddy tried to give me his free shipping code as he had no intention of placing a COMC order until next Black Friday. But once you type in a code to check it out, it's tied to your account.

Among the cards I picked up in this order were some exciting young Padres that are looking to break out this year. San Diego is gonna suck donkey dong this year, don't get me wrong, specifically because of the weak rotation, but at least there are some upcoming bats that should be fun to watch.

One such kid with a lot of eyes on him this spring is Luuuuuuuuuuis!!!

That's right, Luis Urias, a 19-year-old infielder out of Mexico who's hit .317 over 229 minor league games so far. Team Mexico's youngest player in the WBC, he figures to make his way up to San Diego within the next couple years. This 2016 Panini Elite Extra Edition card seems to be his only certified auto out there at the moment. The only pickup of the order to crack double digits, I ponied up a little extra to get a numbered parallel.

But no, the real Luis everyone in camp is excited about is...

Luuuuuuuuuuuuis Sardinas! He's bounced around with 4 teams in the past 3 years, but looks to stick around in San Diego at shortstop after performing well in 34 games up top last year. This 2013 Bowman Chrome auto features a nice big, loopy signature and only set me back $1.50.

There's also this Rule-5 kid picked up off the scrap-pile in Cincinnati hoping to stick around as a backup catcher. Never heard of him before, but hey..

Nah, of course I'm just joking, as we're all familiar with Cardsphere Hero Luuuuuuuuuuis Torrens!

I've bought 2 or 3 Torrens autos in the past, but they all made their way over to his supercollector, Zippy Zappy. These 2 are for me. I'm hoping he sticks with the Padres, but I know there's still a very real possibility he gets returned to the Yanks. He hasn't been hitting much yet this spring, though has looked good behind the plate. We'll see what happens.

Speaking of Padres catchers, this guy isn't named Luis, but we'll close out the post with this trio of shiny Bowman parallels anyways. Austin Hedges has been swinging a hot bat this spring (.474 average and 1.132 OPS over 19 games) and I'm looking forward to seeing how he does in his first full season as starting catcher.

Thanks for reading! More from this latest COMC haul soon.

p.s. 2017 Topps Opening Day is out today.. Don't forget to boycott it so Topps finally lets this redundant product die. Low-end sets are great, but stuff like Bunt (physical) or Total (r.i.p.) are miles better than a lazy version of flagship with another logo slapped on it. The fun inserts are nice, but they'd be better in flagship or really any other set. I for one welcome the day this set no longer comes out. Shit, it ain't even MLB opening day yet. If they synced up the release date to actual opening day, I could give it a pass, but nope, guess that's asking too much.