Friday, June 23, 2023

Tony Gwynn #19!

Following up on the post a few weeks ago where I began logging my Tony Gwynn collection at the Trading Card Database, I'm more or less wrapped up now. Unfortunately I fell short in my lofty goals of either hitting 1k cards and/or cracking the top 10 in the site's rankings. But I ended up with a pretty cool consolation.

Yep, I'm ranked #19 on the site! I will rep this prestigious "jersey number" position with pride. I know collectors sometimes toggle their collections between public and private, and so there could be a shakeup at any time that either bumps me up or down, but I'll hope to stick around at #19 for a while if I can. (...not that it means anything, just a fun little thing to smile about.)

Currently I'm just narrowly above #20 (another guy, like myself, on the cusp of 900 unique TG cards) and about 40 cards from #18. It puts me in the funny position of not wanting to add a bunch of new Gwynns, thereby possibly forfeiting my special rank. But yeah, I would like to eventually hit a thousand cards. Tony is my "top guy" after all. But my hobby funds/interest gets pulled a lot of ways, with me working on those pricey Topps Retired refractor autos, ATFF refractors, and several vintage setbuilds in addition to having a bunch of "PC guys" of varying priority. I wonder if that YoRicha guy at #1 has time for other hobby interests, or if being a Tony Gwynn supercollector consumes his entire experience in the hobby.

Anyways, let's take a look at some more cool Tony Gwynn cards.

I didn't collect in 1995, so when it was time to sort out to this pair of cards, I was sure one must be a parallel. The card on the left has "Extreme Corps" in rainbow lettering, while the card on the right features the same text all in red. But nope, TCDB considers these the same exact card. Turns out 1995 Stadium Club used multi-colored foil that resulted in variances like this but they aren't considered unique cards. Ha, try telling that to a player collector with 2 different looking cards! If I did a "my count" of my Gwynn collection, it'd likely hit a thousand already, counting things that TCDB doesn't, such as the above foil variant, plus a bunch of customs, mods, and other unofficial variations and whatnot that might not be considered "real cards" but are close enough for me.

Logging my cards also gave me the opportunity to "see what's out there", and discovering this "Complements" insert from 1999 Finest on TCDB lead me to search out one. There are 3 flavors of this card: full refractor, or having the refraction limited to either side. I had never heard of a partial refractor before, and as I've been becoming more of a refractor enthusiast in recent years, was compelled to look around for a good deal on one, and lucked into this "Gwynn refractor / Boggs not" in my latest COMC order that arrived a few days ago. I'm really tempted to peel off the protective coating, especially seeing how it's directly over Tony. If I had gotten this for my Wade Boggs PC, I'd feel better just leaving it. Should I do it? Gah, the collector's conundrum.

But when I've got a dupe of a card with a protective film? Then it's an easy call to peel. I pick to peel the one where the text is most obtrusive. The above pair aren't too bad (top half of body unaffected), but I went with the card on the right since the text covers more of Tony.

That looks a lot better. I should probably be less precious with my protective films and just remove them from any "keeper" of mine. It's my understanding that chrome cards all still get manufactured with a similar protective film, but they remove it before packing it out now rather than leave it to the collectors since we can't be trusted to do it ourselves, lol. (But yeah, I get it, if that's how it comes from the manufacturer, then to peel is technically altering the card from its original, packed-out state... if that means anything to you.)

Speaking of altering cards, I think I've found my niche in the "cardart" landscape: Border art.

I've been going nuts making "mashups" or "full bleed" artsy homemade parallels lately. Tony is typically my guinea pig for stuff like this since I have so many dupes of his junk-era cards. I know these are silly (and no doubt some collectors look down on the cardboard vandalism), but it's fun getting creative turning a dupe into something that's no longer a dupe. And sometimes they turn out pretty cool looking!

Ok ok, let's go ahead and peel that '99 Finest.

Ahh! That looks terrific and so much nicer without the tire tracks over Tony!

To close us out, here's a card that just arrived today (actually it's still out for delivery as I draft this post and it feels like I'm tempting fate by typing that I already have it because you never know, but I'll snap a pic as soon as I get it) and it's a big one, hitting multiple bullseyes for me.

Boom! I've been picking up 2005 Topps Pristine Legends refractors at an accelerated clip over the past few months, now nearly a third of my way through completing a refractor parallel setbuild of the 140-card set of past greats. This card was a need towards that project.. plus San Diego State cards of Gwynn are kinda like the closest thing I have to a "focus" in that PC. I showed off my SDSU Gwynns recently, coinciding with this year's Aztecs making an incredible run to the Final Four. As seen in that post, I already had the base version of the card (graced with a faded in-person auto, to boot) and I'm happy to be able to pair that with the refractor now, a whale I had been after. Helps make for a satisfying conclusion to getting my Gwynns logged. #19, Baby! I'll take it.


  1. I'm with you 100% on those 95' TSC. I have numerous variations of my Braves guys. Of course it is only I that counts them, then again that's all that matters as I am the one looking at them. I might have even stashed oa few of those variants (non variants) for a few PC guys too.

  2. I peel those Finest every time. I don't know who came up with that protective film concept but it makes the cards look ghastly. Given how crazy Gwynn collectors can be, I think #19 is a really impressive ranking! I think I was around 750-800 different Gwynns at last count, so I'm not far behind.

  3. That Pristine Refractor is VERY cool. Congrats on the #19 ranking!

  4. A. Had no idea you could toggle your collection between public and private on TCDB. Very interesting.

    B. I'm looking forward to the day when I log in my entire Gwynn collection. I feel like that's the day when I figure out just how many variations there are for us to collect.

    C. Those border art customs are very cool... but that Pristine refractor of #19 is the coolest.

    D. My brother is a huge Steely Dan fan. Can't believe I didn't think to use that song in a post.

  5. Full bleed '88 Topps is cool, kind of looks like '88 Score without the color border.

  6. I like how the 1985 Donruss border looks on those Gwynns, especially the 1989 Topps.

  7. I like the foil variations, but certainly understand them not being listable on the site. I have 5-6 different color combinations from a different set for a couple of players in my basketball collection.

  8. WHAT how the hell did I miss this post. Love adding Donruss/Fleer to Topps borders.

  9. I'd hold on to 19 as long as possible too! Congrats on the pickups!