Saturday, January 19, 2019


Yesterday I was bored at work, so I made up a document that listed some more astronaut-related singles and sets.  Then I posted the lists to my non-sports page on my wants site.  As you know, I like to make graphical lists, so it looked something like this:

Of course, after all that, I was jonesing to find some of the new quarry, so I went out on eBay.  I searched around for the different complete sets and made offers on a couple playing card sets from Kennedy Space Center.  Some might say playing cards don't belong in with the kinds of cards we collect, but these have photos and information on them like a lot of the trading cards.  And me being the completist that I am, I got both variations of the set - the four suits have certain groups of photos on them, and between the two decks, the groups are switched around.  Plus the backs are different.

Anyway, that gave way to searches on the other space sets.  I covered Star Wars from 1977 - still need the green & orange series. Put a couple batches on the Watch list. 

This was not one of them unfortunately.

Then on to Trek.  I picked up the latter half of the first movie card set, but am having trouble finding only half a set.  The full 88 cards can be had very reasonably, though like Star Wars, there are also stickers that go with them.  Found out about another similar set from a bread company.  Rainbo Bread put out a ST:TMP set.  Only 33 cards, the backs are completely different than the Topps set.  So add them to the list....

Had to shut it down and go to bed after a while. 

Got home today and hadn't had a chance to post for the day, so I wanted to put something up.  Thought about posting on a stack of vintage cards I got from a neighbor, but I need to take pictures before and after I sort them out, so that will have to wait.

The sellers from last night had worked out the offers, so I got back on the 'Bay.  Well, you know what happens from here, especially since I'm posting at this hour.

I checked out for the two decks of cards, then cleared a couple other auctions for them off my watch page.  Which of course leads to a "quick" perusal of a couple of my Saved Searches. 

I ended up looking for the 2007 Sweet Spot Classic jersey cards that I still need, as well as any lots of the base cards.  While looking over those, I started downloading images for my list again.  It hadn't been updated in a while.  I only got two from the list since printing it out a few years ago.  The images of each card were different sizes, and I was missing a couple, so I went about recomposing the list and adding the missing pictures.  Here's how it came out.  Most of these are over $15 at least.  The big guns are much more.

While researching for that, the phone rings.  It's Stuart.  We chat about car repairs, weekend card hunting plans, etc. for a little while.  Then Mom calls in too.  She asks about the vintage stack and a few other things.  Those two calls kill the hour.

I get back on and I'm not even sure what I was looking at when I come across a seller I've bought from before. Somehow I figure out he's got GU and autos really cheap.  I search his stuff for almost all my player collection guys, and some key sets, plus Redskins.  I end up with an order of 17 different things, none of them more than $5 and most less than three, totalling just over $50.  Checked out on those too. 
Four whole dollars!
Pair for $3.50!
Bounced around to a couple more things and was getting bleary eyed.  So I signed out. 

It is midnight and I didn't post anything.  Ugh! 

I set out to jump on and right back off of eBay, but ended up on for like four hours.  I'm sure it happens to all of us.  Even now, when eBay isn't the best way to buy cards, except for in lots and sets.

How often do you do marathon sessions on eBay (or any other card selling site)?  Not even necessarily buying anything when you're done...

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Collector's Log: Stardate 198203.16

A few more entries from my 1982 logs.

Time Out was the arcade in the local shopping mall.  Full size machines down either side.  I remember it looked a lot like this one...

That place was a short drive from where we lived, so we didn't frequent it as much as the Putt Putt, which we could walk to.  They used to take movie ticket stubs and give you free games, until that day.

I'm pretty sure there was a Waxie Maxie's record store right next to the arcade back then.  That's why I knew about the price of 45rpm records going up to a whopping $1.50.  I guess it's come full circle now that you can get a digital copy of one song for about a buck these days.  I wasn't quite into hard rock yet, so this is the kind of thing I'd pick up occasionally...

Not sure what kind of box I used for my '81 football, but it was probably either a cheese box or something else I found around the house.  More on those later.

I actually have played Monopoly recently.  My friend in Delaware had a version of the game that used the streets and attractions of their home town.  It was fun, but I never win.

Big thing here is the 1982 Topps baseball set.  The shop in Hanover that was my regular outlet didn't sell me factory sealed sets, but hand collated ones in regular white boxes.  I'm thinking I ordered them on Jan 30, and got them March 13.

I always sorted my sets in teams.  They just looked better with all the team colors together.  It would be team cards and checklists first, then big stars, then the manager, then the rest of the players.  The multi-player rookies would go at the end.  If there was an update set, those singles would go right up front behind the team card.  (This was the case in '82 eventually.)

The total number of new cards went up that year to a figure that stayed rather steady for a little while.  The Topps set was 792, and Donruss and Fleer stablilized at 660 each.

Billy and I pooled some dupes and set up our "flea market" to sell cards.  We weren't at any public location, but rather in his townhouse basement rec room.  Surprisingly, there were several kids from around the neighborhood who stopped by the few times we did it.

You can see that it was still the time where price guides were actually relevant.  We had put some cards at too low a price.  Somewhere around here I have my first Beckett Price Guide book.  It's probably one of the first few editions they put out. 
Not my book, but the current one in '82.

I do have my copy of this pocket sized guide (shown below) from 1984.  There were a whole series of "Official" price guides for different hobbies put out in that era.  This one is not actually written by Beckett or Sport Americana though.  It's by House of Collectibles in Tampa, Florida.

The earliest "Official" guide by Beckett that I could find was from '87 and looked similar.

Of course, by then, it was twice as thick a book.

They became irrelevant sometime around the turn of the century maybe?  I didn't jump back in til 2004, so I'm not sure.  I recall I had that mindset before I knew about COMC, etc. but I guess eBay was the main source of card commerce that became the reference point.   I do harken back to the day when eBay organized the card section by sport and year and company so it was really easy to search for anything.  Then one year they reverted back to the default parameters of Era (either side of 1980), Original or Reprint (irrelevant 90% of the time), Attributes (no longer relevant), Condition, and Price.  That works for antiques, but not very well for cards.

Anyway, this was an historical post, not a commerce commentary.  Until next time....

Monday, January 14, 2019

Leading Ladies Of Sports Broadcasting #10

If you've been keeping track at home, this will be post #10 on the Leading Ladies, but only subject #9.  I'll have one more to go to make an even ten, and then I think in 2019 I'll move on to another group of lovely ladies.  Though I will do one-offs by request.  Unfortunately, I am not able to make physical cards.

Heidi Watney started with NESN as a Red Sox reporter.

After creating several cards just now, I realized I had already made a batch earlier as well.  A couple were redundant, but I ended up with about nine customs.  Ah, Heidi's worth it...

Believe it or not, Heidi is 37!  Born in 1981 and grew up in Fresno, California.

A fan favorite, of course, she has actually dated MLB players Jake Peavy and Jason Varitek.  'Tek had been recently separated and went on to remarry, so their relationship was brief.  She went on to marry the Director Of Baseball Operations for Florida Mike Wickham.

She and her husband also run a business that sells baseball accessories and custom-printed bats.  They are apparently doing well with it.

She was runner up to Miss California 2002.

She's definitely #1 on MLB Network.

Friday, January 11, 2019

2018 Collective Awards

Last year this show was cut short due to disinterest in current products.  This year wouldn't be much different, so the writers (me) chose to expand the categories into other areas.  This may turn into a review of my collecting and blogging year.

First up, the award for Best Thing About 2018 cards.  The list of candidates wasn't huge for Product of the Year, so we generalized.

The winning answer is "Consistency".  Which means that this year's stuff wasn't much different from last year, and it didn't totally suck.  Stadium Club was good enough to dive into, A&G was pretty decent too, and flagship had a nice base set.  Maybe it should be "Predictable", since those are the products that I forecast at the beginning of the year as being the only promising options for me, at least.

One of my major points of contention has been the lack of creativity in (Topps') insert sets.  I boycotted all the flagship inserts since they didn't show any originality at all and discontinued a couple good ideas that had spanned multiple production years.  I figured out where all the talent went though.  The Totality Of Exclusive Innovation Award went to the Allen & Ginter team.
Apparently, there are completely separate creative teams that work on flagship and Allen & Ginter.  And the A&G people have an exclusive contract for all the innovation that was promised with exclusive contracts.  Ideas like Baseball Equipment, Superstitions, Exotic Sports, and even the star-laden World Talent and Fantasy Goldmine inserts explored some distinctive aspect of the game instead of just recycling ways to say "This star player is amazing 'cause he did this or that."

Moving on, the next, much more prestigious award goes to the Blogger Trader Of The Year.
Congratulations to P-Town Tom!  Among several worthy blogger candidates, he had the most assaults on my critical wants.  There are several posts where he killed a set or knocked off one of my most elusive singles.

Along those lines, we present the trophy for Blogger Commenter Of The Year.
With kudos to Jon and Night Owl, who probably ranked 2nd and 3rd, our winner is Fuji.  He appears the most on my blog and so many others.  Can't say enough about what he does to further the blogging cause.

On the Flip Side, it's the award for my Most Viewed Post.
I figured this would be one of the many offerings of a beautiful woman's image, but it actually turned out to be my burning question about when the next actual paper reference book documenting all the cardboard issued before 1980 would be published.  Who's Cataloguing The New Stuff? soared off the charts in readership numbers.  Not sure where that one got linked besides the blogroll and fellow supporters, but it went crazy.  Haven't had three crooked numbers since.

Continuing that theme, My Most Popular Series award goes to...
The Cardboard OCD series.  I wrote these tutorials about my little habits and preferences with the idea that they'd be good for a laugh and maybe give a fellow collector a little tip to make their collecting better.  Must have worked out, because the reader numbers were pretty decent - even compared to the Leading Ladies customs.  The comments were up too.  The best posts are those that prompt interaction with others to tell how they do things.

Now on to the cardboard happenings of 2018.  The next statue will be in honor of the Best New Shop Owner.
New Orleans native Bruce came to town this year and set up shop in central Frederick.  He handles as much autographed memorabilia as he does cards, but it's all good stuff.  PrimeTime Sports Collectibles has been open since September or so.  It's so nice to have a local shop again.  He's still building his inventory of singles, but has plenty of game-used, autographs, new wax, etc.

Staying in the favorite merchant category, next we have the Shop That Became The New Clio Award.  (Pronounced kly-o).  This is a tribute to the shop in Michigan with the most sheer volume of stuff that appeals to a set builder and player collector like me.  They just have tons and tons to choose from (and dig out).  I found one kinda like that a lot closer:
The newest incarnation is the booth run by Kevin and his Dad at Rocky Ridge Collectibles between Hagerstown, MD and State Line, PA.  I found it via YouTube video.  They have a huge inventory that is organized to some degree into sports, years, sets, products, etc.  I've been twice and still haven't gone through it all.  And I spent the better part of two days in there.  Didn't even walk around the rest of the store yet.  I'll be back soon!

Let's turn to the merchandise itself.  The big idea is to show cards.  Here are some categories that revealed themselves as the loot poured in.

Set That Signifies That I've Taken It Up Another Level goes to 1950 Bowman.
This set kinda landed in my lap.  A friend's neighbor needed some cash and had a batch of these to sell.  I looked 'em up on eBay and made an offer.  That started me out.  Then I was suprised to find that I could add singles for much less than I anticipated.  There are several white whales in the set, but overall, it's really doable.  I've been working my way back through the 60's and did '59 last year, but never thought I'd go back this far this soon.

One new development this year was obtaining several sets that you could say combined set building and player collecting.  Most Fun Oddballs go to the multiple Cal Ripken sets that started with one and blossomed into a whole binder's worth. 
Cal Jr. is a unique player in that there are so many tribute sets to him that no one else has.  And they span several years instead of just being confined to the moment of his milestone.  His career has become an institution of its own, complete with official logo.

Speaking of boxes and sets, I'll throw in a modest winner for Box Break How It Ought To Be.
I didn't actually buy an unopened box of this stuff, but it was confirmed by many sources.  Not flashy or high end, but Topps did it right.  2018 Topps Opening Day yielded a complete set per single box.  Any smaller set like this should be crafted this way.  And I was able to snag most of the inserts in one shot relatively cheap too.  Simple, painless, and won't haunt my want lists for the next several years.  In gratitude, I won't go into them naming an insert in the main flagship set the same as this product....

The reverse was also true, when we discovered the Worst Collated Boxes Of All Time.
During the time when my trading buddy Stuart was here, we found several boxes of 1992 Ultimate World League football cards for five dollars or less.  Unfortunately, even after four boxes at 100 card apiece, we couldn't finish his set (three cards left after several boxes previously opened) and collate another for me - only about 3/4 of a set - from 400 cards.  (I ended up buying them on SportLots.)  Complete sets are only 200 cards.  This is probably why they were one and done.  Not to mention that the league folded too.

Another adventure into minor leagues happened when, in the same SportLots buy that finished the World League sets, I found the Coolest New Player Collection.

With a name like Pookie Bernstine, how can I resist?  The tough part is that all his cards are from the minor leagues.  But I will prevail!

And rounding out the presentations tonight, the last award is not for something I started, but something I finished.  Coolest Non-Sports Set Completed in 2018 is the 1969-70 Topps Man On The Moon set.
Thanks again to Stuart for putting the capper on this one when he went back into a shop we were visiting in the summer.  This was the last card that I didn't have, though technically my set is a mixture of the two years' issue.  I hope to expand the Apollo & Space binder in the coming year as well.

Homeward Bound is an appropriate card, as that is where we are headed.  Good night everyone, and my all your want lists shrink farther than ever in 2019!

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Happy Birthday To Me & These Three

I have now lived a year for every card in a standard deck, (not a sports set).

I celebrate like I have been doing for the last several years.  Showing others who also celebrate birthdays today and who are much more attractive than me.

Kate Middleton, born in the same year I've been documenting - 1982.

Simply exquisite.

The Duchess welcomed a couple new additions to the family this year, Her third child, Louis, in April...

And sister-in-law Meghan in May...

Nina Dobrev was born seven years later in 1989.

Nina's turning 30 this year.  It doesn't show.

Nina's got a new sitcom on TV - "Fam" - starting Thursday night.

And can usually be seen with her BFF Julianne Hough.  

And the youngest of the trio, Nicola Peltz.  Born in 1995.

She's been in some well-known sci-fi flicks - Transformers: Age Of Extinction and The Last Airbender.

More recently she's done a few movies that I don't recall getting a lot of press.

She's taken a lot of photos with that (over-?) stylish brooding look.  Seems to be a thing with the younger set.  Smiling too much isn't cool.

But there are several that are quite nice too.