Friday, March 30, 2018

The New Same Old Same Old

Beckett headline: 2018 Topps Archives Signature Series: Active Player Edition has auto buyback per box.

The Active Player Edition qualifier points towards the types of signatures collectors can expect. This is a line dedicated to current veterans and young players.

OK, when is a product NOT dedicated to current players and...just say it...rookies?

So it's "Archives" because they take cards from the last decade and the player signs them in 2018.

2018 Topps Buyback Autographs would be a more efficient name.

But the best feature (at least to me) of the regular Archives is the selection of old "fan favorite" players.  But they've left that part out.  

So it's Archives, because some of it is a few years old already when they start.
But it's not really Archives in the regular sense because it's only current vets & rookies.
There are signatures in Archives, but that's different from Archives Signature.

This is Archives Signature: Active Player Edition, which isn't actually Archives, but is older cards, but not OLD cards of new players, without any old players.

If I wasn't so weary of the whole thing, I'd still be confused....

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Cardboard OCD Chapter 5: Sheets & Binders

Last time, I showed some methods of storing cards in boxes, and how I arrange and label them.  The bulk of my collection is in boxes, but the nicer stuff is in binders and sheets for easier viewing.  So this time it's about different ways to sheet up your sets.

The fundamentals of binders are pretty simple.  Cards go in sheets (or sleeves, as some call them) and the sheets go in binders.  'Nuff said.  Most sheets today are top loading, but they started back in the day loading from the side.  I still have a few old side loading sheets here somewhere with some trade bait in them.  Always makes me nostalgic.  I also still have the first binder I ever owned.  It's the old school brown one with the foil lettering.

I generally go one card per pocket, and have since the later 80's.  If your budget doesn't allow you to buy sheets in mass quantities, or you don't want to see the backs of your cards, then you can double 'em up.  I started out going back-to-back, but stopped and re-sheeted almost all my binders to make them single load.

So the main option that you have to decide on is, how are you going to arrange your set in a binder? (I'll deal with player or team collections in another post later).

I've gone through several arrangements as my default through the years.  When I first started finishing sets, I sorted them by teams and had a set order of preference that I stored them by.  Some of it was about home team, rivals, hated teams, etc. and some was just the lack of star power and yucky uniforms.  Later, I still sorted by teams, but put them in the order they finished by division.  I just liked the way they looked with the matching colors from the same team.  Numerical order jumbles the colors, and sometimes they put a couple of the same color together.  I'd prefer a more random mix.

Two reds in a row? C'mon guys...

Nowadays, I generally build the set in numerical order, so it's easier to track along the way, so that's how they go into the binder.  I used to wait until I finished the set to sheet it up, since it was hard to keep the missing ones straight between team sorting and numerical checklists.  But now since the sets I'm doing are a little older, I don't like to keep them in boxes for very long.  Otherwise, I'd feel the need to penny sleeve each card and would put the star cards in rigid holders that don't fit in the box.

So anyway, some sets will start with record breakers or stats up front, so that's the first page regardless of the order you choose.  Like 1969 Topps.

Then at the time I built this set I was sorting by team, so I ran them together with the World Series cards.  I would gather all the non-team-centric stuff together and figure out how they fit into the first few sheets without spreading them across more than a page or two. 

The WS flow into the All-Stars...

 Which continue and then the multi-team rookies fill in the end.  Yep, from early on, rookies counted the least to me.

 That works out so the checklists are all by themselves in the next page, with both variations....

Then I start the first team.  Usually my Orioles, whether they finished first or not.

Normally, I would put the team card and/or checklist first, but there aren't any in '69, so I move on to the big stars, and any multiplayer cards.  And generally, the manager divides the stars (HOF'ers mostly) and the more common players, but Earl here is higher than that.  Here's a more typical setup.

Another major decision I make is whether to put the really high dollar stars in the set binder or keep them in my star binder (the one I showed at the beginning).  Some sets I do, and some I don't.  Any star cards that I paid/are worth way over $100 I put in screwdowns.  Though that limit is fluid as you can see....

Ol' Mick is right there with the boys.

So the rest of the team follows the team card, stars, manager, and then the rookie stars cards go at the end.  This has been consistent even after the rookie craze started.  They haven't done anything, so they go at the end.

Then the teams go in whatever order.  Sometimes I'll end with the last team, sometimes I'll put the set checklists at the end.

The last several sets I've built have been put in number order in the sheets.  As long as I don't mess it up and leave spots for all the missing cards (and variations), I can continually add cards to the set as I get them and I won't have to rearrange anything when I'm done.

For the older sets with scarce high numbers, I might not put in all the empty sheets in the back of the binder until they start to fill up a little.  I'll put the last several high numbers together and then spread them out into more sheets as they arrive.  So the last pages will have cards together that aren't consecutive.

As the set grows, there may be a few cards that need upgrading along the way.  Those go in upside down and remain on the want list until nicer copies are found.

Sometimes, if a set has some extra features, it requires some specialized sheeting.

For example, in '74, there are the puzzle back All-Stars.  There are only eight of them that make the puzzle.  I put them in an eight pocket sheet behind the rest of the All-Stars.

This works well to show the puzzle on the backs....

Technically, I guess I should assemble a second subset of these for my Bobby Bonds PC....?

Moving on, there is a hockey set known as Exhibit that I mostly completed that has some interesting features too.

Starts out with regular inserts and base set (in # order), then the set contains oversize cards as part of the regular checklist...

As well as oversize jersey cards...

All fit nicely in four-pocket sheets.  As well as these beauties....

Star jerseys with HOF autographs.  Still need a couple of these.   I don't otherwise put gamers or autos in a set unless it's a player I don't really collect and their sig isn't worth a bundle.  Gamers tend to distort the sheets because they're generally thicker than normal.

But then there is the yellow back parallel set.  How do you show the parallel in a more interesting way then putting them in just like the regular set?

Put 'em in backwards!  Show the backs first.

Here's another choice you can make.  I showed the checklist variations for '69 baseball earlier.  I like to put variations right next to the other versions of a card so you can see them side by side.  I know others who group them all at the end of a set.  I actually separated the '74 Washington variations etc. from the team, but put them up front with the other stuff.


So finally, your set is all in.  How will you find it among the rest of your binders?  Some people put a duplicate card in the little pocket on the binder spine.  I like to make my own tags with card images.  Had a rule that I would try not to duplicate teams and not use the most iconic cards for each set, but rather just the most aesthetically pleasing one.

I've also made some custom tags to mark binders with multiple sets in them.

To the right above, is my own logo for the McDonalds hockey sets, and a logo banner for my old Capitals collection.

Here is the custom banner I made for Donruss/Skybox Studio sets.  (Not all those years are in there).  Plus, a wrapper marks the Fleer sticker binder (three sets in that one).  An actual card for the T205 set, and then a custom banner for the "New York" binder that holds Yankee tribute sets, and the UD Legends Of NY set, among others.

I'll use wrappers and panels from the wax boxes in the covers of my binders too. Most of them are the "view" kind with the clear pocket on the front.  So they get dressed up like this:

Either materials from the same set, or multiples...

I'm always all about the visual when I arrange cards in a binder, as well as what I put on the outside.

How do you do it?  Identical labels?  Sets all in order?  Spare cards in the spine?  Let me know in the comments.  And any other tips or tricks you use.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Bat Around Addendum: 2007 Sweet Spot Classic Jerseys

   Someone mentioned the 2007 Sweet Spot Classic jersey inserts in a comment on another blog the other day.  (Can't remember where it was.)  You could lump them into my "Craploads of other set builds" category in my Bat Around post, but they are one of the rare game-used or other "hit" collections that I have actually pursued.  I did finish the 2002 UD 40-Man wooden Lumber Yards a few years ago.  The only other jersey set I've done is 2006 Flair Showcase Stitches football.  I should fill in the scans on the database for these...

'07 SS Classic is one of those high end products with a serial numbered (/575) base set.  I'd love to find a starter of those somewhere for less than a buck a card.  The only ones on eBay are listed singly and are priced way over that.  Classy Upper Deck design with great photos.

The Classic Memorabilia inserts are single jerseys from mostly HOF and superstar players.  There are also multiple series' of signatures on ball and glove leather, as well as bat barrels.  A lot of the ball leather ones have faded over time, from what I've seen in sales and auctions.  The single jerseys (Classic Mem's) are the prettiest jersey cards, like ever.  They use photos you don't commonly see of players that have a lot of representation on cardboard.

The only caveat is that there is no disclaimer that the swatch is from a uniform (or bat) of the pictured player.  It says you have received a Joe Shlabotnik Game-Used baseball card.  On the front is a "piece of memorabilia that has been certified to us as having been used in an official MLB game."  By that player??  Yeah, it's a So-and-So card, but that doesn't mean it's a So-and-So relic.  Especially since a lot of the swatches don't match the pictures.  They are all plausibly from that guy, albeit on another one of his teams, but it doesn't say so.  It's his picture - and a swatch - but the two aren't concretely tied together.

But either way, this is a nice set.  So much so that I made my want list graphical.  The names are on my site, but I have a printout with the images of the ones I still lack.  The images are mostly from eBay, and there are a couple I had to mock up because I've never actually seen them.  I use a base card image for some of those.

It looks like a lot, but there are 95 of these in the whole thing, so I'm just under 75% done.  Ruth, Gehrig, and DiMaggio are going to be the toughest ones to find cheap.  I see Brock all the time, and everyone has the other Mattingly and Reggie, but not the two shown here.  There are multiples of several players that show them on different teams.  A few guys just have two different photos.  Sometimes I'll see bat relics on certain ones instead of jerseys.  Again, the question is, are the relics associated with the guy pictured for sure or not?  But hey, they look good.

Here is my collection so far.


Friday, March 23, 2018

Got Some Big Trade Bait!

I mean it quite literally.  There are several oversize things that have been sitting around here for a good while that could use a new home.

First off, some A&G box toppers.  No Mike Trouts, these are the historical ones.

Complete with original wrappers.  Two from 2009, and

One from 2014.

Some older baseball ones...

1993 Albert Belle Diamond King (/10,000) DK-8.  Size 5" x 7"

1989 Baseball Talk - full pack.  All four "cards" are sealed inside. Pack #11.  If you haven't seen these, they have a little record engraved on the back that plays in a special player.  They are about 3¼" x 5¼".

Three loose from pack #7.  I needed the Keith Hernandez.  These are available.

Got dupes on the '84 Carlton Fisk super 5 x 7.

Still have a ton of extras on the '83 Donruss Action All-Stars. 3½" x 5".

Now on to football.   Not sure where these came from.  I still need #1 of 5 (Aikman/Kelly), but have extras of this one.  From 1994, these have ads from Miller Beer inside.  Also 3½" x 5".

2009 UD Philadelphia football jumbos  RC8 Gore and RC15 Boldin.  These are 5" x 7".

Also from 2009 Mayo Cabinet cards.  Rivers MCC2 and Stafford MCC19 Stafford.  A bit larger at 5 3/4" by 8".

Also, anybody got a kid or a relative who's a fan of Shawn Johnson, the gymnast, or if you or someone you know likes Deron Williams (NBA - Jazz, Nets, Mavericks, Cavaliers), I've got something you might like too.

These are a bit larger....