Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 Is Over. What Did I Learn?

For a year that promised recovery from the pandemic, and a return to normal life.  I think 2021 was a bit of a disappointment.  

I will say that we were able to return to card shows and shops for the most part, and there were signs that it was again possible to buy cards in retail stores.  But that may change again with the possible reinstatement of mask requirements and schools and businesses returning to restricted capacities because of the new variant virus.

So where am I as a collector now and what have I learned about collecting and buying?

1. Prices are still inflated.

Boxes of new cards are still often double or triple the normal prices from a couple years past.  The influx of new flippers and "investors" seems to have leveled off - many of them saying the market has collapsed.  Which doesn't bother me a bit.  I'm not in it for the money. But there are several big money cards that I need to finish sets that I don't think I'll be able to touch any time soon.  

2. Topps is on its way out

Fanatics has wrangled the exclusive MLB license for cards starting in 2025.  Ever since exclusive licenses became a thing, the new products have generally become stagnant or lost variety and creativity.  If you've read any of my posts or comments elsewhere this year, you know I stopped collecting Topps flagship after 2020.  And it was a good place to stop.  2021 Flagship is nothing but recycled designs.  I did a post about it already, but here's a good illustration...

Here are Mike Trout's inserts from 2021 Series 1, 2 and Update.

There are only three typical inserts.  They're stat heavy and all are just groups of star players, but at least they are new designs. 

These are inserts that recycle old designs.  The first one might be an online exclusive, I wasn't sure.  The rest are all from 2021 Topps flagship.  The last two are regular cards with images of autos & relics.  This group doesn't even count Archives or Heritage, which would add at least two or three more to these fifteen.  FIFTEEN recycled designs!  Before 2019, you could hardly amass this many cards of one player in old designs in the whole decade.  This is from ONE YEAR!  OK, I've ranted about this enough.  Let's see if they come up with something different in 2022.

3. I'm a minority

I've known for some time that old school set building and the values and practices that come with it are not what the hobby caters to.  And I was OK with that.  With the stampede of new people in the hobby the last couple years, that separation has increased dramatically.  Before, there were almost as many tables at the average show that dealt in vintage, or new base and inserts, or just regular cards from older sets in between versus the "mojo tables" of nothing but the current rookies and superstars trapped in plastic slabs and marked with artificially inflated prices.  Now, the balance has tipped, and the percentage of new crazy stuff I don't need is about two or three to one against the things I'm looking for, instead of 50/50.  

The last show I went to down in Virginia had about 40 tables I'm guessing (it was all in a regulation basketball court), and only about five or six had dime boxes, vintage (mostly overpriced), or current-ish base and inserts (and a lot of those were Bowman).  There were a few tables with superhero statues or Pokemon type items, which I don't usually see at regular card shows.  Almost everything else was Bowman singles, graded mojo hits, or gamers and autos sorted by player or team.  All of which I will walk right by.

I'm also stuck in the mindset that hobby boxes of regular sets should be $50-$80 and blasters of anything should be $20.  Rookies of guys like Clemente and Jim Brown should maybe reach three digits, (for a nice raw card - I still don't deal in graded) but common singles should be about a dollar each for the 60's and about 50¢ for the 70's and 80's.  New singles should be no more than a dime and inserts should be 25 or 50 cents.  Current rookie base cards should be a buck or less and never even sniff the thousands, even if they are low numbered parallels.  Nobody is actually paying that in real life except for a few fratboy millionaires, are they?  When all the flipper bro's get bored and move on to something else and the prices come back to what they were in the mid 2010's, call me.  I'll be here sorting my latest SportLots order of obscure oddballs for my player collections and the last few 80's Fleer team football sets.

4. I'll Be Fine

If current cards degenerate into digital rookie mojo limited editions, then it'll allow more time, money and room for older and more interesting cards.  I've still got plenty of sets to complete, discover and enjoy, in several sports and a few other subjects.  Should current cards stop completely in the 2020s, then I won't have to figure out where to store them once I run out of space here.  Which may have happened already.  (You can't see the dozen monster boxes on the floor and couch in these shots).

I plan to move at some point next year into a single family house so I can have all my automobiles within reach as well as more space for all my other junk.  Then I could buy more hoards of bulk cards that no one wants and knock out my older wants and trade or sell in big batches again.  (I still have to do that with the stack of monster boxes of football cards I have now).

I'm still going to shows when I can, though in the spring and summer, I may skip them once or twice in lieu of a car show.  Gotta keep the ol' Buick out there.  I'm putting another SportLots order together right now, and just got a COMC order about a month ago.  I said I was gonna post them here, but I never did.  Some of my old Yahoo group have reached out for trades recently, and I've had a couple on the Database as well.  

My blogging has dropped off to about nothing this past year.  I went from just under 140 posts in 2019 to 88 last year and only 21 in '21 (counting this one).  Hopefully, that number will rebound, but being that I'm not the typical collector, I just don't have as much to say about what's going on in the hobby (except that I'm not a big fan of most of it).  I get tired of ranting about the same things, but have trouble finding new and interesting facets of my collecting to share.  We've still got a few years to wait for Fanatics' "innovations", but we heard that from Topps and you know what we got (see above).  If working from home comes back, maybe it'll give me time to come up with new ideas.

Anyway, let's keep trading, blogging and collecting.  I'll still be cruising this star system.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Cars, Not Chocolate Bars

Attended the Fall Hershey car show in Hershey, PA (yep, chocolate town) for the second time on October 7.  It is the largest and most diverse display of automotive history in real life that I've ever seen.  The show field is divided into decades and there are also sections that group certain makes and models too.  Took me four hours just to walk by them all.  Presented here in no particular order....

What's your favorite? Muscle cars? 50's cruisers?  Mustangs? 'Vettes? the elegant 1930's? Model T's? Let me know in the comments.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Shiny Autos

How's that for a clickbait title?

I've got hundreds of photos from the car shows I took the Buick to this summer.  Figured I'd throw some of the highlights up on here.  

(Those of you expecting foilboard signatures ~ sorry.)

First, my car among the participants:

And the rest of the exhibits:

Those are just a few of the better group shots I took.  I have tons of individual car shots I'll put up in future posts.  Let me know what eras, types or styles are your favorites and I'll try to post some themed groups.

Friday, November 05, 2021

The Old Fogies We Like

Hi guys, sorry it's been a while again.  Missed the whole month of October.  Been at more car shows than card shows, but actually have been to one of those too.  I just didn't buy much of anything worth showing off.  I got bored again and placed another order of mostly football player collection parallel fill-ins from COMC, but it says they won't ship until just before Christmas.  I guess that's progress.

Anyway, I also was perusing eBay the other week and saw a cheap auction for 1990 Elite Senior League sets.  That is the one Senior League set that I didn't have all my player collection guys from.  I've never come across singles in the wild and didn't want to break up the set I had. 

Since it was even cheaper to get multiple sets instead of just one, I got three of them for like six bucks each.  They are all still wrapped.  When I pulled out the one I already had, it wasn't, so I broke that one up.  I put one of the new sets in my cabinet to replace mine.  So that leaves two more and the remaining singles from the first one.

The cards I have removed are:

4 DeJesus  8 Kemp  24 Kingman  39 LeFlore  47 Royster  50 Blue  58 McBride 
77 Blair  78 Campaneris  79 Cedeno  109 Bonds  112 Foster  119 Tiant 
121 Blue HFC  122 Bonds HFC  124 Foster HFC  126 Kingman HFC
(HFC = HoF Candidate)

The rest of the 126 card set are available.  Checklist is here.

So if you're in the market for singles from this set, hit me up.  I'll trade any amount for just about anything.  

The other two intact sets are also available as well - sale or trade.  And the box from the other one, with the Explorers magnet. 

Saturday, September 18, 2021

New Numerous Notes

Another "notes" post to update you about miscellaneous things I've been doing.  Ideally, this would come in between real posts about deep subjects involving cards or sports, but except for mocking the current downturn in the (greatly inflated) card market, which really only involves high dollar graded cards anyway, I've really not had much to post about.  

Aw, your Gem Mint 10 Ohtani rookie isn't still worth
6000% of what it lists as a raw card any more?

I did get some mailings from Night Owl and a few others, but a while back a lot of people said that "Look what I got" posts were boring.  One Trading Bases member just destroyed my 2021 A&G wants with a huge stack of base, inserts, and short prints.  He was celebrating a cancer-free health report from his doctor apparently.  I still have minis and other things to trade from A&G.  

I'm also awaiting the other four parts of a five seller order from SportLots.  It was shipped yesterday.  I originally went on there to knock out the last few cards from some of the most recent sets that I had narrowed down at the National, but ended up with more from several years ago that really didn't clear many set entries from my lists at all.

Not my dog or house

Aside from all that, I'm immersed in my YouTube addiction (music, cars, dogs, cards, etc.) and the NFL season.  I thought I did OK in my fantasy draft - got all the guys I wanted.  I stayed away from anyone I had last year, with a couple exceptions.  Now those are the only guys that are scoring high.  Oh well, it's early yet.  And of course, my Washington team had to go to Plan B after the first game.  I like Taylor Heinicke and I hope he can stay healthy and keep us as competitive as he showed against the champs last year.

On the brighter side, the old Buick is back in action.  I cleaned out the filter at the carburetor and it started and ran much better.  Took it to a show at an airport museum about half an hour away last week.  Have another one Sunday here in town.  Last week's show had most of the parking lot filled with classic cars, plus the museum's collection of vintage (mostly Fairchild - the building was the old Fairchild assembly plant) aircraft.  Also around were fire trucks of varying ages, military vehicles, and a few motorcycles.  For $150 donation, you could take a 30 minute ride in one of a few different vintage airplanes.  No thanks, but it was nice to see aircraft and things again.

My latest musical obsession.  Nightwish performing Ghost Love Score at Wacken Open Air 2013.  Floor Jansen is one of the most incredible vocalists on the planet.  Around the 8:00 mark, she takes it to another level.  Gives me chills every time.


Saturday, September 04, 2021

Not Found On Google

You may be having trouble looking at my want list site.  The link over there to the right is probably not giving you my pages.  (Bleep bloop it in the comments as to what you're seeing, I'm curious.)

Google has shut down their "old" style websites in favor of a new version that seems to be limited to six themes or templates, all of which are excessively generic and not geared to the kind of pages that work well for plain text lists.  

I tried to convert my site into the new format, but found it incredibly labor intensive, since the conversion ruins all the formatting (which I am very OCD about), distorts all the fonts and combines certain text with adjacent paragraphs that must be manually separated.  After trying to make my Home page into something feasible, I got too frustrated and gave up.  

It is now impossible to embed pictures into your text.  On these pages, images are either the full width of the text page, or in their own isolated column, which pushes the text into a narrower field.  The football image above was meant to be that way, but the smaller one belongs much farther down the page.  Another image did stick about halfway down from there, so I have no idea.

This screenshot also shows the editing view and three images that were previously embedded and now wander aimlessly at the beginning of the section.  Conversion divides the text into sections when the spacing changes.  This would be useful if you did one for each set, but that would probably prove way too time consuming and cumbersome.

I had experimented with putting my lists on additional pages here on the blog, and so I spent several hours updating and pasting in the rest of my Baseball page last night.  You may have already seen the Baseball Wants tab above this blog page.  Unfortunately, even though the editing is similar to the old Google site, the page width is smaller and not indicated very well on the editor, so I kept having to go back and tweak a lot of listings for spacing and wrapping.  And then I had to go through and manually color each set heading and the text so it is easier to read against the black background.  In places where I used small type for descriptive details, etc., it shows here as another couple sizes smaller.  I changed a lot of it to regular size, but didn't get it all, so I'll just leave it for now. 

It'll do.  Once I get the other pages up, the level of work will decrease dramatically.  I don't think adding and subtracting things should be too bad.  Though I kept feeling like each time I saved and previewed the page, things would change.  I suppose I shouldn't be so OCD about how it all looks, but I like to keep it neat and readable.

So for now, this is what I'm going with.  I also put some baseball sets into my Collection on the Trading Card Database.  Now that you can add a whole set at once, and then go in and click out what you're missing right into your want list, it's not such a tedious process.  But if I'm at a show or shop, I want to see all my want lists at once so I can scroll up and down, and the Database can't do that (at least not that I've seen).

If you guys know of another simple free website service that works well, let me know below.  I saved all my pages before they got locked down, so I have all my data.

And thanks a lot, Google....