Thursday, March 30, 2023

Back To Back Show Weekends - Part 1: Ephrata, PA

The weekends on either end of this week (Mar 27-31, 2023) are both big show dates.  Last Saturday was the annual event at the Rec Center in Ephrata, PA.  It's a gym-sized show with an auction and one signer.  This year's guest was Eagles linebacker Jeremiah "Axe Man" Trotter.  I don't usually go for the autograph or the auction, though they send me a flyer with all the items beforehand.

There are several dealers that only do this show, and most of them sell vintage cards.  That is points in this show's favor to me.  A lot of them are Philly-centric, since that city is about an hour due east.

I've gotten to know some of the guys behind the tables there, if even just by what they have.  I'll try to group my loot by who I got it from....not necessarily in chronological order by my stops during the day.

Let's start with the hockey, which has a decent showing there.

There is a guy who is usually on the end of the second row from the back who has a lot of older O-Pee-Chee hockey.  I've filled out a few of my Capitals teams sets (and the occasional set build) from him a couple times.  This trip, I only found one.

This one did kill the team set for 1983-84 OPC.  Interestingly, there was not Topps set that year, or the year before ('82-'83).  

The other hockey guy is on the end of the very front row.  All his vintage hockey is marked 50% off the sticker price. 

Fuhr was in the quarter section.  Roy was only 50¢, and the others weren't a whole lot more than a buck or two.  Mario was like $10, I think.  Sakic was a few, but still not bad for his rookie.

He also had a little odd box of a couple handfuls of the three years of Topps Fan Favorites.  I picked out these 2004's that filled holes in my set.  We both like these for the different photos that they feature instead of the same old shots.  

Almost forgot these two Holtby's from Capitals' season's past.  I should do a team set of the red parallels.  Unfortunately, Braden no longer "Rocks the Red" for us.  These two depict him doing his focus exercise with his water bottle.  He'd squirt a little in the air and follow a droplet to regroup his concentration.

Keeping with the Washington theme, these are part of a quarter box haul that I gathered alongside an older gentleman wearing a jacket with a map of Vietnam on the back.  Two more veterans came up to him while we were digging and they found out that they were in the same area at the same time.  This man's unit took care of the other guy's platoon or whatever it was.  Big props to all those guys for their service. 

I think the box was marked ".25¢ each", which I like to remind people means four for a penny.  $.25 or 25¢ is four for a buck.  Remember that if you set up at shows.  I didn't challenge them on it.

I got a bunch more 2019 Score football rookies from the same batch for my set build, but didn't scan them.

I want to say I got these Oriole stars and inserts either from the dime box or the next vendor I'll cover - the guy I call Brother Mike.  He's the one that has all kinds of odd stuff from vintage to modern inserts, GU & autos, non-sports, and almost anything else.  He puts out an email to let you know where he'll be at all the shows around the MD/PA area.  He'll be at Chantilly this weekend too.

Got these PC guys there too.  A parallel Donruss from '21, a Fleer Hardball disc, and a sparkly parallel of that 1952 Anniversary set from last year.  You've seen others of my PCs from that set in recent posts. 

Three more of the also sparkly legends parallels in 2011 Topps.  This is a very casual collection, and I've made the mistake of getting a plain version once or twice.  I'll take the brown cognac versions, but am trying to keep it all sparkles.  I've got a long way to go and don't even necessarily want every HOF'er that was made like these.

Jeets is just a base card, but I've got a whole list of his base cards to fill out sets on my wants.  So much so, that I put "of course" after his name most of the time.  Mariano is another one who shows up rather often.  Both of them can sometimes be found together in dealer boxes.  I think these were from Mike, but I could be wrong.

Speaking of PC guys, I already have a few Fisk relics, but I've just started this Classics set, so I thought it was a nice accessory, even though I won't be putting it with the set.  Brother Mike has a lot of this kind of gamer from a few sports.

A couple more Washington guys in the jersey variety.  Portis is numbered out of 25, but was less than $10.  The Urlacher is one more off the set of jerseys in the '09 Philadelphia set.  

More Washington football, in this case rookies.  Contrasted by the Namath insert from 2004.

Lastly, from Mike, I picked up this sepia parallel of the Stadium Club Jackie, since I found I had the 5x7 color version the other day.  Might try for the rainbow.  Just a great shot.

The last two stops I made were for some great vintage.  Got these two from Phil, who sets up in the second row from the front.  He's really friendly and easy to talk to.  We converse about certain cards and why we like them or where we started certains sets.  These were two of the more expensive buys but still within my noted prices that I had looked up before.  That's Roy Sievers  and Alvin Dark.

Interjecting just for a moment, I got these six '50 Bowmans from a gentleman that was in the row behind Phil and was starting to clean up his table.  He had a book of these that he told me he had just brought from home.  He actually had a Jackie Robinson in there, which he was more concerned about someone stealing than actually buying.  I pulled out these six from the last series that don't have the copyright line on the back.  The Beckett comes out when he prices his stuff, which usually turns me off, but these were only six bucks each.  He said he felt it was time to bring them all to sell and that he had pulled them from the shoebox at home ~ the original shoebox he kept them in when he collected them as a kid!  He is 80 years old now... I was kind of honored to take over their care and keeping.

And finally, from Phil's table, I picked up these two rather crooked but still nicely appealing Post cereal cards.  Not sure why, but Brooks just had to come home with me.  There were other stars on nicer cards, but I just had to take this one.  And the Mick was a no-brainer.  I can say I got a 1962 Mickey Mantle for $30!  Ok, there's a catch, but still.... One of these days I'll find a starter set of these and build 'em all.  Now I just get the big stars when I can find them.

Stay tuned for next weekend's haul, and a stop I made right after this one....

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Extending Immortality

Here's a "completist" project I did a few weeks ago.  And by "completist", I mean I'm way too obsessed with variations of cheap 80's cards.

The Baseball Immortals set, otherwise known as 1980-87 SSPC HOF, is a total count of 199 players.  Card #1 thru 173 were printed starting in 1980.  An update in 1984 added 174 - 189.  Then 190 thru 196 were added in 1986 and the whole thing reprinted again. And finally, in 1987, the final three cards were added.  As a result, the set actually has four different variant backs.  Not all of them encompass all 199 cards.  Around the card number, there can be "1st Printing", and an MLB logo.  

They go something like this:

1st Printing & MLB logo - cards 1 thru 189.

1st Printing & no MLB logo - cards 1 thru 189 again.

No 1st Printing / MLB logo - cards 190 thru 199.

No 1st Printing / No MLB logo - cards 1 - 173 and 190 - 199.

So I already had a set of these in a binder, and then got most of another one to fill out the 1st Printing or not category.  I didn't figure out about the MLB logo part until afterward, and then pulled a bunch of those out of the original setup and relisted them to accomodate that.  Later I came into a good stack of the MLB logos and finally decided to reconfigure my binder.

Instead of three separate sets, I combined them all to show the backs together.  

Which means I started with two stacks of pages and a pile of loose cards, all in order.  

As you can see above, I put them in order by 1st+logo, then 1st only, then neither.  So the first paged ones could be put in the first column in the new sheet, then the 1st only's in the second column, and on and on, 3 by 3.  

To complicate matters further, there are five of what I'd call "real" variations in the colors used on the front of cards depicting the same player.  I mocked some of these up since they don't have images on the database and I don't own them all yet.

But since a lot of the last 23 cards only have two different backs, it works out OK.

That's where I'm going to leave it today.  Probably more than you ever wanted to know about this quirky Hall Of Famers set.  Anybody else now motivated to fill out the better part of them three times?  

Didn't think so.  It's just me.....

Sunday, March 26, 2023

The Tip Of The Iceberg

If you've noticed I kinda went quiet after announcing my foray into TCDB trading, you are correct.  From the feedback I received, it's apparent that right now is prime time to be trading on the Database site.  Commenters on here as well as my other trading group are all diving in on entering their stuff at the same time.  

Which is great, since that generates trades among avid collectors.  I will say that TCDB is doing a lot more than my COMC listings are this month, which is nothing....

But there's a slight problem.  I took several hours last weekend to enter my first box of available cards into the site.  (It was about 6-7 hours total spread over the two days.)  And it wasn't even a large box.

It was this three row thing that houses my dupes from the tail end of 1997 up through 2000 Topps.  That's all.  Now there are a lot of different sets/products in there, so it takes a lot of clicks to enter even a few cards.  The monster boxes are going to take a little longer than I expected, though some of them, especially on the football side, will go a bit quicker since they have big chunks of one set.

The rest of the week, I've been busy fielding TEN ~ count 'em ~ TEN trade offers I got from just that one box.  Most of them have been PWE size - a half dozen to ten cards on each side.  Though a few times, the offerer had a lot on their wantlists that I could fill, so I dug through the rest of my stock and filled out lopsided trades in their favor whenever I could.  That's my favorite way to trade - move a lot of stuff and still get a decent return for my collection - value and volume matching be damned.

I had previously entered two chunks of SP Top Prospects from the box after I found a trader that needed some.  Not sure who it was, but I figured instead of just putting in the few cards I was sending out, I'd check off the whole batch to try and move them, since at least to me, they are the least desirable of any brand I have.  There are a few star players among them, but the bulk is just no-name prospects that I wouldn't think would be in demand.  This was right before I decided to put everything in eventually.  I imagined I'd do the same thing to my football stock with stuff like SAGE HIT etc, but I'll probably just put it all in together now.  The card on the left is Donruss Collections - Leaf.  Those are shiny and popular so far too.

So anyway, I have the pictures, ideas etc. for three different posts at this point, but have spent the entire week pulling, packing, and posting all these trades.  And I got four more over the weekend.  The unfortunate part is when I get offers for the odd card I put on my trade list that is already spoken for.  Had to refuse a trade for that already.  I'm still getting the hang of the proper sequence to managing trades.  I'll send messages and then change status and it will prompt for a message again in some cases and not in others.  I've also accepted trades that I wanted to go back and edit after the fact, but just worked it out and changed my inventory manually.

On top of that, I went to a show yesterday (one of the pending posts you'll see later).  So now I have to cross off my website, and also take what I got off my want list on the database.  It wasn't a whole lot, but it is extra work.  Luckily I didn't buy anthing that I already had coming in trade.  More on that later.

I also decided to spice things up by entering some smaller batches of special cards I have separate from my bulk extras.  1976 SSPC, two Pacific Senior league sets, and some other unusual batches are now among my listings.  Haven't finished all you see here, but it will be soon.  There's even a few racing cards tucked in the back there.

If after I enter a couple more of the bigger boxes, I get even more offers at once, I'll have to suspend trades until I can get everything entered and don't spend time digging through people's huge want lists, I can just approve what matches up automatically. 

And this is just the beginning...

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Assimilating Myself Into The Larger Collective

I have officially taken the plunge for the sake of trading.  I have decided that I will take the time and effort to enter my want lists and tradeable cards into the Trading Card Database.  

It's going to take a long time and probably reduce my useful eyesight by a couple years, but in the long run, I think it will increase the number and volume of trades.

That means that I will not only be entering the lists on the other tabs from this site.  (I will do the major sports first, and probably do the player collections later.)  It also means I will have to dig through all this:

and this:

and this:

and enter it into my For Sale / Trade list.  I did one box a couple weeks ago that had several big chunks of the same set, and it didn't take that long, so that gives me hope that it won't take me the rest of the year to get it all in.  

There are more efficient ways of entering cards onto your lists on the database.  A couple of them I just recently discovered, so I thought I might put up a bit of "how-to" on here to help out those of you among my few dozen readers that might want to know.  (I am tech support by profession, after all.)

When you're signed in and go to your Collection, (a specific collection, not All Collections), you can hit the green Add/Update button and then pick your sport, and browse by Sets (or names or teams).  Then go to the next set (I'm going by sets in this lesson) you want to enter.  You'll get a screen like this:

Your choices are Add/Update collection or Wantlist, or For Sale /Trade list.  Below that are more options for entering data in different ways.  Clicking on the link above the set name for "Collection Summary" brings you back to this page.  Then you can choose another method.

Selecting Add/Update any of the three lists will go to the checklist for that set with each card listing containing a check box.  There are other options under a pull-down arrow as well.

Checking the box will add the card to the particular list.  This is the best way if you only have a small number compared to the total set count.  This corresponds to the sets on my want lists that have names listed.  Each entry is saved as you go, so you can breeze right through the whole checklist.  Every time you click a box, a little wheel will appear with "Loading..." for a second.  This makes the screen jump around a bit.  It's a little annoying, but not a big deal.

Another method is to add by dropdown menu for each card.  This is useful if you need to enter multiple copies of a limited number of cards, for your For Sale/Trade list for example.  I don't see me using this too much.

A variation of this method is entering by text box.  I like this a lot better.

I found this much more useful for rapid entry of a larger number of listings.  Especially when I was adding a big chunk of a set to my Wantlist - like when you have the base set, but the back end is all shortprints or rookie autographs.  

There is an option to "Add all missing cards to Wantlist" while you're adding to your wantlist, but no option to add all the unchecked cards to your collection.  Therefore, I haven't been accurately cataloguing what I HAVE on a lot of these sets, but only what I NEED right now.  Those entries will convert to my collection if I get them in trades within the site, but I'd have to go back and enter everything else manually if I want my whole actual collection on the site.  I don't need all that extra work. 

So anyway, I found that entering a number (usually 1) into the text box, and then pressing the Tab key gets you to the next box.  That makes it quick and easy to do a whole page full of listings (1-Tab-1-Tab-1-Tab-1-Tab, etc.).  Keeps you from having to check a whole page and a half or more individually.  Just be sure you set the little gray box to the right list first!

Moving on, there is an even faster way to get a bulk list entered.

You can enter a text list of numbers into this box and it will check off each card with a valid number onto your list of choice.  Hopefully you have your bulk number lists electronically!

What I did is use Word to convert my website lists into the right layout and paste them into the above screen.  Here's how it works:

Copy your numbers from wherever they are...

Paste them into a blank Word document...

Delete any words (names etc.) between the numbers.  Replace the spaces in between the numbers with paragraph marks (under the Special button).  I always use two spaces on my website for readability...

That should give you a single column of numbers...

That you can copy and paste into the box.  I found that it only holds 102 numbers, so you might have to break up your "pastings" into a few pieces.  Clicking Check will take you to the checklist with each number entered.  

Note - if there are any variations noted by "a" and "b" by the card number, your entries will be invalid.  I had to go back and edit the Word list - deleting the good ones and adding "a" to each one that didn't get added.  (You could add the "b" listings at this point as well.)  Be sure to set that grey box to the right list as well!

The last choice is the "Single View", which I suppose is for when you want to visually confirm each card as you enter it.  

This screenshot also shows the color coding used by the site for the different lists.  In-Transaction are cards you have posted to trades, and In-Transit are cards that are in trades that have been set to Package Sent.

Hopefully that helps someone who has been struggling to enter their cardboard on the site, or encourages collectors who haven't jumped in to join the fun!  Look me up under LoQtus and see if we can match up.  (There's a function under each user's profile that does just that - matches your wants to their trade list and vice versa.)