Saturday, January 31, 2009

A few more football cards

A 1991 Topps Stadium Club Thurman Thomas, #395.  I had Thurman on my first fantasy football team.  The thing that frustrated me was they'd have him run down the field in just a few plays then pull him and let someone else get the score from the 2.  He was a great running back.  Too bad the Bills never won a Super Bowl.

A promo card for ESPN.  Not a major issue.

A 1992 Score Pinnacle Rex Hudler, # 589.  Rex's favorite athlete was Roger Staubach.  Commenting, Roger said, "Rex who?"

Okay, so that last one was a baseball card.  Sue me.

1962 Salada Football Coins

Trying to keep with a (semi) themed series of blog entries leading up to Super Bowl XVIII, here's my very small collection of 1962 Salada Football Coins. These coins, along with hockey and baseball coins, were produced in the early 1960s. The 1962 Salada baseball coins were plastic and the 1963 Salada baseball coins were metal, as these are. The manufacturing materials seems to echo the hockey coins of that era.

More examples can be found using this ebay search. More on the Salada baseball coins later.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Getttin' my trade cred up

Stephen helped me cut my 1989 Topps wantlist in half. Then Jeff offers to send me some. I'm now down to just 28 that I'm looking for.

Now Jeff, out of the kindness of his heart (or pity, I don't know which) doesn't want anything in exchange. I don't really have anything on his want list, so, I'll keep my eyes open and see what I can do. I've already sent Stephen his bunch.

And I just sent some out to Dan. In exchange, I've asked that he continue his fine writing. Little did I know that he was pushing the publish post button on one of the best entries that I've read in quite some time. He's already paid me back.

Last Saturday I sent out a small brick to John in the UK. He sent me some cards that I need to blog about, but I thought I'd wait until he got my brick and was satisfied. Then I thought, "Nah, I'll give a preview."

This is what he sent me, with some more cards tossed in. Later, I'll scan these cards individually and give some commentary.

One of the cards he tossed in was a 1970 Topps Earl Wilson (bilingual). The card is bilingual (English-French), not Mr. Wilson.

On the back of that card it lists his career stats. In 1953 he played for Bisbee-Douglas in the Arizona-Texas league. I graduated from high school in that county. Instant connection. Mind you, I've never heard of Earl Wilson. But he played in the same county as I spent some time growing up.

Which led me to find out some more about the Arizona-Texas league, Warren ballpark and Earl Wilson.

Time to take the plunge. There are only about 15 regular issue cards of his during his playing career. I can get those. Ebay was welcoming me with arms wide open.

I found a 1960 Earl Wilson (graded, even) that caught my eye. So I bid and I won.

I'm now the proud owner of an Earl Wilson rookie card.

Okay, this entry started out to be about trying to show that I'm a reliable trader and you need not do a background check on me to know that you'll get your cards. It evolved into the beginning of two other posts, both of which I want to do, but I already have a few ideas in my head that I'd like to get out before Superbowl Sunday.

As I go out to dinner with my wife and daughter this evening I'll try to focus on them and not composing the next post in my head. Then I'll ask if they want to go to a new (to me) card shop in town.


No, not of the Beavis and Butt-head duo. Kevin Butler. All time leading scorer for the Chicago Bears Professional Football Franchise.

He was part of their 1985 Super Bowl team and one of the more lively characters, and there were many. He often would be part of the Kevin Matthews radio show on WLUP. Darn, those were good days.

These cards are:
* 1991 Pro Line Portraits #251
* 1991 Fleer # 215
* 1990 NFL Pro Set #50

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's football time

This is a 1995/1996 Shell premium celebrating Super Bowl 30. Fill up and get a card. I remember the gas station that I got this at. Carol Stream, Illinois.

This a Bob Thomas 1994 DuPage County Appellate Court Justice Voter ad. Bob Thomas played for the Bears from 1975-1982, went to Detroit then came back to the Bears in 1983-1984. He then went to San Diego and finished his career with the New York Giants in 1986.

He won.

Bloggers are generous people

Thanks to a blog entry over at The Easy Life, I've already received two offers to help me fill my want list. Thanks.

What that means is that I'll actually have to get organized. So, in the coming days I'll be expanding my want lists and stuff that I'm more than happy to trade away.

Again, thanks.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another player called up

William "Billie" Werber passed away last week (January 22, 2009). He mostly played the infield from 1930 to 1942 on a number of teams. He played with Babe Ruth and was a member of the 1940 Cincinnati Reds' World Series team. He was 100 years old.

This is his 1935 Diamond Stars card (#61). I lifted the photo from an ebay auction.

The new phonebook's here, the new phonebook's here

Well, not quite, but I did receive in the mail my own copy of the 2008 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, 17th Edition, edited by Don Fluckinger.

1,848 pages of baseball card goodness. Like I'm going to get some sleep tonight.

And for the rest of the dialog...

Harry Hartounian: Boy, I wish I could get that excited about nothing.
Navin R. Johnson: Nothing? Are you kidding? Page 73 - Johnson, Navin R.! I'm somebody now! Millions of people look at this book everyday! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity - your name in print - that makes people. I'm in print! Things are going to start happening to me now.
[the Sniper points to Navin's name in the phone book]
Sniper: Johnson, Navin R... sounds like a typical b*st*rd.

And no, there are no Johnsons or Navins on page 73. Just 1940-1946 Brooklyn Dodgers.

My thanks to Steve Martin for allowing me to lift some lines from The Jerk.

Monday, January 26, 2009


In rediscovering my interest in baseball cards, I realized that I need to focus on my collecting, not just grabbing what's hot or what's on sale.

So, I'll be writing a list of what I have and why I should or shouldn't keep it.

And then a list of what I want, perhaps why I want it. This will help me focus.

What I have (and want to keep)...
* Orel Hershiser card collection. About 200 of them
* A few miscellaneous Game Used and Autographed cards
* A few nearly completed Topps sets from the late 1980s
* A T205 'Gabby Street' card
* A few early 1990's Fleer Basketball sets (missing a few cards)
* A small Kevin McHale collection. About 20 cards or so. He's my wife's favorite basketball player.

What I have (and should ditch)...
* Misc baseball semi sets from the late 1980s
* A mess of 1980 Topps commons
* Misc football cards
* Misc basketball cards

What I want...
* Cards that are meaningful to me (yeah, that's vague)
* Game Used and Autographed cards
* Hall of Fame players
* A T206 card
* A pre-1900 card

So, that's the first round of my focus. As I go through my boxes of stuff, I'm sure I'll add to these lists.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sports card finds at the old Antique Mall

In south KnoxVegas there is an antique mall. It is upstairs, over a children's clothing/toy resale shop. It has a mix of stuff. Some $1 DVDs from the Dollar Store that they're selling for $2 each. Old pocket knives. Very scratched albums from the early 1980's. Not very antiquey. I've seen cleaner places.

There were a few booths that had some sports cards. There was an open box of cards. Ten cents each. But the booth had a 30 % off sign. I dug through and pulled out about a dozen cards.

Good looking hockey cards
1993 Classic Four Sport - Chris Pronger #186
1991 Score - Grant Fuhr #114 (English/French edition)
1991 Score - Mike Modano #313 (English/French edition)

Interesting looking baseball cards
1981 Fleer - Dave Chalk #35
1991 Jimmy Dean - Dale Murphy #3 (25 card set)
1992 Jimmy Dean - Jim Abbot #1 (18 card set)
1993 Jimmy Dean Rookies - Vinny Castilla #2 (9 card set)
1993 Jimmy Dean Rookies - Jeff Conine #3 (9 card set)
1993 Jimmy Dean Rookies - Mike Lansing #6 (9 card set)
1993 Fleer Excel - Jorge Posada #112 (Prince William Cannons)
1994 Classic - Jose Paniagua #169 (West Palm Beach Expos)

1992 Proline Portraits - Diana Ditka #23 (has Mike and Diana on the front)
1994 Sports Illustrated Kids - Reggie White #283 (punched)

A glance around the rest of the mall turned up a booth in the back that had some team sets. Since I was raised about an hour south of Montreal, I have a soft spot in my heart for the Expos. 20 cards for a dime. I grabbed all 5 packs of them. Looking around the booth, I found Gene Florence's Baseball Card Price Guide (Fourth Edition). For 25 cents. I don't care about the prices in the guide, but this guide is alphabetized by player. Yes, I can get that info from the internet, but this is nice just to thumb through. Since I think that I'm going to start to focus on 'older' players, this fits the bill nicely. I also picked up a pristine copy of Beckett Baseball, November 1994. This is about the time that I got out of actively collecting. The saddest part of the magazine was reading the show guide. The main show that I attended while living in the western suburbs of Chicago was in Glen Ellyn. The show guide lists them as having a show every weekend that month. Five shows about 3 miles from the condo.

Turning around to leave, I spyed big bricks of cards. 200 Expos for $1. There were also some team guides, both minor and major leagues. I picked up a few. If nothing else, I'll read them and toss them. Or if someone wants them in trade, I can do that, as well.

There were about 100 dupes, so I got a nice start on the Expos team sets. I haven't defined my path, yet, but I might just stick to Topps regular issue for the life of the team. Expos dupes, get them here.

But the big accomplishment of the day was that I actually got a trade out in the mail. Two out, one in this year. Details to follow.

Early baseball card ads follow up

I need to give more credit to the Sporting Life ads posts (here and here).  

Scot A. Reader's Inside T206 is a great primer and useful roadmap for understanding these iconic cards.  The book(let)/paper (I'm not sure how it is classified) can be downloaded as a .pdf file through the T206

I finished reading it on Friday.  He mentions these ads in the Sporting Life, but doesn't include any images in his paper.  A quick websearch (and a bit of a decent memory) pointed me to

I do wish that Mr. Reader would have included a few images (of these ads, but mostly of the backs of the cards which I find almost as intriguing as the fronts.  A few photos of the fronts of the cards wouldn't hurt, either.)

I'm not being critical in the catty sort of way, just my thoughts.  And I wanted to let both my readers know that I don't come up with this stuff on my own.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Carl Pickens, you were my first

serial numbered card.  


A 1998 Collector's Edge Masters card.  It was in a mass box of cards at a now defunct card hobby shop.  I think that I was stopping by to pick up a few Pokemon cards for my son (who has now thankfully left that behind him).

Only 3000 of them made?  It must be rare.  Let's see, in 1999, there were about 280 million people in the United States.  And only 3000 of these cards.  And I've got one in my hand.  From a 15 cents a card box.  Doesn't the dealer know what he's got here?  Apparently not.  This is a hometown boy.  He went to the University of Tennessee.  He went to the Pro Bowl.  Twice.  He had the longest punt return in the NFL in 1992 (95 yards).  This card was a diamond in the rough, just sitting there, waiting to be found.

Yeah, not so much.

I remember from some class somewhere or another about writing or speaking...

1. Tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em.  
2. Tell 'em.
3. Tell 'em what you just told 'em.

Well the back of this card doesn't have enough room for the three points.  So, they just used points one and two.  And I quote:

Although the Bengals have struggled in 1998, Carl Pickens has put together an impressive year to prove he is one of the elite receivers in football.  He was among the leading receivers in the NFL throughout the season despite his team's poor record, and will be a Pro Bowler for years to come.
Carl's last season in the NFL was 1999.  I guess that the copywriter's crystal ball wasn't clean that day.

Another early baseball card ad

From the August 21, 1909 issue of the Sporting Life...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Early baseball card ad

From the July 3, 1909 issue of Sporting Life magazine...

Image taken from the pdf copy at

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Last night I ordered two books concerning baseball. The first is one that I had on my Christmas wish list. I also had sock on that list. Guess what my wife picked.

I placed an order from Horizon Books (via for Smithsonian Baseball: Inside the World's Finest Private Collections. The paperback edition lists for about $22. Horizon Books was offering a new copy for $4.25.
Update: There were some issues with Horizon Books not being able to verify my credit card. After two attempts and a call to my bank to release the purchase in another country (Canada?) I decided to give up on Horizon Books. They didn't answer their business phone that was listed in Cleveland, Ohio. I was able to purchase it without problem from Hungry Bookworm, also via The price was comparable.
The second was the 2008 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards. Yes, I know that the 2009 edition is out (and it comes with the complete text of the book on DVD. Probably as a .pdf file, but I haven't verified that, yet.). But, I'm a bit of a penny pincher, so I forfeited the latest inclusions and the DVD to save a bit of coin. The 2009 edition lists for about $45. I purchased the 2008 edition (new) for $3.65 from Bookbrothers1 (via

So, for less than $15 (including shipping and handling), I'll have two books to while away these winter nights.

In preparing for this blog entry I came across another interesting book. Judging the Authenticity of Early Baseball Cards by David Rudd Cycleback. He is selling this 88 page book at More information can be found at Mr. Cycleback has some interesting information, interviews and galleries of older cards at his website,

There's a new show in town

There aren't that many card shows in east Tennessee. We're not a magnet for them. But, according to Beckett (which I understand some of the card bloggers despise) there will be a card show in the greater KnoxVegas area in about 2 months.

Mar 21,22 - Knoxville
Knoxville Expo Center
5441 Clinton Hwy (map)
Knoxville, TN

Sa 9-5, Su 10-4 (KEC says that Saturday hours are from 9-7)
80T, a:$5

For more info contact:
Ray Mozingo

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Blog Bat Around #3

Dave, over at Fielder's Choice Baseball Card Blog, has issued a call for card bloggers to write about what we'd like to see in the future of baseball cards. I'll add my thoughts to the third installment of The Blog Bat Around.

I have only recently returned to card collecting and I'm still trying to find my footing. I've enjoyed cards since my youth. I have a decent sized Orel Hershiser collection. I'm not crazy about the over abundance of Jersey / Autograph cards. Especially when they don't really relate to baseball.

Early in the 2008 baseball season I picked up a pack of Topps "something or others" at Wal-Mart. Ninety-nine cents. Good price. The cards were nice enough, but I can't tell you a thing about them. They didn't say, "Wow. Collect me."

A friend bought me a few packs when we had lunch at Cracker Barrel during our summer vacation. I couldn't tell you a thing about them. I enjoyed them for the moment. To be fair, it was the end of a long week on the road with two kids. I didn't spend too much time looking at the cards.

It wasn't until November that I purchased another pack. Allen & Ginter. Just because I talked to my dad and I wanted him to have a pack. We opened it together. Very classy look, but nothing exciting.

My wife bought 3 packs for my Christmas stocking. There was a Goudey, a 4 card pack with a 'painted canvas' feel and a Topps Heritage pack.

The cards looked nice, except for having Jeter and Griffey's head on each of the Goudeys. (side note: if you are a Jeter or Griffey collector/completist, do you have to have every one of those cards? And did Derek Jeter actually write the copy?) I liked the Painted Canvases for the look, but I don't want to collect them.

I guess I'm currently not a set collector. If I want a set, I'll get the factory set at Target or my local card shop.

So, what do I want to see this coming year? Less diversity. Reasonable prices. Meaningful subsets.

What about a good sized base set (700 cards)? Maybe include a small set of chase cards.

Make a set geared toward collecting (200 cards). No chase cards. No wacky laser cut cards. Just a good representation of baseball cards.

In the late 1980s Fleer came out with a very annoying mess of cards. 44 to a pack or something. Fleer's Hottest Players. Fleer's Greatest Players. Fleer's Pitching Players. Greatest and Bestest Players. Hottest and Good Looking Players. Exciting Stars. MVPs. Heroes of Baseball. All-Stars. Problem was, it was mostly the same players.

Bring back the small boxed sets but make them meaningful. An All-Star set. From the All-Star game. A World Series set. From this last year. Don't cloud it with the cards and photos from the 1958 World Series. I don't care. You want to celebrate the series from fifty years ago? Create another small box set.

Create a set of Hall of Fame Inductees for each of the preceding decades. Don't make them chase cards. Give them their own little box.

Make cards that are meaningful and consistent. Good action shots on the fronts. Interesting stats on the back. I can look at last year's card of Player X and see what they did for the last 5 years. What did Player X do this last year that was significant? Dig deep and give me an obscure stat. "Player X hit .353 on the road in extra innings when a Will Ferrell movied opened that same month." "Player Y pitched 102 innings in relief, which is the same age as his namesake, his maternal grandmother."

Produce some boutique items. Higher retail price, but make it worth the customer's money. I don't want to plunk down $25 for a pack only to find that I got the Tiger's waterboy's auto. Or an authentic piece of handle tape from a spring training fungo practice bat. Give me something of (perceived) value.

I don't care about mastadon hair. Or Lincoln's hair. Or President (elect) cards. You want to make a set of American History cards? Great. Add them in. Toss some ball players in. They're part of American History.

Okay, I just realized that I started rambling, with no clear goal in mind. Stepping back and looking at it, I think I want:
* Good looking cards
* A simple base set that is obtainable for collectors of all ages and incomes
* Not so many variations on the base set
* Small sets for important events or groups

It shouldn't be that hard. Should it?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

1989 Topps Want List

steveisjewish, over at The Easy Life, was looking for some 1989 Topps baseball cards. I thought that I had some. I was right. It appears that I was trying to complete that set. Probably back in 1989.

So I culled out about 30 duplicates for him and then created my own want list.

My dad was kind enough to send seven of the remaining cards I need.

Another card (Steve Sax - 40) was knocked off by the Core Contrarian.

dayf, that Cardboard Junkie, knocked 13 more off of my list. And then there were two.

Due to the generosity of fellow bloggers, the set is now complete. I do not yet have them in hand, but it is over.

Updated on 3 March, 2010

Saturday, January 17, 2009

1988 Salt Lake Trappers

Here's a sampling of the 30 card set from BASEBALL CARDS, etc (Utah). This is the 1988 Salt Lake Trappers. Most notable of the individuals pictured are Bill Murray and his brother, Brian Doyle Murray. They were two of the owners of that year's team.

The cards themselves aren't quite standard. They stand 3-1/2" tall but only 2-3/8" wide. I purchased this set via mail order in 1989. I thought, "How cool is that, to have a Bill Murray baseball card?" Cool enough to get married that year.

Somehow, I don't think my wife married me because of that set.

Mother's Cookies, part 1

dayf, over at the Cardboard Junkie site recently blogged about finding a Mother's Cookies Nolan Ryan.

Reading it reminded me of the Mother's Cookies cards that I have. So, I pulled them out and scanned them. Mother's was a west-coast company, so their promotional items might be considered regional, but they reached to the mid-south to tap Nolan Ryan.

These are a 1992 single sheet Nolan Ryan No-Hitter Set.  My mom knew I was collecting cards and she lived in Arizona and was able to get them.

I have an extra card each of the 1990 Matt Williams (#1- bat on shoulder & #4 - fielding) if anyone would like to trade.

I've got a few more strip sets, but I'll save them for another post.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Can someone explain the grading process?

I'm confused about the way that grading services do their business. Not the business of accepting cards to grade, billing and returning the cards. But what is it that they do? What is their process once a card arrives at their place of business?

I'm guessing that they check the paperwork of the order and place the card in a basket of some sort. Some employee verifies that the card in hand is actually what the owner says it is. A T206, not a T205. The card gets scanned or digitally photographed to add to the database.

Then it gets assigned to a grader. Perhaps the graders have a certain expertise (tobacco, prewar, postwar, modern). Perhaps not. The grader examines the card, searches the database to compare it to other (already graded) cards. He makes some notes, assigns a grade.

Perhaps another grader does the same thing, but doesn't have access to the previous grader's assigned grade. In theory, they should give the card the same grade. If they don't, a third grader joins them. No, not an eight year old. He (or she) is the tie breaker. They spend time discussing why they gave the card the grade that they did.

Once a final grade is given, then the card is slabbed, or sealed. The appropriate size holder is selected, a sheet of archival clear 'plastic' film covers the card and then the whole thing is sealed with heat or special infrared microwaves.

Then the card is shipped back to the owner with a report.

I don't know. This is all conjecture. Guesses. I have no idea. It can't happen that way. Too many resources (graders) tied up for a single card. Maybe if it is a T206 Wagner, but not the card of a below average player from 1987.

But looking at ebay, I found some difference in some PSA graded card slabs and therefore the process. I'm not picking on PSA, these are just examples that I found while searching for some PSA graded T212 cards.

The Netzel apparently was an early grade from PSA. The holder doesn't really secure the card. There's a bit of "Saran Wrapping"

The Orendorff seems to be in the correct holder. All is well with the world. This is what I think a graded card should look like.

The Perrine is in the correct holder, but I don't know what's up with the "Saran Wrap" look.

These cards are a part of the T212 Obak set. REA has a listing of a 1911 T212 Obak complete set.

Ignorance disclaimer: I have never had a card graded by any professional grading service. I do not own any professionally graded cards. I've seen some in card stores and think that should I buy any older cards on ebay, I'd want them graded. In the proper sized slab.

Another Catalog

This time it is from Huggins & Scott Auctions. It arrived in yesterday's mail. It, like the REA catalogs, is a joy to behold. It is different than the previous ones. Not better, not worse, just different.

Here's the breakdown...

H&S 2009 catalog
Dimensions: 10-7/8" x 8" x 3/8"
Weight: 1lb, 8.6 oz
Pages: 272
Lots: 1309
Average Lots per Page: 4.81

REA 2008 catalog
Dimensions: 11" x 8-1/2" x 1-1/4"
Weight: ~6lbs
Pages: 692
Lots: 1673
Average Lots per Page: 2.42

REA 2007 catalog
Dimensions: 11" x 8-1/2" x 1-1/4"
Weight: ~6lbs
Pages: 655
Lots: 1594
Average Lots per Page: 2.43

The REA catalogs appear to have more robust descriptions. Again, this isn't better or worse, just different.

I hope to look through the H&S catalog later this weekend and bid on something. Not in the hopes of winning, but by being an 'active' bidder, I will stay on their catalog mailing list for the next two years. I think that I've narrowed my choice of lots down to a few. Now to bid early and pray that someone else outbids me. Well, that's my wife's prayer.

Register bidding starts Sunday, January 18th, 2009 at 4:00pm, Eastern.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Giving it away

I remember having Topps '71 and '72 cards. My mom was taking college courses at the local state university. There was a small five and dime store where I'd go and buy packs. I don't remember specific players, but I was a Red Sox fan. I remember setting the players in their positions on my bed and then using some method, either statistically or however I felt at the moment, I would recreate a game. I can still see the red box that I placed them in. Where that box is and the cards are, I have no clue.

In the early Eighties I was working with a friend who ran a piano and organ store. I'd go out with Tim on deliveries in our county. The county was vast with not many towns. We'd stop at the Seven-Eleven to grab a Dr. Pepper or Mountain Dew. I'd buy a pack or two of baseball cards to read and look at between towns.

I wasn't collecting then. Just something to pass the time. I went on other things in other places. The cards were forgotten in a closet in my parent's house.

Fast forward about 9 years. I returned home for my grandfather's funeral. My mom reminded me about the cards (probably wanting me to clean up stuff). I gathered them up, glanced through them and took them to Seth, the son of some good friends. He was into cards and soon saw what he had.

His dad, Brian, pulled me aside and said that I had given Seth three '84 Fleer Don Mattingly rookie cards. At that time they were book valued at about $70. Brian was concerned that I didn't know what I was doing. He was right. I didn't. But it wasn't about the value of the cards. It was about making Seth happy. Seeing his face when he was given all of those cards was very special. Brian insisted that I take back at least one of them. I still have it. It is selling on ebay for a few dollars up to $25. I don't regret letting Seth keep them.

Then there's about 15 years of collecting cards and stuff, going to card shows and shops, starting my Orel Hershiser collection. But, that's another story, another post.

Poking around the World Wide Internet, I found a guy in England who is trying to put together a 1980 Topps set. I have a few of those card. Actually, I have about 35 of the remaining 103 cards he's looking for. We exchanged emails and set up a trade. I keep waiting another day, because I find another box to look for Red Sox cards that he also collects.

I didn't have any expectations on what to receive in trade. He made an offer and I was clueless. He was kind enough to correct me and then sweetened the deal. After he's satisfied with what he gets and feels good about what he sent me, I'll share the details.

I wasn't doing anything with the '80s Topps cards that I have. That's why it was easy to give them away. I did stop for a moment when two cards on his list were Expos. I like the team and sort of wanted to keep the cards. But to me, John's desire to complete his set is more important than my sorting two cards out from one box and putting them in another box, not to see the light of day for several months.

Knowing that, I can give them away. I feel good. Now I need to get them in the mail.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Not enough money

So, on Saturday, I visited a sports card shop to purchase some cards of a former MLB player that I intend to send off to him for him to sign.  I selected two cards, some sleeves, a hard card protector and a 4-up page for some strange sized police cards.  Then I noticed the sign that the shop did not take debit cards for purchases less than $10.  I had about $6 worth of stuff.  Not enough.  So I strolled over to their cabinet of $5 Autographed (Auto)  and Game Used (GU) cards.  Some nice Allen and Ginter Auto cards.  Modern players.  They were nice, but nothing really caught my eye.  Then I found a 2005 Upper Deck Legendary Lineage of Jim Palmer (LL-JP).  How often can one get a part of a uniform of a Hall of Famer?  Well, for me, not that often.  So I bought it.

And sorry I didn't crop the photo.  Maybe later.  Maybe not.

I've stumbled on a few ball card blogs that I'm very taken with.  Here are some of them:

and a nice collection of baseball card blogs: Baseball Card Blogs

Go and enjoy them.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

If I had lots of money

Looking through the Robert Edward Auctions 2007 catalog, I decided to play a bit of a game. If I had some money to spend, what would I bid on?

I decided to set a few price points. I based them on Reserve Prices. My understanding is that the Reserve Price is the minimum that the current owner will accept for the item. It is generally understood that it is only a guide for what the auction house and consignor guess (hope) it will sell for.

I know nothing about high-end auctions. I've been reading about record sale prices, so I made the assumption that Reserve Prices would be rather high, so I set my price breaks at:
* $1,000 or less
* up to $10,000
* over $10,000

Little did I know that there isn't much in the 2007 catalog that the Reserve Price is over $10,000. A few, but not many.

After looking through the lots, I reset my breaks at below $1,000 and over $1,000.

What would I select? I thought I'd go with something that pleased me. Did I like it? Was it appealing to my eye? I think I avoided some of the lots because I thought that they were trendy. Things like T206s. Mantle rookies. Anything modern (read: Jeter items).

Low Reserve Price Lots :
1888 N28 Allen & Ginter Hall of Fame PSA-Graded Collection (3)
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $3,818.75

1888 "Scrapps" Collection Including 3 HOFers (7)
Starting Bid - $200.00, Sold For - $2,115.00

Circa 1888 R.T.S. Artistic Series Baseball Complete Set (10)
Starting Bid - $200.00, Sold For - $822.50

1888-1970 Unusual Baseball Card "Shoe box" Collection (214)
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $5,581.25

Cartwright Family Genealogy Archives (1,000+ Documents)
Starting Bid - $200.00, Sold For - $1,410.00

High Reserve Price Lots:
1911 T3 Turkey Red PSA-Graded Hall of Famers Collection (13)
Starting Bid - $2,000.00, Sold For - $12,925.00

1911 T3 Turkey Red PSA-Graded Hall of Famers Collection (7)
Starting Bid - $5,000.00, Sold For - $26,437.50

1941 Play Ball Complete Set: #7 PSA Registry (72)
Starting Bid - $10,000.00, Sold For - $21,150.00

Notes about two other Lots:
T206 Mad Magazine Alfred E. Newman
Starting Bid - $50.00, Sold For - $1,292.50

Could this be an error card? The Mad Magazine's mascot's actual last name is Neuman. Or it could just be a joke on us all.

1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth Rookie Card
Starting Bid - $10,000.00, Sold For - $199,750.00

I read the description for the Ruth Rookie Card and I had to laugh. REA catalog descriptions are a delight to read. How many ways can one say, "A fine example of a rare card. Corners are sharp, with only the slightest surface wear. Offset by about 10 %, but a better example can't be found." Or something similar. They drop in a reference to Monty Python here, a bit of lyrical whimsy there.

But after reading this description, I started thinking about it (semi) literally.
Presented is a newly discovered example, only the tenth example known to exist in the universe, of the card many consider to be the single most important and miraculous baseball card in the world: the 1914 Babe Ruth rookie card.
Mark's addition to the catalog...

Important Press Release from REA

Watchung, New Jersey. - REA announced today that they have just found another copy of the Babe Ruth rookie card on the planet formerly known as Pluto. This brings the known examples in the universe to eleven. It was hidden under a rock, just beneath a signed letter from Abner Doubleday stating that the whole 'Inventor of Baseball' story was just a practical joke. Astronauts from the space craft Wagner brought the news to a hopeful staff.

REA verified that the card is still miraculous. Having been transported back to Earth (where it is still very important) it was said to have healed four young crippled girls and a man blind since birth. The girls left their crutches at the shrine to the card based in the Bronx, in the shadow of both of the Yankee stadia. The healed blind man was able to avoid the crutches, but turned to the new stadium and muttered words that are not fit to print.

The Yankees are rumored to be considering purchasing the card, but anonymous sources inside the organization say that they would have to cancel the contract of William Nusbaum, a promising popcorn and peanut vendor, to pay for it. Nusbaum's contract is rumored to be in the $18M for 3 years. That includes a $3M signing bonus. Nusbaum's agent is working to secure a "no hot dog" clause, allowing the vendor, who is a vegan, to stay true to his convictions. Nusbaum is a right hander, having worked at Shea Stadium and also in the minors, mostly the independent leagues.

Should the Yankee deal not come to fruition, REA management expects that the card will be presented for auction in the near future. Further explorations will continue in joint missions between REA and NASA.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Good Day

It started last week.

Long story shortened. A Borders gift card from Christmas resulted in the purchase of The Card. Reading it has renewed my interest in baseball cards and sports memorabilia. Reading about the auctions made me seek them out online. I came across Robert Edward Auctions. On their site is a place to request a catalog. I requested one for their upcoming auction and was bold enough to ask for some older catalogs. Mind you, I'm not a viable customer for REA or for any other top end auction house. I don't have enough in my collecting budget to make a bid. For anything. Well, maybe that Bronze mini card that I won on ebay. Free shipping. Can't beat that.

Back to REA. I got a very nice response the next day from Robert Lifson, their president. He said that they'd be sending out the catalogs. I got them in the mail today.

These are the 2007 and 2008 catalogs. Wow! They are about 700 pages each, full of beautiful photography and well written descriptions. If I had to describe them in one word it would be: lush.

But they arrived after I visited two cards stores in Knoxville. I was able to pick up a Game Used card and two cards of a former MLB player to send to him for signing. But those will be discussed in a future post.

It was a good day.