Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2016 Topps Wacky Packages - MLB edition

Back down to the Dollar Tree last night. Had to pick up some gift bags for teacher gifts. The lines were long and just a few registers open. I put myself in the line with the trading cards in the impulse buy zone. It worked.

I hadn't yet seen these. It reminded me of the early releases from Topps. I remember them from the mid 1970s.  I grabbed two packs, thinking of my friend --David, of the currently resting site.

Some of the renderings are a bit hokey, but isn't that what Wacky Packages are supposed to be?

I actually think that the Cardinals Wings Sauce is classy.

This one says --David.

Not so much --David, but Indians.  Which is --David.

I just noticed that the crackers are home plate shaped.

Starting to head towards the Garbage Pail Kids.

Over used pun.


There's a checklist available at  Apparently both a retail and a hobby release.  The hobby issue has signatures and relic cards.  Go figure.

A nice way to divert my mind for a few minutes.  I hope the teachers are happy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A New Grading Scale?

Grading cards can be a difficult task.  What looks like a Very Good card in your card shop will immediately turn into a Near Mint in the short time that it takes the shop owner to leaf through his favorite pricing guide.  Funny how that happens.

We have all heard the phrases: "Purchase the best quality card you can for your collection."  "Quality over quantity."  "Avoid dinged corners at all cost."

That last one reminded me that there are (or were) several card blogs that have condition / grading in their blog names.
So, what's in a grade?  First, it is important to know what the standards are.  I'm more concerned about the labels than the nuances that go into them.

The 2009 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards uses the following:
  • Mint (MT)
  • Near Mint/Mint (NM.M)
  • Near Mint (NR MT)
  • Excellent (EX)
  • Very Good (VG)
  • Good (G)
  • Fair (F or Fr.)
  • Poor (P)
The also suggest that the collectors may encounter intermediate grades, ie: VG-EX or EX-MT.   As seen in the following snippet, the SCBC mainly uses NM, EX, and VG for pricing.

PSA, one of the leaders in the card grading industry, uses both numbers and words to grade the condition of cards.
  • Gem Mint 10 (GEM-MT)
  • Mint 9 (MINT)
  • Near Mint - Mint 8 (NM-MT)
  • Near Mint 7 (NM)
  • Excellent - Mint 6 (EX-MT)
  • Excellent 5 (EX)
  • Very Good - Excellent 4 (VG-EX)
  • Very Good 3 (VG)
  • Good 2 (GOOD)
  • Fair 1.5 (FR)
  • Poor 1 (POOR)
Well, that's similar to the SCBC labels.

Beckett Grading Services have their own system, which is numerical (1-10).  The other minor grading companies have a combination.  Look them up on your own.

Since many of the card collectors that I interact with do it for their own enjoyment and pleasure, that they think of it still as a hobby and not an investment vehicle, I'm going to suggest a simpler grading scale.
  • Pristine 
  • Handled
  • Loved
  • Well Loved
  • Run Over By A Truck

I'll explain each of them and show you some examples from my own collection.


I think this is the only graded card I have in my collection.  I bought it on ebay years ago.  PSA deemed it a NM 7.  The left/right centering is off.  Corners are sharp, as are the edges.  The surface is clean and good.  Looks like it came right out of the pack, despite the fact that it 56 years old.

I collect Earl Wilson cards because he was the first black player signed to the Boston Red Sox.  Pumpsie Green was the first black player to play for the Red Sox, but Earl was signed a few years before Pumpsie.  Do I have plans to upgrade this card to maybe an 8 or a 9?  Nope.  I'm perfectly fine having this.  I'm not planning on cracking it out of the slab.


This 1971 Topps Bill Melton has been handled.  The corners aren't crisp, but you can still see that they are corners.  Clearly not Pristine.  The '71 set, with black borders, show just about any edge imperfection.

This 1953 Bowman Color Joe Garagiola falls into the Loved category.  Rounded corners, a bit of scuffing.  Fully acceptable in my book.

Well Loved

A previous owner of this 1934 Batter-Up Cuccinello wrote their name on it.  No regard to the aesthetic of the card.

It could be worse.  Half of it could be missing.  Probably due to a kid folding it over, and over, and over, and over again.

Maybe this 1971 Jim Hickman is a good example of the Well Loved category.  Rounded corners.  And a pink Bic Banana goes to town on his face.

Run Over By A Truck

It is hard to determine which type of truck ran over this 1967 Hank Fischer, but clearly one did.  Almost like it was taken to shop class and dropped on the belt sander.  (Note: the Hank Fischer card is no longer in my collection.  It happily resides safely in Tony's binder.)

I like the cards for what they are.  I wonder what the story was behind them.  Who was Paul M. Longacre?  Who despised Hank Fischer enough to not treat him with some care?  Why pink clown tears for Jim Hickman?

I propose that the collecting world switch to my proposed grading scale.  The sooner, the better.

This blog post was spurred on by Jeff Katz's post on SABR's new Baseball Card blog.

Monday, December 5, 2016

26 Cards from CardsOne

I had to stop in at the Dollar Tree in town on Saturday. Needed some Scotch tape. They had their droppers chock full of cards.  Random packs.  Basketball.  Football.  The other football.  Cartoons.

And baseball.  I grabbed a pack.  No peeking.  Just the first one.  The packaging says 30 cards.  I got 26.
Kenny was in a penny sleeve, so I guess it makes up for it.  I don't remember the Zenith Edition.  I've seen them.  I've got some of them.  But I don't remember them.  They came out the year after my son was born.  At the end of next week he'll be finished with his undergraduate studies in college.  A semester off to do some substitute teaching and then he'll be starting his Masters studies.
More shiny.  More scratches.  No clue what this is.  Well, I can read, but I wasn't aware of it when it came out.  I do like the textured sidebars so you can hold it securely and it won't drop and scratch.  Little Timmy didn't use them.
Stadium Club Chrome?  When I bought Stadium Club cards I was just happy that they were using Kodak film and paper.
More Chrome.  It is like going to a Rod Run in Pigeon Forge.
Glossy, but no chrome.  Donruss had a Club?
I wasn't expecting Gypsy Queen.  Is the modern Queen the poor man's modern Ginter?
Finally.  Some cards I can relate to.  A trio of Topps greenbacks.  1982 variety.  Mark Clear has a fantastic mustache.
Garry is looking a bit too deep into the upper deck.
Tom, I've got nothing.
Still stuck in the '80s, we have an '86 Fleer
The Pete Rose Years.  Card #2.  A nice crease, too.
A mis-cut '81 Topps.  This Romo's back is fine.  Pants are too tight, but the backs' fine.
Some manufactured vintage.  The circle insert makes Cameron look like he's wearing a corset.
And to round it out, one of the many mini boxed sets. This one is from Ames.  The chain went out of business in 2002.
No, I'm not going to show the rest of the cards from the pack.  Standard junk wax.  We've all see them.  I'm not going to clutter up this blog with crap.  Well, junk wax crap, at least.  Look.  I only post about once a month.  This might be the last one for the year.  You don't want to look at 1988 Donruss.  Do you?  I didn't think so.

So, who puts these packs together? does.  They've got some cool stuff at their site.

This item caught my eye and I immediately wondered if Night Owl had it.  Or had heard of it.

They have some cool Olympic cards and items.  They even have a whole category that dayf would like.