TSC and A&G Chrome?! Did we need this? Who cares, bring them to us!

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , on February 25, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

Topps announced today that during this calendar year we will see two new baseball products on the market, Allen & Ginter Chrome and a new version of Stadium Club Chrome.

Do we need them? No. Did anyone ask for them? Maybe. Will they be awesome and heavily opened? Absolutely.

Allen & Ginter Chrome has been sort of a running joke among some for years, especially those who know that the Ginter brand has kind of run its course and know that Topps has a history of adding Chrome to products to attract the crowd that simply loves flashy stuff. It’s going to be scrutinized as a waste of a product but it’ll have its market. Player and team collectors will enjoy chasing the cards, even more so if the cards are etched like old school Chrome, and not the phony Chrome that Topps been releasing in Bowman products over the last decade.

The Stadium Club Chrome hit me right in the feels since I’m such a nut for Stadium Club. I got a text from a friend advising me this was a thing before I saw it published anywhere and my immediate thought was “Take my money.” That said, we have been here before. Stadium Club Chrome was a thing as a standalone product in 2000. Also during that time we had lots of competing interests, and that product did not include autographs or relics, just Chrome base and refractor parallels, and various inserts. So it was one and done at the time. Of course Topps has brought back Stadium Club Chrome as an insert in recent years and while the secondary market does not suggest those were a hit, they certainly look damn good — especially the refractor versions. The twist to 2020 Stadium Club Chrome seems to be that it’ll be updated with 100 additional cards, likely to incorporate rookies and veterans who did not make it into the base TSC set. I’m a fan of this idea.

These new Chrome versions may not be your cup of tea and you may be inclined to crap all over the effort immediately. Your opinions are yours and they are not wrong. I mean surely they will certainly cost you more money if you’re chasing every version of a certain player or team. But nothing says you have to buy any of this, not immediately or ever. You have a choice.

But isn’t this what we wanted? Didn’t we want more product from which to chose instead of constantly opening Series 1 or 2, or Heritage, or turning to Panini products to scratch an itch halfway through the season?

The time has come yet again for you as a collector to draw a line in the sand and decide what you want. And if that decision does not include these products, that doesn’t mean this was a bad idea. It just means you go about your business and keep doing what you’re doing. Personally I’ll be chasing my PC guys in Ginter Chrome and I may eventually work on a TSC Chrome set — but probably not right away unless of course the price is right.

Valentine’s Day and the cards that allowed boys to show some emotion

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on February 14, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

In the 1980s and 1990s, the World was changing, becoming a more softer, gentler place. However, it was still common to reinforce the notion that boys cannot show any real emotion aside from anger and rage.

You only said “I Love You” to your mom or your girlfriend, and aside from a high five or a punch to the arm, boys were to express no positive emotion toward each other.

At least that’s how I perceived the world when I was entering adolescence.

So when it came to Valentine’s Day in elementary school, we selected the most boy-thing ever:

Sports Valentine’s Day Cards.

The messages were very Bro-tastic; what we deemed to be an acceptable way of telling other boys that “we’re cool,” “we good,” “you’re my boy” — or simply, we are friends and I care about you.

As a card collector from a young age I always kept these cards when I got them because … I was a collector.

Over the years I’ve lost a few, but I still manage to have these two, ones of Michael Jordan (I’ll upload a better image later) and Barry Sanders, and I believe I have a third one somewhere of Ken Griffey Jr., which I could not locate for this post.

Anyway, it is Valentine’s Day, and if these still existed and we were still in school I’d write my name on the back of them and place them in each of your poorly decorated Valentine’s bags at the edge of your desks.

Don’t just invest your efforts and money today in chasing down Optic basketball, get flowers and a card for the person in your life — because THAT is an investment worth making.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.

2020 Topps Rookie Logo ManuRelics have won me over

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , on February 13, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

I’m really not a huge fan of Manufactured relics. Hell, I don’t think anyone is. But the 2020 blaster-exclusive Rookie Logo medallions have won me over.

I enjoy the simplicity of the card; it’s not some wacky design with a chunky piece of metal or rubber. It’s essentially a reprint of a rookie card with the small Rookie Card Logo embedded within and honestly I’m kicking around the idea of working on this set.

I’m drawn to them like no other ManuRelic I’ve seen in the past; maybe it’s my affinity to rookies. Rookie card reprints have been used as ManuRelics in the past — I believe Topps did them as silk patches in 2013 (I did NOT like them) — but the 2020 cards really are gorgeous, even more so when you hold them.

I enjoy the matte finish and the fact that even though the card is thick and has a piece of metal in it, it’s weight is not grossly imbalanced. And while the stock is thick, it resembles something I’d expect to see on a high-dollar release.

We know why ManuRelics exist — it’s an incentive to make people buy blasters; to help consumers feel as if they’ve received something special. And for the first time in a while — maybe even ever — I do feel that way with these.

If you’ve got any you’re looking to unload I’m interested. I’ll be seeking the regular versions of everyone on the checklist; and then variations of the Clayton a Kershaw and Roger Clemens cards from the set.

I had the talk with my boy …

Posted in Dad Life with tags , , , , , , on February 9, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

There comes a time in every man’s life when he sits his boy down to talk about important things in life. That time came last weekend.

I asked him if we could talk, and he looked concerned. He looked nervous and I told him that he’s growing … and so is his collection.

The Birds and Bees talk has already been broached in a age-appropriate way with my 9-year-old, but THE TALK I had with him recently was about choosing a collecting focus.

He had cards on the table and cards on the book case, and cards in sorting boxes, which ultimately are set to make it into binders. It was time for him to think seriously about WHAT he wanted to collect and not just quantity. I told him there was no rush, but I wanted him to start thinking about it. I left it in his hands.

The morning after I mentioned this, he woke up and asked when we could talk — he wanted to discuss some possible focus for his collection.

I told him that he didn’t need to have unbreakable rules for his collection, but he should think about what type of cards excite him, and what players’ or teams’ cards he likes to see.

While his focus is not like that of a laser, he has come to this conclusion: He wants to collect these three players: Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, and Matt Chapman. He likes other players, but he is actively collecting these guys.

Eventually I want to get him to a point where he basically has items that he wants to keep, and others that he is open to moving. And when he has that determination, I hope to help him find some trading partners to move some of his excess for items that he enjoys.

Thrift Treasures 123: I get high with a little help from my … cards (Woodstock relic)

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on February 8, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

Last weekend my son and I went to the local flea market, part of which I documented in the previous edition of Thrift Treasures. While we were on the way there, I was telling him about my past experience at this flea market, specifically with a certain dealer who would often bring cards and sell them relatively cheap.

Among the previous hauls were relic cards for $1, which was a big deal a decade ago. I did not expect to see that dealer again, but there he was, right in a spot where I remembered. I spotted him from half way down the aisle and told my son. We made a b-line for his table.

This seller has aged over the years, and sadly he is now in a wheelchair. But there he was, hawking goods for the benefit of those looking to secure relatively cheap cards.

I scoured his cards and tried to gauge my son’s interest on some of them, but he was not seeing anything HE wanted for his collection. Totally understandable. But I stopped immediately when I thumbed through a stack of cards in Top Loaders and spotted something I hadn’t seen before.

There in the parking lot of this community college in California was a little pile of dirt, but not just any dirt — pieces of EARTH (it even says so on the card!) from Woodstock, New York, location of THE most historic concert of all time.

I may have said an expletive which caused my son to see what I was gawking at. He immediately asked what it was and what the hell that writing was on the front of the card. I explained to him the significance of the concert and told him that while I had opened a TON of 2001 Topps American Pie, I had not seen this card before.

I’ve pulled pieces of Elvis’ leather jacket, a swatch of Janis Joplin’s clothing, the lining of Frank Sinatra’s jacket (I think), and even pieces of the Berlin Wall as seen on the JFK card from that release. But never have I seen this Woodstock card. The price tag said $10, which I was happy to pay.

I continued to look through the stacks and really only stopped on one other card, a 1958 Topps Rival Fence Busters subset card featuring Willie Mays and Duke Snider. The card had three rounded corners and two somewhat pointy ones. Yeah, that’s not a typo: The card had FIVE corners because someone had clipped off one of the corners.

The price tag said $3 and I knew it had to be mine because it was my duty to save this 62-year-old card from the hell it was living among the piles of stuff constantly dragged from one flea market to another.

I took the cards to the seller, who had since fallen asleep in his wheel chair (poor guy), and his mother (yes, his mother) tried to wake him but he was fast asleep. She saw the cards I had in my hand and the price tags on them and said, “Just give me $10.”

I asked twice if he was sure and then thanked her for the deal.

The Mays/Snider card is in rough shape as you can tell, most would continue to walk away if it sat there. But this is an authentic vintage card featuring two Hall of Famers, one of whom is a local legend. While not worth much to anyone else but me, it’s a card I’m more than happy to have sitting around in my stack of vintage Willie Mays cards. And it’s even better that it was essentially a throw in to this sale.

The Woodstock card is really neat. Yes, it’s a small capsule of dirt embedded in the card — and it really doesn’t specify if the dirt came from the farm where the concert was held or if it’s from the center median of an intersection in that city — but the card represents something I didn’t know existed from a product I opened. Additionally, while I was not alive when Woodstock the concert occurred, I once watched a documentary on Woodstock while I was in college and it completely changed my outlook on music.

I was working at my college newspaper at the time as an editor. I would go to classes during the day and then work at the newspaper until midnight five days a week. When I got home one night, I was unwinding watching VH-1 (it was a music channel, folks) and the Woodstock documentary was on. It was like 1 a.m. when it started and I sat there for the entire thing; I had an emotion connection and reaction (I cried during Joe Cocker’s performance) to the show and the music. It’s hard to explain, but that night changed me, so this card will now sit in my PC as a reminder of that night.

Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $10.

You can seen more Thrift Treasures posts here

Don’t be a dick to Dollar Tree if they don’t sell you packs for a penny

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on February 7, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

It’s been said on Twitter that Dollar Tree has been selling NFL trading cards this week for a penny per pack.

Some folks have walked out with dozens from each store, claiming victory against a hobby that often seems like it prices people out.

Meanwhile others have found such packs and store clerks have refused to sell them.

The latter is what happened to me Friday morning when I located 25 packs at a single store.

My experience went like this:

I walked in, grabbed the packs and went to the register. I asked them to check the price because they had been discontinued across the county. They checked, it rang up a penny and then they asked for a manager to check the situation.

At first the manager said they had to throw them away; then she clarified that they actually get sent back to the distributor.

I understood, thanked them and told them to have a good day.

Now, it’d be easy to come off angry and act like they owe it to us to sell the item. We could cause a scene and make threats to force the issue. But I know from working retail that price changes that drop to this price point usually mean that the item is supposed to be returned to the distributor. The process by which retailers signal this is different and with Dollar Tree it appears to be the $0.01 price point. Other places change the price to $0.00.

Bottom line, don’t be a dick to the Dollar Tree clerks or manager if they tell you they can’t sell them. They’re just doing their job and adhering to their company’s protocol. And threats to stop shopping at the discount retailer will ring hollow as they’ll happily tell you to walk out the door with your 50 cents instead of letting you walk out with 50 packs after you invoke the “customer is always right” mantra.

If you do see packs, take them to the register and see if they’ll sell them at the penny per pack. If they do, then you’ve won. But always be cautiously optimistic.

For the uninitiated, packs at Dollar Tree contain five cards, always four base cards and one parallel or exclusive card. There is NO CHANCE at autographs, relics or serial numbered items.

Panini Points ARE Poop … but at least we got this basketball HOF Auto

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , on February 7, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

Last year I ran into a deal of a lifetime when I came up on a stash of 2018-19 a Prizm basketball at a discounted price. The boxes yielded an epic Luka Link Ouksar rookie, a silver Trae Young and a slew of other good stuff.

But one of my favorite memories of that break was when my kids and nephew broke out into a “Points are Poop” chant.

We were set to get an auto or relic in each box, yet in three boxes we wound up with three 150 Point Panini Points cards.

I checked the site and didn’t see anything worth obtaining immediately so I let the points sit. I hadn’t really checked the stock on the site in a while but would up looking about two weeks ago when I logged in to enter a Kevin Durant redemption card that my son pulled from a 2019-20 Donruss blaster.

Among the cards we saw on the points site was that is Golden State Warriors Legend Chris Mullin. The card came from Immaculate, so in my mind there was already some build in value given that the price point for that product is pretty high.

So I snapped up the Mullin, paid the shipping — which is an asinine practice if you ask me — and yesterday the Mullin arrived.

Points are STILL poop, but at least it helped facilitate a deal that brought home a Warriors HOFer.