Collecting Clemens: A collector package from South Korea

A few weeks ago, a person who recently came into my network of collectors put out on Twitter that he was looking for a Roger Clemens collector, so I raised my hand.

This collector is currently living and working in South Korea and said he had a bunch of Clemens stickers from the 1990s that he was looking to unload. The cost? Nothing. I offered to send something in exchange but he insisted, so I thanked him and sent him a mailing address.

That package arrived this week and from the moment the package was opened, it hit me right in the feels. The first item I saw in this package was the back of a 1988 Fleer Sticker, a set that is near and dear to my heart. In 1988, I only knew of ONE place that had these stickers, a 7-Eleven near my grandfather’s house and we only visited him once in a blue moon. So at best I may have opened three or four packs in my youth,

Sure, I’ve since acquired that Clemens sticker but every time I lay eyes on the black and white color back of these stickers I am transported to 1988 and a vision of seeing a box of these smashed — literally– under some toys near the register.

The 1988 Fleer sticker was just one item in this package that evoked feelings of nostalgia. Damn near everything in here reminded me of my early collecting days, when I often found myself debating whether or not to buy cards or stickers, after all, I treated them the same — they all got shoved into boxes or in those stiff, poor quality binder pages that used to crack and flake every time I flipped through my three-ring, O-Ring binder.

Here’s everything that was inside the package. And before I forget to say it, thank you, Dan, aka Korean Cardboard. (Edit: And thanks to Andrew for the assist, sorry I forgot to name you earlier.)

We’ll start with a 1987 Fleer Sticker. I never saw these during my youth, except when they were being sold at card shows.

The 1988 Panini sticker set is also one that hits home with me. These stickers and the album were given away when we signed up for Little League during that year. I would also buy packages of these whenever my mom took us grocery shopping. The Clemens is a classic to me for obvious reasons.

By 1991, I had pretty much moved away from the Panini sticker albums. But I still found myself buying packages of them from time to time just to vary the items that were coming into my collection. These stickers are pretty boring if you ask me — they’s skinnier and the design is bland. But, the did have stats right on the sicker, and not just printed in the album.

Know what’s funny? I never even saw Panini stickers in 1994 or 1996 in stores, yet here they are now in my hands. I have to say, I kind of dig the green borders and the larger stickers from 1994; the 1996 feels very 1996 — small and lazy.

I bought a TON of 1988 and 1989 Topps sticker back packs, these are the ones that felt like the UK Mini cards but had stickers affixed to the back. This package contained a bunch of these, as well as some O-Pee Chee versions. I’m happy to see these beauties again.

As for Topps stickers, I didn’t get down with those as much as the Panini ones, so these are a nice addition to the collection. Here are a some 1987s, including a dual-sticker and a foil All-Star.

All in all, this was a fun package to receive from over seas. Thanks again, Dan.

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