Archive for the Collcting Clemens Category

Collecting Clemens: A collector package from South Korea

Posted in Collcting Clemens, Mail Day on May 23, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

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.

COMC Mailday: Kershaws and Clemens galore

Posted in Collcting Clemens, Collecting Kershaw, Mail Day with tags , , , , , , , on May 9, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I love being a player collector on COMC. Every day I’ll check the site and pick off cards I want and leave them in my account until I reach 100. At that point I’ll request shipment because when you ask for 100 cards to be delivered, COMC gives you a $5 bonus on the first day of the next month.

So the bonus effectively give me free shipping. And if you’ve ever dealt with COMC as a buyer, you know how Top-notch their packaging and fulfillment is.

Anyway, as usual, I filled by account with mostly Roger Clemens and Clayton Kershaw cards. And while most of it is ho-hum stuff I needed for my player collections, there are some neat pieces that I’ll show off here.

We’ll start with some Clemens stuff, move into some Kershaws, and then round out the post with some non-PC items.

I’m pretty sure I’ve written this somewhere, but when I was a kid I used to love my single 1985 Topps Roger Clemens Rookie Card so much that I actually put it into a Card Saver I and TAPED the holder to the inside pocket of my school binder. That way I could look at it at will, and I always knew where it was at. Fast forward some 30 years and I still fawn over the Clemens Topps Rookie And usually buy them when I find them cheap. This month I grabbed two from COMC when I found them near $2 each. Several others have since popped up but I’ve not bought another. Worth noting that when I place these two on top of each other, it’s clear that one of them was trimmed by some asshat who was hoping to turn it into a monster.

It sucks to see this, but I’m not upset… just part of this cards history, a reminder that people once cared enough about a Clemens to do such a thing.

Hey, Remember when Upper Deck produces upper tier baseball cards? Here are three reminders: A 1998 Amazing Greats DIE-CUT (/250), a 1997 SP SPX Force quad player hologram (/500), and a 2007 Exquisite Rookie Signature’s. Gorgeous stuff.

Here’s a few serial numbered cards, including a 2018 Topps Triple Threads parallel 21/99. Jersey number serial numbers are awesome.

I love the image on the 1991 Topps Roger Clemens Card; I really wish they turned that into a poster or even one of those folders. Anyway? Here are two Gypsy Queen minis from a few years ago, serial numbered /50 and /199. I showed these to my son the other day and he smiled and said he knew where else this picture was used. That made ME smile.

I still buy relic cards if they’re cheap enough or make me feel a certain way. All three of these checked one or both of those boxes.

And I’ll round out the Clemens highlights — like I said I have others that I won’t show here for the sake of tome — with a 1995 Collector’s Choice Gold Signature parallel and a 2004 Topps Chrome Refractor. I don’t have enough Clemens refractors.

***

We’ll kick off the Kershaw portion with a BGS 9 Mint 2006 Bowman Heritage Prospects Card. I love BGS and grabbed this for almost as much as it costs to slab a single card these days. That’s a win.

Speaking of early cards, here are two inexpensive early editions I didn’t already own: 2006 Just and 2008 Tri-Star Projections.

Remember what I saw about Clemens relics above? The same applies for Kershaw. I added 7 new relics to my collection, including these three Panini “National” Silver (I think) Pack patch cards, which I scored collectively for about the price of a blaster. I now own 3 of the 15 produced.

The other relics included a Topps Tribute jumbo size relic, a full size Ginter relic and another 2018 Topps Heritage relic. Also, a 2016 Panini National Treasures dual jumbo relic booklet featuring two plain game-worn swatches. It’s almost blasphemous these large swatches are so bland in a product so expensive, but hey …. I’ll take a booklet of MY guy /15 for under $15.

From real used relics to manufactured relics. Here is a Topps MVP medallion Card, which is a type of card that usually doesn’t move the needle for me because it’s big (as in thick) and relatively unimpressive, except this one was cheap and it bears Kershaw’s serial number on the back.

Lets go from big to little … as in minis. The Diamond Kings is /25, and of course that red border Ginter is /40. Love this stuff even if they are a pain to store sometimes.

Speaking of parallels. Sometimes it’s a pain to chase these things for your player collections. But when they’re all together they sure are cool to look at. Here are a few various parallels.

And serial numbered parallels are also fun. I knocked out a few /10, /25, /50, /100 and so on …

Also picked up a pair of photo variations from recent years. Here are 2013 Topps and 2019 Topps.

And let’s round out this Kershaw section with a pair of high-end Topps cards, 2010 Topps Sterling /250 and 2012 Topps Museum Collection /199.

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And lastly here are six cards that either I needed for a set, were so cheap I couldn’t pass or otherwise spoke to me.

That 2018 Topps On Demand Mike Trout reminded me of a dream I have which is to take a photo that winds up on a real baseball card; and that Todd Helton Playoff Absolute has a laundry tag in it. Couldn’t pass for under $10. The Arrieta Topps Update Rookie BGS 9.5 was a steal for under $2. That’s not a typo.

eTopps Kershaw Rookie Card is a thing of beauty

Posted in Collcting Clemens, Collecting Kershaw, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on March 19, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Way back before Topps started The Living Set, the 150 Years of Baseball set, or any of the other on-demand sets that have been for sale on the company’s site, the company had a thing called eTopps — essentially the precursor to on demand cards.

I’ll admit I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination when it comes to this, due in large part that I really didn’t like the business model for eTopps so I didn’t spend a lot of time learning or dealing with it.

The basic idea was the cards were available for sale on the site for a set price, and were available until sold out or for a limited time. And to my understanding you could keep the cards on the site and trade them like stocks, or you could choose to have them delivered later.

That was way too complicated for me when the company started eTopps in 2001 and by 2008, the year of Kershaw’s rookie cards, I still hadn’t grown to love the idea of paying for single cards directly from the company.

The eTopps model continued for several more years but looks to have stopped just a few years ago, but some of the business model has morphed into what we now know as the on demand market.

The reason this comes to mind today is a recent addition to my collection — the 2008 eTopps Clayton Kershaw Rookie Card, serial numbered to 999 copies and encased in a plastic holder with a holographic sticker to ensure the card has not been removed. The card arrived over the weekend and once in hand it’s easy to see why anyone could have fallen in love with these cards. The question now is whether I leave it in this holder, remove it and put it in something else — due in part to the fact that it looks like the card is upside down based on my preference — or send it to BGS so it can be displayed with my other Kershaw rookies.

As for eTopps cards, This is the third eTopps card that I own, one of which is a Roger Clemens Card designed to look like 1984 Topps — That Card was one of the New were autographed during a special signing session at Topps.

A slice of my childhood just arrived

Posted in Collcting Clemens with tags , , , , , on March 16, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

A few days ago I wrote about a recent purchase I made from the Topps Web site. In that piece I wrote about how I longed for the days of the Topps school folders designed to look like the cards of the year. I wrote about how I own(ed) a 1989 Topps Mark McGwire and a 1990 Topps Dave Stewart.

While writing that piece it dawned on me how cool it would have been to own a Roger Clemens from that era. Heck, I wasn’t even sure if one existed. The best I had in school was a generic folder I decorated with pictures of Roger Clemens action photos and other images I clipped from a magazine. (Fun note: One of the pictures is of Roger with his three kids, all of whom now have their own baseball cards.

I digress, when I finished that piece the other day, I decided to check eBay and lo and behold there was a 1988 Topps folder posted for sale. Three clicks later and the item was mine. The folder arrived today and it came with all the feels I thought it would These measures about 12×9 and have two pockets inside to hold loose pieces of paper.

In 1988 I would have used this for school, then used it during the summer to keep the notebook paper with which i wrote my stats from playing “Baseball” on Nintendo.

I really didn’t want this … but I couldn’t pass it up

Posted in Collcting Clemens, Collecting Kershaw with tags , , , on March 4, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Have you ever found yourself staring at a card of your favorite player knowing you disliked the card, but still found yourself debating whether or not you “had” to own it?

This was the case for me a few weeks ago while doing another of my blind searches. I was stunned to see a 2014 Panini National Treaures Flawless diamond for sale for under $40.

My first reaction was to mash that Buy It Now button, especially since the card was encapsulated as a Gem Mint 9.5 by Beckett Grading. But I balked. Why? Because I own a similar raw gem card of Roger Clemens and for the most part I find these cards underwhelming.

This is my opinion. I know some people love the idea of a real gem stone being embedded in their card. But for the most part this doesn’t strike my collecting fancy. I purchased the Clemens gem card about a year or so ago for under $50 and thought it was a deal since the price of the sealed product is astronomical. When the Clemens arrived I looked at it, shrugged and set it aside with other Clemens cards. Was it nice? Sure, in theory. But the card just seemed bland.

Fast forward to the topic of this post: the 2014 Clayton Kershaw Flawless card.

When the card was posted at $40, I felt I needed to get it because the price was cheaper than Clemens and I felt this was a steal of a price. But as I noted, I balked because I really didn’t feel like dropping that price on it. But, I kept the item in my watch list.

The card failed to sell for several weeks, and the seller continued to drop the card’s price … until it got to a point where I felt The need to own it before someone else would. That price, around $25.

My driving force for the purchase was two fold:

1 – The new price: There is some built-in value in the fact that the card is already graded; also, the fact that this came from a product with a ridiculous price point made it feel like a deal.

2 – Symmetry: I own a Clemens gem card, so in a display case I can now show one gem card for each of the guys I collect.

Collecting is really about personal preference so the way I feel about gem cards might not be the same as you feel. But it is telling when a card depicting one of the game’s best players, limited to 20, containing a diamond, coming from a product that costs several hundred dollars –in a gem mint condition no less — can sell for well under the cost of two retail blasters. And given that context, doesn’t this really make us wonder where all that value is in those expensive Panini briefcases?

By the way, I am not letting Beckett get away without me mentioning how ugly and cheap these slabs feel for these gem cards. There is a ton of extra space inside the grading case, and the quality of plastic feels extra cheap. I’m tempted to crack the slab, but that gold label is the only thing stopping me.

The Name On My back: Authentic Red Sox Clemens Jersey Finds New Home — Mine

Posted in Collcting Clemens with tags , , , on March 3, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

When you’re a kid, certain things seem to be magnified — you’re attention to detail of your favorite baseball card; the batting stance or pitching motion of your favorite player; the details of the uniform of your favorite team, etc.

This pretty much describes much of my fandom when it came to Roger Clemens. I’m now a man pushing 40 years old, but I remember all of those things. The 1991 Topps Clemens card is my favorite, I can still mimic Clemens’ delivery, and his gray road jersey — the one with his name stitched onto a name plate — is one I always wanted.

As a kid I always dreamed of owning a jersey with the name “Clemens” emblazoned on the back, and unlike today, such items weren’t readily available. Yes, they existed, but my family could not afford them, and I really didn’t even know where to find them.

So I did the next best thing … I made my own. I used washable markers and various T-Shirts to create my own “jersey” which I wore while I played ball outside. It’s kind of silly to admit this many years later, but this was what I did to feel like I was closer to the game.

I followed Clemens as a he went from my favorite team to Toronto and through his first stint in New York. Hell, I was there in Oakland on Opening Day 1999 when The Rocket took the mound for the first time as a Yankee — it was bitter sweet seeing him as a Yankee, but it was still special. During that time I still didn’t own a Clemens jersey or even a shirsey.

But in 2004, after Clemens signed in Houston, I was able to afford my own jersey, an authentic stitched jersey purchased via MLB.com. It was expensive, but the jersey was the first one I owned with his name on it — and it was authentic, not a knock-off sold on eBay by a mass seller.

While that jersey was and is still awesome, it didn’t quite scratch the itch from my childhood. I still wanted a Red Sox jersey. In the years since my youth, there have been many real and fake Clemens jerseys for sale, but many of them were the 1986 version that featured just his number, or the home white jersey which also was just a jersey number on back. What I wanted was that gray road jersey with his name on a name plate stitched onto the back. And while I have seen one or two offered for sale in the past, one of them was clearly a newer fake with wrong materials, and the other was not my size … and it sold for crazy money.

But that all changed last week when I found an antiques dealer on eBay based out of Massachusetts who had for sale the jersey of my dreams … and it was in my size. Needless to say I won the jersey at auction — for way less than I expected to pay — and it has since arrived. And let me tell you it is glorious, better than I could have ever imagined. The jersey is authentic, and on top of that, it is an original Russell Athletic Diamond Collection jersey, not a recent knock-off or remake. I cannot express how happy this garment makes me right now.

**Updated** The issue of Not-So-Authentic “Topps Certified Autograph”

Posted in Collcting Clemens, Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

**Updated: see the end **

Late Monday I was doing a search for Roger Clemens items on eBay and came across a newly listed autograph that was portrayed as a 1998 Stadium Club Co-Signers Card with the 7-time CY Young winner and Cardinals pitcher Matt Morris.

I’ve seen the cards before on eBay and COMC, but this particular copy stopped me dead in my tracks — and it wasn’t because of the price tag. It caught my attention because the damn thing looked fake as hell.

The card is actually being sold through consignment site COMC and offered on eBay through the optional service COMC provides its sellers. The card is actually listed on COMC at a slightly lesser price. (I already contacted them about “questionable authenticity.”)

I digress, the signatures on the card do not look authentic to me. Hell, the ink on the cards is just wrong.

Look at these other five different examples of the same card:

What’s scary is the card in question bears the “Topps Certified Issue” Gold Foil seal on the front of the card. And it is that seal alone that really sets that card apart from the numerous “proof” (read: fake) unsigned Co-Signers cards hitting eBay in recent months.

The issue with fakes has become so rampant among collectibles that it really turns folks away because we collectors have to question everything. No longer can we simply accept that a card is what it is.

I know this Clemens card doesn’t look right so I won’t be buying it. And odds are no one else will either. But someone might. And that one sale is all it takes.

The issue of fakes has really hit home lately with the 2011 Topps Update Mike Trout cards — some are legitimate Reprints, where as some are basically prints of high-quality scans. The same can be said for the 2000 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Tom Brady, serial numbered 012/100, or even the basic version really.

Fakes kill collectible markets.

Do not buy them. Do not sell them. Do not create them and call them art, or reprints.

They’re not authentic issues released by a licensed source and were created for one purpose only: To make money on gullible buyers.

Don’t be a victim.

**Update: COMC has removed the Clemens card from active status and it is no longer viewable on COMC or eBay. COMC has said via Twitter it will try to recognize suspicious autos even on “Certified” cards in the future.**