Archive for the Collcting Clemens Category

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.**

Some will win, but many more will lose

Posted in Collcting Clemens with tags , , , , , , , on February 2, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Yesterday I wrote about my latest 2019 Topps purchase which consisted of a retail blaster that set me back $19.99. While the contents weren’t bad, the shame I felt gave me such a feeling of guilt that I managed to channel those emotions into something positive: I rearranged my home, in particular my office/card area. While the space is “still under construction,” it’s shaping up to me a much more sufficient and welcoming area. I’ll show off pictures later.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is two fold. The first is to show off a new Roger Clemens cards that arrived yesterday, and secondly discuss the nature of the Clemens card itself and relate it to those feelings I had yesterday.

In the mail yesterday was a 2018 Topps Dynasty Roger Clemens signed patch card serial numbered 1/5. I have a thing for Clemens patch cards, especially those featuring Boston Red Sox colors. The newer Clemens goes well with the 2017 version I purchased last year, which is serial numbered to 10 copies. And those two pair nicely with my 2016 Dynasty Clemens which features a gorgeous swatch from the Astros team name and is numbered also /10.

And now here comes the serious business …

While I sometimes scold myself for buying retail Blasters, I thank my God that I am not buying higher-end products at the same clip, or even at all. Take this Dynasty product for example. These Dynasty products are priced at $389.99 on Blowout Cards — or $374.99 with the current sale — for one card … ONE. And with few exceptions, namely Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and a hand full of other guys, these products are grossly misrepresented by players whose secondary market value are often less than a quarter of the purchase price. And yes, Roger Clemens is one of those guys. I feel fortunate that my favorite player doesn’t have a major following any more … otherwise I would not have been able to acquire these three Dynasty cards over the years for a collective price that is still less than the cost of a single Dynasty pack.

I know that these so-called “one-hitter quitter” packs really cater to the Breaking culture, and in some ways a lot of us player collectors benefit when they look to sell off their unwanted hits to cut their losses. But looking at things from a bigger picture perspective, these one-hit/one-card products are damaging to collectors and their pocket books if they are buying them as unsealed products — and I know there some who actually do. Thankfully, I’m not one of them.

Oddball items can be fun; glove tags are a favorite

Posted in Collcting Clemens with tags , , , , , , , on January 29, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I love baseball gloves.  I remember when I was in Little League and sometime in February we would start looking for a new glove for the season. I went to the store – usually Big 5 Sporting Goods – and marvel at the wall of leather.  There were gloves for people of all ages, price ranges, qualities, etc.

I always wanted a player model with a MLBer’s name or signature stamped in the palm. My two friends – who were brothers – had matching Rawlings Frank White gloves and I thought they were the coolest thing.  Sadly, these player issues were never in the price range my family could afford. We usually ended up with some off brand like Regent. But hey, it did the job.

But even though the player models were never really in the cards for me, this didn’t dissuade me from dreaming, from grabbing the models off the rack and putting them on my hand.  There were two gloves I always wanted: a Rawlings Mark McGwire first baseman’s glove, and a Wilson Roger Clemens model.  The McGwire was cool because I thought first basemen gloves were so detailed; and of course McGwire’s signature looked amazing.  The Clemens was a little more subtle, but it was Clemens and it also had a version of his signature stamped on the glove.

What made these player models even neater were the tags that came on them.  Being a card collector, anything that slightly resembled a trading card was instantly appealing to me. Like the gloves, I had not acquired one of the tags that came with it – at least not until earlier this month.

I was doing a search on eBay for Roger Clemens items and an oddball lot popped up and one item within the lot caught my eye.  It was a mint hang tag for Clemens model Zett brand glove, which I believe he wore circa 1993/1994. Being the Clemens mark that I am, I knew that he wore Wilson and Cooper brands at various times early in his career. And there was like one season where that off “Zett” brand was visible on his wrist. Sure, this tag was no the one I recall seeing in the store when I was looking player model gloves, but the notion of owning it and running through this series of memories was too strong for me to pass.  I mashed the Buy It Now button and the package of the odd ball items arrived over the weekend.

I wasn’t quite sure when I was going to write about this – or if I ever would – but recently one folks I interact with on Twitter (@ShaneKatz73) has been showing off some odd ball items in his collection, so this seemed like a fun thing to piggy back on.

I’m sure at some point I will go out of my way to own a Clemens glove, even if just the store model.  But this bright yellow Zett hang tag will suffice for now.