Archive for the Collcting Clemens Category

**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.

 

 

Everyone remember’s their first …

Posted in Collcting Clemens with tags , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

If you started collecting cards before the late 1990s, there is a good chance you remember the first autograph or relic card you obtained featuring a player you really liked.

Certified autographs started hitting the hobby in the early 1990s and really became more prevalent in the middle of the decade with a slew of Donruss releases featuring not only the major stars, but also a bunch of others. Of course these came on the heels of the Upper Deck releases featuring Reggie Jackson, Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan, Hank Aaron, Nolan Ryan and Ted Williams.

But there was a time when as a teenager I would have given anything to own a certified autograph card of my favorite player, Roger Clemens.

In 1995, Upper Deck ran a promotion in which you could get an autograph of the Rocket by sending in 36 empty packs and they’d mail one back to you. I was 15 at the time and it took be a little while to accumulate the required number of packs. When I met the quota, I mailed the wrappers off in a PWE. I couldn’t wait to get my first Clemens autograph. As fate would have it, no such card would arrive for me. My envelope with all of the wrappers was returned and the outside of the envelope stamped with something along the lines of “Promotion Expired.” What I think really happened is they had run out of autographs.

And so for three more years I went without owning a Clemens auto. There were releases in 1996 and 1997 Donruss brands, but they were too expensive for me. But in 1998, I would get my very first.

At the time I was a member of the America Online message boards and at the time I was a heavy buyer of football products. Hell, I had just gotten my first job at Target and a lot of my income was being out toward cards of all brands. In a Donruss pack I received a redemption card for some NFL Europe guy. I mailed it off and several months passed and nothing came back — remember, we didn’t understand how long redemption cards would take at the time.

While checking the message boards one night I came upon a thread in which folks were complaining about redemption cards, and I got a message from a guy who supposedly worked for Donruss, Leaf, Playoff (DLP) at the time. The guy asked what sport, team or players I liked. Of course I shot for the moon and said “Roger Clemens.”

About a week passed and lo and behold in my mailbox I received a small padded envelope sent from some place in Texas. Inside was a 1998 Donruss Signature Millennium Marks SAMPLE card signed by The Rocket, who was a member of the Toronto Blue Jays at the time.

The mailday blew my mind and I decided that this Clemens autograph card would never leave my collection as I figured it must be way rarer than the regular Millennium Mark card, which was numbered to 1,000 copies.

Flashforward to today and it is still here in all it’s glory, only it is now one of about 50 Clemens signatures I own. Also among the signed cards is the traditional 1998 Donruss Millennium Mark card numbered 0398 on the back.

While the signature cards still mesmerize me, it should be noted that I also remember my first Clemens relic. The first piece of Clemens game-worn memorabilia came to me in 2000 via eBay. Relic cards were still relatively new at the time, and I had owned a few, but never had I owned one of anyone I actually cared about.

I recall paying about $45 for this 2000 Upper Deck Legends relic, and when it arrived it did not disappoint, save for it’s condition. I immediately removed the card from the case in which it was shipped and placed my finger on the swatch. I remember what a big deal that was for me given that I had been following Clemens since I was about 8 years old. And then I looked closer at the card and realized it was creased.

I wondered: Why would someone crease such a card. And then the notion of card thickness in relation to base cards and it dawned on me the seller had likely searched the packs in a box that contained this card,

Nonetheless, crease or not, the card was not going to leave my collection. And like the autographs, this is now one of several I own — I’m over 100 Clemens relics at the moment.

The love and hate of Topps Moments and Milestones for player collectors

Posted in Collcting Clemens with tags , , , , , on January 25, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Over the last month or so I’ve spent a good amount of time locating all of my Roger Clemens cards, sorting them, cataloging them on Trading Card Database, and then placing them in my binders.

The process has been tedious but fun. When I started this process I had an estimated 1,400 unique Clemens cards, which feels like good amount, but by the time I had most of the base, parallels and insert cards entered into My Collection on the site, I was sitting just under 10% of his entire run, which is like an artificial threshold that I felt like I wanted surpass sooner rather than later.

While I paged through the site and tallied what I had it became inherently obvious that a good chunk of the Clemens cards cataloged on the site were from 2007 and 2008 Topps Moments and Milestones, and from 1999 and 2000 Topps Tek.

Topps Tek has a certain following — and sometimes those base cards especially the early ones — can be tough to locate and quite pricey when they are found. While I intend to obtain some or all of those at some point, the Topps Moments and Milestones cards I felt might be a good place to mark off a good chunk of my checklist for relatively cheap.

For the record, I hate this set. I hated it when it was released, I hated it when I used to run into them while checking bargain boxes, and I hated it when I started this cataloging process. The only love I have felt is when I acquired 75 of the damn cards recently and started checking them off my checklist. My completion percentage seemingly rose by more than half a percentage point.

The reason I disliked the Topps release so much was because I felt like the company took the idea it implemented in 1999 with the Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire Home Run Record Cards and bastardized that cool idea over the next few years with Barry Bonds HR cards in 2002, and then those Mickey Mantle and Alex Rodriguez Home Run cards in subsequent years. And then in 2007 (and 2008) the company went all in on this idea of creating one card per any given stat hoping that player collectors would flock toward them.

I’ll merely speak for myself here, but I HATED the idea. So I stayed away. Hell, in the 12 years since the initial release I had managed to obtain just one card from the 2007 set — and it was a printing plate that I scored for under $20 like five years ago.

I’m sure there are people who loved the product, or others who feel like I do. But this one was just not for me. That said, I am looking for more Clemens cards from this set. If anyone has them available, I am seeking the base /150 and looking to pay about a quarter per card on the ones. I’d also trade for them as long as you’re not expecting Mike Trout or any hot players in return. I hate that I am soliciting for the cards, but this is the life of a player collector. I mean I don’t HAVE to have them … but I kind of do, if you know what I mean.