Archive for the Collecting Kershaw Category

Love-Hate relationship with Topps Tek

Posted in Collecting Kershaw with tags , , , on April 6, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

The late 1990s were a fun time in our hobby. That was when we saw a lot on innovation. We had already transitioned away from Cardboard baseball cards to other materials, and among them was acetate — a plastic that had been around for years but not in an abundant way.

Topps Tek was initially released in 1998 and at the time wasn’t exactly a product I targeted. I had put player collecting on hold and was targeting rookies at the time. But still I appreciated the different vibe the plastic cards and variations brought. Was it a bit of a gimmick? Yeah. But it was more than just gold or silver parallels.

A few years Topps revamped the line and brought it back. And while the company upped its game in terms of design and technology, it failed to label these cards in a proper fashion.

The first sets in the 1990s at least identified the cards as Pattern 1, Pattern 2, etc. but the latest versions don’t say anything.

This week I received three new Kershaw Topps Tek cards for my collection including the Pyroteknics insert serial numbered /99.

The base cards, however, are deceiving. While opening the package I was disappointed as I thought both Kershaw base were the same — both have same pattern and color. Alas they are different. One is plain and the other is some sort of parallel. It’d be really helpful if they were labeled.

For the record, I have no love for Bowman Tek and am glad they shelves that product for 2019.

I’m a CARD collector but this Topps ART is amazing

Posted in Collecting Kershaw with tags , , , , , , on March 29, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

When Topps released the image of the Clayton Kershaw Topps Living Set artwork there were some mixed reactions.

Personally I loved the rendition by artist Mayumi Seto.

It’s a tight-crop of Kershaw’s face, his beard slightly hidden behind his right shoulder, which prominently displays the Dodger’s 60th anniversary patch. It’s a different view of the pitching legend and maybe that’s why I liked it. Being a Kershaw collector I’ve grown used to the full body shots showing his face contorted in some weird way as he’s about to release the ball.

I bought five of the Topps Living Set cards and figured I’d snag a print when it was produced. And the print was released just a few weeks ago so I ordered one.

The print arrived today and I was not disappointed when I removed it from the packaging. This 10×14 print comes on textured paper and are hand numbered, mine 73/87.

The prints are highly recommended for any player or team collector who enjoys the image used on the Living Set cafd. I almost wish I had ordered additional copies, or considered the 1/1.

31 of my favorite Clayton Kershaw cards for his 31st birthday

Posted in Collecting Kershaw with tags , , , , , on March 19, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw turns 31 today. Here are 31 of my favorite cards from my collection to celebrate his birthday.

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.

Flagship, Heritage are done — time to ease off the gas pedal

Posted in Collecting Kershaw, Commentary with tags , , , , on March 6, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I’ve been trying to take a different approach to my hobby lately. In years past I’d spend days on end ripping and collecting whatever was in front of me. But over the last six to eight months I’ve turned much of my collecting attention to my player collections.

The beginning of the new card year usually brings all those crazy ripping feelings back. The desire to constantly buy and rip everything in sight. I ripped a fairly minimal amount of Topps Flagship and managed to build the base set, and over the last week I’ve opened a few blasters of Topps Heritage and have managed through a few trades to pretty much wrap up the base set of that , sans about 70 SPs for which I have ZERO desire to pay top dollar — wake me when they get to about $1 each as I am in no rush to complete the sets.

And with my son entering the hobby I’ve turned a bit to a little basketball — as you may have seen in recent video breaks I posted on YouTube and wrote briefly about here. I will do my best to not venture into the higher-end market.

But when it comes to baseball, I don’t see a whole lot that will grab my interest until Stadium Club hits in a few months. And this is a good thing for me and my bank account.

That’s not to say I won’t sample other products between then and now, but it means I likely won’t be buying hobby boxes or blasters of every product. I won’t be building the Donruss set, but I’ll be chasing the Kershaw parallels on the secondary market, where I can get exactly what I want and hopefully for less than I would spend if I were buying packs.

Speaking of the secondary market, my first wave of Kershaw Topps Heritage cards started to arrive this week from various purchases on eBay. Arriving this week were the French version, the mini version serial numbered /100, the black border NLCS Kershaw card (limited to 50 copies) and the almighty Heritage Chrome Black Refractor /70, which has always been one of my favorite parallels each season.

And lastly, speaking of parallels, I lost out on an auction today that really made me shake my head. Earlier today an auction ended for the “Silver Metal” version of the 2018 Topps Heritage Kershaw card and it went for way more than I expected. To be fair, it was the first of its kind on eBay so folks chasing the master set of Heritage were likely in on this one. But I decided I was out of the hunt with about three minutes left in the auction after my max bid was eclipsed. Why? Because I was not thrilled with the price of the card in relation to the quality.

Late last week I managed to pull the Chris Sale version of the “Metal” card and I’ll be honest — the card is disgusting. It’s not metal. Hell, it’s not even Chrome. It’s foilboard technology for most of the card with the player being covered only in gloss. It’s a let down considering they fall 1 in every 800-plus packs and they feel like a bastardized version of the retail exclusive “chrome” foilboard from recent releases. And because I have the Sale, I knew I didn’t feel comfortable paying more for the “Metal” than I did for the aforementioned Black Refractor. Others may not feel the same way when it comes to player collections, but sometimes I consider quality of the product in addition to rarity when figuring out what I am comfortable paying.

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.

Rookie Card parallel featuring rookie jersey serial number … sorta

Posted in Collecting Kershaw with tags , , , , , , on March 1, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

When it comes to Clayton Kershaw, there is one jersey number he will forever be remembered for wearing … and it’s 22.

But truth be told, he not only has worn 22. He has worn 54 for the Dodgers during his rookie season, and he has worn 46 and 75 as documented on various 2006-2008 Topps products.

The other day while checking for newly listed Kershaw cards on eBay I came across a tough rookie-year parallel, a 2008 Stadium Club Blue Photographer’s Proof parallel of Kershaw’s TSC rookie card. The card is serial numbered 75/99 … the 75 is significant because that is the jersey number Kershaw is wearing on his 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter and Topps Update rookie cards, among others.

For what it’s worth, I had only seen one other of this parallel card on eBay in recent history and it is still priced way more than I wanted to pay. But when this one popped up at a lower Buy It Now price and with a Best Offer option, I shot over an offer and within 20 minutes had negotiated a purchase price for about half of what the original BIN was. The card arrived earlier this week.

Regardless of the serial number, I decided the card was going to me mine. But the fact that this card had a serial number with some “importance” makes it a bit sweeter.

Player collectors have different methods for their madness. They sometimes only collect base cards, or chase the hits. And when it comes to serial numbered cards they sometimes can be very specific about THE one they need to own. I’m not entirely biased in that way, but I will often shop for a serial number that is appealing, and will pay a slight premium for cards featuring the serial number matching the player’s jersey number. In the case of this Stadium Club rookie parallel, I admit it’s a bit of a stretch, but it is a nice bonus to own this tougher find with a serial number matching the jersey number Kershaw is wearing on one of his significant rookie cards — it’s just too bad he’s not shown on this specific card wearing that number. Then again, if that were the case, I might have been able to get this card at the price I was able to negotiate.