Archive for the Commentary Category

2020 Topps Rookie Logo ManuRelics have won me over

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , on February 13, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

I’m really not a huge fan of Manufactured relics. Hell, I don’t think anyone is. But the 2020 blaster-exclusive Rookie Logo medallions have won me over.

I enjoy the simplicity of the card; it’s not some wacky design with a chunky piece of metal or rubber. It’s essentially a reprint of a rookie card with the small Rookie Card Logo embedded within and honestly I’m kicking around the idea of working on this set.

I’m drawn to them like no other ManuRelic I’ve seen in the past; maybe it’s my affinity to rookies. Rookie card reprints have been used as ManuRelics in the past — I believe Topps did them as silk patches in 2013 (I did NOT like them) — but the 2020 cards really are gorgeous, even more so when you hold them.

I enjoy the matte finish and the fact that even though the card is thick and has a piece of metal in it, it’s weight is not grossly imbalanced. And while the stock is thick, it resembles something I’d expect to see on a high-dollar release.

We know why ManuRelics exist — it’s an incentive to make people buy blasters; to help consumers feel as if they’ve received something special. And for the first time in a while — maybe even ever — I do feel that way with these.

If you’ve got any you’re looking to unload I’m interested. I’ll be seeking the regular versions of everyone on the checklist; and then variations of the Clayton a Kershaw and Roger Clemens cards from the set.

Don’t be a dick to Dollar Tree if they don’t sell you packs for a penny

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on February 7, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

It’s been said on Twitter that Dollar Tree has been selling NFL trading cards this week for a penny per pack.

Some folks have walked out with dozens from each store, claiming victory against a hobby that often seems like it prices people out.

Meanwhile others have found such packs and store clerks have refused to sell them.

The latter is what happened to me Friday morning when I located 25 packs at a single store.

My experience went like this:

I walked in, grabbed the packs and went to the register. I asked them to check the price because they had been discontinued across the county. They checked, it rang up a penny and then they asked for a manager to check the situation.

At first the manager said they had to throw them away; then she clarified that they actually get sent back to the distributor.

I understood, thanked them and told them to have a good day.

Now, it’d be easy to come off angry and act like they owe it to us to sell the item. We could cause a scene and make threats to force the issue. But I know from working retail that price changes that drop to this price point usually mean that the item is supposed to be returned to the distributor. The process by which retailers signal this is different and with Dollar Tree it appears to be the $0.01 price point. Other places change the price to $0.00.

Bottom line, don’t be a dick to the Dollar Tree clerks or manager if they tell you they can’t sell them. They’re just doing their job and adhering to their company’s protocol. And threats to stop shopping at the discount retailer will ring hollow as they’ll happily tell you to walk out the door with your 50 cents instead of letting you walk out with 50 packs after you invoke the “customer is always right” mantra.

If you do see packs, take them to the register and see if they’ll sell them at the penny per pack. If they do, then you’ve won. But always be cautiously optimistic.

For the uninitiated, packs at Dollar Tree contain five cards, always four base cards and one parallel or exclusive card. There is NO CHANCE at autographs, relics or serial numbered items.

All of the good cards are gone … (Topps Million Card Rip Party)

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , on February 5, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

The funny thing about large publicity events like the Topps Million Card Rip Party is that it often brings about negative feelings for those who aren’t involved.

I’ll say this: I was not involved. I wasn’t there and didn’t buy into a break. I did watch a bit on YouTube but had to turn it off because it was causing me anxiety. It looked like chaos, was loud, and honesty, Flagship Topps isn’t really breaker friendly so it was a lot of quick rip and filler chatter between the hits. As I noted on Twitter, the Rip Party wasn’t for me … and that’s Ok. I hold no negative feelings about it.

But the real purpose of this post today is that there is also the notion that all of the good cards are gone since so much of the stuff was ripped at one time. We saw some very nice cards come from some packs.

It’s true there was a lot of product ripped yesterday. But whether it happened in one place or across the country over the course of a day or two, all of that stuff would have been opened this week anyway. Topps flagship is ripped in mass quantity — and it still will be — and at least we know that the cards actually exist.

If you are on the side that believes all of the good stuff is gone, I offer this alternative point: At least you already know that certain 1 of 1s are off the table. Because a lot of those get pulled and put into personal collections and don’t show up on social media feeds So that can lead to folks questioning if they’re still in the wild.

Flagship Topps is about the base cards — that’s why there is so much produced. The rare hits are really a bonus for those ripping, and the fact that some of them are no longer in packs should not deter you from buying the product if you wanted it in the first place.

Why I chose COMC over eBay/Instagram/Twitter for sales

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , on January 31, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

About a year or so ago I started to see a trend, one that had probably been around for a while, but had somewhat laid latent in my mind. What was the trend? Card sales via Twitter and other social media platforms.

It was intriguing when I started to notice them. Folks were posting stacks of cards for sale, often one at a time, with some combined shipping component. It seemed like a good idea, but then I saw more and more of them. And over the course of a week or so that seemed to be all that was popping up on my Twitter feed.

It was annoying. I muted and in some cases unfollowed some folks.

But deep inside I wondered if I could do something similar. I had (and still have) thousands upon thousands of cards sitting around and at the time I was thinking that it’d be great if I could turn some of these cards into some dimes, quarters or even dollar bills — all of that eventually adds up. However, I was stuck on one fact: A stream of card sales on a social media platform was annoying as hell and I did not want to be a hypocrite since I’d been vocal in regards to the annoyance I felt with this stream of posts. So my remedy was to create various pages on my own blog and open a Virtual Card Shop where folks could shop through the photos of stuff I had message me.

Again, great idea. But, this is akin to setting up a table of singles for sale in the middle of the forest where there is no one around — it’s not like this blog is a daily read for people. So I spent about a day screwing around with that idea before realizing that was a ton of work and the time invested hoping to make a few bucks really didn’t make sense.

Of course eBay is always an option for sale, but I had such a negative experience with the site over the last year that I’d grown to trust almost no one when it comes to selling cards. Seriously, if you’re engaging in nefarious activity such as making false claims, forcing returns on volatile commodities such as sports cards, or otherwise adding to the negativity you really need to rethink your place in this hobby.

And so for me, I have decided to return to submitting items to COMC, the consignment site that has gained popularity over the last decade. The processing fees on the site have increased over the last decade — and for some collectors the upfront cost can be prohibitive. But the site remains the easiest and safest way to move inventory you no longer want in your presence. It doesn’t make sense for all cards, and sometimes you will lose on cards you send — especially if the value of the cards is too low so do your research — but it can be a very effective way to cull funds from sales and then purchase something else.

A quick synopsis of COMC:

-Most items cost 30 cents each for processing, which includes scanning the card and placing it into your account.

-Once uploaded, YOU select the price you want to charge for your card. In some cases COMC is an exercise in sellers undercutting each other and buyers getting great deals — so you do need to pay attention.

-COMC takes a small cut of the sale (5%) and then 10% if you decide to cash out — remove your money from the site and have it sent to your paypal or via check. But if you’re selling with intent to buy something else with your money, just let the funds accumulate because COMC is really a buyer’s market.

There are other sites to sell items — I know folks have used SportLots with great success — but that also requires being ultra organized and still storing those cards in your space. Part of my goal of CardPurge2020 is to get unwanted items OUT OF MY SPACE, or at least keep that to a minimum.

That said, some have a lot of success selling via social media, and if you are, then good for you. By no means am I advocating that you stop. But for me personally, that’s not my method of choice.

That’s not to say I won’t occasionally offer items for sale or trade, but I won’t be running streams of sales, and my view of them has soften as the number of posts are no longer as overwhelming as they were for a brief stint in 2019.

CardPurge2020 is underway; what this means for Cardboard Icons

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , on January 31, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

It was bound to happen. I kind of toyed with purging things a bit last year, and to some extent I had. But with the calendar turning and it being the proverbial fresh start that we all seem to see for ourselves, this seemed like the right time to get serious about the effort.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been doing some serious scouring of my collection and packaging things up for COMC (see My Port here). If you follow me on Twitter, then you’ve seen sprinkles of this here and there over the last month, and specially this week when I packaged up almost four full 550-Count boxes of relics and autos, items I once enjoyed and can no longer claim to be the case.

So, what exactly does CardPurge2020 mean for me and my future in the hobby?

It means a renewed effort to stay on track with the personal collection, which includes cataloging it and maintaining it in a way that I can actually enjoy.

It means continued efforts to document my Clayton Kershaw and Roger Clemens collections by logging them and taking pictures of the cards to share via Instagram.

It means an overhaul of my Rookie Card Collection, which I’ve sort of neglected in recent years. Who do I have, who do I not have? I’m not even sure sometimes.

It means further examination of the Hall of Fame autographs and relic cards that I own. Do I need both of each player to go along with the rookie card, or can I choose one. Do I really need any of them aside from the rookie/tobacco-era card?

It means starting a small collection of players that I enjoy/enjoyed. I’ve already started to keep all of my Mike Trouts, but I am seriously considering adding binders for Madison Bumgarner — another pitcher I’ve enjoyed over the last decade and have actually watched pitch in person a bunch — as well as a binder for Golden State Warriors cards that my son and I can enjoy whenever we watch a game.

It also means actually starting a player collection of Carney Lansford, the former Oakland A’s third baseman who grew up in my hometown, where he has a baseball field bearing his name.

And hopefully it also means a return to my Thrift Treasures series, which if you ask me as been the signature of this blog as I am not a news generator or aggregator, and am not the guy who will give you full-on box breaks or reviews. That time has come and gone for me.

Here’s what the CardPurge2020 does not mean:

It does not mean that I am giving things away.

It does not mean that I am selling items for next to nothing — even if I do take a loss on items.

It does not mean that I giving up on hobby that I have enjoyed since 1987.

So, why am I selling anyway?

The genesis of this CardPurge2020 is not unlike the Great Card Purge of 2010 — yes, a decade ago I was here saying some of these same things — where I offloaded a massive part of my collection and ultimately used the proceeds to purchase a 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle rookie, a card once thought to be unattainable.

This time, however, the end game is not necessarily a singular card. While the 1952 Topps Eddie Mathews high number rookie card is THE top card I still need for the Hall of Fame segment of my rookie collection, my real purpose is to find peace.

Over the last decade I’ve gone through so many highs and lows in life and in this hobby that I really need to hit the reset button and remind myself that this is a hobby. I’ve lost touch with that. I’ve let the card world consume my life. It’s overrun my household, has a firm grip on finances, and really does weigh me down at times.

I’m also hoping that through this process I can find my hobby identity again. I miss writing. I miss sharing the stories and memories that I’ve written here for the better half of a decade. Did you know I started this blog in 2009? It’s true, but it’s hard to tell since my writing has been somewhat intermittent in recent years.

The one thing I’d like to start chronicling is the involvement my son has in this hobby. He’s opened packs with me from time to time since he was about 2 years old. However, he has a collection of his own, and if you ask me, it’s quite impressive for a kid who has not even turned 10 yet.

Anyway, if you’re reading this part of the post, I appreciate you sticking around. Every year I sit down sometime in January to write something like this, sometimes with bold promises to write more. And then I do for a while and then fizzle out because life is busy with two kids, a somewhat long-distance relationship that is serious, and long work days. But writing makes me happy; and happiness is something I need in a large dose when it comes to this hobby.

Thanks,

Ben, aka. Cardboard Icons.

Ever had a “I don’t want to look” moment after selling a card?

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on November 19, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

At the end of the last NBA season I lucked my way into a stash of Prizm NBA at a local 7-Eleven at dirt cheap prices and the prize of the pull was a Pink Pulsar Luka Doncic /42.

About a month and a half ago I decided to sell the card for what seemed like a good price. There was some legitimate fear on my end that the Luka hype train had peaked and prices would come down as Zion and a new crop of rookies entered the league.

I got a fair price, and the sale came at a good time as I used the money for a vacation and more.

Fast forward six weeks and I am now legitimately afraid to see how much these cards are selling for eBay as Zion is out with an injury injured and Luka is tearing up the league with triple doubles almost every night. Have you ever sold a card and then a short while later found yourself afraid to see what the current market looked like for said card?

This is the second time for me in recent years. I sold my 2009 Bowman Chrome Mike Trout for what I thought was also the peak and it’s now tripled in price.

Kiddo has an epic Walgreens Update hanger

Posted in Box / Pack Break, Collecting With Kids, Commentary, Misc. with tags , , , , , , on November 16, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: My son had an epic pull last night.

For the second time in as many weeks, my son added a big pull to his fledgling collection and this time it’s one that has big upside.

Late Friday afternoon we made a run to the LCS because it was the only time we had available this week. My boy wanted to buy something and he purchased a blaster of NBA Hoops, which contained all of the good rookies except THE top rookie. For the record he was happy and he loves this year’s design.

After his purchase, I told him I wanted to check the Walgreens around the corner to see if they had the 2019 Topps Update Hanger packs with the exclusive yellow parallels. So we went in and they had three. I told him I’d buy all three and he could choose one for his collection. My treat.

Of the three hangers, one had a massive dent in the side. The cards looked safe inside but it was the type of damage that would likely turn some folks away. Of course my boy grabbed that one from the stack. I warned him about the damage but told him the cards were probably fine. He didn’t care. He wanted that one.

As we walked to the register I explained to him what we were hoping to pull (Vlad Jr or other top rookies) and told him how the yellows were exclusive to this chain of stores and on the grand scale they were much rarer than most of the other parallels.

We got to the car and I showed him how to open the hanger from the bottom of the box. He ripped the box, and opened the inner plastic wrap on his own. He could instantly see there was something thick (a relic) inside the pack so I instantly knew he was going to be happy with his decision.

He thumbed through the first 30 cards with typical reception (a few good rookie debuts, big name all stars) and got to the inserts and found a Vlad Jr. 1984 design — already a winner — and then uncovered a Max Muncy ASG relic. As he picked up the relic to read the back, the next card was revealed.

It was a damn Vlad Guerrero yellow, a parallel of his real rookie card!

I let out an expletive because I knew this was at least a $100 Card, easily my son’s most expensive card. His next card was no slouch – it was a Mike Trout yellow, which is probably another $10-$20 card.

I was shocked, he was stunned and could not stop smiling. We then darted back around the corner to the card shop to pick up a magnetic holder for his new addition.

I’m happy for my son. Way happier for him, than I would be for myself if I pulled it. Because I am at the point in my collecting career where I want my kids to have these wins, because it’s an experience they’ll never forget. Myself? I’m a jaded veteran collecting curmudgeon who has had nice pulls and at this point an somewhat jaded by dollar signs. Each nice pull is fuel to continue down the rabbit hole.

The Vlad pull comes on the heels of my boy beating the odds Last week when he pulled his first 1/1 (a DJ LeMahieu ASG printing plate) from a Topps Chrome Update Mega Box. (Here).