Archive for the Misc. Category

So I was thinking … A recommendation for Beckett Magazines

Posted in Commentary, Misc. with tags , , , , , , on May 8, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

A few weeks ago I picked up a copy of the newest Beckett Baseball. Don’t ask why. I just like to have a new copy in my hand every few months. I really only buy it once or twice a year.

Anyway, I was just flipping through the magazine as I normally would and it dawned on me that Beckett is missing an opportunity.

Hear me out.

A few years ago Beckett stopped publishing in its monthly magazine any set released before 1980. The move was done to keep a more modern presence and to reduce the size, and maybe the cost, of the monthly magazine. I get it.

So here’s my idea. Why don’t we trim out all this nonsense like the 3-inch listing of 1990 Fleer and just list key cards going all the way back to t206? I mean seriously. Not to pick on Ozzie Smith or Robin Yount, but we don’t need to know that those cards are listed at 15 to 40 cents in the book.

What’d be more valuable is seeing key rookie cards and even other major HOFers from vintage sets from t206 to 1980; and then list other key rookies and some inserts from 1980 to current. Don’t you all think it’s a bit asinine that a person returning to the hobby can’t buy a copy of the monthly magazine and see what year or how much a rookie card of Mantle, Mays or Aaron is, but can go find damn near every 1990 card of George Brett or Greg Maddux?

And this is not a forum for you to blast the magazine. I know — hell, we all know it’s not as valuable to the hobby as it used to be — rather this post is a suggestion to improve the product, and maybe help find a way for it to be useful in today’s market.

No Return/refund policy on eBay doesn’t mean what you think

Posted in Misc. on April 30, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I’m sure I am not breaking ground here with this, but for me this is a first time. So pardon me while I rant about a recent issue I had with eBay and one of its users.

I’ve been a member of the eBay community for more than two decades. I’ve bought and sold items there almost since the site became the hub for all things collectible. The site has changed over the years, as have the practices of its users. And sadly, in our hobby of trading cards where the market for our goods is super volatile, buyers have created an environment where they almost always hold all the cards — pun intended.

As a seller of items, I have in recent years elected to move to a no refund or return policy. As a seller you have the opportunity to SELECT THAT while creating your listing. Additionally, I always spell this out in the description of my listings. And until recently, this had not been a problem.

This story begins several months ago when I posted for sale two Mookie Betts cards. They were a Bowman Chrome Purple Refractor and Topps Update Red Foil. I posted the items for sale around the same time the Red Sox won the World Series — I opted to sell these items in hopes of recouping some of the cost for my tickets to World Series Game 5. The items were posted and eight pictures were added to the listing. The photos showed that the Bowman Chrome Purple Refractor was damaged, and the listing also indicated this. I had three people “buy” the item with a Best Offer option, but none of them paid so I had to relist the items. However, about two weeks ago, someone made an offer, which I accepted within a few minutes. And just minutes after my accepting of the offer, the buyer paid. This was refreshing, given the nonsense I’d dealt with a few times already

But things wouldn’t go so smooth. In fact, about five minutes later I got a message from the buyer. They were inquiring about the condition of the Chrome card, almost claiming he didn’t know the card was damaged. I pointed out that the photos were included and the description stated the cards were damaged; I told him that the cards would go out ASAP.

I sent the cards with signature confirmation, half expecting there to be some sort of nefarious activity to come. The same day the cards were delivered, I received a message from the buyer. He wanted a partial refund to the tune of 25% of the total cost, citing that the cards were damaged and they were not worth what he paid for them.

I refused and instead offered 10% even though this goes against my SELECTED EBAY OPTION TO NOT ACCEPT RETURNS OR OFFER REFUNDS. The buyer shot back asking to meet him at 17.5%. I refused and held at 10%. That’s when this escalated because the buyer also didn’t want to budge.

The buyer decided to request a refund through proper eBay channels, citing that the item was not as described and in the process taking a picture of the damage to the Chrome card. His photo didn’t show as much damage as my photo in the listing did. We also went back and forth on the record about value, my belief that he was feeling “Buyer’s Remorse” and so on. This process locked up my PayPal account and put me as a seller in a precarious position.

Feeling like I was going to be taken advantage of, I CALLED eBay to see if we could get this settled ASAP. You know where this is going based on the title of my post here.

The first eBay representative told me that she understands that it is frustrating, and told me that I should accept the return, and eBay could/would step in if I’d like but I had to wait three days for the claim to escalate. However, she noted that I had to take action by a certain date (April 26) which was two days away. I wrestled with the idea and told her that I’d surly be calling back Friday (April 26) to have eBay step in and vindicate me as a seller seeing as how my posting showed the defects, and I had SELECTED THE NO REFUND/RETURN policy.

A day went by and I started thinking about the wording shown in the Refund Request and what the first representative said. It stated that I needed to take action BY April 26. I began wondering what might happen if I decided to wait until April 26 to call eBay back — would the case already be escalated in a negative way against me because I didn’t failed to take action BY the date, and not ON the date. So I decided to call.

I got a second representative on the phone and explained my position. This representative confirmed that I needed to take action BY the date listed above. Furthermore, this representative advised that I SHOULD accept the refund and that I could dispute it further if the item returned to me was not the same as I sold, or had been altered in anyway. We then went around and around about Buyer’s Remorse and what not. But I became fixated on this fact: I SELECTED THE OPTION AS A SELLER TO NOT ACCEPT REFUNDS/RETURNS?

“So, in a way, the option (to disallow returns/refunds) is pointless and I’m being forced to accept the return/refund anyway, right?” I asked of the representative.

She was hesitant to reply, but agreed with my assessment. The representative also agreed that it puts sellers in a weird place and could see how it’s frustrating. She also explained what would happen if I did not Take Action by the date as described. She added that not taking action would force eBay to step in and force the return, refund the money and could ultimately impact my ability to buy and sell on the site.

I laughed, explained that policy is ridiculous from a seller standpoint, but ultimately thanked her for her time in explaining things to me — we were on the phone for some 20 minutes. I understand that she was just doing her job, and my issue was not with her, but with the policy, as well as with the buyer.

After the conversation I shot another message over to the buyer adding that I was accepting the refund in protest because my hands were tied; I wanted all of that on the record should this need to be drawn out further.

There was no additional communication. And Monday afternoon, I received a package from the buyer. It was the two cards exactly as I had sent them.

Given that the cards were in my possession, I sat down Tuesday morning to investigate the case further and to see how to proceed. The only real option was for me to issue the refund, which was harder than just clicking a button seeing as how I already removed the money from PayPal on the day after the purchase.

There are some who would have said that I should have just accepted the return in the first place, or just given the buyer the 17.5% refund they were seeking after negotiation. And that opinion is valid — if I had, I would at least have most of the money that had been sent to me.

But I was taking a stand because I felt I was right. Because the sports card market is volatile and returns/refunds should not be accepted in our market. Also, I felt I had not only shown the cards accurately, but also felt that as a seller I had SELECTED THE OPTION OF NO RETURN/REFUND and by choosing that option, as well as stating it in the description, those words should mean something.

As it turns out, those words mean very little.

On the flip side, I can also see how frustrating this could be as a buyer. However, I also know it is my duty to ask questions before hand, and to accurately read descriptions before hitting a “Buy It Now” button, or even making an offer. There was ZERO urgency in this case for the buyer to pay for the item without doing their homework.

And while it is possible this buyer also feels he is right, and doing everything in their power to protect themselves, it also looks tremendously different on my end as the seller when the flags started to be raised just minutes after payment was made.

If you haven’t noticed, I have not shared this buyer’s name, even though at least a dozen of you have asked via Twitter for me to do so. It’s never been my style to run people’s names/accounts through the mud publicly over interactions like this. This could be one crappy scenario for both of us and and may not be indicative of their dealings going forward. For what it’s worth, I have a 100% rating with nearly 2,900 feedbacks, the buyer has less than 200 transactions.

Small 2019 Bowman break and some thoughts

Posted in Box / Pack Break, Misc. with tags , , , on April 30, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

There was a time when I would anticipate the release of Bowman as the true beginning of MY card collecting year. At the time I didn’t value Topps flagship the way many other do. I was all about the rookie cards and what better place than to start the card year than with the self-proclaimed “Home of the Rookie Card.”

But times and collecting habits have changed. And really our hobby has changed as well as finding Bowman on retail shelves “in the wild” has become akin to a Hot Wheel collector seeking the elusive Treasure Hunts.

I shop at Target a lot. Not just for cards, but for pretty much everything I need. So every time I go in I take a look at what’s new. And while I no longer hunter Bowman the way I had say in 2010, I am still keeping an eye out for a blaster or two just to try my luck.

Well, the stuff is gone. Period. I’ve not seen a single blaster, and up until yesterday I had not even seen a “Value pack,” one of the 19-card types for $5.99. All I had seen to that point was an occasional loose pack from a gravity feeder.

Feeling as if I had found some sort of gold by simply locating two Value Packs, I decided to buy them, as well as a single loose pack. I’ll tell you, that $3.99 price tag on Bowman retail is mighty ugly.

If there is one thing I have learned from Bowman in recent years its that unless your card has ink on it or is shiny and bears a low serial number, odds are the secondary market doesn’t care a whole lot. And while as a collector that market shouldn’t matter, it still creeps into MY head when I am shelling out a few bucks — in this case $3.99 for 12 Bowman cards — and it does make think more before pulling the trigger on any said purchase.

Anyway, Bowman is what it is — the lottery ticket of the baseball genre of card collecting. It’s not what it was in the 1990s; it’s really about the Chromes embedded within the backs, and the variations thereof.

I won’t tell you how to collect or spend your money; hell, evenm I get a little wrapped up in this gamble. Which is why I bought the two Value Packs and the loose pack, the results of which I shall share below.

The loose pack had a nice Green Refractor /99 inside of a top prospect Nico Hoerner, who has had Bowman Cards before. It’s a nice hit for 1:141 packs, even cooler since this is a local guy for me. Sadly, this card does bear some scratches on the surface. Ugh.

The first Value Pack sort of picks up where the loose pack left off. Does the name on that Refractor look familiar? Yeah, it’s Nico Hoerner again, this time /499. Surface isn’t bad, but I’d have to balk if someone asked me the age-old Chrome speculator question: “Will it gem?”

The last Value Pack had the biggest name in out hobby right now — aside from Mike Trout — on a good-looking prospect insert. Vlad Guerrero Jr. is THE guy to chase/own/sell and this is a good looking card that would probably net me a whole $1 at auction. I’ll just toss it in the small stack of other Vlad’s I have sitting around.

I definitely beat the odds with the few packs that I found, but unless I find a blaster in the wild, I probably won’t be buying much more of this. (I did buy five Bowman loose packs but haven;t written about them — nothing big in those either — and no Clayton Kershaw cards either.) I have no intention on paying full hobby box prices, or paying $3.99 for a loose pack at this point. This isn’t MY scope of collecting any more.

Cardboard Icons as special guest on Podcast “About The Cards”

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , on April 29, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I had the pleasure yesterday of linking up with the guys from podcast “About The Cards,” who asked me to be the subject of their most recent “Collector Spotlight” episode.

We chatted about my history as a collector, the past and current focuses of of my collection, this blog, my history with thrift shopping — including the story of the Earl Weaver game-used Jersey, my time as a Beckett Columnist, a bit about former editor Chris Olds, and more.

Absolutely flattered to have been asked to be their guest. If you’re interested in viewing it, it’s on YouTube as well as on iTunes as a podcast.

Thanks again to Tim, Ben and Steph for having me on. It was a lot of fun.

Here’s a picture of my kids watching it later.

Cardboard Icons Invitational, 2019 Prizes

Posted in Misc. on April 23, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

This year I decided to do something different when it came to fantasy baseball. I decided to host my own league and bring along some of my Twitter followers.

In lieu of having some cash prize, I proposed to the other owners that we all find a card ranging from $10-$15 (or more at your discretion). The following are the prizes that are up for grabs. The payout for the league will be as follows:

First Place: Pick Eight cards.

Second Place: Pick Four of the remaining six cards from prize pool.

Third Place: Receives the last two cards from the prize pool.

The 2019 Prize Pool consists of:

2014 Topps Mike Trout Gatorade Bath Variation
2012 Topps Chrome Refractor Mike Trout
2018 Bowman Green Border Mike Trout
2018 Topps Variation Mike Trout
1909-1911 T206 Sweet Caporal Bill Hallman
2015 Topps Heritage Box Topper Punchboard Relic Christian Yelich 16/25
1989 Fleer Gary Sheffield Rookie PSA Gem Mint 10
2010 Leaf Sports Icons Cut Auto Bobby Doerr
1985 Topps Roger Clemens Rookie Card PSA 8
2017 Bowman Chrome Prospects Blue Refractors Taylor Clarke 048/150
2005 UD Dignature Series Decades Autograph Dale Murphy
2013 Topps Update ALL-Star Sitches Mariano Rivera jersey card
1966 Topps Willie Mays
2016 Panini Immaculate Logo Kelby Tomlinson 4/5

Kershaw 2018 NLCS Game 5 First Pitch game-used ball added to collection

Posted in Collecting Kershaw, Game-Used Items, Misc. with tags , , , , , on April 19, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

When it comes to sports collectibles, baseball cards will always be my first love.

But in today’s collectibles climate, MLB authenticated game-used baseballs just might be the new hot girlfriend who may be a better partner than the first wife.

And this week, that new girlfriend arrived looking finer than any of the girls that came before.

This week the mailman came through with a massive mailday that contained a purchase I made last week. The contents? THE baseball that Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw used to start Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.

Kershaw is my dude. My guy. My favorite active player. And last year I was lucky enough to witness in person an almost improbable collision of worlds when Kershaw faced off against my favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, in Game 5 of the World Series.

True, the outcome was not what Kershaw would have wanted. But that did mean that the Sox did clinch a world title in Dodger Stadium while I was present.

But the road for the Dodgers to get there that night was something that I, as a Kershaw fan and collector, would not forget. And his start in Game 5 of the NLCS, during which the southpaw would strike out 9 Milwaukee Brewers over 7 innings en route to his 9th career post season victory (and the last to date), was something that Dodger fans absolutely needed to see from their ace.

The performance in the NLCS helped set LA up for a second straight World Series appearance, and was one that eventually would lead to the aforementioned dream scenario of me seeing my favorite player gave off against my favorite team with all the marbles in the line

I’m not going to kid myself. This newly acquired baseball isn’t the dream ball I’m still chasing. I absolutely NEED to acquire a Kershaw-thrown ball from Game 5 of the World Series. But this NLCS Ball is something I could not pass up when I noticed it up for sale recently.

There had been two other Kershaw-related NLCS balls posted on eBay for sale. One was actually the second ball used during Game 5 against the Brewers and the other was used during the at-bat in which Kershaw walked during a plate appearance against Brandon Wooddruff.

But the ball I bought trumped all of that as it is THE ball that Kershaw used to warm up, then thrown for the first pitch (a 90 mph fastball) and then a bouncing slider to Milwaukee lead-off hitter Lorenzo Cain.

Opening Day Parallels have arrived – another reminder to stick to singles

Posted in Misc. on April 5, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Topps Opening Day is one of those products each year that seems to get a few of my dollars.

Most of it is the same as Flagship, but the price point makes it such a fun rip that I end up buying too much. This year was a bit different thanks in part to a retail-only mega box red exclusive that I didn’t know existed until I found the boxes at Target few weeks ago. At $15 a pop, I managed to limit myself to three of them even though I’ve have located two full displays.

I digress. I failed to pull any Kershaw parallels from them, but I tracked down the blue foil and red foil on eBay The cost? $10.50 including shipping — for both.

Just another reminder to myself that buying singles may be a better approach when chasing specific cards for my collection.