Archive for the Rookie Card Upgrade Category

Condition Sensitive: Centered with lower grade, or off-center and higher grade?

Posted in Misc., Rookie Card Upgrade with tags , , , , , on January 5, 2017 by Cardboard Icons


I love vintage cards, and loving old cards often means you have to decide how bad of a condition you are willing to accept in order to add one of the prized pieces to your collection. Because let’s face it, good condition vintage usually means spending good money.

When dealing with mid to lower grade cards — those that usually fit into most collectors budgets — there are lots of factors to consider. What types of “damage” to a card are you willing to tolerate: Creases? Writing? Bent corners? Torn corners? Layered corners? Minor paper loss? Glue or gum Stains? And so forth.

Each collector has different things they’ll tolerate. For a long time my one and one standing rule was: I must be able to see the players face.  I broke this rule once when I obtained my first 1948 Bowman Stan Musial rookie. The card had surface damage on Musial’s face, making it pretty hard to display without giving it the stink eye.  I eventually moved that Musial and upgraded to a much more presentable copy.

This game of upgrading or changing a card for a different version of the same card is one that some collectors partake in quite a bit. I do it infrequently, but I’m always looking to better the collection, whether it be by adding a missing piece, or growing aesthetically. I’m an opportunist, if you will.

Such was the case recently when I logged into eBay and found a gorgeous looking 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax rookie card. The card was professionally graded by Beckett Vintage Grading and was actually graded lower than the BVG 4 I had sitting in my display case.  I was very much content with the Koufax already in my collection, a card I acquired a decade ago when I shifted gears in terms of my hobby focus. The one draw back for me on the 4 was always the centering. It wasn’t horrible, but it was off.  This is a classic problem with the 1955 sets. The cards are horizontal and the bottom border typically seems to be shorter than the top.


I like sharp corners. I like smooth surfaces. But above all, I really enjoy a centered baseball card. And so when the lesser-grade Koufax popped up on eBay with a Buy It Now that seemed more than reasonable, I decided I had to snag it and at least compare the cards in person. It made really ponder which of the two Koufax rookies would stay and which would hit the market. I don’t need both.


And so I pondered: Do I keep the centered copy with slightly lesser desirable corners, or the one with better corners and worse centering? Obviously the one with better corners and higher grade would probably sell for more on the open market.


I posed the question to Twitter followers without specifying which card. A total of 84 people made a selection in the poll and the results weren’t completely skewed, but the majority did say they prefer centered vintage with softer corners over off-center cards with better corners.

The poll results definitely leaned in the direction I feel, and after comparing the two cards in person — even in their respective BVG cases — I do feel that the lesser grade with better centering is best for me at this point. I mean, when I walk past my wall-mounted display case, a centered Koufax pops out at me more than one that is slightly off-center.

What are your thoughts on condition when it comes to vintage cards? What defects are you willing to tolerate? What damages take precedent when you go about purchasing a vintage card for your collection?

 

 

 

Rookie Card Upgrade: 1960 Topps Willie McCovey 

Posted in Rookie Card Upgrade, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 15, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

I’m a big fan of Willie McCovey but I’ve never really been a huge fan of his 1960 Topps rookie card. Reason? It’s ugly.  The rendition of McCovey isn’t exactly flattering. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: McCovey looks like a deer on this card.

I digress. Being the rookie card collector that I am I had to own one. Hell, everyone should own one. The copy I decided on was raw and ultimately graded a 3.5.  It’s one of the best-looking 3.5’s I’d ever owned.  photo 76246699-8271-409C-B4BB-D5DA0E628931_zpsb2w1qcwh.jpg

Lately I’ve been doing a bunch of upgrading and recently posted my new Carl Yastrzemski. When I put that Yaz in my rookie display case next to the McCovey, it got me thinking about upgrading the Giants’ HOF rookie card.

And so I did. In relatively cheap fashion. in fact, it was maybe $20 more that what I had paid for the first McCovey.

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Rookie Card Upgrade: 1909-11 t206 Nap Lajoie

Posted in Rookie Card Upgrade with tags , , , , , on March 10, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

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One of the first authentic t206 cards I ever purchased was a Piedmont back portrait post of Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie. This was in 2009, I think. The card was in a PSA case and then I cracked it and had it merely authenticated (my request) by Beckett Grading Services, Vintage.  It sat in my display case for years but I always wanted to upgrade it.  And so I did.

Presenting a better looking, tougher back, different pose and old-school BVG with subs: a Polar Bear back Lajoie with bat! photo 5BAC6BF1-17AC-4342-A5D1-23AF10BBC9E8_zpsq2q0qn7h.jpg

Rookie Card Upgrade: 1909-11 t206 Christy Mathewson

Posted in Rookie Card Upgrade with tags , , , , on March 2, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

So, as you are probably aware no cards produced before 1933 are technically classified as rookie cards.  That said, I have sort of adopted the t206 set as my go-to for many of the early stars of the game, such as Christy Mathewson. 

I purchased this ratty Mathewson in 2007.  It may have actually been my very first t206 card. 
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It served as a place holder in my collection until one day I could fond a suitable upgrade. Well, I found it.

Welcome to the collection my new Mathewson, graded a 3 (with subs!) by BVG.
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As for the older Mathewson, it already has a new home waiting for it. Hopefully the new owner enjoys it as much as I did. 

Rookie Card Upgrade: 1965 Topps Joe Morgan

Posted in Rookie Card Upgrade, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 26, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

The latest in a series of recent upgrades.

The raw copy that I used as a place holder:
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New BVG slabbed copy:
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1965 Topps is a classic set, but fonding nicely centered copies of key cards from the set is a problem, which was partially why I jumped on this slabbed Morgan when I did.

With all the recent added slabs to my collection it might be time for me to invest in a second display case.

Rookie Card Upgrade: 1972 Topps Carlton Fisk / Cecil Cooper 

Posted in Rookie Card Upgrade, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 25, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

Since my last post was a Red Sox rookie upgrade, I may was well follow it up with another. 

Carlton Fisk had one of the most memorable home runs in baseball history while with Boston. Here is the raw copy of his 1972 Topps rookie card, which is also the rookie card of another solid player, Cecil Cooper. Like many of the raw vintage rookies in my collection they were a bit soft.
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For the price of two retail blasters I managed to acquire a gorgeous copy of this card, one that I can now proudly display with my other HOF rookie cards.
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Rookie Card Upgrade: 1960 Topps Carl Yastrzemski

Posted in Rookie Card Upgrade, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 23, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

There’s something about Carl Yastrzemski that had always been appealing to me.  Maybe it’s the fact that he’s a legend. Maybe it’s because he played for my favorite team. Maybe it’s because I learned at an early age how to spell his last name and pronounce it. 

Whatever the reason, the 1960 Topps Yastrzemski rookie card has always been high on my want list.  As about a decade ago I acquire a raw copy that I later had slabbed and shown here. 
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I was happy with what I owned … Until recently when I started doing some upgrading of rookie cards. The Yaz in its 3.5 condition wasn’t bad …it just could be a whole lot better.  The corners were soft, the edges were too.  But this example always had decent centering which made it appealing.

Fast forward to about 10 days ago.  I acquired a 1965 Topps Mickey Mantle card from a seller on eBay who also had a nice BVG 7 Yaz rookie in his inventory.  

So we negotiated a bit and I struck a deal for this gorgeous Yaz. The card an obvious ink defect on the bottom border but centering is nice and the corners are fairly sharp.  And after selling the 3.5 Yaz to one of my Twitter followers, the cost of the upgrade was palatable. 
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One of the aspects of the Yaz rookie that I love is that he is listed as a second baseman.