FOMO almost got me today — Damn you and your clearance 2018 Topps products

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , on August 26, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

After dropping off my kids at school this morning, I stopped for a second to take a deep breath and appreciate the first of my days off. Of course I made the cardinal sin of looking at Twitter during this process.

And there they were, just as they had been all weekend, more goddamn posts about marked-down 2018 Topps products showing up in Wal-Mart. People were posting multiple hanger boxes and value packs showing the Clearance sticker, and others posting images of the cards they pulled while chasing Ronald Acuna Jr super short print variations in 2018 Topps Series 2; and while busting all 2018 Topps Update in sight hunting for Ronald Acuna Jr rookie cards that have been in big demand recently with the youngster chasing the 40-homer, 40-steal milestone.

Now, the marked-down products have been seen at Wal-Mart stores across the country. And for me, the actual number of Wal-Mart locations in my area that actually carry cards has been reduced to ONE. Just one … and it’s like 12 miles from where I live. So if the proximity of said Wal-Mart was closer, my ass would likely be at the store looking for these products too, so I can’t say I’m being super strong here. But fact is I fought off the urge to make the drive — even if I had a friend with whom I was texting urging me to go.

But this is the world we live in.

We are GREATLY influenced by what we see on social media. We buy more stuff that we need; we shop more frequently even if it’s “just to see”; we are all looking to be that next guy who achieves hobby greatness by pulling a monster card “from a blaster at (insert store name here).”

Of course no one talks about the amount of time, the amount of gas, the amount of money spent on blasters, packs or whatever that don’t have cards that make us feel great about our purchase, or make us hobby legends — even if just for a day or so — in the eyes of our social media peers. And the cycle continues regardless of our results. We’ve created a card culture with real FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and a lot of it is generated on social media. We’ve created a chase for items that are not always rare. This is why so many of us often find an excuse to go to Target, Wal-Mart of whatever retail store sells cards. Three months ago we chased Bowman; two months ago it was Bowman Mega Boxes; and over the last month it’s been Topps Chrome and Allen & Ginter, and now these damn discounted 2018 Topps products.

I am guilty.

I buy stuff sometimes because I see others busting the products; I buy stuff because the hunt brings a short-term adrenaline rush. I am fucking guilty because I LOVE pulling something shiny and signed that makes others also want to own the card.

I am goddamn complicit in this cycle … and I am sorry.

I go through times of strengths and weakness in this hobby. I am not sure in what category I should place today’s feelings and actions. But it does feel good to write it out, instead of checking out with another stack of product I do not care about.

This is NOT to say I will not buy cards anymore. I truly do love them. But I am tired of allowing my FOMO take control of my thoughts and actions, especially when I have so much else to do.

Thanks for reading.

Collecting Kershaw: We have a trade! My nephew and I have struck a deal!

Posted in Collecting Kershaw, Misc. with tags , , , , , , on August 19, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

National Baseball Card Day has come and gone. Both of my kids and my nephew have ripped their packs and between them have amassed some four Clayton Kershaw cards for 2019 NBCD.

Me?

Nope. Not I. None for the guy who actually collects Kershaw. Well, that is until now.

My nephew — a Giants fan — had a pair of them. I asked if he would trade one and he agreed. (Side note, I checked with his parents first and they were OK with it — I already told them I was going to purposely overpay in trade for the Kershaw.)

So I dug through my boxes and grabbed a handful of Giants. And when it came down to it, I offered him 12 cards for his one.

In exchange for his Kershaw Card, I sent him cards of Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Juan Marichal, Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence, Bruce Bochy, and Will Clark, whose shirt my nephew wore to school today.

If you’re counting,that’s just 11 names. Who was the 12Th? I actually offered him a Clayton Kershaw Card in the trade — so he could have another one. And in true Giants fashion, he handed it back and said he didn’t need another one.

Absolute comedy.

I sent a message to his parents letting them know a deal had been consummated. His mom (my sister) replied: “All of that for ONE? … You really wanted it.”

I told her that I could buy these Kershaws all day for like a quarter each, but I wanted to see his smile. Also, trading cards with my nephew is absolutely priceless.

The unexpected: Tatis Jr. auto pulled from NBCD Week 2 packs

Posted in Collecting With Kids, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on August 19, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

If you follow me on Twitter then you’ve probably already seen a tweet about this. But seeing as how this blog is sort of doubles as my collecting diary, I shall document it here as well.

This weekend marked the second half of The National Baseball Card Day promotion from Topps, and as such card shops across the country were giving out packs (if there were any left over) and a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. promo card to customers who made purchases.

I had the kids last weekend, and because of my work schedule and the co-parenting schedule I have with my ex, my kids were with their mother this weekend.

I was able to take the kids to South Bay Sports Cards (Sunnyvale, Calif) on Aug. 10 for the first day of the promotion, which I wrote about last week. And this week I asked her to take the kids, which she agreed to do — hey we’re on good terms, and she knows my kids are into collecting.

The kids made their purchase and got some free Topps NBCD packs and the Vlad Card given away this week. The shop gave the kids two packs each, and unbeknownst to me, they also gave them packs to give to me as well.

I got the kiddos back from their mom on Sunday evening and after getting them, my son told me they had two unopened NBCD packs for me, which damn near brought a tear to my eye. I was totally surprised.

He showed me what he and his sister got in their packs — including a Clayton Kershaw I still don’t have — and then I opened mine, hoping to nail the aforementioned Kershaw card for my collection.

Well, no Kershaw for me, but something crazy happened — I hit an auto of one of the top rookies this year, Fernando Tatis Jr.!

Absolute insanity.

This is the second time in four years that my family has pulled an autograph from NBCD packs, and as you probably know, that’s not a simple task. In 2016 my daughter hit a Greg Bird while wearing her fancy dress, a moment that aided in my family being in an advertorial from Blowout Cards discussing the excitement about National Baseball Card Day.

While I was excited and surprised to have pulled an auto from the packs, I wish my son was the one who pulled the card seeing as how he has taken a liking to this hobby. But he was excited for me, for us, nonetheless. Rest assured that the Tatis Card, serial numbered 110/150 is off the market — the card goes into the Forever Collection, which consists of rare/good cards pulled by my kids or by me while creating hobby memories with them, and other things I’ve pulled and decided to never part with.

The most annoying question in our hobby: How much is this card worth?

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , on August 17, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Raise your hand if your seen this before:

Guy buys into a break or opens a box of cards. Hits something they know is desirable. Then … they hit social media with some variation of the following:

“I just got this badboy. Anyone know how much it’s worth?”

It happens all day, every day, and with more frequency as folks blindly buy into breaks just hoping to pull the next winning lottery ticket. And as such, when someone hits a big card, their immediate thought isn’t that it’s a good addition to their collection. The question is, how much can I sell it for?!

I understand that the current state of our hobby has an emphasis on ripping and flipping, but it’s complete nonsense to see time and time again the question about how much a card will fetch on the secondary market. I seriously question how many collectors there are compared to the number of enthusiasts who are just here playing the shell game, constantly looking to move one big hit for another chance at hobby greatness, ultimately finding themselves on the short end of the stick because nothing will smooth that itch.

Additionally, anyone who is currently in the hobby knows they can find the value of their card, or get a fairly reasonable idea, by going straight to eBay and checking for themselves. The only reason you’re really asking the question on social media is because you’re looking to show off your card. And that’s OK.

So next time you feel the need to ask “How much is this sick hit worth?” first ask yourself why you’re posting that question when it can be answered fairly easily on your own. If you want people to know you pulled the card, don’t pussyfoot around it. Just show the damn thing off.

Collecting in 2019 summed up in one photo

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , on August 16, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I saw an interesting Tweet yesterday from SGC Grading, which is often thought of as the third-in-line grading company behind PSA and Beckett.

The company account (@sgcgrading) posted the following image:

Does this image not pretty much represent our hobby in 2019?

Love him or hate him, Gary Vee (Gary V, Gary Vaynerchuk, etc.) has absolutely made a splash in our hobby this year and he parlayed his Internet celeb status into a hobby influencer who has proclaimed that sports cards are a great investment. And his social media pull has led him to be featured not only on his own 2019 Topps Allen & Ginter Card, but also a Topps Series 2 insert set bearing his name, and a full-blown special set produced by Topps.

Among the things he has touted in recent months has been SGC Grading, which with his endorsement and the scandals around grading involving PSA and BGS has made somewhat of a resurgence among collectors.

SGC has always had great-looking cases, but let’s not fool ourselves, this company has not had the support of the modern hobbyists. Vintage collectors know-well how underrated SGC has been, but most collectors before the grading scandal and even now, would prefer to send their cards to PSA or Beckett. It’ll be interesting to see if the word of Gary, coupled with the scandal and a rebranded logo, will elevate the hobby status of Sportscard Guaranty.

Personally, I like SGC for vintage — that black inlay is gorgeous — but for MY collection I’m still a BGS guy because I like the uniformity, I’ve been grading with BGS since 1998. That said, I’ve not submitted a card for grading for my personal collection in almost two years.

Thrift Treasures 118: Hobby time capsule for $9.99

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , on August 15, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Few things bring me as much joy as finding discarded hobby gems at the thrift store for less than the price of a handful of modern packs.

It’s easy to get sucked into paying $3, $4, or $5 for a pack of cards at retail hoping to pull something that makes you feel like a hobby winner. And we all know that the agony of defeat happens much more than any sort of victory. So when we can find items that make us smile — even if some portion of the hobby doesn’t get it — it’s really a priceless experience.

Such was the case Wednesday when I stopped at a local Goodwill before dropping off two packages at the post office. It’s been a while since I’d found cards at thrift stores, so imagine the joy I felt when I found a two-row shoebox that showed some promise … and for only $9.99.

True, 75% of this box had what was obviously 1989 Donruss. But that stack of cards in Card Savers II held so much promise. I wasn’t expecting the world, but cards stored in semi-rigids can be gold hiding in plain sight.

I looked all around the store hoping to find more boxes but there were none. The box was priced some five days earlier so odds are someone beat me to the punch for others.

Nonetheless, this box was mine and as it turned out, the box wound up being a hobby time capsule for one of the most exciting times in our hobby, 1990-1992.

The mention of those years will turn people away, thinking it’s just junk wax era. Hell, after I posted a picture of the wrapped box, one Twitter follower said he wouldn’t even risk the purchase unless there were relics inside.

Insert facepalm emoji here …

I digress. I ripped open the cellophane, grabbed a handful of Card Savers IIs and almost immediately found an absolute masterpiece of our hobby, the 1991 Elite Series Jose Canseco, serial numbered to just 10,000 copies.

The Canseco isn’t rare by today’s standards. But in 1991 trying to pull any Elite Series insert was literally like trying to find a needle in a haystack — they were legitimately like 1:10 cases. In their hay day the cards were selling for several hundred dollars; today the Canseco is still a $30-$50 card on occasion, and even more of graded well.

The Canseco would prove to be the pinnacle of this box in terms of current monetary re-sell value, but there was so much good stuff in here.

This image here is basically a summary of collecting from 1990-1992:

You’ve got the Canseco Elite, the awesome and tough-pulls in the Pinnacle “Team Pinnacle”, the 1990 Upper Deck Ben McDonald error card, the 1991 Upper Deck “Baseball Heroes” Nolan Ryan Header Card, the 1990 Score Bo Jackson baseball/football card and the 1990 Score Rookie/Traded Eric Lindros.

The McDonald is actually a neat card I’d never owned. He was a top rookie that year and his basic UD rookie card had the “Rookie” logo. But in early batches of UD, there were a bunch of errors, including the McDonald rookie showing the Orioles logo. it’s still a $10-$20 card in today’s market.

Speaking of errors, there were also these other tough (for the time) 1990 UD screwups:

Jeff Innis and Scott Garrelts cards show wrong player photos on front; the Team checklist and Jamie Weston cards have him listed as Jamie instead of Mickey Weston, and the Nolan Ryan is the banner variation. Errors and variations were a big deal at the time … and some of the younger collectors don’t understand how difficult it was tracking them down at the time.

In addition to the errors and inserts, there were some big rookies in here too. And while it’s not 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. or 1990 Leaf Frank Thomas big, we’re talking some stuff that had considerable hobby weight at a time in the not so distant past … and they all look like they’ve been in these Card Savers for nearly three decades.

And there was a fair amount of hobby stars, including a very nice 1972 Topps Joe Morgan.

In terms of today’s hobby “worth” these cards wouldn’t fetch a ton at eBay or at any show. But for a guy who cut his teeth in this hobby during this era, to basically locate a rookie collectors collection from the era, and to nail down some highly desirable errors and tough insert pulls, especially the Canseco Elite Series, is absolutely priceless. I know I’ve said it before, but this was truly a time capsule, and frankly better than most massive collections that some people are still hoarding in their basements.

Oh, and the 1989 Donruss? As I suspected there was no Griffey. But the sight of these brought back the memory of a hot summer in which I walked 40 minutes to Thrifty’s to buy cello packs of the product.

Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $9.99

You can seen more Thrift Treasures posts here

Kershaw’s zipper gets “fixed” for Topps Chrome

Posted in Collecting Kershaw, Misc. with tags , , , , on August 14, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I was tooling around COMC late lastnight looking for new cards to add to my collection when a 2019 Topps Chrome Clayton Kershaw base card popped up.

I knew I needed one for my collection so I clicked on the card. And immediately I could see something looked off.

It’s the zipper!

I have like 12 versions of the base Topps card and upon release I pointed out that Kershaw’s fly was down in the card image, just as it was on the original photo taken on Opening Dy 2018. It looks like Topps fixed the whole crotch region on Kershaw for the Chrome release.