Archive for baseball cards

Twitter sale is reminder that “value” of cards varies from person to person

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on January 23, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

For about a year I’ve had six 500-count boxes sitting on my card desk. The boxes contained partial baseball and football Topps sets from 1980-1985.

They were partial/starter sets I acquired with the intent to either 1) complete the sets, or 2) sell them to someone who needed them.

Well, they sat … and sat … and sat.

The mere sight of them often sent me into a tailspin as I could not muster the idea of spending an hour to determine what was there so I could post it on eBay with hopes that someone would take them off my hands. The resell value wasn’t nearly as good as I had hoped.

And then yesterday, after dropping off my kids at school, something clicked. Just get them out of the house, and reduce that stress.

So I spent 30 minutes counting the cards that we’re within and then offered the lots for sale on Twitter, which is sometimes hit and miss for sales on items that are not presently hot in our hobby.

For about 10 minutes the post sat. Then a follower of mine hit the DM and said he was interested.

This sale was confirmed and I was happy to hear the cards were going to a good home. What’s even better is the buyer advised they would essentially replace cards he lost in a flood some 30-plus years ago.

The economic value of the starter sets isn’t high — and the buyer understood that. The lots were void of the big star rookies and even the stars. But this also reset the notion of “value” for me a bit.

I had approached this the wrong way. I was looking at “value” based on what I saw on eBay, and the lack of “big payday” actually was hindering my process. Hell, at one point I was even regretting the purchase I made when I acquired these … because in some ways I had placed no value in the cards themselves because they no longer fit my collecting style.

But this transaction is a win-win for Scott (the buyer) and myself. Not only did I get the items out of my house and into a collector’s hands, but it was humbling and served a reminder that the value of our cards — while often tied to money — is often a personal experience.

One could look at these boxes as stacks of commons and donate them or toss them in the trash. Another could look at these partial sets and see potential, but then sit on then for years and gain stress from not moving them. And yet another person could look at the lot and see items representing a piece of their childhood.

The sale didn’t make me rich or even net me a profit; but it made me feel like I had made a giant sale as I had lightened my load and recouped a portion of what I spent on these cards and others.

Baseball Hall of Fame `Class of 2019′ in rookie cards

Posted in Hall of Fame Rookie Cards with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

For the first time in several years I’ve been excited to see the announcement of the newest class of Cooperstown. I’m not going to dwell on the fact that my guy, Roger Clemens, still didn’t make it — although I appreciate that he is trending upward.

That said, Tuesday afternoon it was announced that Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was the first unanimous selection to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and joining him in the Class of 2019 are pitchers Mike Mussina and Roy Halladay, and designated hitter Edgar Martinez. Those four players were elected by the Baseball Writers of America and join the previously announced closer Lee Smith and Designated Hitter Harold Baines who were elected to the Hall in December by committee vote.

I’m a Red Sox fan and I cannot deny the greatness of Mariano. While I hated seeing him close out games against my team, I appreciated his pure dominance. And he was humble and emotional at the same time. One of my favorite scenes is watching him crumble on the mound after winning one of his first World Series titles. I’m proud to say I own a BGS Mint 9 copy of his 1992 Bowman rookie card. Also, one of my favorite inserts in my collection is his 1997 Bowman Best International Preview Atomic Refractor.

Mussina is one of the guys I pulled for in 1992, a year after his rookie cards actually hit the market I distinctly remember seeing his 1992 Ultra card — that set was super premium quality at the time — selling for $3 to $5 at my LCS, and remember the first time he was on the cover of Beckett Baseball. Moose was filthy, and it was a joy to watch his career. My favorite of his rookie cards is the 1991 Fleer Ultra Update, which I own in a BGS Mint 9. In terms of inserts, his 1996 Pacific Flame Throwers sticks out in my collection.

“Bad Ass.” That’s how I liked to think of Roy Halladay, both in real life and as a fantasy player. This guy was so fun to watch; and in our fantasy league was a source of controversy as there was at least one guy who thought he was overrated. Nope. Not one bit. One of my favorite memories of Halladay is that no-hitter he threw in Game One of the NLDS. This was four days after my son was born, and I remember sitting at home on the couch with him in my arms when the final pitch was thrown. I was genuinely sad when I learned Roy had died in 2017. I was at work driving around when word started to spread. The only graded rookie card I own of Roy is his 1997 Bowman, BGS Mint 9, which holds a special place in my heart because that 1997 set is the first Bowman set I actually built. I do own a few copies of his Bowman Chrome rookie in raw condition, however it is the International version of that Chrome rookie card that I like to think of when it comes to my favorite inserts or parallels in my collection.

I loved watching Edgar Martinez play, especially on those mid to late 1990s Seattle Mariner teams with when he had other hitters around him like Ken Griffey Jr, Alex Rodriguez and Jay Buhner. The DH position is often shunned in baseball circles, but this dude could hit. I really enjoyed his batting stance and watching him make solid contact with the ball. He has two rookie cards, and only one of them actually pictures him. I have several copies of his 1988 Fleer card, which I sadly do not own in a graded case. It’s shown here in a one touch solely for display purposes. I’ll have to add a Mint 9 or better BGS copy at some point — but I will not overpay for one right now. When it comes to inserts, Edgar’s Elite Series card is the one that catches my eye.

Whether or not you believe Lee Smith or Harold Baines belong in the Hall of Fame, fact remains they are in and were good players. I remember Smith being the closer for the Red Sox just as I was really getting into the sport — and he was dominant. Maybe not Dennis Eckersley dominant, but a stud nonetheless. When I think of Harold Baines I do think of a very good hitter. I LOVED his batting stance and often emulated it in Whiffle Ball games in the parking lot of my apartment complex — I got to watch him a lot in the early 1990s when he played in Oakland. I own a 1982 Topps Lee Smith in BGS Mint 9, and a 1981 Topps Harold Baines in a BGS 6 — which is comical, but was a must-buy when I found it for $2 at the LCS. I’ll probably update at some point.

The hidden shame of collectors

Posted in Project Organize with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Funny story, last week, my ex-wife contacted me via text message and told me about this new show she was watching on Netflix called “Tidying Up.” The premise of the show being that the host had a methodology for de-cluttering one’s home and helping folks reacquaint themselves with their items. My Ex instantly reached out to me because in the second episode, they were dealing with a husband who had amassed a large amount of baseball cards.

Later that same day, my girlfriend – which feels like a silly title, but we’ve been together for almost a year and a half now – told me about the same show. And of course, the same reason she thought of me was because of the second episode, which I shall forever now refer to as the “baseball card episode.”

And so last night, while I was working on Project Organize, I took a break to watch the show. While the episode does not spend a lot of time discussing the baseball card issue, it does give a broad overview of show participant Ron Akiyama’s card collecting habit and storage. Basically, he had collected cards with his two sons for three decades and now he has amassed so many cards that the pile of boxes literally touches the ceiling.

I’m not here to judge Ron. Hell, Ron, if you read this, I thank you for sharing your story.  My family has had the same issues you and your wife dealt with before this show and I know it can be very difficult to admit the issue, let alone tell others (or the world in this case) about it and then let people inside your world to offer suggestions.

I digress, Ron’s passion for cards is one that looks like a familiar story for many of us, especially those of us who grew up or collected during the late 1980s and early 1990s – we owned everything and still own everything, so it’s a ton of shit.

This episode struck home for me because I am in the middle of my own Project Organize. I’ve been trying to determine what makes me happy, or “sparks joy” – to use a phrase from show host Marie Kondo. The idea of course is not to dump everything and quit the hobby, but to really assess what you own, think about why you own it, and determine if you still need or want to own it.

This area has been a sore spot for me because I’ve felt a lot of shame in the amount of stuff that I feel I’ve accumulated, and this idea that I am still participating in a hobby that many think – or thought – was meant for kids. And I’d venture to say there are a lot of others who find themselves in the same spot. What’s important that we understand that it’s perfectly healthy for us to have a hobby — this hobby — and not allow the feelings of guilt surrounding spending and clutter consume our lives to make us feel like we’re living under an adult-size Jenga Tower of boxes, which is how much of Ron’s collection appeared.

In the process of doing Project Organize – which began before I even heard of this show — I’ve found myself being re-acquainted with items I forgot had, and I am truly starting to enjoy this hobby again. And this joy, honestly, is more valuable than any single card I could pull today.

 

 

Mission Complete: 1999 Pacific Crown Royale Baseball

Posted in Mission Complete (Completed Sets) with tags , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

About two years ago, I visited a card shop about 45 minutes away and picked up a slew of Pacific branded boxes. Among them was a 1999 Pacific Crown Royale box.

I’ve always loved Crown Royale and was feeling really nostalgic about it so I figured why not. At the time my son and I opened the packs and then they got tucked into a box and in the closet.

Fast forward to late last year and After my son verbally expressed he was starting to enjoy the hobby, it set off a bunch of nostalgia bells and we went to another local shop. Among the boxes for sale was another 1999 Pacific Crown Royale.

I bought it, figuring we could build the set with the cards bought two years prior.

So we ripped the box — lots of fun and talk about quality — and we ended up being four cards short.

Well, the four remaining cards arrived this week via purchases from SportLots and COMC. I’m happy to say the base set and insert sets are done.

So, I now present you with the entire base 1999 Pacific Crown Royale set with the two standard insert sets.

Why I’m sometimes scared to tell people what I collect

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , on January 18, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I was listening to/watching About The Cards (link) the other night and one of the topics that came up is one that really hit home with me.

The guys were telling stories about how sometimes they are seemingly pressured into making deals with people for items solely because the other person — who initiated the deal — invested time to separate, sort and sometimes transport or ship cards for a potential deal, even if the perimeters of the deal had not been set.

Surely we’ve all experienced such things. You tell someone you collect a certain player or set, and suddenly they’ve amassed a lot of several dozens or hundreds of cards after a few days and they expect the world in return, sometimes cash or cards of top players. And if you tell them you that you already have those cards or for whatever reason don’t want the cards there are some hurt feelings and sometimes some pressure solely because they’re making you feel guilty.

This is why I am sometimes scared to tell people I collect certain players. I mean it’s no secret now that I collect Roger Clemens and Clayton Kershaw, I do have that posted on some of my feeds. But for a time I kept that information out of the spotlight because I didn’t want to deal with these situations where people are offering me 400 Clemens cards, all from 1988-1991 and expecting that I will trade them all of my Mike Trouts, Bryce Harpers, rookies of hot players, etc. Even now that my PC guys are posted, I try not to engage in discussions where it’s an open-ended trade unless I’m feeling OK with the deal (i.e., me trading a few commons to a set collector for my PC guys). Sometimes I’ll do such deals to help someone else out.

So I have the following five general tips I offer and use myself when trading:

  1. If you’re setting cards aside to make a trade, understand that any time and effort you invest is solely on you. Do not put pressure on the trading partner to compensate you for the time and effort. If you pulled 500 cards and all I need is 50, don’t expect me to take all 500 solely because you spent two weeks putting them together — unless that was part of the agreement.
  2. If sending bulk lot(s) in exchange for someone else’s bulk lot(s), expect that the incoming lot(s) will be valued at less than what you’re sending. This will temper your expectations and possible feelings of being “ripped off.”
  3. Don’t trade high-end items with someone you don’t know or have a history with. Pretty obvious.
  4. Come to an agreement on shipping method. Plain white envelope (PWE) works for some people and in some cases. But know that using such low quality shipping can result in damaged cards. Some collectors want no part of receiving cards in PWEs, so if you’re doing anything less than a bubble mailer, that should be worked out before hand.
  5. If you initiate contact with someone who collects a certain player or team and you want to send them stuff under the guise of “just send me something later,” either 1) expect nothing in return, 2) expect that the return may not be of equal “value.” If those aren’t things you accept, then don’t send anything unless a proper structured deal is in place.

TBT: My debut with Beckett and beyond …

Posted in Throwback Thursday with tags , , , , , , , on January 17, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

This morning I was flipping through my Facebook memories and found a picture published this day in 2012 that made me stop and think. The image was a copy of the Beckett Sports Card Monthly “Game Used Issue” published that year. The magazine has Tim Tebow on the cover, and on page 34 is a photo of a guy you might also know – me.

You see, this issue of Beckett Spots Card Monthly was my debut as a contributor to the magazine. Then-editor Chris Olds had reached out to me to write a first-person account about my discovery of an Earl Weaver Baltimore Orioles game-used jersey in a San Francisco Bay Area thrift store. The piece went with the theme of the month, and as it turned out, it really started a three-year relationship with the publication.

After the article was published, I was asked to write one or two others on other topics, and then ultimately was invited to be a member of the Beckett Media team at that year’s National Sports Collectors Convention held that year in Baltimore. Among the autograph signers was none other than Earl Weaver. I planned to purchase an autograph ticket and photo opportunity with Mr. Weaver to briefly re-unit him with his jersey from 1977, and have him sign it. I was tasked to document the piece for Beckett, an article that can be found here. it should be noted Mr. Weaver died some four months later.

After what seemed like a fun run as a contributor for the publication, I was given the opportunity to write a monthly column for Beckett Baseball Monthly, a publication that I and so many others grew up reading. I then penned my column for the magazine for about two years, and was able to assist with three special-edition magazines also published by Beckett Media.

My run as a columnist for Beckett ended in 2015 when there was shakeup among staff, and honestly it came at a good time for me as it turned out circumstances at home were also changing.

These memories are ones I’ll always remember, and I am forever grateful to those persons who made it possible.

 

I promise to pay …

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , on January 16, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Folks, when you make an offer on a Buy It Now item on eBay, there is kind of an unwritten agreement that you’re going to pay for that item in a fair amount of time … Still coming up with excuses three weeks later is not the right way to do it.

About two weeks ago I wrote (Link) about the non-paying buyer issue that has been hitting me in recent months. Toward the end of that piece I documented the sale of a pair of cards for $200 just before the new year, but a week later I had not received payment.

Well, here we are almost three weeks after the sale and … all I’ve got is a promise that the buyer will pay.

Here’s the skinny:

I sent three reminders to the buyer and on that third one, the buyer advised that he was waiting for others to pay for items that were purchased from him so that he could pay for my items. He promised to pay me soon.

So I waited three more days … and send another reminder, which went unanswered.

I then sent a fifth reminder on Jan 15, almost 20 days after the purchase agreement was made, and the buyer responds, advising that he promises to pay me at some point in the next few weeks.

No, We’re done. A case has been opened.

This practice is unacceptable. If you do not have the ability to buy an item, DO NOT BUY THE ITEM. No seller should reasonably wait more than a few days unless some other agreement has been made BEFORE THE OFFER WAS ACCEPTED. And if some circumstance arises where you cannot pay, then YOU should be contacting the seller and not wait to be hounded about the issue.