Archive for baseball cards

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.

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).

Kershaw Zipper-gate Update …

Posted in Collecting Kershaw with tags , , , , , on November 13, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I was checking COMC this morning for various Clayton Kershaw cards and I noticed something I figured I’d document here.

Back in February I noted here that mock ups of Kershaw’s flagship card showed the lefty’s zipper being down. And sure enough when the card went live it was indeed down on the base and all parallels.

When Topps produced Chrome the issue was fixed via editing software and all Topps Chrome base and parallels showed Kershaw with his Zipper completely up.

So today I was looking at the Topps Chrome Sapphire set and noticed the issue was not corrected for that set — the zipper is down.

What does this mean? It could mean that Topps Chrome Sapphire was actually produced before Chrome and not released until after. But it also could mean the wrong file was used when they produced Sapphire.

There’s no premium for any of this. I just found it interesting.

Thrift Treasures 120: The Best of the American League

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , on November 8, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Real quick hitter today. I had about an hour to spare on Wednesday between drop off time at school and an award assembly in which my son and nephew were receiving accolades in math so I make a quick run to a Goodwill I hadn’t been to in several months.

As I scoured the shelves, the word “Donruss” entered my brain. I admittedly bypassed it for about two seconds then I retraced my steps and lo and behold stuff between a various board games was this Boxes 1990 Donruss “The Best of the American League” set.The set isn’t rare, but its surely not as common as basic Donruss. The set was clearly unwrapped, but the box was taped shut. For $5 I figured ai’d take a shot. Sure enough the set was complete.

The blue is actually quite pleasing to the eye, not quite the eyesore that 1990 Donruss became.

Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $4.99

You can seen more Thrift Treasures posts here

“Oh yeah! I got a 1-of-1!” –

Posted in Box / Pack Break, Commentary, Kid Collectors with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Topps Chrome Update Mega Boxes are all the rage right now. And on Thursday night during a stop at Target to get groceries I lucked into a group of four boxes that were tucked behind some blasters.

This is my third time seeing them “in the wild” since their release. And even though I told myself I was done with them after buying a few last week, the fact that they were 10% off This week made me grab the remaining four.

I opened two in car — pulled a Vlad Jr. rookie and a green Refractor Hunter Pence /99 — and decided to keep the other two sealed until I picked up my kids. I figured I’d let me son pick one and open it if he decided to buy one with his birthday money.

I presented the option to him and of course he opted in at the $18 price tag. He looked at the two sealed boxes I had on the kitchen table and held one in his hand, looking at the odds. And then at the last second he switched the boxes with me … which I didn’t mind. This was about HIM, not me.

He used my keys to pierce the cellophane wrapper and then unboxed the seven packs. He grabbed the first one and ripped the back. It was at that moment — at about 8:50 pm Pacific on 11/5/19 — he had a monumental experience.

“Oh yeah! I got a 1-of-1!” he exclaimed as he pulled off the wrapper.

I was shocked. I stood up to get a better look — it was a yellow printing plate for Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu’s All Star Game card, #70 in the set. My son puts his cards in binders, sorted by team. Because that’s what you do when you’re new to the hobby — he’s only been actively involved for about a year.

“That’ll go in a holder,” he said as he looked at the metal card.

The moment got be excited, and damn near made my cry. Parenthood will do that.

We high-fived. We hugged. We talked about how hard it is to get one.

And not once — not even to this moment — did we talk about value, worth, resell price, etc.

I was 18 when I pulled my first 1-of-1. It, too, was a printing plate. It was a plate for a 1998 Topps Gallery Nomar Garciaparra that literally fell out of a pack I opened at the register at R&K Comics in Sunnyvale, Calif. I was in college at the time and sold it a few weeks later when I realized the card could net me enough to pay for a semester of books.

The market has certainly shifted over the last two decades — printing plates aren’t nearly as desirable, and more people than before argue against their 1-of-1 status since there are typically four plates for each card, even though they are in different colors thereby making them unique as the card states in the rear.

But the experience is what makes this a huge deal, and it’s these father-son moments of bonding that keep me excited about this hobby.

On a side note, I came home last week with a Mega Box of the same product for him. He opened it and also hit an autograph of Yankees pitcher Chance Adams. He was excited do that pull, but nowhere near as excited as he was in this night with his first 1-of-1.

200 1991 Topps Stadium Club packs for $16 shipped? Hell yeah!

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , on November 5, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

The other day a friend pointed out an item on eBay where a new seller was offering several lots of Medium Flat Rate boxes filled with 1991 Stadium Club packs for the mere price of 99 cents plus like $15 shipping.For a guy who collected when the product was brand new, and a person who loves the TSC line, you know I had to take a chance.

The box of packs arrived Monday night and the outer shipping box felt like it contained a load of bricks. And in a sense it did seeing as how many of these ultra premium, high-gloss full-bleed photo cards we’re stuck together.

No, literally, look …

There was very low expectation given the price point. And no, I’m not upset — the cards were practically free. Sure, it’d be great to build a high-quality set from the 200-plus packs inside the box (split almost evenly between the two series) but this was a cheap, fun way to experience a bit of my childhood that was ridiculously expensive at the time.

It took about four minutes to open and peel apart the contents of two packs. The first pack had a Nolan Ryan Tuxedo and I hit my first Frank Thomas only a few packs into it. But as I was reliving some of these memories, I decided to also have some fun.

First I stuck some packs in front of a space heater hoping that’d help loosen them up.

Nope. Didn’t work.

How about the old freezer truck?

Nope. That didn’t work either.

At this point I have opened about 30 packs of series one and have pulled two Nolan Ryan’s and four Frank Thomas cards, one of which came in an monster pack that also contained a classic Bo Jackson and a second-year Juan Gonzalez. Hell, such a pack in 1991 would have had about $50 worth of singles — remember, the Thomas was $25-$30, and Ryan wasn’t too far behind.

I plan to open the rest at some point this week. I still have low expectations, but if you’re so inclined you can follow the hashtag #91TSCBrickedBreak on Twitter to see some fun stuff. Perhaps I can build a set (albeit not even close to mint) and pull a half-dozen of each classic card from this iconic release.