Archive for football cards

My brain has been trained to stop when I see the word …

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on March 11, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I was out running errands this morning after taking my kids to school when I decided to stop at Walgreens just in case the retailer got the Topps yellow exclusive packs early.

No such luck.

But I did take a glance at the 75-card repack boxes and I instantly stopped when I saw the word “Elite.”

Ever since I was a 11, the words “Elite Series” have been engrained in my head as being synonymous with the words “rare” and “valuable.”

Now, time has shown us that the original run of Elite Series baseball cards from 1991 through about 1995, and even a bit from 1996 through 1998, can still carry some clout.

But even though much of the newer stuff is technically “rarer,” it definitely does not carry the same weight In the hobby as the older ones.

But even the mere sight of this 2017 Donruss Elite (Rookie) Series Kenny Golladay makes me stop and reflect. I almost bought it … but I reminded myself that I don’t collect football.

But it did make me go look at my Complete Set of 1991-1993 Elite Series baseball inserts including the autographs.

I used to look forward to the Super Bowl

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

When I was a kid, the Super Bowl was a big deal. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and the 49ers were dominant. And as I began to appreciate football for myself, I chose the Buffalo Bills as my favorite team. It’s hard to imagine why, right? Sure, they lost four straight Super Bowls but … they also MADE it to four straight Super Bowls.

Truth be told, much of what drew me there was eventual Hall of Famer Bruce Smith. I had a thing for defensive players. While everyone was fawning over QBs and RBs, defensive linemen and linebackers were my jam.

Bruce Smith, Derrick Thomas, Reggie White, Ken Norton Jr. … these were my guys. And in a different era of the hobby — maybe like today — I would have collected their Cards because there would have been gorgeous cards of theirs to own, maybe even with their signature (even a cut for those who have passed away). But at the time they most only had base cards, and I never collected their cards the way I do Roger Clemens. Why? Because I was always afraid of collecting items that didn’t seemingly have some shot at appreciating. Remember, this was early 1990s when so much was placed on book value, and we still saw cards as “investments.”

I digress, football to be has become such an afterthought. Not just hobby wise — the market is so ass-backward if you ask me — but also in real life. The game just isn’t the same — although I readily admit things might be different if the Niners returned to some semblance of success again. While the Bills were my squad when they were good, it’s hard to cheer for a team on the other side of the country when as it turns out you were really excited about the players themselves, not really Buffalo as a franchise.

While football as a whole isn’t as important in my life or among my forms of entertainment, Super Bowl Sunday still has some mystique since it’s really a single event the world is watching. But I’d be a liar if I told you I go out of my way to watch. Heck, three out of the last four years I’ve been working during the Super Bowl — today included

The actual victor isn’t important to me. But in case you’re wondering I am hoping Tom Brady wins another Super Bowl and rides off into the sunset. I know a lot of folks have soured on him, but the story and the level of dominance is one the sports world has not seen since the days of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls; and those late 90s/early 00s New York Yankee club featuring a young Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.

That said, what’s fun about the Super Bowl nowadays is that it marks the end of football and means we’re getting closer to the sport I love the most, baseball.

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.

Tom Brady: A constant reminder I quit football cards too early

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on January 21, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Tom Brady is headed back to the Super Bowl, and sadly I’ve still got nothing to show for it.

No rookie cards. No autographs. No relics.

Just some basic Brady cards that managed to find their way into my collection.

You see, I made a decision around 2002 to stop regularly buying football cards. Like many, there was a time I collected cards of the four major sports. But by the time I was nearing the legal drinking age I was in college and tried to focus on my passion of baseball cards and tinker less with football.  In my mind I had already reached the peak of that segment of the hobby with a very successful 1998 – I managed to pull both Randy Moss and Fred Taylor from the same box of SP Authentic, and then hit both Dan Marino and Joe Montana autographs from the same box of SPX Finite that year. That success then caused me to have feelings of doubling down in 1999 with that massive quarterback class, most of whom washed out of the league within a few seasons.  And by year 2000 I decided Peter Warrick was the second coming of Randy Moss and Jerry Rice, and Chad Pennington was definitely the new Joe Namath. I think you see I failed miserably.

Opening the 2001 season, Tom Brady was still just a backup to Drew Bledsoe. His rookie cards were mere commons. Hell, I owned one – 2000 Upper Deck Black Diamond – and I let it sit in a penny sleeve among a bunch of defensive player rookie cards.

Well, by 2001 I had become so jaded by miserable purchases of 1999 and 2000 that I pretty much decided I was done with the football segment of the hobby.  I purchased less football in 2001, and even less by 2002. And in 2003 I sold it all – save for the Brady Black Diamond rookie because I had already unloaded it for like $15 the moment its status as non-common changed. (side note, the Brady is like a $300-$600 Card now, the one shown about is a PSA 9 on COMC.) You see, while I was the only person in my college Sports Psychology class at San Jose State University to actually pick the Patriots over the Rams during that year’s Super Bowl, I still didn’t quite buy the notion of Bledsoe permanently being unseated as the Patriots signal caller.

Well, I was wrong.

Bledsoe was done in New England and Brady was just getting started, ushering in a whole new generation of Patriots fans, and creating new standards by which we measured quarterbacks.

Because of the way I collected cards, I know that if I had stayed with football cards, I likely would have obtained multiple Tom Brady rookies at some point. Maybe not the Holy Grail Rookie Contenders autograph, but I still would have had many, especially that 2000 Bowman Chrome card, which to me seems like a must-own for hobbyists.

Alas, here I am some 15-plus years later reminiscing about what could have been — the prices of his standard rookie cards are insane — and the only thing I have to show for it is a blog post about a card I used to own.

 

Thrift Treasures 107: Serial Number Slayer

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

So the National Sports Collectors Convention is under way Atlantic City and like many others I wish I was there.  I’ve been to the annual event twice, both times as peripheral member of the Beckett Media team. But this year I couldn’t make it for several reasons as I IMG_0401I have a lot going on in my real life.  I may try for next year.  We’ll see.

On Wednesday I took my kids out to do a little thrift shopping. And what do you know, I find a massive amount of cards. So many that I was only able to get through a little of it before the kids got restless. Nonetheless, I got a good 15 minutes of digging in and with the cards priced at 5 for $1, I was able to snatch up a few treasures before I had to hit the road. It was a small sampling of what I would’ve been doing at The National anyway.

It’s not uncommon for me to run into such deals as 5 cards for $1, or even more.  But they’ve gotten a little harder to find lately.  And truth be told, I haven’t been out looking as hard as I had once been doing. It’s just a time issue.

Anyhow, I left some decent stuff behind, but I would up selecting 30 cards during this trip. And as the title of this blog post suggests, there were a good number of low serial numbered cards.

Let’s kick things off with three 2013 Topps Chrome football black refractors numbered /299 and a a 2014 Topps Chrome Bliue Refractor /199 of DeAndre Hopkins.

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Speaking of Refractors, here are  few more.  A shimmer silver 2013 RGIII /260 and a basic 2015 Topps Chrome Peyton Manning. The Manning will be a nice Christmas gift for my cousin’s son who just got into collecting.  I’ve already sent him every Manning I own, and about 5,000 other football cards.  His face when they arrived was priceless.

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Staying on the flashy subject. Here are three 2011 Leaf Limited parallels. The front of these are shiny foilboard. But I’m showing the backs because look at those serial numbers.  Hall of Famers Derrick Thomas /50 and Sam Huff /25.

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And some more Leaf Limited. These are from 2010 and they’re all rookies.  The base rookies are /499, but that Riley Cooper rookie is /25. Solid.

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How about some more serial rookies? Marcus Gilbert 2011 Absolute /50, 2010 Epix Ricky Sapp /50 and 2008 Prestige Chris Long serial 001/300. Gotta love those first-stamped cards.

IMG_0442A few random serial numbered cards. 1999 Paramount RW McQuarters /62, 2013 Absolute Boss Hoggs Julio Jones /99 and 2008 Icons die cut Mike Hart /150.

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Growing up in the Bay Area it’s almost a disgrace to see serial numbered cards of these two guys sitting in a thrift store. These are 2009 Leaf Limited Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, both serial numbered /399.

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Speaking of legends, I could not let a Barry Sanders (/1449) and Bart Starr (/639) from high-end 2007 Triple Threads sit on the shelf to collect dust.

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Johnny Manziel is pretty much a laughing stock at this point, but I still found some value – in terms of comic relief anyway – in finding his 2014 Topps Platinum rookie card.

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Here are a few basketball parallels from 2010-2011 Contenders, Caron Butler and Samuel Dalembert, both /99.

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Whatdya know, I found an autograph in the boxes. Sure, it’s Jamal Faulkner, a common. But this is an Alabama alumnus — I’ve already found a new home for this card.

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And let’s finish things off with a mixed group of four cards: 1999 Paramound Team Checklist Barry Sanders, a 1996-97 Topps Allen Iverson rookie card, a 1994-95 Collector’s Choice French GOLD signature Charles Barkley subset, and a 2012 Bowman Platinum Purple Refractor Javier Baez.

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Nothing here is going to make me a small fortune, but  all in all, still not a bad stack of cards for about the price of two retail packs,.

Total cost of these Treasures: $6

You can see more Thrift Treasures posts Here.

Thrift Treasures 104: Are you effin kidding me?

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , on May 27, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

So check this out.  I went to one of the local thrift stores on Friday and did my typical rounds through the store. 

Toys, clothes, books, collectible showcase, and random bags in te housewares area.

There was nothing in the first few spots. And then as I am walking a chick in a bikini catches my eye …
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Yeah, I saw that lady on the cover of the 2011 Sports Illustrated Swim Suit desk calendar in my peripheral view And when I stopped, I found bags of cards on a nearby peg tucked behind the scantly clad lady.

The cards instantly looked like stuff I see all the time. Bunches of 1989 Topps baseball, 1991 Donruss and then I saw a beacon of hope: a 1989 Score Steve Atwater rookie card. 
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Atwater, a safety for the Denver Broncos, had a solid NFL career. But I remember his mostly for this very card, which obviously hails from a very iconic 1980s sports card release. 

The presence of the Atwater, a card that was NEVER a common card during 1989 or the early 1990s, piqued my interest. And so I tried to get a gander of whatelse was inside.
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I could see two Derrick Thomas rookies in this bag. I then placed the baggie into my cart. Thomas Score rookies strike a nostalgic chord with me. DT, along with Bruce Smith, was one of my favorite players when I was a kid and his Score rookie was on my Christmas List for three straight years before I actually got one.

I took another off the peg hooks and did a quick check and could see a Michael Irvin rookie. I placed it into the cart without reviewing the baggie further.
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I went through the other five bags on the pegs and none of them really excited me. I did buy one more bag simply because it had a 1988 McGruff Crime Dog/Oscar Meyer release of former San Francisco 49ers head coach Bill Walsh. The Walsh card comes from a police set that was distributed to school kids here in the Bay Area. In 1988 I personally obtained multiples of Joe Montana and Jery Rice from this set through some bartering with classmates.

I went to the register and paid. As I headed out the door I ran into a guy whom I consider competition when it comes to hunting treasures. So instead of opening the baggies in the car I headed to next thrift store.

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After that stop, which yielded nothing, I received a text message from a friend who had see my teaser Twitter post. At that point I peeked at the baggie with the Michael Irvin bag. When I picked up the baggie the cards separated and I saw the unthinkable: a 1989 Score Barry Sanders rookie card.

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I snapped a picture and sent it to the friend. I then ripped open the bag to confirm that the Sanders, a true Iconic card from my child hood, was left for dead in a thrift store. 
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Clearly the Barry isn’t mint. infact, the card is creased. But it’s unthinkable that this card, which is on the same level as the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card, was ditched in a second-hand store. To make things more interesting I had not owned a single real copy of this card until earlier this year when a full 1989 Score set was gifted to me by a friend.

Total cost of these Thrift Treasures: $5.97.

You can see more Thrift Treasures posts Here.

Thrift Treasures 98: Sweetness and the Snake

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

I haven’t had much time to write lately.  We had a death in the family the same day I wrote my Wally Pipp post, and since then every day has been a little hectic. 

Nonetheless here I am writing a new a Thrift Treasures trying to get back to some normalcy.

Friday night after work I poppedinto a thrift store and saw dozens of bags filled with cards.

  
What’s funny is that almost every card in the bags were protected with penny sleeves or a poor quality early rendition of a Top Loader.

I peeked at a few of the bags and could clearly see that they weren’t worth the $3.99 each that the store was asking. I’m talking stuff from 1988-1992, basic commons and stuff. Heck, one bag even had this 1990 Fleer Tim McIntosh card with a 12 cent price tag on it.  I used to do this to my cards them too, but o wasn’t going to pay for that memory.

  
I checked each bag for any semblance of hope. And then Sweetness appeared.  

This is a second-year 1977 Walter Payton card showing on the bag And I could see a few other older football cards.  I decided that even though the Payton was in poor condition, it was worth the purchase.

Well, as it turned out the football cards and one hockey card are we’re the only things worth writing about.  The bag was filled with baseball commons as mentioned above. 

But here are the “hits.”

1977 Topps Walter Payton  

1977 Topps Fred Biletnikoff  

1976 Topps Ken Stabler  

Four 1977 Topps cards including Oakland Raiders center Dave Dalbu and linebacker Phil Villapiano, Chicago Bears defensive tackle Wally Chambers, and Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall.

  
And the stray hockey card, a 2003-04 OPC Dick Tarnstrom parallel #’d /500

  
Total cost of these Treasures: $3.99

You can read more Thrift Treasures posts here.