Archive for football

Thrift Treasures 122: Factory Sealed Iconic Set has a Homecoming

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

I know what you’re thinking: Didn’t he say he was moving stuff out of his collection?

If that’s what you’re thinking, then you’re half right. I did say that, but the last post also had the following key components: be happy, write more, and hopefully add to the Thrift Treasures. I am accomplishing all of that here.

Saturday was the monthly flea market at one of the local junior colleges. I hadn’t been there in months, hell maybe even a year. But I was free on Saturday (which is rare) and my son was willing to go check it out with me. So we went with low expectations; I explained that this very much a feast or famine situation.

What we found was that there were at least four dealers who had cards in some format. Some had singles, others had boxes for sale — old and new. I call this an “abundance” of cardboard given that sometimes there is literally no one selling these collectibles.

I wasn’t looking for anything in particular other than stuff that made me happy or seemed like a great deal so I kept my purchases to a minimum.

The focus of this Thrift Treasures post will be on the items purchased from the final table we found on the way out of the venue.

This vendor had a dozen 1990 Donruss Boxes, some 1990 Topps Vending baseball boxes and some other misc items from that era.

But what stood out to me was this 1991 Topps baseball factory set. I’m close to completing my 1991 Topps Stadium Club baseball set and the 1991 Topps flagship set is one of my favorites of all time. And as I journey through this “Happiness Era” of my collecting journey, I’m realizing that I miss buying stuff that brings joy, not just the newest, flashiest or most valuable. Also, I feel like I’m trying to set a good example for my son in the hobby. And this purchase was going to do just that.

The box had a $10 sticker on it and the seller was literally packing up his van with the other items. I didn’t even bother negotiating. I handed him a $20 and be gave me my change.

I explained to my son how great the set is and that my intention was to put the set in a binder so that it can be enjoyed. The photography and design is great.

These sets are often posted on eBay for $10-$15, but shipping is brutal on a 792 card set and add another $15-$20 to your cost — that’s not a price point I want to be at with these cards.

We were about to leave when I was discussing this find via text with a friend. I’d shown him a photo. I told him how this seller had two boxes of 1991 Pro Set NFL Series One For $5 each. The first inquiry was about the Lombardi Hologram insert. I was reminded those were in 1990 — I should’ve remembered, I have one — but was advised that the boxes offer a shot at Bill Bellichik rookies, which command a premium in top grade.

For the low price tag I couldn’t resist. I told my son what the deal was and explained we could open the packs together later this week when he comes back from his mother’s house.

In addition to the Bellichik rookies, we’ll also be hunting for various variations and errors, which can also carry premiums. And when we’re done scouring the box, we’ll take the left overs (minus anything he might want to keep for himself) and donate them so they aren’t just sitting around my place. I post more about those boxes this week.

Me, being silly with the contents of a Thrift Treasures 122

Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $20.

You can seen more Thrift Treasures posts here

Thrift Treasures 119: Colin Kaepernick signed “Salute to Service” hat

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on September 12, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

This has been a really interesting week. Sort of out of nowhere I found myself in the market for a new (to us) dresser for my kids. The one we’ve had for the last few years broke and no longer held the drawers properly so I was faced with buying a new one, or looking for a suitable used replacement.

I chose to thrift shop since I could also get my fix of looking for discarded sports treasures

Well, Day One of the hunt actually led me to a GREAT deal on a new (to us) couch. And Day Two was pretty bleak for a few hours as I struck out at four different thrift stores — no good cards (only some over priced early cards it former quarterback Jake Plummer) or furniture

The fifth store was a long shot … a small Goodwill in San Jose, Calif., near the border of Santa Clara. I checked the showfloor and there was no dresser, but I discovered an upstairs “loft” boutique that had better quality items

Again, no dresser. But there was something that I had to own. You guessed it — the item listed in the title.

Here is what presents as an San Francisco 49ers 2013 Salute to Service cap with tags … signed by former quarterback and polarizing social justice figure Colin Kaepernick.

Let that sink in for a second …

This post isn’t supposed to be a place for people to bash Kaepernick, to show their patriotism, etc. Or really a place to bash the establishment, and show support for the former quarterback.

I’m not going to get all political here. That’s never been my deal.

But, I will say this is a mighty interesting piece in context. It was interesting when it was signed ,presumably at practice since the facility is nearby. It’s even more interesting in context today. And who knows how interesting this looks as a historical item in 25-40 years.

Needless to say, I had to own it.

By the way, I did find an alternative to a dresser — I found an IKEA 8-cube bookshelf for $25, about 70% off the original price.

Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $14.97

You can seen more Thrift Treasures posts here

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.

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.

 

Saying goodbye to another grandfather …

Posted in Commentary, Misc. with tags , , , , , , on January 15, 2018 by Cardboard Icons

I’ve kind of been kicking this around for the last day or so, trying to sort my feelings. Over the weekend I learned that another one of my grandfathers had passed away. This is third in about eight months. He was the last of the grandfathers in my life.

Grandpa Jerry and I were never close, but that’s not to say I didn’t care. I just never really knew how to breakdown the perceived wall. And if you know me, I’m not exactly the out-going talkative type anyway so this wasn’t a situation ripe with conversation.

There were two rules I lived by when we visited him and grandma in their Fairfield (California) home back in the day: 1) Make sure you say hello to the grandparents before settling in, and 2) DO NOT sit in grandpas chair. The latter was something I deemed as a sign of respect. No one had told me not to sit there, I just assumed that as the Man of the House, he had claimed that one spot — THAT ONE — as his. And unless he offered it to someone else, the seat shall remain empty so that he could sit there when he returned from his nap, his watering of the grass, his trip to the store to buy Lottery tickets, or whatever. Besides, it was grandma’s house. She had like three couches — including a massive sectional — in the converted garage that acted as a giant living room and addition to the home. There was no reason to take HIS spot.

There were times we often were left alone in the room and it was awkward a bit, reasons stemming from our mutual lack of talking. But we often watched sports together during the holidays, especially football. Collegiate or professional, Grandpa Jerry loved to watch. At times he sat there silent, then he’d make a quiet sucking-of-teeth noise when he grew disappointed in a play. And then the word “shit” would be said in a long, drawn out way almost the way you’d imagine John Wayne saying it.

If you knew me as a kid, I always had some baseball cards with me, not unlike the way kids these days take their electronics with them. I’d often flip through the same stack of cards, memorizing stats and details and from time to time Grandpa Jerry would peer over and ask what it was that I was looking at. We never shared a lot of talk about collectibles. I secretly hoped that one day he would tell me about his stash of cards from his youth, or tell me a story about sports and cards. But no such conversation came up. The closest I think we ever got to that was him telling me that he had collected a lot of the first two years of the Kenner Starting Line-Ups, which would have been 1988/1989 or so. I forget the exact the circumstances that would have lead to him buying them, but I think it had something to do with him being some sort of retail deliveryman/merchandiser.My contribution to the conversation was that those toys had gained some value at the time.

I can’t say that I knew a lot about the man, which in hind sight is kind of sad. I had’t seen Grandpa Jerry in about 15 years, ever since he and grandpa packed up their California home and moved to North Carolina, a place I’d never visited. I have a Polaroid picture I took with Grandma and Grandpa in front of their home just before I bid them farewell in 2003, but I’m not entirely sure where it it at the moment.

But as I sit here working through these emotions, there are three distinct items for which I shall remember Grandpa. 1) A trucker-style University of Kentucky hat that hung on the wall just inside the front door. I’m not sure I’d ever seen him wear it, but it was always there. I’m somewhat recalling that he may have been from Kentucky. 2) His powder blue 1980s Chevrolet Silverado that had a scene of horses galloping through an open field emblazoned like a window tint for the cab window. I’d gone with him once or twice to buy lottery tickets in the truck and I recall thinking how different it felt to ride in a truck instead of a sedan. And 3) The round silver ashtray that sat on the table next to his recliner. Grandpa was a smoker. There was no doubt about that. Thinking about that ash tray reminds me of a time, shortly before he and grandma moved, when I saw two of my grandfathers — old US Air Force buddies who wound up foes for a long while and then were seemingly on good terms before the departure to the east coast — and my uncle Frank sharing coffee, conversation and cigarettes together on the driveway. It was an odd sight at the time but I recall making a conscious effort to remember that moment and take a snapshot in my mind. All three of them have since passed away, all within the last 18 months or so.

It’s a really weird feeling to go all through childhood without really having to deal with death in the family, and then suddenly get slammed with a series of deaths as we get older. It’s not something we have control over, and each time I am reminded of it. And every time we say goodbye to a loved one, I think about my time with my kids and what messages I want to convey and experiences I want to share with them.

I’m not much of a talker; I chose writing as my preferred method of communication. If you were to ask me about Grandpa Jerry I might not have verbalized any of this. But if you’re still reading at this point, I thank you got taking the time. It means a lot.

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.

A 20-year-old NFL retail break 

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

A few months ago a co-worker brought me a gift, a four-pack blister of 1995 Upper Deck football that had a commemorative Joe Montana Super Bowl card.  

This co-worker is a big San Francisco 49ers fan and at one point he bought this for his man cave. He’s not really a card guy, but more of a game-used 49ers jersey collector.  So he decided to gift this blister to me.

I opened a good amount of this product in 1995, as we as the SP brand, which was high-end at the time and was one of the first sets I completed.

I digress.  Yesterday during my lunch break I stopped by my locker and noticed that I still had this thing sitting on my top shelf.  With the NFL kicking off this week I decided to open it for fun.  There really are no hits in here, just base cards, parallels and the occasional insert. 

So, the Montana C-card was cool.  It shows Montana and the 49ers against the Miami Dolphins jn Super Bowl XIX, which is the last Super Bowl to be held in the San Francisco Bay Area. that Super Bowl was held at Stanford University in Palo Alro. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl and will again be in the Bay Area.

 
And now for the packs.

The first pack had a card that literally made me laugh out loud.  I mean check out this seductive rookie card of former Jets draft pick Kyle Brady.

   
 
Pack two wasn’t quite as awesome, but it had a card if one of the newest Hall of Famers, Charles Haley, and a good-looking rookie card of Michael Westbrook. Oh, and it had TWO silver parallels. Money!  

 
Pack three  features a rookie card of a very good linebacker from the late 1990s and early 2000s, one Derrick Brooks.

   
And the final pack featured a dud rookie QB card, but the last card in the pack was none other than hall of fame 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice. Heck, my co-worker might even have this Rice jersey shown on this card.  

 Al, if you’re reading this, the Niner cards are all yours if you want them back. That Kyle Brady card is mine though. It’s priceless.