Archive for Hank Aaron

The Joy of Sets

Posted in Box / Pack Break, Kid Collectors, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on September 7, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

We did it. My son and I completed our first baseball card set.

There is something special in this hobby about a parent collector who is able to pass down the hobby to their child or children, and at times I wondered if my children would ever be into the same hobby that i have enjoyed for almost 30 years.

I mean my kids (ages 7 and 5) have always been around my stuff, and at times they’d ask about why I collect cards, but when I’d offer to buy them sports cards they often pass, or ask for some cartoon cards, comic cards or something else.  It’s cool; I get it. I’ve always been of the mindset that if my kids didn’t enjoy my hobby then I would not force it upon them. But I’ve always been willing to support whatever hobby they decided to take up.

And then just a week ago my son asked me about baseball cards. He wanted to know more. He wanted me to buy some. He wanted me to buy some for him.

insert tear drop.

img_1851Without hesitation I bought a blaster of 2016 Topps Bunt. He enjoyed it (and so did his cousin). I told him about Hank Aaron — one of the first cards he pulled — and how at one point Aaron had the most home runs in baseball. And when I said the name he remembered a conversation we had a few months ago about a signed 16×20 photo of Hammerin’ Hank that I have hanging on the wall. “That’s him!” he said pointing to the photo and then looking at the card.

So yeah, proud Dad moment for me. Anyhow, a day after we ripped into those packs, we went to a different card shop to pick up some supplies and he asked me about buying a few more packs of Topps BUNT.

For my readers who don’t know much about BUNT, it’s a price-friendly product that features a great 200-card checklist that mixes old and new players.  In my opinion it has been Topps’ greatest effort to bring in the new collectors as the set is based on the popular Topps BUNT digital trading card app.

Anyhow, I looked at my son and he was genuinely excited. At that moment I decided just to buy an entire 36-pack box as it was only about $30.  I figured it’d be something we could open together and maybe put the set together.

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It took us a few days to open all of the packs, even with the assistance of his cousin. We could have rushed through it, but I wanted to take time and look at each card and read the player name and the team, in a way I was hoping that I was laying the ground work for future endeavors and the foundation of baseball knowledge. So when he started to get tired of opening or reading, we stopped for the day and later picked it up.

After a few days we finished going through the box. We separated all of the base cards from the inserts and then separated the code cards — which can be used to unlock packs of digital cards in the phone app.

The next step was to see if we had a complete set. I grabbed a stack of 9-pocket Ultra Pro binder pages and used a black marker to number each of the pockets. I figured this would be a simple way for my son (and his cousin who helped us at times) to see where the cards go. In a round about way this was another school lesson for them as they are in kindergarten and still learning some of their numbers.

img_1745And so we spent maybe a total of three hours over two days taking turns reading the card number and then finding its location in the binder. And by the end we had a complete 200-card set with 22 cards left over.

I’m sure some of you — if you’re still reading — are wondering what the entire set is worth. Honestly, not much in terms of actual money. I mean while there are some big names in here and some decent rookie cards, the set could probably be bought in its entirety on eBay for about $20. And yes, it’s easier to just buy an entire set, but what’s the real fun in that?

While not worth much money, this product just got my kid into the hobby, gave him a task to complete — which didn’t involve pixelated pick axes (yes, I’m speaking of Minecraft) — taught him some organizational skills;  involved reading words, names, logos and numbers; involved hand-eye coordination as we placed the cards into binder pages, AND was definitely quality father-son time.

Never again will I call a low-priced baseball card set worthless as it can be priceless for others.

Thanks, Topps.

 

Thrift Treasures 91: Couldn’t get to The National so I went antiquing … 

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , on July 29, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

This blog along with my passion for finding items at second-hand stores has led to fantastic opportunities, such as writing on occasion for Beckett Media.  The gig with Beckett has afforded me the opportunity to get to two of the last three National Sports Collectors Conventions, but this year it was it in the cards, so to say.  

So with many of my fellow collectors arriving in Chicago for this years NSCC my family and I headed for one of our favorite towns, which has a slew of antique shops.

The first shop we hit had something I hadn’t seen in this store before. A 2006 Allen & Ginter Rip Card of Roberto Clemente, serial numbered 72/99.

  
As you can see the price was $29.99 and was now 70% off.  Now, we all know the deal with Rip Cards — they contain an additional card within, something that is rarer than other cards in the set. Well, as you probably guess this is a ripped Rip Card.

  
Even though the rear of the card is technically missing, the price point of $8.99 after discounts, made it appealing.  The card is even cooler since it features the old serial number style. And of course the 2015 A&G set was just released and it celebrates the 10th anniversary. The Clemente is from that inaugural set.

In the same area where the Clemente was at, there was a box of cards marked 25 cents each. Lots of commons from 1988 and 1989.  In the box was this 1989 Fleer Bill Ripken.  

This is not the vulgar version, this is the “scribble” version, which isn’t a super rare variation, but not super common either. 

And at the very last shop I found this sealed deck of baseball playing cards for $3.50

  
The front of the box bills this as the “Baseball Card Game,” which judging by the rules, appears to be a take on “Go Fish.” Whatever … I was more excited about the adds featuring Hall of Famers and discussing their stats. There are 13 players features and all have four cards. Each card focuses on a different stat.

  
Total cost for these treasures: $12.74

You can see more Thrift Treasures posts Here

Thrift Treasures 67: 1967 Coke, Sprite and Tab Hank Aaron and Willie Mays Bottle Caps Hank

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , on April 6, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

The family and I went to the Alameda Antique Faire today, the self-billed largest antique Faire in all of California. Not sure if this is true or not, but I will say it was the largest re-sell atmosphere I’ve ever been in.

That said, there were some sports items tucked in here and there, but most of the stuff was traditional antique type stuff.

There were many items I would have enjoyed in my collection, but nothing that was cheap enough or spoke to me in the way that this small lot of 1967 soft drink bottle caps did.

We wandered the aisles for three-plus hours, but within the first 30 minutes I had found MY purchase for the day.

In a box of bottle caps marked $2 each were these two Willie Mays and one Hank Aaron ones. There were dozens from this same era, all of which depicted a baseball or football player. But I didn’t want just any cap … I wanted one or ones that needed to be rescued from the darkness of antique purgatory. There was a really bad Pete Rose I considered and a Willie McCovey as well, but I decided to go with these three, figuring I could negotiation then 3 for $5 instead of $2 each. Of course the seller took the money.

The Hank Aaron is a traditional Coke brand. One of the Willie Mays ones is a Sprite cap and the other is a Tab cap.

Condition wise they are not mint. They have some rust on the backside, but for the most part they still have their original shape. I loved the purchase instantly and liked it even more when I saw that sellers on eBay were asking $10-$40 each.

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Monster Mailday: Superstar Signatures and Chrome Prospects

Posted in New Addition, Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

Ah, the beloved mailday post. It doesn’t get much more easier or gratifying than this.

Over the last three months I made several purchases on COMC.com using store credit I earned by selling my lesser valued cards. I turned those into some pretty major additions to my collection. As it turned out, this package of 14 cards arrived on the same day as another big addition I made via eBay.

Let’s start with the eBay mailday.

IMG_9744Hank Aaron is still a mythical figure to me. Sure, Barry Bonds sullied the All-Time Home Run mark, ripping the title from Hammerin’ Hank. But Hank is still Hank. He’s revered in baseball, still a legend in our hobby, and in my mind, his signature is a must-own.

Hank’s autograph has worsened over the last 10 years, likely because he’s getting older. His signatures are not hard to come by, but getting his name inked on a card you love is something that can be a costly endeavor. For me, that card is the 1954 Topps rookie card.

Here’s the 1994 Topps Archives 1954 Topps rookie reprint of Hank Aaron, which was limited to 1,954 copies and was available via redemption cards that were issued into packs of the nearly 20-year-old product. The quality of the signatures on some of these cards is suspect. At times the ink can be seen running off the card. This one however looks great. The grade “8” issued by Beckett Grading Services might be a tad off-putting for some. But the reason the card graded so low was the “7.5” mark issued for centering. I’m 99.9% sure this would re-grade higher. Both the front and back have really good centering, certainly better than the issued “7.5.”

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OK, now my COMC mail …

I’ve been raving about this site for almost three years now. I’ll start by saying that it is not for everyone. You have to spend a little money and time to make your lesser-valued cards work to your advantage. But if you’re the kind of collector who doesn’t really have the space or desire to keep a lot of inserts, the the site could work to your advantage.

Here’s a small grouping of signed rookie/prospect autos I needed for my collection:

2005 Topps Chrome Nate McClouth, 2004 Bowman Sterling auto Carlos Quentin, and 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft Yasmani Grandal

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A few more Chromes …

2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects autograph Kolten Wong. (I upgraded from a 2012 Bowman Prospects auto orange /250, almost straight up)

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2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Autograph Refractor Sonny Gray

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2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects autograph Trevor Bauer

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2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Autograph Refractor Matt Moore BGS graded 9/10 (upgraded from a basic Chrome auto for about the same price)

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A 2012 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Joey Chestnut autograph. Chestnut and I went to the same college, and truthfully, this will go well with my 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter Takeru Kobayashi signature. Eat up, Boys!

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Here’s some PSA Graded rookie action. Both were acquire for about $5 each:

1987 Topps Traded Greg Maddux rookie PSA 9 Mint.

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1989 Topps Traded Ken Griffey Jr. rookie PSA 9 Mint.

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A vintage hall of fame rookie … 1933 Goudey Fred Lindstrom rookie card. Creased, but priced accordingly.

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Now my big three in this batch from COMC…

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Matt Wieters is going to save baseball!

Before Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and even Stephen Strasburg, Wieters was considered the next big thing. I’m sure you remember. His 2007 Elite Extra Edition autograph was easily a $150 card.

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Well, Wieters hasn’t been the immediate massive mashing monster we all thought. But he has been an all-star and he’s a solid contributor for the up-start Baltimore Orioles. That said, I’m thrilled to have added this card to my collection post-hype for just about the price of a retail blaster.

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Matt Harvey is the next Nolan Ryan or Tom Seaver!

A stretch? Probably. But the price of his signed 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects card certainly makes you wonder if it’s closer to the truth.

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Harvey is the current champion of the hype machine. He’s THE guy to own right now, (aside from Yasiel Puig) and as luck would have it, I did not own this card. Well, after some finagling of items on the site and some back-and-forth negotiating, I managed to acquire one. The front looks awesome, but the back is slightly off center. Not a big deal to me because the signature is really clean.

***

Sandy Koufax signs a lot!

If you’ve joined the hobby in the last two or three years, you’re probably sick of hearing about that Sandy Koufax guy. His face is in damn near every Topps insert set and his signature is the high-priced trophy we all try to obtain when ripping packs. Well, before 2011 Koufax really didn’t have many certified signatures on the market. He had a few Upper Deck cards, and one 1998 Donruss Signatures signed release, which also came in a refractor-style parallel.

Well, looky here ….

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One popped up on COMC and I was able to negotiate it down to a price at which I was really, really happy to add it to my collection.

All in all, a quality mailday. Two major signatures finally added to my collection and most of the cost was off-set using funds I acq1uiredby “selling” cards I already owned.

IMG_9745Interested in COMC.com? You can see my seller list here.

Thrift Treasures 52: Tuesday’s Gone …

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , on July 26, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

“I don’t know … where I’m goin’ … I just want to be … left alone …”

Words to live by … especially when you’re thrifting.

After work on Tuesday I made a quick run to a thrift store just to see if they had any new cards in their card trough.

Sure enough they had a few new ones sprinkled in with the same stuff I’ve been looking at for almost a year.

But before we get to the cards, check out this steal on got on this Lynyrd Skynyrd CD … four of the songs on this album always find their way onto all of the Skynyrd greatest hits compilations.  And it cost me … a buck.  Anything I found in the card bins after this was going to be a bonus.

So this thrift store is the one that I constantly battle with when it comes to pricing their baseball cards.  There’s no sign on the card trough, and depending on clerk working the register, the cards are either 10 for $1 or 20 for $1.

Today they were 20 for a $1.  I’ll do the math for you.  That’s a nickel a piece. I got 20 cards. I know, big spender!

Here’s the loot …

I hadn’t seen 1989 Pro Set football at thrift in quite some time, but this one instantly reminded me of my early collecting days. That’s Hall of Famer Rod Woodson’s rookie card, baby.

This 1997/1998 UD Choice Draw Your Own Card of Michael Jordan seemed like a no-brainer at this price point.

With those non-baseball items out of the way, let me back up a tad and tell you what i saw when I first got to the bins.

There were little stacks of 2000 Upper Deck Legends baseball cards mixed in these plastic tubs, and THAT is what instantly caught my eye because I knew that I hadn’t seen them before.  I got to the store 20 minutes before they closed so I had to bust through these boxes real quick.  There were probably more quality stars but I took these:

Four 2000 UD Legends Mike Schmidt cards.

Ken Griffey Jr, Stan Musial and Lou Gehrig subsets from 2000 UD Legends

Seven UD Legends Hank Aaron cards.

2000 UD Legends “Millenium Team” Mark McGwire and Mike Schmidt

And now the show stopper …

Do you see it?

Check out the shiny card.

That’s not a base card.

What’s amusing to me is that there could be a Greg Maddux SuperCollector out there who is missing this 2000 UD Legends parallel /100. And as it turned out one of the 100 produced cards was sitting in a bargain bin at a thrift store.  At any time this card could have fallen onto the floor, and then be swept into a dustpan and discarded.

Total cost of these (card) Treasures: $1.

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

 

Thrift Treasures 50: The Hardback Edition

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

I’m not a book collector, but I tell you, there are some mighty gems hidden in the book section of your local thrift stores.  Among all the out-dated text books, well-loved self-help offerings and trashy novels are some real finds that should not be resting among the stale stench of donated items.

I’ve had good luck in the past in this often-overlooked section.  I’ve found books signed by famed OJ Simpson Lawyer Johnnie Cochrane, Former First Lady Barbara Bush, Football Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott and even President Bill Clinton.  Seriously.  I’ve sold all except for the Clinton.

And in one book I actually located a pair of mint Super Bowl XIX tickets, a game that featured the  San Francisco 49ers vs. Miami Dolphins in 1985.

So you can’t blame me if I keep checking out this section.

Well, last week I came away with some nice finds in this section again, albeit no where near the level of the aforementioned pieces.

Here we have first edition hardback copies of Hank Aaron and Willie Mays biographies, and a book my Rudy Ruettiger, the subject of  legendary sports movie “Rudy.”

Even if you’re not a book reader, the Mays and Aaron books make for great decorative pieces in a man cave.  The Ruettiger book, on the other hand, was a must-own because …

… it’s signed!

The moment I saw the signature, I instantly regretted not purchasing something I had seen just two months ago.  It was a book signed by Sean Astin, the actor who portrayed Ruettiger in “Rudy.”

And to answer your question as to why I passed on the Astin signed book … I didn’t want to buy a book about him being a Hobbit.

Total cost of these Treasures: $11.97

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE.

A “Swell” vintage haul from my LCS

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , on February 11, 2011 by Cardboard Icons

My affinity to old, smelly cardboard is hard to describe.  The aroma is intoxicating (perhaps literally?) and their sight is captivating.  If it’s old, features a player I like and the price is right, then the card is one I shall own.

I made a trip to one of my local card shops this week to dig through the dozen or so boxes of price-friendly vintage baseball they’ve got sitting around.  It had been about eight weeks since the last time I’d dabbled in these boxes, so there was bound to be something new.  When all was said and done, I spent about 90 minutes and $40 (after a 20 percent discount) on seven oldies but goodies that are now part of my collection.  Enjoy:

1969 Topps Deckle Juan Marichal -- Sticker Price: $1

1969 Topps Deckle Willie McCovey -- Sticker Price: $1.50

1969 Topps Deckle Pete Rose -- Sticker Price: $4

1969 Topps Deckle Roberto Clemente -- Sticker Price: $7

1970 Topps Johnny Bench -- Sticker Price: $5

1969 Topps Hank Aaron -- Sticker Price: $12

1969 Topps Willie Mays -- Sticker Price: $15

1948 Swell Sports Thrills Bob Feller -- Sticker Price: $8