Archive for hobbies

I bought the whole lot for one card…

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

You know you’re a player collector when you buy an entire lot of a player’s cards solely because you thought you needed just one of them.

Such was the case last week when I was conducting an open-ended search on eBay for Roger Clemens cards. I came upon a lot of 43 Clemens cards that initially looked like the majority of lots that hit eBay — full of standard issues from 1987 to 1998.

But this is why I try to check every single lot of Clemens cards when I do these searches — you never know what may be within the lot that was not mentioned in the title.

In the fourth image attached to this lot was a shiny blue die-cut 2000 Pacific Crown Royale Platinum Blue serial numbered to 75 copies.

The seller knew the card was special; they even show cased it on its own in the fifth and final image of the auction. But it was not listed in the header, so any person who was looking for this specific card would not have seen it. It also was not specifically listed in the description, just described as a die-cut card serial numbered 23/75.

The remainder of the lot wasn’t terrible. As it turned out there were five other cards in the lot that I did not have: 1995 Upper Deck Electric Diamond, 1998 Fleer Decade of Excellence, 1998 Ultra, 1998 Skybox Dugout Access, and 1998 Upper Deck All Star Credentials.

As far as the dupes, there was a 1997 Fleer EX-2000 – another reminder of the 1990s being full of cutting edge stuff.

Not a bad haul for under $6 delivered.

eBay selling frustrations – The NPB

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , on January 5, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Non-paying bidders/buyers on eBay is not a new trend for our hobby. We deal largely in commodities that fluctuate in price with any given day; and we know that buyers run hot and cold. Some people buy with emotion and make a purchase when they think they’re getting a good deal. And then afterward they back out of the purchase agreement with a myriad of excuses …

-My son bought this with my credit card – I did not approve.

-My child has a birthday coming up, I need to sell some other stuff first.

-I thought this was for a whole collection, not just one card

… you get the point.

Personally, I had a pretty good track record in this arena. Most of my buyers came through and made their payment within the first 24-48 hours, and sometimes it would drag to three days. But for whatever reason, I’ve had three of the last five items I’ve sold end or appear to be heading toward NPB status.

One of the excuses above was actually used 6 weeks ago when I sold a Chris Sale 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects auto. The buyer claimed to be a “breaker” from the east coast and appeared to be putting together a buy-back product when he made the purchase. I accepted his offer and then I waited … and waited. I hit him with two reminder notices via eBay and then he shot back that he’d be paying at the end of the week, which of course came and went. I hit him with a third reminder and then came the the most ridiculous excuse I had heard to this point. In summary it went like this:

His daughter was having a birthday soon, and he was trying to sell some items to make sure she had a present. He was asking me if he should sell his gold chain so that he could pay me for my Chris Sale card.

I stepped back from my computer when I saw this and laughed because the scenario seemed so far-fetched. I mean how did we go from him being a breaker, to not having enough money for the card right now, to needing money for a birthday gift AND he was adding a guilt trip of asking me if I wanted him to sell his gold chain. I should add that this was a base Sale Chrome AUTO under $100 at the time.

I digress, the reason this came up today is I am dealing with a new NPB who has not even responded to my two reminders. This buyer has some 1,500 positive feed backs and made an offer for one of my items; the offer was for $200. I pondered it for 30 minutes but ultimately accepted. This was on Dec, 29, a week ago today. I figured the buyer would pay Sunday, or Monday. Then realized me might be waiting for his eBay Bucks to kick in, which as most of us know happened on Wednesday. And when no payment came then I figured he might be waiting for Friday, Jan. 4 for payday.

But here we are, Jan 5 and no payment or communication. So frustrating.

Anyhow, I’ll leave you with this: If you’re buying something from someone and need an extra day or two, communicate that to the buyer. Don’t leave them in the dark — I mean we all love when eBay throws us a bone with special deals. But also don’t be one of those guys who makes an offer or hits a Buy It Now knowing you can’t pay for the item within two or three days.

How long have you been writing this?!

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on January 3, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Funny story. Yesterday I wrote a blog post on my laptop while sitting at the kitchen table and my son saunters over after I am done and asks what I’ve been doing.

He recently showed interest in the hobby, so he notices when I am looking at cards, or reading about them. So he wanted to take a look at what I had just done. I let him sit in my chair and have a look. He starts paging down, looking occasionally at the words, but focusing mostly on the pictures of cards.

I explain that this is my blog/web site.

“How long have you been doing this?” he asks as he scans over the fourth page of posts, pointing out some cool images I have posted.

I reply: “Ten years … but I haven’t been writing much in recent years.”

Astonished, he says, “Ten years?!”

And it was at that moment that it really hit me that I have owned this domain and used it for longer than both he and his sister have been alive. I actually started this blog some two months after my ex-wife and I learned that we were having our first child. And next week, that oldest child turns 10.

People often call music the soundtrack to their lives. For me, baseball cards are essentially my timeline.

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.

 

Topps BUNT blaster stocked with Trout; creates fun break for kids

Posted in Box / Pack Break, Misc. with tags , , , , , , on August 30, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

My kids know the drill.  When we need something, anything, for the house we’re making a Target run. And the first thing we do there is make a b-line for the baseball card aisle.

IMG_1490Tuesday was no different as my son and I went to gather some items for he and his sister’s school lunches. And when we got to the card aisle, my 5-year-old son pointed to a blaster of Topps BUNT and said,”Look, Daddy!”  He remembered the packaging from a few packs of the product that we bought last week at our local card shop.  In all honesty I wasn’t planning to buy the blaster, but I’m not going to say no if my son is showing an interest in my hobby.

So he picked the blaster as we carried one with our shopping.  When we got home, he and I started opening packs, and then my nephew of the same age came over so I let him wrestle his way into a few packs. No, seriously, look at that effort! (I got his parent’s permission to turn it into a meme.)

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It was fun watching the boys work their way into these wrappers. I’ve opened thousands of baseball cards packs in my near three decades in this hobby. I miss the old wax packs as they really weren’t a problem at all. I even remember the Sportflics brand that had wrappers similar to those used on Pop Tarts — the noise those wrappers made was weird. Upper Deck’s foil wrappers were always a treat because in their early days, the product was considered premium. The worst by far was Score — it was like someone took a plastic shopping bag and just heat-sealed a stack of 15 cards inside. I digress.

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The kids seemed to get a kick out of opening the packs. My son has a little experience with this but it still learning. But he figured it’d be best to put his knowledge to use and he tried to teach his cousin: Pinch at the top with your left hand, used your right thumb and index finger to pinch the flap and pull.

Now once the wrapper was started, the process got a little more tricky. The kids seem to think it’s cool to open the wrapper like 20 percent of the way and yank the cards out of the packs.  A few corners did not survive, but I looked to change that behavior real quick. And but the time we got through the 11 packs (remember, it’s 10 packs plus ONE bonus pack for $9.99) the boys had it down pretty good.

We went card by card; naming the player and the team. We also kept tabs of “special” (insert) cards and the code cards, which I explained were for the app on my phone. And when they hit a big name, I explained who they were/are and what that have accomplished.

My nephew managed to pull a Ken Griffey jr., a Roberto Clemente and Kyle Schwarber insert in his packs — as well as a Babe Ruth that somehow got stuck to another card and I didn;t see until I sorted the cards later. And my son reeled in a pair of keeper-size Mike Trouts, the base and a sweet “Unique Unis” insert as well.  He also nabbed a Corey Seager rookie, which was cool to see.

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I’ll be honest: I love this brand. I bought a blaster for myself about two weeks ago and knew that it was a perfect set to share the collecting experience with my kids. It’s cheap, has a loaded checklist of current and legendary players, and offers a super long shot at ink, which is appealing in that when/if you hit one it’ll be akin to finding a Elite Series insert in those early 1990s packs. I see many more packs and/or blasters of this and more in their futures.

 

I spent money to make my blog look/work better …

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , on July 30, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

You may or may not have noticed that since late December the look of my blog has been a bit off. If you view my site on your mobile device, you may not have even noticed a difference at all. If you view it on a laptop or desktop, you already know what I’m getting at.

You see, when I started this blog in 2008 I went with a no frills freebie package that allowed for me to have a small amount of media storage on the site. Well, things changed and I bought my domain name and blogged more and more.  The last few years have been somewhat infrequent, but I continued down the same path.

And then it happened:  I ran out of friggin’ storage!

So instead of uploading images to the site, I used Photobucket and then embedded the html coding. Which seemed to be working OK until I realized that the images were massive and the dimensions set by my layout with WordPress essentially cut off half of the photo. The full photo is visible of you click the image but that’s a pain in the ass.

Visually it was ugly which frustrated me and even stopped me from writing a few times in recent weeks

And so I decided to pony up and paid the piper and beginning with my next post, we’re back in business in terms of media files.  That said, the upgrade also presents other opportunities I may explore in the future.

Thanks for sticking around,

Ben, aka CardboardIcons.

  • You can reach me via e-mail at cardboardicons@yahoo.com or on Twitter @cardboardicons

What’s in that box? “Basketball Floor Box” edition

Posted in Box / Pack Break, Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

By now if you’re a frequent visitor of the sports card aisle at Target you’ve seen these not-so-fancy looking repack boxes distributed by Fairfield. The boxes show you a piece of wood and boast that the lumber is a piece of game-used floor from the 2011 NBA All-Star Game.

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For $12.99 you get a piece of floor, three packs, a memorabilia card, a Kevin Durant rookie, and a pack of Teenymates. I’m not a basketball collector really, but I will say that the floor piece intrigued me. The Target I was at had two of these boxes, one of these had a plain piece of wood and the other had a two-tone piece that appeared to have some paint on it. I decided that I was intrigued enough to buy it and bring this post to you to share what was inside.

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We’ll start with the wood.  Funny enough when I opened the box the wood tumbled into my hand and I immediately thought it was a piece of a train track from my son’s toy bin. I wondered if there was any stamp of authenticity, but there was none.  Instead I later found in the box a small folded COA that spells out that the floor is from the Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers.  The COA references “nbalab.com” which is Web site I’d never heard. And even to this day if you type up the address, you get a stale home screen, the words “Coming Soon” in the corner, and some verbiage about what the site hopes to bring to the world. In short, I’m still not sure if there is a direct association with the NBA other than the use of the logo and the three initials in the name. What does this mean about the authenticity? Got me. I guess if we have questions we can just e-mail Bill, as it says on the COA. Personally, I’ll take it for what it appears to be: A unique piece of wood purported to be from the NBA all-star game and from the court on which legend Kobe Bryant played. What’s it worth?  Less than $12.99.

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My memorabilia card came in the form of a 2008-09 Upper Deck Ben Gordon white swatch, which feels like some sort of patch and not your basic fabric. That’s a win … I suppose.

The Durant rookie is a 2007-08 Topps Retail factory Set Orange exclusive. They can be had for about $4 on COMC.com … if they were mint, which this one is not due to the fact that it bounced around inside the package.

My three packs actually surprised me as two of them were 2014-15 Prizm retail. I was fully expecting three 1990-91 Hoops packs. Only one of those Hoops packs made it into this box and both Prizm packs had Prizm parallels, which is a win I suppose. The Hoops pack was what you’d expect — a bit of a memory flashback from when I was a kid. And while not much of anything in that set is worth anything, I did get a Michael Jordan base card, which is always fun to see.

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I’ll spare your time with the Teenymates. Move along, nothing to see there.

Would I buy another? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean you should buy one if the piece of purported floor intrigues you.