Archive for Sandy Koufax

MojoMailday: Beating The Odds with Refractors

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , , on September 4, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Every few weeks I like to participate in a break with MojoBreak and more times than not so look to grab a Dodgers spot because … I collect Clayton Kershaw.

Sometimes the break is priced so fairly that I can’t help but take a shot even if the odds are greatly against me. Such was the case last week when the site broke a mixer of 5 Topps MLB products. The assortment consisted of 2018 Bowman’s Best, and then 2019 editions of Bowman, Stadium Club, Topps Chrome and Five Star.

Well, I definitely beat the odds. First in the single box of Stadium Club there was a Sandy Koufax Chrome Orange Refractor /99. Then in Topps Chrome there was a gold Refractor Clayton Kershaw /50.

It’s true I probably could have gotten both Koufax and Kershaw for about the same price that I paid for the break spot, but then I wouldn’t have this fun story about beating the odds.

The kicker here is I also got a Walker Buehler Bowman’s Best Rookie Refractor, so that’s a trio of shiny Dodgers arms I have added to my collection.

Condition Sensitive: Centered with lower grade, or off-center and higher grade?

Posted in Misc., Rookie Card Upgrade with tags , , , , , on January 5, 2017 by Cardboard Icons

I love vintage cards, and loving old cards often means you have to decide how bad of a condition you are willing to accept in order to add one of the prized pieces to your collection. Because let’s face it, good condition vintage usually means spending good money.

When dealing with mid to lower grade cards — those that usually fit into most collectors budgets — there are lots of factors to consider. What types of “damage” to a card are you willing to tolerate: Creases? Writing? Bent corners? Torn corners? Layered corners? Minor paper loss? Glue or gum Stains? And so forth.

Each collector has different things they’ll tolerate. For a long time my one and one standing rule was: I must be able to see the players face.  I broke this rule once when I obtained my first 1948 Bowman Stan Musial rookie. The card had surface damage on Musial’s face, making it pretty hard to display without giving it the stink eye.  I eventually moved that Musial and upgraded to a much more presentable copy.

This game of upgrading or changing a card for a different version of the same card is one that some collectors partake in quite a bit. I do it infrequently, but I’m always looking to better the collection, whether it be by adding a missing piece, or growing aesthetically. I’m an opportunist, if you will.

Such was the case recently when I logged into eBay and found a gorgeous looking 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax rookie card. The card was professionally graded by Beckett Vintage Grading and was actually graded lower than the BVG 4 I had sitting in my display case.  I was very much content with the Koufax already in my collection, a card I acquired a decade ago when I shifted gears in terms of my hobby focus. The one draw back for me on the 4 was always the centering. It wasn’t horrible, but it was off.  This is a classic problem with the 1955 sets. The cards are horizontal and the bottom border typically seems to be shorter than the top.

I like sharp corners. I like smooth surfaces. But above all, I really enjoy a centered baseball card. And so when the lesser-grade Koufax popped up on eBay with a Buy It Now that seemed more than reasonable, I decided I had to snag it and at least compare the cards in person. It made really ponder which of the two Koufax rookies would stay and which would hit the market. I don’t need both.

And so I pondered: Do I keep the centered copy with slightly lesser desirable corners, or the one with better corners and worse centering? Obviously the one with better corners and higher grade would probably sell for more on the open market.

I posed the question to Twitter followers without specifying which card. A total of 84 people made a selection in the poll and the results weren’t completely skewed, but the majority did say they prefer centered vintage with softer corners over off-center cards with better corners.

The poll results definitely leaned in the direction I feel, and after comparing the two cards in person — even in their respective BVG cases — I do feel that the lesser grade with better centering is best for me at this point. I mean, when I walk past my wall-mounted display case, a centered Koufax pops out at me more than one that is slightly off-center.

What are your thoughts on condition when it comes to vintage cards? What defects are you willing to tolerate? What damages take precedent when you go about purchasing a vintage card for your collection?




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 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.”


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


A few more Chromes …

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


2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Autograph Refractor Sonny Gray


2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects autograph Trevor Bauer


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


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!


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

1987 Topps Traded Greg Maddux rookie PSA 9 Mint.


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


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


Now my big three in this batch from COMC…


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.


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.


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.


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 ….


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 You can see my seller list here.

Instagram Portrait: 1956 Topps Sandy Koufax (Danny McDevitt)

Posted in Instagram Portraits with tags , , , on December 19, 2012 by Cardboard Icons


Thrift Treasures XLV: 2012 San Francisco Tri-Star Show Haul 1/3

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

It’s a beautiful thing when you wake up on a Friday, have the day off work and the only real plan is to hit the first day of an annual three-day major card show.

It may have been Friday the 13th, but there was no bad luck for me when it came to cards.  I was headed to the annual Tri-Star Productions card show in San Francisco with a pocket full of cash and a plan that included bargain hunting. The end result is one that will be absolutely impossible to match in the future.

In fact, my haul included some 300 cards, some of which will blow your mind given the prices at which they were purchased.  But because there was so much acquired at the show, I’ll have to break the haul into three blog posts. They’ll all be documented as “Thrift Treasures” because the prices I paid were pretty much on par with what I would have paid at a thrift store. Unbelievable.

This is Part One of Three:

Where do I start? We’ll kick things off with a dealer who had a vast array of clearance items.  He had probably six 5,000 count boxes full of cards priced at a dime each, a box of cards in Top Loaders that were 2 for $1 each, and then some PSA graded cards he wanted a buck each.  Insane.

The following cards are ALL from this one dealer:

How ’bout a little PSA 10 action?

There were at least 50 cards in the PSA bargain bin, but a lot of them were 7s, 8s and 9s.  Had I not already been jaded by some other deals, I probably would have went to town on this one box.  Instead I bought only the pictured Gem Mint 1990 Topps TV All-Stars Dwight Gooden.  There is one on eBay for $17.99 Buy It Now, and the description says there are 4 graded as Gem Mint by PSA.  I guess I have one of them now. Cost: $1


We’ll work backward and show the cards that were the most expensive next.  These next two were 50 CENTS each.  Seriously?!

1964 Topps League Leaders card featuring Sandy Koufax, Warren Spahn and Juan Marichal

1977 Topps Andre Dawson rookie card


In one of the 5,000 Monster Boxes, the seller had  about 3,000 1975 Topps cards all in plastic sleeves.  There wasn’t much quality left in there when I hit those, but I did locate a few Steve Swisher rookies.  Until yesterday I had been unable to obtain even one of these. Cost: 10 CENTS each

4 1975 Topps Mini Steve Swisher and 1 1975 Topps Steve Swisher rookie card


In a small sandwich bag stuffed in a two-row shoe box were some over-sized cards that everyone seemed to pass on, probably because they had no clue what they were.  Me?  I knew EXACTLY what they were.  They were 1989 Topps Baseball Talk!  I had only seen people play with them, and had never owned any personally because they were too expensive and not readily available to me.  The bag contained 30 of these cards, which feature plastic record-type discs on the back which play audio clips when inserted into the machine that plays them.  I thought about buying them all, but really, there were only 10 that felt like must-haves.  The seller didn’t care if I only took the ones I really wanted, so … I did! These were all 10 Cents each.

1989 Topps Baseball Talk Don Mattingly

1989 Topps Baseball Talk Cal Ripken

1989 Topps Baseball Talk Nolan Ryan

1989 Topps Baseball Talk Ralph Kiner

1989 Topps Baseball Talk Al Kaline

1989 Topps Baseball Talk Eddie Mathews

1989 Topps Baseball Talk Roberto Clemente

1989 Topps Baseball Talk Ty Cobb

1989 Topps Baseball Talk Babe Ruth

1989 Topps Baseball Talk Hank Aaron

How awesome was that?  Got all ten of those for a buck.  And because I like to have fun with numbers,  want to guess what the Beckett high book value of that small lot of Baseball Talk cards is? Just $103.50.  Yeah, a C-Note.


Anyone like hockey?  I don’t actively collect hockey, but I do know rookie cards.  Did I mention these were 10 cents each?

197701978 O-Pee-Chee Mike Milbury rookie card

1982 O-Pee-Chee Steve Kasper Rookie Card

1986-1987 Topps Gary Suter rookie card

1977-1978 O-Pee-Chee New York Rangers checklist

1992-1993 Upper Deck Hockey Heroes Wayne Gretzky Header Card SP

1972-1973 Topps Guy LaFleur


A pair of football rookies — 10 cents each

1981 Topps Dan Hampton Rookie Card

1987 Topps Randall Cunningham Rookie Card


Let’s move onto some baseball …

I like Nolan Ryan. I like his cards. I really like his cards when they are ten for a buck.

1990 KayBee Nolan Ryan

1992 Topps Gold Winner Nolan Ryan

1992 Topps Gold Winner Nolan Ryan Record Breaker

1991 Stadium Club Nolan Ryan -- I actually got two of these.

1982 O-Pee-Chee Nolan Ryan


…And Rickey Henderson …

1983 Topps Rickey Henderson

1988 Starting Lineup Rickey Henderson

1992 Flopps Stickey Henderson


Eight baseball stars …

1993 Upper Deck George Brett / Robin Yount SP

1992 Topps McDonald's George Brett

1992 Topps McDonald's Ken Griffey Jr.

1988 KayBee Cal Ripken Jr.

1995 Summit Nth Degree Cal Ripken Jr. CL

1981 Kellogs Steve Henderson

2011 Topps Diamond Ichiro

2001 BBM Best 9 Hideki Matsui


Some baseball rookies/prospects:


And we’ll close the first part of this series with a slew of “vintage” wrestling cards.  This is where good gets awesome.

2 1987 Topps WWF Stickers WWF Logo

1987 Topps WWF Stickers Andre The Giant

1987 Topps WWF Stickers Randy Savage and Elizabeth

1987 Topps WWF Stickers Hulk Hogan

2 1987 Topps WWF Stickers Bret Hart

1985 O-Pee-Chee Bobby "The Brain" Heenan

1985 O-Pee-Chee Jim Neidhart rookie card

1985 O-Pee-Chee Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon

3 1985 Topps "Macho Man" Randy Savage In Action cards

1985 Topps WWF Sticker Lou Albano

1985 Topps WWF Sticker Jesse Ventura

1985 Topps WWF Sticker Iron Sheik

1987 Topps Macho Man Randy Savage w/ Elizabeth

7 1987 Topps Hulk Hogan cards

4 1987 Topps Bret Hart rookie cards

And the grand finale … a flying elbow from the top rope …

1985 O-Pee-Chee Randy "Macho Man" Savage w/ Elizabeth rookie card.

Oooooh, yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!  That Macho Man Canadian rookie card is in great condition and might be worth grading.  Raw copies of this card are upward of $20 easy.

Total cost of these treasures: $9.50

Think those were awesome?

I’m just getting started.

Stay tuned for the next part of this special Thrift Treasures series.

Part One // Part Two // Part Three

Another reason to have your cards slabbed by BGS

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

Like it or not, your baseball cards were meant to be handled. Whether it be by you, your wife or your kids, they are best enjoyed when they are in someone hands, not in some dark box. So what better way to ensure the protection of your cards than to have them in a protective holder.

I own cards graded by lots of companies — particularly PSA, SGC and BGS, but for my dollar, the best holders by far are offered by Beckett.

If this 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax rookie were in any other holder, there is no chance I’d let me 14-month-old kid handle it. What makes me really happy about the card being slabbed is knowing that when she is older, we both can handle the cards while I teach her a thing or two about the hobby and sport.

Thrift Treasures Part XXII: Card Show Bargain Bins

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

I’m kind of cheating here with this post by labeling it under Thrift Treasures, but given the prices I paid for the items within, I certainly felt like I was thrift shopping.

I woke up Sunday morning not expecting to go to a card show, but half way through the morning I remembered there was one scheduled for at a local mall, so I spoke to my wife and we decided to go as a family. Normally it’s not a good idea to take the entire family to a show. For collectors, time easily gets sucked away digging through boxes for bargains. For companions who are not into cards, this time can feel like eternity — alone. Nonetheless, we went together. I figured we could get some lunch and knock out some Christmas shopping if the show was a dud. As it turned out, the show turned out pretty awesome, for me, anyway.

The show was advertised as having 40 tables, which is pretty small. In all there were probably about a dozen booths located sporadically throughout the mall, dumb idea if you ask me. The first one I stopped at was a major no-no in my eyes. On one table were two boxes full of cards from all sports with the price “50 cents and up” written on the front. When I inquired how much a certain card was (I was looking at a neat EX 2000 Barry Bonds acetate die-cut insert) the dealer told me to pull out what i wanted and, “I’ll give you a good deal.” That prompted this somewhat vulgar Tweet. (link)  I just walked away. I don’t screw around when I am at shows. Dear dealers: Price your shit!

Not too far around the corner I found another booth run by some teenager. From what I gather, his father owns a shop (mainly toys and memorabilia) in the mall. I dug through the autos and game jerseys (priced at $4 each or 3 for $10) and half contemplated buying a 2009 UD Icons Dexter Fowler auto, but decided not to once I saw what was in the dollar bins. For the next 30 minutes I thumbed through every card in the four boxes. I wound up with 14 cards for $14. I could have done more damage, but after a while a deal doesn’t seem like such a deal when the dollar amount keeps rising. I stuck to 12 cards for myself and two that are definitely spoken for by Houston Collector, who is on the verge of launching a new blog.

I’m usually not a fan of buying stuff at shows for other people. Why? Because we deal in cash at shows and any time I spend a buck for someone else, that is one less buck I have to spend on myself. Sounds selfish, but I’m sure it makes sense to some of you. Anyway, I put my feelings aside for these two Lance Berkman 2005 Donruss State Line parallel cards. Why? Because they are low numbered (DK is 07/30; base is 11/40) . They should fetch me some sweet Red Sox … I hope.

I passed on that Dexter Fowler auto (sticker auto, $4) and opted to go with a less expensive signature of the newest old Yankee, Nick Johnson. It’s not a rookie-year autograph, but this 2000 Just 2K Auto will fit nicely in my collection. For a buck? C’mon. I saw common signatures selling for four times as much, I’ll take this solid hitter at that price.

Here’s a super exciting Melvin Mora 2000 Pacific Omega rookie card that is sure to make you guys jealous. OK, I’m joking. I actually bought this for my rookie card collection. I was missing a Mora, and this one I always felt was his best because it is serial numbered to 999 copies.

Bored? I promise things will pick up.

Now we’re talking. A rookie card of the newly crowned American League Cy Young Award winner. I love it. It’s no chrome, but I’ll buy this for a buck, and I am sure many of you would as well. How was this in the box? Oddly enough that same question went through my head as I pulled the next NINE cards …

I know some people really hate Roger Clemens, but this is a joke, right? As a Clemens (and Red Sox) collector, I took this as a slap in the face. The left edge is a bit rough, but overall it’s pretty good shape.

Let’s take a quick break from baseball and honor some awesome hockey cards. Here we’ve got 1972-1973 Topps cards of Guy LaFleur and Bobby Orr. Are you F’n kidding me? I turned the LaFleur over and nearly crapped myself (not really, but you get me, right?) when I saw that there was only ONE year of stats listed — I thought it was his rookie. Turns out it is his second year card. Still cool, right? And the Orr? C’mon. Seriously? Neither of these cards are going to be slabbed anytime soon, but they are great finds for these prices. I don’t even collect hockey, but I might keep these as bargain hunting trophies.

From Hockey we move straight to vintage baseball. These boxes were filled to the max with serial numbered cards. In another time I would have bought lots of them. But when I found the hockey cards above, and these following vintage, all of that serial numbered stuff just seemed pointless.

1941 Double Play Gerald Walker and Joe Heving. Yes, those are holes in the card. Yes, that makes the card damn near worthless. And yes, those players are not stars. But this is the first 1941 Double Play card I’ve ever had a chance to own. Can you say you own one? The card is badass. Period. Admit it.

Um, is that a real 1952 Topps card? Sure is. A low-number, red back at that. Eddie Robinson isn’t exactly a household name, but in my home, he will forever be known as the man pictured on my good condition 1952 Topps card that I found for a buck. I’ve run across some other 1952s during other thrift hunts, but they were all in real bad shape. This one is pretty awesome, clean front and back.

You might have heard of this guy. This is not one of his true vintage card, but this 1960 Fleer is my first Cy Young. Actually, if you want one, you can get them on eBay for about a buck, only you’re going to have to pay shipping. Not a bad purchase if you ask me.

Anyone ever heard of that guy in the Dodger uniform? I think he’s pretty good. In 1965 he led the National League with a 2.04 ERA. This certainly isn’t one of Koufax’s most expensive cards, but I’m not complaining.

So, yeah, that’s a real 1933 Goudey card, one depicting Hall of Fame outfielder Sam Rice. Did I mention this is classified as Rice’s rookie? Guess who will be my next installment in the Rookie Card Showcase …<<insert big grin here>>

And the last card purchased from this particular dealer is now perhaps one of the coolest cards I own, a 1935 Goudey 4-In-One card featuring Hall of Famers Frank Frisch and Dizzy Dean. Seriously, this card cost me a buck. Can you think of a better way to spend a buck?

After paying for those cards, I pretty much felt on top of the collecting world. But I stopped at two more booths. At one I bought three packs of tobacco-size (A&G/T-206 minis) top loaders (price was $1.10 per 10; by comparison my local card shop wants nearly $3 for the same thing). And at the last, I spent a whopping $2 (3 cards for $1) on three Adam Wainwright rookies and three 2007 Allen & Ginter Mini cards, Jack the Ripper (regular back), Ichiro (A&G back) and Dwight Eisenhower (No Number on Back /50) That’s a hell of a haul for a total of $19.30.