Archive for sports cards

I love COMC, but …

Posted in Commentary, Misc. with tags , , , , , on January 21, 2018 by Cardboard Icons

For the better part of eight years I have been a buyer and seller on COMC. The service offered it pretty amazing. Yes, other sites also offer singles for sale via consignment from collectors. But this site, in my eyes, changed the game.

As a buyer, you get scans of each card for sale, get to combine shipping, and usually get rock-bottom prices. As a seller, all you really need to do is box up your cards and their service sorts and label everything for you. You then set your price for your item. No hassles with shipping and handle. That’s also what they do.

But as the years have gone by, there have been a few things about COMC that have really started to irk me. The first of which is inconsistency in terms of what they will take for consignment, and what they reject.

COMC has the right to reject cards. I get that. But what I don’t get is the grounds under which they make that decision, and that is what is frustrating. COMC labels some cards based upon their condition — they do it for old and new. If a card is in poor condition, they often label it that way. But in my experience, the service simply returns my cards to me instead of also giving my cards the same treatment.

And while I’d agree that no one is in the market for some common poor condition cards, the ones that really irk me are the rarer ones, late 1990s basketball inserts,early 2000s football serial numbered inserts, and even some tougher releases, such as these 1986 Carnation Major League Wrestling cards. The wrestling cards usually go for $50 on eBay even in low grade condition. And some of the cards that have been rejected on my end are ones that could sell for $5-$15 even in their condition simply because they aren’t available on COMC or eBay. Heck, even autographs have been rejected.

Along these same lines of frustration is the fact that more and more of my cards have been returned to me for being damaged, even ones that weren’t damaged before I packaged them up.

When I send cards to COMC, I place every card into a penny sleeve, and then place the sleeved cards into 500-count boxes. This helps keep the surface safe, and reduces movement within the box during shipment. However, in some orders I have some 20-50 cards returned to me because they’re “damaged.” And when I look a the cards, they all have damage in the same spot, almost as if they were placed haphazardly into a card sorter during the process. The damage usually consists of a ding to the bottom left corner, and some edge damage on the top left … which would be consistent with setting the left side down into a card sorter.

Then there are the cases of mystery damage, like these dents that wound up on the top of these cards here …

And then perhaps the most baffling of all are the ones that are rejected because they’re supposedly damaged, yet I see no damage when I review them, Granted this 2017 Topps Museum Victor Martinez patch card isn’t lighting the hobby world on fire, but it’s still got some value. and most importantly … it’s not damaged.

I don’t expect an apology or special treatment from COMC. I will not boycott their services over this issue. I’ve shared some of these sentiments on Twitter before so this isn’t something we should be calling “breaking news.” But I do expect COMC to be a little more consistent with everyone’s cards.

Ben,

Cardboard Icons

Collector of Hall of Fame tobacco era and Rookie cards.

Collector of Roger Clemens and Clayton Kershaw.

You can teach me on Twitter and Instagram @cardboardicons. You can also reach me via e-mail at cardboardicons@yahoo.com

Tales from the Vintage Bargain Bins: 59 Topps Mantle, 68 Bench RC, more

Posted in Newspaperman, Vintage Bargain Bins with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

So in my previous post, I documented a sweet pull that came from a 2012 Panini America Signature Series pack. That pack came as an impulse buy after I spent an hour digging through the card shop’s Price Friendly Vintage boxes. It’s a great shop for vintage, and I used to go through these boxes more often. But in recent years I’d slowed down this hunt.

But there I was on Wednesday going through the boxes that I had not gone through in more than a year.

There were a couple high-dollar scores, some not-so-significant rookie cards I (think I) needed for my collection, and a few “different” types of cards that caught my attention.

On that note, let’s start with the “different” items.

I’m sure you’ve seen these before, but this is a 1965 Topps Embossed card of Ernie Banks. These were inserted into regular packs in 1965 and offered collectors a “different” type card of star players. There was a badly cut Roberto Clemente in the box for $5, but I liked the value on this Ernie Banks at $1. The card is scuffed and has a pin hole at the top, but it’s still worth 100 pennies to me.

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Here are a pair of 1969 Topps Sticker Albums. These also were inserted into packs and basically served as a place to put the player stickers that were also included in some packs. The albums are separated by team and show players inside with their stats. The albums I got are of the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs. The Astros one doesn’t have any stickers, but the Cubs has a few, including Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins. One a side note, the back side of these albums showcase facsimile signatures for players on the team. Surely that was a nifty idea for the time. These were 50 cents each.

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IMG_6901IMG_6900IMG_6903And here are a pair of 1970 Topps Booklets, one of Pete Rose and one of Ernie Banks. These are essentially comic books telling the career story of the depicted player. Kinda neat. Banks cost me $2; Rose was $2.50. Pretty good shape considering the card stock is thin like paper.

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IMG_6907IMG_6908And now some rookies:

We’ll start with a PSA 7 1981 Topps Jari Kurri rookie. I’m not big on hockey cards, but a PSA 7 for $3 seemed like a goo deal so I nabbed it.

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Speaking of graded. Here’s a 1981 Topps Harold Baines BGS 6 for $2. The grade is lower, but looking at the breakdown, the reason this got a 6 is because of the centering. Either way, I’ll pay $2 for older solid rookie cards in BGS slabs.

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And lower grades … here’s a creased 1992 Topps Derek Jeter rookie card for $2.50. Not exactly vintage, but it was in the box. I’ll bite at that price. It still presents nicely.

IMG_6913How about a 1967 Topps Sal Bando rookie card. I own one already, but this one looks a LOT better than the one in my collection.

IMG_6904Here’s the rookie card of 1970 American League batting champion Alex Johnson, 1965 Topps.

IMG_6905And the 165 Topps rookie card of Cleon Jones, a key member of the 1969 New York Mets championship run.

IMG_6909So, I went a good five years without acquiring a Bobby Cox rookie. And about a year or so ago, I found one in an antique store for just a few dollars. It’s a gorgeous card. During this trip I located another Cox rookie and it was $3. I like adding those kind of cards to my collection for the price of a pack of cards.

IMG_6906And now the three big purchases of the day.

We’ll start with a 1948 Bowman Marty Marion rookie. Truthfully, I have never seen one of these. This one is in good shape aside from the centering. Price $16. Not bad for a Hall of Famer.

IMG_6914 Creased cards get a bad wrap in our hobby. It’s almost the death of a card if it has been bended. That said, I can’t let a 1968 Topps Johnny Bench rookie card sit in this box for $9. Surely someone can appreciate just owning a Bench rookie. I already have a graded one, so this one will be made available at some point.

IMG_6898And now the main attraction. Remember what I said about creased cards? The crease in this 1959 Topps All Star Mickey Mantle card killed it’s value. But for $15 I cannot — nor shall anyone else — leave an authentic vintage card of perhaps the hobby’s biggest name in a box.

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Cardboard Icons’ celebrates 5 years of “blogging”

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , on July 3, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

It’s a milestone day. Today is indeed the fifth anniversary of this blog. And what better way to celebrate the day than to give you a very short update. I’ve been rather infrequent in posting over the last month or two; time flies. A day turns into a week, a week into a month, etc.

I’ve found that at this point, there are so many ways to express my thoughts or show my creativity, which essentially has been my objective of this blog. When I started, I tried to post something — anything — every day and it was fun. Then we had the addition of Twitter and Instagram to our collecting worlds. I tell you, its a lot easier to hammer out a few 140-character tweets from anywhere than it is to sit in front of a computer, write out a concise piece and then add pictures. Believe me, I’ve spent hours laboring over some of my posts in the past. (Like this one from earlier this week: The World is Your’s: The Life and Times of Lil B Weezy)

And personally, Instagram has been a God-send. I’ve always sought ways to show off my cards; using the Instagram app has made it fun and allowed for some interesting images.

Anyhow, I’ll wrap up this officially brief anniversary piece by saying that I plan to write more in the near future — perhaps this weekend? — but as is the case with everything, only if time permits.

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Sometimes you gotta give ’em what they want — NUDITY

Posted in Cardboard Porn with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

One of my favorite daily routines is to check my blog stats and search terms to see how some people found this little site about baseball cards.

Call me vein, but I like to know how you guys found me.  I don’t advertise anywhere (does Twitter count?), and I am not active in a bunch of forums — although I am sure my stats would be up if I were. So to see that hundreds of you are finding me each day is quite remarkable.

I digress.

Usually the search terms that lead to my blog are basic stuff — names of hottest players, recently released products, some broad search for “Yo MTV Raps cards.” (Have you seen the greatness of the Gallery?!?!?!)

But every few days I get a few lurkers hunting for nudity.

Today: “rickey henderson naked.”

This is the first time I got this search term.  Oddly enough I get a few hits from people looking for “David Wright Nude” every few days. Sorry guys and gals, no David Wright nakedness here.

But Rickey?

Oh yeah, I gots me some “Rickey Henderson Naked.” In fact, a LOT of people had some Rickey Henderson Naked in 1991.

So Beckett recently released the ’90s issue of the Beckett Sports Card Monthly and somehow, the magazine complely missed the gem that is the 1991 Score Dream Team subset.

Want to talk gimmicks and controversy?  Check these things out.  There were three players in the ultra-sheik 1991 Score Dream Team Set who posed partially nude for their baseball cards.

Rickey Henderson is in his underwear seemingly taking a lead off a base.

Jose Canseco is completely topless and wearing his jeans while completing a swing in the hillside somewhere.

And Kirby Puckett is just posing topless … kinda awkward, I know.

When I worked in newspapers a few years back I had some down time and searched our archives for articles on baseball cards.  I found two:  One on the controversial 1989 Fleer Bill Ripken “Rick” Face card and one on these 1991 Score Dream Team cards.

If I remember correctly, the article was written by a female colleague and essentially documented the various reactions from people about these  partially nude cards. Reactions were all over the board.  Some liked them, others said they would no longer let their kids collect because of the gimmickry.

Sound familiar?

I share a hobby with 9 year olds …

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , on August 22, 2011 by Cardboard Icons

My son ... enjoying my 1958 Topps All-Star Mickey Mantle.

For about as long as I can remember, I’ve heard nothing but adults preaching about how card collecting is for kids.

It’s a common thought among those who never really dabbled in the cardboard themselves.  They see the way the small cards capture ones attention and remember how they or their friends played with cards.  And then they remember how they grew out of them — assuming everyone else did as well.

But this is not true.

The world of card collecting is very much an adult hobby now. Have you seen the prices?  Have you walked into any card shop or card aisle at any major big box store?  More times than not, those missing packs were not purchased by children.  Those were adults’, baby!

But how does that make you feel?  Assuming you’re an adult of some sort reading this little blog/diary of my card collecting journey.  How does it feel to know that you participate in a hobby that is widely considered a child’s game?

This topic comes to mind because my wife and I participated in a multi-family garage sale this weekend hosted by a family with two tweenage boys.  Yes, I said tweenage.  I digress.

The boys are the product of a husband and wife who have been involved in cards for years.  The father actually owns a shop, so it is of no surprise that the offspring would also have some interest in the hobby.  During this garage sale, they were selling some of their goods (singles from their collection) and I was selling 600-800 count boxes of partial sets that I was tired of looking at.

I went through their cards several times and purchased maybe a dozen or two.  And they bought two partial sets — 2008 and 2009 Topps baseball.  I watched them as they enjoyed the cards that had been sitting in my storage for years collecting dust. When the garage sale was over, I ended up giving them the other 13 partial sets that I intended to sell.  I knew they were going to a good home.

But somewhere along the way, my wife’s friend — the link between me and the host family — stopped and said to me, “Is it weird knowing that you share a hobby with a 9 year old?”

I laughed because it was a valid question.  I don’t think she was saying it to belittle what I do.  Hell, she also has been involved in some fashion in the hobby over the years.

But the little statement came at an interesting time.  Not 5 minutes earlier I was watching the two sons go through cards, talking about how the players look, their stats, etc.  They were enjoying the cards … not their potential worth.

It’s interesting to see the interaction between a kid and their cards.  I can remember having the same conversations with my friends.  But now some 24 years into my cardboard journey, my discussions are predominantly focused on a cards’ value.

So to answer the question …

It feels  a little odd to know I share  a hobby with 9 years olds.  But at the same time, it’s also kind of neat knowing that because that, two people who are several decades apart in age can have a valid conversation based solely on their hobby and their enjoyment of sport.

This is one of the appeals of baseball and card collecting.  About how in its simplest form, the hobby can bring generations of people together.

A sneak peak into my on-going project

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , on October 28, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

For the last several weeks, I’ve been putting my non-graded/slabbed rookie cards into binder pages. I’ll have an announcement coming in a few weeks regarding this, but here’s a few images of one of the binders.


Card of the Day: 2007 Upper Deck Star Rookies Daisuke Matsuzaka autograph*

Posted in Card of the Day, TTM Success with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2008 by Cardboard Icons

matsuzaka1Holy bleepin bleep! Look what showed up in my mail box today. For the last two weeks I’ve gotten a weird feeling every time I’d checked my mail when returning from work. I sent out nearly 100 autograph requests during Spring Training this year and really didn’t have much success. But for some reason I got a feeling recently that one or two might trickle in now that the season is over. But never in a thousand years did I expect to see Matsuzaka — whom I sent to in July 2007 and had already written off! Continue reading