Archive for sports cards

The hidden shame of collectors

Posted in Project Organize with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Funny story, last week, my ex-wife contacted me via text message and told me about this new show she was watching on Netflix called “Tidying Up.” The premise of the show being that the host had a methodology for de-cluttering one’s home and helping folks reacquaint themselves with their items. My Ex instantly reached out to me because in the second episode, they were dealing with a husband who had amassed a large amount of baseball cards.

Later that same day, my girlfriend – which feels like a silly title, but we’ve been together for almost a year and a half now – told me about the same show. And of course, the same reason she thought of me was because of the second episode, which I shall forever now refer to as the “baseball card episode.”

And so last night, while I was working on Project Organize, I took a break to watch the show. While the episode does not spend a lot of time discussing the baseball card issue, it does give a broad overview of show participant Ron Akiyama’s card collecting habit and storage. Basically, he had collected cards with his two sons for three decades and now he has amassed so many cards that the pile of boxes literally touches the ceiling.

I’m not here to judge Ron. Hell, Ron, if you read this, I thank you for sharing your story.  My family has had the same issues you and your wife dealt with before this show and I know it can be very difficult to admit the issue, let alone tell others (or the world in this case) about it and then let people inside your world to offer suggestions.

I digress, Ron’s passion for cards is one that looks like a familiar story for many of us, especially those of us who grew up or collected during the late 1980s and early 1990s – we owned everything and still own everything, so it’s a ton of shit.

This episode struck home for me because I am in the middle of my own Project Organize. I’ve been trying to determine what makes me happy, or “sparks joy” – to use a phrase from show host Marie Kondo. The idea of course is not to dump everything and quit the hobby, but to really assess what you own, think about why you own it, and determine if you still need or want to own it.

This area has been a sore spot for me because I’ve felt a lot of shame in the amount of stuff that I feel I’ve accumulated, and this idea that I am still participating in a hobby that many think – or thought – was meant for kids. And I’d venture to say there are a lot of others who find themselves in the same spot. What’s important that we understand that it’s perfectly healthy for us to have a hobby — this hobby — and not allow the feelings of guilt surrounding spending and clutter consume our lives to make us feel like we’re living under an adult-size Jenga Tower of boxes, which is how much of Ron’s collection appeared.

In the process of doing Project Organize – which began before I even heard of this show — I’ve found myself being re-acquainted with items I forgot had, and I am truly starting to enjoy this hobby again. And this joy, honestly, is more valuable than any single card I could pull today.

 

 

Mission Complete: 1999 Pacific Crown Royale Baseball

Posted in Mission Complete (Completed Sets) with tags , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

About two years ago, I visited a card shop about 45 minutes away and picked up a slew of Pacific branded boxes. Among them was a 1999 Pacific Crown Royale box.

I’ve always loved Crown Royale and was feeling really nostalgic about it so I figured why not. At the time my son and I opened the packs and then they got tucked into a box and in the closet.

Fast forward to late last year and After my son verbally expressed he was starting to enjoy the hobby, it set off a bunch of nostalgia bells and we went to another local shop. Among the boxes for sale was another 1999 Pacific Crown Royale.

I bought it, figuring we could build the set with the cards bought two years prior.

So we ripped the box — lots of fun and talk about quality — and we ended up being four cards short.

Well, the four remaining cards arrived this week via purchases from SportLots and COMC. I’m happy to say the base set and insert sets are done.

So, I now present you with the entire base 1999 Pacific Crown Royale set with the two standard insert sets.

Why I’m sometimes scared to tell people what I collect

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , on January 18, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I was listening to/watching About The Cards (link) the other night and one of the topics that came up is one that really hit home with me.

The guys were telling stories about how sometimes they are seemingly pressured into making deals with people for items solely because the other person — who initiated the deal — invested time to separate, sort and sometimes transport or ship cards for a potential deal, even if the perimeters of the deal had not been set.

Surely we’ve all experienced such things. You tell someone you collect a certain player or set, and suddenly they’ve amassed a lot of several dozens or hundreds of cards after a few days and they expect the world in return, sometimes cash or cards of top players. And if you tell them you that you already have those cards or for whatever reason don’t want the cards there are some hurt feelings and sometimes some pressure solely because they’re making you feel guilty.

This is why I am sometimes scared to tell people I collect certain players. I mean it’s no secret now that I collect Roger Clemens and Clayton Kershaw, I do have that posted on some of my feeds. But for a time I kept that information out of the spotlight because I didn’t want to deal with these situations where people are offering me 400 Clemens cards, all from 1988-1991 and expecting that I will trade them all of my Mike Trouts, Bryce Harpers, rookies of hot players, etc. Even now that my PC guys are posted, I try not to engage in discussions where it’s an open-ended trade unless I’m feeling OK with the deal (i.e., me trading a few commons to a set collector for my PC guys). Sometimes I’ll do such deals to help someone else out.

So I have the following five general tips I offer and use myself when trading:

  1. If you’re setting cards aside to make a trade, understand that any time and effort you invest is solely on you. Do not put pressure on the trading partner to compensate you for the time and effort. If you pulled 500 cards and all I need is 50, don’t expect me to take all 500 solely because you spent two weeks putting them together — unless that was part of the agreement.
  2. If sending bulk lot(s) in exchange for someone else’s bulk lot(s), expect that the incoming lot(s) will be valued at less than what you’re sending. This will temper your expectations and possible feelings of being “ripped off.”
  3. Don’t trade high-end items with someone you don’t know or have a history with. Pretty obvious.
  4. Come to an agreement on shipping method. Plain white envelope (PWE) works for some people and in some cases. But know that using such low quality shipping can result in damaged cards. Some collectors want no part of receiving cards in PWEs, so if you’re doing anything less than a bubble mailer, that should be worked out before hand.
  5. If you initiate contact with someone who collects a certain player or team and you want to send them stuff under the guise of “just send me something later,” either 1) expect nothing in return, 2) expect that the return may not be of equal “value.” If those aren’t things you accept, then don’t send anything unless a proper structured deal is in place.

San Francisco TRISTAR 2019 show appears to be postponed

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , on January 15, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

For more than two decades, collectors in the San Francisco Bay Area have had the opportunity to head to the Cow Palace in San Francisco for the annual TRISTAR Productions show, a three-day show typically held in April which is chock full of card and memorabilia dealers, and a slew of athletes signing autographs.

But over the weekend I caught wind from Tim Shepler (@bigshep79), a fellow collector in California and current co-host of podcast “About The Cards” (watch/listen on iTunes and YouTube, it’s good times), that dealers at a Sacramento card show over the weekend were saying the TRISTAR show may not be happening this year.

And so I asked TRISTAR via Twitter DM.  The response confirmed that there will not be a TRISTAR show here in April.

“The San Francisco Bay Area, one of the country’s premier collectible markets, has been an annual stop on the TRISTAR show circuit for the past 22 years and is a market where we have produced tremendous collector shows,” The Direct Message stated. “In recent years, TRISTAR’s annual Bay Area show has occurred in the month of April. TRISTAR will not be producing a show in the Bay Area market in April 2019.”

The response continued, “While we do not have definitive dates set for our next Bay Area TRISTAR show, we continue to believe that this is a tremendous sports card / memorabilia market and look forward to returning to the San Francisco Bay Area.”

This is a bummer for me personally.  This show is the one regional show I really got geared up for, routinely taking the Friday off work so I can be at the show when the doors opened to the public on the first day.  And this year, I was hoping to take my 8-year-old son who just started collecting.

While TRISTAR did not provide a reason for the changed in plan, it also did not explicitly rule out a return to the area during a different time of the year.

In 2012 this show was the source of many great scores for me personally, including a pair of Mike Trout Bowman Chrome Rookie refractors for 50 cents each. Those are documented here in Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

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.

BCW 20 Pocket vs Ultra Pro 15 Pocket pages (Tobacco cards)

Posted in Project Organize with tags , , , , , , , on January 11, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

As part of Project Organize I began the other day a painstaking process in which I had to remove tobacco size cards from existing sleeves and then move them around for a slew of other similar size cards I’d accumulated over the last four years.

In 2014 I learned there were binder pages for these cards and at the time I had most of them stowed away. The pages I bought then from my LCS were 15-pocket sheets made by Ultra Pro

Fast forward to Black Friday 2018 and Blowout Cards had a box of 100 tobacco sheets made by BCW on sale so I decided to throw on one of those in my cart of purchases at the time.

It really wasn’t until yesterday that I realized I had a problem — I had stacks of binder pages of different sizes, and both had their pros and cons.

As mentioned earlier, the first pages I bought were from my LCS and were made by Ultra Pro. These high-quality pages accommodate for 15 cards, or three rows of five across. The pro is the pages are gorgeous when full. The con here is that the pockets are really, really deep. So if you need to shuffle stuff around you really need to work to get the tobacco size card out of the sheet.

When I opened my BCW box I noticed immediately the quality of the sheet was more rigid, but not so much that it resembled some inferior sheets from the early 1990s — so it’s still good for the cards. The pros with these sheets is you do get 20 cards per page, so you’ll need less. AND the cards are much easier to remove and then move around. The major con here is that the pockets are actually not tall enough to cover the entire card. If you look closely, the top border is exposed, which isn’t a problem for rows 2,3 and 4. But that top row is exposed to whatever may come in contact with the page.

On a side note, if you end up with BOTH brands in a binder it makes for a really odd look.

Part of me wants to stick to one brand, but fact is I own probably 100 sheets of each brand, and I’m not in a position to ditch one brand in favor of another. I’ll just have to ride this out. But I am curious what you other collectors think about these two products, which of the two you prefer and why? Neither is perfect, but they both do a good enough job to house most of these tobacco size cards.

There is an alternative, but it’s an expensive one: Buy a boat-load of the Tobacco size top loader “penny sleeve” sleeves and then use typical 9-pocket pages. But I believe those Tobacco-size “penny sleeves” are not a penny … I think you get a pack of 25 for like $3.

A Belated Congrats from Night Owl

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , on January 10, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Way back in October, when it was determined the Boston Red Sox would face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, I reached out to Greg, AKA Night Owl (link), and proposed that we should make a small wager.

You see, Greg is a Dodgers fan, and I am a Red Sox fan. I’ve been communicating with Greg for about 10 years through our blogs and Twitter. It seemed like a fun idea at the time. So we agreed to make a small wager, with non-specific cardboard of course.

Then things started to develop in the Series. The Sox took Games One and Two in Boston, and with the Series headed back to the West Coast I turned my attention away from the wager, and focused on the fact that the Sox were heading toward another title, and because of my geographic location, I may actually have a chance to see it live if the series extended to a fifth game.

The Dodgers took Game three in legendary extra innings fashion, and then Boston won Game Four, securing the opportunity of a lifetime for me — I had tickets to Game Five to potentially see my team win a World Series title before my very eyes.

I’ve written about that experience (here) but I couldn’t help but think about Greg while I was there at Dodger Stadium that night. I wished he also had a chance to experience such a view; but I also though about our silly wager — even as Game Five wore on, I thought it would be nice to send him something instead of expecting him to pay me for his end of the wager.

I checked the merchandise stands for something that might make for a nice souvenir to send him, but sadly a lot of what they had was generic World Series stuff and it was overpriced.

But what I did end up doing was send him something that I confirmed he didn’t have — a 2018 Topps Living Set card of Game Five starter, Clayton Kershaw. You see, on Oct. 17, when Kershsaw’s card was released I ordered five of the cards because Kershaw is my favorite player. Those cards arrived within a week and a half of the Sox victory so I packaged one up and sent it on over the Greg, who acknowledged the card in a post that I actually missed at the time.

I wasn’t expecting anything in return — but this week I got a small package from Greg. He was holding up his side of the wager with a handful of Red Sox cards, and 10 Kershaw cards, three of which I did not already have.

Thanks for holding up your end, Greg. The cards are glorious.