Archive for sports cards

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.

Project Organize: Big Problem With Small Cards

Posted in Misc., Project Organize with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

As mentioned recently, the only real hobby goal I have for 2019 is to be more organized.  What that will eventually look like is somewhat unknown.  But my initial plan was to move a lot of cards out of boxes and into binder pages.

I set the ground work for this on Black Friday when I purchased a box of 100 BCW 15-pocket pages from Blowout Cards to house tobacco size cards. (side note, I prefer Ultra Pro Products but a sale is a sale.) Up to this point I had a few hundred already in a binder, but I had several hundred more just sitting in other boxes.  The odd size makes them fun, but also presents storage challenges.

So Wednesday night while watching the Golden State Warriors take down the New York Knicks I decided to get cracking on this “small” problem.

I located two plastic boxes that housed my Gypsy Queen, Allen & Ginter, Golden Age minis … and then I located even more in another box. And as I kept looking I kept finding these little cards mixed in all over the place. It was akin to when you visit someone with a pet – suddenly you start finding cat and dog hair everywhere.

So I culled them (at least what I was finding in front of me) and placed them on my ottoman. Then I located my binder of minis and realized I have a HUGE problem with these little cards: I freaking love them … but do I love them all? Like do I love them all enough to keep them all?

Am I the only one with this problem?

I know of at least one other guy, (what’s up, Olds?) who also enjoys the minis, but does anyone else actually collect them, or are they merely piling up because they feel special and you can’t get rid of them?

Personally, I really enjoy the Ginter minis, but I’ve yet to really find a focus with them. And while I am building a 2014 Gypsy Queen mini set (I’ll post a need list later), a lot of the stuff – including dupes — just sits there.

If you’re in search of anything from 2010-present with minis let me know, I’ve probably got something you need.

Thrift Treasures 114: Two Minute Minor

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on January 8, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I had a vision on Saturday night. I had a vision that after I dropped my kids with their mom, I would find a box, or multiple boxes, of baseball cards in one of the local thrift stores. It had been a while since I’d checked for cards in thrift stores, and truthfully, it’s been a while since I’ve seen cards at said stores – a bit uncharacteristic given my past success.

I digress. My vision included me locating boxes filled with low-level items that others deemed not worthy of purchase, but would fulfill my desire for the time being.

As it turned out, the vision was somewhat accurate.

I walked into a Goodwill and as I was walking past the linens I saw a familiar sight: a 500-count box sitting on the shelf – the sticker price was $3.15.  I opened the top and inside was a partial 1992 Stadium Club baseball set. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as I’ve been building Stadium Club sets recently and figured that somewhere I would uncover such a collection of seemingly worthless cards that I could start that set. And here it was.  The 1992 set is the sophomore Stadium Club release, which is somewhat disappointing, if not only for the fact that the clean 1991 design set the bar so damn high. Nonetheless, there are some fun images in the release. Including this classic Ruben Sierra, which oddly enough I featured almost 10 years ago to the day on this very blog. (Post)

I usually subscribe to theory that if there is one box sitting on the shelf, then there must be, or must have been at one point, at least one other. I checked another aisle and … jackpot.  There was a 5,000 box, a 4,000 count box, and multiple smaller 100- to 400-count boxes.  I quickly opened all of them and sadly it was all hockey, which I do not collect. BUT, I was in need of a 5,000 count box and the contents of the 5,000-count box sitting here seemed to be some higher-end brands from the mid to late 1990s, and I could see a small stack of Pacific bran releases.  I checked the lid for the price. When I saw $8.75 printed there, the purchase was a no-brainer as the box itself would be $5 at the LCS.

So, what’s in the box? Short answer: Nothing major.

But, I enjoy nuance, so here goes nothing:

There was a complete 1996-97 Leaf Limited 90-card set, and a ton of extras, enough to be close to a second set.

There were several Pacific branded cards as mentioned above.  A lot of these releases were sold as three-card packs, two standard size cards, and then one premium prism holographic card, gold, or lenticular style card. Of course there are the Crown Royale cards which are some of my favorites. Given that there were some two or three dozen here, I could see the value.

I was stunned by some of the quality of these releases. The Flair sets is akin to the baseball sets but these look far superior. And the Upper Deck McDonald’s release is very appealing.:

Of course there were classic hockey stars such as Gretzky, Lemieux, Hull, Roy, Fedorov, Yzerman, Jagr and more.

And parallels upon parallels.  There were more than 100 1997-98 Leaf “International Stars.”  The quality of these is pretty awesome. The car fronts feature a foil overlay map with the photo of the player emblazoned on top.

And whenever there are Pinnacle brands, you know we’re always looking for Dufex parallels (Rink Collection) and those pesky Artist Proofs which typically fell one every 36 packs, or one every 1.5 boxes.

The value of the items within these boxes will pale by comparison to some of my other finds, but this is hardly anything to scoff at. It was definitely better than finding a box chock full of say 1990 Donruss with stars, rookies and Hall of Famers stripped from the rows.

Total cost of the Thrift Treasures: $11.90.

You can read more Thrift Treasures posts Here.

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