Archive for sports

Twitter sale is reminder that “value” of cards varies from person to person

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on January 23, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

For about a year I’ve had six 500-count boxes sitting on my card desk. The boxes contained partial baseball and football Topps sets from 1980-1985.

They were partial/starter sets I acquired with the intent to either 1) complete the sets, or 2) sell them to someone who needed them.

Well, they sat … and sat … and sat.

The mere sight of them often sent me into a tailspin as I could not muster the idea of spending an hour to determine what was there so I could post it on eBay with hopes that someone would take them off my hands. The resell value wasn’t nearly as good as I had hoped.

And then yesterday, after dropping off my kids at school, something clicked. Just get them out of the house, and reduce that stress.

So I spent 30 minutes counting the cards that we’re within and then offered the lots for sale on Twitter, which is sometimes hit and miss for sales on items that are not presently hot in our hobby.

For about 10 minutes the post sat. Then a follower of mine hit the DM and said he was interested.

This sale was confirmed and I was happy to hear the cards were going to a good home. What’s even better is the buyer advised they would essentially replace cards he lost in a flood some 30-plus years ago.

The economic value of the starter sets isn’t high — and the buyer understood that. The lots were void of the big star rookies and even the stars. But this also reset the notion of “value” for me a bit.

I had approached this the wrong way. I was looking at “value” based on what I saw on eBay, and the lack of “big payday” actually was hindering my process. Hell, at one point I was even regretting the purchase I made when I acquired these … because in some ways I had placed no value in the cards themselves because they no longer fit my collecting style.

But this transaction is a win-win for Scott (the buyer) and myself. Not only did I get the items out of my house and into a collector’s hands, but it was humbling and served a reminder that the value of our cards — while often tied to money — is often a personal experience.

One could look at these boxes as stacks of commons and donate them or toss them in the trash. Another could look at these partial sets and see potential, but then sit on then for years and gain stress from not moving them. And yet another person could look at the lot and see items representing a piece of their childhood.

The sale didn’t make me rich or even net me a profit; but it made me feel like I had made a giant sale as I had lightened my load and recouped a portion of what I spent on these cards and others.

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.

TBT: My debut with Beckett and beyond …

Posted in Throwback Thursday with tags , , , , , , , on January 17, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

This morning I was flipping through my Facebook memories and found a picture published this day in 2012 that made me stop and think. The image was a copy of the Beckett Sports Card Monthly “Game Used Issue” published that year. The magazine has Tim Tebow on the cover, and on page 34 is a photo of a guy you might also know – me.

You see, this issue of Beckett Spots Card Monthly was my debut as a contributor to the magazine. Then-editor Chris Olds had reached out to me to write a first-person account about my discovery of an Earl Weaver Baltimore Orioles game-used jersey in a San Francisco Bay Area thrift store. The piece went with the theme of the month, and as it turned out, it really started a three-year relationship with the publication.

After the article was published, I was asked to write one or two others on other topics, and then ultimately was invited to be a member of the Beckett Media team at that year’s National Sports Collectors Convention held that year in Baltimore. Among the autograph signers was none other than Earl Weaver. I planned to purchase an autograph ticket and photo opportunity with Mr. Weaver to briefly re-unit him with his jersey from 1977, and have him sign it. I was tasked to document the piece for Beckett, an article that can be found here. it should be noted Mr. Weaver died some four months later.

After what seemed like a fun run as a contributor for the publication, I was given the opportunity to write a monthly column for Beckett Baseball Monthly, a publication that I and so many others grew up reading. I then penned my column for the magazine for about two years, and was able to assist with three special-edition magazines also published by Beckett Media.

My run as a columnist for Beckett ended in 2015 when there was shakeup among staff, and honestly it came at a good time for me as it turned out circumstances at home were also changing.

These memories are ones I’ll always remember, and I am forever grateful to those persons who made it possible.

 

COMC package marked “Delivered” by USPS … only it wasn’t.

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , , , on January 14, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

We all have our share of mail nightmare stories. My most recent tale, however, is the latest in an on-going issue that leads me to wonder if the USPS may be committing fraud.

The Washington-based card consignment website COMC.com recently shipped my latest purchases to me via USPS Priority Mail, and in customary fashion, COMC used the “Signature Required” option to ensure safe delivery. I’ve been a user of the site for almost a decade now and really have had no issues with purchasing and delivery.

My most-recent package was shipped on January 9 and was set for delivery on January 11. Because of the package required a signature I was constantly paying attention to the mail that day. I checked it frequently; a relative was home the entire day, and half way through the day I checked the shipping history and saw that the expected delivery date was changed to Saturday, January 12. Fine, I could live with that.

But when I checked the delivery history later that night, the status showed as “Delivered” at 4:26 p.m., which obviously didn’t actually occur.  Sadly, I knew what the deal was.  Back in November I had a similar situation involving some game-used baseballs. The package was marked and scanned as delivered late in the afternoon/early evening but the package did not actually arrive at my doorstep until the next day.  I spoke to my letter carrier, who has been working the route for several years, and he told me that it is customary for packages to be scanned at the office a day early, but not actually arrive at its destination until the next business day.  The letter carrier told me it’s not something he personally does, or even agrees with, but that’s the practice by the local post office. He said if the package is showing as being “Delivered” late in the afternoon or early evening, then it’ll in all likelihood show up the next day.

In that matter, my package did not require a signature. It was merely a Delivery Confirmation, and since the package was hand delivered to me the next day I didn’t raise a stink other than to mention it on Twitter.

But in this most recent matter, the package DOES require a signature, and it appears the post office went ahead and marked the item as delivered.  And so Saturday, Jan 12, rolls around and I check the mail again. A relative was home all day. And guess what? No package was delivered … and none of those pink “Signature Required” notes were left in the mailbox either.

And if you’re wondering if the package was stolen off the doorstep, the answer is no. We have the “Ring” doorbell system and it was not activated by any person seeking a signature for a package, or anyone taking packages.

It’s now Monday and I am livid that for the last 48 hours I’ve been stressing out about a package that may or may not be delivered today. I even checked the site again today and the status has not changed.  And when I requested via e-mail the proof of delivery, the scanned box for the “signature” is blank.

 

Whether or not this package arrives today, this will result in me contacting the local Post Master, and even calling the national complaint line in hopes of ending this practice of scanning packages early.

Pardon me in my thinking, but isn’t the USPS committing fraud by scanning these packages as delivered when in fact they are sitting in some office and not at the recipient’s address? Does this not call into question the validity of the entire confirmation and tracking process? I mean, they do charge extra for these services and they are set to not only gain monetarily from these special services, but are also skewing their success rate by using this practice.

Don’t get me wrong, not all USPS transactions fall under this umbrella. But this specific act of scanning packages as “Delivered,” a day early, needs to stop. Surely I am not the only one to experience this.  Please leave a comment if you have experienced the same or similar.

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.