Archive for trading cards

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.

2019: Year of the Organized Collection

Posted in Organization with tags , , , , , , on January 2, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Bless me readers for I have sinned, it has been several weeks since my last entry, and several years since I’ve been a regular contributor to my own site.

The years are starting to run together, so I’ll save you all the heartbreak, heartache and false promises. Instead I’ll simply stick to this for now: 2019 will be the year of the Organized Collection.

At the turn of the new year we all tend to have our resolutions, and in this hobby we are no different.  We vow to spend less and be more focused. And as one person recently said on Twtter, that’s akin to us making a pledge to lose weight and save more money.

But the one resolution I will focus on for 2019 is to continue to become more organized.

Like many collectors, organization of our cards can be a problem. Most of us simply have too much, and not enough time to organize everything in a manner in which anyone can walk in and find what it is that they’re looking for.  The easiest answer we usually give is I know where it’s at.

And so the organization has begun in my household. And it started with my Roger Clemens collection.  I’ve been a fan of The Rocket since I was 8 years old and he was in like his third year in the Majors. He is the reason I became a Red Sox fan.  I collected his cards while my friends took on collections of Mark McGwire and Darryl Strawberry.  My initial goal was to collect ALL of the Clemens cards I could find. Of course that goal was straight out of 1989 when you were essentially limited to the cards that were in your neighborhood and at local shops and shows.  Now in the internet age, that’s a ridiculous feat. One of each usually works, except for a few releases like the 1991 Topps card — I will take everyone that I can acquire in trades.

I refuse to call myself a “Super Collector.” That moniker is over-used and typically implies you’re willing to spend any amount on any card to ensure you have it, and that you don’t sell any of those players cards. I simply call myself a “Clemens collector” who would like to acquire them all, but knows limitations, even if they actually vary from time to time.

For years I’ve had my Clemens cards stored in binder chronologically, and I always dreamed of actually maintaining a database for the cards I already have. But after several starts and stops, using various spreadsheets and even trying Beckett.com, I still found myself with a toothless list that was full of discrepancies. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered a pretty good, free tool: The Trading Card Database (link).

While it’s not perfect, the database has already saved me the heartache of buying doubles and sometimes triples of certain cards. In addition, I’ve continued to organize the Clemens cards within the 9-pocket sheets and binders.

While the organization is good for me as a collector, it has also been vital in moving forward in my relationship with my girlfriend. During the tenure of my decade-long marriage, which ended three years ago this month, I kept my partner away from my collection. And for the first year with my girlfriend I’ve done the same.  As it turned out, my lack of organization made my anxiety go through the rough and I was embarrassed by the amount of stuff I had collected and the lack of organization throughout. We had a talk about the issue, and just last week she said said he wanted to help.  So she did. She placed three partial sets into numbered-binder pages and labeled a binder for me.

And so I will proceed with this task of organization as my sole hobby resolution for 2019. After I wrap up the Clemens organization, I will move onto moving my Clayton Kershaw cards into binders and enter them into the Trading Card Database.

Happy New Year to you all,

Ben

Fishing for original Allen & Ginter

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , on July 21, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

It gives me great pleasure to announce that I have finally obtained a trading card that is more than a century old. True, I own baseball cards that are now 100 years old. But in recent days, I have had an itch for an original 1880s Allen & Ginter card that I had to scratch. Problem: Damn near any baseball guy from the 1887 set will cost a pretty penny.

So I created my own solution: Buy an 1889 Allen & Ginter “50 Fish from American Waters.”

The card found me more than me finding it. I hit my card shop before work Tuesday in search of additional Helmar packs like the ones I wrote about yesterday. What I ended up finding — in addition to two more packs — was this 111-year-old trading card.

Granted fish are not baseball players, and the market for these cards is relatively scarce. Hell, I bet lots of people didn’t even know they existed. But I like this card … and the $3 price tag certain helped rush me to the register.

Now you probably don’t give a crap about some card showing a fish. It didn’t face King Kelly. But the card really is something to marvel at. The image shown here is more than just another picture of a fish. It’s actually a lithograph, and when you look at it under the right light, you can see there is a metallic finish to the once-bright colors.

And while the front is colorful, it is the dull, monotone back that really catches my attention. I love the font used for the Allen & Ginter logo — very Greek-esque — and I like the catch phrase “You will catch one in each box of ten cigarettes.”

I had a few choices for century-old cardboard (Non Allen & Ginter, mostly Old Mill and other tobacco brands) at prices less than $10. I could have bought cards featuring birds or actresses from the 19th century, but I actually like fish — fishing is actually one of my hobbies. And now that I’ve acquired this Pampano card, I find myself in a position where I will be fishing for more species from this wonderful set. Among the highest on my want list are probably the Sturgeon and the Striped Bass.

Where do you trade cards?

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , on June 24, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

Yes, this is a serious question. Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on getting my stuff organized in hopes of making some trades in the future. I’ve done some trading through this blog, and through Card Trading Fools, but it’s clear to me that I am not finding the majority of collectors. So I ask: Where do most of you trade cards?