Archive for vintage baseball cards

Pack Break: 2 1984 Topps packs

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

So, later today my son and I are going to our first Golden State Warriors game together and I knew my son was excited when he woke up this morning asking to go to the card shop.

Turns out he not only was thinking about the game all night, but he also was thinking about Panini Optic basketball, since I had explained to him yesterday that the product came out this week.

“Daddy, can we do go the card shop today?” he asked not less than five minutes after waking up. Uh, yeah. You know I’m always down for an LCS run.

So we went and he grabbed a retail Value Pack featuring three retail packs and one of the retail exclusive packs. I didn’t have anything in my hands and wasn’t going to buy anything until I realized the LCS had packs of 1984 Topps behind the counter at $3.50 per pack. I wouldn’t know if the price was high, but I figured that two packs of that would likely be more enjoyable than buying something else I didn’t want. Besides, I’d never opened these before.

The Don Mattingly rookie card is the one to own in this set, and they are not overly expensive. But the nostalgia of opening a pack 35 years old and not breaking the bank to do so sounded well worth the $7. Also, my son recognized that these original 1984s were the set upon which the 2019 Topps anniversary silver pack and insert cards were based.

So, without further adieu, here are the results. These contain 15 cards, one contest card, and one piece of gum.

Pack One: Doug Bird, Alredo Griffin, Rick Sutcliffe, Scott McGregor,Ken Oberkfell, Onix Concepcion, Tigers Team Leaders, Bob Gibson (rookie card), Rick Miller, Dickie Noles, Rich Hebner, Don Slaught, Ryne Sandberg (second year), Bob Shirley, and Harry Spillman.

Pack Two: Rick Sweet, Checklist #1, Luis Sanchez, Mike Proly, Mike LaCoss, Bob James, Andy Hassler, Dave LaPoint, Dave Lopes, Hal McRae, Jerry Remy, Jerry Martin, Tom Tellmann, Ken Forsch, and David Green.

As you can see, the first pack was solid with a sweet Ryne Sndberg second-year card.

The second pack was saved, in my opinion, by the checklist (which shows Don Mattingly at #8) and by the existence of Jerry Remy and Jerry Martin on back to back cards to give me the duo “Remy Martin,” which got a giggle from me.

Thanks to South Bay Sports Cards (Sunnyvale, Calif.) for having these available.

Deuces Don Drysdale rookie …

Posted in Hall of Famers, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on January 13, 2018 by Cardboard Icons

If you’re not familiar with the primary focus of my collection, I’ve been acquiring the Rookie Card or a tobacco-era card of every member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Wagner. Ruth. Mantle. Etc. And on top of that, the card has to be stabbed by Beckett Grading Services because I like uniformity.

This week I added to my collection a 1909-11 t206 John McGraw already stabbed by BGS/BVG. Low grade, but still wonderful to see.

It’s so much fun adding these century-old cards to the wall display. It’s a lot more fun adding these baseball icons than chasing something new and flashy. But that’s just my opinion.

So now the McGraw will be inserted in the top row — to keep things chronological — and since the Drysdale is the last card in the case it has to be moved.

So what happens with the Drysdale? It’ll get bumped to the second graded card display which presently houses stabbed HOF rookies from 1958-1991.

I’ll need another case eventually as I have a half dozen more ungraded HOF t206 that need BGS/BVG cases. This will eventually force the move of Jim Bunning and Bill Mazeroski as well.

Ben,

Collector of Hall of Fame tobacco era and Rookie cards.

Collector of Roger Clemens and Clayton Kershaw.

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

Condition Sensitive: Centered with lower grade, or off-center and higher grade?

Posted in Misc., Rookie Card Upgrade with tags , , , , , on January 5, 2017 by Cardboard Icons


I love vintage cards, and loving old cards often means you have to decide how bad of a condition you are willing to accept in order to add one of the prized pieces to your collection. Because let’s face it, good condition vintage usually means spending good money.

When dealing with mid to lower grade cards — those that usually fit into most collectors budgets — there are lots of factors to consider. What types of “damage” to a card are you willing to tolerate: Creases? Writing? Bent corners? Torn corners? Layered corners? Minor paper loss? Glue or gum Stains? And so forth.

Each collector has different things they’ll tolerate. For a long time my one and one standing rule was: I must be able to see the players face.  I broke this rule once when I obtained my first 1948 Bowman Stan Musial rookie. The card had surface damage on Musial’s face, making it pretty hard to display without giving it the stink eye.  I eventually moved that Musial and upgraded to a much more presentable copy.

This game of upgrading or changing a card for a different version of the same card is one that some collectors partake in quite a bit. I do it infrequently, but I’m always looking to better the collection, whether it be by adding a missing piece, or growing aesthetically. I’m an opportunist, if you will.

Such was the case recently when I logged into eBay and found a gorgeous looking 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax rookie card. The card was professionally graded by Beckett Vintage Grading and was actually graded lower than the BVG 4 I had sitting in my display case.  I was very much content with the Koufax already in my collection, a card I acquired a decade ago when I shifted gears in terms of my hobby focus. The one draw back for me on the 4 was always the centering. It wasn’t horrible, but it was off.  This is a classic problem with the 1955 sets. The cards are horizontal and the bottom border typically seems to be shorter than the top.


I like sharp corners. I like smooth surfaces. But above all, I really enjoy a centered baseball card. And so when the lesser-grade Koufax popped up on eBay with a Buy It Now that seemed more than reasonable, I decided I had to snag it and at least compare the cards in person. It made really ponder which of the two Koufax rookies would stay and which would hit the market. I don’t need both.


And so I pondered: Do I keep the centered copy with slightly lesser desirable corners, or the one with better corners and worse centering? Obviously the one with better corners and higher grade would probably sell for more on the open market.


I posed the question to Twitter followers without specifying which card. A total of 84 people made a selection in the poll and the results weren’t completely skewed, but the majority did say they prefer centered vintage with softer corners over off-center cards with better corners.

The poll results definitely leaned in the direction I feel, and after comparing the two cards in person — even in their respective BVG cases — I do feel that the lesser grade with better centering is best for me at this point. I mean, when I walk past my wall-mounted display case, a centered Koufax pops out at me more than one that is slightly off-center.

What are your thoughts on condition when it comes to vintage cards? What defects are you willing to tolerate? What damages take precedent when you go about purchasing a vintage card for your collection?

 

 

 

Bored? Try a 30-year-old rack pack

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , on March 13, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

I’m bored.

The 2012 baseball season has not even begun, but I am already bored with the current selection of baseball cards.  Well, that’s probably because as I write this the only one on the market is 2012 Topps Baseball.

Actually, I take that back.  2011 Panini Contenders baseball is also out, but the boxes are sitting sealed on my hobby shop’s shelf because they are refusing to “pack it out” and are selling them as whole boxes.  The price is more than $150 a box, which I can’t afford, so that’s not an option to me.

It’s a good thing this particular card shop is well-diversified in its wax.

There were hundreds of other options, but what really caught my eye was a fresh stack of 1982 Topps Rack Packs that were sitting in the show case with an $8 price tag.

Eight Bucks?!  For a rack pack?  The equivalent of three packs?

I’ll take one of those!

The packs were in the showcase and I was not going to be a jerk and ask the sales person to pull them all out so that I can choose what packs had the best cards showing.  But from the three rack packs that were showing on top of the stacks, my decision really came down to a pack with a Nolan Ryan/Astros team leader card, or one with Bruce Sutter and his masterful beard.

You know I chose the beard, baby!

Look at that Sutter card.  How could you possibly pass that up!

And then I turned the rack pack over and saw even more goodness.

Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt and solid Major Leaguer Bob Horner are showing.  I knew this was going to be a good pack.

Clearly the chase in these packs of the Cal Ripken Jr. rookie.  In case you forgot what they look like, here is mine:

Sadly, there was no Hall of Fame rookie card in my pack. The sole Future Star card featured Jay Howell and Ty Waller.

BUT … I did uncover eight hall of fame players in my packs:

and …

Kind of amusing that I pulled this Nolan Ryan card because I almost chose the other pack that had this card showing.

Those were the highlights, but I wanted to juxtapose two sets of cards from this pack for different reasons.

Here is a battle of the beards:  Bruce Sutter vs. Bob Owchinko

And an interesting statistical comparison between pitching veterans Gaylord Perry and Jim Kaat.  (Click the image to get a larger view)

Some interesting notes through 1981:

– Jim Kaat led Gaylord Perry in seasons pitched by three.

-Gaylord Perry edged Jim Kaat in games started 628 to 623

– Gaylord Perry led Jim Kaat in wins 297 to 278

-Gaylord Perry led Jim Kaat in strikeouts 3,336 to 2,407

-Gaylord Perry led Jim Kaat in 20-win season: 4 to 3

-Gaylord Perry led Jim Kaat in ERA 2.99 TO 3.44

-Gaylord Perry led Jim Kaat in shutouts 52 to 31

-Gaylord Perry led Jim Kaat in Complete Games 294 to 180

-Gaylord Perry had six seasons in which he had more than 20 complete games

-Jim Kaat led Gaylord Perry in saves 15 to 11

A “Swell” vintage haul from my LCS

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , on February 11, 2011 by Cardboard Icons

My affinity to old, smelly cardboard is hard to describe.  The aroma is intoxicating (perhaps literally?) and their sight is captivating.  If it’s old, features a player I like and the price is right, then the card is one I shall own.

I made a trip to one of my local card shops this week to dig through the dozen or so boxes of price-friendly vintage baseball they’ve got sitting around.  It had been about eight weeks since the last time I’d dabbled in these boxes, so there was bound to be something new.  When all was said and done, I spent about 90 minutes and $40 (after a 20 percent discount) on seven oldies but goodies that are now part of my collection.  Enjoy:

1969 Topps Deckle Juan Marichal -- Sticker Price: $1

1969 Topps Deckle Willie McCovey -- Sticker Price: $1.50

1969 Topps Deckle Pete Rose -- Sticker Price: $4

1969 Topps Deckle Roberto Clemente -- Sticker Price: $7

1970 Topps Johnny Bench -- Sticker Price: $5

1969 Topps Hank Aaron -- Sticker Price: $12

1969 Topps Willie Mays -- Sticker Price: $15

1948 Swell Sports Thrills Bob Feller -- Sticker Price: $8

Vintage Topps Team Cards Crack Me Up

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , on August 24, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

It’s no secret, I love vintage baseball cards. But what cracks me up more than anything is the almighty team card.  I love and hate these things. I love them because in some cases, it’s a way for collectors to cheaply obtain a vintage card that features some of the game’s best players. Hell, on a card like this 1959 Topps Yankees Team Card, you’re essentially getting images of the entire 1958 World Series Championship roster, a squad that included Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Don Larsen, Whitey Ford, Moose Skowron, and many other names of which I’m sure you’ve heard. But here in lies the problem: Can you find them on this card?

It’s like the Topps version of “Where’s Waldo?” In some cases you can spot a player from a mile away based on their size or skin color — like I am pretty sure Yogi Berra is the last guy in the second row from the top, and Elston Howard is right behind him. But where’s Mantle? I think he’s the fourth guy from the left on the top row, and next to him could be Don Larsen.  But that could be someone else for all I know.

But it is always helpful when Topps used to label the front of the cards as if it were a real team picture. Like this 1958 Topps Yankees Team Card. Got to love that the Bat Boys got some love.

Newspaper columnist boils tobacco cards. Ethical? I don’t mind.

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , on August 13, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

Just saw an interesting video shot by a columnist for The Trentonian in New jersey. In short, the writer found 70 1909-1911 tobacco cards featuring flags of the world (Think Allen & Ginter) and they were glued to a piece of cardboard. In the writer’s quest to separate the cards, he tried to freeze them as well as hold them over steam, to no avail. In the end he threw the cards into boiling water and the things separated cleanly. He then dried the cards for three days by placing them between heavy books.

The column he writes is an interesting one as it evokes the question: Was this ethical?

Given that I collect a decent amount of vintage — most of which is in bad shape — I figured I’d tackle this issue from my prospective.

Honestly, this practice doesn’t bother me one bit.

We’re talking about a century-old card that was nearly destroyed by its previous owner who glued it to another piece of cardboard, presumably to showcase these flags. If someone can find a way to remove the card and salvage it from being one step closer to being recycled, then more power to them.

I understand that some consider this altering the card, but to me it definitely is on the lower end of the spectrum if you want to call it that. For me, he has not trimmed the edges, nor has he resurfaced/recolored the picture, background or border, so to me it doesn’t matter much at all.

Would a grading company be able to detect such a tactic? Depends … not many cards can be placed in water and come out looking untouched.

Having said that, if the card were for MY collection, I’d love to pay a slightly discounted price for a card that looks great. Sure as hell beats a card that’s attached to some other nonsense. And if no one ever informed me of how the card came to be, I wouldn’t mind either, so long as the card is authentic and not a reprint.

You can watch the video here