Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Difficult, but far from impossible

It's been two or three years now since I decided to switch from mostly set collecting, to mostly player/person collecting. For the most part, I have no complaints, and still feel like it was the right thing for me to do.

I do occasionally miss the thrill of the hunt that comes from collecting sets, but on the flipside, don't miss the long stretches of not being able to find, or afford, needed cards for certain sets. 

Right or wrong, I was never, or couldn't ever be, content to leave sets inactive for very long, and felt a lot of pressure to always be seeking out missing cards. I suppose even this wouldn't have been too bad if I had been able to limit myself to just a couple of sets. Unfortunately for me though, once I took up collecting cards again, I just kept starting more and more sets - mostly of the vintage variety - and things just got out of hand. It was making collecting feel more like a chore than a hobby, and my interest in said chore started waning... hard!

Speaking for myself, there seems to be a lot more flexibility with player collecting, and certainly less pressure. I don't feel like I always have to be adding new cards to the player collections, and am completely okay if any of them end up going dormant for months at a time. And unlike sets, I don't feel like I have to try and complete every single player collection, which is a good thing, since it would be darn near impossible to do so with anyone who's appeared on a piece of cardboard in the last decade or so -- that is unless you, or someone you have an in with, have a very deep pocketbook. 

I've started quite a few player collections over the last few years, spanning across the three major sports (there's even one from the fourth major sport). I also have a rather robust number of celebrity/character collections going as well. Not only do these collections provide the variety I crave, but they also insure that I'll always have something that I can collect. This way, if somebody I collect appears in some dumb Netflix documentary that inspires the masses to start collecting them, i.e. driving up their prices, I can just set that collection aside and focus on other folks until everyone loses interest in my other guy (or gal); which the majority of them undoubtedly will.

One thing that I haven't been able to figure out so far, though, is the arbitrary manner in how I go about deciding which cards I want to collect for each player/person. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it, and it varies greatly from person to person. Very little time or research is spent making these decisions either, with most being almost instinctual. More often than not, I know from the moment that I start collecting somebody whether or not I just want stuff from their playing days, or if I'd be happy to just get anything I can from them, or even, and this is a much more recent development, if just one pages worth of cards will do. And then there's those folks who's entire catalog is on my want list. 

For anybody who's entire catalog consists of say, a hundred cards or more, trying to collect them all can be quite a lofty goal. If they played into the late 90's, you'll likely have to contend with inserts and parallels galore (PMG's, Star Rubies, etc.), not to mention possibly some of the rarest pack inserted printing plates in existence (if they even still exist; I have my doubts on some of them). And if it's anyone who's played in the last two decades, or even had the ever present, tribute cards, printed up in the last two decades, well, then you're really in for a challenge, what with the endless amount of 1/1's and all. No, deciding to collect someone's entire oeuvre is not something that should be taken lightly

There are a few players who I'm trying to collect every single 'card' of, but of the guys with a hundred cards or more, there's really only two that I think I have a genuine chance of achieving that goal for. If you've been unfortunate enough to have been coming around here for at least the last couple of years, then there's a good chance you already know that Reggie Roby is one of these two guys. 

I'm not sure what my current count is, but I do know that I'm past the halfway point as far as his catalog goes. I haven't spent a lot of time looking for base cards in the last year or so (those can be gotten anytime), but do spend some time each week seeing if any of his slightly harder to find cards have popped up anywhere. Not surprisingly, people aren't going out of their way to send his items into COMC, but a few do show up occasionally, and more often than not, I'm the one who ends up buying them.

Both of my semi-recent shipments from the site had cards of his in them, some harder to find than others. I did overpay for the Stadium Club card, but since I could see that it was problem-free, I didn't mind ponying up 50¢ for such a clean copy. The McDonald's orange and '86 Police were the better two of what's been seen so far, but the real prize was a card that I showed two Black Friday's ago when I won it.

I don't like to show the same cards over and over, but I'll make an exception for Reggie's only certified autograph, besides last time it had the COMC watermark over it, and that's not a good look.

The front for anyone who cares. Note the stamp in the lower right corner.
Two more of these Pro Line autos have shown up, and are both currently still sitting on the site, since I bought this one; thankfully neither are cheaper though. There are really only two hurdles to clear for someone trying to put together Reggie's entire run, this one, and his Wild Card 1000 stripe. The 1000 hasn't appeared anywhere for sale in quite awhile, and I'm sure if it does during this boom, it'll most likely be out of my price range. I did get that 20 stripe up above, which was my first of the 5 striped denominations. I'd really like to get that 1000 out of the way though.

The only other player over the hundred-card mark that I think I have any chance of getting every card for is Dennis Smith, and wouldn't you know it, I just so happen to have knocked a few of his cards off the checklist, too. 

With Reggie, I knew without even looking at his checklist that I wanted everything, Dennis I had to look up first before deciding. I had to make sure that he wasn't appearing in a bunch of modern sets before I committed myself, thankfully he wasn't. As a brand, Finest has never really done a lot for me, and I know I'm in the minority, but refractors, especially the early ones, don't really excite me either. Because of this, I'm almost never willing to pay the going rate for them. I had been watching this one for almost two years before it finally went on sale for a buck (I think), and even though that was more than I wanted it for, I didn't want to wait any longer for a cheaper copy, so... here it is!

They're not as highly regarded as refractors, but I find Pinnacle's Trophy Collection (Museum Collection for baseball) cards to be the more interesting of the two parallels. Dufex just looks cooler, to me. And if that wasn't enough, the Dufex parallels can be had for considerably less as well, and that's never a bad thing.

I'm not sure how far along I am with Dennis' collection either, but do know that I don't have any of his big 3 cards, those being the Pro Line autograph, the Wild Card 1000 Stripe, and some crazy rare thing that came out in 1987 called an "Ace Fact Pack". It's a card of some sort, but that's about all I know.  [Edit: There's also the 1994 Pro Mags autograph, but from what I've read, it's entirely possible that not all of the advertised signatures made it into the final product; Dennis Smith being among them.]

Reggie's last playing days card appeared in 1996, Dennis' in 1994, so both were able to avoid having cards made during the craziness that was the late 90's. Both guys have only appeared on a couple of tribute cards, and aside from a pair of Score buybacks three years ago, neither have appeared in a modern Panini set. Because of this, I feel like I have a very good chance of completing both of their entire runs. though with Topps (under Fanatics) coming back into the football card fold sooner than later, there's at least a slight chance that my plans will be foiled at some point. Topps is going to need plenty of bodies to flesh out their dozens of football sets that I'm sure will be coming each year for the foreseeable future, and I'm just hoping that given how unpopular both guys are with modern collectors, that Topps will leave these two bodies alone (And I see you lurking over there in the dark, Panini, you stay away too!).

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Starting the year off right

This season's La Niña is proving to be quite the little minx. The daytime highs were in the 60's for two straight weeks to close out the year, culminating in a wonderful, albeit very windy, 72° day this past Saturday. Fast forward about 30 hours, and it started doing this:

It's only a couple of inches, but still, it was just 72 DEGREES like a day earlier! As of Monday morning, when I took this photo, we were sitting at a much less comfortable 25º, with a real feel of 14º. This dramatic change in temperatures brought all of the usual goodies with it, high winds, torrential downpours, tornado watch's, and minor flooding. As sucky as those things are, I'd still take them over snow. In case I haven't mentioned it enough times in past years, I really hate snow! And if this isn't bad enough, we're supposed to get more later in the week, huzzah!

Thankfully for you, this post isn't about Miss Niña, or the kooky weather that she's bring here to middle Tennessee. No, it's just another "Check out this crap I bought in Knoxville" post. I do have a few traveling pics to sprinkle in this time though, so hopefully that'll spice things up a bit.

I guess it was about two weeks ago now that I made my monthly trip to Knoxville. As per usual, McKay's was the primary reason for going, but I also planned ahead of time to go to Bargain Hunters  again too. 

As one might expect, heading towards a decent sized city two weeks before Christmas, much traffic, and many crowds were encountered throughout the day. I survived though. No Rona either. 

Since McKay's is the closer of the two places, and is the one that would see the most people as the day went on, I stopped there first...

Anthologies of this sort are usually very hit-or-miss for me. Given the lineup for this one though, I'm pretty confident that it'll be a hit. And I don't usually judge a book by it's cover, but do give this one a few extra points for it's rendering of American Gothic.

Not much to say about this one. It's the second book in this trilogy, which I should've already gotten at some point in the almost two decades since it came out, but I didn't, so I'm buying it now.

And that was it for books this time, more on that in a second though, first...

When it comes to CD's, compilations are pretty much my bread and butter these days. It's getting harder to find ones that contain enough tracks that I don't already have on other albums to justify the price. This one had 11 songs that I don't already own for $1.95. That's not too bad. Even if I knew how to download songs, I don't think that I could 11 of them for $1.95. I always enjoy seeing old price stickers from other places too. Judging by the "Firm" being added to this sticker, I'm guessing that this particular album spent some time in an antique mall at some point in it's past. I'm gonna go out on a limb too and say that this didn't ever sell for $7.98, and that the person brought this one, and probably some other overpriced CD's, to McKay's to get what they could from it/them.

Here was 15 that I didn't have for $1.95. Even better! Both of these CD's had just recently been marked down from $3.95. I don't think that there'd be a big demand for either of them at this point, but still feel like I was there at just the right time to get them.

And that was this times McKay's haul. Four whole items. On any other day, I would've been a bit annoyed over going all that way and only getting four things, but I still had one more stop to make, so there was still hope that the trip could be salvaged.

I never expect anyone to remember posts that have appeared on this blog, or at least not any that are more than a couple of days old, so even though I did cover my first trip to Bargain Hunters on here, it was over two years ago, and I'd be kidding myself to think that anyone remembers it. With that in mind, Bargain Hunters bills itself as a flea market/antique mall, and is located about 15 minutes from the McKay's. It's in a fairly large building, and if I had to guess, houses a couple hundred booths/stalls.

When traveling to Bargain Hunters via McKay's, you have to skirt along the edge of downtown Knoxville, and even though I don't like being in any cities downtown, this particular trek affords one of my favorite Tennessee sights:

I'm sure that to most people living or working in the area, the Sunsphere is old hat, but to this particular blogger who's only now seen it in person twice, it's still pretty awesome. And for someone who doesn't travel, I think it's kind of neat to be able to say that I've seen two World's Fair structures in person. Seeing this one again, reminds me though of how unimpressed I was by the Space Needle as a kid. Of course, other than Key Arena, I was never very impressed anything Seattle. The best part about going to the Space Needle was the keychain, which has long since disappeared, that I got. It was of the Space Needle, and was one of those deals where it's filled with some kind of liquid, probably baby oil, and depending on which way you turn it, the elevator goes up or down. I'd like to go to the top of the Sunsphere one of these days, I think they let people do that, but I'll have to look into that some more.

Having not been to Bargain Hunters since the Rona got going, I didn't really know what to expect. Obviously much has changed (none of it for the better), and with a place like this, I expected some of those changes to be reflected in the prices. I'm happy to report that there's still a shit-ton of stuff to be found there, no empty booths that I saw, but it did seem like a lot of the prices had escalated since I was last there. Apparently some folks are the under the impression that every single item that falls into the "vintage" or "antique" categories have become hot again, and therefor must be priced as such. It's funny, sort of, but in recent years I find myself walking around places like this, and mentally picking out items that will never sell, no matter the price. There's no shortage of things that people once collected that have since fallen out of fashion, things that will never be in vogue again, and are almost certainly destined for a landfill somewhere down the line. Until then though, you'll continue to see people pricing these things like they're still in their heyday of collectability. It's at both times kind of funny and depressing, with a touch of sad mixed in for good measure.

I remembered there being multiple sellers with booths made up of nothing but books, but didn't remember that most of these booths have their books priced at "collector" prices. Some of these sellers have multiple booths linked together, and almost feel like a library as you're walking through them. It's kind of nice. I noticed plenty of books that I'd have wanted, but after picking up a few and checking their prices, I stopped pulling any more off of the shelves. I did however find one booth right before I was getting ready to leave that had it's books marked at "reader" prices (that's my price range). There were a lot of empty spots on the shelves, but I did find this nifty reference book. It has a few dust jacket issues, but after looking through it, and seeing how well it's contents were laid out, I figured it was worth the $2.50 price tag.

There are number of booths selling comic books, but only one that sells nothing but comic books. I remember this seller from last time I was there, but they switched booths, and added a lot more boxes of comics to their new booth. The majority of the booth is taken up by 30-40 $1 boxes, and then maybe another dozen "priced as marked" boxes. Everything is in alphabetical order, which is nice, but it was already getting late by the time I happened upon the booth, and I did not have time to go through a couple thousand books, so I just tried to hit some of the high points. I should've taken a picture of the booth for this post, but I'm thinking about going back later this month just to spend more time searching through the cheap boxes. If I do, I'll get a picture then. Anyway, I did find a few books, including this seasonal offering from The Punisher.

I should've probably taken these out of their old bags and scanned them, what with all of the glare and all, but I didn't. I think you'll live though. This is one of the series' that I've been meaning to go back and read for years, but always forget to look for it anytime I'm somewhere that has comics.

Here was the find of the day for me! This is one of the first comics that I ever remember getting, and reading. It's cover, which features Crossbones and Bullseye coming to blows over a prone Captain America, is basically THE cover that I associate with reading comics as a kid, and because of that association, is my favorite comic cover of all time. My childhood copy got damaged in a move about ten years ago (my fault for not having it in with the rest of my comics), and I've been trying to replace it off and on ever since. It's not a 'key issue', nor is it even that great of a story (it's part of a multiple book arc), so I never wanted to pay silly online prices for it. I have seen copies in person a few times over the years, but they're usually beat up and still overpriced. This copy is very clean, and was 75¢ more than my original copy, but I don't think I'm gonna find another one for a dollar anytime soon.

This stop at the Bargain Hunters really made up for a lackluster outing at McKay's, and the day wasn't even done yet, there were still two more sights to see...

One more shot of the Sunsphere on the way back, this time behind that cool looking church who's name I can't remember.

And here's something that you really don't see everyday.

I can't remember how far outside of Knoxville this was, but I caught up to this helicopter on a trailer on the way home -- and of course had to try and get some pictures of it.

Even if you don't care about helicopters, can we all just take a second and realize how great this photo was. I had been waiting for this guy to get out of the fast lane for about ten minutes, and when he finally did, I got me one hell of a picture as I was passing. Oh, and for those who might be wondering, my eyes were on the road. When I take pictures while driving, I just point the phone in the general direction of the thing I want to get a picture of, and try to take as many pictures as I can, all with both eyes focused on what's ahead of me. More often than not, I get blurry pictures of partial objects, which obviously aren't gonna be added to posts, but this time, I got a good one. This was by far the best picture that I took last year.

This was next shot taken during my set of bling clicking (the next one after this was just the front of the truck). I don't know anything about helicopters, but this photo captured a clear view of the model. A quick Google search on the R44 Raven II, tells me that what you're looking at here costs in the neighborhood of $200,000 to $400,000. That's an expensive toy. The trailer had a Texas plate, and the truck was headed in that direction, so it's entirely possible that whoever this was came east to pick up their new purchase, and were heading back home when I took these photos. If so, it's a good thing that they've got some money, because I would've hated to see what their gas bill was for that truck even to have come from Texas to Tennessee and back.

Between this trip and the weather, last year sure closed strong. The weather's a bit iffy so far this year, but at least I'm starting things off right on the blog, what with these being my favorite kind of posts to do and all.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Post-Christmas post

Since I haven't seen anyone say otherwise, I'm gonna go ahead and assume that everybody had a pleasant enough Christmas? Mine was fine, a little different this year, but still okay.

I've mentioned it in year's past, but my mom and I have sort of developed a tradition in recent years to go on a hike Christmas day, which is also her birthday, but we didn't do so this year, at least not yet. She was a tad under the weather (not the Rona, or anything else serious) for a couple of days there, so we didn't go out, but are gonna try to go out sometime next week and make up for it. Temperature wise, it's been pretty good here for the last week or so, and was a relatively pleasant 64° on Christmas day, and while the hike was off, I did spend a couple of hours in the afternoon outside doing, well, outside stuff -- much to the awe of the many people that drove by and had to look at me as they did so. 

As far as presents go, there weren't any, at least none that I can show off here on the blog. Some months ago my mom and I agreed to not exchange gifts this year, and would instead go halfsies on a six-month premium subscription to Newspapers.com. We waited until their Black Friday offer, which I think was for $54, to sign up. And I know that for my part, the subscription has already gotten plenty of use. I really love that site! Despite this year's "ban" on traditional Christmas presents, I did still get her a couple of birthday presents, both of which went over well, yay me!

I think that this was the first year, or at least the first year in the last couple, that I didn't post anything on Christmas itself. I had intended to, but after thinking about it, I decided to give everyone a break. It was the right decision. 

Speaking of posts, today's was originally gonna be another homemade solution to storing tricky sized cards in binders (overly thick cards this time) but I've tweaked my original idea some, and needed something that the Dollar Tree apparently doesn't carry anymore to try and complete that prototype. So, it'll probably have to wait a few weeks until I can go to the much further away Hobby Lobby, which also means that the planned post will have to wait a little longer as well. I'm not the sort who's able to write multiple posts in advance, and rarely plan even one post in advance, so when the planned one falls through like this, I'm kind of shit up a creek. It's not ideal, but I do have two boxes of cards from COMC to tap into, at least the ones that haven't already been paged away before getting scanned (that's way too easy of a habit to fall into). This being my only option to fall back on this week, I think I'll just pull a few out and try to make a post out of them...

I think it was just a couple of posts ago that I was talking about wanting/not wanting to collect this old Helmar Seals and Coats of Arms set, and now here I am saying that I guess I'm gonna go for it. My Black Friday Mecklenburg will be the last single I get for a bit though. Collecting a 150-card set one piece at a time isn't very cost effective, so I'm gonna have to start keeping an eye out for a good lot on eBay. Having seen a few of those lots in the past, I know it'll be difficult to find one in my price/condition preference range, as most of the time the cards in these lots are pretty beat up.

Great card, terrible scan! After buying six 1966 Topps Superman cards at a show a few years ago, I've wanted to get three more just so I could have a page's worth. I'm trying to pick out the best 9 cards from the set to do this too, and #7 here is definitely one of the neater cards in the set. I know which two I want to complete the page with, it's just a matter of them showing up at a reasonable price. I can wait though.

This came out of my box from November that had two years worth of purchases in it. I think when I bought this I was still pretending like I'd ever have a chance to complete the '57 set, but have long since given up on that silly notion. Mack doesn't fit into any of my current collections, but I still love the image, so I'll find a place for him.

Rando Rheaume! I had never owned a single Goodwin Champions up until about a month ago, then I bought two during the Black Friday sales. Manon's base card has about 143 parallels in this set, but I only wanted this blue one, which by the way is the best one. That's a hill I'm willing to die on!

Crappy scan aside, this was one of my favorite cards gotten during this past Black Friday. Tippi doesn't have very many cards (most are parallels and ugly Leaf stickergraphs), but that's okay, I just needed one for a Alfred Hitchcock themed page that I've got going (technically I have two Hitch pages in progress though).

70's and 80's Topps stickers are always fun. I don't have any 80's for this post, but do have this...

... nifty trio of...
... 70's stickers to show off. Richard Kiel here is my favorite of the group. He's found a nice home on a Kolchak themed page.

It's always a good day when the great Christopher Lee is able to make an appearance on the blog. Despite it's awesome cast, I've never liked Gremlins 2. Try as I might, I just can't get down with it. As for the card, I already had a copy, but needed another one for a different project.

I've had a page dedicated to Harold Sakata (weightlifter/wrestler/actor) for a couple of years now, and always knew that this particular card (1966 Philadelphia James Bond) was going to be the center square. I think I bought this one well over a year ago now, I just had to wait until COMC got their act together to put him in his rightful place, thankfully, they finally have.

Last up for today is this kooky error(?). I found this a few months ago while searching through the recently added TCMA cards. I was looking for pro stuff, so when I hit a big block of minor league cards I just sped through them. Even in speed scroll, this card stood out from it's other minor league brethren. After looking around online, I can't find any copies of this card (there's a wrong entry on the TCDB), so I don't know if this was a funny printing error, or if every copy went out like this. 

It would've been cool if the back was screwy too, but alas, it's normal. If anyone has the skinny on this one, I'd love to know what's what.

Kind of a lazy post today, I know, but they can't all be winners. I guess too this'll be the last post on here for the year. I'm gonna spend a few days working on a post for the other blog (I've been experiencing all kinds of problems with that one), so if all goes well, I'll have a new post up on both blogs next week. Until then, be careful with those fireworks this weekend, it'd probably be a little more difficult to bang out blog posts with some missing digits. Oh, and take it easy on the booze too. If you thought it was hard typing with a few less fingers, just wait until you try to do so with a pair of non-corporeal hands.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Trying and failing


I guess it was around two years ago that I decided to start paring down my card collection. I was running out of space, and was also just tired of looking at all of the extra chafe (dime boxes aren't always a good thing).

Despite having always been a binder person, I moved a lot of the stuff I was keeping over to boxes. It seemed like a good idea at the time, not only would space be saved, but it also made it easier to separate the keepers from the goers. I did keep about a dozen binders intact - player collections that weren't going anywhere - and had always planned on returning the majority of the keepers back to binders when I was finished.

Well, at some point I did finish, and then an unexpected thing happened... I didn't start returning what was left of the collection to binders!

I think I was burned out from having just done all of that sorting, or maybe it was something else, I don't know. Either way, the majority of my collection was now in boxes, and there it would sit, and sit, and sit some more; that is until last month when I finally found the motivation to start moving things back to where they belonged, in binders.

I mentioned a couple of times recently that I hadn't been doing much, if any, card sorting this year. Because of this, stacks have been building, lots and lots of stacks! I know that a big reason for this was that I really disliked just filing things away in boxes, only to not be seeing them again. This also sort of confirmed a theory that I've had for a long time about how often folks that store their cards in boxes actually ever look at said cards in boxes. No matter what anyone says, it's not convenient to pull out stacks of cards, sit down, and look through them that way. As I've gotten older I've also fallen into the mindset of why bother having something if you're never going to look at it/interact with it? If it's just to say that you have a particular thing, well, I for one will not be impressed by that thing that will take you hours to find if someone did actually want to see it. And if keeping all of these cards around in boxes that you never go through is meant to impress anyone with the sheer number of cards in your possession, just remember that he who has the most cards doesn't win. In fact, you're just setting someone up else to be the loser, that being the poor soul(s) who's gonna have to deal with your accumulation when you're gone. I don't know about anyone else, but that's not a burden I'd like to leave behind, nor would I like to be remembered as the person who left that kind of burden on someone else's shoulders.

I'm starting to get a bit preachy here, apologies, that's definitely not what this post is about. 

Anyways, the point is that I wasn't doing any sorting, and I'm pretty sure that it's because everything was in boxes. I've now spent at least an hour a night for the better part of a month returning the majority of my collection back to binders, and have noticed an immediate resurgence of interest in all things cards. Some of the cards are being grouped by player, for player collections of course, but I've also been creating themed pages, which I'm finding are much more interactive than pages housing player collections. Some new mini collections have been started as well, but it's the themed pages that I'm having the most fun with. The only small problem - and this where the point of today's post finally comes into play - is that some of these themed pages contain cards of different sizes, the smaller of which causing said problems.

It's no secret that the common sized tobacco cards, or the modern minis of the same size, look like hot shit in 9-pocket pages. Cards of that size rarely stay in place, and almost never remain completely upright. There's also an issue with empty space, and the poor aesthetics that are caused by it. I know that they make special penny sleeves now that center minis in the middle of the sleeve/toploader/page, but that still doesn't help with all of the empty space around the card. With all of this in mind, I decided to see if I could come up with a solution, or even a partial solution, which I may have done.

Ideas can often come at the oddest of times. After a few days of nothing, one decided to show up last week while I was making dinner, more specifically, while a pot of noodles (chickpea elbows) were simmering on the stove. I had a few minutes before they'd be done, so I figured I might as well see if the idea had legs or not.

Now before anyone says anything, remember, I had about five minutes or less to do this, and it was just a prototype, or a proof of concept if you will. The idea was basically just to try and make a cheaper version of those frames that are used for the A&G mini autos and relics. With no time to waste, I grabbed a Golden Age mini from my "to get rid of" box (just in case I f'ed up), cut a few strips (unmeasured) from my last little bit of Dollar Tree poster board, cut down a penny sleeve to secure the card in, and stapled all together. There's no doubt that even for a five-minute proof of concept project, that this is pretty darn hideous. But, it did at least tell me that I may be on the right track. Oh, and in case you're wondering, no, I didn't overcook the noodles :)

The next morning I decided to give it another go. This time I actually measured the opening, but with my last X-Acto blade being terribly dull, I had to use a box cutter to cut out the frame. It didn't go so well. Dollar Tree's poster board is prone to shredding, and that's exactly what happened here. Also, with math not being something that I've ever been good at (which I don't say with any sort of pride, unlike most modern idiots who do. It's constant source of embarrassment for me, and has hindered more than a few projects in the past.), one can clearly see that my measurements were off. Despite that, I closed it up anyway to see how it would look, this time using some double-sided tape.

And here's what I'm calling my "this shit is getting on my nerves" attempt. No measuring, and I switched over to my dull X-Acto... and it shows! It is funny though, I can draw a perfectly straight line freehand, but can't cut one (Cut one! 😆) to save my life. This was also the last of my white poster board.

If there's one thing worse than Dollar Tree's white poster board, it's their black poster board. The black isn't even the same material as the white, it's much thinner, kind of like slightly thicker construction paper. It has a white middle too, which you can't hide from the final product. I had a little bit of the black left over from a past project, and decided to give it one more go, this time using one of the cards that I actually want to put in page. Once again, I just eyeballed the measurements, but this time I broke out my old paper cutter (paid a lot less for mine though) to do the interior cut. It's very hard to see where the knife is stopping on this particular model, so I had to do the corners with the dull X-Acto again. Overall though, aside from the slanted cut on the top and bottom of the window, I don't think that this one turned out half bad. It would look semi-okay in a page as is. Certainly better than the card just floating all over the page by itself would. Had I measured it, this one probably would've been a keeper. Once again, the card is safely encased in a trimmed down penny sleeve, and I used a few tiny spots of Elmer's glue to close up the frame.

I realize that there's no way that I'm the first person to try and replicate the A&G frames, but I haven't seen anyone share their attempts, so I thought some folks might like to see mine -- terrible as they may be. 

If I had absolutely any computer skills, I'm sure that frames with the correct measurements could be printed onto poster stock, and this whole process would be considerably easier -- but I don't, so trying to make these by hand is the only possible option for me. Custom borders could probably be done with a computer too, but again, not an option for me. Hobby Lobby sells 12" x 12" paper squares made out of very thin paper. They come in all different kinds of designs, as I believe they're for scrapbooking, but I don't see why I couldn't get some of those and cut out an overlay to jazz up the borders some. I don't know though, I'll probably try and go there in a few weeks and see what's what. I need some more poster board too, I can't do anything else for the moment with out it.

I'm not overly happy with how these attempts have gone so far, but even if nothing ever comes from them, I did get a blog post out of them, that's gotta be worth something, right? I suppose too if there's any interest, I can do an update at some later date, and show off the next batch once I get the aforementioned needed supplies. Until then, I attempted to solve another tricky sized card in pages issue via crafts just yesterday, and actually liked how the prototype turned out. It's got real potential. I'm thinking I'll do a shorter post about that one next week. First though, I got to come up with something to post on Christmas...

Sunday, December 19, 2021


Looking back at the last ten posts or so that I've done, I see that not a lot of cards have made it onto the blog in recent months; maybe ten cards or less across those last ten posts. One might think that this was because I didn't have anything "new" coming in to talk about or show off, but it's actually been quite the opposite, where too much has been arriving and I don't even know where to start with it.

I mentioned just recently that I've been spending a lot of time as of late sorting cards, this after not doing so for most of the year. As nice, and relaxing, as it's been to spend some of my nights just listening to music while I put cards in pages, a number of stacks grew up during the year, and it's been slow going as I attempt to reduce their respective heights. And it seems like every time I start to see some progress, more cards show up!

It's amazing how many things have been found so far that I had completely forgotten about, especially those that were only bought in the last couple of months. I think I also pointed out sometime not too long ago that I find it funny how in the early days of the blog, I would post about every single new card that came in, and nowadays only, maybe, 5% of what shows up on my doorstep ever gets covered here. That probably isn't necessarily bad thing though as I would imagine that most of those older posts aren't very good (I certainly won't be going back to read them), lots of cards, yes, but probably very little substance. No soul if you will.

Some of my collecting interests are changing/shifting again, some of which will be discussed below, while others will be covered in future posts. With so few cards making into blog posts in recent months though, I figured that I'd try and make up for it a little today by going all smorgasbord on you, pulling out some of the cards that have recently been "rediscovered" from my stacks. A few cards from a few different orders to give you some idea of where my collecting head has been at this year. Spoiler alert, it's been all over the place!

I rarely remember what the impetus is behind most of the things I do, even in real time, so trying to go back to the summer and figure out why I decided that I needed some of Ray Caldwell's cards in my life is almost impossible. Whatever the reason though, I added a couple of his cards to one of my "larger" (maybe 15 cards worth) orders from Sportlots back in June(?) or July(?), one of which was the really nifty TCMA 1920 Indians card. A lot of people remember solely as the guy who got hit by lightning while out on the mound (you all already know that story, right?), got up after a spell, and then finished pitching the inning/game. It is a pretty great story, but like a lot of guys from his era, he was a character, one that could only exist during that time period, and as such, led a very interesting life. Surviving being struck by lightning was just the cherry on top of the interesting life sundae.

As far as this card itself goes, well, to me it's just about perfect. Action cards are always fun, but if you've got to get a card of someone who isn't in motion, they just don't come too much better than this.

The back is pretty great too. I'm sure some would complain about the lack of stats, but this set was covering the teams 1920 season, so you get everyone's stats for that particular season, nothing more, nothing less.

Again, I don't know why, but a number of my summer Sportlots orders had TCMA cards in them, another of which was this Dick Wakefield from TCMA's War Years set. I don't if I was thinking about doing so at the time, but I've been thinking about starting a Bonus Baby collection. If I do, I've got numero uno covered, as back in 1941,  Dick was the first prospect to be given a check, or bonus, to skip the minor leagues and sign with a team. The term "bonus baby" didn't even exist until a few years later, and as such, Dick, and his contemporary babies, don't even appear on the official list of "bonus babies". In fact, everyone before 1947 is usually absent from the lists that you'll find all over the internet.

I had a shipment of around 250 cards arrive from the Baseball Card Store back in November, right around the time that I finally felt like sorting again. Since these were the newest cards at the time, I started putting them away before even scanning any for the blog. A lot of the order was made up of early 90's Blazers (and former Blazers) and Marvel cards, neither of which are things that blog readers are clamoring to see, so you probably dodged a bullet this time. At some point though, I did think that maybe I should scan a couple of cards for a post, and grabbed a few of the stragglers for your viewing pleasure.

1997-98 Hoops is a much maligned set, but I've always liked it. I dislike sets with replaced backgrounds more and more as I get older, this set however will forever be immune to that hate, as it's got quite a bit of nostalgia for me. Here we have a pair of former Blazers (childhood favorites), which is actually a trio of former Blazers, as Otis Thorpe got a cameo on Cliff's card.

It's been almost 30 years since this set came out, and I still get a kick out of the singles that can be put together to form a scene. It wasn't the first card set to borrow the idea from old sticker albums, but did have the most combo cards at the time.

Shreck, aka Terror, is one of my favorite comic book characters of all time. Originally an Epic character, Marvel convinced his creator to bring him over to the Marvel universe, where the big plans that they had for him evaporated before they even got started, and the character quickly faded from most peoples memory. As a reader of comics, I do wish that Marvel would've never gotten their hands on the character, but as a card collector, I'm glad they did, otherwise no cards of him probably would've ever been produced. I have a couple of copies of "Terror's" "rookie" card, but couldn't pass up another cheap one. 

I thought I already had a copy of this one for the Carnage collection, turns out I didn't. 

I grabbed a number of the hologram variants from the '91-92 UD set, but pictures of tiny holograms on the backs of cards aren't that interesting to most people, so here's one of the fronts. I kind of like the different holograms myself, but will not try to convince anyone that they're more pleasing to the eye than an action shot featuring a rookie Dikembe Mutombo taking it right at Manute Bol.

I don't know if the person formerly known as Twitch was the first person to do it, I'm assuming not, but they were the first person that I saw do one player collections. I've since seen some folks on Twitter who do it, and as of late, Gavin has been doing it too. I always liked this concept, but could never commit to it... until now! I continue to want to pare down my collection, and I feel like this sort of thing will help do so. There's still gonna be a bunch of guys and gals who I want everything from, but there's also plenty of people who I'd be content to have just one page's worth of stuff from. As I've already started doing this, I'm finding that most of the one page heroes are of names that would have been recognizable to younger me, or rather folks who I regularly pulled from packs as a kid. Orel is just such one of those guys. I've never had a desire to collect him before, but at the same time it feels like he was in every single pack of baseball cards that I opened as a kid. I'm gonna try to get a good mix on these pages (base, inserts, parallels, etc.), but all will be hand chosen for one reason or another. This particular card was picked because I can't imagine that he was shown batting on too many cards, which is kind of neat, and the color matching border just put it over the top. I also grabbed a Fernando card from this set for his page, if only because he's shown as an Oriole.

This card checks off so many 90's boxes: Sticker, check! Neon colors, check! Crazy squiggles all over the place, check! Glow in the dark, double check! It just doesn't get too much more 90's than this! Tim is getting the one page treatment as well, and so far I've got some pretty dope cards for him. Depending on the five more cards that I get to fill it, his page might end up being the most interesting.

I had about 30 Hollywood Starline cards in this box, about half of which I was hoping would be upgrades, and thankfully they were. 

I'm still undecided as to whether or not I actually like the various Senior League cards. On one hand it's nice to get a few more "playing days" cards for player collections, but on the other, some of the cards are terribly depressing.

I had never seen Donruss' 2001 release before. From what I can gather, it looks like at least for part of the set that the borders are color matching, some of which are more attractive than others. I haven't gone through the checklist yet, but I did see a nifty red Junior that I'd like to get at some point. As for Cal, he's getting a page too. So far this is it for the page though. I do have a few inserts that I was going to add to it, but upon recent reviewing, I decided that I didn't care much for those and will now need to find a new home for them.

I took advantage of the Baseball Card Store's free shipping offer on Black Friday, but haven't heard anything about the order since. I should have about a hundred more cards coming, but don't know when that will be. Hopefully I'll get a few more things put away by then, and won't have to just show a couple of the leavings from it.

My two years worth of accumulation from COMC came in November, and aside from making sure that everything was there, haven't done much with it's contents since. For the sake of this post though, I did pull out a couple of cards, one of which was one of these; the other two came from TCDB trades earlier this year. I've talked about it on a couple of separate occasions already, and won't go into it again, but this is my favorite modern parallel of someone who I don't collect. These were #'s 5, 6, and 7. Ideally I'd love to get enough to fill a couple of pages, but for now I'll be content if I can just get two more to fill up a page.

Speaking of duplicates! This is '61 Billy Muffett #27. God, I love this card! Prices for decent looking copies have gone up a tad on the site, so I probably won't be getting too many more from there. Most of the other online prices aren't very cost effective either. One of these days I really need to start going to shows again.

Color shifts are so damn hard to find on COMC that I feel like I've struck gold every time I do actually encounter one. I just recently put this mini collection into a page finally. I was a bit disappointed to find that I only had six of them though, I thought I had more. But again, hard to find, so I guess six is better than none.

I had built up 72 cards in my COMC account since I requested my two years worth to be shipped back in May. I then bought a little over 30 cards during all of the Black Friday sales, which put me over 100, and qualified me for their free shipping promotion, which I did take advantage of. I just got notified on Friday that my cards had shipped, one week before their original estimate. I think it's safe to say that things have greatly improved over there in Auburn. Between the last shipment and this one, if I wanted to get lazy here on the blog, I'd probably have next years content already covered. I won't be doing that, but the thought is somewhat appealing.

This card appeared in a recent Diamond King post that I commented on, and to my great surprise, showed up just a few days later in my mailbox. All I said was that it was a pretty cool card and that I couldn't believe that Kevin had found at a sow there in Portland, and then like magic, here it was! Oh, and it is a pretty cool card - a '61 Dutch Gum for those that care - my first 'playing days' Kirk Douglas. Many thanks again to Kevin for the very unexpected gift.

The final duo for today are the most recent cards to grace my mailbox, a pair of wonderful customs from Greg's most recent giveaway over on Nine Pockets. This is my second batch of Greg's customs, and there every bit as neat as the last ones. I don't know who prints them, but I still can't get over how good these cards feel in hand, I mean they actually feel like real cards. Desperado is a film that I will forever associate with my teens. I saw it in the theatre with a friend and his family when I was either 12 or 13 (depending on what month it was released that year), and can distinctly remember buying it on VHS at a Target about two years later. That video got a lot of viewings, as it was always a popular option when friends were over. I can't say with absolute certainty, but I believe that if we didn't rent anything, this and The Lost Boys were the two videos that got watched the most when friends were staying the night. An odd combo for sure, but I certainly wasn't going to complain. Thanks to Greg for the giveaway! 

One good thing about spending a bunch of time handling cards again has been that now I feel like blogging about cards again. Feeling and doing are of course two different things entirely, and whether or not this want to do so will actually translate into more posts with cards in them, remains to be seen. I could do posts like this for the foreseeable future, but I suspect that they might get a little old, very quickly. Who knows, just typing out loud, as usual. I can at least say that the next post will be card related, although it also include some crafting as well... yes, crafting!