Thursday, February 24, 2022

Finding a scrap amongst the remnants

My attempt to build the 1969 Topps football set was short lived. I was earnest in my attempt, but in my heart of hearts, I kind of always knew that it wasn't gonna get very far. 

Aside from a couple of cards, it's not an overly expensive set to collect, and might've been doable had I not been trying to work on so many others at the time. I think I had around 50 cards by the time I stopped working on it. 

Not being that far along, it was actually one of the first sets that fell by the wayside when my interest in set collecting started to wane a couple of years ago. I was trying to narrow my focus down to just a couple of sets at the time, but it was too little, too late. My interest in set collecting was already gone, I just wasn't willing to admit it yet.

Two (three?) years later now, I still have around 40 random 1969 Topps cards just sitting in a box. I took out a few for player collections quite awhile ago, and haven't gone through them again since. That is until just a few weeks ago, when I was trying to see if I had any for somebody else's set build. I didn't end up having any for them, but did after all of this time, find one more thing for me...

I know that I had to have known that there was a puzzle to be made from some of the backs in the set, but with my memory being what it is, and now being a couple of years removed from last seeing one of these backs, it kind of feels like this is a completely new thing to me. I mean I did have them in a binder at one time, meaning that I did have to put them in order, which meant looking at the back --- but still, I just don't remember this puzzle piece.

One of the greatest last names in football history.
Even though I had to have known about the puzzle itself, I apparently only ever got one of the pieces, so I'm almost certain that I never bothered to look up who the puzzle was of.

Image "borrowed" from eBay.
Hey, it's Fran Tarkenton! And hey, I collect Fran Tarkenton! Sure, it's not the greatest image ever, but still... [Also, this isn't the full puzzle, but I couldn't figure out how to copy and paste this one]

Before committing myself to the idea of trying to complete this puzzle, I wanted to make sure that none of the pieces had guys named Starr, Unitas, or Namath on the front. They don't. In fact, the checklist doesn't look too bad at all:

#137 Billy Lothridge
#145 Johnny Robinson
#168 Willie Wood
#174 Steve Stonebreaker
#177 Bobby Walden
#194 Bruce Gossett
#211 Tom Sestak
#219 Darrell Dess
#224 Paul Martha
#256 Jack Snow

There really isn't anyone on there that commands a premium these days. Willie Wood might be a few bucks, but this is definitely doable. So, I'm gonna do it. Or rather, I've already started doing it. With Steve out of the way, I went over to COMC to see if I could knock anyone else off the list.

Seventy cents was all it took to cross Paul's name off of the list. Obviously this won't be in hand for a bit, so try to look past that watermark.

This piece is only slightly more interesting than the one I already had, but after swiping this scan of theirs, I did notice that it's the piece directly above mine.

I am now just one piece away from completing Fran's arm. It doesn't get much more exciting than that! These pieces will probably matchup better color-wise once I get the new one. I cleaned up my scan, but didn't bother with COMC's, hence the difference.

For the moment, Paul was only other one I could get, as I don't want to pay very much for the pieces, but do still want them to be in fairly decent shape. 2 out of 10 isn't a bad start though. I'm not in any hurry to finish this, so I don't mind sitting back and waiting for some better deals to pop up.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

A funny from the past

I finally started reading the copy of "The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract" that I got a couple of months back. It's very good so far. The layout is absolutely perfect for a scatterbrain like me. I'm about halfway through as of this typing, but would already recommend it highly for any baseball history buffs out there.

I don't read a lot of things that make me laugh out loud anymore, but there's an anecdote in this book that did, and I feel like it's worth sharing (even though I haven't gotten permission to do so).

A bit of context for those that may not know, Hughie Jennings is a former player, a HOF player, and was the then Tigers manager.

I love it! Stories like this could only come from that era. There will be nothing like this in a hundred years about today's players. I just wish that we knew the kid's name.

Also, because I'm always interested in what the cost of past things would be today, that $1.80 ticket back in 1916 would, as of right now, be $46.43 in 2022.

This was a bit of a throwaway post, I know, but it's all I've got for today. I'll have a real post up sometime in the next few days.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Only six more to go?

Unlike some of the cards in my previous post, I never set out to get more than one copy of Boog Powell's 1967 offering. However, when Bo, of Baseball Cards Come to Life! fame, provided the opportunity to acquire a few more on his blog couple of months back, I found myself unable to resist the temptation to do so.

And lest anyone accuse me of hoarding all of the Boog's, at least three days had passed from Bo's initial post putting these out there for trade, before I claimed them. You had your chance.

Boog has become one of my favorite people to collect over the last couple of years, but even with that in mind, I'd be lying if I said that this card was his most interesting. Although it might be more interesting if I knew who #55 there in the background was? I did a cursory search, and ended up with bupkis. Having only had one copy prior to getting these, I couldn't really envision what a whole page's worth might look like, but now that I have row filled in the Boog pages, I kind of like the idea of getting six more to complete a page. I feel like seeing a whole page of this goofball would make anyone smile? Don't believe me, wait until I get six more, and we'll put this theory to the test.

I'm sure that there's a few folks out there who are getting tired of seeing duplicates, and hearing me talk about duplicates. If so, good news, this'll be the last mention of them for at least a couple of posts, and even better news, Bo sent along a few more things -- none of which were duplicates... for me!
Here's another one of Bo's duplicates that he had put out there for any and all interested parties. I grabbed this for my burgeoning Hank Bauer collection Unbeknownst to me, it had even been autographed...

This is obviously a rare commodity, but I am open to offers. The bidding will start at $100,000. I mean after all, it's not every day that one comes across a Donald Aguirre(?) autograph :)

I knew of their existence from back in my COMC Challenges days, but didn't know anything about them until Bo did his couple of posts on the 1969 Globe Imports set last year; the first of which had more duplicates for trade [if you want to read an interesting post, go seek out the second one that Bo did on these]. I'm still not sure how I feel about these, on the one hand it's nice to be able to add some different items to player collections, but on the other, they are awfully flimsy, and obviously next to no money was spent on their printing. I guess they do have their charm, you just have to enjoy it VERY carefully. I do need a few more from this set, as well as a few from the non-sport edition, but I can't see myself ever spending too much money on one of these "cards".

It wouldn't be a mailing from Bo, without some matchbook covers added to the package. I don't think it would do much good, but I'd like to see more anti-littering messages on disposable packaging.

I found an old RC Cola bottle a few months ago while out putzing around the creek. It was upside down in the mud when I found it, unfortunately the top inch or so was broken off. It wouldn't really have been worth much (much less than that listing) intact, but I hadn't found any RC bottles in the wild up to that point, so it would've been nice to have had that one. A whole one that is.

These two were especially thoughtful on Bo's part.

The Kenmore Stamp Company has been around for a long time, and at one time they were held in some regard, but not these days. As the kids would say, they're shady af. I've never done any business with them, but I did have a few dealings with, Mystic, who's another long time stamp company. For those interested, Mystic is still on the up and up, but they primarily cater to newer collectors, so if you're looking for anything rare, you probably won't find it with them.

And although not shown, Bo also sent a bunch of cards that will hopefully make it onto the other blog at some point. It's been tough for me find any rhythm with that one so far (I'm currently stuck on a long biography/profile post that seems to have gone south on me), but as I said, I'm hoping that things will pick up over there.

My apologies to Bo for taking so long to give public thanks for these. Despite the length of time that it took me to get to this package, all of the contents were very much appreciated!

Friday, February 18, 2022

I couldn't stop with just one

I didn't start out life as someone who enjoyed collecting duplicates, in fact as a young collector  (a young set collector to be more precise), who rarely had anyone to trade with, duplicates were the bane of my existence. There was nothing worse than buying a pack of cards, only to find that you already had 90%, or more, of the cards in said pack. Sometimes I would try to circumvent this problem by starting multiple sets of the same thing, but more often than not, my duplicates would just end up in a box in my closet. It wasn't the ideal way to deal with them, but it was the only way I knew. Eventually I stopped collecting cards, and then a few years later, donated the bulk of my collection, including all of those duplicates, to a charity auction.

Fast forward a decade, and I unexpectedly started collecting cards again. And of course I just had to resume with my set collecting ways again, which meant more duplicates! A curious thing started to happen with some of those duplicates this time though, this being that I wasn't getting as perturbed as I used to be by all of the extras. Some were starting to become welcome. I wasn't full on collecting them, yet, but I was intentionally keeping them together in my keeper boxes (or as I was calling them, my "I'll do something with them later" boxes). I also wasn't going out of my way to seek out duplicates, yet, but was quietly grabbing extras of guys that I liked from dime and quarter boxes, especially those guys who appeared on cards of the vintage variety (Snapper Jones is the first example that comes to mind).

Fast forwarding a few more years, and I was finally able to break free from the shackles brought on by set collecting (that's just how it felt to me, I'm not knocking set collecting, or set collectors). Ever since then, I've been all over the place collecting-wise, which I think of as just trying to find my way. I was treading in completely new territory after all. Things are a lot more settled as of late. I'm pretty sure that I know now how I'll be collecting, and what I'll be collecting going forward. One thing that has emerged from all of this, that I shouldn't be surprised by, but still kind of am, is that I now enjoy collecting multiple copies of certain cards, and will actually go out of my way to seek them out.

I'm sure that no one remembers, but I did post last year after I had found out that not only had Alan Autry (aka Bubba), played football prior to going into acting, but that he also had exactly one card out there (well, technically he has two, but the short printed Topps Mexican is way out of my price range). At the time, I had just gotten a copy of that card from Sportlots, and even though I didn't mention it in the post, I kind of already knew that it wasn't gonna be the last copy that I'd be purchasing. I tried to fool myself a bit initially, by thinking that I'd get just one more, and send it off to see if I could get him to sign it. Well, I got that second copy, then found out that he's apparently not too keen on signing TTM requests. Not willing to risk the loss, I just held onto that second copy.

The trouble was, just two of the same card doesn't look very good on a page, so I bought a third from Sportlots to complete the row. The page did look better after that, but then the problem of what to fill out those other six slots with arose. He only has one card, and putting cards of someone else in that page wouldn't look very good either. Have you figured out where this is going yet? There really was only one option, for me, and that's to get six more copies to fill out the rest of the page. I was able to get two of those six just last week, from Sportlots again.

Although my goal is to complete this page, I already know that I'm not gonna stop with just four more. I'm sure that if I wanted to delve into it a little more, I could probably figure out why certain cards are appealing to me so much, I mean I have at least one row of duplicates in most of my paged player collections, and for a lot of them I don't need any more than that (unless I find some more in dime boxes), but there's just certain cards that I now want as many copies of as I can get. And honestly, I don't even care why this is, as flipping through these pages just makes me happy. That is what collecting is supposed to be about, isn't it?

I don't know if the Bubba pages will ever reach...

... 1990-91 Fleer Shawn Kemp (14 pages and counting) or...

... 1961 Topps Billy Muffett (3½ pages and counting) status, but that's okay, I've got a number of just single full page duplicate collections as well, and those are fun to flip through too.

Moving on...

The seller that I got these last two Bubba's from, twinrick, has a really good combined shipping rate for 4 cards (90¢), so I picked myself out two more cards to round out the order, neither of which were duplicates.

People still get all excited over rookie cards, right? I'm guessing that Bob Golic's Topps rookie probably won't move any needles, even for those who answered yes. Apparently this is one of those cards that has those silly C*, D*, and C* D* variations on the back. I don't think you can choose which one you get when buying on Sportlots. Mine is the C* D* version, and for the moment, that's good enough for me. Maybe I'll get the other two at some point, but it's no rush.

Please excuse the dust bits on the scan.
Three-Mile Lyle's got old Joe Theismann marked for death, and it's doesn't look like Washington's O-Line is gonna be able to prevent this murder from happening. 

Lyle is one of those guys that I'm gonna start pushing a little more to try and complete the rest of their playing days stuff. His cards are very cheap (Late edit: I forgot that he has a Topps Mexican too!), so there really isn't much of an excuse I can put forth for having not finished his catalog already.

With shipping, these four cards came to $1.62 total. Since I wasn't looking to spend much, I was rather pleased to get all of these for roughly 40¢ apiece. I'm sure I could've found Bob and Lyle for a less at a show, but I didn't have to get up at 3am, travel a couple of hundred miles to Nashville and back, or spend $30 in gas to do so. Sometimes it's worth paying a few cents more to get cards like these online, at least for me.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Out and about

Generally speaking, I don't know if I can say that January was busier for me than normal, but I do know that I seemed to have found myself being out and about a little more than usual. And as is often the case, at least when I don't need to be anywhere by a specific time, I tend to try and stop in at places that I hope will be fun in between all of the not so fun places. 

There are only so many places for me to go locally, with most of them being of the variety that don't warrant frequent trips to. That being said, I did bring home a few things throughout the month, and as is my want, will now be subjecting those unfortunate enough to have clicked on this post, with most of those purchases.

I don't know how it is elsewhere, but finding records at thrift stores, records featuring artists that people actually want to listen to, has gotten rather difficult in recent years. Because, in case you haven't heard, there's a lot of money to be made in vinyl these days, especially amongst those #FlipLife dipshits.

Given how the employees of thrift stores, and their volunteers, get first crack at everything that comes in, I suspect that a lot of records aren't even making it past the back rooms anymore. The ones that do, are the ones that nobody on eBay would buy, you know like the old Christmas albums performed by the Nobody's Ever Heard of Sisters. You can't even give those away. 

Even though I know that it's usually pointless, I do still thumb through every stack I come across, no matter how meager that stack may be. I found two whole stacks worth of mostly unwanted records at the Threads of Hope early last month. Those stacks did yield two finds for me, though there is a big BUT attached to that statement, which I'll come back to in a moment. First, the Four Tops! One of my personal favorites. I do have all of these tracks on other formats, but for a quarter, I couldn't leave them there.

I don't imagine that there are a lot of folks out there still clamoring for The Righteous Brothers, but there loss is my gain. I mentioned that there was a "but" attached to these, this being that both records have certainly seen better days, and the quality of their play is very questionable. If they had been any more than 25¢ apiece, I wouldn't have even bothered, but for that price I don't mind taking a chance. Both will need an extensive cleaning, which will be delayed until the weather warms up a little more, so that I can go out to porch to do it... and not freeze my tuchus off!

Oh, and the back of the Righteous Brothers yielded a fun little tidbit written in pencil...

I've cropped out the name and street address, but as you can see, this was a well traveled record. Google tells me that it didn't come from quite as far as I did to get here, but it, and it's original owner, did make quite the trek at some point in the past.

Cassettes are becoming a thing of the past at thrift stores, too. Though in there case, it's more because people just don't care about them anymore and/or don't have any to donate anymore. Somebody must've died, or was put in a home, because there was a whole Rubbermaid tote full of cassettes on this particular day. At only ten cents apiece, it's a real shame that there wasn't more for me. And yeah, I know, you, yes you, you probably hate the Wham! And to that I say, good for you! Good. For. You.

This thrift store doesn't usually have a lot of the four primary things that I go into thrift stores for; videos, books, records, and cassettes. What it does tend to have a lot of though, is puzzles. They normally have a fairly decent amount of board games too, but with no one to play with, I don't spend a lot of time looking through those. Puzzles on the other hand, are something that you don't need anyone else around to do, hence my spending a little more time to look through. This MF'er may not look like much, but is currently proving to be one of the more difficult puzzles I've done in a while. It's the middle section on both sides that's causing the problem. There are so many subtle color changes! [Update: The puzzle has been finished as of this post going live.]

Technically, I did buy this book from The Book Cellar before going across the street and getting all that crap up above, but who's gonna a click on post showing a Three Investigators book in the thumbnail? I mean, besides me 😉. I never see books from this series in the wild, so if I was only destined to find one book that day, this was a good one for me to find.

I stopped into the nearest Dollar Tree three times during January, which is two times more than I normally during any given month. It just doesn't get enough new stuff to make me want to go in there any more frequently. If this was one of those magical DT's that you read about online, the ones get large DVD and Blu-Ray shipments every week, I'd be in there every week, but before this last month, I'd only seen a couple of DVD's there twice in the almost seven years that I've been here. Now, just in the last month, they've had two different shipments of DVD's. One week I went there, and there was maybe a dozen different flicks. Nothing for me, but still fun to look through. Then the next week, there was like 50 different pictures to choose from. It was crazy! I wouldn't be surprised at all if these were just the leavings from other stores, I mean they're are not gonna send top shelf stuff all the way out here, but if everyone else's leavings are gonna include Chuck Bronson and Teri Garr (prrrrrr), then I say, bring on the leavings!

Good or bad, new MOTU stuff is everywhere these days. Most of it isn't for me, but I did have to have this little baby Skeletor. [Note: The puzzle's edge was left in the shot for scale.]

The Serenity Thrift store is right next door to the Dollar Tree, and even though I normally only go in there once every couple of months, I was in there three times during January too. Three trips yielded one binder. I don't know anything about car racing, and aside from knowing that it was a thing, don't know anything about MAXX Race Cards, but I do know a thing or two about good binders; and this is a good binder. I can't remember the last time I paid as much as $1.99 for a binder, but this one was worth it.

This probably wasn't one of my more exciting "other stuff" posts, but it gave me a break from card posts, so it's served it's purpose. Now that the palate has been cleansed, I can bang out a few more card posts before I need another break. 

Monday, February 7, 2022

Good timing

Sometimes it seems like just about every card collector but me, has a story of buying (or being gifted) something on the cheap that then shot up in price shortly thereafter.

I know that I own some cards that bought back in the 90's that have drastically gone up in price in recent years, but something increasing in value over 25 years isn't quite the same as buying a card that increases in value by 1000% two weeks after it's purchase. Granted, cards shooting up in price by ten-fold overnight is a relatively new phenomenon, but still, everybody has their stories.

It's entirely possible that this has happened to me in the last few years, and I just didn't know it. I've never been a prospector, and certainly never gone out of my way to collect rookies, but maybe up until two years ago when I was still set collecting, I bought a set need from a dime box, and then it went up in price over the next couple of years? I don't think that this ever happened, but if did, I didn't, and still don't, know about it, and therefor have no story to tell... or do I?

I think part of the problem too is that usually once I acquire something, I don't ever go look it up at a later date to see if it's selling for more than I paid for it. I've seen some folks on the Twitter who seem to be rather obsessive about this sort of thing, which is fine for them, I guess; it's just not the way I'd prefer to spend my extra time. That being said, I did unintentionally, while recently looking through a seller's auctions on eBay, come across a card that I had bought not that long ago, which at the time was on the verge of selling for considerably more than I had paid for mine.

I can't recall exactly when it happened, but sometime in the last two years, somebody, somewhere, decided that every single Marvel card ever made, needed to now be graded. And as per usual, the boom crowd agreed. Prices on all things Marvel shot up in price seemingly over night, and while a lot of the 90's base cards (which were printed in the millions) have started to fall back to earth, a lot of the inserts and parallels are still selling for much more than they used to. 

I'd be lying if I said that I saw this trend coming, but I'm not one for seeing what the masses will or won't be doing, so it was just by happenstance, that I decided to splurge on an item that I had wanted for a long time, just days before the Marvel prices went bonkers.

Prior to the boom, the Gold Holofoil chase cards from 1994's Marvel Masterpieces, had spent years selling in the $10-20 range. Given how the gold's could only be found in jumbo packs, and that jumbo packs weren't evenly dispersed across the country, $10-20 didn't seem too unreasonable of a price all of these years later. Even so, with me being sometimes overly frugal, and of course not expecting any changes to come, I kept holding out hope that I'd be able to find the two cards that I wanted for less than the going rate, which never ended up happening. However, someone added a couple of these gold's to COMC just days before the great price shift. They were one of those sellers who's initial price is crazy high, but then runs a constant sale to make everyone think that they're getting good deals. This was one instance where that actually held true, probably much to the sellers chagrin given what was coming.

At this point, the non-sale price is lost to me, but I do know that on sale, the above card was $14. This was a fair price at the time, but even so, I still almost passed on it. Thankfully, I had just spent the previous couple of days acquiring quite a bit of credit from the Challenges (this was of course before COMC decided to make the Challenges a complete waste of time), and decided to use my newly gotten gains to purchase this long desired card. The seller also had the gold Carnage for the same price, but it had a very punky corner, which at the time, in that condition, was not worth $14... though it probably would still sell for more these days.

Despite being surprised by what I saw going on with that eBay auction, I didn't bother trying to see what the final sales price, but when I came across it, the card was approaching $100 -- which just seems bonkers to me. I know that things have changed quite a bit, but I still have a hard time believing that this card that I was debating buying for $14 around a year ago(?), is now seeing people paying upwards of a hundred bucks for. After seeing this, I suspect that the gold Carnage will continue to allude me for many more years to come, because I have no doubt that it's up there in price right now too :(

Just for shits and giggles, I also bought another copy of the regular Holofoil too. These haven't gone up as much in price, but I'm still glad I bought it before the masses started to do their thing. I pulled two copies of this card way back when, and wanted a third just so I could fill a row on one of my Venom pages. Ideally, I'd like to complete the rainbow with one of the Walmart Bronze's, but I waited to long to get one, and with them being the rarest and all, I wouldn't be surprised if they never drop back down to pre-boom prices. And I'm not willing, or even able, to move up into post-boom prices to get one. It is kind of sucky, but the good news is that there's no shortage of other, still reasonably priced, items for me to seek out. I don't think that I'll ever run out of those.