Sunday, July 15, 2018

Five and 5: Part 2

I came across an interesting poll just after the July 4th holiday on Twitter, and have been mulling a response for about a week now.

The tweet was from Ivan who runs the @WatchTheBreaks twitter account.  His poll asked the following question.

Has #TheHobby gotten better or worse in the past FIVE years?

The results were interesting.  317 people voted, and Worse got 51% of the vote while Better received 49%.  With the amount of bitching I see on twitter about cards and monopolies and all kinds of things, I thought the vote would have been more on the line of a 75-25 split.

I guess it depends on how you look at the question.  Do you look at it from the hobby as a whole perspective, or look at it from an individual perspective.

I tend to be more of a positive person, so I looked at it from the positive aspect.  The hobby is better for me now than it was 5 years ago.

Collecting modern cards has evolved to a point where I haven't bothered to put together any sets from 2018.  The only cards that I've bought from this year were for Blue Jays team sets or any of my player collections.

Panini didn't need to airbrush the Jays logo, pine tar took care of that chore

With fewer distractions, I have been focusing on putting together vintage sets more, which works out better because I can put more of my card budget towards vintage. 

Forget me for a minute, there's still a lot of positive things going on in the hobby.  People are chasing rookie cards now like they did 20 years ago.  Mike Trout RCs and Mookie Betts RCs are a couple of the hottest cards in the hobby now.   Don't forget Otani as well.   I see all kinds of people asking for LeBron James RCs, Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews in hockey, Saquon Barkley in football.  Since I started writing almost 7 years ago I don't remember a time during that period where RCs were as hot as they are now.

I also see a lot more generosity out there as well.  People donating cards to charities (Commons 4 Kids is one example).   People seem to be trading even more now for trading sake, not just matching dollar values to complete a deal.

I see people selling cards all over the place, twitter, ebay, sportlots, COMC and on message boards as well.  I'm sure that there are other avenues as well for a collector to buy a card.  For as much as people lament that the brick and mortar card shops are going the way of the dinosaur, there are plenty of avenues for collectors to get their hands on cards now. 

I'm sure that there have been plenty of podcasts and discussions so far during 2018 about how monopolies are ruining the hobby as a whole.  Do I think monopolies are good for collectors?  Absolutely not.  Are we as collectors going to be able to change that anytime soon?  Probably not.

But for me, there's only one thing I can do to protest what the monopolies are doing to the hobby.

Spend my money elsewhere.  

Lately, I've done that quite a bit.   I'm sure I'll keep on doing it for the foreseeable future.

I just choose to look at it from the positive side instead of the negative.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Five and 5: Part 1

I still have a lot of cards to show off from CommishBob's great box that he sent me, but I have two posts that I want to write first that have something in common.   The number 5.

Today's post is going to piggyback off of Gavin's post about narrowing down his collection to just 5 aspects.  My answers are below.

1.  Set building

This is the core of my being.   Always has been.  I currently have a want list for twenty-eight sets on this blog.   Yes, it's insane but it is who I am.   The best part of having all these want lists on the blog?  I've reared back on my pack busting/current card spending.   Tremendously.

A lot of you might be laughing just like Jim Kern at the crazy amount of sets I've got going.  But it is my DNA.  I don't know what I'm going to do when I've completed the sets I'm building.

Oh yeah, I've still got #2 through 5....

2.  Toronto based sports teams.

This is another no brainer.  Blue Jays and Maple Leafs.  Closing in on 8000 combined between the two teams.   I've finally got them all organized (well almost, but I am close) 

Two of the biggest Toronto sports heroes during my lifetime, shown on two cards that run the gamut from common as they get (Clark, 1990-91 Pro Set) to premium product (Bautista, 2017 Gold Label).

Right now the ratio of Jays to Leafs cards is 6:1 Jays.  I'd love to even that out a bit as time goes on.

3.  My player collections

I currently have 10 of these types of collections.   I don't believe I'm going to add any more for quite a while.

The Sakic and Thome collections are over 700 & 500 respectively.  I have 3 or 4 others in the 100-200 card range.  A few others are below 100 cards.

What's great about these is there's no time frame or goal associated with adding cards.  I was at the monthly card show today and saw a Brett Lawrie card that I didn't have in my collection.  Hadn't bought any cards of him for quite a long time.   That's the beauty of PC's. 

Finding a card of one of your cardboard idols alongside an all time great, for pennies?  That will never get old for me....

4.  Serial numbered parallels

Ha, betcha that most of you were waiting for me to say that one, right?!

This obsession is a little crazy.  So crazy I built a frankenset around a shit ton of serial numbered cards.

Add gold, purple, red, green, turquoise, (add your own exotic color here), and the card gets better.  Add in that the card is one of my player PC's or a Toronto based card, and it becomes drool worthy.

Sad, yes.   But it's in my card collecting DNA.

5.  Blogging

This blog is just under two weeks from it's 7th anniversary.

I've written 1682 posts before this one.

I generally don't devote that much time and energy into anything unless it interests me.

I've gone periods of time not writing, or hardly writing.   But going forward I just can't see myself collecting without writing about it.

I guess that I just have to keep going with the writing because I love it.   I enjoy expressing the triumphs and the tragedies that surround my card collecting hobby.  I enjoy interacting with everyone that also writes about this hobby. 

I may not agree with what you say, and I'm sure that there's a lot of people out there that disagree with me regularly.  But that is what makes writing about this hobby fun. 

So you're going to see me around for a while longer.  As long as I have these 5 aspects of the hobby, I'll keep going.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, July 12, 2018

A bit of a bitch fest

I received an order from Sportlots earlier this week, actually it came the same day that I received the cards from CommishBob.

I was kind of excited about this 94 card order and was looking forward to receiving them.  I pulled from my mailbox a box of cards from Bob (just over 100 in total), shipped very well.   And I also received this...

This is an 8.5 x 11 white envelope.  No padding.   It would be something that you would receive documents in from say, a legal firm.  Not me.  I received 94 cards, without benefit of a top loader or any kind of protection.

I paid $6 premium shipping for this.   I get that people sell cards to make money, believe me I've been there myself.

I wouldn't do this to anyone.  Never.

AMAZINGLY, these cards arrived unscathed.

About 30 cards apiece for each of the 78, 84 and 85 sets were knocked off the want list.   Needless to say I have to find another seller though when I decide to knock another 100 or so cards off the list.

The moral of the story?  If you're going to charge someone $6 to ship them an order, at least try to spend more than half of it on the actual shipping charges. 

It's just good form.

Thanks for letting me bitch.   Robert

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

These are a good place to start as any

I received a fantastic small box of cards from everyone's favorite Commish, CommishBob of the Five Tool Collector blog.

Bob offered up a few '62 cards after he saw me mention that I was taking the '62 want list off of my blog so I can focus on other pursuits.  So I sent him that want list and chopped off a bunch of those, but that's for my next post.

Today's post is a half dozen 1970 Topps cards, quick and painless.

Of the 6, only the Shellenbach probably won't stand the test of time.  If you are able to look closely, there are 3 crosses on the right hand side of Jim's head.   Other than that card, the other 5 are great, including the Carl Yastrzemski card which was quite the nice surprise (and very much appreciated).

If you had asked me 5 years ago if the 1970 Topps set was something I would think about putting together, the answer probably would have been no.  But over the years I've been lucky to pick up a lot of these cards on the cheap, and quite a few people have sent me cards from this set as well.

Now, I'm up to 280 cards out of the 720 in hand, and while the set is not a pressing endeavor right now, this is part of the 68 through 86 run that I want to eventually complete.

Still lots of time for that though...

Thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Inbound and Down #43: Baseball Card Breakdown

It's funny how things happen sometimes.  The other day I received an envelope from Oscar after going through a period where I hadn't received anything in my mailbox card related.

Then, I received an email from everyone's famous custom creator, Gavin from the Baseball Card Breakdown blog asking me if I'd received a PWE that he had sent a week previous.  The answer I had was no, I hadn't received anything yet.

The email actually reminded me that I had won a contest at his blog a while back.   My memory isn't tested as much as it used to be, so it doesn't work quite as well.  But that's another story...

The PWE came on Saturday, and it was full of cards that hit home.

Perfect.  Not only is it a Joe Sakic card, but it's one of the top 10 most wanted cards for my player collections, listed on the top of my other blog which can be seen here.   The list is down to 9 cards now, and the number of followers on that blog is slowly creeping up (it's at 19 now).  Maybe if hits 30 by the end of July I'll do some kind of COMC giveaway here...

Everyone knows that serial #'d cards are a true weakness of mine, and Gavin didn't disappoint in this department.

2006 Topps Co-Signers silver/bronze Vernon Wells/Lyle Overbay, 7/125

Aaron Hill 2007 Bowman Chrome blue #120/150 and Alex Rios 2008 Bowman Chrome X-fractor #202/250.   Love em....

2015 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Green Jon Harris #28/99.  And to show how far behind the times I am with current card releases (more on this in my next post), a Jose Bautista 2017 Topps Gold Label (one of my all time favorite sets) blue parallel Class 1 #27/150.   I was very pleased to see the great response that Jose received in his return to Toronto last week.  I saw a few people on Twitter calling for him to be entered into the level of excellence and having his number 19 retired.  Not sure if I would go that far, but I certainly admit that he was a big part of the Blue Jays over the past decade.

Last, and certainly not least, Gavin sent me a couple of his specialties, customs!!!

Doesn't hurt that you learn a little something from custom cards, now does it?  I knew the name Nate Colbert but had absolutely no idea that he attended spring training with the Jays in 1977 before being forced to retire due to back problems.  Love the homage to him on a '77 design.

Now, I had to look twice at this card.  Originally, I thought it was a card of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who as most of you know is a big time prospect in the Jays minor league system.

Looking again I realized it was VG Sr.!  2012 design had me thinking "did VG ever play with the Jays?"  On the back Gavin noted that Guerrero hit .358 in the Jays minor league system (A/AAA) in 2012 before hanging up the spikes at the age of 36. 

These are great and will never not be a part of my Jays collection. 

Gavin, thank you very much for the cards, serial #'d and 1 of 1 customs.  They are very much appreciated!!

Thanks for reading, Robert