Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Digging for Cubs

I'm sure that many of you out there that are on twitter follow the One Million Cubs Project account.   I recently saw a tweet from him that offered up some 1980 Topps cards in exchange for some Cubs.   So I started digging, and it was interesting what I found sitting in boxes while looking for some North Side cards.

PC cards?  I found about 10.   McCutchen, Ichiro, Tkachuk and Sundin all have more cards added to their collection.

The other card that I found I remember buying from a card show quite a while ago.   I don't think I paid a whole lot for it, but for some reason it wound up in a box and out of sight for quite a while.

A nice '74 Topps Al Kaline card.  Funny that I've had this for so long, but never marked it off the '74T want list.  I'm now down to 150 cards to go to finish that set; and speaking of want lists I finally got them organized today, and you'll see the fruits of my labor at the top of this page.  There's still a bit more work to do, but the major reorganization of them happened today.

All that aside, I managed to dig up 96 Cubs cards to send up to Beau.  He had 135 '80 Topps cards to send my way, and I was quite fortunate that Beau said that I wouldn't need to make up the difference, even though I offered.  So by the end of the week my '80T needs will be less than 70 cards. 

Considering I just started putting that set together a few months ago, I'm very pleased at being that close to complete so quickly.   Hopefully I can knock a couple of other sets out that quickly as well...

thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Little victories

I was going to make this a Serial Saturday post, but instead I decided to show off all the Larry Fitzgerald cards I received from my latest COMC order.

I didn't do too bad, pulled in 13 new cards for the Fitz PC...

What I'm enjoying so far about putting a decent Fitzgerald collection together is the cost efficient way that I'm acquiring new cards.  I've really focused on serial numbered cards to start the PC, so much so that I probably have more serial #'d cards than base cards.  I'm keeping it on the cheap, most everything has been less than a buck, a lot of them less than 75 cents.

The little victory that I mention in the blog title is the effort that I'm undertaking to clean off my desk.  This is day 1 of 12 in a row off, and instead of making the trek to Cleveland (sigh), I'm making the effort to clean up my collection.   That starts with cleaning off the desk. 

I had 2 100 count plastic cases full of PC cards come off the desk so far, and likely tonight I'm going to page the 150 or so Fitzgerald cards into his own binder. 

My wife's going to think a hurricane hit my card room when she comes home tomorrow and can actually see the top of the desk...

Thanks for reading, Robert

Friday, July 27, 2018

A few more PieCes and some 59s

This order from COMC was very small, just 35 cards in total.  Because I'm a bit short on funds at the moment, my plan is to hit ebay or Sportlots with some orders while I'm on vacation to avoid putting big chunks of money into the COMC account.

So what I did with this last order is all but clean out the account, just to get some more cards in the house.

Last night you saw some of the deals I found, and I have some more to show...

I've mentioned that I'm getting to the point in the 1959 Topps set build that the cards I'm buying are more than a buck apiece.   These 4 are no exception.

The black background cards in this set will always be my favorites.  I don't know what it is, especially when the cards are in nice shape, the black really stands out in my opinion.  These 4 leave me with 105 to go.  With so many big name, high dollar cards to acquire, I doubt that this set will be a "focus" set.   I'll continue to chip away, and hopefully by the end of 2019 I'll be reasonably close to finished. 

I kind of picked away at some of my PCs as well with this order.  I have a bunch of Fitzgerald cards that I'm going to show tomorrow, but there's a few others today worth looking at.

Sixty nine cent Gold Medallion of Ichiro.  Wonder if the price point had any factor in picking this up.

Keith Tkachuk will never be a huge PC for me, as these three bring me to 79 cards.  The Green StarQuest card fills in the attainable rainbow (Blue, Green & Red) from that year.   I haven't seen the gold parallel yet (it's #'d out of 100).  The Emerald Ice was something I was surprised I didn't have already in my collection as I had dozens of the EI parallels back when they first came out.  The Crown Royale 2000 card?  The American flag in the background made it an easy choice to add to the cart.  The 3 cards cost me less than $2.

Contrary to Tkachuk, the Sakic PC will continue to grow whenever I get the chance.  I had never heard of the Saturday Knights card before, so grabbing it was a must.  The Saturday night reference for anyone that grew up in Canada I'm sure was quickly understood.

Now the next card I'd looked for for quite a while.   It had always been priced around $10 and I just wasn't wanting to pull the trigger on it for that price.

2011-12 Certified Mirror Blue Joe Sakic.  #'d 75/99.



I love this card, and my cheapness/patience finally pays off. 

There are other mirror cards in the set; black, red, gold, emerald.  The red is serial #'d to 199 and will be within reach, but the other 3 are numbered to 25 or less so will likely not hit my hands anytime soon (if at all).

Now it's time to see if those 4 '59 cards completed any pages.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The focus has helped....somewhat

I declared a while ago that I was going to try and focus on finishing one set at a time to try and not feel so overwhelmed by all the sets that I wanted to complete.

That worked for a short time, as I knocked a good chunk off of the 76-77 OPC hockey want list right away.

Then the cheap ass in me took over.  That's usually my standard M.O.  Buy up as many cards as I can to get close to finishing the set, then wait and wait for the best deal possible to finish up the set with the high end cards.

My latest COMC order came with just 2 cards for the various hockey sets that I'm building.  This 76-77 OPC team leaders card I picked up for just over $2, and it reminded me of the talent that the Sabres had in the mid 70's.  You don't even see Rene Robert, Jim Schoenfeld, Craig Ramsay or the other solid players that this team had.  It's kind of surprising that they didn't get to the Cup final more than once.

This card brings me down to 14 for the set, and I still have some big names like Orr, Dryden, and the Tiger Williams rookie still to pick up.  Bargain hunting it is...

Speaking of looking for cheap cards, for me this next card was the steal of the order.

One of the best U.S. born players of his era (if not the best), the Pat LaFontaine RC is criminally low priced at $15.   I somehow managed to snag this copy off of COMC for under $4 (!) which should never happen.  Aside from being slightly off center, the card is in fantastic shape, and is a fabulous addition to my 84-85 OPC set build.  I'm just a couple of cards away from being 1/6th of the way through the set, and I'm always hunting for a nice lot of cards to give me a push towards completing the set.

I will say this about my focus, it may have strayed away from finishing off the 76-77 OPC set somewhat, but my resolve for purchasing only cards towards my set projects has grown.   Outside of the hockey re-pack I bought myself to celebrate the 7th anniversary of the blog, nothing new is coming into the house. 

The fact that I've held out this long from buying packs is a miracle itself.  We'll see how long it lasts.

thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Inbound and Down #45: Too Many Verlanders

Dennis over the years has been very good to me.  In the comments of my post from the other day, he congratulated me on 7 years and called me "SNI guy".  I guess that's an appropriate moniker considering my love for serial #'d cards over the years.

Dennis has also been very keen on keeping that moniker intact for me, as he has contributed to the SNI baseball and hockey sets on a regular basis.   Out of the blue last week he sent me another envelope, 20 cards in total to put another small dent in the set.

The last couple of envelopes that Dennis has sent have had quite a few Pacific cards from the early 2000's inside, and this one was no different.  There are 20 cards above, all from the 2002-03 Pacific Heads Up set. 

You have to look closely, but you can see a stripe across just more than half of them, which indicates that they are "Hobby Ltd" parallels, numbered to 299.  The rookies on the bottom are numbered to 899.  As with most sets, most of the rookies didn't pan out.  The notable exceptions are Joni Pitkanen who played over 500 games in the NHL, and Antoine Vermette who played in his 1000th career game in the NHL last season as a member of the Anaheim Ducks.  At age 35 he may find it tough to get another contract in the NHL, although his faceoff skill and durability may help him find a PTO with someone.

Dennis, thank you very much for the envelope, it really is appreciated!!

Thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, July 23, 2018

Seven---Try A Repack video post

Had a little fun with a hockey repack in this video.   Today is the 7th anniversary of the first post on this blog.

For those of you who don't wish to watch the video, thank you for the support/trades/dialogue over the first 7 years, and I'm looking forward to many many more.

Thanks for viewing/reading, Robert

Sunday, July 22, 2018


Got my package of winnings from Daniel at the It's like having my own card shop blog yesterday.  A fine envelope of goodies indeed.  The scan above features all kinds of colors, and one card that if you asked if it had any color you'd say negative.

All the 2010 Opening Day blue parallels are numbered, very nice.  For me, if the negative parallels were numbered there might be more excitement around them.   It's definitely a different idea for sure, but for me it's nothing to get excited about.

Daniel even sent me my own Paul Goldschmidt starter pack of nine cards.  OK, if you're looking closely it's 8 plus a double, but it's a nice thought so we're not going to split hairs here.   Love the Topps Finest card at the bottom center BTW.

Daniel spotted on one of my posts recently that I had started a John Olerud collection but I really didn't have anything aside from the Blue Jays cards I pulled out of my collection.  So 11 cards featuring John as a Mariner are now mine.   Diamond Kings cards are always great so I immediately gravitated to that card in the bottom center.

You may have noticed the improvement in quality of my scans today.  I've figured out the software for my new scanner, and the scans are turning out great.  3 sets of nine card scans have made me quite happy.

Sometimes though, just scanning one card is enough.  Love being able to add another hit to the Jays hits page.  I don't recall seeing any Home Run Derby jersey cards before, so this is a nice add as well.

Daniel, thank you for the package, it really is appreciated!!

Thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Some card show goodies

I don't normally start off a post with a scan, but I figured now that I have my new scanner in hand, I'd put the first scan I created right off the top to see what it looks like.

Not bad.

My friends were in town last weekend and asked me if I have a plan in place when I go to the show.  I told them that I used to do that, but usually wound up disappointed.  What I do now is I go and hit a table, hunker down there and see what I can find.

This time around, I found a table that had several boxes labelled "Vintage 4/$1".   Sounded good to me, until about 15 minutes into my dig the dealer came up to the group of us digging in the boxes and changed it to "5/$1".

Well OK THEN!!

So as you can see from the scans, I came home with a little bit of everything.  $17 spent and each card hit one of my want lists.  68, 69, 70 Topps.  89 Upper Deck.  1976 Topps hit big, 1977 Topps also had 13 cards come off the want list ( I put them away before scanning them though). 

I even found some clean check lists for 20 cents apiece. 

A good days work, even without a plan.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, July 16, 2018

Inbound and Down #44: The Five Tool Collector

I've mentioned a couple of times over the past week about the group of cards that CommishBob from the Five Tool Collector blog had sent my way.  He took better care of the 100 plus cards he sent my way than the Sportlots dealer who I mentioned a few days ago. 

The original group of cards that Bob had mentioned were some '62 Topps cards he had extra just sitting around.

Perfect cards for my '62 set, as I'm not looking to put together anything close to a mint set.  Anywhere around the VG mark for these is good enough for me. 

Love the Don Cardwell card up in the top left, as it appears he's either asleep or not wanting to have his picture taken.

The 2nd scan as you can see cut off the left hand side of the Simmons & Edwards cards.  No matter, as I already mentioned they fit well with the rest of the cards I already have for this set.   Bob sent 2 dozen of these beauties my way; not bad for having put aside this set build for the foreseeable future.

The biggest part of the lot Bob sent my way was the 80+ 1979 Topps cards.   Looking through them just brought back the memories of opening these packs when I was 11 years old. 

I love seeing the old style uniforms.  The rainbow colored Astros in the first scan.  The powder blue road Blue Jays, the brown and yellow Padres, the pinstriped home Phillies uniform. 

It would have been interesting to see what would have become of Mark Fidrych's career had he stayed healthy.  His early seasons as everyone knows showed great promise.

I remembered Ron LeFlore as one of the fastest players from my youth.  I decided to look up his stats and was surprised that his career lasted only 9 seasons.  The '79 season saw him finish 2nd in stolen bases with 79.  This was the meat in between the '78 and '80 seasons that saw him win 2 SB titles, one in the AL and one in the NL with the Expos. 

This lot of over 80 cards knocked just over 10% of the entire set off the want list.   That's enough to make anyone smile....

Thank you for the great package Bob, the cards are really appreciated!!

Thanks for reading, Robert

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

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Inbound and Down #42: All Trade Bait, All The Time

Gotta love when an envelope arrives totally out of the blue.  I am expecting a couple of orders from ebay/Sportlots, but neither are due for a few days.

I arrived home today to find an envelope from Oscar at the All Trade Bait, All The Time blog.  It was nice to see some Blue Jays hit the household, as I really haven't focused much on them for the past several months (aside from sorting the entire collection).

The note that Oscar included hoped that if I already had these cards that they might be upgrades instead.  What's nice about having the collection sorted now is that I can find these quickly and see if they need upgrading.

3 more for this years Heritage team set.  I have 8 now, still need 7 base plus the 2 SPs to finish this years release.

This Kevin Pillar is one of two base cards I needed to finish the GQ base set.   Richard Urena is the only other card I need.

Speaking of Urena...

He and Pillar are linked again in this pair of 2018 Topps cards.  They're the last 2 for GQ, and they're the first two I have for the flagship. 

Interesting, I have hardly bought any 2018 product, but at 29 cards it isn't the year in my collection that has the fewest # of cards.  That happens to be 1977 with just 24.

Funny what you think of to add to a post while you're writing it.

Oscar, great cards, thank you very much!!!  The envelope was really appreciated!

Thanks for reading, Robert