Saturday, April 19, 2014

Flea Marketing

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I decided to go to a flea market today.  My wife woke up not feeling well, though, so I hoofed it through the flea market complex solo.

Only about four to five vendors had any kind of sports items at all.  There were a ton of random items.  I think I may have seen as many people selling stained glass windows as I saw baseball cards.  A few stalls had post cards, and there were some coin sellers as well.  But there was not a dime box in sight.

One vendor at the market does deserve special mention, but not in a good way.  She had the most cards of any of the vendors, but had half of them under a table because she "didn't feel like putting them out today."  I thought she would understand that, by asking, I was interested in seeing what was in them -- particularly the one labeled "1984 Donruss" -- but it did not occur to her.  Instead, she directed me to another box on another table and said, "all the good cards are here."

So, I went to that box.  She was right -- all of her "good" cards were there.  Every insert from the past 8 to 10 years that had anyone from the 1960s or earlier was in that box in a toploader and marked as costing at least $5 each.  Along side those were a bunch of Ken Griffey cards from the 1989 Donruss set for $20 each.  I guess she stopped subscribing to Beckett in about 1992.  In the end, I did not buy anything from her -- which is probably no surprise.

I did find a couple of other smaller groups of cards and did much better.  One table had cards for 50 cents each or 25 for $10.  Most of the cards were inserts or good players of recent vintage.  While this price was not a bargain, I was able to get some nice cards here, such as:

This one was probably both my biggest score at this table and my biggest "what the hell" moment today.  A 2014 Museum Club copper parallel of Robin Yount in the 50 cent bin?  I didn't understand it, but I certainly scarfed it up quickly.

I also got some cards which I thought might be good to send to some fellow bloggers:

2009 Topps Triple Threads Lance Berkman, 30/99 
2011 Topps Lineage Diamond Willie McCovey

2007 Topps Daisuke Matsusaka insert WM27.  I think the translated text is,
"Red Sox, you should have taken the pitcher behind door number 3."

2013 Bowman Chrome Refractor Jonathan Gray -- first round Rockies draft pick last year (3rd overall) out of Oklahoma 

2013 Topps Chrome Hiroki Kuroda blue refractor numbered 45/199

2014 Topps Opening Day Blue Pedro Alvarez parallel numbered 727/2014
To be honest, nearly half the cards I got at this table weren't for me.  They were either the trading type stuff above or the cards were for my wife's binder.  She doesn't "collect" stuff, per se, but she has several interests that have been featured on cards -- such as royalty, politics, and the space program.  So, she got her cards:

After going through the cards at that table, I finished my walk through the whole facility and headed for my car.  On the way out, I saw some junk wax unopened boxes and figured I would see what the guy had.  I'm glad that I did.

Like a lot of collectors, I'm a sucker for 1980s oddballs.  This guy had several sets of these:

For $5 a set for 24 cards -- 12 panels in a set -- I grabbed two of them.  So, I'm thinking I can split one set of the panels at the seam for sending off to people and for my Carter collection and keep another in full panels.

Then I spied my favorite item of the entire day: a hand-collated complete 1981 Fleer set.

The set is in really nice shape, even if it has a little discoloration around the edges (I'm guessing the guy was a smoker).  Indeed, nearly every corner in the box looks sharp.

But, this set created an immediate quandary -- should I keep it intact and put it into a binder, or should I break it apart for my individual player collections that need the cards and offer up the remainder of the set to others?  And, if I break it up, who wants these cards?

In the end, I will probably go back to this flea market but more for my wife to look for records than for baseball stuff.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A couple of wins on Listia

I'm not terribly inspired tonight.  In fact, I've had far too much wine.  In this situation, I probably should step away from the keyboard and try again tomorrow.  Instead, I'll give you a really brief post.

I haven't done much on Listia.  I haven't put up any auctions, and frankly it still is a little strange to me to go there.  My issue is really that I don't know how to put any "value" on what a credit there means.  But, since Listia gave me a couple of thousand credits when I signed up, I felt obliged to spend them.  So, here's two cards I got as a result.

First up is the 2014 Topps base card for Jonathan Lucroy.  I like this card because it appears to be a walk-off home run or some other walk-off variety hit.  That said, I did not have this card in my collection so it was a good deal to me.

On the other side of the virtual coin, I picked up this Joe Lahoud card from the 1972 Topps set.  From this photo, he literally could have played baseball for any team at any point in time that used color photography. In all likelihood, this photo was taken while Lahoud played for the Red Sox.  Lahoud was a Brewer for two years -- 1972 and 1973.  The Brewers traded him to the California Angels after the 1973 season and that was that.  But getting this card for "free" was pretty awesome.

I promise I'll post more this weekend, including some trade posts.  My wife and I are headed to a flea market tomorrow -- she's looking for some records (vinyl ones) so it's an excuse for me to go looking for randomness.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Still Feeling New

Growing up, I had the exact same address all the way from being born until I left for college.  When I got to college, I had the exact same mailing address for all four years of college -- a post office box on campus.  I still have nightmares about going back today -- 20 years later -- to get mail there and trying to remember the combination.

My first days of college -- and then again at graduate school -- felt similar in some respects to how I feel about card collecting today.  I'm seeing things for the first time that others have seen and known for ages. It's like moving to a new school.  Everything is familiar to those people who have been there all along, but every corner is a new experience to the new guy.

My newness is manifesting itself in my purchasing habits.  I bought several boxes of the Turkey Red earlier this year because it was new to me and I had not bought any before.  To be honest, it underwhelmed.

So, I feared making the same mistake again with other products.  I stayed away from the Donruss sets because I didn't like what I saw in the pre-production stages.  I still don't know where to get Topps Tribute, though I admit that I do like that set.

But, when I saw that the "Museum Collection" was coming out, I was very hesitant.  The expense involved for a few cards was rather daunting.  Sure, there would be hits, so it could be a money generator on eBay or at least trade bait, but I felt assured that it would be unlikely for me to get my money back on the deal if I went that route.

In the end, I couldn't help myself and bought one of the four "pack" boxes.  Why?  I'm not sure.  After all, each pack contained a total of 5 cards.  In other words, you pay about $170 for 20 cards.  What the hell was I thinking?

I don't know.

Well, let's cut to the chase, so to speak, and see what I got:

First, the silver foiled base cards had at least one good bit of news for me:

Thank God I got my guy Yount in there.  That by itself was not worth the price of admission, but at least it made me happy.

Here are the rest of the base cards:

So, not too bad.  Sure, Nuschler-face makes an appearance and I'm still not sure how Ricky Nolasco gets a spot in any high-end set, but not a terrible group of the base cards.

In addition to base cards and in its usual parallel frenzy, Topps has included copper cards (which do not have serial numbers).  Here are the copper parallels I got:

No kidding -- 2 of the parallels are ones for which I already have a base card.  Thanks Topps!  </sarcasm>

Next, as Cards from The Quarry probably can tell you at this point, it's not a box opening for me unless I get a serial numbered Wilin Rosario card.  It happened with a 2013 Heritage box, and it happened here too:  a green parallel numbered to 199:

Now, to the inserts. 

I received one Canvas Collection Reproduction -- not one of the cool 1/1 real artwork ones, but just a reproduction -- of the great Ernie Banks:

And, then, there are the relics and autographs. The box promises 1 on-card autograph, 1 autograph relic, 1 quad relic, and 1 jumbo relic, so here's what I got in reverse order:

The Jumbo Relic:  Another guy whom I seem to get in serial numbers a decent amount, Chad Billingsley, on his "Momentous Material" serial number 1 of there any premium to having number 1?

The Quad Relic:  Perhaps Topps is just taunting me at this point by inserting my PED-using nemesis, Alex Rodriguez, into my life on a quad relic numbered 70 of 99...I will probably be buried with this card because that is the only way my estate will ever get rid of this thing:

The Autographed Relic:  Two pieces of white fabric, a sticker autograph, and a small photo of a Red Sox pitcher serial numbered 92 of 299:  Felix Doubront:

The On Card Autograph.  Here's where I'm the new kid in school -- or, at this point, I'm the new kid in school complaining about the same bad lunches that the kids 10 years ago complained about.  I got a redemption card.  Now, I'm not complaining too loudly because it's a decent hit, but I still don't get what a lot of people don't get -- why does Topps include insert cards for players in the set that it has not had the opportunity to get in to their offices to sign stuff?

Anyway, it's a /10 Framed Autograph of a St. Louis Cardinal.  This box taunts me.

Boy, isn't that a beautiful autograph?

This Joe Strummer song goes well here:

In all seriousness, this is a really nice looking and feeling set of cards.  The stock is thick, the photos are good (if repeated from other sets, possibly, and cropped in typical Topps fashion), and the hits are decent. But for what a person pays for this box, I felt like Madison J. Frog should have hopped out and started singing to me.  

I will think twice before looking for another frog to sing for me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Trade with Johnny's Trading Spot

I am not quite sure how we got this trade started, but somehow, a Gator and a Dawg made a trade.  Yes, pretty soon peace will break out in the Middle East, but yours truly -- a Georgia Bulldog -- and John from Johnny's Trading Spot -- a Florida Gator -- worked out a trade.

First, let me get this out of the way:

This is the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.  Never mind what the universities have said about trying to curb drinking in Jacksonville, either.

This is what it looks like at the end of the game when Georgia beats Florida -- as we did in 2011 (when this photo was taken), 2012 (when the photo above was taken), and 2013 (when the photo below was taken.

I told John I would throw these photos in to our trade.  Surprisingly, he declined.

What I did send him, though, were a bunch of late 1970s and early 1980s Braves cards.  In return, he sent me a bunch of Brewers -- shocking, I know -- that I needed and one bonus card.

Heck, let's start with the bonus card, because, to be fair, it really is the star of this trade:

I love this card.  The 1957 Topps set is iconic -- it's the first set to go to the now standard card size, and the use of photos over art work was innovative as well.  In addition, the set did not suffer as greatly as the 1960s cards do from the excessive close cropping of player photos.  Perhaps that's me idealizing the set, but I do believe that the 1957 Topps set is one that I will have to try to put together soon -- even if the cards are not gem mint.  This Hank Aguirre is a great card to start with (along with the few others I have), and I'm happy John sent it.

Many people don't know that Doug Jones actually came up with the Brewers in 1982 for a brief 4-game stint.  He even got into the inaugural Milwaukee Police Card Set. 

Many Brewers fans couldn't tell you the difference between Odell Jones and Adam's Housecat.  Or Schrodinger's Cat.  Odell closed out his career with Milwaukee in 1988.  He had a weird career -- debuted in 1975, pitched from 1977-1979, showed up in the majors again in 1981, gone from the majors in 1982, showed up for two years in Texas in 1983 and 1984, gone in 1985, pitched in Baltimore in 1986, gone in 1987, then pitched in 28 games -- including 2 starts and a save -- for Milwaukee in 1988. So, I guess 1989 Score counts as a sunset card for him.

Then, there was some help for one of my third-tier player collections for a collection that really needed the help.  And no, he is not a player collection for me just because he bears a passing resemblance (no pun intended) to Brett Favre.

To close out the highlighted cards, I turn to the instant-tint glasses and mustache look sported by Eden, Wisconsin's native son, Jim Gantner.

I'd say that Gumby made those glasses look good, but wow, there is no sugarcoating the fact that those things never looked good on anyone.  Ever.  It got worse when Gantner shaved his mustache later in his career -- he looked like everyone-in-Wisconsin's Uncle Jimmy sitting on the end of the bar working on his fifth beer of the day by the time lunch on Tuesday rolled around.

Johnny sent a bunch of other cards to help out my Brewers collections as well.  For that, I thank him and I appreciate the good-natured banter that we had about Georgia/Florida over e-mail as well.

Thanks, Johnny!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Completed Trade with All Trade Bait, All The Time

Mr. Stealing Home from All Trade Bait All The Time posted a Ryan Braun insert about a month ago that I really liked.  I reached out to him, and we were able to work out a deal.  The Braun actually ended up being one of the lesser cards that Oscar sent.

Now, if you read his profile, you can see that S.H. is a Dodger fan, but he's been kind enough as well to fill us in on some of his favorite music.  He likes The Stones, The Clash, X, Roots reggae, the Cramps, and Social Distortion. So, let me pick some songs out of those catalogs -- massive though they may be, especially since roots reggae is like "grunge" rather than being a band -- and introduce some of the cards that he sent.

Hang Fire

One of the Stones most overtly political songs (Keith Richards said in a 1981 interview with Rolling Stone that he relates this song to English politicians who did nothing and caused the country's decline when times got tight) is also the only song to introduce a Prince Fielder insert from Upper Deck:

I remember that Stones song from being a kid -- it had a catchy hook to it, and something about the song did feel at least a little countercultural.  Fielder's Pure Heat card pales in comparison, but it's tough for cardboard to beat out music.

The Magnificent Seven

When I saw that SH liked the Clash, well, that is what inspired this entire post's theme.  To be fair, this theme is a bit better than, "Hey, look what I got y'all!"

I've loved The Clash since I heard Rock the Casbah as a 10-year-old.  Then, I went to college and had a good friend who was a huge Clash fan.  He gave me a dubbed version on cassette of London Calling, and I was totally hooked.

The Magnificent Seven clip above is from the Tom Snyder Show in 1981.  The song itself comes from the triple album Sandinista!, which Rolling Stone magazine ranked as #404 of the 500 best albums all time. I own it on CD.

This song is not that much of a stretch for introducing four-time Brewer All-Star Don Money who, you guessed it, wore the number 7 in the mid-to-late-70s and early 1980s.

That is some 1977 goodness right there; SH also sent me a 1979 Topps of Money.  Money's best year probably was 1977 -- he hit 25 homers, drove in 83 runs, was an all-star, and played 152 games split amongst second base, left field, third base, and designated hitter.  He was Tony Phillips before Tony Phillips was.  Money retired at the end of the 1983 season, and he is a guy who is one of my player collections I'm putting together.

We're Desperate (NSFW Lyrics)

The band X is not one I've listened to much, to be honest -- I should have by now because I do like punk, but I just haven't.  Anyway, when I saw this song and its title, I knew exactly which card had to accompany it -- the guy whose 2006 signing screamed "We're Desperate" to free agents least in my book:

The Brewers signed Suppan after the 2006 season from St. Louis.  Taking a page from the late Al Davis, the Brewers brass apparently believed Suppan's NLCS MVP Award meant that Suppan was primed to become an ace -- contrary, of course, to everything in his career otherwise.  To be fair, Suppan was coming off a 190 inning season with a 4.12 ERA and a ERA+ of 108.  Otherwise, Suppan's career screamed "MEDIOCRE INNINGS EATER."  By the time his albatross of a contract was nearing an end -- four long years later -- the Brewers had realized that you do not qualify as an innings eater if you only pitch 31 innings in 15 a 7.84 ERA and just cut him.  Of course, Suppan caught on with St. Louis and pitched reasonably well for them.

Tear It Up

In honor of the year that he had in 1981, the only one who could be honored appropriately with "Tear It Up" by The Cramps -- the innovators of psychobilly (a subgenre that is alive and well, thankfully -- just stop at the Star Community Bar in Atlanta for that) -- is Rollie Fingers.  Now, I have had this card since it came out in the early 1980s, but, well, my card looks like it.  This one is a huge upgrade in condition for me:

 Ball And Chain

"Well it's been ten years and a thousand tears and look at the mess I'm in...."

In his tenth season with the Brewers organization and with a contract that, in fairness, may look like a bargain at some point but could easily end up an albatross, the only player who could be feted with Social Distortion is none other than Ryan Joseph Braun:

Both of these will work well in my team and player collection.  There were a number of other cards, but I worry that I will bury this theme if I go for another round!

Many thanks to Mr. Stealing Home for the trade, and I hope that both you and he enjoyed the musical interludes.