Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Just a couple cool pick-ups.

Good afternoon folks. Hope everyone has enjoyed, or is enjoying, their holidays. Bizarre Christmas around here as we were in the double digits (Celsius) on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Certainly not normal, but I'm certainly not complaining.

Not having to shovel seems to have given me more time for cardboard, too, so that's another reason not to complain. Of course, I didn't say it's made me a more reliable blogger. That certainly hasn't happened. But I have been busy. I've managed to binder all of my Joe Carter cards (less the relics, and the eTopps card but more on that in a minute), and finally have my Zistle collection aligned with what I actually have. In-hand, I'm just shy of 600 cards (595), and if you include what I have sitting in my COMC mailbox, I'm closing in on 650. It's been a good year, for sure.

And while my blogging activity hasn't been anything to write home about, I have been active on Zistle. Once I get the next batch of scans uploaded (site literally went down while I was uploading them), I think there will be scans for every Joe Carter card I have from 1984-1991. Admittedly, I'm just filling in holes and adding new scans where COMC watermarked versions exist, but I'm happy to see full screens of cards instead of blank placeholders. I really am quite impressed with that site, and how actively members contribute.

But enough about that. Let's see some cardboard! Just a couple things to show today -- both from my "top 10" want list pinned to the side of my blog layout. Up first is a 1990 Star Nova Joe Carter Promo. I'm not going to bother showing the back since it's just a blank yellow. I'm pretty happy to have this card -- I got the whole set actually. It's not particularly tough or anything, but for some reason prices are all over the place. I believe there are only 500 of the set produced. When this set came out, I'm sure finding it was difficult. Not anymore, it's more about waiting for the price you want to pay. Nonetheless, I'm glad I got it. Another few cards off the want list. I have no idea what I'm going to replace it with on the "possible 5" so it'll stay there in strikethrough for now ;)

My other pick-up is another "possible 5". And the truth is, I've actually owned this card for nearly 10 years. It's a 2005 eTopps card. I bought it through their online marketplace back when it was released -- I just didn't want to pay the $12 or whatever it would have cost to ship it. A few weeks ago, though, eTopps had a promo, so I managed to get it into my COMC mailbox and then home for just a few bucks. I left another dozen or so eTopps cards in the vault (or whatever) for now, though. And I'll share a back scan of this one since it's more interesting then just a solid yellow.

This is the first time I've actually held one of these cards in-hand. Topps didn't mess around with the case they put it in, that's for sure. The thing is massive. I may end up taking the card out of the case just so I can store it more easily. For now it's just cool to have it "in" my collection instead of just virtually something I own.

Anyway, there you go. A quick post, a couple scans, and now back to uploading scans at Zistle, if the site is back up.

Happy New Year!

Richard.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Joe Carter rainbows ... 90s style

With the way card manufacturers go about producing parallels these days, it seems you need to commit to double-digits of any given card to even be in the ballpark of having a chance to "complete the rainbow". Twenty years ago, though, that wasn't the case.

In fact, I'm not even sure I can name a set prior to 1992 that had parallels. I'm sure there must have been one, but I don't know what it is. What I do remember is 1992 and 1993 Topps having the various flavours of gold parallels. But it was the 1994 Collector's Choice parallels that have always been my favourite. I continue to debate with myself about whether or not I should just bite the bullet and attempt to complete the entire 94 CC set in base, silver and gold (knowing that the gold would be a very long term project).

Until then, I'm quite happy just pursuing the Toronto Blue Jays -- though I must admit that as that winds down, and even as I shift my focus to Joe Carter cards, I am quietly considering picking another team to "complete". But I digress...

Today I thought it might be fun just to look at a couple of "simple" rainbows that I've put together within my Joe Carter collection. The first pic shows a scan of the base, silver and gold parallel from the 1994 Collector's Choice release. I still need to grab a Carter for my "team set" (no double dipping!), but am thrilled to at least have one so far.



By the time 1995 rolled around, I had basically stopped buying baseball cards. I'm sure I bought some, but to be honest, I don't remember. And I definitely didn't still have any. The three Carters shown below are from the 1995 Collector's Choice set, which continued to issue 3 "versions" of each card, but much less subtly. I actually much prefer the gold border on the 1994 set. If the light isn't right, it can actually be difficult to see the gold in the signature of the 1995 version. When the silver and gold are side-by-side it's pretty easy.




Anyway, that's really all. I don't expect this pace to continue, but I've had time to scan cards the last couple days and figured I should spin some of those scans into blog posts.

Thanks for reading.

Richard.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Let's look at some autographed relics

When I was a kid, having an autographed card in your collection was a big deal. A BIG deal. Not everyone had one, a couple guys might have 1 or 2, but nobody had 5 or 10. Just didn't happen.

Then there was limited print stuff. Remember how crazy 1991 Upper Deck's "Find the Nolan" contest was? I couldn't tell you how many packs we ripped into as kids just hoping that somebody in our group would find it. Nobody did. And remember Donruss Elite? Even with print runs upto like 10,000 they were still impossible to find. Series signature stuff to 5,000? Forget it.

And NOBODY talked about game used anything. Nobody had ever caught a ball, let alone owning a bat, jersey, glove, etc.

Fast forward a few decades, and it's not unreasonable to have multiple autographed cards, from print runs far more limited than "Find the Nolan" with bits and pieces of game used material "built-in". The hobby has changed some, hasn't it?

Clearly a lot has changed. In the game, the hobby, the world. I won't turn this into a "remember when..." post, though. As much as I preferred the days when I got out of bed and didn't already have mysteriously aching knees, I don't mind what the hobby has evolved to.

At the start of this year, I owned 1 Joe Carter "relic". It also happened to be autographed. I have posted about this card before. In the past few months I have added 40-something Joe Carter relics/autos to my collection. It's become a rather active area of collecting for me. I still appreciate and collect common cards, of course, but I like to sprinkle in a relic pickup when the price is right. Especially the autographed type.

Anyway, there you have 'em. 5 autographed relic cards of Joe Carter. 4 of them are also numbered.

Thanks for reading.

Richard.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Well it's no Buck Weaver, but ...

Today kicks off two weeks of vacation for me. A little odd to start on a Tuesday, I admit, but a holiday is a holiday. And regardless of what day of the week it is, how better way to start a vacation than to arrive home and find a COMC package waiting on my front porch? This was a particularly eventful parcel, too, as it contained 3 more 1994 Collector's Choice gold parallels, another 1977 O-Pee-Chee Blue Jay and over 2 dozen Joe Carter cards, bringing my Zistle total to 540.

With any luck, I'll showcase some of the other stuff in a subsequent post in the next couple days, but today I want to focus on one card: A 2011 Tristar OBAK T4 Cabinet. For those that aren't aware, the OBAK name comes a tobacco brand that issued baseball cards of the PCL and NWL from 1909-11. In many respects, the set is similar to the T206 set of the same years, featuring different advertising backs, similar lithography and a pretty large checklist. That series, designated T212, features cards of Ten Million, Buck Weaver and Chick Gandil, among others.

Also offered by OBAK, was a series of cabinet cards that could be redeemed in exchange for cigarette pack coupons. This series, as you may have guessed, has been designated T4. Many of the cards that are part of that set have yet to be confirmed as even still existing. Quite a few of the players in this checklist are unknown to the mainstream (even among prewar collectors), but the set remains very popular due to it's rarity. In 2011, a Buck Weaver from the set sold at auction for nearly 20K.

To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of the Tristar OBAK series. But I really like these cabinets. When this popped up on COMC a couple weeks ago, I jumped on it without even blinking. I actually don't even know what I paid for it (yes, I could check), I just saw the Carter OBAK and grabbed it. It wasn't even until I got the card in hand yesterday that I realized the player on the other side is Bobby Thomson and not Bill Mazeroski. Talk about attention to detail on my part ;)

Anyway, here they are. Like the original OBAK, these cards measure about 3.5" x 5.5", have that kinda burlap-y brown colour and an oval frame featuring a player picture. The crossed backs logo shown on the bottom left of the front of the card is similar to what is found on the originals. The picture of Thomson on the back is Tristar putting their own spin on the design, as the originals have blank backs. Yeah, it works. Like I said, not a big fan of the Tristar OBAK stuff, but I do like these cabinets. I have no idea how I'm going to store this with the rest of my Carters, though, so with only 15 in the set maybe I should just collect them all for a binder of their own ;)

Thanks for reading.

Richard.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Holy hit

Or, why I owe Kevin a huge thank you.

A couple days ago, Kevin, yes, that Kevin, told me to watch my mailbox.
You don't need to tell me that twice, my eyes were peeled. I could only assume he was hitting me back for mailing him some odd mustaches a while back. I was right about that. But I wasn't ready for this.

If you've read previous posts, I'm pretty lazy when it comes to scanning.
This package left me with no choice. Recycling other folks scans would have been a slap in the...mustache. And I can't let it go down like that.

First up, a 2005 UD Classics Post Season Performers. I scanned it along with the 2005 Classic Materials that I already had. There something about parallels or maybe parallel-looking cards, that just works for me. I think this pair of cards looks great together. I'm less familiar with the 'Post Season Performers' version, but I know the Classic Materials version has many non-relic parallels to keep this "quasi-rainbow" going.

Next up, a 2005 Absolute Memorabilia Double Materials.
This card is cool enough on it's own, but consider that it's numbered to 50 and contains both a jersey relic AND a bat relic. But now check out the card beside it.









A few months back I splurged on my first (and only) one-of-one. I had great ambitions of doing a post on this card alone, but, well, that didn't happen. So instead, this card goes public along side the /50 relic. Again, another great pairing.

And now, some UD Legendary Cuts. I'm a big fan of the designs that come out of these sets. And this one is no different. On the left, is the 2004 "Significant Swatch" courtesy of Kevin. On the right is a "Historic Swatch" that I already had. No idea what separates significant from historic, but the gold and white on that "significant" swatch pops. Great card. Admittedly, now that I'm looking at the scan, the "significant" swatch looks better on its own, but this post went to press before I had time to do photo editing too ;)

So if you're still with me, and keeping count, that's three awesome hits. And we're only half-way there. Next up...a pants relic. Yes, pants. This one has to go it alone because, well, there just aren't a lot of Joe Carter "pants relic" making their way into card sets these days. To be honest, when this post started, I had no idea the term "pants relic" was coming out of my keyboard. It's out there now, though. Sounds odd to read, but it's done. The point is, this card is cool. And unique.



Oh, want more cool? How about some Signature Stats. Complete with a "master series signature". What's better than a master series signature? Plus, the million dollar smile. Not sure how you top this...this is an excellent card. One that has eluded me on eBay on a couple of occasions in fact, so now I can't help but wonder if anyone from France beat me out... ;)

Last, and definitely not least, this beauty.
Sure, Panini takes heat for not having logos, and in some cases, doing some questionable work to hide those logos, but I like this card. Sticker-signature and all, I like it. Maybe because you don't see too many Carter cards with Team USA or maybe because of how the black & white plays off of the red. The clean Carter signature doesn't hurt either ;)

So there you have it. 6 incredible cards, so unexpected, and so awesome, that the only thing you can say is 'Holy hit!'. You've knocked it out of the park with this one, Kevin.

Seriously. Thanks so much. This was such an awesome package. It's gonna take me some effort to figure out the right response...but trust me, it's coming.

Thanks for reading.
Richard.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

GOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLL!!!!!

Quick post today, because, well, I'm crazy busy.

But I can't not post that I hit my goal.

This afternoon, I put another 13.25 pounds of cardboard into the mail destined for multiple locations in multiple countries. Nothing overseas this time (sorry Kevin!), but all-in it's 3000 more cards towards my goal to purge 5000.

So guess what 2500 + 3000 is? Yep, 5500.

So I did it. I'm pretty jazzed. Feels good to get that stuff out of the house.
Feels good to drop cardboard bricks on other collectors, too.
Actually, I'm really happy about that, to be honest.
It's kind of addicting. Though the pace may slow since I hit my goal, I see this purging effort continuing. If you want some Jays cards, hit me up. If you need some 80's / 90's Topps stuff (more than just Jays), hit me up. Seriously. It's your for free if you want it.

On the other side of this goal, I have recorded 508 Joe Carter cards in my Zistle collection and have another 2 dozen or so piling up at COMC.

So there you have it. On with the second-half of the MLB season now...

Thanks for reading.

Richard.


Monday, May 4, 2015

3 countries, 10 pounds and 2200 cards later...

...and I've finally hit the half-way mark in my goal to purge 5,000 cards from my collection.

I just got back from the post office, and while the damage was no where near what the blogosphere's beloved Junior Junkie did back in March, I feel pretty good about this one.

Going by the post office weight, which obviously includes the packaging, I just dropped 9.9704 pounds (4.532 kilograms, because I'm sure you were wondering what it worked out to in kilograms) of cards in the mail. If my tally was right as I was sorting them, it's a hair over 2200 cards, bringing the total purge count to a nice even 2500 cards.

The only crappy part about all of this is that I had actually set all the cards on my scale (not some fancy postal scale, the kind of scale that confirms suspicions about the effects of not regularly attending the gym) so I could take a picture just for this post and then I couldn't find my camera. Yeah, I know, weak.

Anyway, if you are a known Blue Jays collector, and you think I have your address, watch your mailbox. A few of you are about to get hit.

And if you feel left out, hit me up. It's easy to get involved. If you want some cards, and I have some cards you want, you get some cards. If you have a wantlist, let me know. If you want a random stack of Jays cards for future trade bait, let me know. If you are still trying to complete 1986 Topps or 1990 Fleer then DEFINITELY let me know. That's it. I'm asking nothing in return. I mean, if you have some Joe Carter cards that I need, I'll accept 'em, don't get me wrong, but by no means is that a prerequisite to getting cards. I just need to know that I've got something you want. Seriously.

Thanks for reading.

Richard.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

I'm okay with batting .500

You won't hear (read?) a lot from me about New Year's Resolutions. I don't make them. Many years ago, when I thought I was clever, I made the resolution never to make anymore resolutions. I no longer consider that resolution as clever as I once did, but that hasn't stopped me from continuing to honour it.

Of course, I still set goals. And sometimes they even correspond to the start of the calendar year. But sometimes they just start when I'm ready. Case in point, my collection. Last summer some time I started to think about re-focusing my collection. I still haven't fully figured out how this new focus looks, but I digress. One thing I did decide was to start a Joe Carter player collection. I mulled this over for a while, and eventually decided to put my "Blue Jays Collection" on hold for a bit, purge stuff that I don't really care much about, and try to build up a Joe Carter collection.

 When I started this back in September, I had two numbers in mind: 500 and 5000.

So "the goal" I've set is to try to reach 500 Joe Carter cards in 1 year, and try to get rid of (through whatever means necessary) 5000 cards that don't fit my collection.

Now that I'm about 6 months into this goal, it seems like a good time check my progress.

The goal of reaching 500 Joe Carter cards ("the binge") has gone extremely well. A conservative estimate would be that I own 8,000 Blue Jays cards, and that 6,000 of them are unique. Surprisingly, even after pulling all the Carters out of those boxes, I sat at less than 50 cards for my PC. In fact, on day one, my Joe Carter collection was only 43 cards.

5 minis and a micro
In the fall, I joined Zistle and started making trades. I love it. The system is easy to use, the people seem to be super friendly, and, to be honest, it's been quite productive for me. On the verge of completing my 13th trade, I've managed to trade my way to 66 more Joe Carter cards. Admittedly, I think I have just about tapped Zistle for all the Carter cards I can, but it's gone very well to this point.

Non-Zistle routes have been productive as well. I grabbed a few relics off of eBay, landed a surprise package from Kevin, and grabbed over 100 Carter cards over at JustCommons. All told, I am sitting at 354 cards "in-hand". That, to me, is worth passing marks on the "500" goal.

Now the purge, on the other hand, that's gone a little slower. By way of Zistle, I've offloaded 225 cards, and by way of other bloggers another 75 cards or so. And now that I've actually counted, I suppose slow is an overstatement -- the purge really isn't happening. If my numbers are right, I actually have 11 more cards than I did when this started. Ha! I had no idea. And I haven't even mentioned the ridiculous shipment I have building up at COMC right now. So in reality, I am failing miserably on the "5000" goal.

Oh well. I'm still happy with my progress so far. If you have Blue Jays cards on your wantlist, shoot me a message. With any luck, we can work out a trade for some Joe Carter cards, though in all honesty, I'll send you whatever I have for nothing.

Until then, though, I'm okay with batting .500.

Thanks for reading.

Richard.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Now that I've got it, I'm starting to get it.

A while back, I posted about one of my favourite cards. It is a 2003 Topps Tribute that has a bat chip in it and contains Joe Carter's autograph. Fantastic card. As discussed in that post, I followed the card for a while and bought it one day at what I felt was a fair price. I was excited when it arrived in the mail, and I still think it's a fantastic card. But at times, I still wondered about slicing up jerseys and bats to stick 'em into cards. This isn't to say I'm against it -- not for 'modern' players at least -- but I wasn't sure if I was sold on the idea.

That is changing.

A few weeks back, I was surfing eBay hoping to find a decent sized lot of Joe Carter cards with enough cards I don't have in it to justify paying the price of shipping. No dice. Thanks to completing a couple of trades on Zistle the past couple weeks, I'm up to 245 different Joe Carter cards. I think they are the same 245 Joe Carter cards that everyone on eBay has. Oh well, the hunt is part of the fun.

So while going through various auction listings, I found a BIN for a 2005 Donruss Greats Souvenirs card with both a bat chip and a jersey. Pretty cool, I thought. And although shipping was about the same price as the card, I decided to spoil myself. I may have been a couple pints deep when I bought this card, because I forgot all about it until it showed up in the mail.
 
Thank you eBay, for yet another scan
As is my practice, I took this scan from eBay, because I think it's a good one (right click, save-image-as is faster than scanning!). Amazingly, it *still* doesn't do this card justice. When I opened the envelope the card jumped right out. I mean, it pops.

In hand, this card looks awesome. The colours, the finish, the placement of the various elements. I don't know,  I just like it. I'm also drawn to the fact that there are parallels in this set of the identical card with no memorabilia, just the jersey, just the bat, and another that is autographed. I bought a 'just the bat' version on COMC immediately after snagging this one, but haven't even seen scans of the jersey or autographed version.

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is, I think I get it. Done right, the swatches, bats, etc. are pretty cool. I am pretty sure this is the point at which collecting relic cards, or whatever you want to call them, is going to become an addiction. I'm okay with it though ;)

Thanks for reading.

Richard.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

What's old is new again, relatively speaking.

My collecting pursuits boil down to two things: A prewar player collection and Toronto Blue Jays cards. Depending on my mood and how much loose change I can dig up in the couch, I will add cards that fit into one of these two groups in waves. The nice thing about collecting Toronto Blue Jays cards is that they are readily available and quite a bit cheaper than prewar stuff. The cool thing about prewar stuff though is, well, much if it is 100-years-old.

2006 Allen & Ginter
Though I do have original T205s and T206s in my collection, and have, at times, owned original Cracker Jacks, Turkey Reds and Old Judges, my bankroll couldn't support my habit if I was buying those cards every time I needed to scratch the collecting itch. Thankfully, Topps has been looking out for me. Bringing back these issues in an updated Topps-ified format featuring present-day Blue Jays is exactly the solution to the problem. Now, admittedly, they aren't all great, and in some cases, they've reused a brand to the point where the novelty has been lost, but honestly, some of these sets are absolutely awesome. The 2006 Allen & Ginter issue shown to the right, for example, awesome. I've never owned any original Allen & Ginter cards, but I do think the art on them is great. And I think Topps captured it quite well with this white background, and borderless image. I still need Bengie Molina from the '06 set to complete my team; I look forward to bindering that once it's 'in the books', so to speak.

2004 Cracker Jack
Another issue that was extremely well executed, in my opinion, is the 2004 Cracker Jack issue. It's one of my favourites. If you're not a fan of red, you probably won't appreciate these cards (or the originals), but to me, they just pop. That red hits you instantly, and yet, as you try to look at the photo on the card, it drops to the background nicely providing contrast to the text across the top and the player shown in the foreground. Topps did their homework on this set. If you have some time and are not familiar with 1914 and 1915 Cracker Jacks, you really should check them out. The images are great, the player selection is awesome and they will make short work of your bank account if that appeals to you ;) I've already started to binder this team set (despite still needing three), and they look great all side-by-side.

2005 Turkey Red
While this Topps lovefest continues, I may as well mention the 2005 Turkey Reds, too. If you've never seen/held an original Turkey Red, listen to me when I say these things are HUGE. They are on an incredibly thick cardboard stock (especially when compared to the paper-thin Cracker Jacks) and measure to almost 6" x 8". But the art on them is incredible. The Topps versions aren't as massive, but they nailed the artwork. The sunset and shadows in the Hinske example to the right are accurate. Many collectors believe the art in T3s are among the best ever committed to cardboard.

If memory serves, all this vintage stuff started with a Topps T206 issue in 2002. I have but a couple of these in my collection, but am very familiar with the original issue. Actually, in a perfect cross-section of my collecting habits, my prewar PC contains a "T206 buyback" issued in 2002. What I will say here, is that of all of the sets I've mentioned, I think 2002 T206 has the best Jays player representation for me. That's not to say the other sets are lacking, but 8 of the 10 Jays in the set are names most Jays fans will instantly recognize (some will also recognize Felipe Lopez). Of course, of this set I have two. The 2 (of 10) that most people won't recognize, but hey, nothing against Rich Thompson ;)

As I start to shrink my 1977-1994 Blue Jays want list, I am starting to look a little more closely at some of these Topps novelties. I realize that as some of these series experience success, Topps issues them in subsequent years, but I'm generally drawn to the earlier year versions. In time, I'll probably collect some of the later versions, but I prefer the older newer stuff more.

If anyone knows of any good vintage/heritage re-issues that Topps (or others have done), let me know. I am a big fan of these kinds of issues, and would love to dedicate a binder to these kind of Jays Team sets.

Thanks for reading,

Richard.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I'm one step closer to winning $1,000,000!

If you look at when my last blog post was you'll quickly see that I've been neglecting this thing. This isn't to say I haven't been around, or that I'm not actively collecting, as I am, and I have been. I've been spending a lot of time organizing my collection and that hardly seems worth blogging about. In the time that's past since my last post, I have started to load my collection (wantlist and tradelist specifically) into Zistle and execute a few trades. It's a pretty slick site. My wantlist is current on there, but I have hours of work ahead of me loading my tradelist in.

But I digress.

The purpose of my post today is to send a shout out to Kevin over at thecardpapoy.blogspot.ca. Not only does he do a hell of a job with his blog (seriously entertaining stuff!). Months ago I mentioned to Kevin that I was pondering starting a Joe Carter player collection and he didn't forget. Though I haven't officially announced it, I have started that collection and today I arrived home to find an out-of-the-blue package in the mailbox chock full with awesome Joe Carter cards! This number is so low it's almost embarrassing, but Kevin's kindness puts me at 222 different Joe Carter cards.

It also put me one step closer to winning a $1,000,000:

I'm lazy.
Okay, that was weak. But weak is what this blog is all about, otherwise I'd post more frequently, with better content and would actually dedicate time to providing my own scans.

Instead, I pull other people's scans from Google Images that are close enough to the ones I'm talking about.

The 1997/98 Fleer Million Dollar Moments set was one of about two dozen different Joe Carter cards that Kevin sent me and it is hugely appreciated. My wife couldn't comprehend a random envelope of cards showing up all the way from Europe. "It's nice, it just seems weird." Roll with it hon, I am a grown man that collects baseball cards. We lost sight of normal years ago ;) What I didn't know until I went fishing for that scan is that there is also a version of this card with the caption 'This is not an official game card'. Interesting.

Anyway, Kevin, thanks a million! Sweet enough that this is a 4-day week because of a stat holiday yesterday, but to find unsolicited cards in the mailbox to boot is even better!

Thanks for reading!

Richard.