Monday, April 30, 2012

It's that time of year again.....

I finally got my REA -Robert Edward Auctions, catalog the other day.  I've been looking forward to it.  This is the third spring I've gotten one since I heard other bloggers talking about it.  I highly recommend requesting one from REA.

With over 1600 lots this year there is a whole world of Baseball and Americana between it's pages.  Each lot gets a great write up about the player or set  featured and it's significance.  Everything in this catalog is well beyond anything I could ever afford, but its a great tome of history and artifacts.  The whole auction is also online at their website.   There are lots of higher end auction houses out there and ones that have much more frequent auctions, but REA's is one that seems to get a lot of attention.  They always seem to come up with some amazing stuff.  Last year I featured and tracked a couple really cool cards. Here and Here.

What would an REA auction be with out a T206 Wagner, they've got one.  It's already over 300k.

And of course out of 1600 unique and vast offerings there is lots of cool stuff.  So much so it was hard to single any one or two auctions out.  I mean there's Cobbs and Ruths and Wagners.  There are 5 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards.  There's a Ty Cobb Cut Plug tobacco tin in mint condition.   There are a ton of 19th century CDV's (carte-de-visite) including the 1869 Peck and Snyder Red's card. A slew of 1887 Old Judge, 1888 Goodwin Champions, and T206 cards.

One of the things that stuck out at me was the 1889 Goodwin Round Album.
Images from REA

Just absolutely beautiful cards.

I'm a lover of Oddballs and here's a great one, the 1910 E125 American Caramels Die-Cuts.

The printed catalog is huge and REA does another fantastic job with it.  The online auction has 66 pages of listings from everything from complete early 20th century tobacco sets to Babe Ruth signed balls and everything in between.  It's a great drool gallery even for use basement dwellers.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Deep Thinkings by Cynicalbuddha

A tip of the hat to Jack Handy.

I was sitting in my man cave with my drawing table loaded with baseball cards.  Sorting out a lot of Brewers cards I had just gotten, going through my team set lists seeing which ones I needed, which ones would be put in piles for possible TTM's, or filing into my Brewers extra box, I started thinking what the hell was I doing?  Don't get me wrong here this isn't I've come to my senses and now I'm giving up a hobby I really enjoy post.  No it just started me wondering again, why do we collect?  And not just baseball cards, but anything.  There have been many many people over time that have sought the answer to this question.  Doctorates have been given out from papers confronting this vary issue.  Some say that it's because we come from hunter/gather roots and collecting is a deep seeded need and compulsion that stems from our very early beginnings.

But I know there are lots of people who don't collect anything.  My wife for one.  And I know, from watching Horders, there are people that take this to the other extreme as well.  I firmly believe I fall squarely in the middle.  I know this because my collecting and collection has goals and parameters.  I don't have a problem selling or trading away cards that don't fit into those goals and parameters.  And from most of the other trading card blogs out there you are right there with me.  But at the same time I know I would have a very hard time selling off certain parts of my collection.

I while back I posted about the different kinds of collectors.  Specifically pertaining to trading cards.  And I'd like to go back over those types again.  And while you might fall into only one category, you most likely fall into a few of these, like myself.

First we have the Player Collector.  This type of collector collects cards of his or her favorite players.  Base, autos, relics, inserts, oddballs, any of those or just some of those. We make up our own rules for our own collections.  Some PC's are just regular issue cards from the player's playing days, some people collect only relics and autos.

Next up is the Team Collector.  This collector collects cards featuring players from their team(s).  Maybe they try to put together complete team sets.  Sometimes this includes other memorabilia as well.  Again the parameters are set by the collector.  They may exclude players or certain types of cards.

Set collectors collect full runs of certain products. So far I've fallen into all three categories.  These collectors like to put sets together. I like to put together the flagship Topps Baseball and Football and have started doing Allen and Ginter annually as well.  Card companies have started offering sets that have manufactured SP cards making completing full runs more difficult.  Some Set Collector's only put the base set together, other's like to put master sets together, some like to put just inserts sets together.  To each there own.

Next up we have the Autograph and Relic Collectors.  These collector's only collect autographs or relic cards.  Most of the time they have a player or team emphasis, but sometimes not.  Over the years reading all the different blogs and websites I've come across a few collector's that are super disciplined. Their collection consists of one or two boxes of cards, highly organized and each card carefully selected for that collection.  I'm actually kinda jealous of those collector's.  Pretty much those guys only buy singles of cards they want.  No filler.  No boxes of extras and doubles clogging up their closet.  I, unfortunately for my wife, am not one of them.

Next up are the Theme Collectors.  These collectors have collections centered around a central idea.  Like HOF Catchers, cards showing plays at the plate, night game cards, sets with different minis, so called "frankensets", ect.  I've never tried one of these collections, but I do see the appeal and the fun in it.

I'm sure there are a few more categories out there and if you fit somewhere else let me know.  I'd love to hear what you think.  I consider myself in the top 3 categories.  I have Player collections of RobinYount, Rollie Fingers, Reggie Jackson, Frank Thomas, Brett Favre, Bo Jackson, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, I collect cards of players from the Packers or the Brewers from all years as long as the card labels that player being on my teams.  I also try to put together a few sets every year.

Now with that being said, why do we collect sports cards?   For me now and when I started collecting as a kid it was about having a piece of my team and baseball in general.  I grew up as a military brat.  That meant I was seldom in a place where I got to watch my teams play.  And growing up I was a Brewers and Packers fan because I was from Wisconsin, but being a Packers and Brewers fan in the Mid/Late 80's and early 90's was rough.  And so I was also a fan of lots of players.  Kirby Puckett, Ricky Henderson, Don Mattingly, Will Clark, Frank Thomas, Wade Boggs, Cecil Fielder, and on and on.  And why did I collect cards from these players?  To be closer to the game.  Why do I collect cards now?  To be closer to the game, to have a nice pictorial reminder or my team and the history.

One of my new aims in  my collection was putting together team sets for the Brewers.  After I started doing that and seeing each consecutive year one right after the other, the history of my team came to life for me.  Seeing players added and traded.  Trading cards have beauty all their own.  Each of us has certain sets we find more appealing than others.  Being a lover of history, art, and useless trivia trading cards are a natural fit.
Plus there's something very cathartic about sitting down and sorting out a stack of cards and collating them from chaos to an organized set.

And while some collectors may only collect one thing, many of us, myself included, collect other things as well.  I have a fairly large comic book collect, dating back to before I got into sports cards.  I also have a collection of $1 casino chips and squashed pennies from various places I've traveled to.

So while I asked the question why do we collect?  I can only really answer why I collect.  And now I'm going to ask you.  What kind of collector are you? And why do you think you love this hobby so much?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Trading with the Coot!!

No that's Cooter!

I'm sure some of you have traded with Dustin before.  He runs a little blog called Coot Veal and the Vealtones.  This trade all started when he posted his discount blaster break of 2008 UD Heroes.

He was lucky enough, at least for me, to pull a Cory Hart relic, I think it's the charcoal gray parallel, numbered to 125.  He posted he really had no use for it and I commented that I would be more than happy to give the card a good home.  Well we worked on a trade, he had a Tristar Jeffress auto on his trade bait page.  Jeffress' time with the Brewers was short before being traded to Kansas City in the trade that brought Grieke to Milwaukee, but it is an auto and features him in Brewers garb.

Well I found some nice stuff for Dustin.  He's a Tigers and Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez fan.  And then I didn't here from him for about a week.  I was getting a little worried.  But I know life happens and I'm a patient man.  Then a couple of days ago he emails me to let me know he sent my package off.  I got that package the other day and wow did he cram it full of goodness.  Lets have a look...

Here's that Hart Relic.  Light Gray background numbered to #125.  There were so many parallels in this set it's almost impossible to keep them all straight.  Not only is there a light gray, but also a dark gray or charcoal parallel.
Here is the Jeffress auto.

Dustin also packed the trade package with a ton of Brewers and cards for my PC's.  I won't show all of them, but it was a huge stack.

Here are some of the best.

Who doesn't love vintage cards.  And who doesn't love vintage cards of their team!  Dustin sent along 3 vintage Packers. One 1974 and two 1972.

He also sent along some nice additions to my Player Collections.  There was a nice stack of Bo Jackson and the Big Hurt.

Was there anyone hotter in the 90's than this man?  I don't think so.
Dustin also sent some of my favorite former A's.

All 4 of these are new to the collection.  Bonus!

Rollie!!!! I love the 82 DK's and I'm pretty sure I didn't have the 85 Donruss Leaf.  That's a sweet card.

I also got a nice smattering of Braun.
That 2006 Bowman Gold is awesome! Plus you can see what I mean about the parallels from the 2008 Baseball Heroes with both light and dark gray side by side.
Some diamondy goodness for my 2011 Diamond team set!!
There were also some great numbered parallels in the bunch

And on top of all this was a huge stack of other random Brewers cards from various years for my team sets.  I'm still sorting through them all.
Thanks Dustin!

Your package is in the mail and I hope you enjoy your cards.

Monday, April 23, 2012

TTM Success Ned Yost (Royals Manager, Former Brewers Manager/Catcher)

Ever so slowly I'm building my Brewers TTM set.  I had a really nice, extra 1983 Topps Ned Yost laying around. Ned was the Brewer's catcher from 1980 to 1983 and then caught a year for the Rangers and Expos. He was the Brewer's manager from 2003 to 2008 and was fired after the 2008 season disintigrated. But the Royals picked him up as their captain in 2010 and that's were he is today.  

This was a great turn around time too.  I sent the card, with a nice letter and SASE on the 11th or 12th of April and this was in my mailbox Friday the 20th.

TTM Stats
Date Sent 4/11/12, it might also have gone out on the 12
Date Recieved 4/20/12 (couldn't read postmark on the envelope so no idea when it was actually sent)

Address used

Kauffman Stadium
1 Royal Way
 Kansas City, MO 64129

Thanks Ned!  Good luck this year.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Gypsy Queen Box Break and Review

I was a bad boy.  I said I wasn't going to buy a box and then I did.  I couldn't resist.  But after reading that all the SP's numbered 301 to 350 were mini's and not part of the regular size base, I thought mmmmm I could do that.  Plus getting 4 hits per box is pretty sweet. 2 relics and 2 on card autos, yes please!

Here is the box label I made.  This is a set that begs to be put in a binder and easily displayed.  Unfortunately for me space is at a premium in my man cave so sets get stored in boxes.

Over all I like this years design.  I like the framed parallels.  I like that there are retail and hobby only inserts and parallels. I love mini's.  I love that Rollie Fingers has a base card in this set and there for has a slew of parallels and mini's for me to chase.  I love that Robin Yount has a relic cards in this set, so I have  new Younts to chase and add to the collection.  I like the on card autos. I like that the base 300 set is not SP'd and should be fairly easy to put together.  I like that you get a crap ton of stuff in a box.  Here lets have a look at the odds first.

If it's hard to read click on the odds.  I scanned them big.

After looking at the odds and what I pulled.  It was exactly on.  At least for anything 1:24.
Interestingly is the odds and groups for the autographs.  The "base auto" Group D has an insertion rate of 1:16 that should mean that you wouldn't get 2 per box as advertised.  And if anyone knows which autos are in which groups that would be helpful, because Topps is not.  I think we can assume that Group A autos that are 1:2,310 are probably vintage HOF stars like Koufax, Aaron and Kaline.  

Let's check out the cards.  I'm sure by now you've seen a lot of stuff on blogs and eBay, but I'm going to do a full run through.

First we have the base cards
A very Art Deco design.  I suppose you either love it or hate it.  I think that the base color could have been a little more colorful.  Grey is kind of boring.

And the mini parallels.
Regular backs.

There are quite a few mini parallels this year from backs to borders.

We have the red Gypsy Queen backs....

and the Straight Cut Backs  

I pulled 4 of each.
The Straight cut backs
The Gypsy Queen red backs.
I also noticed something interesting while sorting through the mini's
The higher numbered mini's in the 200's seem to have darker backs than the lower numbered mini's.
You can see it here on this scan the Dave Winfield back looks much darker, almost black, compared to the Uggla brown back.  I'm not sure if this is just a printing issue or if it's some other oddity Topps has thrown in.

There are also the Black and Green borders and Sepia, I'll get to those in a minute when I show you what I pulled.

Lets look at the hobby inserts.  There are also two retail only inserts this year, Future Stars and Hallmark Heroes.

First up Moon Shots (20 cards in set)
Moonshots are seeded 1:3 and out of 24 packs I got 8.  Right on the money.

Here's what a back looks like.

Next up what was originally called Slide Show, but the cards are printed as Sliding Stars.  I remember years ago  Leaf/Donruss had a Slideshow insert, so maybe that's why they had to change it. (15 cards in set)
Again these are seeded 1:3 and I got 8 like expected.
I really like the look of these cards.  And I got both Brewers in the set so that made me happy.

Next up is Glove stories.  This is one of the rarer inserts.  Being seeded 1:6 or twice as rare as the last two inserts.  And hitting the odds on the head again I pulled 4.  (10 cards in set)

I also pulled 6 Photo variations. At least from comparing it to the visual checklists now out at Cardboard Connection and All About Cards.

I did do better than the odds in a couple areas.  First is in the Gypsy Kings inserts.  Being seeded 1:48 or basically every other box, I was lucky enough to pull one.
Love that mustache!!

I also bet the odds by pulling 2 Blue Framed parallel cards.  Being seeded 1:15 packs means I probably should hit two per box, but I might not.  Well I did and here they are.  

I could think of a lot worse blue borders to pull.  

And of course buying a full hobby box has the advantage of also getting the mini box too.  Last year one the hobby shops was selling these for 10 bucks a pop.  I'm not sure how much they'll go for this year, with all 7 of the base mini's being SP variations and 3 insert mini's only found in the box. Plus there might also be a super rare mini auto card in there.  I've heard on the message boards of multiple cases being broken and not pulling a mini auto. Spoiler: I didn't get an auto.

Here are the 7 mini SP variations

I think if I can find mini boxes for 10 bucks I'm going to take them.

How for the mini hits...

Black border mini parallels are seeded 1:12 and I got my two.

Green bordered cards have harder odds than the sepia which are numbered!  At 1:24 you should expect one per box.

At 1:20 there is the possibility to snag two of these per box.

I also only pulled one high numbered SP  mini from the box.  So those could be insanely rare and of course there are no odds on the wrapper for them.
I got #303...

Now for the 4 big hits..
Up first is the base relic.  All the relics and autos have Groups.  With Group A being the rarest and Group C being the most common for relics, Autos go to a Group D.  Who's in which group?  I have no idea.
Mo!!!!  Not a bad hit.  Interestingly the odds for these are slightly higher than the framed relics. 1:27.

I also pulled a framed mini relic..

Mr.David Wright.  Another decent relic pull and I love the vivid blue swatch.  These are 1:27 in the lowest group.

A Brandon Belt on card auto!!

and the biggy, which I really would like to know if this is at least group C or maybe even B, but it's still a hell of a nice auto.

My god that man's got a great signature!!! Hey Brandon that's how you sign a baseball card!!

And there you go.

I hate to be a dick here, but all the hits are going up on ebay to help take some of the sting from the box, which wasn't cheap, but I'd be willing to trade some of the inserts and mini's except the SP's, Green and Sepia, to those you might be interested.