Monday, December 30, 2019

An All-Time Great closes out 2019

I didn't get any sports cards this Christmas. Not a repack box or a blaster or a fat pack. Nothin'. I can't recall any other year when that has happened. However I did get an Aaron Rodgers jersey (which was a complete surprise) and a significant amount of cash. I put 70% of it in the bank for important adult stuff, and spent the other 30% at 4 Sharp Corners.

I've been selling some things on eBay for reasons I'll get into later, and I was browsing cards to buy during the 10% bucks promotion. One of the cards I considered was the 1992 Stadium Club high number Brett Favre. I have never owned a copy of this card, and I don't think I've ever seen it in person. It's much more rare and possibly more valuable than his Stadium Club RC from 1991.

I noticed that 4 Sharp Corners had a copy, and with their on-site sale of 20% off I decided that I'd gone far too long without owning a copy of this card. 

This is the 778th unique Favre card in my collection, and a great way to celebrate his inclusion on the NFL's 100th anniversary All-Time Team list!  

In my previous post I mentioned acquiring a second-year card of an iconic Hall of Famer, right? Well.. there's actually another one coming up. Here's the rest of my 4SC order:

This Bill Virdon was the only affordable 1956 Topps single on the site that I needed. I thought long and hard about continuing my PSA set builds before buying this card, because I doubt I'll ever finish them. Either way, $32.79 is a pretty good price for an NM-MT 8.

This Ralph Branca is already in my collection, ungraded. I scoured the 4SC site for early 1950s singles but there weren't any better options. Since I already have the '51 Bobby Thomson PSA-graded I figured the Branca would pair nicely with it.

This ungraded Branca is now available for trade but only for a similar vintage card or significant on-card auto.

There are lots of reasons to love the 1961 Golden Press set. It's an oddball issue, the photos are so sharp and colorful, the design is clean and simple, and best of all it's an affordable way to add pre-war HOFers to your collection.

This is my first Gabby Hartnett card. It's a bit of a milestone in my set build as I'm now at one-third completion (11 out of 33) and it only cost $12.79.

I'm not collecting the 1959 Topps set. It's far too big and I can't handle the high-numbers (especially the Bob Gibson RC). But it's a great source of affordable high-quality vintage singles.

This Curt Simmons was $15.99. It doesn't fit a set build or a team collection but it's a sharp looking 60 year-old card in high grade. Simmons pitched for 20 years, made three All-Star teams, and won a World Series with the 1964 Cardinals. He was also one of the "Whiz Kids" on the pennant-winning 1950 Phillies team. I wondered why he didn't get a start in the 1950 World Series and this article provided a very interesting answer.

Now I'm really glad I added this card to my order. Curt Simmons is still with us at age 90, and still signed cards for Topps as recently as 2016:

The five cards I picked totaled $149.80, and 4 Sharp Corners offers free shipping on all orders of $150 or more. That gave me a mission: find a decent card priced at $5 or less. It took a lot longer than I expected. Most of their cheap stuff is either lower-grade, modern, or both. 

Eventually I settled on this 1979-80 Topps league leader as my "free" card:

A high-grade card with Ken Dryden for $4? Sold! This one will be classified as a 1970s Canadiens card in my collection, though the presence of Chico Resch sandwiched between two Hall of Famers appealed to me as well. 

So I filled a significant hole in my collection with the 1992 Stadium Club Favre and picked up some nice vintage including a set filler. But this order was fairly impulsive (and has not arrived yet) The big piece was carefully planned and researched. It arrived Saturday morning, which means my best new sports card addition of 2019 will almost certainly go in the books as my very last card addition of 2019.

When the Devils traded Taylor Hall I decided to post my 2010-11 Upper Deck Young Guns set for sale on eBay. I've now sold all of my Young Guns sets except 2015-16 to fund my 1956 Topps set build. Once that sold I began targeting the most significant card on my 'need' list.

The only copies I could afford were graded VG-EX 4. I really did not want to drop below EX 5, but part of my contemplation of this - and other set builds - factored in the excess cash I was spending. Many card bloggers have shown me that lower-graded cards can be beautiful, and I put in an offer for a 4 that was about 90% of the asking price. 

The seller declined my offer, and closed the listing.

Undeterred, I kept searching for this card in my price range. I stumbled on a listing with one significant search term missing:

The photo was blurry, and the asking price was just out of my range. I made my offer on Christmas Eve, hoping that it would be accepted in time for me to collect my 10% cash back. 

I woke up Christmas morning before my daughters did. Checked my email and found that my offer had been accepted!

Here it is, a mid-grade second-year card of the great Roberto Clemente. I still can't believe this is in my possession. 

Here's a look at the back. Off-center but otherwise clean. Who was the genius in the Dodgers front office that let Clemente get away?

This is a great way to close out 2019, don't you agree? I'll have a New Year's Goals post up by the end of the week, and then I'll resume the All-Time Teams series. Meanwhile, check out Billy's Blog Bat Around on Cardboard History and if you're not following Gregory's blog Nine Pockets then stop on over and add him to your feed!

Thanks for reading, and have a Happy New Year!!


Saturday, December 28, 2019

Shoot Your Shot

I am officially an Islander's fan. No, I haven't abandoned my Devils during their streak of suckitude. But I am cheering hard for Anthony Beauvillier to score...

 ...a date with Anna Kendrick. The Islanders forward tweeted at Anna on Christmas.

My dude didn't even say "Merry Christmas"! All he said was "Hi." Definitely not a power move.

And then something amazing happened... the hockey community took up his cause and ran with it, making "Beau" sound like the most amazing guy ever. 

Eventually, Anna acknowledged Anthony:

I know nothing about the social lives of celebrities nor do I have any clue as to who Anna Kendrick has dated, or is dating, or why she's still single.. but I do hope there's more to this story.

Anyway, it's as good an excuse as any to post some Kendrick clips. Here's Anna playing dodgeball with Kevin Hart:

Here's Anna crashing Trevor Noah's audience interview. Apparently he's never heard of the "List" (I'm sure she's on a lot of guys' lists - present company included.)

And I'll leave you all with this holiday gift:

I saw this on Thanksgiving as I was getting up to get a drink, and I froze. She is quite literally stunning. Good luck, Beau. 

I'll back with more sports card content soon. A 2nd-year card of an iconic Hall of Famer is on its way to me...

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!



Wednesday, December 25, 2019

12 Days of Christmas Day 12 - Thank You!

Merry Christmas everyone!

It's day 13 of The Collector's 12 Days of Christmas series, and I've saved the best for last - a Thank You to the blogger friends who have sent me some new cards this holiday season.

First I want to thank Bo and Chris for our recent trades. Bo was very patient with me and Chris sent a huge trade stack in exchange for just one card off his wantlist (I was able to add a couple more.) They're not 'gifts' but they deserve to be acknowledged and I will share the spoils of these swaps soon. 

We'll start with a PWE from Billy, a nice mix of basketball and hockey:

 Daiki Terashita is my first basketball card from outside North America. Very cool!

I would complain about Upper Deck repeating a player within the same set - but it's P.K. Subban so it's okay with me. Is Niagara Falls close enough to Buffalo? I've been to both but it was a looong time ago.

A nice stack of Devils including a couple cards with the old "Christmas tree" jerseys. The Nico Hischier sticker is kind of tinsel-like..I guess? Billy, thanks for the awesome PWE!

Next we have a killer care package from Dennis. He's been sending goodies all across the blogosphere. Let's see what he has for me:

Moar Devilz! These guys all have something in common...yep, they're Michigan alums!

Some surplus Sox, possibly from his Packening? I just finished cataloging all 4,000+ of my Red Sox cards, and the top three here were needs. How did I not have an '89 Donruss Boggs already?

All of these were new to me. I really want to find more Upper Deck Decade 1970's cards (why didn't they make a 1980's set?) and I can never get enough 1994 Pinnacle Museum parallels.

Dennis knows I'm a sucker for 2002-005 Topps Pristine singles, and this is the second time he's sent some my way. Two more Dustin Pedroia relics bring my total to 19, more than any other player in my collection.

Here's an interesting card - this E-X Wall of Fame relic has Nomar Garciaparra on the front...

..and Robin Yount on the back! I did a double-take when sorting these, thinking that Dennis had sent a Yount relic that I'd somehow missed when opening the package.  

Dennis, thanks again for the great cards. You always go above and beyond, and it is appreciated!

Last but certainly not least, here's a package from Roy aka Bulldog. I sent him one card (okay, two) and he hit me back like:

I got a 100-card cube in the mail stuffed with 69 Packers cards, including:

Playoffs! That's where the Packers are headed - and hopefully with a first-round bye :)

A Snow Day Clay, and two of my all-time favorite receivers in Sharpe and Nelson. Blake Martinez has been a tackling machine this year. It's so nice to have a good defense for once!

 I would like you to do us a Favre though. Favre count increased by 4. Awesome.

Some current Devils including my first Jack Hughes card, another Nico, and a Taylor Hall. I really hope Hallsy can get to the second round of the playoffs for once. If Jay Bouwmeester can win a Cup why can't Hall? Also some Stranger Things set fillers, which I will need to scrounge together in trades unless the blasters go on clearance some day.

Roy, thanks very much for this generous group of cards! And thank you all for reading and commenting on this series. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Monday, December 23, 2019

12 Days of Christmas Day 11 - Merry Cardsmas!

I had planned on visiting my family in Connecticut for Christmas Eve and coming home the next day. My 10 year old daughter wanted to be here on Christmas morning (can't say I blame her), so we visited Mom on the Saturday before Christmas instead. A side benefit of this was that I got to attend the monthly card show in Milford!

When I woke up Sunday morning (at 6:45 a.m.) I felt like a kid on Christmas. What deals would be waiting for me in those dime boxes? How many set fillers could I find? How many cards could I add to my team and player PCs?

Some of the dealers that were at the last show were not there this time. I began to worry when I didn't see the row of dime boxes on the right side of the room, or the big guy with the boxes of hockey hits behind him. 

I made my way around the room and found that all of the 2019 Topps series 2 singles had been cleaned out. Lots of sellers had vintage singles, but I was in a modern mood. 

The dime box guy was there, but he only had two boxes left. Neither of them had any hockey. I started on the baseball side, hoping to find some Allen & Ginter for Nachos Grande and some Red Sox for me.

 I found 24 Red Sox cards - mostly base, including some Panini Father's Day issues. 

Most of the cards I found were current year issues but there were some overproduction era goodies in there, too. The Nolan Ryan 1989 Score Traded was on my TCDB wantlist. Bellinger and Strasburg were last minute additions; my pile had 298 cards so I grabbed the first two decent cards I saw to make it an even 300.

Not as much shiny this time around. I like the teal borders on the Sisco (#d/199.) Mize is numbered to 199 as well, but I can't find it listed on TCDB. I'll probably send it to a Tigers fan anyhow.

I had the dime boxes all to myself as no one else was looking through them (and the dealer wandered off while I was searching.) Over 100 of the cards I picked out were football. 

32 were Packers, including some parallels and three Aaron Rodgers base cards.

Yes I'm hoarding Christian McCaffrey cards. There were no Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson cards in the dime boxes but I did pick up two Tom Brady and four DeShaun Watson.

I focused on mid-tier brands like Panini Prizm, Phoenix, Donruss Optic, and Elite. It was nearly impossible to find rookie cards of even a late-round offensive lineman, so I loaded up on legends. 

The basketball card selection was a little better - or maybe it just seemed that way because I have far fewer basketball cards than any other sport.

I'm tempted to start a 1989-90 Fleer set build, but I have to finish 1988-89 Fleer first. Hardaway and LJ were the only two of the seven or eight 1993-94 Finest cards that hadn't faded so I grabbed 'em. The McDonald's was a dupe - I didn't realize I was so close to finishing that 50-card set.

I found a few cards for my player PCs. Didn't see any Olajuwon or Larry Bird though.

I hoard Damian Lillard cards, too. The list of things I collect will be getting an update soon.

Some Bucks and some rookies. I did find a Trae Young card but no Luka Doncic.

Threes were wild in this group of inserts, parallels, and promos.

How cool are those Miami "Vice" Heat jerseys? 

After I paid for my stack of 300 dime cards the seller gave me a free 1600ct box to store them in. Next to him, there was a guy with four boxes of cards in top loaders. Every card was 50 cents, but I didn't get to search all four of his boxes because another collector had parked himself in front of them.

I did manage to find some neat cards, including a SN'd Manning, an acetate Bagwell, a pair of Sox, and a Mike Fyhrie. I have no idea who Mike Fyhrie is, but it's a 40 Man parallel numbered to 40. Maybe an Oakland A's fan will want it..

The 50 cent seller had one box of football cards that was made up of only four players - Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Dan Marino ... and Brett Favre:

I grabbed 26 new Brett Favre cards including the one at the top of this post. I won't make it to 1,000 any time soon but this stack might have helped me pass the 800-card milestone.

Before I left I decided to take one last look around, in case I had missed anything. Near the exit I saw a table with some higher-end cards that looked very crowded. I peeked in between and stuck my hand in one of the boxes. On a whim I picked up two Immaculate Autographs for $15:

The Love auto is a sticker-graph, but the Grant is signed on-card. I'll have to update my Immaculate Collection later this week, too.

There's just one more post in this 12DOC series, and I'll probably post it Christmas evening. Thanks for reading, and have a Merry Christmas / Happy Hanukkah!


Sunday, December 22, 2019

12 Days of Christmas Day 10 - McFarlane Mania

In 2001 Todd McFarlane took over the sports action figure market, releasing the first licensed sets of McFarlane SportsPicks figures for NFL and NHL players (NBA and MLB figures followed in 2002.) Unlike Starting Lineup, McFarlane released multiple series of figures per year.

Since my mom knew how much I enjoyed collecting SLU figures she continued picking up sports figures for me as Christmas gifts - starting with Mats Sundin and John LeClair:

These series 1 NHL figures got me started on hoarding bigger and more detailed action figures - especially hockey. At one point I was on a quest to find one figure for all 30 NHL teams. 

I didn't buy any basketball figures and surprisingly few baseball figures. McFarlane had a habit of fixating on the same teams and players, filling every baseball series with at least one Yankees player. Knowing how much I hated this, my brother and sister in law made sure to buy one for me as a Christmas gift:

This is supposed to be Derek Jeter, but the side photo looks more like Andy Pettitte.

Aside from this one, most of my McFarlane figures represent my favorite teams or players at the time. Here's the complete list:

football (13)  
  • Series 3 LaDainian Tomlinson Chargers
  • Series 4 Brett Favre Packers
  • Series 4 Donovan McNabb Eagles (white jersey variant)
  • Series 4 Michael Vick Falcons
  • Series 6 Brett Favre Falcons
  • Series 6 Shaun Alexander Seahawks
  • Series 7 Brett Favre Packers
  • Series 7 Brett Favre Packers (white jersey variant)
  • Series 8 Ahman Green Packers
  • Series 8 Ahman Green Packers (white jersey variant)
  • Series 12 Brett Favre Packers
  • Series 19 Brett Favre Packers
  • Series 19 Brett Favre Jets

baseball (11)
  • Series 1 Ichiro Suzuki Mariners
  • Series 2 Ken Griffey Jr. Reds 
  • Series 2 Derek Jeter Yankees
  • Series 2 Greg Maddux Braves
  • Series 2 Nomar Garciaparra Red Sox
  • Series 2 Manny Ramirez Red Sox
  • Series 8 Sammy Sosa White Sox (retro edition)
  • Series 9 Pedro Martinez Expos (retro edition)
  • Series 10 Curt Schilling Red Sox
  • Series 12 David Ortiz Red Sox
  • 2010 Dustin Pedroia Red Sox (team assortment)

hockey (35)
  • Series 1 Mats Sundin Maple Leafs
  • Series 2 Jaromir Jagr Capitals
  • Series 3 Scott Stevens Devils (x2)
  • Series 4 Ilya Kovalchuk Thrashers (white jersey variant)
  • Series 4 Brendan Shanahan Red Wings
  • Series 4 Brendan Shanahan Red Wings (red jersey variant)
  • Series 4 Ryan Smyth Oilers
  • Series 4 Ryan Smyth Oilers (dark blue jersey variant)
  • Series 5 Mark Messier Oilers
  • Series 5 Patrick Roy Canadiens
  • Series 5 Joe Sakic Nordiques
  • Series 7 Peter Forsberg Nordiques (retro jersey variant)
  • Series 7 Marian Gaborik Wild
  • Series 7 Jean-Sebastien Giguere Mighty Ducks
  • Series 7 Dominik Hasek Red Wings
  • Series 8 Trevor Linden Canucks
  • Series 8 Trevor Linden Canucks (vintage variant)
  • Series 9 Martin Brodeur Devils x2 (with Stanley Cup)
  • Series 10 Mike Modano North Stars
  • Series 10 Rick Nash Blue Jackets
  • Series 11 Ales Hemsky Oilers
  • Series 12 Sidney Crosby Penguins
  • Series 12 Paul Kariya Predators
  • Series 12 Chris Pronger Oilers
  • Series 17 Trevor Linden Canucks (x2)
  • Series 19 Ryan Smyth Avalanche
  • Series 28 Taylor Hall Oilers
  • Legends 1 Wayne Gretzky Oilers
  • Legends 1 Wayne Gretzky Oilers (white jersey variant)
  • Legends 2 Wayne Gretzky Oilers
  • Legends 7 Mark Messier Oilers (with Stanley Cup) *I just noticed the UPC label on the back of this one reads "Maurice Messier 3"
  • Legends 8 Theo Fleury Flames 

misc. (18)
  • 3 inch 2005 Brett Favre
  • 3 inch 2005 Trevor Linden
  • 3 inch 2006 Ryan Smyth
  • 3 inch 2007 Martin Brodeur w/Cup
  • 3 inch 2008 Jonathan Papelbon
  • 3 inch 2 pack Brett Favre/Tom Brady 
  • 3 inch 2 pack Martin Brodeur/Joe Thornotn
  • 3 inch 2 pack Owen Nolan/Brendan Shanahan
  • 2 pack Brett Favre/Brian Urlacher
  • 2 pack Dustin Pedroia/David Ortiz (2013 World Series)
  • 2 pack Rob Blake/Brendan Shanahan 
  • 2 pack Jose Theodore/Jason Smith (2002 Heritage Classic)
  • 12 Inch Brett Favre
  • 12 inch Martin Brodeur
  • 12 inch Wayne Gretzky (Oilers)
  • 3-pack Boston Red Sox
  • 3-pack Edmonton Oilers
  • 4-pack Brett Favre

As you can see, I have nearly the same amount of McFarlane figures as Starting Lineup. However these take up a lot more space - especially the multi-packs and 12" figures. I've got no place to display them all, so they've been sitting in boxes for the past several years.

I'd like to downsize my collection but I haven't figured out the best way to do that. The figures aren't particularly valuable, they cost too much to ship individually, and some of the plastic packages are starting to turn an amber color. I'm strongly considering opening at least some of these, which might make them easier to sell. However, by opening the packages and creating more space I'd have less incentive to move them out. 

What would you do with boxes of surplus action figures? Open them, keep them sealed, or sell them? Do you have any McFarlane sports figures in your collection?

Thanks for reading!