Monday, March 29, 2021

Almost There

As I mentioned in my previous posts I've been working on set builds and deciding which ones to complete. This will be a three-sport post thanks to an above average mailday but I'm going to focus mainly on my four basketball sets: 

I threw in the towel on my 1988-89 Fleer set build because I didn't want to spend $150+ on the Michael Jordan base card (and he's got an All-Star card at the end of the set.) If I wanted to, I could sell some of my high-grade Hall of Famers and buy a "raw" set, but that's a decision for another day.

Since the '88-89 set was too expensive to compile I thought I'd try the next best thing: 1989-90 Fleer. As of last week I (technically) needed just six cards: John Williams, Mike Woodson, Gerald Wilkins... and Larry, Magic, and MJ. Once I got within ten cards of completion I splurged $32.95 (plus tax) on the Jordan card:

If I were submitting this to PSA I'd be bothered by the yellow bubble on the right side border. But I'm not. 

With the "goat" in hand I'm absolutely going to finish this set. Heck, I'll even go for the master set since it only requires two additional cards. I have an incoming trade for three cards, which (if all goes well) will leave me with just Magic Johnson, both John Williamses, a checklist upgrade, and a Gerald Wilkins variation left to acquire.

The next basketball set build is an even smaller one: 1992-93 Topps Archives. As mentioned on my 1993 Blog I'd been trading for singles from this set just for the heck of it, and ended up with more than half the set. When I compared prices of the 1989-90 Fleer Jordan I noticed the price of his "First Topps Card" from Archives was as high - or even higher - than the Fleer issue. Since most of my Archives singles are in less than mint condition and I've got 46% of the set to go, I made the decision to abandon this set build. 

But then.. while I was at work today, I received a trade offer that saved this set from the scrap heap. A Canadian trader asked for three 1979-80 OPC hockey singles I'd just added to my tradelist last night. 

In return he's sending me seven Archives singles - all Hall of Famers (except Shawn Kemp.) One of them is the Michael Jordan card. The set build is still on!

Ah, but now it gets really difficult. Jon Pennysleeves (tm Julie) sent me a starter set of 2014-15 Panini Prizm a few years ago. I'd been plugging away at it here and there, until I got within six cards of completing the 300-card set. At one point the Giannis ("second year Prizm") was selling for $150. I held onto it because I was determined to complete this bad boy. At that time Joel Embiid's RC could be had for about $60. I kicked the tires but ultimately passed. 

Aaand it's more than double that now. Also, Zach LaVine sells for about $50. Andrew Wiggins was over $20 not that long ago but it's much cheaper today. I can't catch a break because Jordan Clarkson sells for a Jackson now. Jordan Clarkson. I nearly bought the Marcus Smart RC a couple times but passed. Oh, and I still need the Kevin Durant base card.

Sigh... this set is going to cost me a minimum of $200 to complete. But I really don't want to break it up. 

While I ponder that one a little more I decided to work on my 2015-16 Donruss near-set. This build began with two retail boxes purchased from Dave & Adams for a total of... $39.98 (plus tax/shipping)

I really wish I had a Crystal ball and stashed those two retail boxes because now D & A are asking slightly more for them. Wow.

Alas, I opened the boxes and began the set build. I only got one of the top three rookies (Karl-Anthony Towns) so I needed to track down Nikola Jokic and Kristaps Porzingis. Luckily I bought the "Joker" before the pandemic (for $3.05!!) and four of the five remaining rookies are no big deal. I found a TCDB user in Australia who was willing to trade me a Terry Rozier RC, so that knocks it down to four. 

The Unicorn was the big obstacle, so I searched eBay for his rookie and... snagged a copy for $5.05 after tax and shipping. Assuming those transactions go smoothly I'll have three more to go: Kelly Oubre (I pulled his autograph out of one box but not his RC), Jarrell Martin, and some guy named Christian Wood. Never heard of him. Is he good?

What. The. Fork?

Okay, yes, Wood has become a breakout star for the Houston Rockets. But this is a hundred dollar card, which I can only attribute to two factors:

  • Donruss was the only brand that made a Christian Wood rookie card (Porzingis has about a hundred more RCs to choose from.)

  • The hobby has gone absolutely insane

I might have to wait until this Rocket comes back down to Earth before continuing this set build.

Moving on to other sports.. I received three PWEs in today's mail - including two from fellow bloggers.

Here's the PWE from TCDB user jmkidd. I sent seven Seattle singles his way for these set fillers.

Robert is working on the 1986 Topps football set and I had a couple extras he needed, including a slightly creased Bruce Smith RC I'd just received as a freebie in a TCDB trade. Four of the cards I asked for are set fillers: the Upper Deck SP inserts and the 1988-89 Topps singles.

Last but not least we have a PWE from the aforementioned Jon, who contacted me about a Haywood Jeffires Sports Illustrated single after reading my post about the 1993 Houston Oilers

He also offered up some cards of UConn alum Richard Hamilton. No set fillers here, but all six cards were new to my collection. Jon, thanks for the nice Rip(s)!

It's high time I sent out some freebies to my loyal reader friends but instead I have an idea for a sort-of contest that combines Easter with my upcoming 500th post. Who's up for a blog "Easter Egg" hunt?

Thanks for reading!



  1. Magic wins the round. I need a break from Jordan.

    James Worthy guest appearance on the Bird card.

    (Sent your Wentz RR today.)

  2. Dude... forget the yellow bubble. That Jordan of yours is gorgeous. Don't think I've seen a copy as nicely centered as yours. I own a few copies of that card (part of sets I built back in the day) and none of them have good centering.

  3. It baffled me when guys like Christian Wood and Keldon Johnson RCs sell for more than Tim Duncan.

    That NBA Archives set is pretty cool. The Jordan is sweet. I've always seen it but never thought much on it. Glad you snagged one!

  4. (1) Card prices really are bonkers right now.
    (2) A blog "Easter egg hunt" sounds intriguing!

  5. Hard to believe that the '89-90 Fleer MJ is selling for that much now, it could still be had for $3 or less up until that "documentary" came out. As far as the high prices go, I'd say that if you really enjoy these sets, then just hold on, maybe even put them on a backburner for a bit, as these crazy prices aren't gonna last forever. I keep hearing talk of a coming depression, and if said talk is true, a lot of these current "collectors" will start dumping their "investments" as soon as the sh*t hits the fan. And even if we avoid a depression, people have short attention spans these days, and will likely start losing interest in cards as soon as some other new hot thing shows up.

  6. Is your 1956 Topps background new? Because I only just noticed it, and I like it a lot.

    I hope the card prices come down soon, but it might be a false hope. Whenever you read about the World Wars there were always people saying "Well, at least it will be over by Christmas."