Sunday, September 5, 2021

500th and Final... For Now

This is going to be a long post in which I recap the remaining cards from my COMC order, squeeze in a set build, and look back at the previous 499 posts here at The Collector. On the plus side you won't have to read anything else from me for quite a while. (Notice I didn't say Never. I'll get to that...)

I discovered COMC in November 2013, while searching for some rare Peter Worrell parallels (that also led me to start shopping at Sportlots) Aside from the two Worrell cards I picked up hockey set fillers and some Bowman prospects. However I soon discovered that COMC had tons of great looking vintage singles available. Almost every order I placed after 2013 contained at least one card released prior to 1970.

This 1950 Bowman Sheldon Jones card was in my last order. I was very excited to see it in person. Even though COMC scans both sides it's still a bit of a risk buying ungraded vintage online. You never know what hidden flaw you may have missed on screen. However this card looks fantastic. Here's the back:

Not bad for $4.65 I'd say. This was the third-most expensive card in my April order. Coming in at number two is this Jonathan Toews 2015-16 Black Diamond Exquisite single, numbered to 149:

This 30-card set was assembled almost entirely on COMC, with two or three exceptions purchased on eBay. Every team has one base card numbered to 149. I've spent about $100 on the cards (JT here cost $5.54) and another $20 or so on the extra thick top loaders, but it's been a fun project - and it's almost complete:

The only one I'm missing is #29 Alex Ovechkin. COMC has two copies available, but I won't be placing an order with them just for that one card (unless I can't find it anywhere else.)

My box of thick cards and relics is stuffed, but I made room for one more Immaculate Numbers acetate single. Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks is the latest addition to my collection, at a reasonable price of $12:

I now have 13 of the 100 jersey/patch cards from the 2015 set. Some of them were purchased on eBay (including Jonathan Stewart and Andy Dalton) As with the Exquisite hockey singles, this was out of necessity. COMC's prices are more reasonable, but eBay won't make you wait four months to get your cards!

That wraps up my COMC order, but before I sign off I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some highlights from the five years I've posted at The Collector. You probably missed my first entry here in August of 2016 so here it is:

Under 100 words, ha! Who was I kidding?

Less than a month later I published Buying Back My Childhood: Starting Lineup This was my fifth post ever on this blog, and it remains my most viewed ever by far. On average I'd say my posts get 80-100 views, with 200+ being the high end. This one has 1,358 views!

I'm so grateful to everyone who comments on my blog, especially those who comment on nearly every post. On average, each of my regular-length posts receive 6 to 10 comments, with 15 to 20 being the high end. Four of my posts have received 30-plus comments, though that includes my replies to each. The top two of those posts were giveaways, including my most commented post ever. In third place: a post about collecting players who share your birthday.

Fourth on the list, with 30 comments (including mine) is the Celebrity Crush Championship. Since I probably won't write another post here in 2021 I'll name this year's winner now: Elizabeth Olsen.

I'm planning to publish a box break on The 1993 tomorrow, but then I'm going to take some time away from the blogs. My kids are growing up much too fast so I want to spend more time with them, as well as call my mom more often. I definitely want to get outside and exercise some more while the weather is still warm. There's also a pile of books on my shelf that are waiting to be read, and I really should continue looking for a better (paying) job. One without you-know-who.

I did say I was "retiring" from the hobby, and I will try to stick to that. It's going to take some time for me to move out my duplicates and fill my unfinished sets so I'll be active on TCDB from now until New Year's. If you haven't added me to your friends list I'm hockeydude.

However it occurred to me that I never showed off my (nearly) completed All-Time Teams collection. I might do that in 2022 -- and/or a weekly Sports Card Tour update since you all enjoyed that series. So don't unfollow The Collector just yet!

I'll pop in and comment on your blogs from time to time. Until then, thank you all for reading and following me here at The Collector and The 1993. I appreciate all of the discussions, comments, and trades. You've made my hobbies - card collecting and writing - a lot more enjoyable. Thank you!


Friday, September 3, 2021

Feeling Blue

There are a lot of things going on in the world, in our country, and in my life that absolutely suck. 

My mom was scheduled for major surgery in August but it was delayed due to the first of two hurricanes to hit the northeast in the past 16 days or so. The one that hit us Wednesday dumped enough rain to flood our basement and our front window. It just so happens that I work for a mitigation company - but I knew firsthand that our crew would be booked for days. Luckily we were able to dry it out ourselves.

The day before, I went to the dentist for the first time in.. I dunno, ten years? We've been barely scraping by until this year. Stimulus checks + selling sports cards + brother-in-law making bank after his company went public and sharing the profits = finally enough money to see a damn dentist. And I'll need all of it if I want to avoid looking like a pro hockey player.

Home life isn't great. I won't get too personal but I'm definitely going through a mid-life crisis, feeling lonely and already pre-grieving my mother - who isn't in any immediate danger of dying, she's just in a lot of pain. 

My marriage isn't what it should be. It's not bad, it's just.. well, my wife has described us as "friends who had kids" and sometimes I don't even feel like she likes me all that much. All of this makes it much harder to go to work and make small talk with OG. I like my job, I love my manager, and most of my co-workers are awesome. But I often come home feeling forlorn.

Anyway.. you might read all of this and assume I am depressed. Not exactly. It comes and goes, but at the moment I feel good. I'm going to see my family tomorrow and some of my favorite seasons are about to start - fall and football.

My manager G and the aforementioned young lady I work with have been busting tail all week in and out of the office. They're both in the office longer than I am, they both have kids, and they're both on call after hours. That can be very exhausting, especially during a disaster.

Anyway, those bearded QBs you see above are among the handful of blue parallels I acquired in my latest (and last?) COMC order. Color-matching parallels have always appealed to me - but blue cards in particular really make me smile.

I prefer Panini Prizm parallels and both Fitz and Fouts were cheaper than these Press Proof parallels of Houston legends. But I must have been in a blue mood when I added these to the COMC cart.

Have you ever noticed how many songs have the word "Blue" in the title? There are at least three that I have on my playlist - and none of them make me sad. In fact they make me want to dance. My all-time favorite is New Order's "Blue Monday"

I still have this cassingle in my closet.

My high school best friend used to sing(or shout) "I see a shit in the harbor" whenever this song came on. That always made me laugh.

Here's another "blue" song that cheers me up whenever I hear it:

My current favorite is the song that converted me from a skeptic to a follower of Chvrches:

That beat drop is strikingly similar to Depeche Mode's "Just Can't Get Enough" And I just can't get enough blue parallels. Terrible segue, I know. I'm really bad at this. I should just stop.

I've tried to acquire a Steven Stamkos Blue Prizm parallel but they're always just out of reach. I settled for a Phil Kessel instead. The Credential card you see here isn't a blue parallel, it's something called a "Mandelbrot Fractal" - whatever that is. These Dazzlers aren't exactly blue, either:

But thanks to ePack they were cheap. These two Avalanche stars plus the Stamkos above totaled 91 cents (Stammer's jersey number) Here are some other cheap hockey cards I picked up at COMC:

Wait a second... these are all red. Blue might be my favorite color but a lot of my favorite teams wear red.

One more...

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

What if I don't want to complete the set?

One aspect of card collecting that I still enjoy is the thrill of filling a set. Player collecting, and especially team collecting, can feel infinite. There are often hard to find singles out there for even the most obscure players, making a complete collection nearly impossible.

Sets are finite. Sets are fun. The Trading Card Database makes tracking set progress very easy, and I've definitely become more of a set collector as a result. I've even finished off a handful of insert sets I wouldn't have pursued without TCDB.

Once a set build crosses that 50% meter it becomes very difficult for me to abandon ship. There are outliers, of course.

I've mentioned that I'm one card away from completing 2016 Donruss Football - and that one card is Dak Prescott's Rated Rookie card. Spending $25 (or more) for a non-numbered RC of a Dallas Cowboys quarterback is not my idea of fun. Neither is spending $50 (or more) for a Carey Price rookie card to complete the 2007-08 Black Diamond hockey set. I've gone this long without it, what's the rush?

Both these sets are over 99% complete. The only other "so close" set in my collection is 2013 Topps baseball.

I currently have 654 of the 660 cards in the 2013 Topps set, good for 99.1% completion. Three more singles are on the way via trades, though one is an upgrade. Once received I will need four cards: Mike Trout, Mike Trout, Mike Trout, and Manny Machado's rookie card.

If I had started this set build three years ago, the Trout singles wouldn't have been an issue. I probably could have crossed them off my list for $10 total instead of $10 each, which is what they'd cost me now.

A user I've traded with on TCDB had one of the three available for trade. I asked about it and got this reply:

My 2013 Trout has been in a top load since out of the pack. I doubt we could come up with anything for that. The things I would consider would be...The 1972 Aaron..
Obviously the Aaron would be an even trade if yours is not in Mint condition.

Technically my '72 Aaron is not in "mint" condition.. but I still can't imagine a market where this equals this:

And now you know why I'm about ready to retire.

As for this jerk .. forgive me for not rushing to pay $5-10 for a rookie card of the guy who ended my favorite player's career.

Moving on from sets I don't want to complete to a set that can't be completed... the primary reason I bothered to place an order at COMC in 20021 was to fortify my All-Time Teams frankenset. COMC was the one place where I could view the exact scan of the card, which was crucial for purchasing vintage singles of middle relievers from the 1950s:

There are only 23 Marv Grissom cards to choose from, and this was pretty much the only standard-sized option (aside from the bland '58 Topps issue) I'd be happy paying $2.10 for any '57 Topps single in this shape. Elston is a high number and cost just $1.57 - which had me worried that there was some flaw I couldn't see in the scan. If there is a crease or scratch line on this card I still can't see it.

This might be the only non-playing card of a player in my All-Time Teams collection. That is, Hughie Jennings is clearly well past his playing days in this photo - yet I'm adding it to my Barnstormers page because he's not doing that derpy "Ee-yah!" dance for once.

I added two Frankie Frisch Cardinals cards to my COMC cart because I couldn't decide which one I liked better. What do you think: Licensed McDonald's oddball, or unlicensed serial-numbered Crystal parallel?

Some cheap upgrades here - except for the Cy Young card which wasn't as cheap ($1.50) and the Tyler Clippard card which arrived in a TCDB trade. I also traded for this card of Angela Stadium:

The American League binder is now complete. The National League binder is missing a pair of players.

New York Giants shortstop George Davis has 49 cards. More than half of them are 100-plus years old. The only attainable singles are: postcard, wrong team, and wrong George Davis. And then there's Reds pitcher Noodles Hahn. The first time I checked, Noodles had three or four cards. He now has eleven, but this playing card is the only modern item that would work for my frankenset.

Wait a sec... Noodles has a bobblehead?!? They couldn't have included a card inside this box?? Sigh..

Two more to go...

Thanks for reading!