The Man Cave

I moved recently into a bigger place which allowed me to set up a man cave in the basement. Men, with their man caves, all have different ideas on what they want it to look like. Some look at their card collections as decoration in a more socially livable room. Between the wall displays of cards and jerseys, there are couches. bars, video game and television set ups and some even have exercise equipment.

Myself I have forgone this type of man cave and concentrated all the space toward card collecting, trading and displaying. The walls are used for display of cards and magazines, with a concentration on displaying current collecting endeavors. Presently that is 1952 Bowman Baseball, and One quality card for each member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

I have my desk and laptop in one corner leaving the center of the room for an island dedicated to tradable cards. No more rooting through stacks of 5000 ct. boxes, they now are all open and side-by-side for east rummaging. This saves so much time when putting together trades for shipping.

The rest of the space is for shelving binders full of card sets, factory sets, boxes and other miscellany. All in all the space allows organization, it is very functional. As to its ascetic appeal. I will leave it up to the reader to decide.

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Six

It has been awhile since I posted on this collection. Mostly because of a new baby arriving and a move to a larger place of residence. But now that all the upheaval has settled I can continue where I left off.

With the move, I now have a larger space for my man cave. This led me to change the way I am collecting the HOF cards. With so much space I was able to dedicate two walls to showing off the HOF cards I have, and even the ones I don’t, well empty screw-downs with the names printed on them anyway.

Before, with limited space, I decided to go year by year in order from the newest members back to the original five. This saved space as I just needed to put up the year or two I was working on, adding only as I purchased or traded for more cards in the order. But now with the whole HOF players fitting on the two walls, I can be more flexible.

I added the cards I had of the players who I didn’t reach yet in the reverse chronological order I was using at the old place including ones that are mostly jut placeholders until I purchase a better representative card.

I now can look for cards from every year which will lead, I assume, to finding better deals on cards as no specific order needs to be adhered to. I will still try for a player’s first card until it becomes too expensive for my budget whereby I will look for alternatives.

Here are some images of the new wall. As you will see there are many empty screw-downs. But it makes the challenge much more fun as you can see the collection’s development each time you enter the room.

hof1

Picture 1 of 8

Collecting Challenge, 1952 Bowman, Post Six

Aquisitions, Apr. 26th, 2017

It has been awhile since I last updated readers about the progress of my collecting of the 1952 Bowman set. Many changes have occurred which delayed purchases from this iconic set. My wife and I had a new baby to take care of, and we also moved into a larger domicile because of it.

We have settled in and the baby has now become an 11 month old toddler. My man cave has also increased in size, being the basement of the new house instead of a smaller office in the old place. All the expenses that are involved in moving have now been taken care of and I had a bit of disposable income to spend on cards.

Instead of the usual places to find the cards (eBay, COMC, Kijiji), which are difficult to use when wanting to buy in groups rather than individual cards. It seems every lot of 1952 Bowman listed on eBay, for example, include more cards that I have than cards that I don’t.

Lately, I have been visiting an active forum over at Blowout Cards which resulted in a private purchase from one of the members there. He had numerous doubles of 1952 Bowman that he was looking to sell. Of them, 15 were not in my collection. I purchased the lot for $52.00. They were in the lower end of the grade scale (most in good) but that is to my liking as I am a man on a budget. The man was even nice enough to throw in a 16th card (a double of card #175 Ransom Jackson) that I can use in a future trade.

With more room on the wall to display the progress of my collection, I added a poster I created of the full set as a visual reference. It makes the wall just a bit cooler to look at.

1952 Bowman, The New Wall

 

1952 Bowman, The New Wall 2

 

The 15 cards I received are the following:

  • #15 – Sam Mele
  • #19 – Bob Cain
  • #66 – Sal Maglie
  • #85 – Marty Marion
  • #95 – Luke Easter
  • #163 – Johnny Lipton
  • #168 – Preacher Roe
  • #170 – Joe Astroth
  • #171 – Mel Queen
  • #175 – Ransom Jackson
  • #179 – Pete Suder
  • #212 – Solly Hemus
  • #214 – Ray Boone
  • #228 – Bob Chipman
  • #231 – Dee Fondy

With these 15 cards my collection has increased to 163 of 252 total cards, or 64.68%.

Collecting Challenge, 1952 Bowman, Post Five

 

An Open Letter to Beckett

Dear Beckett,

 My name is Scott Brown. I have been a sports card collector since I was a child. I began to spend serious money in the hobby in the late 80s early 90s which included your magazine.

In fact, I have purchased hundreds of your magazines over the decades and I still have them stored in my my man cave:

Beckett Magazine Collection

I have supported you for over 30 years, and am one reason why you became the large company you are presently.

I still purchase your print magazines through my LCS. I know you have a large presence online as well, but with the bulky and user-unfriendly nature of your website, I have avoided paying for that.

My online presence in the hobby came about when I discovered the great website Zistle. It was simple to use, and although quite time-consuming to add your collection to, was interested in rewarding you for your hard work. Rewards included badges and statistics and most importantly an automated trade manager. It took your hard work and translated into matches with other users who wanted your duplicates in exchange for their duplicates. It made trading an easy and enjoyable experience.

Zistle Front Page

You saw Zistle grow from a small insignificant site to a more attractive site to use than your own. It allowed users to contribute to the database and the reward was that they could use the site for free. How could you compete with that? You couldn’t it seems. Not only did Zistle offer a better service at no cost, but they managed to convince COMC to let them use their images on the their site as well.

Perhaps the fact that COMC, a company you sued in the past and lost to, allowed Zistle to use its images was a motivation to make Zistle the next website you would send your lawyers after.

Where COMC had the resources to fight your suit, Zistle did not. They eventually caved to your aggression and let themselves be bought out. 

Some took this event as another sign that Beckett has no care for hobby other than what it affects their bottom line. Beckett was mentioned again and again in various forums as the big bully picking on smaller entities.

I was also of this mode of thinking. But as the reality began sinking in, that Beckett now owned the best cataloging and trading site on the internet, I thought perhaps Beckett, with its larger resources, could push Zistle to the next level. Where the previous owners set up Zistle to be not only a database of cards, and a site that simplifies trading, it also had the infrastructure to list card pricing. But it did not have the resources to use this infrastructure in a meaningful way. Pricing was far from accurate. This is where Beckett could shine. Using its own pricing on Zistle would put Zistle in a great position to be the greatest website for sports cards in the industry. Beckett also has a larger card catalog database than Zistle. If Beckett added all the cards and sets that Zistle is missing then Zistle would shine even brighter

If you are a true fan of the hobby that you purported to be back in the time when Dr. Beckett ran the magazine, but now seems to be a distant memory, you would give Zistle users specifically, and sports card collectors in general, a site that takes the advantages of Zistle with the pricing and massive set lists of Beckett, and create the best site the hobby has ever seen.

I can just imagine the ease of use of Zistle, with the more accurate pricing and expanded set lists of Beckett, in a site that allows users to trade any and all cards. They can see whether these trades have similar book values rather than just numerical equality. The would have no need to update there card inventory as Zistle does this automatically with each completed trade.

You would be able to get a more accurate value of your collection both for personal satisfaction as well as for insurance purposes. 

It sometime became tedious to add missing cards to the Zistle database so that you could add them to your collection. With the more complete set lists from Beckett this problem would be eliminated. We would just need to add the cards to our personal collection not to the database. The numerous duplicate sets on Zistle could be eliminated with Beckett’s catalog.

This new site would be the perfect collecting site. It would have everything any collector would want.

You have owned Zistle for months now without any communication on what will be done with the site. Many users who have been with Zistle for years have left the site because it can’t be updated with the most recent card sets. Why not let us know what you plan to do with the site? If you plan to eliminate Zistle, I think that would be a bad idea unless you gave the hobby something very similar which they could use at a reasonable cost. Otherwise, some other group will reinvent Zistle in another form, and you would be back to where you started.

Listen to me with the best of your abilities. Expand and better Zistle. Do not eliminate it. You now own the Golden Goose, use it to better the hobby for all collectors and you will be rewarded.

Thank you for listening,

The Ignorant Intellectual
a.k.a. Scott Brown

New Company to Cut up ’52 Mantles for Wall Displays

MegaAwesome Displays of Ottawa, Canada has recently purchased fifty 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball cards they intend to cut up into small pieces and put in their new wall displays.

1952 Topps Mickey Mantle

“We’re a new company just entering the memorabilia market and we thought this would be a good way to get our name known around the industry.” says company spokesman Johnathan White. “We went out into the baseball card market and spent a significant sum to acquire the Mantles in varying grades, a few as low as PSA 2s but many in the 7 to 8 range. It took us a couple years to build up our inventory but we think it was well worth it once people see the gorgeous displays we have created.” continues White.

The cards were slowly purchased through auctions and private sales over the last two years. The cards are to be cut up into 1/4 inch pieces and put into 16″ by 24″ wall-mounted framed displays. A nice picture of Mantle circa 1952 will be used as the main image and the card-piece will be put into a window on the bottom right.

1939 Play Ball Ted Williams

Mr. White stated that the company did its research and felt the market was ready for memorabilia of this type. “With the card companies acquiring so many pieces from the memorabilia market, bats, jerseys, gloves, and other pieces of baseball history in order to put them in cards, we at MegaAwesome Displays thought that picking up classic sports cards to put into memorabilia displays would fill a void in the market. We intend to move on to other classic cards, like the T206 Wagner and ’39 Play Ball Williams in the future. We believe it will become a very lucrative market.”

Mr. White stated that he and his business partners did not invent the idea. They borrowed it from the card companies. Collectors love having pieces of memorabilia in their cards. The major reason for the attraction of these memorabilia cards was that collectors could never afford the whole jersey or bat, so it was nice to be able to afford at least a part of something historically significant. “We just borrowed the same idea and applied it to sports cards.” said White. “Very few people can afford a 1952 Topps Mantle card, this way they can share the experience of owning at least a piece of the historic card along with their more financially able peers,” concluded White.

Be on the look out for these displays at the next National coming in July of 2017, they should sell like hotcakes.

Now you know how I and many others feel about destroying the limited supply of classic memorabilia in order to sell sports cards. It’s a shameful practice and should be stopped. The above article is a hoax, it was written to make a point. Do you think differently about memorabilia cards now? Just something to think about.

Thank you for your time.

Have Signature Cards Become the Base Cards of Today?

1990 Upper Deck Reggie Auto

Have signature cards become the base cards of today? If we travel back in time to the first in-pack signatures cards, they would be of course in 1990 when Upper Deck included Reggie Jackson signed Baseball Heroes cards in their High Series boxes. At that time the hobby was leaving the Error Craze behind and entering the Insert Craze.

1992 Fleer Rookie Sensations F. Thomas

Signature cards were popular but they were not as popular as your basic inserts. For a time collectors left collecting a player’s rookie card as their card of choice and pursued the player’s rarest insert, even if occasionally that insert card was released two or three years after the player’s rookie card.1992’s Fleer Rookie Sensations inserts was a prime example. Many preferred Frank Thomas’ Rookie Sensations card over his Leaf rookie card from two years earlier.

Slowly though, the basic insert began to lose ground to the more popular signature and game used cards that were inserted into packs since Jackson’s was released in 1990. The signature card itself, whether as an insert or a redemption began taking over the collecting world until it seems that now, it is the card that everyone pursues. Base rookie cards seem unimportant to the modern collector who much prefers a card of a young star player that includes his signature, a game used bat or uniform piece, or both. They now sometimes pay thousands of dollars for these cards, and if not, it is usually at minimum in the hundreds.

2013 Bowmaqn Chrome Draft Aaron Judge Auto

2013 Bowmaqn Chrome Draft Aaron Judge Auto

Has the signature card replaced the base rookie, or base first card, of a player as the card that best represents him in a collector’s PC? Has the signature card become the modern day’s basic insert card of the 1990’s? It seems so. The craze for inserts in the ’90s eventually fizzled out and the rookie, or first card (with Bowman becoming a staple in the collecting world there are lots of first cards that don’t qualify as rookie cards) gained prominence once again. But not for very long it seems as today everyone is trading and talking about the latest signature card, not the rookie or first card of a player. Collectors now buy cases of product to increase their chances of hitting a nice looking rare signature card, leaving the thousands of base and insert cards aside to try to get rid of later.

Are base cards even important anymore? Does anyone try to complete base sets at all? Is doing that too boring for the modern collector? It seems PCs involve only the collector’s favorite players or favorite team. With the thousands of rare cards release every year, to the point where if you wanted to complete a master set of a certain set, you would need to find and buy literally over 10,000 cards, of which many will be numbered to under 5 or even 1/1’s, it is easy to see why most collectors gave up on set collecting and reduced their ambitions to players or teams. It is less frustrating and, in a way, more enjoyable (you actually have a better chance of completing you PC of a player or team than you would a set).

2016 Bowman Chrome Connor Green Auto

2016 Bowman Chrome Connor Green Auto

I, personally wonder why collectors aren’t more frustrated with collecting today. If they pursue signature, relic, game-used cards of prospects, which is what they need to do if they wish to even have a reasonable chance of getting the player’s card at an affordable price, they still set themselves up to have a worthless PC in the future as 99% of these prospects never make the major leagues, of if they do never have a HOF-type career which would justify their inclusion in a majority of collector’s PCs. Budget-minded collectors must spend hundreds of dollars so that they don’t spend thousands of dollars later on the few cards of prospects who actually make it and succeed spectacularly. They think they are saving money in the long run but most of the time they actually aren’t. Depending on how expansive the prospect collecting is, and for many it is quite wide so they don’t have some falling through the cracks and succeeding without them in their collections, a collector can expect to see 100s of the cards they spent $100.00-plus on become $5.00 throw-aways in bargain bins at their LCS or on eBay within a few years.

Is it all worth it? I guess so because the behavior continues. Personally, I don’t have the wallet to act in this way. I gave up long ago on modern signature/relic cards and am stuck back in the 80s and 90s completing sets I collected in my youth. For me, that is much more satisfying and a lot less expensive.

Mystery Cards

With the proliferation of low numbered or even unique cards in the hobby a new, well not so new anymore, category of inquiry has entered the hobby. That being, of course, mystery cards. Mystery cards are those pieces of cardboard that people come across that they have no idea what the origin of the card is.

Back when there was few publications about the hobby Mystery cards sometimes included the more mainstream cards at the time, usually for novice collectors, but mostly they were regional, or oddball issues.

With Beckett and other publications entering the hobby in the mid-eighties, Mystery cards became few and fewer. People recognized much of what was out there just from reading these publications and looking at the provided images.

Then the mid-nineties introduced the serial-numbered low print run cards. This progressed to a point where every manufacturer was producing low numbered and unique cards that became quite difficult to identify for those that didn’t originally pull the card from a pack, or redeemed it from the manufacturer.

Presently, it has become so ridiculous that counterfeiters are selling cards quite easily because of the difficulty in identifying fraudulent cards. How do you know its a fake when you have never even seen the original. Or, how do you know its a home-created card that actually was never produced by a major manufacturer when those manufacturers put out 1000s of low-numbered or unique cards each year?

People now falsely accuse sellers of selling counterfeit cards when actually the cards are later verified as original. It makes the hobby to be quite a minefield for those who are new.

Myself, I don’t bother much with low-numbered or unique cards, those are attractive to the younger generation. Because of this I rarely come across a card that I don’t recognize. But it does occasionally happen. In fact it happened to me quite recently and spurred on the writing of this post.

Here is the Mystery card I came across after purchasing a collection of late 70s early 80s O-Pee Chee baseball cards from a gentleman I met through Kijiji:

Mystery Card

 

If anyone recognizes this card just send me a message below. I would highly appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

 

Zistle: A Fun Way to Trade

Zistle Front Page

Zistle Front Page

Anyone who collects cards for a hobby and wants a place to catalog their collection has probably come across Zistle in the last few years. Hands down, it is the best at doing this out of all the different cataloging sites online. So much so that Beckett, in order to try and keep its share in the marketplace has sued Zistle for theft of its checklists (read the article).

Beckett did a similar thing with COMC and lost, and hopefully, in this writer’s opinion, the same result will happen for Zistle. One of the great features of Zistle, if you decide to spend a small amount annually on the upgrade to Zistle Gold is the feature called Trade Manager.

Trade Manager

Trade Manager

After you have cataloged your collection, and put in all the cards you want but don’t have,  you can use  the Trade Manager to find matches with others on the site. It shows how many cards they want of your extras, and how many of their cards you want of their extras. You initiate the trade, select the cards you want and cards you will give and Trade Manager sends a message to the other party.

Trade Recommendations

Trade Recommendations

Trade Manager lists all the best matches between you and other traders, lists all your active trades and at what stage in the process the trade has advanced to (trade proposed, trade accepted, counter proposal offered, trade rejected, cards in the mail and more).

Active Trades

Active Trades

Once a trade has competed, Trade Manager adds it to the completed trades list on bottom part of the page.

Completed Trades

Completed Trades

Out of all the sites, I have found trading on Zistle to be the most fun with the least hassle. One drawback is the need to use a mouse click for every card you choose to add on either side. If the trade involves hundreds of cards it adds up to a lot of clicking. Once the owners of Zistle finish with Beckett’s suit, perhaps they will think of a better and less time-consuming way to add cards to trade proposals. Until then, I will persevere.

Collecting Challenge, 1952 Bowman, Post Five

1952 Bowman #27 - Joe Garagiola

1952 Bowman #27 – Joe Garagiola

Anyone who was around baseball in the 1980’s knew of the subject of my next purchase from COMC. His work announcing / giving commentary on NBC games with Vin Scully became baseball’s main voices of the 1980s. He just died recently and I thought his card in the ’52 Bowman set would be a good choice. If you haven’t figured out who I am talking about it is Joe Garagiola. He played nine years in the bigs, but it was his broadcasting career that made Garagiola memorable.

Garagiola is card number 27 in the set, and it is placed above common status because of his work in broadcasting. I paid $10.74 for my copy, and it wasn’t in pristine shape. With the addition of Garagiola, it now brings my count up to 148 of 252 cards or 58.73%.

The Wall:

1952 Bowman, The Wall, July 21st 2016

1952 Bowman, The Wall, July 21st 2016

Collecting Challenge, 1952 Bowman, Post Four

Collecting Challenge, 1952 Bowman, Post Six

Buying Locally vs. eBay

eBay can be a great place to find sports cards. Especially if you buy in bulk. Individual cards are difficult to justify as reasonably priced since shipping costs (certainly to Canada) are high. With bulk you save on shipping because it is spaced over a larger amount of cards. eBay is also somewhat good for finding cards that are difficult to find locally. But again you will be paying a premium with the shipping costs.

If you are like me, sometimes it is better to look locally for cards. Kijiji can be a great place to look. If you are not a novice, and therefore can easily spot ripoff artists that frequent sites like Kijiji, then the place can be a treasure trove for sports cards. And you have no shipping costs.

For me, today was a perfect example. I picked up over 10,000 cards for $100.00. They are from a collection that a daughter inherited from her father. Because the cards just reminded her if her deceased dad, she wanted them out of her house a.s.a.p. and was willing to almost give them away. i like surprises so I just quickly looked over a couple of the boxes and knew the cards were worth much more than a c-note.

Half the fun of going through cards is not knowing exactly what you have. you never know what you might find. And if it turns out to be just cards you already have in your collection they can be used to trade for cards you don’t have. A winning situation no matter how you look at it.

Here is the stack:

10,000 for $100.00

10,000 for $100.00

If there is anything worth mentioning, I will add a part two to this article. Let the hunt begin…