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.

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.

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…

 

 

Spotlight on Oddballs: 1995 Jimmy Dean

1995 Jimmy Dean All Time Greats

1995 Jimmy Dean All Time Greats

The 1995 Jimmy Dean set is the 4th year the sausage company produced a set of baseball cards (1991-1995 excluding the 1994 strike year). It would also be its last. The 1995 set was its smallest of its regular sets (1991 had 25 cards, 1992 had 18 cards and 1993 had 28 cards). It was also the first time they produced a set involving retired players as well as having autograph versions of some of those cards (3 of the 6 cards).

The card fronts were border-less with a white framing line just on the inside of the four edges. The top-right (or left) identified the set (a graphic design stating “1995 All Time Greats Collector’s Set” was printed on each card). The bottom left (or right) featured the Jimmy Dean logo with the name of the player below).

The backs of the cards had the same two graphics as the front, both at the top, with the player’s accomplishments and personal information in list form as well as a short baseball biography and career stat-line below. The backs also have a framing line but this time it was in gold.

The cards were not sanctioned by Major League Baseball so all MLB logos were airbrushed away.

Included in specially marked packages of sausages were one plastic-wrapped card from the set as well as an autograph offer form. With $7.00 and two proofs of purchase you could choose one of the three autographed cards (Al Kaline, Billy Williams, or Catfish Hunter).

The autographed cards were the regular cards with the player signature on the front in blue ink. Along with the card itself you also received a Certificate of Authenticity card.

The 1995 Jimmy Dean set was not very popular with collectors and Jimmy Dean stopped producing cards after this set was issued. The set was too small to pose a challenge for collectors. It featured retired players rather than the star players of the time. Even the signature cards, the best part about the set, were mostly ignored. They still sell at the lower range of signature card prices so if you are a fan of any of the three players and are on a limited budget these cards may interest you.

Probably the most enjoyable way to collect this set would be to include it as part of a Jimmy Dean master collection where you would search out all the Jimmy Dean cards from 1991 onward. Where this set has only six cards, nine with the auto cards, the complete Jimmy Dean Collection is 104 cards, a much more challenging pursuit. Here are the sets you would need:

  1. 1991 Jimmy Dean – 25 cards
  2. 1992 Jimmy Dean – 18 cards
  3. 1992 Jimmy Dean Living Legends – 6 cards
  4. 1992 Jimmy Dean Rookie Stars – 9 cards
  5. 1993 Jimmy Dean – 28 cards
  6. 1993 Jimmy Dean Rookies – 9 cards
  7. 1995 Jimmy Dean All Time Greats  – 6 cards (+3 Auto’s)

1995 Jimmy Dean All Time Greats Images:

 

Beckett: A Company Ignorant of its Own History?

Beckett Magazine Covers

Beckett Magazine Covers

What started out as a simple price guide published ten times a year back in 1984 by a statistician named Dr. James Beckett has, over the past 30+ years, grown into a media empire producing multiple magazines, subscription-based online price information, catalog listings, marketplace buying and selling, and sports card and memorabilia grading. Throughout its history Beckett’s publications were considered the Bibles of pricing information. Once the online auction site eBay became the most popular site to buy and sell trading cards, Beckett lost that distinction, but its media empire still is the largest in the hobby.

Dr. James Beckett no longer runs his own creation, selling his name and company to Apprise Media back in 2006. Of the sale (rumored to be in the $20 million range) Beckett stated, “This company has had remarkable growth over the last 20 years, both in print and electronic media,” he said. “I am delighted to hand it over to Apprise Media, which has an excellent track record in growing niche media businesses, both print and interactive. I am very confident that Apprise, working with the Beckett Publications team, will take the company to the next level.”

This statement may have been true, but it lost part of its history in the sale. A good example of what I’m talking about occurred recently between me and a Beckett representative. I am in the process of trying to read every Beckett publication involving baseball cards. Buying the back issues online and the most recent magazines from my local sports card dealer. I ran into a snag at the 2008 mark. According to my own memory, and other places I have researched, Beckett combined its four monthly sports card magazines into one. Baseball, Football, Hockey and Basketball became Beckett Sports Card Monthly. Looking on eBay I came across the evidence I needed to be assured this change was true:

eBay's: Beckett Sports Card Monthly, Apr. '08, Issue #277

eBay’s: Beckett Sports Card Monthly, Apr. ’08, Issue #277

As you can see at the top of the magazine it states “New Format.” The numbering also matches up with the Beckett Baseball magazine. This is issue #277 (Apr. ’08). I couldn’t find Issue #276, but Issue #275 of Beckett Baseball is Issue #275 (Feb. ’08):

Beckett Baseball #275 - Feb. '08

Beckett Baseball #275 – Feb. 08

So the numbering moved from Beckett Baseball magazine to Beckett Sports Card Monthly and continued on from there. But wait a second, here is another Beckett Baseball magazine from May of 2009 and it is #43 and another from Dec. ’09 and it is #47:

Beckett Baseball Issues # 43 & 47

Beckett Baseball Issues # 43 & 47

So what is the deal with that? To give the readers some insight, let’s go back in the publication history of Beckett. The baseball magazine was originally called Beckett Monthly, then by issue #7 it changed to Beckett Baseball Card Monthly, It stayed that way until 2003. In May 2003, it changed its name to Beckett Baseball Collector. The numbering stayed sequential. Issue #217 in April was called Baseball Card Monthly, Issue #218 in May was called Baseball Collector. Then in July 2004 (Issue #232) it changed to just Beckett Baseball. It stayed Beckett Baseball until April of 2008, when all four sports monthlies combined to become Beckett Sports Card Monthly and this magazine took over the numbering from the baseball publication.

Logic would dictate that if you combined the baseball magazine with the football, hockey and basketball magazines (for cost-saving purposes), you would discontinue these individual four magazines afterward. But Beckett did not do this. As you can see from the images shown previously, Beckett continued with Beckett Baseball long after Beckett Sports Card Monthly was published. In fact, Beckett Baseball continues on to this day. Here is its latest issue (May 2016, #122):

Beckett Baseball #122 - May '16

Beckett Baseball #122 – May ’16

The only problem with this occurrence is that if Beckett decided to continue with the baseball magazine, why did it advertise that it would be morphed into Beckett Sports Card Monthly? And why would Beckett Sports Card Monthly take over the sequential numbering from Beckett Baseball? Logic would indicate that the Sports Card Monthly should be a new publication with a new numbering starting at #1, no? And Beckett Baseball would continue with its own numbering (#277 and onward)?

Now Beckett did not act logically. Perhaps it realized that its new Sports Card Monthly wouldn’t satisfy baseball card collectors and reversed its decision to eliminate the baseball magazine. Whatever the reason, if Beckett Baseball was not to be discontinued, and it would lose its numbering to Beckett Sports Card Monthly, should it have not started anew with the designation of Issue #1? But no, that wasn’t even logical enough, Beckett Baseball renewed with an unknown numbering. It looks like it became, at first, a bimonthly publication. I could not find an April 2008 issue. The earliest I found was from Oct./.Nov. and it was issue #29:

 

Beckett Baseball #29 - Oct.-Nov. '08

Beckett Baseball #29 – Oct.-Nov. ’08

Since it would be completely asinine to think Beckett decided to just grab a random number out of the air to begin its new numbering system for the renewed Beckett Baseball, the number had to come from somewhere. Since Oct./Nov. 2008 was #29. it would be impossible that if an April 2008 issue existed it would be #1. If we go back from #29, using a bimonthly schedule:

  • Aug./Sep. #28
  • Jun./Jul. #27
  • Apr./May #26

Do these titles exist, or did Beckett Baseball restart at issue #29 in Oct. 2008?

Whichever is true where did that numbering come from? For those who have a good memory back in the 2000’s they might remember another baseball magazine that Beckett published. It was called Beckett Baseball Card Plus. Perhaps Beckett Baseball Card Plus was discontinued and Beckett Baseball took over its numbering? It was a bimonthly magazine after all and its numbering, if memory serves me correctly, was in the 20’s or 30’s at the time. Looking around online I found an issue for sale from 2007 (Apr./May 2007). It was #29:

Beckett Baseball Card Plus #29 - Apr.-May 2007

Beckett Baseball Card Plus #29 – Apr.-May 2007

If Beckett Baseball Card Plus was numbered 29 in Apr./May 2007, it obviously couldn’t also be #29 and be Beckett Baseball in Oct./Nov. 2008. But just for accuracy’s sake, the image I found for the Oct./Nov. 2008 issue #29 of Beckett Baseball was not extremely clear. Here is an image of the bar code and you can judge for yourself:

Bar code of Beckett Baseball #29 - Oct.-Nov. '08

Bar code of Beckett Baseball #29 – Oct.-Nov. ’08

Perhaps it is numbered 39 instead of 29? If it is 39 then the numbering could match up. If the Apr./May 2007 issue of Beckett Baseball Card Plus was #29 then:

  • Jun./Jul. 2007 #30
  • Aug./Sep. 2007 #31
  • Oct./Nov. 2007 #32
  • Dec./Jan. 2008 #33
  • Feb./Mar. 2008 #34
  • Apr./May 2008 #35
  • Jun./Jul. 2008 #36
  • Aug./Sep. 2008 #37
  • Oct./Nov. 2008 #38

Now we are getting closer. But the progression shows Oct./Nov. as #38 not #39.

This is as far as I could go and it left a bunch of questions unanswered. Where did the Beckett Baseball numbering come from, was it from Beckett Baseball Card Plus? How many issues of Beckett Baseball Card Plus were published? When did Beckett Baseball become a bimonthly magazine, and when did it return to a monthly magazine again? I am trying to find all the baseball-related Beckett’s so this information is essential. If I have this information, I will know when I am finished the collection without missing any titles.

The best way to find this information is to go to its source. I emailed Beckett, a man named Chris, and I asked about the numbering of their magazines. He passed me over to a customer service representative named Shawn. Shawn responded to my query thus:

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting Beckett.

This e-mail is in regards to your request for all sports card listing.

I apologize however we do not have the information of what cards, sets are going to be printed in Magazine however I can help you with special offers for Magazines.

I can provide you 1 year Baseball Magazine in just $44.95 (12 Issues/year), 2 year Baseball Magazine in just $74.95 (24 Issues/ 2 year), 3 year Baseball Magazine in just $99.95 (36 Issues/ 3 Year).

I can provide you 1 Year Sports Card Monthly Magazine in just $44.95 (12 Issues/year), 2 year Sports Card Monthly Magazine in just $74.95 (24 Issues/ 2 year), 3 year Sports Card monthly Magazine in just $99.95 (36 Issues/ 3 Year).

You can use Promotion Code RG. (Period is a part of the promotion code) if you purchase online from Beckett and you may get some additional benefits.

Please let me know which term you would like to get & I will help you with it.

Any feedback you have for Beckett will be appreciated. Feel free to write back to us or call us on the toll free number mentioned below.
Thanks,
Shawn Michael
Beckett Media
Customer Service Team
Contact No: 855-777-2325

Obviously there was something lost in the translation. I did not want information on cards,, sets etc. but issue runs and numbering. So I replied:

Hi Shawn,

I think you may need to read my email again. I wasn’t asking about cards or sets. I was asking if you or someone else at Beckett knows the print runs of the follow magazines as per dates and numbering: Beckett Baseball Card Monthly, Beckett Sports Card Monthly, Becket Baseball and Beckett Baseball Card Plus. These four magazines have a confusing numbering and dating system starting in 2008. I”m wondering if you can remove that confusion. I already buy Becketts at my local sports card dealer so I don”t need a subscription.

If you are confused about what I mean by numbering and dating, the magazines all have them. For example Beckett Baseball Monthly came out in 1984. #1 was in November 1984. #2 was in December of 1984 and it continues numerically up to sometime in 2008 when the numbering transfers over to Beckett Sports Card Monthly. But when it switched over it wasn’t called Beckett Baseball Card Monthly anymore it was called Beckett Baseball. But Beckett Baseball continued afterward on a bimonthly schedule (I think) but its numbering went from the high 200s to the 40s. So if it became the 40th number where are the earlier 39 issues? Were they from Beckett Baseball Card Plus? It’s all very confusing.

What do you do when u r confused? You go directly to the source and ask them hoping they think enough of your loyalty and business over the years to find the answers to your question.

I am in the process of collecting all the back issues I am missing and it is hard to do when you don’t know what magazines are numbered or dated.

So I reiterate can you or one of your colleagues tell me the print runs of the follow magazines as per dates and numbering: Beckett Baseball Card Monthly, Beckett Sports Card Monthly, Becket Baseball and Beckett Baseball Card Plus.

Thank you and I look forward to your response,

Scott

Shawn’s reply:

Thank you for contacting Beckett.

This e-mail is in regards to your query with the query for the print run of the Magazines.

I apologize however we do not have the information on the print run of the specific Magazines.

Any feedback you have for Beckett will be appreciated. Feel free to write back to us or call us on the toll free number mentioned below.

Hmm, I couldn’t believe they didn’t have this information. They are Beckett correct? They are the ones who published these magazines correct?

To be fair, Shawn obviously is there to sell subscription and answer subscription-related questions, not answer historical questions about the magazines he is representing. I decided to see if he would pass me on to someone else who could answer my questions. I emailed him this response:

Hi Shawn,

Can you point me in the direction of someone who would know?

Shawn answered:

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting Beckett.

This e-mail is in regards to your query with the query for the print run of the Magazines.

We have forwarded this to our concern team and they will check if it is possible to help you with the print run of Magazine.

Any feedback you have for Beckett will be appreciated. Feel free to write back to us or call us on the toll free number mentioned below.

From there I waited, and waited, and waited. I sent an email to inquire what was happening with my query:

Hi Shawn

I’m wondering if there is any update as to when my query will be answered as it has been over three weeks since you stated you forwarded my query to the concern team. I have not had any response since then.

After a couple more week waiting, I received this reply from Shawn:

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting Beckett.

This e-mail is in regards to your query with the query for the print run of the Magazines.

I apologize however we do not have the information on the print run of the Magazines.

Any feedback you have for Beckett will be appreciated. Feel free to write back to us or call us on the toll free number mentioned below.

As a purchaser of Beckett publications for over 30 years, I was disappointed I didn’t get an answer. Also, it raises the question, If Beckett itself doesn’t have anyone working for it who knows its history, what does that tell you about its corporate culture. Does it care about it’s history? Does it think its presence in the sports collecting world for more than three decades is of any importance? Does it actually care for its long time collectors of its magazine? Most collectors I talk with don’t have much good to say about Beckett anymore. Its pricing online, and its paper price guides are thought irrelevant when collectors can see up to the minute sales of cards on eBay.

But there is no arguing Beckett’s historical importance in the hobby. I continue to buy the magazine (Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly) from my local card shop. Not because it has anything that I couldn’t find online for free no less, but because it was an important part of my early collecting experience and I want to continue to support it (the print magazines, not the online presence which I believe is not worth the money).

I guess I will now be in the dark as to what I need to find to complete my Beckett collection. It’s sad but I now feel like it might not be worth it anymore.

If you wish to see my progress in the collection of the magazines just choose Beckett Baseball Card Monthly from the menu items at the top of the page or click here.

Twenty Years Ago and the Chase for Wagner

McNall-Gretzky T206 Wagner card

McNall-Gretzky T206 Wagner card

Anyone who collected baseball cards back in the mid-90’s should remember Wallmart’s big sports card promotion that included the possibility of winning the McNall/Gretzky T206 Honus Wagner card.

The promotion, called the “Greatest Trading Card Giveaway of All Time,” included the Wagner card as well as other important cards in the hobby. Up for grabs were cards of Gordie Howe (’51-52 Parkhurst #66), Joe Namath (’65 Topps #122), Knute Rockne (’33 Sport King #35), (Mickey Mantle (’53 Topps #82) and George Mikan (’48 Bowman #69) and many others.

Sponsored by Upper Deck, Leaf, Fleer, Skybox and Topps, the idea sprung from the brain of Harold Anderson of Treat Entertainment who purchased the Wagner card for $500,000.00 from Gretzky in 1995. Anderson approached Wallmart and the five major card companies and the promotion was born. All collectors had to do to enter the contest was to request an official entry card, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to “World’s Most Valuable Card Entry Card Request,” P.O. Box 11838, St. Paul, MN 55111 by January 1, 1996 or enter a Wallmart store and buy the specially marked 2-for-$1 trading card packs and fill out the contest card and send it away.

"Greatest Trading Card Giveaway of All Time" Ad Poster

“Greatest Trading Card Giveaway of All Time” Ad Poster

The promotion lasted five months from Oct. of 1995 to Feb. of 1996. Each month there would be a draw in each of the four sports, October was Hockey, November was Basketball, December was Baseball and January was Football. On Wagner’s birthday, February 24th, the draw for his card took place.

Patricia Gibbs was the final winner of the Wagner card which she put up for auction almost immediately after winning (she couldn’t afford the taxes on the card). Christie’s auctioned the card off to Michael Gidwitz for $641,500.00.

There was mixed feelings in the hobby at the time about this promotion. Many card shop owners thought it would draw business away from their shops and get collectors accustomed to buying their cards at big department stores like Wallmart. Others took a different view thinking that the promotion would bring thousands of more people into the hobby as the contest would introduce them to a fun pastime. Either way you had difficulty ignoring the phenomenon. Personally, I liked the idea that for once there was a chance a normal Joe, rather than a star hockey player or owner, or other well-to-do collector would have a chance to own some of the great cards in the hobby. It is a bit frustrating when a hobby meant for kids transforms into a hobby that reserves the best cards to the exclusivity of those collectors with hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend.