30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Enjoy The Ride While It Lasts

This blog serves multiple purposes.  It's a place where I can show off new cards in my collection.  It's a place where I can interact and exchange cards with fellow collectors.  It's a place where I can share stories from my past.  And it's a place where I can document the things going on currently in our society... especially in regards to the hobby many of us enjoy.

The state of our society has seen better days.  On the other hand, the hobby's popularity appears to be on the rise.

New blogs have popped upRetired bloggers have returned to their keyboardsFormer collectors are rekindling their love for cardboard.  Plus... a couple of sports documentaries have inspired people to open up their wallets and buy cards.

I can't wait to sit down this summer and watch both of them.  I've already showed off bits and pieces of my Jordan collection.  Today I figured I'd share five of my favorite Big Mac collectibles in anticipation of Long Gone Summer, an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary covering the race to break the single season home run record.

Let's get the ball rolling with one of the most recognizable baseball cards ever collected...

1985 Topps #401

According to Beckett, there are over 8,000 Mark McGwire cards in their database and none are more iconic (in my humble opinion) than his 1985 Topps rookie card.  The days of selling raw copies for $200 might be in the past, but so are the days of finding this card in a dealer's dollar bin.

I think I own two copies of this card.  One resides in my 1985 Topps set.  The other is this signed copy I picked up two years ago.

1999 Finest Split Screen Dual Refractor #SS1

If you're a regular reader, then you know my deep appreciation for 90's inserts... and this card is hands down my favorite McGwire insert.

1987 Topps #366

This unopened cello pack was a gift I received from Dennis over at Too Many Verlanders five years ago.  I enjoy collecting unopened 80's products featuring key rookie cards on the front.  It might not be considered a rookie card by most collectors (including myself), but it is one of the first cards to feature him as an Oakland Athletic.

2016 Topps Team Logo Pin Autograph #TLP-MM

I'm not usually a fan of gold and gaudy... but this card is an exception to the rule.  It's not just a key piece of my Oakland A's PC, it's also a member of my Prime #'s PC, because it's serial #'d 25/25 (the last card in the run as well as his jersey number).

Steiner Certified Signed Ball

I'll wrap things up with this signed ball, which was the first McGwire signature I ever owned.  Now I just need to acquire a Sammy Sosa autographed baseball to go with it.

What about you?

Do you have a favorite Mark McGwire collectible sitting in your collection?

By the way... I totally understand why some of you think this hype is silly and in some ways I completely agree with you.  However there's a bigger part of me that thinks this is great for our hobby.

I've commented my thoughts on the subject on a few of your blogs... but felt like I had to document it on my own to preserve history.

My philosophy when it comes to collecting is the more (collectors out there)... the merrierWill a lot of these people regret overpaying down the road?  Sure.  Will most of them have their fill of this hobby by the time this pandemic is over?  Probably.  But what if 20% stay?  Or even 10%?  I'd call that a win.

It's only natural to have different interests and opinions.  But there's plenty of room for all of usSet builders, team collectors, prospectors, graded card enthusiasts, autograph hounds, and every other type of collector out there all have one thing in common.  We enjoy collecting cards.

So my suggestion for my friends would be to collect what you want to collect, buy what you want to buy, spend what you want to spend, and enjoy this hobby while there are still other people out there who can enjoy it with you.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Peaks and Valleys

Yesterday, I woke up as giddy as a little kid on Christmas morning.  It was the start of a three day weekend and after reading and commenting on some blogs, I hopped out of bed, completed my daily routine, and headed out the door to the Sunnyvale Farmer's Market.

Once there, I bought fresh cherries, apricots, and pluots... which all tasted sweet and delicious.  I also picked up baked potatoes for me, my friend, and her mom... as well as had Starbucks for the first time since the shelter in place order.

Life was good.

I came home and immediately started working on opening up the team bags sent to me by Michael aka Spiegel83 (author of Nomo's Sushi Plate).

Most of you know my feelings on sorting cards, but I actually enjoyed putting them into player stacks.  After the dust had settled, he had sent me a few hundred Japanese baseball players for my collection.  If you look at the above sort, you'll notice there are thirty-nine different players represented.

Life was great.

After sorting them into stacks, I started sifting through my binders which are sorted alphabetically by player to see which ones I needed.  Usually... I'm excited when I can add a few new cards to these binders.  However by the time I reached Daisuke Matsuzaka, I had added around forty.  Yeah... that's pretty flippin' awesome.  Here are some of the highlights:



What wasn't awesome was the terrible headache that started coming on around 11am... and was full blown by 1:30pm.  I had to suspend operations and lay down.

Life sucked.  I'm 99% confident... it's allergies.

Fast forward fifteen hours... and I woke up at 4:30am this morning with a dull headache still lingering from yesterday.

Life still sucked.  I tried to go back to sleep, but by 5-something, I realized that it wasn't going to happen, so I started catching up on reading and commenting on blogs.

By 9am... the headache had subsided.

Life was okay.  So I headed back into the office and finished adding the other new additions to the binders.  I took a more accurate count today... and there were twenty-two new additions.  That's approximately sixty to seventy new cards for my Japanese PCWowza.

Life was good again.  In addition to them, he also sent me some Tony Gwynn, Greg Maddux, and Frank Thomas cards for my player collections.  Plus a Greg Smith autograph for my A's PC:

And over 100 San Francisco Giants for my students.  But there's one I set aside for me:

I couldn't help it.  This card is going into my newly started Golden Gate Bridge PC.

Life is great again!  Thanks for the very generous care package Michael!  I'll start putting together a package of Nomo's, Kemps, Piazza's, and Ethier's for you.

Okay... time to pop another Benadryl.  I don't want things to take a turn and suddenly suck again.  Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Steals of a Lifetime

Money isn't everything.  Well at least not to me.  That doesn't mean I'm careless with the Benjamins I do bring home.  After my credit card issues in the 90's... I've worked very hard to stay on top of my expenses.

In fact, collecting within a budget has been a necessity... and that's why I've been a bargain bin collector since I returned to the hobby in the late 2000's.

On Monday, Night Owl wrote an interesting post detailing some cards he was able to acquire cheaply that have significantly risen in value.  He titled his post, Steals of a Lifetime.

I've always enjoyed reading posts about collectors finding great deals on anything... but especially sports memorabilia.

Today, I thought I'd follow Night Owl's lead and share a few of mine.  Now I'm not organized enough to dig up the greatest deals I've ever had.  There are way too many flea market finds, card show hauls, and eBay/COMC purchases to sift through.  So for the sake of this post, I decided to focus on graded rookie cards, because they are fairly easy to search up in my purchase history and will be easier to assess the current market value due to the third party grading.  Now some of these cards have made appearances on this blog in the past, but hopefully there are a few surprises as well.

So without further ado, here are thirteen steals of a lifetime...

1990 Leaf #325

Purchase Price$17.59 (4 Sharp Corners on 2/20/18)
Current Market Value $135 to $152
Growth Percentage667% to 764%

I accidentally bought two of these a couple of years ago.  The other one set me back $24.  Actually I have multiples of a few cards in today's post.  One day, I'll organize all of my duplicates and sell them at the same time.

1996-97 Hoops #281

Purchase Price$32.55 (4 Sharp Corners on 2/23/19)
Current Market Value$250 to $275
Growth Percentage668% to 744%

There are a few Kobe cards in this post... and obviously his accident back in January impacted his card values.  I started picking up his graded rookie cards about a year ago, because he's my favorite player and I knew he'd be entering The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this upcoming summer.  I also knew this would drive up his card prices... possibly out of my budget.

1990 Topps Tiffany #692

Purchase Price$11.30 (4 Sharp Corners on 1/15/19)
Current Market Value$90 to $120
Growth Percentage696% to 961%

I remember thinking to myself that this was a little underpriced while flipping through their inventory.  But no way I could have ever predicted this.  I can't wait to watch the documentary next month.

1997-98 Topps Chrome #115

Purchase Price$103.55 + $7.85 shipping (eBay on 5/27/19)
Current Market Value$875 to $1,000
Growth Percentage745% to 870%

This card was purchased less than a year ago and I've watched it slowly rise in value ever since.  Then a few months ago, it made quite a leap.  Then another leap.  And another.  I've wanted one of these rookie cards since they were hot in the 90's.  It just shows that timing plays a huge role in securing deals.

2011 SP Authentic #27

Purchase Price$10.50 (eBay on 12/16/18)
Current Market Value$92 to $117
Growth Percentage776% to 1014%

This was one of those purchases where I bid on the item, because I had already won an item from the dealer... and he offered free shipping on anything else you won.

1995-96 Ultra #274

Purchase Price: $7.50 (COMC on 6/27/11)
Current Market Value$71 to $125
Growth Percentage846% to 1566%

Okay... now we're getting to some of the older COMC purchases.  Back in the early 2010's, dealers were blowing out their graded cards.  I decided to stock up.

1985 Chong Modesto A's #17

Purchase Price$8.89 + $2.99 shipping (eBay on 3/17/19)
Current Market Value$85 to $130
Growth Percentage856% to 1362%

Yup.  Another card impacted by a documentary

1996-97 Bowman's Best #R23

Purchase Price$46 + $3.88 (eBay on 3/4/19)
Current Market Value$480 to $580
Growth Percentage862% to 1188%

Can you believe I picked up this card for under $50 a year ago?  Crazy.

1996-97 Upper Deck #58

Purchase Price$30 + $3.75 shipping (eBay on 4/15/19)
Current Market Value$299 to $330
Growth Percentage 896% to 1000%

Another crazy Kobe.  Once again, I know that the values of Kobe's cards are inflated and will eventually settle, but there's no way this card ever goes back to what they were a year ago.

1997-98 Topps #115

Purchase Price$20.79 (4 Sharp Corners on 11/20/18)
Current Market Value$274 to $350
Growth Percentage1222% to 1583%

Like the Sosa, this was a card that seemed to be priced too low, so I added it to the cart.  In fact a few months later, they added another one to their inventory for less than a dollar more... so I grabbed it too.

1992-93 Hoops #442

Purchase Price: $3.36 (COMC on 7/10/11)
Current Market Value$92 to $130
Growth Percentage2638% to 3769%

When I saw PSA 10 Shaquille O'neal rookie cards were listed for $3.36... I bought the seller's entire inventory.  I flipped a few to cover my costs and the rest is gravy.

1992-93 Ultra #328

Purchase Price: $3.36 (COMC on 7/10/11)
Current Market Value$101 to $139
Growth Percentage 2905% to 4036%

The guy with the O'neal Hoops rookies also had Ultra rookies.  Yup.  Purchased all of these too.

1997 Bowman Chrome #182

Purchase Price: $5.38 (COMC on 7/10/11)
Current Market Value$200 to $240
Growth Percentage3617% to 4360%

But the highlight of that COMC purchase was this Beltre rookie card that I've blogged about before.  Unfortunately... the seller didn't have a stockpile of these.  Otherwise, I'd be looking into picking up a 1956 Topps Mantle or 2011 Topps Update Trout right now.

Speaking of that Trout... that's one of the cards featured in Night Owl's Steals of a Lifetime post.  So head over there and see some his steals.  But before you do, don't forget to answer today's question of the day...

What are some of your steals of a lifetime?

Happy Thursday and sayonara!