30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Quality Over Quantity

Over the past few years... I have accumulated tens of thousands of cards.  In fact, it's gotten to the point where I don't even know what I actually have, which is pretty ridiculous when you actually think about it.  What is the point of owning something, if you don't even know it's there?

That's why... I've slowly been trying to transition my collection from quantity to quality and this past year was monumental for me and my collection, because I actually stuck to my game plan.

Yeah... I still picked up nickel and dime cards at the card shows I attended.  And yes... I picked up more than a handful of cheap bobble heads at my local flea market runs.  But overall... I managed to save up my money and purchase specific cards, sets, and pieces of sports memorabilia for very specific collections.

And as we kick off 2017, I thought it would be cool to look back at some of my favorite purchases from 2016 that demonstrates that as a collector, I have evolved.

#1:  2014 Topps Tier One Acetate Tony Gwynn Autograph

I have over twenty different Tony Gwynn autographs that I have accumulated over the years and some have more sentimental value than others.  This card is one of them.

On June 16th2014... Mr. Padre passed away after battling parotid cancer for four years.  As a fan of his since the mid 80's, it was truly devastating news.  It was eventually revealed to the baseball world that Gwynn knew his days were numbered, but wanted to go out on his terms... which meant turning down radiation treatments, yet continuing to coach his players at San Diego State.

He also continued to sign trading cards for card companies like Topps.  I can't say for sure... but I'm convinced he did it for his fans... and not for the money.

I'm not sure when Gwynn signed the card you see pictured above, but it's from a 2014 product that was release just ten days prior to his passing.  He has several autographs in 2014 products... many of which are on stickers.  I avoided those and specifically targeted this card, because it's hard signed.  And it will always have a special place in my collection.

#2:  1977 Topps Baseball Card Set

A few years ago, I decided to collect every Topps baseball card set from my birth year until 1986, which was the year I transitioned from child collector to investor.  I entered 2016 with only three sets left on my wantlist and was able to cross this one off for only $80.  1973 and 1974 Topps... here I come.

#3:  Plethora of Rickey Henderson Autographs

Topps has literally flooded the market with Rickey's signature, which has been a blessing in disguise, because prices have plummeted over the past three years.  In 2014, I paid close to $100 for the first autographed card I ever purchased of The Man of Steal.

In 2016 I picked up nine new autographed Rickey Henderson cards for my collection and seven of them cost me less than $44.  Here's a look at the two big dollar Henderson additions:

I've already written about both of these cards, so I won't bore you again.  However if you missed the posts, feel free to click on the links:  2016 Topps Strata and 1980 Topps rookie card.

#4:  Greg Maddux Autographs

I'm lucky if I add one Maddux autograph to my collection each year.  In 2016, I was extremely happy to add four.  Like Rickey... his autograph values have started to fall as he signs more and more cards.  I don't look at that as a bad thing.  I look at it as an opportunity.

#5:  Autographed Rookie Cards

I'm not really sure if I want to call this a collection or not, because I'm not really actively looking for PSA slabbed signed rookie cards.  Do I have a few names targeted?  Yeah.  But I won't really buy one unless I'm getting a really good price.

#6:  Mel Allen Signed Baseball

I grew up watching This Week in Baseball and listening to Allen's iconic voice, which stirs up fond memories of my childhood every time I hear it.  That's why I've been trying to add a Mel Allen autograph to my collection for a few years now.  Back in September, I haggled with an eBay vendor and eventually settled on a price both of us were content with.

#7:  1956 Topps Ted Williams

This was my first major purchase of 2016.  I picked it up off of eBay nine days into the year and was hoping to pick up a few more 1956 hall of famers over the next twelve months.  Unfortunately I didn't.

But I'll definitely be targeting either a Mays or Koufax in 2017.

#8:  Jose Altuve Collection

Back in August, I wrote about guys I enjoy rooting for that play for the opposition.  That's right about the same time I dove head first into my Jose Altuve PC.  I'm a big fan of Altuve for three major reasons.  He can hit.  He plays second base (the position I played as a kid).  And he's one of the shortest guys in the league.

Plus... it doesn't hurt that his cards are very affordable for being one of the best hitters in the game.

#9:  Albert Pujols Autographs

Patience pays.  I waited over a decade to add an autograph of Mr. Pujols to my collection.  In August, that wait finally came to an end when I picked up his 2003 Topps on card autograph for a little less than $75 on eBay.  Two months later, I won the auction for the Sweet Spot Signatures card featuring two future hall of famers.  I'm pretty sure it was my most expensive single card purchase of the year, but it was 100% worth it.

#10:  1964 Topps Giants Set

I'll wrap up this post with one of my favorite vintage oddball sets sitting in my collection: the 1964 Topps Giants.  I love the simple design and the great card backs which feature major highlights from the player's career.  And after checking out recent eBay sales... this might have been my best bargains of the year.  I picked it up from the same guy at the card show who sold me the 1977 Topps set.  No... I didn't pay $175 for the set.  If you want to see what I actually paid... click here.

Well that's all for now.  I still have one or two posts revolving around 2016 that I'd like to publish, so please bear with me.  In the meantime...

What were some of your favorite cardboard additions in 2016?

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!


  1. Damn Fuji!You could stop collecting now and still be ahead of the game with all that greatness :)

  2. Yes. Yes. Yes. I need to do this and it was one of my resolutions. Stop buying the little stuff and get something that will matter more to me.

  3. I like that Altuve collection! The other stuff is cool, too.

  4. I drooled at the Rickey autographs, but my mind was blown as I scrolled down to your other additions - simply awesome stuff.

  5. You really made out this year! Hopefully you still pick up more quality cards this year.

  6. That's a good plan Fuji. My biggest score of the year was my two 1968 Topps Plaks of Yaz and Jim Lonborg

  7. Quality always works! I'll bring the 56s I showed you last year to Serramonte (Sat?) and maybe one or more will fit into your collection. I'd love to put a Maddux auto into my hoard, but not until his signature is legible!

  8. Awesome post and cards. So many Rickey's! Rickey would like that. Good luck sticking to your plan --- that's the hardest thing do it!

  9. Wow! So many sweet cards, autographs, and sets! You had an amazing year of collecting!

  10. I am still waiting on a Prince Albert auto. Hopefully you can make it to the TG museum located at AleSmith Brewery in SD. Fav pickups have been vintage football cards for a $1 at the TRIStar show-ot me hooked on Football Cardinals vintage cards

  11. Your list absolutely beats anything I could cobble together from my 2016 acquisitions, but my favorite additions of 2016 were the 1968 Topps Game insert cards I got to complete my set.

    ...That and the one acquisition I realized I still haven't written about, so I won't mention it here. :-D

  12. Holy crap, you picked up some amazing items in 2016. The Rickey Henderson autographs alone would be crazy but you added so much more to a brilliant collection.

  13. I landed the '76 SSPC set, that's about the only thing that can match what you've got there.

  14. These are some great cards Fuji. I particularly like the Hendersons. I haven't done much with his autographs, but they have become a lot more prevalent and affordable.

  15. Gotta admit, I'm quite jealous of your Rickey Henderson auto collection...I think you may have won a couple eBay battles over me last year...sad face...

  16. big tone - i'm definitely cutting back in 2017... but still focusing on quality over quantity

    tlc - it helped me this year. then again... space is limited where i live.

    raz - thanks! i had fun putting it together. hopefully topps will continue to flood the market with his signature to keep prices down.

    laurens - thanks. took a full 12 months to accumulate it

    sumomenkoman - i hope so too. but i'm going to cut back on my spending in 2017

    mr. hoyle - very nice. don't think i've ever seen those in person. only read about them. congratulations

    mr. haverkamp - i'll be there! see you in a few weeks

    peter - yeah, i never end up sticking to the plan. but all a guy can do is try.

    daniel - probably my finest year in collecting in terms of pc additions. without sounding too negative... it's probably the pinnacle of my collecting years.

    brady - hopefully there will be more $1 vintage buys for you at serramonte. see you in a few weeks

    shlabotnikreport - love the 1968 topps game cards. great set. congratulations.

    corky - yeah... can't remember another year where i added so many nice cards to so many different pc's. it's downhill from here. don't have the space to continue at this pace.

    night owl - that's a beautiful set. one of my favorites. congratulations on the great addition to your collection.

    snorting bull - yeah. it's actually pretty insane how affordable they've become.

    cardboard hogs - sorry. good news is i don't really chase parallels, so you don't have to worry about me trying to pick up any other versions of the cards you see above.

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