30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chronicles of Cardfoolery #2: Vague COA's

"If it's too good to be true, it probably is."

I've heard this quote time and time again throughout my lifetime. And today I'm going to share an example with all of you.

Earlier this month, I found this 2010-11 Panini R&S memorabilia card of Tim Duncan. I don't like the Spurs, but I've always admired Duncan because of the way he carries himself. I know there are people who consider him boring, but that's what I like about him. While a lot of players of his skill suffer from diarrhea of the mouth, The Big Fundamental lets his actions do all of the talking.

So when I came across this memorabilia card at an online card shop for a couple of dollars, I figured it'd be a nice addition to my collection. And I was partially correct.

The card itself is okay and features a decent design that's typical of Panini. On the back of the card there's a brief write-up on Duncan and is serial numbered to 299.

You're probably asking yourself... why is this card a part of my cardfoolery series? Well if you look carefully you'll see what I saw right away:

The enclosed swatch is guaranteed by Panini America, Inc.

What does this mean? It's guaranteed to be a piece of fabric? It's guaranteed to be black? It's guaranteed to be misleading?

Don't get me wrong... I understand that the manufacturers want to be vague to cover themselves, but this is going too far. This card is the epitome of "laziness" and in my book, it's foolish (hence the induction into my cardfoolery series).

At the very least it should say: This piece of memorabilia was game-worn in an NBA game by the athlete pictured. Or if companies insist on using event-worn jerseys, then at least give us this: This piece of memorabilia was worn in an NBA sponsored event by the athlete pictured.

Card manufacturers would be wise to consider the card industry's future. And right now, things aren't looking too bright when it comes to memorabilia/relic cards. The fact is, 99% of them don't hold their value due to overproduction and ill-defined COA's. So let's get the industry back on track. Here, I'll even help you guys out free of charge. Here's what a quality COA on a memorabilia card looks like:

Okay, so it's a baseball card COA. Well, I couldn't find a decent basketball card COA in my tradebait. This card's COA covers most of the bases. It states that the piece of fabric was cut from a jersey worn by the specified player in a real MLB game. Plus they take the time to show you the actual jersey before it was cut up. All they need to do is tell us the date the game took place and maybe a description of the player's performance and you'd have the perfect COA.

Now was that so difficult? I promise you (card manufacturers), that if you produced cards like these... you'd attract more collectors to your products and increase the chance your cards would hold their value... which in the end would benefit all of us in the long run. What do the rest of my fellow hobbyists think?

What's your opinion on memorabilia cards with vague COA's?

Happy Thursday everyone. The weekend is just around the corner. Sayonara!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cheap Cool Cards #19: Paul Konerko Auto & GU

Right now is the perfect time to collect cards. The market is so saturated with autographs and memorabilia cards that you can build a pretty nice collection even if you're on a tight budget.

I recently put together two-thirds of a Paul Konerko sports card trifecta for $2.75. If you follow baseball, then you've heard of Konerko. He's a fifteen year veteran, who has been an MLB all-star five times. Here's just a peek at some of his career accomplishments:

1994 First Round Draft Pick (13th - LA Dodgers)
1997 Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year Award
2004 Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year Award
2005 A.L.C.S. MVP Award
2005 World Series Champion
396 Home Runs (MLB Career)
.282 Batting Average (MLB Career)
9 Grand Slams (MLB Career)

Are you these Cooperstown worthy statistics? Probably not. But his career isn't over yet. He's still the captain of the White Sox, who's wrapping up another solid season at the plate. And best of all.. he's affordable.

Which athletes do you consider to be underrated & affordable?

Happy Tuesday everyone. Enjoy the rest of your week. Sayonara!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Another Month... Another Card Show.

At the beginning of the year, I asked all of you "why aren't there more card shows?". Well the Card Show Gods must have been reading my blog, because here in the Bay Area they're making a comeback.

In the past nine months, I've gone to four decent sports memorabilia shows with each having at least 100 tables. Yesterday was one of those shows. It was held at the Serramonte Mall in Daly City and it was easily the best mall show I've ever been to, because of the size and variety.

Although there were a lot of dealers carrying sports cards, I'd describe it as a collectibles show instead of a card show, because there were people selling everything from silverware to beanie babies.

Personally, my favorite part was checking out the inventories of all of the toy dealers. I was able to finally grab several key McFarlane figures I've been wanting for a while now. So let's get onto the card show haul:

Purchase #1: 2004 McFarlane (Series 8) Ahman Green $2

I found this figure at the third table I visited. The guy had six or seven figures for $2/each and this was one of them. Two dollars for a Green Bay Packers McFarlane? This one was a no-brainer.

Purchase #2: Star Trek Trading Card Lot $15

One deck of The Wrath of Khan playing cards. Three sets. Nine wax packs. Thirteen promo cards. A few insert cards, some partial sets, and a ton of base cards. Did I over pay for this lot? Probably. Buyers remorse? No way. I purchased this box for one card. A card I've wanted for almost 20 years.

In the early 90's, holograms were the craze and I was right in the middle of it. Upper Deck's MLB, NFL, NBA, & NHL holograms... had 'em. Impel's Marvel Universe & DC Cosmic holograms... got 'em. Denny's Grand Slam holograms... what 90's baseball card collector didn't have some of these? Comic Ball, Front Row, Arena, Kayo, Wheels, Pro Set, Lime Rock, and Ultimate all produced holograms. Heck... I even had Fievel Goes West holograms. And now I finally have the 1992 Impel Star Trek TGN U.S.S. Enterprise Gold Hologram #05H. Now if I could only get my hands on one of those Pro Set Lombardi Trophy holograms ;-)

Purchase #3: Rambo: First Blood Part II Card & Sticker Set $5

The guy who sold me the Star Trek cards had a box full of non-sports sets. He wanted $5/set and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to have it. Okay, so the sequel wasn't as good as the 1982 classic. But unfortunately, they never made a card/sticker set for the first film.

Purchase #4: 1984 Topps Michael Jackson Series 2 Sticker Set $5

I was so excited about the Rambo set, that I paid immediately without checking to see if I wanted anything else. After I paid for the set, I continued to check out the $5 set box. This time I went through the whole box before handing the guy more money.

After some research, I have discovered that this is the 2nd series sticker set... but it's not a big deal, because I just picked up the 1st series set on eBay for $8.40.

These are going to make nice additions to my non-sports collection.

Purchase #5: 2008 McFarlane (Series 19) Donald Driver $5

After I picked up the Green, I started hunting down other Packers figures. There were a bunch to choose from, but I decided to focus on the clearance sections. That's when I came across a dealer who was selling a bunch of different figures for $5/piece. There was no way I could pass up a figure of the Packers all-time reception leader at this price. The package was a little beat up, but I freed him from his packaging, so it didn't matter.

Purchase #6: 2010 McFarlane ( 2-Pack) Aaron Rodgers & Greg Jennings $15

I've been actively trying to purchase this for a few months now. However, shipping prices for these are pretty expensive... usually $6 to $10. Plus the 2-pack itself sells for between $15 to $20. So, this was another no-brainer for me. My Packers shelf is almost complete... just need the Clay Matthews Jr. and Charles Woodson pieces.

Purchase #7: 1985 Topps Rack Packs (x8) $20

I built this set a few years ago, so I don't need the singles... but I figured for the price of a blaster at Target, I'd take a shot on these. Hopefully I can pull a Puckett, McGwire, or Gooden rookie card. The vendor recently pulled the Clemens, so I probably won't find him in these packs. I'll keep you posted.

Purchase #8: 1992 Game Day Wax Box $5

Another cheap thrills purchase. There's nothing of value in this product and the oddball size makes it a pain in the butt to store... but it's $5 and should provide 30 minutes or so of entertainment.

Purchase #9: 2010/11 Panini Eric Gordon Autograph $3

Finally I picked up a sports card single. I sifted through tons of boxes before, but didn't see anything I really wanted. So I grabbed this autograph. Had he wanted 10 cents more, I would have passed.

Purchase #10: Sticker autographs of a Seahawk, a Diamondback, & a Ray $6

Similar to the previous purchase... I found a guy who with two boxes filled with autographs and memorabilia cards... all marked 5 for $10. I spent 20 minutes looking and found these three. He asked if I could pick out two more, but I couldn't use anything. Now that I think about it... do I really need a Chris Young or James Shields autograph? At least Trufant will go into my Seattle Seahawks PC.

Purchase #11: Cheap Singles: 61 cards $6

This guy was at the Santa Clara show, so I decided to dig through his stuff again to see if I could find some treasures. My haul this time around was not as good... but at ten cents a piece, it's hard to sit there and complain.

Well that sums up my purchases. I didn't find any insane deals, but I bought pretty much everything I wanted and ended up spending less than $90. So I'd definitely call this show a success. I considered going back today, because my buddy was set up... but after a long week, I decided to stay home, rest, and watch the Packers/Bears game. Go Packers!

It's time to rate my purchases... let's keep it simple. In your opinion...

What was my best purchase and my worst purchase?

Remember... I'm a big boy... so hit me with your best shot... and fire away!

Here... I'll start things off:

Best: 2010 McFarlane 2-Pack of Jennings & Rodgers
Worst: Star Trek Lot

It was hard to choose my favorite purchase, because it was close between the Ahman Green McFarlane for $2 and the two-pack. But ultimately, I went with the two-pack because it was so high on my wantlist.

Although I don't have any regrets with my purchases, I'll admit I probably could have found better deals on the four autographed cards. And there's no doubt in my mind that I overpaid on the Star Trek lot. I ended up choosing the Star Trek lot, because I essentially paid $15 for a hologram card. I'll also keep the promo cards, the unopened wax packs, The Wrath of Khan playing cards, and possibly one of the sets. But everything else will be given away to students.

By the way if anyone out there is building Star Trek sets, let me know... because I have a ton of singles from a variety of sets.

Well... it's time for me to turn in for the evening. Have a great week everyone. Sayonara!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Flashback Friday #1: Manon Rheaume

Happy Friday everyone... today I decided to introduce a new series of posts called Flashback Friday. The posts will cover pieces of my collection... but more specifically... items from the past.

Today, the focus will be on one of the most popular female athletes to ever grace the cover of Beckett Hockey. And 19 years ago, she made hockey history.

On September 23rd, 1992, Manon Rheaume entered the history books when she suited up for the Tampa Bay Lighting and became the first woman to play in the NHL. It was an exhibition game against the St. Louis Blues and she faced 9 shots in one period, allowing 2 goals.

If you collected in the early 90's, then I'm sure you remember the event. Manon Mania swept the hobby industry as people chased down her 1992 Classic cards, including her first autograph which was randomly inserted into 1992 Classic Four-Sport packs.

I've always wanted that card and have periodically searched for it on eBay. But when I discovered her 2008-09 UD Masterpieces Brushstrokes autograph in May, I decided to pick that card up instead. It set me back $5.77 (+ $3 shipping/handling), which turns out to be a steal since the only one listed recently on eBay sold for $37 (free shipping), with a BIN option.

It seems that her most affordable certified autograph is her 1993 Classic Pro Prospects cards numbered to 6,500, which sell for $11 to $12 on eBay. Rheaume seems to still have a loyal following, because there were ten sales of $50 or more in the past ten days for her Panini and ITG autographs.

Fifty dollars for an autograph of a goalie who's never even played a regular season game? Well if you think that's expensive... someone just spent $449 (+ $3.25 shipping/handling) on a 2010/11 Panini Dominion "Black 1/1 Autograph". Insane right?

So... what about you?

Did you ever buy into Manon Mania?

If not...

What's the most unique trend you ever dove into?

I've fallen for a bunch of hobby fads... everything from Garbage Pail Kids to Pokemon cards. But I'll save those posts for another day. Have a good weekend everyone.

There's a local card show tomorrow and Sunday. I'm going to try to check it out at least one of the days. Hopefully I'll have a few things to share with you all. Sayonara!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sayonara Salute #13: Mike Modano

Four months ago, I posted an article about Mike Modano. In it... I wrote about the possibility that he had played the final game of his NHL career against the San Jose Sharks.

Today, it looks like he confirmed it on Facebook:

Modano is one of the greatest Americans to ever strap on skates and he will be missed my many hockey fans... including me. As mentioned in my previous Modano article, he is a guy that I Hate to Love, because the two NHL franchises he skated for are both Sharks' rivals. However, it's impossible for me not to love the guy. His rookie cards are found in 1990-91 products...

1990/91 OPC Premier #74
1990/91 Upper Deck #46 (American)
1990/91 Upper Deck #46 (French)

which happened to be the first year I started busting packs of hockey. All three of these cards have been in my collection since back in the day. He's one of the handful of athletes that I decided to hang onto over the years.

Two decades later, he's retiring with 561 NHL goals and 1,374 NHL points... both records among American-born NHL skaters.

His retirement is sort of a sweet and sour kind of moment, where I'm glad he won't score anymore goals against the Sharks... but at the same it's sad because NHL fans will no longer have the opportunity to witness him skate.

Sayonara Mr. Modano! You're a class act and a hockey legend. Enjoy your retirement... because you've earned it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I love the 80's (Baseball Edition) #7 - Dwight Gooden

As I started to switch over from collector to investor in the mid 80's... Roger Clemens and Dwight Gooden were two of the hottest players in baseball. In the era where rookie cards reigned, both of these phenoms had rookie cards in all three major 1985 baseball card products... and if you were around in the hobby back then... most likely you were trying to add them to your collection.

But after watching the scene from Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing where Vito and Mookie debate the two aces... I knew I had to take a stand and choose between The Rocket & Dr. K.

I went with Doc and in terms of investment purposes, I obviously made the wrong decision. Back in the early 90's... Gooden's rookie cards sold for between $10 and $15 each. These days, you can pick up his Fleer or Donruss rookie cards for under $2 and his Topps rookie for under a buck.

Which surprises me, since Mr. Gooden has always been a fan favorite and has quite the portfolio to support he's far from a common player. Here are a few of his MLB records and awards:

Most Strikeouts by a Rookie: 276 (1984)
Rookie of the Year Award: 1984
Cy Young Award: 1985
Youngest Starting Pitcher in a MLB All-Star Game: 21 years, 7 months, 30 days (1986)
Silver Slugger Award: 1992
No-Hitter: 1996 (May 14th against the Seattle Mariners)
New York Mets Hall of Fame: 2010

From 1984 to 1991, Gooden was one of the most dominating pitchers in the league. He had a 132-54 record, 2.92 ERA, 1541 K's, and 21 shutouts over his first eight seasons, which very few pitchers can match. However he flamed out during the second half of his career going 62-58 from 1992 to 2000 with 752 K's, and 3 shutouts.

As fans, we can only speculate what might have been had Dwight Gooden avoided the drugs and alcohol... or if he didn't have battery and DWI charges, rape allegations, and multiple arrests.

But Gooden isn't my role model and he's a grown man. He has to live with the decisions he's made and I have to live with mine. And that decision was to soak my money into Gooden, instead of Clemens.

So what about you...

Were you a fan of Clemens, Gooden, both, or neither?

Happy Tuesday everyone... it's going to be hot this week here in the Bay Area. Stay cool & sayonara!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Shark Hunting Redux

Remember my Todd McLellan signed Sharks photo from a couple of weeks ago? If not... here's a link to my other Shark Hunting experience.

Well today the San Jose Sharks training camp opened up and I was able to collect a bunch of autographs. Here's a before and after shot of my Sharks photo:



At first it looks like a bunch of scribbles in silver Sharpie... but upon closer inspection you'll notice I picked up several autographs of key players, including Sharks legend and developmental coach, Mike Ricci and newly acquired Brent Burns, Michal Handzus, and Martin Havlat. Other players who will also be there on the opening night roster are Torrey Mitchell, Frazer McLaren, and Thomas Greiss.

The rest are younger prospects or other players I don't know too much about. In fact, I spent about 45 minutes trying to figure out who was who on the photo... and I still can't identify one of the signatures - the one written across the JOSE right about the word SHARKS. If anyone has a clue... please let me know.

Now, if you're wondering where some of the bigger names are... well, I decided to get them on 8x10's that will hopefully one day grace my office walls.

Dan Boyle

Ryane Clowe

Logan Couture

Douglas Murray

Joe Pavelski

Joe Thornton

I missed out on a few of the bigger names... for one reason or another.

As I drove up, Antero Niittymaki was leaving. One of the guys told me he left early since he's injured and didn't participate in the practice. Patrick Marleau also slipped my grasp... as he quietly left a side door while one of the other players was signing for us. Patty has always been one of the fan favorites, because he's very personable and a willing signer... so I'm sure I'll be able to get his "current" signature one of these days. I say current, because I met him in person years ago in the late 90's... when he was fairly new to the Sharks.

The only other guys I wanted, but didn't get were Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Antti Niemi. One of the employees told us that Pickles was feeling under the weather and I'm not too sure about Niemi. One of these days I'd like to get Niemi to sign an 8x10 that I have of him... but for now, I'll have to survive with my autographed puck from a couple of weeks ago.

I'm looking forward to going out there again sometime soon. There were about thirty other autograph seekers today, and I'm assuming the numbers will only increase as the season opener draws nearer. But it was totally worth it to have the chance to say "hello" and meet the players on my hometown hockey team.

Well... I'm going to retire for the evening, because believe it or not, autograph seeking is actually a lot of work. We spent over four hours standing in the sun, but it was worth every minute.

Oh... and one more thing... a huge thanks to my buddy Mike for providing me with all of the photos in exchange for a silver Sharpie and a strawberry-something from Jamba Juice. Domo arigato Mike!

Question of the day...

Are you a hockey fan? If so... which team(s) do you cheer for?

Have a great weekend everyone...

I'm off to go watch Star Wars: Episode 1 on Blu-ray, which arrived in the mail today. Sayonara!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

PC Addition - Acrylic Painting of Mr. Padre, The Professor, & The Man of Steal

In less than two weeks, the 2011 MLB regular season will come to an end... and once again neither one of my teams will be a part of post season action.

I've been an Oakland A's fan since I started following baseball... which was sometime in the 70's. The A's struggled for most of my childhood... but at least we had one of the most exciting players in the league on our team... The Man of Steal: Rickey Henderson. In fact, he hit .474 in the Bay Bridge Series and helped the A's sweep the Giants in 1989 to bring Oakland their only World Series Championship in the last thirty-seven years.

On the other hand, the San Diego Padres are still waiting for the first World Series Championship. They've gone to the World Series twice in their franchise history... which started back in 1969 when they joined the National League as an expansion team.

It's been five years since either team has made the playoffs... and sadly they probably won't get better anytime soon. From this fan's perspective... both of my teams act more like a farm system for major market teams... than an actual MLB franchise with hopes of one day reaching the playoffs.

Now, don't get me wrong... I'm not a fair-weather fan who plans on jumping ship because my teams are slowly sinking into the depths of MLB rankings. Nope... I just reminisce... and remember the good old days... back when Mr. Henderson was breaking records and Tony Gwynn was chasing .400.

Throw in Greg Maddux and his four consecutive Cy Young Awards... and you have my personal golden era of baseball.

I recently discovered an artist on YouTube, who specializes in sports paintings and decided to have him capture my three favorite players... Henderson, Gwynn, and Maddux... on canvas using acrylic paints. Here's how it turned out...

Sorry about the poor photo quality... I had some issues with the reflection from the glass, so the angle sort of stinks. But the painting itself is awesome. One of these days... maybe I'll hit the lottery and have the three of them add their signatures to this masterpiece.

Until then... it'll sit on my office wall and help me take my mind off of the fact that both of my teams are in a "rebuilding" phase year in and year out. Syd if you're reading this... thanks again for the painting. I hope to do business again in the near future.

If any of my readers are interested in purchasing a custom painting from Syd (blade911100)... head over to YouTube and send him a PM. He has reasonable prices and tons of videos which features tons of his pieces of work.

Okay... time for the question of the day:

With the 2011 World Series just around the corner... who do you think will represent the American League? National League? And who will win it all?

Since it won't be the A's versus the Padres, it doesn't really matter to me. I just hope they Yankees don't win it all. But since I proposed the question... I'll provide a prediction.

I'm pretty sure the Phillies are headed back after a one year hiatus... but the AL is a little tougher to call. Since I went with the safe bet for the NL... I'll go out on a limb and say that Boston dumps the slump... and gets hot when it matters. And when all is said and done... it'll be the Phillies winning their third World Series Championship.

Thank goodness it's almost Friday... Sayonara!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Domo Arigato: Martyn @ Arbitrary Crap

Last week, I received a padded envelope from a guy I've never met in person, because he lives over 3,500 miles away... but that doesn't keep me from saying that I consider Martyn a friend.

Some of you may know him from his blog Arbitrary Crap... while others might remember his old blog Steal Second. He's also a member of the Sports Card Radio Fan Forum, so you may have seen him around there too. And finally... he's one of my Facebook friends too. We've supported each other's blogs for what seems like years now... and even co-authored a blog called Sports Jambalaya with a bunch of other guys at one point. However it's been almost a year since anyone has posted anything over there.

Okay... back to the nature at hand. Martyn contacted me a while back to see if I had a Tony Gwynn card that he set aside for me. It's a 1998 SPx "Radiance" of my favorite baseball player and after checking my binder... I told him I could use it.

So when I saw an envelope from the United Kingdom... I figured it was the Gwynn. What I didn't expect were the other bonuses he threw in.

2011 Topps "60 Years of Topps" #33 Tony Gwynn

It's a reprint of his 1984 Topps card and it's awesome. Since I don't bust a lot of new product... it's another new addition to my Gwynn PC.

2011 Topps "CMG Reprint" #14 Jackie Robinson

Martyn is 3 for 3 now... as I add this card to my Robinson PC. Since I'll never be able to afford a 1949 Leaf Jackie... this is easily the next best thing.

2010 Topps Chrome "Wrapper Redemption Refractor" #224 Jackie Robinson

This is the only card I already have... but I'm okay with having a double... since I'm considering building this set. I have the Mantle and the Gehrig... and a lot of the singles sell for less than a buck on COMC. The only problem is I have too many projects I'm already dealing with. We'll just have to wait and see.

And the last card in the package was this 2010 Rookies & Stars card of Lee Evans.

It took me about a few days before I figured out why he included this. At first I thought he confused me with Charles from Hoopography who collects Buffalo Bills cards. Maybe it was a filler card thrown in for protection? Then it hit me. I remembered that I needed a Lee Evans for the Rookies & Stars set I was building.

So thanks a million Martyn. Three new additions to my Robinson and Gwynn PCs... one card for my 2010 Chrome "Wrapper Redemption Refractor" set... and the one card I needed to finish my 2010 R&S's football set. I really appreciate these cards and your friendship. See you around the blogworld, Facebook, or on SCR forum.

Today's question of the day:

What's the farthest you've ever shipped a piece of cardboard? Was it a sale, trade, or gift?

Happy Monday everyone and sayonara!