Saturday, August 31, 2019

Sweet Selection of Samples

When I worked at Fun Stuff Cards, Comics, and Collectibles back in the late 90's... one of the cool perks was having access to promo cards.  I'm not exactly sure how these were meant to be distributed, since I never actually handed any out to customers and I don't remember any of the owners or co-workers passing them out either.

I do remember a giant box filled with them in the back and whenever I saw a new one added to it, I'd grab a copy for myself.  About ten years ago, I discovered my stash of 90's promo cards and my interest in them was revived.  Since then, my collection has doubled... maybe even tripled in size... thanks to some non-sports promos I've purchased at flea markets over the years.

Two weeks ago, I received a package from Greg over at The Collective MindEarlier in the month, he went on a six state tour of card shops including a stop at the NSCC.  Along the way, he must have stumbled across a treasure trove of promo cards, because he sent me ten Tony Gwynn promo cards from the late 90's to the early 2000's.

Here's a look at them sorted in chronological order:

1997 Leaf Knothole Gang Sample #4

This is hands down my favorite card in the bunch and it's the lone Leaf promo card.  It's diecut... and features wood matting.  I know there are collectors who don't appreciate the Golden Age of Insert Cards, but I can't think of one reason a Tony Gwynn baseball card collector would turn their nose up to this card.

1998 Pacific Online Sample #Sample

This card is not aesthetically pleasing, but it documents a time when the internet and card collecting were learning to co-exist.

1999 Pacific Sample #Sample

I wasn't the biggest fan of Pacific trading cards back in the day, but over the years I've grown to appreciate the well-cropped action shots featured on their cards.

1999 Pacific Crown Collection Sample #Sample

The back of the card features that iconic Gwynn smile.  And who doesn't appreciate a bilingual trading card every now and then?

1999 Pacific Paramount Sample #Sample

1999 Pacific Prism Sample #Sample

Prisms were Pacific's version of 90's shine... whose legacy lives on through Panini these days.

2000 Pacific Sample #Sample

2000 Pacific Crown Collection Sample #Sample

2000 Pacific Paramount Sample #Sample

I've never given much thought to the Pacific card back designs, but after flipping through these samples... I just realized that Pacific used photographs on every one.  Gotta give them some props for that.

2000 Pacific Vanguard Sample #Sample

And rounding out the sweet selection of Tony Gwynn samples is this 2000 Pacific Vanguard.  This was the only year Pacific produced Vanguard baseball cards.  At the end of 2000, their MLB license expired.  At the time I didn't mind.  Pacific was my least favorite card manufacturer and I was getting ready to sell off my collection and focus on paying off debt and saving up for a place.

Fast forward nineteen years and I've grown to appreciate their cards.  Time (and generous care packages like this) have a funny way of doing that.

Thanks Greg for these ten promo cards!  It made me take a trip back in time when I was just starting to build my promo card collection while moonlighting at my local card shopGood times.  I'll get you added to the growing list of care packages that I owe fellow bloggers.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Learned My Lesson

Twenty-nine years ago, Upper Deck did something that would impact the hobby forever.  To be more specific, it would impact the way I collect and spend my hard earned money to this very day.

1990 Upper Deck Reggie Jackson Heroes Autograph

As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of collecting autographs... especially when they're of the on-card, pack pulled variety.  And that's where Upper Deck comes into play.  In 1990, they randomly inserted 2,500 Reggie Jackson autographs into their High # Series baseball packs and became pioneers in the autographed sports card market.

Although I haven't been persistent about tracking down one of these autographs, it has definitely been one of those cards I've wanted for years.  Awhile back I finally added it to my saved eBay searches and have seen them sell in the $150 to $170 range with a few outliers here and there.

A few weeks ago, one popped up with a BIN price of $140 (free shipping) and I made the decision to finally cross this baby off of my wantlist.

However before I go any further... I have to tell you that I've been burnt before on one of these Upper Deck Heroes autographs.  Back in the AOL Forum days, I traded for this 1991 Upper Deck Hank Aaron Heroes autograph:

I'm sure autograph experts can spot the problem with this signature right away.  Well... I'm not an autograph expert.  And I can't even tell you how long it took for me to realize that this signature was fake.

The transaction took place in the 90's, so I don't have a record of what I gave up for this 25¢ card with some black Sharpie scribbled on it.  My best guess is that it involved a bunch of popular rookies and inserts from the mid 90's... which still makes me feel ill.

Anyways... even if the signature did look good... you can tell that this card wasn't a pack pulled signature by looking at the hologram on the back.

Upper Deck was smart.  They differentiated the regular inserts from the signed inserts by producing two different holograms.  In the case of the Aaron, the base insert hologram was shaped like home plate (see photo above)... whereas the pack pulled autographs featured a diamond shaped hologram:

Photo Courtesy of COMC

It's one of the worst hobby mistakes I've made... right up there with trading my 1952 Topps Andy Pafko for a 1987 Fleer Tin set.  On the bright side, it taught me a lesson... which leads me back to the Reggie.

I wasn't going to make the same mistake twice.  The Reggie Jackson autographs also featured a special hologram that was different from the standard one.  Instead of using a home plate shaped hologram, Upper Deck used a baseball shaped hologram for the regular inserts and base cards.  However they used the diamond shaped hologram (like the Aaron) for the Reggie Jackson signed cards.  Here's a look at the two side by side:

Left: Signed Reggie Jackson Heroes Insert
RightRegular Reggie Jackson Heroes Insert

Hopefully this helps out anyone out there who is considering purchasing one of these Heroes autographs.  It looks like the hologram rule applies to the 1991 Nolan Ryan, 1992 Ted Williams, 1992 Bench and Morgan, and 1994 Mickey Mantle Heroes autographs as well.

Okay getting back the Jackson:

I'm sure some of you have noticed that the card is hand numbered out of 2,500.  These days a card numbered that high would be probably be considered excessive to many collectors.  But back in the Junk Wax Era... especially in 1990... 2,500 was pretty rare.

One collector over on Beckett Forums estimated the odds of pulling a Reggie autograph were 1:148 boxes:

Now obviously that's just one collector's calculations.  Who knows if he's accurate or not, but I can tell you this.  I worked at a card shop back then and I never saw one of these come through our shop, nor did I hear about anyone pulling one.

And speaking of these hand numbered autographs... Upper Deck had Reggie add a "Mr. October" inscription to cards with numbers ending in "00" (example: #1,900/2,500).

There's also discussion on the Blowout Card Forums where two other special Reggie autographs have been spotlighted.  The first one is the Heroes autograph #'d 573/2,500, which is signed by Reggie (w/Mr. October inscription) and Harmon Killebrew.  The other is the card #'d 660/2,500.  That one is signed by Reggie (w/Mr. October inscription) and Willie Mays.  I'm not an expert, so I won't confirm or deny Upper Deck's involvement with these two special cases.

Well that's it for today.  I'll leave you with a quick look at the complete 1990 Upper Deck Reggie Jackson Heroes set:

#1, #2, and #3

#4 and #5

#6 and #7

#8 and #9

#NNO Header

And here is today's question of the day:

What's one of the worst hobby mistakes you've ever made?

C'mon.  Don't be shy.  Remember we learn from our mistakes.  Well... at least we hope we do.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Flea Market Finds #142: Three Days One Post

As I wrapped up my summer vacation, I attempted to hit as many flea markets as I possibly could.  The result was three flea markets within four days.

Normally I'd write three separate posts, but in an effort to streamline things... today I'm going to combine them into one.  And since a box of football cards isn't going to attract readers, this post isn't going to be in chronological order.  It'll be listed in a way that helps the post flow.

Purchase #9Rawlings MLB Baseballs  $4

This was my final purchase... and easily my favorite purchase.  All four of these are of the commemorative variety.  Starting from left to rightBaseball HOF, 1994 World Series, Black and Gold, and Gold Glove Award.  The boxes are a little beat up... and the World Series ball is starting to show age spots, but for a buck each... I'm not going to complain.

Purchase #22019 Topps Chrome #203  $5

I've made it pretty clear that I'm going to chase down as many affordable Tatis rookie cards as I can.  I picked this one up from my buddy Tony... as well as the cards from the next two purchases.

Purchase #3Ramon Laureano Rookie Cards  $1

2019 Topps Chrome #178
2019 Chrome Pink Refractor #178

Found both of these in one of Tony's dollar bins and hooked me with a two for one deal.  By now I'm sure you've seen Laureano's arm.  But back in July he was killing it at the plate too.  Then he suffered a shin injury that has kept him out since then.

Purchase #42019 Bowman Baseball Cards  $15

My final purchase off of Tony were these five boxes of 2019 Bowman.  He had gone through and pulled all of the Tatis and Guerreros... but that's okay.

I was looking for the 1st Bowman and 1st Bowman Chrome cards which will be put away for a few years until these guys develop.

Freebie #1A Rookie Card and a Buyback

2017 Bowman #29
1990 Topps #440

Yuli didn't make his MLB debut until his early 30'sTrammell didn't get the call to the hall until he turned 60, but I can live with that...when both of these cards are freeTony threw these two cards into my Bowman boxes as a friendly bonus.

Purchase #62005 UD Mini Jerseys Lot  $5

When I came back into the hobby in 2008, I remember seeing these and thinking they're pretty cool.  Haven't seen these pop up too many times over the years, but a guy at the Branham High School Flea Market had a box with fifteen to twenty.  Being sealed, it's hard to tell whose jersey is who, so I picked out the four I could identify for sure:  Albert Pujols, Ken Griffey Jr., Ty Cobb, and Ichiro Suzuki.

The vendor is the same guy who sold me the shoebox collection a few weeks ago.  This time around he had another cheap box of cards...

Purchase #7Box of Cards  $3

Yeah, it contains basketball, football, wrestling, and soccer.  But I just can't help digging for treasure... especially when it's only three bucksWorst case scenario, I'll take these in to my classroom or pass them along to SumoMenkoMan.

Okay... my final baseball card purchase...

Purchase #81992 Topps Factory Set  $5

I'm pretty sure I already have one of these, but for five bucks I couldn't pass up the opportunity to add another one.  Unfortunately when I got home, I noticed a puncture mark near Devon White's right arm on the box.  Not exactly sure if it is deep enough to damage the cards in the set.

If I decide to open it up... we'll find out.  If not... I'll let the next owner figure it out.

Okay... are you ready for some football?

Purchase #11991 Stadium Club Football Box  $15

I found this at the Capitol Flea Market for $15 and was stoked.  I remember when packs of this stuff routinely sold for $5 and boxes were selling for over $100.  Collectors were going crazy... hunting for the Favre rookie card.  These days boxes only sell in the $25 to $50 range$15 wasn't as big as a deal as I originally thought, but maybe I'll get lucky and pull a Favre.

Purchase #51961 Street and Smith's Football Yearbook  25¢

I enjoy reading old sports magazines.  I have no idea who Ronnie Bull is... but for a quarter I figured I'd get the chance to find out.

Freebie #21971 Rose Bowl Replay

And I'll wrap things up with another flea market freebie.  This time this item was given to me by a complete stranger.  My buddy and I walked up to this couple who looked like they were cleaning out their garage (my favorite kind of vendor).  They had lots of magazines, books, and other paper goods with the exception of trading cards.

I found this book which recaps the 1971 Rose Bowl.  The lady asked if I knew who Jim Plunkett was and I told her that I enjoy collecting his memorabilia.  She told me that Plunkett personally gave her a case of these books a few years ago.  I guess they had been sitting in his house and he got tired of storing them.  Anyways... she said I could take it since I was a fan.

Well there you have it.  My last flea market haul of the summer.  Now that autumn is just around the corner, I'm not sure when I'll be back out to the Capitol Flea Market.  I usually go there on Sundays... but football season is about to start up.  The De Anza Flea Market is back in two weekends.  I'll probably go out there as long as it isn't too hot and I'll still attend the Branham Flea Market on a monthly basis too.  Both of those flea markets take place on Saturdays.

Here is today's question of the day:

Are you a football fan?  Do you reserve your Sundays for football?  Which team(s) do you root for?

Hope you guys are enjoying your week.  Happy Tuesday and sayonara!