30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Friday, March 3, 2023

Stained, Sealed, Battered, & Blue

As a collector from the 80's and 90's... I was groomed to believe all modern cards need to be gem mint otherwise it wasn't worthy of being in the collection.

What a difference four decades make.  These days... I have an entire collection centered around damaged cards.  Within my Damaged Card PC, there are cards with creases, chips, crimps, dings, rips, drawings, scribbles, scratches, and glued stuff on them.  The collection originally focused on cards within my collection.  They were cards damaged in the mail from purchases or trades or stuff I found in collection purchases or quarter bins.  There's even one card that I pulled out of a pack myself which was the inspiration for this collection.

The past few years... the collection has really blossomed thanks to a few blogger donations.  One of the biggest contributors has been Bo over at Baseball Cards Come to Life!.  Back in December he sent me two team bags filled with a bunch of wax stained cards from the Junk Wax Era... as well as some vintage hall of famers that have been well-loved by previous owners.

Let's start off with those wax/gum stained cards.  The first one features one of the hottest rookies of 1988:

1988 Topps #645

Nokes had a stellar rookie season in 1987 batting .287 with 32 home runs and winning the Silver Slugger Award for catchers.  

1989 Topps #490

The following year Chris Sabo took home the NL Rookie of the Year Award and went on to be a three-time NL All-Star in his first four seasons.

Had I pulled these stained rookie cards from a pack back in the late 80's.  Probably would have been bummed to see these stained stars too:

Here are their stains...

These days... these cards aren't worth much without the stains... so they actually add character to these Junk Wax Era cards.

But Bo didn't send me late 80's and early 90's wax stained cards.  Most of you know that Bo knows vintage.  He included these three wax/gum stained cards from the 70's:

1972 Topps #114

The oldest stain in the team bag was this 51 year old, Topps All-Star Rookie Team card of Billy Buck... who went on to have a MLB career that lasted over two decades.

The next guy is a hall of famer who played nineteen seasons and won three Cy Young Awards:

1975 Topps #335

And rounding out the wax/gum stained vintage are two more hall of famers:

1976 Topps #204

Speaking of
wax stains... here are a pair of 1991 Pacific I Love Lucy wax packs he sent for my non-sport pack collection:

It looks like someone already wrote a
review over on A Pack To Be Named Later, so one will go into the collection... the other will go into my rainy day pack stash.

He also sent me a pack of 1993 Comic Images Moebius:

I'm familiar with Marvel's Morbius... not not sure who Moebius is.  This too will go into the pack collection.

Next on the menu are some battered vintage.  I'll start with a Curt Flood second year card:

1959 Topps #353

card suffers from paper loss, but it's not nearly as battered as this 1970 New York Mets celebration card:

1970 Topps #310

I'm hoping that's
water damage and not a body fluid.

The next two cards feature my favorite pitcher from my childhood:

1967 #146

1968 Topps #408

Both of these cards have a weird texture to them.  It's like they were aged and coated in wax.

It's kind of weird seeing Lefty look so young.  I'm used to seeing the forty-something year old pitcher from the 80's.  I guess I need to pull out my Steve Carlton PC more often and show him some love.

This next hall of famer looks like it once lined the wallet of a collector back in the 70's:

1973 Topps #165

This card has the trademark rounded corners and multiple creasesAparicio played his final MLB game a little after my first birthday, so I never watched him play.  But I feel like I remember him getting the call to the hall back in the 80's.

Next up is a biggie:

1973 Topps #100

Yup.  A fifty year old card of the guy who broke Babe's all-time home run record.  Look at those sharp corners!  If the card looks a little narrow, that's because it's been slightly altered.  Here it is laying on top of the Aparicio:

No complaints here.  Anytime I get to add a vintage Hank Aaron to my collection, it's a day worth celebrating.

Getting back to Aaron breaking Babe's record... here's the guy who had the honor of throwing the pitch:

1964 Topps #86

Not sure the story behind this card, but once upon a time it was glued to something.  Maybe it was in a New York Yankees fan's scrapbook, because Bo also sent me Downing's 1964 teammate:

1964 Topps #69

Boyer's back is way more revealing... but still plastered with paper.  I could probably try and clean it up, but like the previously mentioned stains... the paper adds character.

Rounding out the Damaged Card PC additions are two 70's rookie cards that were defaced by someone...

1974 Topps #598

First up a quad rookie card highlighted by Ken Griffey Jr.'s father.  I'm guessing the previous owner was a big Reds' fan, because Griffey is the only one who escaped getting scribbled out.  At least the person who tagged this rookie card only used a ballpoint pen.  This next card wasn't so lucky:

1977 Topps #476

Dale Murphy, Rick Cerone, and Kevin Pasley... welcome to Mr. SharpieGary Alexander was the lucky player to be spared.  By the way... if this card looks familiar, it's because Bo sent me another XXX card last year.

By the way, Bo didn't just send me stained and battered cards for my Damaged Card PC, he also sent me two cards for two set builds:

1982 Kellogg's #55

First up is this
smiling Mad Dog for my 1982 Kellogg's set build.

Next up is another blue bordered set from the 80's...

hooked me up with the Bud...

1986 Donruss #374

I'm down to the final four percent of this setTwenty-seven cards and only one of them is a hall of famer: 258 Nolan RyanCollation seems to be the issue with this set build.

Okay... it's time to wrap up this post and finally publish it.  Started writing this back in early February, but life happens.  I apologize for the delay... but am super grateful for Bo's set help and Damaged Card PC contributions.

I have a stack of 1975 Topps Minis for your set build that I'll be shipping out sooner than later... along with a few other vintage set needs.

Happy Friday and sayonara!

Extra Innings

A quick life update.  The past week has been a little crazy with some family stuff.  I haven't had a lot of time to read and comment on blogs.  I've built several care packages that are ready to ship... and created stacks of cards for others that need to be packaged.  I'm hoping to get everything wrapped up over the weekend, but I can't make any promises.

I also wanted to thank Rod (Padrographs) and Junichi for giving me some background history on the flag that John (Johnny's Trading Spot) sent me.  It's a "Good Luck Flag" which were given to Japanese soldiers during military campaigns.  The flags were signed by friends and family and contained messages wishing the soldier good luck.  If you are interested in learning more about it, click here.

In short, there's an organization called the Obon Society which tries to reunite these Good Luck Flags with their families in Japan.  This flag is one of the coolest and unique gifts I've ever received from a blogger, but I believe it belongs back in the hands of this soldier's family.  I've reached out to John and he supported this decision.  I'll be getting it packaged and shipped in the very near future as well.


Nick Vossbrink said...

Oh wow. Nice decision with the flag. 100% the correct thing to do. I hope you get updated when it find's its correct home.

Crocodile said...

I may have some Donruss for you. And yep that's the right thing to do with the flag.

Jeff B - Wax Pack Wonders said...

Those crossed out rookie cards are hilarious. Especially the permanent marker one.

Matt said...

Hopefully that flag will get reunited with someone soon!

Jupiterhill said...

Some of those cards would fit perfectly in my collection since I've never been a gem mint guy. In fact unless terribly stained, I never bat an eye at gum stained cards. Same with rounded corners. The sharpie might be where I draw the line, but still is cool to add to your collection.

As for the flag, its the right choice. I think of it like this. It is a nice piece of history that you not only got to learn about, but was able to hold onto for a while. The memories alone are what is valuable to you, and those memories are priceless. Whenever it gets returned, it will double in value, because to that family, it will become priceless as well.

Jimetal7212 said...

I think we all got that in the 90s about how cards should look. However, as hard as it is to believe, that era is considered vintage (25+ years right?). So as I am putting the finishing touches on some of these 80s/90s sets I'm being a little lenient on conditioning. Weird when remembering when these were fresh from pack, but when you have 30ish years of handling by others.... Same reason why I don't stress my 60s cards not having brilliant green/blue/pink/yellow back. Too many grubby hands over the years.

John Sharp said...

My favorite Hank Aaron card!

Well, I'm sitting here in the dark as our power went out because of the winter storm....UGH!

The Matt Nokes is a terrific card as well.

Good Job!

The Lost Collector said...

I will never forget seeing that Matt Nokes on the box of the 1988 Topps boxes at the grocery store.

gcrl said...

thanks for the update on the flag - hopefully it is able to be connected to a family and cherished.

i used to hate seeing the wax or gum stains on cards in packs of topps when i first started collecting. now i see their charm as a throwback to the bubble gum card days.

The Snorting Bull said...

I love finding old, stained cards ever since Topps put that variation in the Heritage set a few years back. Maybe 2015? I actually have a 85 McGwire card that is pretty solid outside of the a massive, dark gum stain on the back. I am not into grading cards, but I would love to get a PSA 5 or 6 on that thing and put it on a shelf in my card room.

Bo said...

Glad you like them! Some of these were originally owned by other bloggers. The '73 Aaron came from Dime Boxes, I think the '68 Carlton too.

That is fantastic that you were able to find the story behind the flag and that it being returned to it's original owners.

Johnnys Trading Spot said...


Chris said...

Nice to see you appreciating damaged cards, it's hard for my "near mint or nothing" brain to take them in but the sure do have character.

As for the flag, I do hope you're able to find the person/family it was meant for, that sounds like it would be a great story. Please let us know if the Obon Society has success in reuniting the flag and its owner.

Sean said...

That is a cool thing to do with the flag, I hope it ends up with its original owner's family.

Love those damaged cards too. Seeing those Nokes and Sabo cards makes me curious if trying to make complete 1980s Topps sets with only wax-stained cards has ever been a thing. If you think about it, they are a kind of "parralel" version of the regular cards, and being seeded one per 15 card pack they are quite a bit harder to find than the non-stained cards (but not so hard to find as to make it too difficult a challenge).

SumoMenkoMan said...

So cool that you are working to return the flag back to the family. I sure hope it gets there!

Love the well-loved cards as well!

Steve at 1975BaseballCards.com said...

That was a great card journey. Also nice move returning the flag to help close the loop. That was an interesting read as well thanks for sharing the experience.

Fuji said...

nick vossbrink - the obon society says they'll contact me if they are able to return the flag to the family. i will be very happy when i receive that phone call or email.

crocodile - any help would be appreciated. that set has been a pain in the butt. i'm waiting for the day i find a card show dealer with commons for 5¢ each :D

wax pack wonders - i know right. had to be back in the 70's, because by the 80's that murphy rookie card was worth some money

matt - i shipped it out yesterday. my fingers are crossed.

jupiterhill - when it comes to my personal set builds, i draw the line at rounded corners and pen marks. but i'm sure there are plenty of wax/gum stained cards sitting in my 70's and 80's topps sets.

and the point you made about the flag is a bullseye. it'll be a day of celebration when i hear something from the obon society.

jimetal7212 - my ocd blocks my brain from trying to think about all of those grubby hands that have touch my cards over the decades :D

john sharp - i'm going to try and pick up a nicer copy of that aaron at some point. hoping it's part of a set, so i can complete my 1972 to 1986 topps run of complete sets. by the way, i hope the power came back on quickly that evening

the lost collector - topps was pretty smart to add him to the side of the box. i bought a lot of 88t packs that year

gcrl - finally had a chance to hit the post office yesterday. the flag is headed up to astoria, oregon which is where the obon society is located. hopefully within the next few months they will be able to reunite the flag with the soldier's family.

the snorting bull - that mcgwire sounds awesome... and getting it slabbed and displayed would be very cool.

bo - it's kinda cool to know that some of these cards were once held by multiple bloggers. thanks again for the cards. finally got around to shipping some cards for your set builds yesterday. lmk if you want a tracking number

chris - i will definitely right up a post if i hear from them. their policy is they'll contact me if they reunite the flag. if i don't hear from them, they're still searching.

sean - not going to lie... a wax/gum stained 80's frankenset sounds pretty awesome. my life is kinda hectic right now with some family stuff otherwise i'd consider doing it.

as for the parallel thing... i wrote a post about that a while back. i totally see them as parallels

sumomenkoman - i'm pretty excited to hear back from the obon society. if i do, it means the flag has been returned to the family.

steve at 1975baseballcards.com - hopefully i'll have another "flag" post in the next few months, because that will mean the flag has been returned.

Jafronius said...

Agreed, wise decision with the Good Luck flag!

Anonymous said...

A noble deed, Mr Fuji. I hope the flag is returned home safely.

Fuji said...

anonymous - as of today, it hasn't been returned. the obon society has returned at least two flags since i wrote this post. they email everyone whenever they are able to accomplish the feat.