Category Archives: flea market

Flea Market Finds #8: Fifth Binder Page

Better get back to these, the next flea market might be this weekend.

2003 topps Barry Bonds, Kevin Youkilis RC, Pedro Martinez Opening Day Game Card thing, UD Victory Nomah, 2000-something topps Total Junior Griffey, 1980 topps Yaz, Future Stars (feat. Jesse Orosco, Joe Morgan, and Jim Palmer.

 Why Purchased: For the almost-vintage Hall of Famers.  I didn’t even notice the Youk rookie till I had already decided to purchase it.

Keepers: None I guess.  The Griffey doesn’t interest me very much, and the others I can probably find good homes for.  Let me know if one is to your liking, but keep in mind the 1980 cards are not in the best of shape.  I’m beginning to think that pre-1983 cards in mint condition don’t, and maybe never did, exist, because I’ve never seen one.  And the only minty fresh ’83s I’ve seen were pack pulled by me.  Oh dear, I’m ranting again aren’t I?  Terribly sorry.

Notes: I didn’t recognize Youk without the facial hair.  It’s so inherent to him that I must’ve figured he was born with it.

More cards need rounded corners.  I can’t believe we haven’t started moving in that direction already.  How much easier keeping cards in proper condition would be without having to worry about dinged corners.

Feelings mixed on Topps Total, but without any other companies producing any baseball cards of note, it would probably be good to come back during whatever the biggest lull in the card-buying year is.  I guess I’d like it personally just so there would be an easily attainable and relatively affordable rookie card on a clean (if uninspired) design of whoever is deemed the hot player of the moment.

Man, Jesse Orosco looked so young!  No wonder he went on to pitch so long, he was the inspiration for Rookie of the Year, making his debut in his very early teens.  It’s like those “when they were young” cards, except it’s actually his rookie!

I like to think Joe Morgan is saying something all haughtily & getting basic information wrong in the interview taking place on his card.

All I can think of for Jim Palmer is “The hair, man. The hair…”

Mind-Blowing Statistics: In his very first year of professional baseball, Kevin Youkilis had a .504 OBP (in 276 plate appearances), walking 73 times to only 31 strikeouts!

Flea Market Finds #6: Fourth Binder Page

I’m starting to get on a roll, might even get close to finishing before the next show!  Here is the 4th binder page:

Presidential Smackdown!… Err, Campaign Matchups, 2008 topps Alex Romero RC, Scott Rolen, 2004 Bazooka Pudge Rodriguez Red Chunk parallel, 19xx Circa Thunder Alex Rodriguez Boss '98, 2006 Brian Roberts Bazooka Stamps, 1982 Baseball's Greatest Sluggers Frank Robinson, 2002 topps Opening Day Mariano Rivera, 2002 Alex(is) Rios RC

Why Purchased: Because I collect Frank Robinson, and also for the Alex Rios RC & A-Rod Thunder insert.

Keepers: Just the Frank Robinson I guess.

Notes: There’s something unflattering about Willkie’s photo there, but I can’t quite place it.

The Pudge is an extra thick parallel.

The A-Rod should be extra thick.  It is embossed, like Action Packed, topps Embossed, and those sweet Kamen Rider cards I got from Shot Not Taken a few trades ago (hopefully another trade coming in the next couple months, btw), except it’s a thin as a regular card.  It should be special, embossed cards are one of the rarest of technological card treats, after all.  But with the back all raised up where it is on the front, it just feels kinda weird.

Wow, that’s the exact same design as the Heritage Stamps of the last few years.  The back is mostly blank, brownish cardboard with only the brandage at the very top, “STAMP XX OF XX” and the player’s name directly under it in small print in the middle, and legalese at the bottom.  I’ll show it off when I do a massive card back dump post someday (I like to record a lot of various card backs for posteriority, hehe).

The Greatest Sluggers card is just simple and classy looking.

Rios I just thought a White Sox fan might enjoy.

Mind-Blowing Statistics: I could’ve had this post done two hours ago if I were capable of staying on task.  But seriously though, I figure anyone that isn’t coming here for the cards is coming for the old Benchwarmer posts from back in the day (people still get here via searching Brooke Morales and Jaime Hammer every single day), and everyone who is coming for the cards already knows about Frank Robinson’s legendary exploits already (last to pull off the Triple Crown, MVPs and championships in both AL & NL, etc).  Because nobody ever comes for the art.  Seriously, I’m not even that bad, but my art posts barely do any better than days when I don’t post at all.  Wait, what were we talking about?

Heh, actually I just revealed a bunch of interesting stats in that incoherent babbling.  But now I must go.  I’ve gotten over the violent ills, but these allergies are making me cry harder than Field of Dreams, Rudy, and Serendipity combined.  Don’t judge me on that last one.  Best damn romantic comedy since Waiting to Exhale, it is.  I should probably just shut up now.  Seeya. :P

Wanna have a catch?

Flea Market Finds #5: 25-card $1 Grab Bag Pack

Here be the first of the two 25-card $1 grab bag pack things.  This be the football version.  Here’s the pack in order (accomplishments via Pro-Football-Reference):

1970 topps Ernie Koy (1x Pro Bowl), Roy Jefferson (3x Pro Bowl; 1x First-Team All-Pro), Dan Abramowicz (1x First-Team All-Pro), Don Herrmann, 1968 topps Gino Cappelletti (5x Pro Bowl; 3 double-letters in one name!), Carl Kammerer, Earl Gros, '70 Tim Rossovich (1x Pro Bowl), Chuck Howley (6x Pro Bowl; 5x First-Team All-Pro; 1x Super Bowl MVP)

Vintage, it’s all vintage!

1970 topps David Lee (1x First-Team All-Pro), Dave Osborn (1x Pro Bowl), Jon Morris (7x Pro Bowl; 1x First-Team All-Pro), Jerry Smith (2x Pro Bowl; 1x First-Team All-Pro), 1968 topps Sam Baker (4x Pro Bowl), ’70 Les Josephson (1x Pro Bowl), ’68 EJ Holub (5x Pro Bowl; 2x First-Team All-Pro), 1971 topps Greg Landry (1x Pro Blowl), ’70 Dennis Partee

1970 topps Bill Munson, 1971 topps Floyd Little (5x Pro Bowl; 1x First-Team All-Pro; Hall of Fame class of 2010), 2010 topps Peyton Manning (11x Pro Bowl; 5x First-Team All-Pro; 1x Super Bowl MVP; 4x NFL MVP; 1x Offensive Player of the Year), 1994 Upper Deck Troy Aikman (6x Pro Bowl; 1x Super Bowl MVP; Hall of Fame Class of 2006), 1990 Fleer All-Pro Joe Montana(8x Pro Bowl;3x First-Team All-Pro; 3x Super Bowl MVP; 2x NFL MVP; 1x Offensive Player of the Year; Hall of Fame class of 2000), Jerry Rice (13x Pro Bowl; 10x First-Team All-Pro; 1x Super Bowl MVP; 2x Offensive Player of the Year; all-time leader in rec/rec. yds/rec. TDs/TDs/yds from scrimmage/all-purpose yds; Hall of Fame class of 2010), Barry Sanders (10x Pro Bowl; 6x First-Team All-Pro; 1x NFL MVP; 2x Offensive Player of the Year; 1989 Offensive Rookie of the Year; Hall of Fame Class of 2004)

Vintage Hall of Famer!  Yes, this was basically the best $1 grab bag pack thing ever.  Pretty much puts that McDonald’s dollar menu commercial to shame, eh?

Also, 1994 Upper Deck football is pretty.

Pretty much everything but the Jerry Rice is available for trade.

That’s it for this one.  So long, and thanks for stopping by!

Until our next…

Flea Market Finds #4: Third Binder Page

Hello all.  Tis I… back once again with the third of a dozen binder pages full of goodies (and other things) I picked up from the card guy at the flea market over the past weekend.

2008 topps U&H Josh Hamilton, 2003 Josh Hamilton/Carl Crawford, 2010 topps Cole Hamels, 2007 topps Roy Halladay and Travis Hafner Own the Game, 1994 Post Tony Gwynn, 1979 topps '78 Bears Team Leaders x2, 2003 Bowman Franklin Gutierrez prospect

Why Purchased: The beat up Bears Team Leaders, Future Stars Hamilton/Crawford.

Keepers: At least one of the Bears Team Leaders.

Notes: The Hamilton/Crawford is the actual card, not the Yo Momma version, which I also have in original back form.

Also, the reprint is somehow apparently worth more?  Lolwut?

I like the design on the Post Tony Gwynn a lot.  Who says a promotional product tie-in cards can’t look nice?

Mind-Blowing Statistics: The reprint is worth more… Oh wait, I can do better than that.

James Scott’s 759 receiving yards in 1978 is the third highest single season total posted by a Bear in the 1970s.  Only his previous season’s 809, and Dick Gordon’s 1026 in 1970 are better.  On a related note, I’d like to nominate Bobby Douglass as the worst QB in the HISTORY of the NFL.  Ho.  Lee.  CRAP!  How can you be THAT bad and get significant playing time off & on for an entire decade?!  Yeesh… Andre Ware and Ryan Leaf, eat your hearts out.

(stats via Pro-Football-Reference)

Until we tweet again…

Flea Market Finds #3: Second Binder Page

Now for the second binder page.  Keep in mind these pages only cost me about 60¢ apiece.

1992 Fleer Nolan Ryan, Barry Bonds, Vinny Castilla RC, 1990 Score Frank Thomas RC, Juan Gonzalez RC, Larry Walker RC, Bernie Williams RC, Curt Shilling RC, Mark McGwire

Why Purchased: The ROOKIES!

Keepers: The ROOKIES!  At least for now anyway.

Notes: Somehow, this all-junk wax page might be my favorite of the entire bunch (maybe).  It’s so cool to see so many rookies of stars that I grew up watching, even if The Big Hurt and The Big Shill are the only likely Hall of Famers (holding out some hope for Walker too!) of the bunch.

It’s so weird to see Shilling in an Orioles uniform.

I miss the Expos… :(

The color scheme on the Castilla makes me keep having to remind myself that he’s a Brave, not Pirate.

Mind-Blowing Statistics: The only one that’s really coming to mind is that when I punched up ’92 Fleer on Check Out My Cards, that top row were the top three ungraded cards listed, and the only ones with a book value of at least $1.  Sad.

Also sad, is that someone got a ’92 Fleer card graded.

Page two is awesome, but it is done.  More pages to come.

Until our next…

Flea Market Finds #2: First Binder Page

Heya, card blog homies!  Here is the first binder page from my glorious afternoon at the flea market:

1987 Clemens All-Star, 1987 Bo Jackson, ???? Daryle Lamonica, 1983 topps George Brett, 1983 topps Joe Montana (Record Breaker), 1970 topps Bob Brown, Jackie Smith, 1968 topps John Hadl, 1970 topps Ben Davidson

Why purchased: Very early career Montana (close as I’ll likely get to his rookie anytime soon); Hall of Famer (Jackie Smith); Daryle Lamonica card I have no idea about; Vintage!

Keepers: Just Montana for the time being.  The rest are available.

Notes: I actually already own the Bo and George Brett, both pulled from packs myself, but they are cool cards either way.

It appears Bob Brown is also a Hall of Famer as well.  Very cool. :)

All the non-Hall of Fame football players on the page (Davidson, Hadl, Lamonica) made First Team All-Pro at least once (Lamonica twice), and have 14 Pro Bowl selections between them.  Oddly, Hadl and his loonytunes stats has the most Pro Bowls with six.

Seriously, I have no idea what the Lamonica card is supposed to be.  The back is very similar looking to the Deckle Edge baseball cards, so I assume it is from the late-’60s as well, but I dunno.  Also, it is beat to hell.  None of the vintage I picked up was in perfect condition, but very few were that bad.

All the binder pics were taken by my ridiculously expensive webcam.  They didn’t come out perfectly, but pretty nice for any webcam at 800×600, methinks.  Also, I haven’t tinkered with any settings, so it may yet be able to be further improved.

Mind-Blowing Statistics: John Hadl had 33503 career passing yards, but only completed 50.4% of his passes and had more interceptions (268) than touchdowns (244).  Looking at his stats year-by-year is even crazier.  It’s hard to fathom how he was allowed to start long enough to put up such impressive yards and touchdown numbers, while being so… so bad, to put it bluntly.  I’d just chalk it up to different eras and less emphasis on statistics in the past, but it’s pretty hard to ignore those numbers.

Jackie Smith’s best year was in 1967, when he caught 56 passes for 1205 yards, good for 21.5(!) yards-per-catch.  He also had receiving 9 touchdowns, more than doubling any other season of his career.  But forget about that.  He went for 21.5 yards-per-catch.  With over 1200 receiving yards.  As a tight end.  The guys that are specifically paid to be deep threats these days are rarely able to put up numbers like that.  He also put up an impressive by any standard 16.5 YPC for his career on nearly 8000 receiving yards.

That’s it for page one.  Thanks for stopping by!  There’s much more vintage to come, but next time we’ll be making a stop in junk wax country.  But it will be a fun (and rookie-laden) trip, I promise.

Until our next…

Flea Market Finds #1: Overview

Heyas.  Been a long time, huh?  Nothing’s really changed since last we chatted, except for getting a few more of the sketch cards from the previous post finished (and a few new ones drawn up), and a seriously loudass person moving in upstairs pushing me to the end of my rope with this lousy place.  Seriously, if anyone knows of a halfway decent place with no noise problems to speak of that falls within my modest price range, I’m so effing outta here.

Ah, but that’s not why you called.  I happen to have some fun stuff I’m getting prepared to blog about.  For the past several months, they’ve been holding a small monthly flea market at the shell of our once thriving mall.  I asked my dad if they had any cards when the parents made it out there at the beginning of the year, and he said they did, but didn’t elaborate.  So I’ve been wanting to go ever since, to see what was there myself.

On Saturday, I finally made it out there.  I wasn’t expecting much, but I had $23 with me just in case.  And am I ever glad I did.  There was a guy there with cards.  He didn’t bring the whole card shop (of which he apparently owns one nearby, according to the business card), but he had a very nice selection of cards to peruse.  He had cards available ranging from the late ’60s to within the past couple years, in baseball, basketball, and football.

He seemed to be an old school Beckett-adhering type, but his cards were priced to move.  He mentioned to another person there that wandered by that his philosophy was that if a kid saw a cool card they liked, they should be able to afford it, which sounds like an awesome philosophy to me.  As such, the vast majority of his singles were $1, and almost everything on up seemed to be reasonably priced (I think I spotted a Felix Pie auto for $50 in the one little bunch hits behind glass, but that is easily forgivable when pretty much everything else was so reasonable).

He was also willing to deal, as you’ll soon see.  So I picked out a few singles I liked (9 in total, I believe), all but one marked $1 or $1.50 (the two of which he gave me for $1), and two random 25 card grab packs for $1 apiece that had interesting cards showing.  Then I came to the side of the table where he had several binders laid out, each with about a dozen pages full of cards in them.  They were marked $1 per page, or $10 for a whole binder.  As it happened, I managed to find a dozen random pages I like from the various binders.  So he stuck them all in one of the binders, and gave it to me for $7!

So yeah, I spent all $23 I came armed with.  In total, I ended up with about 170 cards, the vast majority of which I very much like.  Needless to say, I completely obliterated the number of cards and enjoyment I would’ve gotten out of your average blaster (+ maybe one $1.59 pack), and will be heading out there again next month.  There were many things I had to leave behind this time.

Anyway, the binder pages will make up the vast majority of the posts to follow in this little series.  I’ll go over them card-by-card, one or two pages at a time, because there is just so much random coolness in each page.

I’ll also be getting a few packages sent out over the course of this month, and a few of the cards from the flea market may even find their way into some of them.

1/3 of of one of the most iconic basketball cards of all time, and a small preview of the craziness to come…

Flea Market > Blaster.  It is a fundamental truth.

The fun has only just begun…

American Nitpicker (or something).

I’m a fourth generation antique and collectible “dealer.” That is to say, I buy and sell things that other people collect, display, or cherish. I do so to make a profit. While this is not, and will never be, my full time job, I have a great respect for folks that do turn it into one. I have to, because I grew up in a home where half the income came from antiques. My father learned the trade from my grandmother, and carried it on to my older step-brother and myself. From 1970 to 2004, my father bought and sold stuff full-time. He had a used book store, an antique store, and an antique mall before “retiring” to eBay. While he still has a booth and a showcase at a local antique mall, he’s primarily buying stuff he likes, as opposed to whatever turns a profit. Still, without the income of my mother, who was a nurse, we would have never made it. There are few businesses as demanding as this one, and fewer as rewarding.

When I watch American Pickers or Pawn Stars on the History Channel, I get worked up over the unreality of these reality shows. Heck, I even get angry when I watch Antiques Roadshow on PBS. Yes, there are people like the two guys on American Pickers who go out day after day buying and selling. That is reality. The unreality is the prices they are paying  for so little profit. I don’t even know how they make expenses. Likely, the other reality for that program is that it’s made for entertainment and the History Channel is picking up the tab on much of what these two guys do. As for Pawn Stars, the most believable of the three programs, what you don’t see is what I would truly be interested in. The show focuses on the more “interesting” items and characters that walk into the shop. It doesn’t go into the bread and butter that keeps that pawn shop in business. I suppose that might be boring for some people. Antiques Roadshow is similar. We only get to see the greatest booms or busts, we don’t see the mid-range stuff. That show is too focused on auctions anyway, which are no way for a newbie to make a living. These days, many auctions are dumping grounds for the ultra rare or the ultra blah. Those auctions I’ve encountered in recent years are the leftovers of dealers, or remnants from past auctions. Sometimes you even see an item shuffled around from one auction house to another. Anyway, my point is that you have to watch these shows for the entertainment value, rather then “reality.”

The true reality is that buying and selling anything used, be it antiques, collectibles, furniture, jewelry, or even clothing, is a feast or famine vocation. It depends on how much stock you have and how quickly you turn it over. Your mission is to buy something and sell it quickly so that you can reinvest the money into the next item. What extra profit you have goes towards expenses, bills, food, and creature comforts. Heck, sometimes the profit is used to increase your bankroll so that you can buy more stuff to make more profit on. The goal is money, money, money. The best way to do that is to not screw around on items that you cannot at least double your money on, or guarantee a super quick sale. The last thing you want to do is throw money at something and have it sit forever in your car, shop, or garage. Sitting money is dead money and must be avoided at all costs.

Granted, everyone will screw up and buy that one thing that you’ll never be able to sell at a profit. You might not even break even. You take what you can get out of it and start over. No use crying over it. Take what money you have and buy something you can sell. These are rules pounded into my by my father and seen in practice my entire life. One week we ate well, because we did well at a show, in the shop, or at a flea market. The next week we might struggle. We learned to live with those ups and downs. Sometimes we’d hold back one really good item (if we could afford to save it) in order to have some money during the lean times. No matter how bad it gets, the worse thing you can do is give up. Likely as not, even if you wanted to, you couldn’t give up. This type of business is very addicting.

The real estate mantra is “location, location, location.” The mantra for anyone in the antiques and collectibles biz is “condition, condition, condition.” I shake my head every time I see those American Pickers buy some rusty piece of junk and half-there doohickey. I don’t care if the rusty half-there doohickey is rare. It’s still a piece of junk that you don’t have time to restore, nor search out someone to restore for you. Leave that crap where it sits and buy something you don’t have to mess with in order to make it salable. Your time is far more valuable than any possible profit you might gain. It’s one thing to clean off cobwebs and dirt… Quite another to sandblast rust, clean off 30 years of cat excrement, and rebuild from scratch. If it looks nice, and you know you can sell it, then buy it. Once you begin musing on the possibility of “fixing it” or “someone might want it…” then leave it alone.

So, now the important things are laid out. Profit must be maintained and made quickly, and you never waste more time on an item than is necessary in order to sell it. Now comes the most important thing I’ve ever learned in this business: Patience. Every summer I would go with my father on his “buying trips.” These trips radiated out of Central New York and into the Adirondacks, Thousand Islands, Ontario, and once or twice down into Pennsylvania. One time we even went to Brimfield, MA to a giant antique show. This is very conservative compared to other folks in this racket. Many, many dealers will buy up and down the entire Atlantic coast. Some dealers will buy from one side of the country to the other and every where in between, while at the same time doing shows and flea markets. However, Dad preferred to stay close to home. Between these trips, stuff walking into the store, and going on “house calls,” he did all right. Doing all right does not mean he made money every time he went on a trip. I can fondly remember going on these 2-3 day journeys without having the money to stay at a motel, eat out, or even buy a candy bar. We stayed in the car, had a cooler full of bologna, mustard, bread, and cheap store brand soda. One week, we could travel from home in Interlaken, NY to Massena, NY and not buy a single thing. The next week, we’d have our car full before we even got to Oswego, NY. No matter what happened, Dad never freaked out or got frustrated. He knew he’d find something to make up for lost time and miles. Often times, he did. Sometimes, not so much.

Experience comes with the territory. I may be lucky to have family who are in the business, but that didn’t make it any easier for me to learn the ropes. My father is a veritable fountain of knowledge unparalleled by any dealer I have met in my lifetime. At 68, he’s Yoda and I’m still some farm boy looking at the stars. He never really sat down and taught me anything. I learned by watching him. I learned by doing it on my own. I made a lot of mistakes, and I still do. When I do, I ask Dad why something failed and he’ll tell me (usually by remarking that the item is “common” and therefore likely note salable). Sometimes, I buy things that he would never buy in a million years because he doesn’t look for that stuff, or understand it. Usually, this happens when I buy anything from the 1960s or 1970s. Dad is very old school in his buying, but he’s branched out recently.

Another unwritten rule in this business is adaptation. Adaptation keeps you from growing stale, especially if the stuff you buy goes out of fashion. Stuff tends to cycle in popularity and you have to ride those waves. You may not like Depression Glass, but if it’s selling you better keep an eye out for it. If those canoe paddles that were popular last year suddenly stop selling, liquidate them and find something else. When I see Dad buying G.I. Joes (the small kind, mind you), I know he’s doing it because he’s aware of the popularity, not because it’s something he likes to sell. That said, he’ll usually sell them to me, and then I’ll sell them to someone else. There are ways to make these partnerships, and while it may be easier with family, they do help when out on the road. Those extra set of eyes may see things you’ve missed. They might see things you want, and you might see things they want. You help each other and in the process you help fill your pockets. Still, you can’t afford to get stuck buying the same things over and over. Learn the market. Pay attention to what people are buying and selling.

The best thing about this business, besides making a score, is the people you meet. You will make friends and you will make enemies. You will get to know, or at least see, some strange characters. You might even sell something to someone famous. You really can’t have this connection if your business is focused online, as mine has been in recent years, but you will still mingle with people when you’re at yard sales, flea markets, auctions, or shows. There will always be that person you and your cohort (if you have one – I have Dad) will snicker about. There will always be that person you like seeing, even if you haven’t seen them for a few years, and talk like you’re old pals. This is a club. We are collectors, dealers, pickers, and flippers. We drink bad coffee from concession stands at flea markets, eat soggy tuna fish sandwiches while we hawk our wares at a show, sit in the rain at country auctions for that one item that makes it all worth it, and dodge doggy landmines when we go to a yard sale. We’re good, affable folk. We’re making a living, surely, but it’s nothing like what you see on TV. It’s better.

Vintage Saturday revisited

It’s always good when I get to spend a Saturday at the flea market or at the card shop. My goals are pretty much the same: I’m not really expecting to find anything I actually “need”, like for one of the sets I’m chasing or from a particular player.

What I’m basically looking for is something cool that I’ve seen on other blogs, something old that I don’t already have or hopefully I’ll run across something that I’ve never seen before.

This Saturday I feel like I’ve done all three, plus a little more. And it only cost me less than 3 dollars. Pretty cool. I don’t mind spending more, but honestly there wasn’t a lot to be had at the flea market yesterday so I think spending 3 dollars was about the limit.

I stopped by two tables. The first one had the obligatory zip lock bags taped up with random “packs” of cards. I picked up one of these only because the card on the front was one that I’m sure I’ve seen on another blog. I don’t remember the blog right now, but I do remember commenting something when I saw it. Probably something stupid, but anyway here’s the card:

A 1990 Topps of Walt Weiss. According to the back Walt is from Tuxedo,NY and is a big Bruce Springsteen fan who sometimes works as a guest disc jockey. I wonder if he used any baseball terminology as is DJ name?

Most of the rest of the pack was pretty boring, but there was another card that caught my eye:

Another 1990 Topps. It’s got a lot of cool stuff going on in this card; it’s a horizontal action shot of Eddie pitching into some shadowy, blurry figures. The ball looks like it’s in orbit around the ump and batters heads.

Next up the guy had pages of cards to be bought for a dollar a piece. Near the end of the stack was the only promising page. I immediately noticed the two 75 cards and a Psychedelic Tombstone card and that’s all I needed to see.

Sort of a Joy of a Completed Page, but not really since it was already completed for me. It won’t be for long though. The cards will be broken up into little groups. I’m toying with the idea of trying to collect the entire 1973 and 1980 Topps sets. The bottom three cards will be my first 73’s to start me on my way.

I spent probably 2 plus hours “playing” with these nine cards. I picked up the cards. Looked at them in the car. Ate lunch and then after mowing and a nap I picked them back up and sat out on my back porch checking them out again.

I’m pretty amazed at the photos in these cards. At first the photography doesn’t seem that great, but on closer inspection they’re actually pretty cool.

The Rivers card is really sharp and has nice colors.

Guerrero looks a little bit like actor Richard Edson. The signs in the background of these old cards are cool. This one looks like it says “Buck ..string CO.”.

Not only are the fronts cool, but I get a lot out of the backs too.

I think this is one of the main appeals of these cards and the current Heritage cards. I really like the cartoons and the write ups more than stat lines. I’m not much of a stat guy, but I should be.

This is my first 72 card and the Psychedelic Tombstone card lives up to the hype. It has the saturated colors, skewed horizon line, huge catchers mitt you can put your head in and of course he’s wearing some sort of women’s shoes. To top it all off he’s got a pretty cool name too. I’m pretty sure I’ve also seen this card on another blog, I just can’t remember where.

I really thought the backs would be as colorful and psychedelic as the fronts, but that’s not the case. I think the 1970 cards are more colorful. Their are little rounded tombstonesque corners near the card number and the cartoon.

I think this is my only Alomar card. As with all of these cards I didn’t even notice the creases or miscuts or pencil marks. This card features two creases and a couple of dinged corners. Still a cool card though.

To me that only adds to the character of these old cards.

I didn’t know Jim Perry, I’ve only heard of Gaylord. It has a nice write up on the back.

The World Series highlight card is pretty cool. I realized it was miscut only after getting into the car. the part that I can see is a name that looks like Morrlee. Or maybe Murrlll. Haha. Checking out the checklist online hasn’t helped me to figure out who it is.

The card itself is cool. I got an appreciation from horizontal and night cards from Night Owl and this card is pretty cool. It looks like the Mets won this game. The series was finally won in 7 games by the defending champion Oakland A’s. I would have liked to see this series. From the wikipedia article it seems like it would have been an entertaining series to watch.

Getting back to the page I can’t think of anything interesting or witty to say about this card.

Actually I haven’t said anything witty or interesting yet about any of these cards. I need to get cracking on that. I do like the clouds though.

I can see another player in a Houston hat in the background of the Rader card. I think I can almost make out the lettering on the sign. I think it says “Matthew’s Garden Supply”. That may not be right. I’m pretty sure on the Matthew’s and the Supply part though.

I can tell from the LaGrow card that the photographer used some fill lighting on this card. Or possibly a reflector to bounce some light back into his face. I think that’s right. You can see the bright sunlight hitting his left eye and the shadow from his hat. The reason why I think some other lighting or a reflector was used is because his face is well exposed and also because of the hard shadow on his left nostril that should be lit from the sunlight.

Okay enough with all the Photo CSI stuff. Let’s get on with the cards from the category of Stuff I Didn’t Know Existed.

I only found 7 of these cards. They’re all black and white and were produced in 1988. These have cool write ups on the back and come from the Charles Martin Conlon Collection.

Starting with the top card: David Dale Alexander, Charles Walter Dressen, Carl William Mays, Robert Moses Grove, Jay Hanna Dean (dizzy dean), Harold Homer Chase and Frederick Charles Merkle.

Some of these photos look a little like dust bowl era photos from Dorothea Lange.

The name sounded familiar so I looked him up. Here is a bio about him at Sporting News.

Here is a cool Gallery of some of his more famous photos.

Here’s a back for posterity sakes.

Next up is a guy in an OU uniform. It’s Adrian Cooper.

I couldn’t quite place the name at first. I knew I had read about him recently which isn’t a good sign. Apparently he ran afoul of the law with some sort of money laundering. Nice. I find one OU player and he’s a convicted felon. Cool. I guess it’ll still go into the OU binder. If I refuse to put athletes that ran afoul of the law in my football binder it’d be pretty empty.

All in all a pretty successful day for cool vintage cards.

Alright that’s it for another random vintage roundup. Thanks for reading.

Best painted cards i’ve seen!

I came across these cool NFL cards when I went to the flea market this last Saturday. I try to make it a point to check out the flea market whenever I can.

Anyway, I picked up four “packs” of different sets of cards. They were cheap enough so I was just happy to at least get the card that was pictured on the front.
In this pack of cards the dude included cards 1-24.

They’re detailing the first 24 years of Super Bowls. I’m guessing this is a subset from a bigger NFL set of cards, but I’m not sure.

If so, I’m wondering if they are all painted like this or they just had this subset as a painted set?

If it is a whole NFL painted set I’m going to try and collect that. Or at least see if the guy comes back next week and buy up as much as I can find.

I really like these painted cards, much better than anything I’ve seen recently.

It’s going to be hard for me not to show off every card front to back in this post.

This card reminds me of in the old days when a quarterback would drop back to pass they really dropped back about 10-15 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Even in college now the QBs usually do a one step, three step drop and get rid of the ball. Sometimes they scramble or get flushed out of the pocket, but nothing like before when it was a design of the play for a quarterback to run backwards before letting go of the ball. I’m no great historian of NFL or football in general, but I’m guessing that Bill Walsh and 49’s were one of the first teams to have significant changes in their passing game as well as different theories in pass blocking. If anybody has conflicting ideas on this let me know.

I think he’s the first Native American QB or player in the NFL. He played college ball at Stanford. Hopefully my guy Bradford will do well in the NFL next year. What am I saying? Jim Thorpe played pro ball and is Native American Indian. I think maybe he’s the first American Indian Heisman winner.

Is it just me, or does it seem like teams made more consecutive trips to super bowls back then? Maybe it’s parity or salary cap stuff, I don’t know. It just seems like random teams have a better chance to be a part of the big game.

In my opinion this is the worst looking card of the bunch. Mostly because of the way Randy White is placed on the bottom of the card. Not so much his position but they way the background looks. I wish they could’ve blended the backgrounds together better instead of that blocky looking background. This is the only dual MVP card in the bunch.

I love the detail in his hands and facial features.

Their are actual game photos on the back of the cards.

Immaculate Reception?

Pretty cool detail in the helmet. I didn’t realize the Dolphins logo had those little lines outside the ring. I think they should have the dolphin tail obscured by the ring so it looks like he’s jumping out at us.

All these Cowboys cards are making me hungry! Especially the Chuck Howley card. Pizza Hut used to have these posters of Dallas Cowboy players that they were giving away as part of a set. They were painted in the same style as these cards on a canvas like paper stock.

I found some in the attic this summer and my dad gave them away. I’m not much of a Cowboys fan, so it didn’t matter much to me. Hopefully on my next trip to my parents I can see if I have any more laying around.

I guess by now you can tell that I’m going to upload every card in the subset.

Sort of works, doesn’t it?

I didn’t realize they would be this nice. I only picked them up because of this Bart Starr card on the front.

Another benefit of the painted cards is that when chipping does occur it just looks like the background is unfinished. I still can’t tell if this card is chipped on the left edge or if that is just from the painting.

Doesn’t matter anyway, I love these cards. They’re going right into the binder. All this for only 25 cents is a pretty good deal.

Joe playing Keanu

I’m not a Matrix or Keanu fan but I was quite impressed when the first movie of the trilogy came out. Since then I’ve seen it many times but never been patient enough to sit down and watch #2 or 3 in full.
Today I have the morning off and took some time to browse through my collection and found the only Joe Torre card in my PC:

Gotta give it to Joe because you gotta have some moves and patience if your coaching Manny…

Luis Aparicio: An affordable HOF’er

Luis Aparicio is the living proof that you can still purchase great HOF’ers, even graded, for less than $15 on ebay any given sunday.
During his 18 seasons MLb career, he achieved many distinctions:
  • 1956 Al ROY
  • 10 time All Star
  • 1966 World Series champ with the O’s
  • 9 Gold Golves at SS (five of them in a row)
  • He lead the AL in stolen bases 9 straight seasons and went back home with 506 in his career (34th all time leader)
Finally in 1984 he was elected to the HOF receiving the highest % of votes among his class that also included Harmon Killebrew, Don Drysdale, Pee Wee Reese and Rick Ferrell. He’s also a proud member of the Venezuelan Baseball HOF in which he was inducted back in 2003.
The only Aparicio card I own so far is this 1963 Topps but in the next couple of weeks I’ll be making a run after a graded copy (even if it’s a PSA 1) of his 1956 RC. In the meantime, enjoy:

That guy could run… without getting caught often: Dave Lopez

You can steal many bases but..
How many times were you caught?
It’s like baseketball stars (no offense): keep shooting and eventually you’ll average more than 20pts a game. Some guys really suck so there’s no rule of thumb.
The caught stealing “CS” data has been collected since the 1914 season. Many of the all time leaders played before that era so therefore we will never be able to quantify how effective they really were. Some of those guys are: Honus Wagner, Bobby Hamilton, Ty Cobb, Max Carey and many other greats.
Among the top 30 all time leaders, the best stolen bases / caught stealing ratios belong to:
  1. Tim Raines 5.53 (#5 overall leader)
  2. Willie Wilson 4.98 (#11 overall leader)
  3. Dave Lopez 4.88 (#23 overall leader)
  4. Rickey Henderson 4.28 (#1 overall leader)
  5. Joe Jorgan 4.25 (#10 overall)
  6. Vince Coleman 4.24 (#6 overall leader and the only one right were he belongs)
  7. Ozzie Smith 3.91 (#20 overall)
  8. Kenny Lofton 3.88 (#13 overall)
  9. Barry Bonds 3.64 (#29 overall)
  10. Otis Nixon 3.33 (#14 overall)
  11. Bert Campaneris 3.26 (#12 overall. Sorry Bert)
  12. Lou Brock 3.05 (#2 overall, wow that’s not right)
  13. Maury Wills 2.81 (#18 overall)
  14. Bret Butler 2.17 (#22 overall)
Going vintage and showing off a card will take me to this Dave Lopes 1976 Topps card commemorating his 38 consecutive stolen bases record. It took 53 years for someone to break Max Carey old record of 32 stolen bags. If you think that’s amazing, just try to imagine Mr. Vince Coleman, current record holder, stealing 50 in a row between the 1988 and ’89 season. That’s something else.

That guy could run: Bert Campaneris

The all time latino stolen base leader, Bert Campaneris is one of those guys who amazingly does not get much attention from the hobby. If you ebay his name you’ll come up with less than 70 results and surprisingly none of them is a triple threads, sterling, etc, etc, used/symbolic piece.
When you look at his stats you’ll see he ran away with 649 bases and lasted 19 seasons.
Great stealer and not from Pittsburgh, he’s guilty of batting more than 279 only twice and having a whooping 259 all time batting average. Imagine Bert with at least a 280 average and therefore more opportunities to fly around the bases.
I’m proud to own…

Maybe Sammy will also resurrect

Now that McGwire is back in a MLB uniform, I’ll take a moment to blog about none other than Mark’s nemesis and who helped him put baseball back on the map with their steriod-Hr race: Slammin Sammy.
In the late 90’s Sammy was by far the most recognizable face the Dominican Republic had in MLB. His popularity was so outstanding that he couldn’t walk around in public without 3 or more bodyguards breathing on his neck. The first and only time I’ve seen him in person happened at a gas station where your royal highness Sammy was just showing off his brand new Dodge Viper, the first ever that came down here. Right behind, 3 Ryan Howard type of guys were escorting him on a Mercedes S500. Saying he was cocky and arrogant would have been a compliment.
He bought several fancy properties in Santo Domingo, Casa de Campo and forgot the exact address of his hometown “San Pedro de Macoris”.
Long back were the days where he played during our winter baseball season.
He’s one of the worst cases I’ve seen of money changing totally who you are (or who WE think you are). In my opinion, he’s not a bad guy but he fouled the ball hanging around with the wrong people. That was the problem.

Your weather forecast for the 80’s

Prospecting has never been easy. It used to be a tough job only for scouts trying to make a living as pythoness and oracles but now they’re not alone; diehard collectors/prospectors spend long hours attending minor league games, reading Baseball America reports and hunting young kids for autographs before and after ball games. It’s a we’ll known established business and it’s here to stay.
Back in 1976-77 amateur drafts the Cubs were shopping around in the late rounds trying to make the most out of their rights but !damn! they got it wrong. Actually most teams got it wrong if you check Topps 1980 cards 661-686 but I’m not teasing the Cubs fans, is just that I like to write about cards that I proudly own.
When these are your Future Stars:
I just can say it’s going to be a cloudy and stormy decade…

1991 Panini stickers

1991 was a great year. I was just starting high school and officially began collecting. The first baseball trading cards I got my hands on were the now cheap and famous 1991 Panini stickers. I don’t know how much money we paid for the album and single packs back then, but I do remember I saved and used for this purpose every single penny I was supposed to spend on lunch and whatever extra cash I received from one of my crazy uncles.
Every morning, we would get to school early enough to buy and share our pulls. If you got there late and missed the seller and didn’t fell like waiting until tomorrow, at 10:15am you had 45 minutes (lunch break) to sneak out and run 3 blocks down the street to a nearby private school where the seller was at that time.
Did I ever complete the 1991 album? No. Later that year we were introduced to “regular” baseball cards and never looked back.
For my surprise and delight, a couple of moths ago I found these stickers in a local flea market and I knew they were coming home with me right away.
Now that Panini is in the baseball business once again, maybe they’ll resurrect this project and bring back the album glory days for our kids.

Shave & Behave

I’m not a Yankee fan so that puts me in a good position to bash or praise the pin$tripe$. One of the things I’ve always found ridiculous about them is the “Shave & Behave” policy every team member must obey. Do you remember how Giambi used to look like Emile Hirsch on “Into the Wild”? Suddenly he gets hired by the Yanks and the worst thing he could get away with was a pornstache.
Remember Johnny Damon’s look? Now he’s Hideki Matsui twin brother. And the list goes on an on.
What would I like to see back again in every single clubhouse: attitude.
Like Reggie wearing gold Ray-Ban Aviators:
Overall, I think restrictions on how a player should dress and look are ridiculous. Every sports player must behave, note that I said behave, as a role model. That means charity related work and not free Gillette advertising. Another active, overrated, fancy looking Yank thicks your clock? I’ll give you a clue: He used to be Mariah Carey DJ…

Fleer 1983. Only 640 cards short to complete this set…

Fleer 1983 is one of the 80’s sets I like and recently realized I own a couple of singles I bought separately. With plenty of stadium background shots, I think you can’t go wrong. Even tough a lot of players are featured posing for the cameras, the “playball” felling is there not like some studio shots we saw too often in 90’s. Yes, I wish there were more “action” photos but at least there’s a healthy mix of both worlds.
Going back to my PC, so far I own:
Frank Viola RC looking and smiling like Fonzie
Ryan taken into custody after striking out 245 batters that season
Carl after a serious night out with the boys and just 22 MLB seasons
Gaylord Perry winning his 300 hundred game at 43 but looking like he’s 64
Brett playing Brett
Gwynn RC flexing the muscles showing off his Pascual Perez hair style
…and finally, Fisk hugging Richard Gere or is it Gary Carter?

DGW Draft gone wild. Paul Coleman. 1989

June 1989, Draft day:
With the 6th pick of the first round… the St. Louis Cardinals select…. Paul Coleman…
Doesn’t this guy looks like Bo Jackson stunt double? Don’t you dare lie to me!! He even has the blue Kansas uniform.
But look on the back of the card and it gets even more suspicious, Topps compared him to Bo!!
Truth be told, I was 100% sure I had found a great Bo Jackson non-existent 1990 RC when I landed this “gem” out of a box full of 90’s wannabes. Some props to Paul because who else can say he struck out 21 batters in a game and hit even one 500 ft. HR in his life?
I’m guessing some scout or top Cardinals Exec. lost his job a couple of months after they chose Coleman. Just guessing.

SP LC. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

Recently I’ve been sharing my opinion with other collectors in some blogs and websites about my thoughts on “cuts signatures” and most important of all: “SP Legendary Cuts”.
Why is this brand so important for me:
SP LC’07 was the first HOF/Greats players themed hobby box I ever bought. After I graduated from college in 2003, I jumped back to my collecting habits once again after more than a 5 year hiatus.
With Beckett Baseball as my bible, my mouth watered every time I saw those amazing SP LC, and Absolute Memorabilia pulls in the “Precious Pulls” & “Market Watch” section.
So when in 2007 I found myself with some extra cash to spend, I was ready to order online my first SP LC’07 box. Besides the great hit pictured below that I managed to pull (yes, I was excited), what got me the most was the amazing check list. Add the good looking black design of the base cards with the now reduced price of less than $60/box and you have a best seller.
But then disaster stroke. SP LC’08 came along the way and suddenly your hits were a Jerred Weaver “Destination Stardom” jersey and a Curt Schilling “Destination History” jersey. And don’t get me started on the base cards check list: Dan Haren, Rich Hill, etc, etc, etc…
My point is, if UD will keep making this product and they INSIST on including active MLB player, PLEASE get rid of anyone who is not a PROVEN HOF’er candidate just waiting for retirement and the 5 year WL.
I’m kind of a vintage guy nowadays but I’ll be tempted everytime I see a well done HOF’er themed product.

Hey Pete, we also bet on baseball.

I remember rooting for the Cubs (obviously it proved to be worthless) and the Braves back in the Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz/Avery days starting up the early 90’s.
There were 4 of us (Gregorio, David, Hector and me) and our morning ritual consisted on visiting the local betting place every day. We had to walk 15 minutes and be there early in oder to get the best “lineas” (odds) and most important of all: your own copy of a “pitcheo” (piece of paper with today’s games/times/schedules/pitchers & stats).
Was it legal at our age? Nop, but who cares. We were only 16 years old back then but placing a bet was easier and safer than buying a beer in a “colmado”, also forbidden at that age but you know the deal.
After a couple of weeks visiting the place, the old folks got to know our faces and stopped staring at us.
Our betting patterns were really bad: Gregorio would always bet on the Cubs no matter who they were against with. Now remember that in 1996 they finished the year 76-86.
David & Hector managed to do OK. About me, let’s say I was not as bad as Gregorio.

1968 Topps Game. Matty Alou

The middle brother of the Alou saga, Matty is one the baseball players of whom I’ll collect any affordable baseball card I run into.
About the card picture below, I bought it on Ebay a couple of months ago and really enjoy looking at it and comparing this piece with the rest of my PC.
I think that overall you gotta love the design of 1963 Topps Game inserts. This 33 cards set is absolutely gorgeous with its flip-flop front letters, round corners and white back ground. With most cards on this set selling for less than US$3 and the top sellers (Mantle, Mays, Clemente, Rose, Carew and Aaron) going for less than US$9/each, I’m planning to give it a try and complete the set. Looks easy and affordable considering a full non-graded set was sold yesterday for $63.98

I want my money back 1: Felix Pie

Nobody ever said he was meant to be the next A-Rod but !damn! I had high hopes on Felix Pie. But I was not alone, in 2007 Baseball America ranked him as the #1 Cubs prospect in their farm system & #49 overall.
So high were my expectations that I now regret to say that Pie is one of only 2 players (Tulowitzki is the other one) I’ve chased down on Ebay until I finally bought his RC (pictured below). Don’t remember how much I paid for it but you can bet it was more than the $3 & $4 bucks his autos are selling for nowadays.
Anyway I’ll keep this card. Do I have another option? Nop. What’s the worst that could happen? Sharing a jail cell with former MLB and now deported and prosecuted women killer Ambiorix Burgos? Bahhh.

The first Dominican who ever made to the show: Ossie Virgil

It’s been a couple of months since I wrote something on this blog. That doesn’t mean I forgot about the hobby, is just that lately I haven’t been able make it down to my nearest vintage flea market (a 3 hours drive from home) and therefore I had to rely on Ebay for some graded cards that I can afford and mean something to me.
Since my last post, I’ve added a few cards to my PC and new long term project. One of those pieces is none other than Osvaldo Jose Pichardo Virgil a.k.a “Ossie Virgil”, the first Dominican who ever made it to the show.
Born in 1932, Osvaldo debuted in September 23rd, 1956 playing just 3 games in what was left of the season but he opened the doors of a brighter future to 490 other Dominican players who have debuted since then and later became legends like the Alou brothers, Rico Carty, Juan Marichal and many others.
The social and economic impact baseball has in our society is incommensurable. Just think about how many prospects are currently making their way through the MLB teams farm systems established in the DR. Hundreds of them.
In a funny misspelled note, according to Ossie’s Topps RC, he was born in “Corpus Christi” which is wrong. His hometown is “Monte Cristi”, one of the poorest provinces in the DR.

By the way, who won this contest???

Back in the early 2000 I was busy at the university and completely lost track of baseball and therefore baseball cards. I don’t recall how this sweepstakes piece found its place into my collection.
Who won that bat?????? 
I’ve been doing some research on the Internet but so far I’ve just been able to find that:
“Robert Shell (14 year old back then) from Baraboo Wis. won a 1928 Philadelphia athletics jersey signed by Cobb, valued at $332,500″ as part of this contest.
But who won that bat????

My Ruth’s cards

You gotta love reprints as long as they’re not from Todd Van Poppel. So when you hit a Hall of Fame shot courtesy of Score 1992:
Or a 1976 Topps honoring the Bambino:
Just open the binder and add that up to your collection.
The truth and main reason for this post is that I’ve never seen an original Ruth card in person. It’s not like the Babe is the only one missing on my list but it’s a tight race between him and Cobb for first place; keep digging and I still need to see/own DiMaggio, CY, Gehrig,  and you name it.
Meanwhile I’ll keep digging during my flea market adventures and sooner or later I’ll be the luckiest man on the face of the earth… unquote.

Cool nicknames: “The human vacuum cleaner”

A sign that you’ve made it to the show is having your nickname. If you’re lucky enough it will stick with you through good and bad; in sickness and health; Pujols and Andrew Jones type of season, for ever.
I have to admit that Brooks Robinson has one of the coolest nickname ever, forget about the Iron Horse, Will the Thrill, La Cobra, cause the Human Vacuum Cleaner rules.
Bring on the Hoover!!!

My Rickey Henderson RC tks to Cardboard Icons

Back on March 7th, Ben from CardBoard Icons hosted a contest celabrating his 25,000 visits in which the winner, a.k.a yours truly, won a 1980 Topps #482 Rickey Henderson RC. 

Being new in the blogosphere there’s no need to say I was thrilled when I found out.
Tks Ben, this card is mint compare to some in my vintage PC.

Centered? the Wade Boggs saga. Card #630

Ever since I picked up this card I’ve been curious about the “centering”. For a while I thought it was my copy who had the problem. Browsing Ebay today I found this one just like it. Looking further into the matter, I found the match #629 for the AL Batting title runner up Mr. Carew… including part of Boggs sleeve.

What I still don’t get is why is Fleer had to split the card instead of using the single shot.
Riddle me this, riddle me that, uncentered on the front, centered on the back