Saturday, February 9, 2019

I Went To The Card Show


Last night I was deliberating whether of not I wanted to go to the twice-monthly card show here in Nashville. Even though this was the first weekend that 2019 Topps would be at the show, collecting modern has been a joyless endeavor for me for years now. But I didn't have shit else to do this morning, so I went.

There is one dealer at the show who usually opens up a quite a bit of all the baseball releases. Let's call him D1. Great guy with really cheap prices. You have to get there pretty early to hit him up because there are a handful of guys who clean him out pretty quickly. Even though I got to the show at 7:30, I was too late. There was a guy who already had picked out close to a couple hundred inserts. (Insert bloat another topic for another time....) I was able to pick through the left overs and find 6 Tigers inserts for $2 total. (Look for another blog post later in the week about the 2019 Tigers I picked up)



I asked D1 if he had any base I could look through. He was in the middle of trying to come up with a price for the guy in front of me and said that he did but it was going to be a little bit before he could dig them out. The dealer beside him, from now on to be known as D2, piped up and said he had plenty. D2 is a super nice guy too, but his prices are always too high. I usually hit him up AFTER I've picked up what I needed from D1. But I was only looking for base so I figured what the hell?

I was able to find all 10 Tigers base cards, plus a couple of inserts. When I asked him how much he said $5. Only because D2 is a good guy, I was able to stifle down "are you fucking kidding me?!?" That's a $1.50 worth of cards there tops." I didn't want to throw away 20 minutes of time spent standing there though so I handed over the $5.



I circled the rest of the show, finding nothing worth looking through, and headed for the door, still in a foul mood about overpaying. Right in front of the door though, there was a table with a couple of dime boxes that I remembered seeing on my way in. I looked down and the 1983 reprint Dylan Bundy caught my eye. I've been casually working on this set, with everything I've picked up so far coming from dime boxes. So I grabbed a chair and started digging in.

Boy was I glad that I did.

I ended up pulling 20 of the 1983 inserts, including a few decent ones.



I also found cards for several other insert sets that I'm casually working on.



Some older insert sets and parallels. Love the Sosa's and the Bruce Sutter.



Some football, WELCOME BACK KOTTER, and college baseball.



A complete set of these Fleer inserts. With Lee Smith getting in this year they are all HOFers.



A nice little stack of 1975 Topps minis. I'm not working on this set so most of these will be trade bait.



A few vintage cards that are in much too good of shape to be in a dime box.



Oh yeah, there were Tigers too!



I ended up pulling exactly 130 cards for $13. I picked up a lot of needs and those I don't will go into trade piles. Needless to say, when I left the show I was no longer in a foul mood.

And it was much more fun than grocery shopping would turn out to be.




Sunday, January 27, 2019

$600

Hey there! It's been a while. How've you been? Thanks for asking.

Hell, I damn near forgot this thing was still here.

Well, that's something I'm hoping to improve on this year (if you're reading this I've already surpassed last year's output). Like so many other bloggers, it became much easier to post my thoughts and comments on the hobby in real time on Twitter rather than sit down and spend an hour or two writing a blog post. But every once in a while a topic is just too long for twitter. This is one of those times.



After 40+ years of building at least some kind of set just about every year, I've decided to call it quits. No I'm not leaving the hobby. I'm no longer going to BUILD sets. I'm just going to buy them instead.

Buying complete sets is not new to me. I've been doing it with Bowman and Bowman Draft since 2013, Archives since 2013, and Flagship and Update since 2016.

Like most set collectors I've grown tired of spending big money to build sets that are only worth a fraction of what I spent (and with a slew of useless inserts that are worthless too. What exactly am I paying that much money for? The disappointment of opening packs??).


With what should have been a relatively easy set last year with Big League, I'm now over $200 into it and I'm still 25+ cards short of a complete set.

Happily those days are over now.

So I've sat down and made a list of what sets I want to /collect/buy, how much I expect to pay for them, and added in for binders and pages, and came up with a projected budget for 2019.

$600

What am I hoping to get for that $600? Well, here goes:

Baseball
Topps Flagship    $50
Topps Update      $25
Bowman              $30
Bowman Draft    $30
Archives             $100*****
Big League         $50
Donruss              $50

Football
Score                  $75
Donruss              $40

Binders and Pages $150

Total $600

Some of these are known expenditures while others are guesses, because I've never bought some of these sets before. For instance, I know you can get a factory sets of Flagship for $50 and Donruss football for $40. I have no clue what hand-collated Big League or Donruss baseball sets will cost. I don't even know if anybody even does them. I guess this could all make for potential future blog posts as each set is acquired to see how it's going. Yes, I purposefully left the word "interesting" out of that sentence.

*****Archives base sets can be had for much cheaper than $100. I just picked up the 2018 set for $35 shipped. But Archives is pretty much the only set where the inserts are interesting enough for me to pick up too. Plus you never know which year there are going to be base SP or not, or a really cool Tigers auto like Rusty Kuntz in 2017.*****


"But all the fun in set building is, you know, actually BUILDING the set." I agree. However, I've reached the age in life when keeping hundred dollar bills in my wallet IS A LOT MORE FUN. Or better yet, spending those hundred dollar bills building vintage sets at NSCC will be THE MOST FUN!

As I've previously posted, there are other ways to have fun with sorting and paging sets that can give some slight illusion to having built them yourself. I'm not linking to it because you can literally read that post next when you finish this one. Or you can skip to it now and come back to this one later. I'm down with whatever path you choose.

Am I going to miss set building? Absolutely. There IS a great sense of pride and accomplishment when finishing a build. But with each year it gets harder and more expensive. As someone once said, "all good things must come to an end." (The producers of LOST maybe?)






Thursday, May 18, 2017

12 Steps To Properly Page a Topps Flagship Set





For years now I've paged my Topps flagship sets with complete disregard to the numbers that are on the back of the cards. The haphazard order of these sets has always bothered me. I think of my Topps sets not just as a collection of cards, but instead a yearbook, that flows from one year to the next. I can pull a binder off the shelf and it's an orderly review of the year that was in baseball as well as card collecting. Because I absolutely love my system of paging cards, I've decided to share it in detail with the rest of the #collectfam. I hope you enjoy, and even better, come up with a system of your own to share. As you will see, I borrow heavily from the beloved method that Fleer used to organize their sets in the 80's, but with a few changes of my own. Here are 12 easy steps to take your flagship album to greater heights.

1. DO NOT DRINK ANY ALCOHOL WHILE ATTEMPTING TO PAGE YOUR SET.  TRUST ME. I CAN'T FUCKING STRESS THIS ENOUGH.





2. Purchase this binder at your local Target, Walmart, Office Depot, etc. This binder will PERFECTLY hold a 1,000 to 1,100 paged set of Series 1, 2, & 3. It will also hold a customizable spine so you don’t have an endless wall of blank binders spines on your binder shelves.




3. I use these pages because these are readily available at my local Target. A couple of bags will do. If you have another source of pages, I'm sure that will work just fine too. But I'm no longer responsible for the outcome if they don't. It's kinda like a chili recipe. If you want to add beans, that's on you. 




4. Take your SERIES 1 & 2 SETS ONLY and sort them into teams and subsets. (Set Series 3 aside for later) In 2016, there were 4 subsets: World Series, Team Cards, Highlights/Checklists, and League Leaders. 


5. Once you’ve sorted everything as shown, alphabetize all your team piles before paging. This also works as a great double check to make sure you don’t have an Indians card in the Twins pile. Yes, this does happen. Frequently in fact, if you don’t follow step #1. 




6. Page in the following order (all according to the previous season, in this case 2015)


a.     World Series winning team
b.     World Series losing team
c.     LCS losing team with better record
d.     LCS losing team with worse record
e.     Four LDS losing teams starting with best record to worst record
f.      Wild Card losing team with best record
g.     Wild Card losing team with worse record

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h.     The rest of the remaining teams starting with best record to worst record.


7. With the remaining subset cards, I’m fluid about the order I put them in. To me, the whole point of paging a set this way is to give it a nice visual continuity. Preferably, the subsets would all consist of 9 cards each so they could all be on one page, but it’s never that easy, is it? I do the best I can then to arrange them so they are not broken up across pages. 2016 actually worked out well for this. There were 4 slots left on the page after placing all the teams, and there were 4 World Series Highlights cards. Well there you go. After that it flowed nicely with the 30 Team cards, 6 AL Leaders cards, 6 NL Leaders cards, and the 10 Highlights Checklists cards.

8. Taking a break here for a FAQ.



a.   Why isn’t the front page in alphabetical order? Taking a cue from 1981 Fleer, which instead of just alphabetizing the cards by team, more or less had the best player on the team first, working down the worst player on the team last, I thought it would make for a great look to have the biggest stars of the World Champs staring at me when I opened the binder to page 1. I've even altered it in recent years to have the World Series MVP be the first card in the binder. Now I could’ve easily put those 9 cards in alphabetical order, but as long as Topps keeps putting horizontally laid out cards in their sets, I cannot do that.  So I mix them up to make it visually appealing to me. Vertical cards together and horizontal cards together. (Hey Topps! Pick one or the other!! Even if it's horizontal, which looks horrible paged!!!)


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b.   What do you do when teams have the same record? This is very easy to answer. I just pick the team l like better and page them first. Obviously, the Tigers break all ties and the Red Sox lose all ties. The Marlins win most ties and the Indians lose most ties. You can see where I'm going with this.



9. OK, so now it’s time for Series 3. This will be short and sweet. It mostly works the same way as Series 1 & 2, but this time paging according to the results of the current season, and not the last one (in this case, 2016). 



a.   Thinking of my flagship set as a yearbook of sorts, this method allows the binder to “flow” from one season into the next. I put the Rookie Debut cards first as their own subset, since they are not true rookie cards anyway that should be with the teams. Then go the Home Run Derby cards, followed by the All-Star starting lineups and the reserves. Then the World Series winning team down to 2016’s worst team.  I like breaking it up this way so that when I’m looking at this series I can see who the big pickups were, as opposed to mixing them with Series 1 & 2 and not being able to tell (I guess I could look at the numbering on the back, but I’ve already come this far and besides, I like it this way)


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b.   This method also allows you to go ahead and get Series 1 & 2 paged up as soon as you complete them during the season.



10. BACK TO THE IMPORTANCE OF STEP 1. Since Topps is hell bent on designing every card in a 1000 card set to look almost identical, it’s very easy to get cards in the wrong piles and screw the whole thing up and have to go back and fix it. I have not followed Step 1 in the past and have always ended up screwing up somewhere. Case in point, with only a few pages left to go, I found that I missed the goddamned All-Star logo on Stephen Vogt and had to unpage TWENTY ONE PAGES to put him in the correct slot. (Note to Topps, or any employees who might be reading: PLEASE give the subsets different designs than the base cards. For some reason this was stopped around 2007 and it’s AWFUL. Look how beautiful that turned out in 1983 vs. 2013. Please help an old man out here.)





11. Another FAQ. What about inserts/gimmicks/parallels? Put them in a penny sleeve and a monster box. You're likely never going to get all of these anyway, and really, a binder with empty pockets just looks bad. 




12. Sit back now and disregard Step 1. You did it my friend! You can enjoy the weightlessness of being unencumbered by the arbitrary numbering system on the backs of the cards. Enjoy looking at that first page and not having to stare at a blank pocket in the bottom left corner where #7 would usually go. Disregard Step 1 even more as you turn the pages of your binder and enjoy the “order." And finally, if you are so inclined, disregard Step 1 even further, and write a blog post about it. 




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