This Panini Black Joe Flacco base card, left behind by a hit collector and a Steelers fan at my local, was the last card of 2012. (Well, along with some Series 2 Topps and Topps Update that were way too boring to scan, it was.) Pretty sweet, even for an obvious Panini product. Jeez, these things are $180 a pack? I guess I can forget about getting the base cards of Eli and Fred Jackson (who has been cursed since I started collecting him).
But let's rewind about a week or so, to some other late entries...
I got a package in from Stubby just in time for Christmas, with 3 CDs' worth of tastefully selected Christmas music and some bubble gum cards. This Harper (which may be the first base Harper I've gotten all year, thanks a lot, Topps!) was in there along with some other '12 Topps I was still missing. But wait...there's more!
ZOMG A CHECKLIST
Yeah, but it's an unmarked, 50 year old checklist that I needed for my never-to-be-completed '62 set. Of course, I said this about '75 too, and I finished that, so who knows?
w0000000000000 A RINGSIDE
w00000000000000 ANOTHER RINGSIDE, this one of Jersey Joe! I'm 2/3 done with the Ringside Jersey Joes if I'm remembering correctly (the third being his in action card with Ray Robinson)...
...yeah, this guy. Now, when I got this package, I may not have had him listed as a have in my wants (I think my want list is possessed, anyway), because I'm pretty sure I had to take #43 out, but this is indeed a double.
What to do with a double of Sugar Ray friggin' Robinson that both Stubby and I have? Hmmm...
Well, if any of the three of you who collect Ringsides need him (it's a rough card as you can see, but it's still Sugar Ray), let me know soon (don't wait until July, eh?) and maybe we can work out a trade (an awesome deal would be one for a few commons that both Stubby and I need, but I need his want list first). Otherwise, I'll do a contest of some sort with this. Because I have the power to do giveaway contests with 60+ year old Topps cards of boxing champions, yes I do.
Huge thanks again to Stubby for the parcel (for the 3rd time, I think)!
And that's how 2012 ended, cardwise.
Been an interesting year's worth of collecting. I've watched myself and a lot of the folks I trade with, read and bitch about this stuff with get very, very frustrated with the current card hobby, especially with Topps. (Panini are harder to be mad at, since they're just kinda churning stuff out.) Most collectors I know feel like they as well be up the street from 1 Whitehall St. protesting the Topps fatcats at Zuccotti Park, and are heard and regarded almost as much as the Occupiers were by those other fatcats in that neighborhood. A lot of folks are thinking of going strictly vintage for now on/again. Some already have. Me, I'm just not seeing much of a point in paying the premium to open wax packs just to pay for someone else's autographs, most of which they don't want either. So, I probably won't be doing much of that in '13. I never say never, and I do like what I've seen of both base Topps and Heritage next year, but still, they seem determined to rid their customer base of set builders and only sell to compulsive gamblers, so it's kind of hard to rationalize giving my business to a company that pointedly acts like they don't want it.
It's also been a rough year in other ways for some of my local collectors, especially down in Dr. Wax's neck of the woods, because of Hurricane Sandy. The enormity of Sandy makes it kinda hard to think about bubble gum cards specifically, but I know a lot of folks lost a lot of things that they loved, and that's rough to think about. If you were one of the people who did lose cards (or anything else), please reach out to this site. I can't promise miracles or anything else, but if you're willing to tell us (and by "us" I mean "other collectors, as well as people I'm in touch with who aren't collectors") your story, we'll see if we can help you in any way.
Not to be all gloom and doom as 2012 ends, I've had a lot of fun this year, both within the card hobby and in general. I've gotten a ton of awesome stuff, had all kinds of laughs with my fellow collectors and friends, made some trades, travelled a bunch (I saw games in 6 Major League ballparks I'd never been to before in the space of a month between April and May), I finished the first baseball card set I ever started collecting, and gave away 15,000 cards (so far) to kids affected by Hurricane Sandy (and I've got more to give away, as soon as I find somewhere that can use 'em). That's not too bad.
Looking forward to 2013, there's stuff I definitely want to do and write about here. I'm strangely invigorated by how much the folks who seem to get so much wrong in the hobby (though, this hobby *is* 'Nam, and there aren't rules...) have challenged the rest of us to find our fun outside of the mainstream. I've got a few story ideas brewing. I'd LOVE to finish trades with anyone who I talked about trades with in '12 (or, hey, '11 or '10) where the deals just didn't quite come together, so please get in touch if you're one of those people! I've got a run of '78-'93 Topps done now, and I'd love to add a few more years to that. I want to make my time in the hobby way less about money than it already is, and more about trading, hooking other people up with stuff and digging for things in unlikely places. I want to hit more ballgames, more card shows, meet some of you in person, and continue to have a good time with this, because damn it, as much as we may get mad at how a consumerist, commercialist hobby has become even MORE commercialist and consumerist, there's still so much fun to be had here, however we may decide to pursue it personally. I hope you all continue to have that fun, I thank you for the time you've spent having that fun with me, and I think there's a lot more fun in store for 2013 and beyond!