Monday, September 9, 2013

The Round-Up For 09/09/13!

Two late-day updates:

1. Y'all let me leave the wrong date up on this joint all day!

2. Something else I forgot to mention: no more modern tobacco minis after this year, unless they do a subset of Ginter that's based on the movie "Xanadu" in tobacco mini size next year. I've got them all in pages. I'm complete or close to it on most of the mini subsets I wanted. I'm DONE with the tobacco mini size if it was manufactured after World War II started!

So, recently some of how I'm collecting, and how I've been collecting is starting to come into better focus, and I'll be making adjustments that may be permanent ones.
Nope, not bailing on the hobby at all. I like it here a bunch. Just using my resources for it, which are limited (way more than it seems sometimes, because I'm simultaneously resourceful, lucky and compulsive), a bit differently.

 First off, I really need to stop falling for The Graphic Design Trap. You know the one. You see a new card product or come across a lot of older cards from a set you'd never seen or hadn't given thought to building, and you REALLY like the graphic design. This leads you to squander a ton of time, energy, money and other resources to complete the set, even if it involves you ending up with hundreds of cards of players you frankly don't give a rat's ass about. I narrowly, marginally managed to avoid this with 2013 Prestige f00'ball, the set I used as the example here, even though I really think they're purdy cards, and I need to exercise more self-control in this department more often. You can absolutely appreciate good graphic design without going broke and filling your house! Honest!

Another trap I need to start avoiding more effectively is the related "Well, I just ended up with a large lot of cards from this set, might as well finish it" trap.

"No, no, alligator! Don't eat Francesca Fiore! What, you think is good? Is bad!"

So, yeah, no more of that if I can help it. Believe me, I'm building enough goddamn sets right now to keep me busy for the rest of my life without suddenly thinking "Hey, I think I will build 1993 Donruss Triple Play now that I have 100 out of 264 cards! I can just trade for them, instead of, you know, things I actually want!"

What, you think is good? Is bad!

Moving on, 2013 will most likely be the last year that I do or attempt to do any set-building of new product by ripping wax. "Wax is for suckers", dayf said a while ago, and while I lose sight of that from time to time, it's almost always true, especially nowadays. I do love opening packs of stuff, it's a great part of the fun of collecting cards, but it's simply not worth it to do so given the prices of the packs, the amount of inserts that card companies put in their packs and the premium that we're made to pay by card companies because some folks have transferred their gambling habits to the card hobby. So, no more of that. Remind me that I wrote this, if it looks like I'm starting to stray from it in the future.

Does this mean I'll never rip a new pack again? Nope. I'll do it here and there, as new products come out, for fun. Period. A pack here and there, completely unrelated to my interest in current sets, just because I feel like it. No more opening packs to build new sets. No more opening shit-tons of packs to try to get whoever a particular year's Puig is. I'm done with that.

So, how will I get new baseball sets?

(I'll get into why I'm singling out baseball here in a bit.)

Well, at least for the time being, there are factory sets being sold of Topps flagship baseball, so I'll just learn to wait for those, and deal with things more sensibly, while also supporting my local.

As for the other sets (your Ginter/Heritage/Bowman/Archives kinda stuff)?
People break cases, end up with tons of base cards, and sell sets on eBay. I'll be going that route exclusively for now on (unless they start getting priced out of the market, and price eBay buyers out of it in turn). I don't know if I'll splurge for the SPs or not. Chances are, I won't splurge for high numbers, unless they're my player collection guys. Do I really need to pay a premium for some of the clowns who end up in Heritage 426-500 every year? I don't think I do. I may try to build the high number stuff through trades, but realistically, I think I'm bailing on completing the SP portion of new sets after this year.

Player collections, I'm still figuring out. I collect certain players (look at the sidebar; I even re-added Guidry, Morneau, Murray, Randolph and Winfield this morning), and I like getting bunches of their cards, but it is damn near impossible to keep up with the data entry involved, and when you tell people you have player collections, they inevitably send you a ton of doubles even if you do have accurate have lists. So, again, still working that out. May only buy or trade for individual players in person or when I can request very specific things. Dunno yet. We'll see.

What I'm thinking of doing with the dough/trade bait I used to devote to some of the baseball cards I talked about above is as follows:

If I REALLY get the urge to rip a bunch of wax, I'm going to look into which older sets I'm working on but not close to finishing, find the best prices possible for those, and rip older, much cheaper products. There's a metric ton of 1990s stuff that's still very affordable.

If I get the urge to get something new and shiny out of a pack a bit too often (after I've bought my customary pack or two when flagship, Ginter, Heritage, etc. come out), I'm going to do the sensible (within the context of my hobby, anyway) thing instead: I'm going to look at eBay, COMC, Just Commons, some of the other dealers I visit locally or online, and so forth, and pick out an older card from my want list instead that runs about what a pack or two of cards does. Something like this...

Got this recently. '57 Zimmer, a tough card to get for under $20 usually, but this one's got what looks like a BB hole to poor Zim's left. He's totally giving it the stink-eye, too, which makes the card hilarious. It's also in terrific shape otherwise, and cost me about 2 1/2 Ginter retail packs shipped from 707 Sports Cards. I've been dealing with Levi at 707 on and off for a few years now, and while his prices aren't always super-cheap, you can find really cool stuff on his site and his eBay store (where I found Zim), and his vintage graded selection (if you're into that kinda thing) is to die for. Levi's who I got my '61 Maris from, if you were ever wondering, though that was a little more than a couple packs of Ginter will cost a feller.

I also need to stop slacking on my flea market duties. I've barely been out to the markets this summer, in part due to being completely and utterly bombed out by The June Buy, in part because I've been dealing with a bunch of personal stuff (stuff with meds, the passing of a family member, stuff that's Bigger Than Cards; no worries, I'm fine, or at least dealing OK), and also because my car's been persnickety of late. I can't spend a ton out at the markets, and I also need to establish some fast-track ways to unload bulk cards locally (know a person or two, but not a ton of people), but I'm missing a bunch of cards out there and for better or worse, from what I understand, I'm not competing with as many folks as I used to be for the same cards.

So, them's the plans with baseball.

Now, for the other sports and non-sports stuff.

I'm not building f00'ball sets anymore unless I get something great that I'm very, VERY close to completing as part of a lot of other stuff.

(I didn't forget paragraph 4 or Bruno Puntz Jones already, don't worry. I'm serious about this.)

I got near-sets on most of the last decade of Topps f00'ball and a few Score issues in The June Buy, which was cool, but also kind of a pain in the ass, so that's that. The end. No mas. Finishing the sets I was already working on, then getting out of the f00'ball set business.

I'm also not collecting teams in f00'ball until my two chosen teams (Steelers and Bears, one for each conference) get quarterbacks who don't make me hate watching them. It really sucks when people you really don't care to watch or just can't abide by for off-field reasons are at the helm of a team you like. It does happen, though. I'm a man without a country in baseball too, ever since the Yanks replaced my beautiful ballpark with that crime against humanity they play in now. Anyway, team collection is out for f00'ball. Might stay that way. Sometimes, it feels too much like nationalism to me.

Back on point, I do collect individual players in f00'ball, so those, I'll happily accept in trades! Gonna try to cut down on actually buying them, because there's just WAY too much f00'ball product on the market right now. I collect these brohams in f00'ball, and if you have extras you want to trade to me as new products come out, you will be rewarded for your goods! Eli Manning is of particular interest among the current players here, not because he's my favorite player (though I watch him very often), but because I live in Giant country and there's about as much competition for Eli's cards these days as there is for Jeter's cards, no joke. So, if you're stuck with a ton of Elis from your box breaks, hook me up.

Ronnie Brown
Dick Butkus
Vernon Davis
Joe Flacco
Alex Karras
Eli Manning
Doug Martin
Don Maynard
Joe Montana
Warren Moon
Knowshon Moreno
Joe Morris
Joe Namath
Jerry Rice
Ray Rice
Trent Richardson
O.J. Simpson
Bubba Smith
Ndamukong Suh
Jim Thorpe
Herschel Walker
Russell Wilson

Over in basketball, I don't collect any current players (toyed with collecting Blake Griffin but I'm over it), because I really don't watch current basketball, but I do collect these older players, who sometimes show up in new products:

Julius Erving
Yao Ming
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Wilt Chamberlain
Darryl Dawkins
Michael Jordan
Bill Laimbeer
Moses Malone
Dennis Rodman
Spud Webb
Same deal as my f00'ball player collection offer applies here.

Then, there's hockey. I'm pretty new to hockey, as a sport, but I like it. Hockey's also the only sport left where I collect a specific major league team (the Islanders) that still exists. I've even made peace with the fact that they're moving next year, even if I do love Nassau Coliseum and will miss it.

As new hockey products come out, I will take whatever Isles you wanna throw at me, but especially Kyle Okposo (who's the first guy on the team that I thought "Hey, I like watching this guy play!" about). Okposo, I'm going to keep collecting even if he ends up on another team someday. Yes, even if it's the Devils.
A reader I just started trading with, Doug from Canada (who hopefully got his return package by now), just traded me a metric ton of Isles including some NICE Okposos. I'll try to get some of that scanned soon, but not right now, as I'm writing here, y0. I'm covered on most, if not all of this year's Score and O-Pee-Chee Isles thanks to Doug, but there'll be more hockey products, and I will happily accept your Isles from those.

Beyond the Isles, there are only 3 hockey players whose stuff I actively collect:

Gordie Howe (Duh.)
Wayne Gretzky (Duh.)
Tim Horton (Solely because I love the coffee and the donuts. No, seriously.)

Doug also sent me a bunch of Gretzkys and a handful of Howes and Hortons, which was pretty cool of him (and hopefully I'll get these scanned soon, too). Anyway, as these guys get put into new products, I'll take 'em.

Finally, non-sports stuff. I'm pretty much just going to snag sets from eBay if I see a new set that I like (which is rare). I got that covered unless you hear otherwise.

And that's where we're at.

Oh, one more thing: because, as I said, I'm on a limited budget that I am actually acknowledging these days, sometimes, I may post "trade bait" that I'd happily accept cash for. Yes, I know money's dirty. Yes, I know we're all broke right now. Still, if there's something I post as trade bait and you're short on stuff I collect, try offering me dough for it. Chances are, you'll end up with it! I may also put things up for straight sale from time to time (thinking of doing this with the remainder of unclaimed f00'ball teams from The June Buy). Thorzul has his "Pull The Trigger" sales. Lots of y'all do group breaks. I've done Trade Bait Drafts before, as a bunch of folks have, but those are a LOT of work. I know you're not all completely allergic to dealing in currency that doesn't have stats on the back.

So, that's kind of a "state of my place in the hobby" deal. Soon, I would like to get back to writing about why I like cards, rather than just writing about the acquisition of cards or the removal of cards from my home. Workin' on it!


  1. I bailed on completing SPs immediately. This year's Heritage--cause I'm close--may be the only one I ever try for. Well...and next year's Heritage, cause its the '65 design...maybe. But I still love ripping packs. Just sayin'. And, you know, a nice wax box of Howard The Duck goes for the cheap...if you're tempted.

    Definitely get where you're coming from, though. You should see my place. Its like something out of Hoarders. And yet I'm not the least bit embarrassed about that. I suppose I should be, but I'm not.

    Awesome Zim, btw--better with the hole punch than without it, I think.

  2. Yeah, I saw that vandalized card on eBay and I fell in love.

    And msybe I will rip a bunch of Howard The Duck packs eventually. I think I may still have a pack or two here, but that's not gonna finish that set.


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