Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 Card Collecting Goals

Nope, not waiting until '13's over for this one. Got other stuff to do right after the year starts, so...

1. Acquire at least 10 more '07 Upper Deck Goudey high numbers: this is going to be my top goal in '14. Set's gonna be 7 years old now, it's the set that really, really brought me back to collecting cards, and I haven't made progress worth mentioning on it in a year or two. Both of my base sets (red and green) are done. Just need high numbers, and I'm not getting any. It's out of my being either too lazy to watch eBay like a hawk, too cheap to pay card shop prices, not finding the right boxes at card shows and not finding ANYONE willing to trade this stuff. I can't blame them, as it's one of the best sets ever made, but ow, you guys. Where's the love?

Here's my '07 Goudey want list: 203-205, 207-213, 215, 218-219, 222-225, 228-231, 233, 235, 238-243, 246-249, 251-252, 254, 257-260, 262, 265, 267-269, 271, 273-279, 282-285
I'm up for autos, relics, inserts, etc. from the set too, but not working too seriously on it (I think I've actually traded a Grady Sizemore relic or included it in a Trade Bait Draft, if that's telling). 
 2. Acquire at least 5 more playing era Brooklyn Dodger cards I need: gonna keep pluggin' along on this one, too. I had solid results last year, but not '11-'12-level results. I can definitely meet this goal without breaking the bank, too, and possibly finish another team set (more than likely one of the Bowman ones; I don't see myself finishing another Topps set for a while, but anything's possible, I suppose).

3. Acquire at least 5 more 1951 Topps Ringside cards I need: startin' to get a little tougher as I'm more than a third of the way through the set now (unbelievable), but there's still cheap stuff out there.
Here's my want list for Ringside: 1-2, 4, 7, 13, 15-16, 19, 22, 23-24, 26-28, 32-33, 36, 38-39, 42, 44, 47-52, 54-56, 58-59, 61, 63-64, 66-69, 71, 75-76, 78-80, 82-83, 85, 87-96
4. Acquire at least 5 cards from my top 25, including at least 1 from my Top 10: I did very well on this one last year. Grabbed a Reggie Jackson rookie, as I'll never let anyone forget, out of my Top 5, and there was steady turnover all year across all sports and even in non-sports stuff. My Top 5 is of course intimidating. Lotsa fake Riveras and Mattinglys out there. The Frank Robinson seems otherworldly, even though it's still a relatively (and shamefully) affordable card. Rounding out the Top 5, there's always tons of competition for the Fleer Koufax and the '67 Wills. Cards 6-9 (69, dude!) may be even more intimidating, though, so maybe I'll just grab a Willie Horton rookie and call it a day.
5. Finish at least 10 sets of more than 400 cards, including at least 1 '70s Topps set: I whiffed on '70s Topps sets in '13, but it wasn't for lack of tryin'. I got *really* close on '71 and '77, and the 1970s set I'm furthest away from completing is '73, with 185 cards missing. If I walk into White Plains in a few weeks with a small stack of money I'm not supposed to spend on cards and a mission, I could finish both '71 and '77. It's only 31 cards total, between the two sets. Yes, most of the '71s are in the 5th series, but if I'm not a diva about condition, they're a few bucks a pop if that. Beyond the '70s, I'm sitting pretty (less than 20 cards) on 8 other sets, as pointed out yesterday. I think this one's definitely doable, especially if I rein myself in on new cards a bit and spend more time at the flea markets.
6. Trade more, and get back to actually doing trade posts: I have 18 pending trades in various stages of completion listed on INCOMING! right now. If you're named in one, get ahold of me, or as John's doing, mention our pending deal in the comments a lot and eventually, I will get to you! As for trade posts, I could've scanned and posted The Complete Set of BBM Strongest Foreign Legend 2: Deep Impact, but Ryan's helpfully done that for me. Yep, he sent me the whole set (2nd year in a row!). Thanks again, Ryan, and thanks for the soon-to-be-finally-here Eri Yoshidas! See? I'm getting better!

You've seen the first 6 goals in some order before, so how about some new ones?

7. Chase fewer insert sets: folks, insert sets are teh debbil. (I do still need this card, though. Damn it.) It's OK not to have the Jose Altuve card, Scott, even if the graphic design on a particular insert set is gorgeous. Move along!

8. Buy complete sets when possible, even if I don't get to post ALL TEH NEW PUIGS 5 minutes after they hit Target: I'm seriously considering going the factory set/buy sets from case breakers route, painful as it'll be to watch you all Puig (or Tanaka, as it were) away on '14 Topps flagship while I'm on the sidelines. In a month, I'll probably be cursing and opening new product with the rest of you, but man, is it tempting to just let other people open that product for me and mail it to me until they either catch onto the fact that modern base cards do have worth or until Topps just stops making base cards. I'll mention my reality check again, to close this one out: mini boxes of Topps Finest are $60 for 30 cards, some of which won't be base cards, and some which may be doubles. I got a base set of 100 cards (Puig included) from eBay for $20 shipped.

9. Find more affordable old wax from sets I need, and open some of it once in a while for the hell of it: boxes like this are $9 plus shipping at Baseball Card Exchange. Again, why am I buying new packs at retail?
10.  Begin work in earnest on the 2002 SP Legendary Cuts bat relic set: yes, it's a crazy set with Ruth, Mantle, Maris, Munson, Jackie and a ton of other insane names in it. Yes, I only have 3 cards out of 36 so far (Dawson, Baylor and Murphy). No, I don't think it's far-fetched to suggest that some of these "bat relics" came from IKEA furniture. It's a really, REALLY cool set, though, one that's gaining more fans by the year, and at least for right now, it's kind of affordable, relative to who's in it. It may take me the rest of my life to complete a 36 card set, but isn't that the point sometimes, trash talk about insert sets aside?

As for items that fell off my list from '13: I still love Pilots and BlueClaws cards, and there's still plenty more to chase, but they don't feel like a focus at the moment. I run hot and cold on stuff, so get back to me in a few months on this. I like the TTM thing and have a few specific targets in mind, but at the same time, I can't see it taking up a big chunk of my collecting time. And, finally, as I've already mentioned, trying to even keep track of my player collections, given the number of players I love and the number of sets I'm building, is a fool's errand, so that one's toast. My player collections are sorted. I've got a decent but not great visual memory of which cards I do and don't have. Eventually, just through sheer momentum, I'll have a better idea of which players I'm really, REALLY collecting, though that tends to run in cycles as well.

So, this is what I'm workin' on. Who's with me?

Monday, December 30, 2013

Will these be the last cards of 2013?

Will 2 former Islanders, 1 Islander I already had and Grabner be it?

I don't know. I do know that, in my final trip to my local for 2013, this is what I came home with, and that, barring my finding cards in New York on New Year's Eve while I'm up there for the Andrew W.K. show tomorrow night (pro tip: get to Irving Plaza by 9 PM and guarantee that you'll see me perform "War Pigs" with the Punk Rock/Heavy Metal Karaoke band), or my getting cards in the mail tomorrow (Mail's already been here today; anyone have stray packages in the mail to me that I'm not aware of?), these will probably be it.

Oh, come on. No matter how unscannable this year's Black Diamond cards are, no matter how many copies of '13 Upper Deck Tavares I have now (2; any takers for my spare?), and no matter how many of these guys play for other teams now, they're still Islanders, and I like me some Islanders! I actually didn't think I needed Mark Streit, bought it anyway, and I didn't have it yet, so that balanced out with the Tavares! So, yeah, I still feel good about checkin' out of '13 with these fellers, if that's what it comes to.

I can tell you that I'm pretty sure I know what the first card of 2014 will be, though.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

3 more Topps sets down before '13's over!

'09! (This is a great card, by the way.)

'96! (This one ain't bad, neither.)

And... (Yes, this is a very good card, as Joey Cora cards go.)


I know I've featured the back of this card before as part of "The Many Mullets Of Mitch", as I did have the gold version, but we'll look at it again because 1. it finishes my '94 Topps set 2. it finishes my run of base Topps Mitch Williams cards and 3. IT'S AWESOME.

Monmouth Stamp & Coin delivered again. They also got me pretty durned close on 2 other sets...

'77... (I had this damn card. I even have Willie marked off as a player I've completed base Topps on. It wasn't in my '77 set, though, so I grabbed another, at which point it'll turn up 1980 Tom Veryzer-style.)

...and '10. Hey, check this out...

Same dude!

So, barring any more cards in the last 3 days of the year (I'll end up getting *something* on the 31st, I'm sure, as I always do...), these are the last cards of '13. (Well, I don't have a card of Pantera kitten. YET.)

As it stands right now, I end the year needing 20 cards or less on the following Topps flagship baseball sets:

1971 Topps (Have 734/752): 70, 72, 180, 202, 210, 233, 264, 287, 300, 360, 570, 575, 580, 588, 592, 603, 605, 624

1977 Topps (Have 647/660): 70, 74, 100, 110, 120, 152, 295, 309, 425, 430, 450, 523, 547

2008 Topps (Have 665/667): Series 2 Checkist 3-4

2010 Topps (Have 654/661): 383, 407, 424, 451, 498, 583, 602 

2012 Topps (Have 660/661): 661 (rackin' frackin'; wouldn't count it normally, but zomg teh harparz)

I'm sub-20 cards on the following non-Topps flagship baseball sets, as well:

1993 Donruss (Have 777/792): 403, 421, 425, 427, 438, 442, 448, 468, 478, 523, 553, 559, 583, 664, 722

1983 Fleer (Have 643/660): 69-70, 81, 95, 143, 182, 187, 200, 227, 235, 324, 536, 541, 546, 557, 645

1993 Upper Deck (Have 827/840): 433, 449, 476, 486, 508, 521, 526, 602, 668, 687, 691, 696, 733, 837

And, finally, I'm sub-20 cards on the following Topps flagship football sets:

2000 Topps (Have 393/400): 34, 51, 61, 140, 205, 230, 314
2008 Topps (Have 442/444): Checklist 3-4
I'm at 26 complete Topps flagship baseball sets and counting now (more on my progress here), along with 7 Donruss, 7 Fleer, 5 Score and 4 Upper Deck.

Football, I end the year unexpectedly at 8 complete Topps flagship sets, along with 1 Pro Set and 1 Score. I'm not actively trying to build most football sets, though. I want to complete a run of '84-'91 Topps just because, and I'm done or pretty close on all of them except '90 now, with the 2 "tough" ones ('84 and '86) done a good while ago. I got a ton of football cards in the house cleanout I did in June, so I'm also picking away at a few sets I was close to finishing from '04-'12. I was trying to build Score in '10 and '11, but that'll do it for me on modern Score sets. Aside from those, the only other Score flagship set I'm actively building is '89, because it's such a beautiful, iconic set.

So, that's where we're at.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

So Stubby made another Pilots set...

As is almost always the case when someone writes this on a package, I had the box open before I read "Do Not Open Before Christmas!", but that's OK, because it gave me time to scan cards.

Behold, Stubbly Bubbly Custom Trading Cards brings you the Seattle Pilots, as envisioned in the 1971 Topps style, "Series One", or so I'm told.

(Click each panel for a better view of the cards. Scans aren't amazing because of the sheer logistics of getting 60 cards scanned at a rate even remotely considered timely.)


And just because it's so fantastic, I'll spotlight the Gorman Thomas card...

So, what do y'all think? Me, I love 'em. Thanks, Stubby, and Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 21, 2013


 Well, the year's not quite over yet, but I'm awake and not ready to do my laundry yet today, so let's talk about the past year.

The first card of the year was this guy:

If I don't get another card for the rest of the year (unlikely, but possible), the last card of the year is this guy:

In the interest of appeasing Thorzul, who sent him to me, allow me to post the back of the Lofton card, too...

There, that's better.

Looking chronologically from the beginning of the year, here are some of the things of note:

Close to the beginning of the year, I made a post going over the 2012 sets I was either close to finishing or not interested in finishing. I do this when I'm ready to roll over to the next calendar year's sets, so I'll need to give this a spin soon. Here's how far I got since then.

2012 Topps base: still need that damn 661 Harper (in some form or another), but I finished the rest of the set. I said something about not hand-building the base set from here out, but I got a lot of help on '13 Series 1 and 2. I'm still strongly considering going with a factory set for '14 (which would free me up to go after Heritage, etc. with more seriousness), but I say that every year these days.

2012 Topps Update: I *just* finished that a few weeks ago when I made my annual COMC purchase. '13, I pre-ordered a base set from a case breaker, and I'm happy I did, since I didn't have to watch the March Of The Puigs (with apologies to Trent Reznor; I suppose I should also mention Puig Destroyer at this point...). Seriously, someday, a collectibles manufacturer will learn not to overproduce later items of whatever's popular at the moment (in this case, it was Puig cards) and destroy the market for it.

2012 Topps Finest: needed 11 cards, still need 2 cards (33 Steve Lombardozzi and 77 Liam Hendriks, both of whom I think I at least had as refractors), so I'm not done, but getting there. In '13, I picked up a complete set, again, from a case breaker, and did so for the cost of a third of a pack of this stuff. Can we all take a moment to recognize how ridiculous that is?

2012 Topps Mars Attacks Heritage: loved this set, finished it thanks to dayf. Still need 3-D card #1 for the complete, all-inserts-but-not-all-parallels set.

2012 Topps Heritage: I wasn't planning on building this, and had written it off by the beginning of '13, but I've gotten a few nice stacks, so yeah, I'll keep pecking at it. '13 Heritage, I'm almost done with the base set. Only have 9 high numbers. We will not talk about the "Heritage High Numbers Set" debacle.

2012 Topps Allen & Ginter: I ended '12 with 107, currently have 183, so that's not bad for me and Ginter. Finished '11 Ginter high numbers this year (I bought 1-300 when it came out), a first for me. Actually pretty close (within 25 cards) to finishing '13, thanks to Stubby and some other folks. Someday, finishing Ginter sets may actually be normal for me. Hopefully they're still good then.

2012 Topps Archives: added some, but this one's a slog. '13, Stubby hooked me up with a base set, and I've got a small handful of high numbers.

2012 Topps Opening Day Stars: bailed on this. I'm 1 card away from finishing '11. No idea if I've even got any '13s, but I think I'm pretty much done with actually working on insert sets from products I don't buy (the ones I do buy are enough of a pain). Love 3-D cards. Hate getting gouged.

2012 Topps Prime 9: finished it! They didn't do a Prime 9 release this year. Ah well, fun while it lasted.

From there, I posted my 2013 collecting goals. I'll run through these real quick.

1. Acquire at least 5 more playing era Brooklyn Dodger cards I need: Yarp, and then some.

2. Acquire at least 5 more 1951 Topps Ringside cards I need: Yarp.

3. Acquire at least 5 cards from my top 25, including at least 1 from my Top 10: Yarp. My Top 10 requirement was fulfilled by a goddamn Reggie rookie, so I'd say I did OK.

4. Finish at least 10 sets of more than 400 cards, including at least 1 '70s Topps set: no '70s Topps baseball set finished yet (I'm within 18 on '71 Topps and 28 on '77, so I'm close, and I made huge strides on a bunch of sets). As for sets of 400 or better? '97 Score, '89 and '92 Upper Deck, '99, '06 (sans the stupid Gordon; went the Yo Momma's Original Back route) and '13 Topps baseball, and I got and/or finished 3 Topps f00'ball sets this year with 400+ cards ('05, '07 and '10; got '99 too, but that's only 357 cards). f00'ball feels like cheating. Still, we're at 9 out of 10 with 10 days to go in the year. Maybe I'll make a Monmouth Stamp And Coin run and see if I can kill off a few of the stragglers. Yeah, I fired off an email to Bill there. We'll see what's what.

Short of that, going into '14, I'm close (within 200 cards, which in some cases is a lot closer than others) on the following:

Baseball: 70-74, 76-77, 94 (2 cards!), 96 (1 card!) 97, 08 (2 cards!), 09 (1 card!), 10, 12 (1 card!) Topps

10-11, 13 Topps Heritage

92 Topps Stadium Club

81, 93, 05 Donruss

81, 83 Fleer

92 Fleer Ultra

92-93 Leaf

92-93 Pinnacle

92 Score

93, 10 Upper Deck


91 Bowman (1 card! 1 card! #504 Jeff Bryant!)

10-11 Score

91, 00, 04, 06, 08 (2 cards!), 09, 11 Topps

(I'm also within 100 cards of 85, 87 and 89 Topps f00'ball, but those are *just* shy of 400 card sets.)

5. Acquire at least 10 more '07 Upper Deck Goudey high numbers: this is my annual walk of shame. Not a single card acquired. Help me out, adventure lovers!

6. Trade more, and get back to actually doing trade posts: still making trades, still lousy at trade posts. Moved my scanner so it's right next to the computer. Hopefully that'll yield dividends in '14. Sorry, folks! I'm working on it!

7. Get some more TTM autographs: not a one. Just been a busy year. Once I get a bit more settled, perhaps I'll have a crack at this again.

8. Acquire at least 1 team-issued Lakewood BlueClaws team set aside from the '13 set: nope. Didn't get '13, either. Barely ended up at the park, alas, aside from the SAL All-Star Game which had a 3 hour rain delay, and later, involved a bunch of us watching the NBA Finals in the gift shop with Raul Mondesi. Weird night!

9. Acquire at least 1 more Seattle Pilots oddball card: I got somethin' or other. Either Stubby sent me one I didn't have, or something showed up otherwise. Need to re-dedicate myself to the cause.

10. Acquire at least 1 card of every player I currently collect: I have no idea. Probably. Impossible to track, given the amount of cards I had come in this year. Totally not holding myself to this one next year.

Moving on, I ran not one, not two, but three Trade Bait Drafts this year. Chances are, I won't be doing that again. A ton of work for something that's fun, but has little financial reward, unfortunately. It's a shame, because I've got tons and tons of cards that'd be coveted in that format, but that's part of the problem, too. I have tons and tons of cards. I had a few huge purchases this year. At one point, I sold about 55,000 commons off for next to nothing, just to make space, and I've still got about 60,000 cards in my "trade pile". Gotta work on that!
Enough text! Let's look at some other stuff that happened in '13.

No, the actual meeting didn't happen this year, but I got a custom card of Choo Choo Coleman and I in the mail in 2013. I should really put this on my LinkedIn profile or something. (Thanks again, Stubby!)

I got a boner! Of course, you'd have one too, if this happened to you...

Save for the monster boxes that the piles of loose cards were on top of, everything you see in this picture was from one deal.

This Bipping wasn't from that deal, though it was pretty fun. So were these cards...

These were all just fun cards I got this year. No context, just cards. Enjoy!

I'd post these again too, but there's just too damned many of them. There was this, too (yeah, I know I posted the rookie right above this, but let me have this one). And this. And, of course, there was the magic of Bip making contact with many of us in this community, which has been a lot of fun. I could swear I've been forgetting something, though...I'm probably forgetting a bunch of somethings, but this is something big. What the hell could it be?

 Oh yeah. That.

2013's been a weird year in general, but a very good year for cards, no matter what those huckleberries at the card companies have been doing to lead us to believe otherwise. Thanks for being a part of it here!