Saturday, January 31, 2015

Saturday = Card Show Day!

It's the weekend, and here in the Twin Cities, that means that there's a card show somewhere. This weekend is the smaller of the two regular shows, taking place in Mounds View.

The vintage guy I usually hemorrhage my paycheck to is out of town this weekend, so good news/bad news (!) I came home with a much larger stack of cardboard than usual, after hitting all the dime/quarter/dollar boxes filled with glorious nostalgic junk wax.

There was another vintage seller, and he always brings longboxes of commons. I was able to pick up a nice variety of singles from '57, '58, and '60. I've found that one of the best things about the shows is that you get to know the vendors and you can build a good relationship and start to get some nice deals.

Across the aisle from the vintage seller was a huge stack of dime cards that all produced a nice rush of nostalgia for me. These are Cards that I really wanted as a kid, but wasn't lucky enough to find them in packs or get them in trade with friends.

One of my favorite pick-ups was this Jim Thome Rookie that I bought for a quarter.

He looks so fresh faced! I think that as much animosity as there is between AL Central rivals, one thing that pretty much every fan can agree upon is that Jim Thome is awesome.

Before I leave the show, I always stop in the store and see if I can spend a little bit of $$ for the guy that is hosting the show. I decided to get a Stadium Club Mini-box (thanks in no small part to seeing these posts from View From the Skybox, and all the great photography), so I'll be busting that open this weekend.

I'll leave you with these awesome junk wax box bottom cards, always wanted to have some of these, never really wanted to pay them, but .10 cents is a steal!

Friday, January 30, 2015

How to Choose?

I've been back in the game of cardboard accumulation for about 7 months now, and one of the things that has really held my interest is the variety and depth of just how specific a collection can get.

It took me some time to decide on what kinds of things I would collect, and then building those sets started to get a bit easier.
Where to begin?

I have to thank the blogging community for being so vibrant and having so many unique voices. I can't remember how I found it, but it was this post from GCRL that convinced me to take a closer look at what I wanted to collect. I had been poking around online (mostly just checking listings on eBay) for several weeks before finding out that there were several places in the Twin Cities where I could find cards and buy them in person. Aimlessly looking online was not really cutting it.

The 1957 Topps Elmer Valo from the GCRL post was a key to unlocking several things in my collecting: I realized that the story of the player, and the composition of the card's photo was often more important to me than how valuable the card might be.

The first show I went to in the Twin Cities I got the opportunity to look up close at and hold a 1963 Pete Rose rookie. I didn't have the money to purchase the card (even though the card had some serious paper loss on the back and was highly discounted). I found after spending some time looking at the various table's offerings, that the Pete Rose Rookie was not really for me - it's iconic, yes, and has a an interesting history (the scandal of the fakes in the 1980s), but the card itself didn't really do it for me.

I did end up getting the 57 Valo, and now I am building a small PC of Elmer Valo cards.

I also got a chance to look at Rose's 2nd year card, which was more in my price range (on the higher end), and really liked the trophy associated with it. So, I ended up starting a collection of all the Topps All-Star Rookie cards, which has been a ton of fun to chase.

What are some of the more specific collections you've developed, and how did it occur to you to start it?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Highly Subjective

Are you "Condition Sensitive"? I like to think that I am not. But reality sets in when I am at a card show and confronted with options on vintage cards.

The whole thing is Highly Subjective! I shouldn't be ok with any of this:

if I'm vehemently opposed to this:

I mean, that Jackie Robinson is trimmed, fer cryin' out loud! There's creases all over that Killebrew! And yet, I think everyone has their limits and everyone has their own version of "Acceptable."

Some of it comes down to price, of course. If I'm looking at cards that cost $5 or less in NM condition, then, yes, of course I don't want to get one that is beat up, because it doesn't really save me that much money.

I'm pickier about commons than Hall Of Famers. Rounded corners and/or creases don't bother me nearly as much as miscut cards. Cards have been written on don't even bug me that much, depending on the card. Hammerin' Hank can be Autographed by a gawky 1950's teen, but that 1988 Donruss Julio Franco has to be gem mint if I'm parting with my dime. Some sets just don't look good if they are a little dinged up (black borders, or even solid color borders like the 1963 Topps set).

What are your deal breakers for card condition? Where do you let things slide a little more?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Completely Arbitrary

Hi - welcome to this tiny corner of the internet! 

I have re-started my passion for baseball card collection after many years away. Since this is the first post of a new blog, it makes sense to me to write a little bit about why I am here.

There's a dollar store about a block and a half from my house, and in the fall of 2013 I was in there looking for some random items. I noticed that they had a rack of baseball cards and felt the need to investigate closer. In addition to smaller than average foil packs of 2013 Topps baseball and some repacks, the rack also contained several unopened wax packs of 1989 Donruss. 

These are not glamorous by any means, but for me they held a specific twinge of nostalgia.

Flashback to 1989:

My older brother was gainfully employed at Shinder's, a Sportscard / Newsstand Institution (now defunct) in Downtown Minneapolis. For Christmas that year, he brought home a box of 36 1989 Donruss wax packs for me to rip open. As a kid, I was not yet aware that "Upper Deck was better," or that the hobby was approaching the peak of overproduction. Being the homer that I was, I was mostly concerned with Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek cards, though the real prize that I was looking to reveal was the Ken Griffey, Jr. Rated Rookie. I was lucky enough to watch him play earlier that summer against the Twins, and despite wanting to hate any Center Fielders not named Kirby, Griffey won me over. 

If I had a crystal ball or a time machine and had read about the first junk wax battle, I would have been more prepared for the collation nightmare I was about to encounter. No Griffey in 36 packs. I did manage to get 5 Mark McLemores, though.

Flashforward to 2013:

1989 Donruss, why not? I bought two packs from the dollar store, my first card purchase in nearly two decades. So of course, the second card to greet me in the first pack was:

I felt that old feeling again, and of course I knew I was in trouble. I resisted the urge for a couple months, but then I learned that the Twin Cities was home to a few remaining card shops and some ongoing monthly card shows.

By May of 2014, I was back in the hobby with both feet and began building sets new and old. What am I collecting? A little bit of everything. 2014 Topps Heritage turned into 1965 O-Pee-Chee which turned into Topps' All-Star Rookies 1960-present which has snowballed into any number of wild tangents.

Thanks for reading this first post - I'm excited to share my love of old school vintage, new school shiny things, and just plain weird things, like this Mike Cubbage card autographed by Twins bench coach Joe Vavra: