December 31, 2017

Collecting Highlight of 2017: Discovering Animalloys

Another year has come and gone and I feel more and more out of touch with modern card sets. I won't remember 2017 as the year I frantically tried to find Aaron Judge rookie cards. Instead, it will be remembered by my discovery of a set that is more than 80 years old and one that I've become slightly obsessed about.

The set in question is the 1934 Wills Tobacco Animalloys set. These cards were produced by the W. D. & H. O. Wills Tobacco Company which was a part of the larger Imperial Tobacco (which is still around today). 

The set is made up of 48 cards and, as you can see from the example below, each card is a piece of a larger image and there are 16 three-card images that feature some of the most unique animals from around the world. 

Here is card #40 featuring what looks like an elk with "WAP" above it. 


The card backs don't provide any information about the animal featured but it is interesting to see that the card creators highlight that collectors can mix and match the cards to create their own "strange creatures." 


I randomly came across this set searching the COMC.com non-sports listings and most of the cards don't command prices that are too outrageous.  The set has a lot of great art and so I decided to start scooping them up and I've added 13 of the 48 cards so far this year (needs list to follow someday). 

I think that is pretty good progress on an 83-year-old set but so far I've only completed one of the three-card animal images. And here it is! 

The Wapiti! 


What is a wapiti, you ask? Well, it is the Shawnee and Cree word for an elk. It means "white rump" and take a look at the card and there is that white rump on full display. In England, the animal they call an "elk" is what North Americans call a "moose" and so to avoid any confusion they went with the native term. 

Completing this was probably my biggest collecting achievement of 2017 (or maybe it was this) which sort of puts into perspective how my collecting habits have changed over time. I'm definitely getting a lot more enjoyment from vintage and non-sports cards than rolling the dice on new products. 

December 25, 2017

Merry Steve Christmas Everyone!

In what is turning into a yearly tradition, here is a repost of the greatest Christmas-related baseball card ever made: 



Here's my original post which was published 12/25/16:

For my first post of a sports card since the beginning of November, we have a card I bought this summer for the express purpose of posting day. It is of Cincinnati Reds prospect Steve Christmas who is featured as a member of the Waterbury Reds. Waterbury was the team's AA team and a part of the Eastern League which includes minor league team in Bristol, Connecticut and Reading, Pennsylvania. 

Christmas would make it to the majors in 1983 and he would play parts of three seasons with the Reds, White Sox, and Cubs. He would play a total of  24 games at catcher and first base with one home run and seven RBI.


This card comes from the king of minor league card sets,TCMA, and this is from their 1981 minor league set. I like that you can request a checklist on the back of the cards. I'm always tempted to write in to see what happens or maybe who owns P.O. Box #2 in Amawalk, New York.

Merry Steve Christmas Everyone! 

December 24, 2017

Anything Is Possible

The absolutely best and worst fortune a card collector can receive.  


My wife pulled that one so I dodged a bullet there as my collection needs some reorganizing (and trimming) but still each weekend I wish I could find a good card show in central Illinois that had something like the photo below waiting for me. 


That's from a show druing my time in Georgia and those shows were always a lot of fun.

2017 has been an interesting for me professionally as I became a full-time sports reporter for my local newspaper, the Decatur Herald and Review. I had been working part-time there for a year doing their sports stats and also writing top 10 lists for the Cardboard Connection.

It's not an understatement to say I wouldn't have been able to become a professional reporter without this little trading card blog I started writing in September of 2008. We passed 1,000,000 readers this year which is hard to fathom and, as my longtime trading partner Reader Mike D. reminds me, I promised a 1,000,000 reader contest that I never delivered on. I will rectify that shortly, I promise.

Writing had always been a fun thing for me to do in my spare time but continuing to stick with the blog through the years helped me become a better writer. I definitely put in my 10,000 hours as they say and so my advice to people hoping to make something more from posting scans of your favorite cards, stick with it, practice, and remember...


October 23, 2017

Adding Another Burleigh Grimes 1933 Goudey To The PC

I recently added my third 1933 Goudey Burleigh Grimes card to my PC and this one comes to me from eBay, $10 delivered. It has clearly seen better days but that's really the only way I'm able to add a card from a Hall of Famer from the most popular set of the 1930's for a ten spot. 


For the uninitiated, Grimes pitched for 19 seasons from 1916-1934 and he would be elected to the Hall of Fame in 1964 by the Veteran's Committee. He was the last pitcher allowed to throw a spitball after he was grandfathered to use it after the pitch was banned in 1920.


With there being so many 1933 Goudey cards that were essentially reprinted in the 1934 set, it is a shame that Grimes wasn't included in Goudey's second most famous set. 

October 22, 2017

It Was Sort Of Like Bidding Against Yourself


As I have a large majority of Andy Pafko's cards from his playing days, I spend my eBay time looking for those rare items that are effectively one-of-ones. These might be homemade cards or Pafko signed pieces. Pafko was a very generous signer and I'm in no danger of running out of signed items to add to my collection.

A while ago I came across this turquoise ticket signed by Pafko listed on eBay. Back in 1989 it looks like Handy Andy was the "special autograph guest" at a card show in Madison and someone had him sign their ticket.

I ended up losing the auction after a few bids and I figured  it was another piece lost to the internet forever. That was until my parents came down for a visit here in Illinois a few weeks later.

My Dad collected baseball cards as a kid and he sometimes pick up cards for me at yard sales or junk shops and he is well aware of my Pafko collecting bug. He presented me with the ticket and I couldn't quite believe it that he was he was the person outbidding me during the original auction listing.

I imagine this sort of thing has happened to a few of you out there where you know the person bidding against you. I bet it happens a lot with player collectors among the most popular players.  Thankfully there aren't too may Pafko collectors out there so there isn't too much back and forth bidding on items.

September 10, 2017

Show and Tell #133: Bean's Ballcard Blog Booty

Back in the spring, kin from Bean's Ballcard Blog asked for my address to send me some cards from my need list. At the time I was in the process into moving into a new house and I gave him our address with an "East" when it should have been a "West." This started a chain reaction of card being sent to me that would eventually get returned to Kin. It went out again to me and I think floated around my local post office undelivered until someone finally thought try "west" instead of "east." That note was written on the package when it found its way into my mailbox at the start of August. 

Inside was a great collection of cards featuring many of my favorite players. The overall highlight was this Bill Madlock jersey relic card from 2002 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Classic. Madlock is the favorite son of my current home of Decatur, Illinois and over the course of his career he won four National League batting titles.


He also included another Madlock card I was looking for on my needs list, his appearance in 1981 Topps. The reverse of his card highlights Madlock's role in the Pirates 1979 World Series championship where he had a four-hit performance in Game 5. 


Next up is a collection of cards featuring another fan favorite originally from Central Illinois. Jim Thome hails from Bartonville, Illinois which is just outside of Peoria and about an hour and a half from in Decatur.


Thome spent about two seasons with the Twins and his card from that era are my favorite Thome cards overall.. 


Also included were several Thomes that I didn't have yet, including this Home Run Heroes insert from 2011 Toppys Gypsy Queen and the ultra shiny Blue Sapphire insert from 2013 Bowman which features a reprint of Thome's Bowman rookie card from 1991. I also particularly like the die-cut Gold Medallion card from 2000 Fleer Ultra. 




One player in the PC that I really need to get a checklist together for is Jordan Zimmermann. Kin included a couple Zimmermanns (you always have to remember that second "n" in his last name) in the trade package and after leading the league in wins in 2013, Zimmermann has had a couple rough seasons with the Detroit Tigers. My collection of Zimmermann cards as a Tiger is almost nonexistent and I should really jump on that while they are still easy to find. 


Thanks again for the trade Kin!