December 14, 2015

Ripping A Pack Of 1980 Topps MLB Superstar Photo Cards

I pulled this unopened pack that had been waiting patiently for me for 35 years from a quarter box at the recent Atlanta area card show. I had never opened a pack of these 5x7 photo cards and after doing a little research on the product it is no surprise why. 

These cards were created by Topps as a test issue to check the interest level of over-sized photo cards of some of the best players in the majors. As you can see from the checklist for the set from the opposite side of the packaging there are 60 cards in the set with about 50% of the players actually qualifying as a "superstar."

I picked out this pack in particular because of the card on the back. No matter what else is in the pack getting a Nolan Ryan as one of the five cards makes it a winner.

You begin to understand that these might not have been a completed product when you take a look at the reverse side of each card. I imagine that a full statistical breakdown from each player would have been included on the back of each card once the set was completed. 

The next two cards feature Jack Clark and Darryl Porter who both have interesting facial hair...Clark with his near Wally Moon quality unibrow and Porter with his muttonchops and impressive mustache. 

Reading up on the set it seems that a handful of cards were printed far more often than other and Steve Garvey's card was one of those. The other more frequently printed cards include some of the key cards on the checklist including Mike Schmidt, Reggie Jackson, Rod Carew, George Brett, and Dave Parker. 

But as I mentioned at the beginning, the highlight of the pack is Nolan Ryan's card with what seems to be a slightly oversized Houston Astros cap that is sitting oddly on his head. Getting the old price guide out it also seems that Ryan's card is the most valuable in the set with a book value of about $4.00.

December 13, 2015

My 2015 Andy Pafko Collection Pickups

2015 is coming to the end and so it is time to sort out my additions to my Andy Pafko collection that haven't been taken off the needs list yet. As you can see I added several duplicate copies of Pafko's early Bowman and Topps cards. Many of these came through eBay auctions and some also arrived in trade packages from Reader Mike D. who I've been trading with for years now. 

The highlight of this new group is in the bottom right, an original 1957 Spic-n-Span card. These were issued by a dry cleaning company in Wisconsin and featured just Milwaukee Braves players from the time. It was one of the key original cards from Pafko's playing days that I was missing and it is now one of the jewels of my collection.

December 12, 2015

$10 Challenge Card Exchange With Dave The Cardboard Junkie

At this past week's card show, Dave the Cardboard Junkie and I recorded a new episode of the Trading Card Preservation Society podcast and also did a $10 Challenge in which I picked out $10 of stuff for Dave and he picked out $10 of stuff for me. We did the exchange live on the podcast so you can hear it all there and here are photos of what we got.

We will start with what I got Dave. We being with a complete 1988 Panini Baseball sticker set that has a new sticker book and all 480 stickers. This set me back $1.00 and the seller seemed very happy to get rid of it. There was another complete set in the $1.00 bin and as I drove away from the card show Dave was going back in to snag it! 

If there is one thing that Dave might like MORE than stickers it might be old mini tobacco cards. I found one on the table of probably our favorite seller at the show and picked it up for $2.00. The English tobacco cards were made for a much longer period than the American versions and this card dates back to somewhere in the 1930's.  

Knowing Dave is the biggest Atlanta Braves fan I know, I had a ton to choose from in picking some great cards for him. I'm talking Chipper Jones rookies for as far as the eyes can see. I tried to find something more unique and rare that he might not already have in his collection. I ended up going with a semi-rare 1962 Topps Stamps of Hank Aaron for $6.50. It's missing a couple pieces of the deckle edge but was a great looking piece.

Dave went the opposite route from me and went big on one card and found a great deal. I'm working towards completing the 1972 Topps set and be brought in one of the key rookie cards of the set. It's Carlton Fisk and Cecil Cooper's cardboard debut and although I appreciate how great Fisk was as a catcher, I'm a little more excited to finally have Cooper's rookie as he was a Brewer's legend and I am a Wisconsinite after all. I even got to meet him and got an autograph a few years ago when I was visiting my parents in Wisconsin.

1972 Topps #79

December 11, 2015

My Top 5 Favorite 2015 Topps Journey To Star Wars: The Force Awakens Cards

Don't forget to enter to win some Star Wars Card Trader digital packs here.

I've opened about 20 retail packs of Topps' first The Force Awakens card set with more sets to come in the near future I'm sure. So I've made a pretty good dent into the set but I don't quite have a complete one yet so if I missed an obviously great card that you think should be included in the list, give me a comment.

5. #F-2 Poe Dameron Foil
4. #F-4 Finn Foil

The foil inserts are definitely my favorite inserts from the set and it is exciting to pull cards for the new characters even before the movie has arrived. The reverse side doesn't give you any additional information about the film however and the colorful foil cards really bring them to life. I imagine that Poe and Finn might have a similar relationship to Luke and Han from the original Star Wars. Disney is currently trying to find a "young" Han Solo for a future anthology Star Wars film and just about anyone is in contention. It seems to me the perfect actor would have been Oscar Isaac for a new Han Solo movie but obviously that isn't a possibility anymore.

3. Movie Facts #9 Victory at Endor

Although the base cards come in a variety of colors, the black version of "Victory at Endor" frames the image perfectly. Darth Vader's viking funeral on Endor has become a much more important scene since Vader's melted mask shows up in The Force Awakens and I'm excited to see if we learn how Kylo Ren's obtains it. 

2. Story Summary #6 The Rancor Feasts

While all of these selections are personal, this one is REALLY personal. I had a lot of Star Wars figures as a kid but I didn't have many of the bigger toys. My Mom actually made me an Imperial Walker out of cardboard as a kid and I probably treated it nicer than all other "official" toys. One of the big toys I did have was the impressive Rancor figure who could nearly eat an entire figure in its impressively huge mouth. I imagined hundreds of alternate stories that saw Chewbacca, Han, C3PO, The Emperor, etc...getting thrown down into Jabba's Rancor pit. Luke was the only one to escape. 

1. #S-9 BB-8 Sticker

While I'm excited for all the new Force Awakens characters [particularly finally figuring out what Andy Serkis' character Supreme Leader Snuke looks like], I'm looking forward to seeing BB-8's scenes the most. I will probably have my mouth slightly opening thinking how the heck did they get that to actually work. I was lucky enough to pull this BB-8 insert in my very first back of Journey to the Force Awakens and I was hooked on the set immediately.

December 10, 2015

Win Some Star Wars Card Trader Digital Card Packs

I'm going to be posting a lot about Star Wars in general and The Force Awakens in these next few days as we approach next Friday's premiere. So let's start with a little giveaway. If you are a fan of Star Wars Card Trader you can win three packs of digital cards by leaving a comment to this post with your first Star Wars memory. I'll take all the entries over the next couple days and randomize them and find a winner.

My first Star Wars memory was of my my Dad taking me to see Return of the Jedi around 1985 or 1986 when it was being re-shown in theaters again. It was being screened at the small theater at the local university in my hometown and, while I remember going, my Dad frequently reminds me I was describing to him and just about everyone else in the theater what was happening on the screen from moment to moment. I was a big fan of "Rootie-Dootie" at the time and would yell it every time the droid appeared on screen.

December 9, 2015

The Trading Card Preservation Society Podcast Episode #12 Is Here With Force Awakens Predictions

Today Dave the Cardboard Junkie and I are back with another episode of the Trading Card Preservation Society. We recorded this episode at the Roswell, GA card show and we cover four main topics. We begin with a $10 Challenge/Secret Santa gift exchange from the card show. 

We are both very excited about the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens and we offer a whole lot of predictions about the movie. We vote "No" on any mention of midi-chlorians and "Yes" to a scene of pure fan service! We also squeeze in a discussion on the finally released 2015 Topps Doctor Who and talk about the Netflix series Jessica Jones. Colligere Omnia!

You can stream the episode below, download it directly here, and [in a few moments when the feed updates] also find it on iTunes and Stitcher

November 20, 2015

This Card Kills Fascists #1: 4 People Woody Wouldn't Approve Of

In this series, we will examine recent political cards that I've added to my collection. 

2014 Panini's Golden Age offers a 30-card Star Stamps insert set that gives you four players and occasionally four political stickers in one. On the card below I think we are 4-for-4 on people Woody Guthrie wouldn't have approved of. If you are a fan of the Comedy Central show Drunk History there is a very good episode on cereal barron C.W. Post and his brother played by Owen and Luke Wilson. Hearst was of course the inspiration for the power hungry Charles Foster Kane in Citizen Kane.

2014 Panini Golden Age Star Stamps #10

November 18, 2015

The Lawsuit Between Beckett and COMC Is Over

Great news for collectors! According to a video put out by COMC, the lawsuit is over between Beckett and The lawsuit really hurt the functionality of COMC over the past few years as the site lost the checklists they licensed from Beckett. This frustrated many collectors as listing were messed up and searching cards of a certain player would almost certainly include many players that were not supposed to appear. The COMC listings have definitely gotten better as they've constructed their own checklists with help of the sites users but there are still some this isn't Andy Pafko...and neither is this.


November 15, 2015

A Former USPS Sorter Replies To My Post

I recently wrote about the destruction of an eBay package by an USPS sorting machine and a few days ago I received an amazingly detailed comment on the post about what happens to our trade packages when they get sent off through the mail. A reader with the username Stubby, a former USPS worker, also offers some tips on getting packages through the system successfully. His [I assume he's a dude] wrote the comment in one long paragraph so I've split it up into more manageable sections and any added bold emphasis is mine.

Stubby writes:

"As a former Postal worker, one who worked with the sorting machines, I can assure you that writing "hand sort only" will have absolutely no effect on anyone or anything. Used to make a difference; hasn't in at least a decade. "Fragile" and "Do Not Bend" are your best bets. 

And, even then, it probably won't make a difference. EVERYTHING is going through one machine or another--regardless of how obvious it is that it shouldn't. There are no "Manual" sorting clerks left at any of the processing centers--those jobs have been eliminated--and the local bosses don't get credit for any mail that isn't counted (and the only way they get counted is to go through the machines). About the only thing you can pray for is that you get an employee who cares enough to defy the bosses and actually care about the mail (there used to be lots of them, but they've sort of become the dodo birds of industry).

I used to have a carrier who would work hard to track down mis-delivered mail of mine (ebay purchases, mainly). Now I have a carrier who delights in folding vinyl records in half to fit them in my mailbox. Never mind the "fragile" and "do not bend" notices on those. Had one seller who thought he'd outsmart them and, as an outer layer of protection on the 45 record, used solid pieces of wood. Carrier must have busted it over his/her knee to get it folded and in my mailbox. 

As a former employee, I do actually have sympathy for the Postal Service. Pretty much all of the problems you have now, and the general lack of care, are Congress' fault. 100% Congress' fault. And by design. Congress (Republicans anyway) want the Postal Service to fail, so they can privatize. I guarantee you they wouldn't hold a private mail company to the things they hold the USPS to. Pay would drop, benefits would cease to exist, mailing costs would rise and there would be tons of places where mail service would be unavailable entirely. UPS, for example, classifies San Diego as "remote" (and charge higher rates to ship there). 

There's moocho money to be made in mail delivery, but the Postal Service isn't allowed to make a profit and is forced to pay millions every year into a Congressional slush fund. Officially, that money is pre-funding of retirement and healthcare. But they've forced the PO to pre-fund so much that people who won't be born for another 75 years are completely funded. Its a farce. And, unofficially, Congress critters will tell you that they spent the money on other things--so, in truth, the PO has pre-funded nothing...other than, you know, whatever the Congress critters choose to skim and spend it on...wars, overseas junkets, Benghazi hearings...the usual crap."

Thanks Stubby for the great comment! I knew about the USPS budget problems caused by Congress but how those problems directly lead to problems with our packages hadn't been spelled out so clearly. 

November 13, 2015

If Only I Had $1000 And The Time

Have you heard about 2015 Topps Limited? It's the 2015 Topps flagship base set printed on premium cardboard and limited to 1,000 copies. It's your chance to see and feel the modern sets as they felt in the 50's and 60's before the quality of the paper was changed. Each set is $100 and so it is about double the cost of a typical complete set you can buy at Target or Walmart.

It seems like an amazing opportunity for people with a lot of disposable incomes to buy as many sets as you can and list each each individually on eBay. I'm sure you can get $1 per card for no-name commons of the higher quality cards meaning at minimum you could get $700 net for each set with cards like Kris Bryant's rookie going for much much more. I don't really see how you could lose at this and it's a rare opportunity to flip cards at a guaranteed profit with some time and patience.  

November 12, 2015

Episode #11 of The Trading Card Preservation Society Podcast Is Out

Dave the Cardboard Junkie and I are back for another episode of the Trading Card Preservation Society podcast! This time we are recording at the amazing 2nd and Charles bookstore in Kennesaw, GA. Today we tackle a review [with many spoilers] of the new James Bond movie Spectre and also review the first episode of Ash vs The Evil Dead and 2015 Topps Star Wars: Journey to the Force Awakens trading cards. Colligere Omnia!

You can find the episode here, or on iTunes, or Stitcher

October 27, 2015

Live By Free Shipping, Die By Free Shipping

"Live by free shipping, die by free shipping" is the mantra I live by when buying anything on eBay. Lord only knows how much more I have spent on an item on eBay because the auction offered free shipping. And while sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised, usually free shipping when it comes to trading cards means the "plain white envelope." I've come to accept this fact and role the dice on receiving the card undamaged to save a little money on the card itself.

Although I've received damaged cards because of the P.W.E. I can't remember the last time it happened. Hat tip to the USPS. Unfortunately the P.W.E. jinx bit me this week when I received this in the mail.

The reverse side told me that oops, your letter was damaged in the USPS sorting machinery! Our bad on that one bro! After taking the envelope out it looked like something had taken a big old bite out of the corner of the envelope.

So what was inside? A 1955 Bowman Andy Pafko of course! I looks like the toploader plastic was actually melted a bit.

Here's a closer look at the melted part. This card must have really gotten stuck in the machine. I had to cut the plastic out all around the card to rescue it because the cardboard and the plastic had sort of become one entity at the damaged point.


You may have noticed there was another card included in that toploader. Some eBay sellers will include a bonus card along with your main purchase and usually I'm pleasantly surprised by this. And if everything had gone alright in receiving the card and I then received this nice little 1981 Topps Glenn Hubbard it would have been five stars all around! But now I wonder if the damage was caused by having the second card in there making the package just that much that little bit more thick.

With a little work I got the card out and put it between some heavy books to try to bring it back to a more normal state. In the end it doesn't look too bad but the damage is still obvious. This wasn't a card I was ever going to have graded, it was just another Pafko card for the collection that was listed at a great price guessed shipping. 

1955 Bowman Andy Pafko #12

I also received another eBay auction package this week from an auction that also had free shipping and the two packages couldn't have been more different. Now this is how you should mark up a package!

The funny part is that the card inside that amazing packaging was damaged...I mean to say, I was buying a damaged card. This was a 1949 Bowman Andy Pafko with an obvious crease and a chunk taken out of the bottom right corner. If you've read this blog before than you know I'm an Andy Pafko hoarder and so I'll take any of his playing days cards no matter what the condition and sometimes the damaged ones bring me a little more joy.

1949 Bowman Andy Pafko #63

So the undamaged card came to me damaged and the damaged card came packed as if it was a gem mint 10. Go figure!

October 24, 2015

Combining A 1955 Topps Doubleheader Harmon Killebrew and Johnny Podres Card

One of the more rare Harmon Killebrew cards can be found in the 1955 Topps Doubleheaders set. As you might remember, 1955 Topps has Killebrew's key rookie card and so this set from the same year can give collectors another shot at an early card of "The Killer." Because of the set's odd/tall format it never caught on and the idea was abandoned after only one year's production.

Killebrew fans luck out because he is featured completely on the front of the card but anyone interested in Podres' card would never get the full picture unless they owned the card and folded/destroyed it. The Doubleheaders cards design allowed two cards in one by giving both players the same set of legs. Using a little photo editing here's Podres on Killebrew's legs.

It matches up pretty nicely even though the grass is a different shade of green...but maybe that's where the shadow line is...yes, I'm going to go with that. Highly-graded copies of this card can top the same grade on Killebrew's 1955 Topps rookie believe it or not and can top $1,000.

October 8, 2015

My Packer Season Ticket Update Is Here [2015 Edition]

It is hard to believe a year has gone by and that it is time to share another Packers Season Ticket waiting list postcard update. This year I've moved up to number 59,267 on the list to be able to buy Packers season tickets. I was originally a little over 70,000 on the list so I've completed about 15% of my journey up the list over 10 years...maybe it's actually time to start saving to be able to buy the actually tickets!

I tracked down all my previous postcards which is a minor miracle as I've lived in five different places [and two countries] since I initially put my name on the list back in 2006. The average of moving up more than 1,000 places is a bit off as the expansion to Lambeau Field a few years ago gave me a huge jump up the list. 

It's still going to take me more than 50 years to move up the list at the current rate although the Packers themselves frequently say it only takes about 30 years to move to the top of the list. 

September 20, 2015

Living The Dream

You may have noticed a lack of posts on the blog over the past month and this has been mainly due to one reason: writing about baseball cards. Yes, that's right, writing about baseball cards...just not on my blog. For the past few weeks, I've been writing for The Cardboard Connection creating top 10 lists for them about vintage cards and the top 10 cards for a given player.

I've been writing about baseball cards on a mostly amateur basis since starting this blog in September 2008 and so it has been an interesting transition to go from doing what I love on a "when I have time" basis to doing it nearly every day. If you are interested, you can find my published articles HERE with many more to come.

All this probably means that Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius will probably be strictly devoted to my personal card diary of players I collect and my card show finds but I doubt my blog will ever truly be retired as writing about trading cards is something I truly love.

August 23, 2015

The Simpsons Lego Minifigures Series 2

While I have nearly the entire first series of Simpsons Lego mini-figures, it totally slipped by me that a Series Two was released in April. This set gives you the chance to get Comic Book Guy, Bartman, Fall Out Boy, and the Bouvier sisters. I find these on a big display at Target and are $3.99 per bag. Now these packs can sometimes be frustrating in pulling the same characters again and again but just like in Series 1 there is a way you can game the system and get unique figures each time.

These were my first two packs so I just did the old "feel test" and picked two figures that were obviously different. Pack #1 came up Milhouse as found Fall Out Boy! Besides inspiring the band, Milhouse famously won the role of Fall Out Boy in the Radioactive Man and was later replaced by Mickey Rooney.

Pack #2 found Selma...Selma wears a blue dress and Patty is red dress in case you have trouble differentiating the twins. Selma's been married to Side Show Bob, Troy McClure, and Disco Stu to name a few.

August 22, 2015

Topps Refractor Labeling


August 19, 2015

TCPS Podcast #TheHobby Interviews Series - Christopher From Crackin' Wax

The Trading Card Preservation Society starts a new #TheHobby Interviews series which will be a Better Know Your Blogger style collection of interviews conducted with trading card bloggers and people in the trading card industry. Today I call Christopher from Crackin' Wax to talk about his charity group breaks, designing trading cards, and our mutual love of the Minnesota Twins. Colligere Omnia!

You can stream the interview below, download it here, or listen on iTunes or Stitcher.


August 17, 2015

Ripping A Random Pack Of 2009 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee

As you can see, my "to be ripped and reviewed" stack for A Pack To Be Named Later is getting a little out of hand so I need to get back into the habit of regularly ripping packs. So let's start today with an odd ball one-off product from Upper Deck, 2009 O-Pee-Chee Baseball. In 2010, Upper Deck lost its baseball license and so we never got to see this product's true potential. I think I really did buy this for $1 from a clearance box at a card shop in Minnesota during a visit. And as TraderCracks says "when you find 2009 O-Pee-Chee Baseball, you buy 2009 OPC Baseball."

In my my six cards I was able to pull two stadium cards which is a subset of baseball cards that I collect! As you'll notice my card of Progressive Stadium in Cleveland has a black border which fell one per pack.