May 12, 2016

Andy Pafko's Other Card From 1952

Everyone knows the iconic 1952 Topps card featuring Andy Pafko as it is one of the most famous baseball cards ever produced. However, Pafko has an equally beautiful card from the 1952 Bowman set that gets none of the attention of its Topps counterpart.

1952 Bowman #204 Andy Pafko
The 1952 Bowman set was the last Bowman set to feature painted versions of photographs as the 1953-1955 sets all used color photography (except the black and white series Bowman produced along with the color version in 1953). Pafko's card features him in a posed swinging position with his body facing the camera.

Searching around I found the original photograph that inspired the card and I love how the background was drastically changed by the artist for the baseball card. Andy was originally standing in a field of mud with what looks to be animal or bird footprints all around him. There is also a set of wheel tracks cutting across the whole photograph making it one of the oddest Pafko photographs I've ever seen.

In total, I own three '52 Bowman Pafkos. Two have very visible creases while the first one featured in this post is in pretty good condition (although it is slightly miss-cut). While Andy's #1 1952 Topps easily cracks $150 for even the most damaged and messed up card imaginable, his 1952 Bowman is a bargain at $20 for a very high quality example and only a few bucks for cards similar to the condition seen below.

May 11, 2016

Popping The Top On A Can Of 1999 Upper Deck Choice

A few days ago I opened a can of 1997 Pinnacle Inside and today we are opening the second can-o-cards which comes from the 1999 Upper Deck Choice set. Like the first can, the Upper Deck can features Cal Ripken Jr. on the front and in total there are six different cans you can find in the set. 

In total, I get five cards which includes four base cards and one Grand Slam Record Breakers insert.

After opening the can I found a pack and one loose card which turned out to be a Barry Bonds Grand Slam Record Breakers insert. Was this the insert that I was promised on the can or just an interesting bonus card?

Here's the wrapper. Overall, I would say that these cards were in better condition than the cards in the first can.

Opening the pack, the first card was a Sammy Sosa Record Breakers insert so the Bonds card looks to be an bonus in the can.

My other four cards are a nice group as they are all players I collect. First we have Chipper Jones and Big Cat who was a Brave during the 1997 and 1999 seasons after missing 1998 due to injury. 

I also got an Adrian Beltre rookie! Whoa, whoa, whoa...let's back up a step. Although it says "Rookie Class" on his card, you can find Beltre's rookie in 1997 Bowman and Bowman Chrome. And lastly, who doesn't need more Albert Belle cards in their collection?

May 10, 2016

Subtle Differences In Presidential Cards

Take a look at these two political cards featuring James Monroe and Harry S. Truman. Both of these President had "doctrines" named after them with the Monroe Doctrine being the idea that the time of European colonization of North or South America was over and further attempts at colonization would be seen as an act of aggression. The Truman Doctrine was the idea that the United States would support countries that were threatened by a Soviet or Communist takeover, the first two countries receiving support being Greece and Turkey in the 1940's.

Another similarity is that the two cards look to be from the same set. Both feature the same style of art and the same United States seal (with the eagle's head facing the opposite direction than the real United States seal) on both cards.

The reverse side, whoever, reveals that they are from very different sets and even different card makers! Truman's card was made by Bowman in 1952 while the Monroe card was issued by Topps in 1956. 

Topps purchased Bowman between the two releases and they reissued the Bowman set with different backs four years later. Topps also reissued the cards again in 1972 and 1976 meaning there are quite a few similar looking cards floating around out there issued over two decades. The key to telling the difference between the reissued sets is the placement of the copyright mark on the back of the card as it is different in each set. 

Topps paid tribute to these two sets in their Topps 75th Anniversary set from 2013 giving collectors a chance to find holographic foil Presidents. The President featured below is a part of one of the great Presidential trivia questions: which President spoke English as a second language? The answer is Martin Van Buren who grew up speaking Dutch before learning English. 

May 9, 2016

Cracking A Can Of 1997 Pinnacle Inside

I've had two of these "cards in cans" for WAY too long...I'm talking years here and they have been packed up in a couple different moves across the country. For whatever reason, I've decided that ends today and it is time to get a can opener and crack this tin! 

(Pro Tip!: If you plan on opening a tin for yourself some day and care about keeping the tin afterword, open the BOTTOM of the cap and leave the top alone. I guess people who collect these always want the top intact.)

This is a tin of 1997 Pinnacle Inside which was the first cards-in-a-can product. Each can has 10 cards and were originally sold for $2.99 and I got mine for $1.00. The can itself give some odds of pulling inserts and here are the stats:

Club Edition (150 cards) 1:7
Dueling Dugouts (20 cards) 1:23
Fortysomething (16 cards) 1:47
Diamond Edition (150 cards) 1:63

The cards come in a clear cellophane pack with White Sox second baseman Ray Durham. The cards have been banging around in can for nearly two decades so the corners are dinged up on each card which is something you should consider when buying unopened packs of this product.

Along with the cards, Pinnacle threw in an informational card with an offer for a display case to show off your cans!

The informational card also serves as a game piece. My can was not a winner but card does remind me of the amazing slogan for Pinnacle which was "Guaranteed Scarce...Pinnacle." It's a shame that scarcity doesn't equal value!

Of the 10 cards, I got two interesting ones including a Matt Williams for my Williams PC and a Hall of Famer in Barry Larkin.

Of the 150 cards in the Pinnacle Inside set there are 20 rookies and I got two good ones in Andruw Jones and Billy Wagner. Wagner was a seven-time All-Star who currently sits at 5th all-time for saves. Jones statistics fell off a cliff after the 2007 season but he still ended his career with more home runs than Cal Ripken Jr., Mike Piazza, Duke Snider, and Al Kaline. 

And here are the rest of the cards from the pack. It was a fun pack to rip and if you happen to come upon a sealed can at a card show I would say go for it! 

May 8, 2016

Marvel At My Mojo #2: Commemorative Thingies From Topps

In recent years, Topps has gotten away from including commemorative patches (which are one of my favorite "hit" cards to collect) in their blasters and instead went with other commemorative "thingies," such as medallions and rings. Here are two of my recent "thingy" pickups which were each a couple bucks at a card show.

In 2015 Topps you could find medallions that honored the first home runs hit by some of the best sluggers in the game. My medallion honors Ryan Howard's first home run which was hit on September 11th, 2004. Just two seasons later Howard would hit 58 home runs and win the National League MVP award. While Howard hits a respectable amount of home runs (23 the past two seasons) it seems to be a miracle if he break a .240 batting average. 

In 2014 Topps, collectors could pull class ring pins that honored 50 different players and their "rookie classes." Justin Verlander debuted in the 2005 season but met the rookie definition during the 2006 season when he would win the American League Rookie of the Year by going 17-9. Sure, Verlander has also won a Cy Young Award and a Most Valuable Player but his best trick is certainly getting Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton to marry him

May 7, 2016

Heartbreaking Damage: Cubs Clubbers

In this series we highlight the cards that have seen better days but the rough times have made them infinitely more interesting. You can find previous Heartbreaking Damage entries HERE

Ernie Banks fans can find four separate cards in 1959 Topps featuring Mr. Cub. You have his regular base card, a "Baseball Thrills," an All-Star card, and this "Cubs' Clubbers" card which also features Dale Long and Walt Moryn. During the 1958 season, Long hit 20 home runs, Moryn added 26 more, but it was Banks that led the National League in home runs with 47...which was more than Long and Moryn combined. 

But I've included this in the Heartbreaking Damage category so there must be something more going on then the dinged up front side of the card.

Sure enough! Turn that card over and not only do we have tape damage but we have what looks to a Dale Young autograph in hot pink ink! While a near-mint copy can go for $30 and a rougher copy for $5, this one was $1.00 at the Atlanta card show a few weeks ago.

May 6, 2016

A Pat Neshek Autograph Baseball + A Surprise In My Twins Pile

Here's a quick post tonight as it is late in the day and I need my consecutive blog days streak to remain in check. I received this autographed baseball of one of my favorite players, former Minnesota Twins reliever, Pat Neshek. This came to me as birthday present from my longtime trading partner Reader Mike D. 

Neshek's autograph is certainly one of the most unique signatures out there with the first letter looking like a balloon, a light bulb, or maybe a baseball with the seems drawn in. This ball also has his Twins jersey #17 and "MN Twins" inscribed. 

And sorting through some Twins cards that were also sent by Mike over the past few months I struck some gold! I gave this card a second look, which is a 2015 Bowman card of Oswaldo Arcia. Oswaldo was a promising prospect following the 2014 season when he hit 20 home runs over 103 games. He spent most of 2015 in AAA however and in 2016 has found himself back in the outfield again.

 As I haven't purchased any new 2015 or 2016 Topps/Bowmann baseball packs (although I received a few as gifts), I didn't notice that this was an extremely rare red variation which seems to be found 1:2360 packs. And flipping the card over, it is numbered 5/5...a true eBay 1/1!

Thanks as always Mike!

May 5, 2016

Card Show Treasure Trove #2: What's Better Than A Tony Gwynn Rookie?

At this past weekend's Atlanta card show, I finally tracked down a copy of a card I've been looking for for quite a while, Tony Gwynn's 1983 Topps rookie. It's not a perfect example, that's for certain, as it is miss-cut with added corner dings but the price was perfect as I was really just interested in adding it to the collection (and taking it off the "collecting goals" list). 

But to be honest with you, this wasn't my favorite card that I came upon this past weekend. What could possibly top Gwynn's glorious backside? 

This bad boy! A George Harrison card from the the 1st series of the 1964 Topps Beatles Black and White set. I'm sure that blue facsimile signature tricked a few people into thinking they have stumbled upon an amazing autographed card. Sure, it's a great card but what really puts it over the Gwynn?

If you have read my blog for a while you will know that I'm a huge fan or damaged cards (and I've written about the subject A LOT) and this Harrison card delivers an interesting surprise on the back. A Beatles fan at some point decided to take it upon themselves to add Harrison's biographical information to the mostly blank back of the Topps set. Topps only included the card number toward the bottom of the card,which gives the collector plenty of space to add what type of guitar Harrison played, how much he weighed, his eye color.

May 4, 2016

Recent Star Wars Singles

 As it is May the 4th and all, here are a couple Star Wars card singles from various recent sets that I added to my collection from COMC.

Admiral Ackbar's wanted poster comes from 2014 Topps Chrome and I love how under his offenses listed on the back of the card it includes "design and creation of unlicensed war machines." As you can see from the front, you can receive 40,000 Imperial credits for information leading to his capture. Is 40,000 a lot of credits?

Well, we know of a few transactions from the films that can give us an idea of how high a bounty was placed on the Admiral. In Episode IV, Obi-Wan hires Han Solo for 2,000 credits with a 15,000 bonus when reaching Alderaan. In The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn tries to buy a hyperdrive for 20,000 credits from Watto. So 40,000 for Ackbar seems pretty low, in my opinion.

A great insert set from 2015 Topps Star Wars Chrome features some neat propaganda posters. Some of them are a little cheesy as they use images from the films rather than original art. This one is my favorite as really has the feel of a World War II era poster. 

If you have ever held any of the Star Wars Masterwork cards in your hands, you know that they are some of the thickest cards out there add that gives them the feel that they are "important" why not feature a man getting strangled on the front of one of them! Admiral Motti of course survives this encounter with Darth Vader only to die when the Death Star is destroyed. 

I joked on Twitter that I'm celebrating May The 4th Be With You with a new Star Wars card featuring  one of my favorite actors, Wil Wheaton! I was hoping for someone to explain to me that he was on Star Trek, not Star Wars, but maybe everyone is just too "with it" nowadays.

May 3, 2016

Toilet Cards

From time to time I've been pretty desperate to open some fresh wax (usually around Allen and Ginter release date) but I've never been so desperate as to open some wax in the bathroom of a card show! I saw this scene at the Atlanta card show this past weekend and it made me reconsider how much I love trading cards. There's also a joke here somewhere regarding Topps Opening Day.

May 2, 2016

The Rookie Card Series: George Scott

 In this series, we do rookie cards and not much else. 

When Trevor Story began hitting home runs in the 2016 baseball season like no one else ever has, I began seeing articles about who would he surpass if Story kept up his amazing pace. I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my all-time favorite Milwaukee Brewer players listed, George Scott. Scott, who started his career with the Boston Red Sox, was one of the best sluggers and defensive 1st baseman in the late 1960's and 1970's and played with the Brewers from 1972-1976.

Scott began his career with just as big a bang as Story during the 1966 season and he holds the record for getting to nine, 10, and 11 home runs which be did in 18 games, 21 games, and 26 games. Story recently tied him for the record of getting 10 home runs in 21 games and he has four more games to try to surpass Scott.

Scott's rookie card can be found in 1966 Topps and he shares with fellow Red Sox prospects Guido Grilli and Pete Magrini. The 1966 Topps set runs 598 cards and the short prints are found from 523-598 and so Scott's card #558 is a difficult card to track down. I had been looking for one for quite some time and it sat on my "short term collecting goals" list much longer than any reasonable idea of what "short term" means. In the end, I received this one in a trade with Reader Mike D. and it's one of my overall favorite rookie cards that I own.

In the end of the 1966 season, Scott had an impressive 27 home runs and 90 RBIs and finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting. Topps rightfully gave him the All-Star Rookie Cup treatment in 1967 Topps. 

Scott's greatest offensive season occurred in 1975 while with the Brewers as he hit 36 home runs to co-lead the American League in home runs with Reggie Jackson. Scott also led the league in RBIs that year with 109.

Scott was the type of player that just didn't make a bad baseball card. Just take a look and there isn't a stinker in the bunch. This is Scott's great 1976 Topps card with him sporting a horseshoe mustache and killer sideburns that come to a razor sharp point. One of the best portrait cards ever.