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...