Tuesday, December 4, 2018

My Favorite Card of 2018 While Waiting 'til Next Year for Some New Ones

This might be an odd choice for me but this is it. I'm not a huge Jake Lamb fan but I do believe he will become a superstar very soon. I love this card for the photo. The angle is rarely, if ever, used. I think if it were used in any other set they would have cropped out the catcher but THANK GOD FOR STADIUM CLUB. You can't see faces and you feel like you are floating a little to look at it but it's unique perspective makes you feel like you are at the game in that moment. Love it.

Thanks to P-Town Tom and his always stellar blog Waiting 'til Next Year for the contest and getting me to post about a card that deserved some recognition. 

PS....If you have an Iphone get the app "Office Lens." The pic above is a bad example because I was lazy and rushed it but this app can take pics of cards that look BETTER than scans! Check it out for yourself! 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

What I Learned From the Hobby in 2018

I will always have the memories. 

I had the best collecting year of my life in 2018 but learned some harsh lessons along the way. Cards used to share time with hunting, fishing, and team sports but took precedent over all of those this year. Going all in with The Trading Card Database absolutely improved my collection tenfold. Between April and November I completed 120+ trades on the site. Some were 1 for 1 pwe trades all the way up to huge boxes and a lamp. I also have picked up some traction on twitter befriending some great people and making some cool trades. Here are some of my thoughts on the lessons I will take away from this year in collecting.

The toilet paper wrapped loose 12 cards in a PWE from this year. 

Don't Assume...

This year I had a lot of jaw dropping packages show up at my door. Some for good reasons and very often bad ones. From toilet paper wrapped PWE's to 26 cards stuffed into one PWE from Hawaii. I will never assume because an ebay listing says First Class Mail that it will be sent with tracking in a bubble mailer. Or assume the limits a person thinks an envelope can take. I have learned to ask questions and demand more from my trade partners. It makes everyone happier in the end.
Also, don't assume a trading card company knows how to package cards correctly or that any of them treat customers decently.
My Panini redemption not only beat to hell by USPS but was packed like a 75% ebay seller. 

A sweet piece from Dennis at Too Many Verlanders Blog

Be a Trader Worth Trading with...

Its the old adage do on to others... Package, communicate, and trade in a way that would impress you. I have made some incredible trade partners on Trading Card Database and Twitter this year. I am very blessed. The only reason I make more offers to them or receive little bonuses is that I show them respect for the trade no matter the package. Not every package or card I send is perfect but I can at least show I care in other ways. You won't always find it reciprocated but you may often find it one-upped and those times make all the extra effort worth it. 

A "bonus" card from one of my repeat trade partners on TCDB.

Topps Can't Get Enough $...

Everyone knows by now, its been said a million times; they are just printing off money. Topps has to know it's reign over card-dom is going to end sometime soon. The monopoly they have over everything and how hard they exploit every one of us with countless products they push out is a travesty. The rate to which they keep making more crap shows they can probably predict a fallout soon and want to cash in now.
I have learned to not chase Topps. I try not to overextend myself buying up everything of a PC player. I have to remind myself the hunt is the fun in this hobby for me, not dropping another card into a box and putting it away. I bought into Topps Living set on a whim the first week it came out. I sold all three cards for around $500 total. Do I wish I had Nick Castellanos still for my PC? Cha. But, the hunt 20 years down the road to find another one I can afford will be a thrill. And...if you ever get offered $500 for something you paid $12 for you take it! Topps would.
You can get cards of children from Panini too. 

Probably my best addition to my collection from a trade this year. 

Your Collection is Yours...Own It!

I often have to sit back, take a deep breath, and appreciate my collection. I think we can get so caught up in comparing ourselves as collectors it can be very damaging. I see guys posting 1/1 cards or break results from crazy high end sets. BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. I am a junk level collector. I own a few good cards but I cannot jump into high end product breaks or buy hobby boxes when they come out. I have to cherry pick and research to find deals I can afford. Someday maybe I'll be busting some Topps Museum but I cringe now when I buy a $20 blaster box. First off, I know I am getting $2.78 worth of cards in it. Secondly, $20 is a pizza and a movie with my family. This is my hobby and lucky for me I get a thrill looking through nickel boxes to find a bent up ass Ozzie Smith common from 1989. I can take 5 hours to spend $7 at a card show. If that ever leaves me I will probably be done collecting.

The Topps Home Run Challenge was one of my favorite parts of collecting this year!

I knocked out one of my harder to find wantlist cards this year. There is no way it holds its value but oh well.  

Cards Are Not Stocks, Just Similar To

Today's card culture seems to be leaning towards the get rich quick group. There are literally people who buy boxes in hopes of hitting an expensive card and throw everything else away. Not me, I play the long game. Millennials don't often play the long game and can't see the Mantle through the Ohtani's. Instant gratification or here comes the Twitter temper tantrum. Lately, I have been flipping prospects and 2017/18 rookie cards for vintage. Its amazing that someone would trade me a stack of 1950s cards for some up and comer who may be a flash in the pan but a lot of collectors today have no vision for the future. They see my lot of Clint Frazier cards and know they have someone who will pay top dollar for them so they cough up grandpa's old cards he handed down to them so they can make $20 today. I will take vintage, tried and true professionals over Clint Frazier's potential any day. Not even five years from now if Frazier is a bust I traded 10 worthless dimebox cards from Junk Era 2.0 for a handful of 1958 Topps that only become rarer and more valuable by the day.
My advice:
1. Save a few for yourself just in case but move rookie and prospect cards for vintage when possible. These rookie cards are too over produced to be anything. Plus, think about how often you find 1990s rookie cards of guys who never became anything in top loaders at shows for 10 cents. Those cards you know were a big deal a decade or two ago and now are long forgotten.
2. Look for hidden treasures. The easy pickin's trade partners giving up vintage for Ohtani and Acuna are blinded by $. Check out the outlier rookies and prospects who aren't as hyped but have just as much potential. Small market teams right now are holding some damn good prospects and rookies who in a normal year and on bigger teams would be a big deal. Swap those Ozzie Albies commons for Brian Anderson variations. Or toss some Aaron Judge RC's out there for anyone giving up Matt Chapman autos. Look at the price on Luke Voit cards out of nowhere after a couple playoff games. If you are "investing," be smart about it.
3. The two things I look for in a prospect is age and strike outs. If both are low; buy him up. The comparison I always go to is Aaron Judge and Nick Castellanos. They were born a month apart but Nick has over double the amount of MLB games played than Judge. That is quite the head start toward lifetime HOF numbers. Just look at career hits: 752 VS 284. These guys are the same age. If they play the same amount of years going forward it would take one hell of a career for Judge to catch Castellanos in many stat categories. Therefore, I would (and do) collect Castellanos over Judge. A handful of great seasons does not make a HOFer. Play the long game.
(Says the guy who still opens packs looking for that high dollar Acuna)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

From Card Cave to a Cardboard Haven, Trade of the Year

I have made some recent transactions that have transcended my basement from cardboard hoarder's rat nest into something that looks almost like a respectable collector's trophy room.

Trade of the Year

No picture has ever represented a moment in my life so accurately!

The forums on The Trading Card Database are pretty entertaining. Other than the monthly idiot who creates a login and tries selling cards or pitching his website 10 minutes later, you can always find something good to read. I saw a post for an old lamp and from there ended up with a legendary swap. BOBSCARDZ on the site is a very active member posting to the forum often. I was able to work out a deal with him to swap a box of cards for his Upper Deck hockey lamp.

Picture the "FRAGILE" crate being dropped off and opened in A Christmas Story. This lamp is totally from the era I began collecting. I love it. Bob even included 6 hockey cards from 90-91 in a team bag in case I wanted to keep the lamp accurate to the time period. He is an awesome guy and I hope he is as happy with the cards I found for him as I am with this sweet beacon of nostalgia! I am still filling a box for him to hopefully send sometime in January as an extra thank you. 

I have followed @GypsyOak on twitter for a long time and admire the pieces of art depicting baseball's history in a modern way. To be honest I don't know if its one guy or a cooperative team that makes this stuff but with a black Friday deal too good to pass up I made my first order. I ordered the Pat Neshek print and the Ty Cobb print above. Everything pictured is what came to me today. The extras they were sending in this sale are unbelievable. Even cooler in hand than online. The post card print, stickers, cards, its all amazing stuff that I am going to have to display in a shadowbox or something. Someday when my wife is done with her residency and we get into our "forever home" I am going to order one of Gypsy Oak's bigger pieces for my hobby room.