Friday, February 27, 2009

Collecting Oscar Winners on Modern Cards

With the long history of the Academy Awards (since 1927) there have been many sets that have featured Hollywood's feted actors. There are several excellent British tobacco sets that feature many a great thespians.

But for modern collectors, there are some nice cards that depict Oscar Winning actors. Although very few exhibit the actors in their Oscar role, they are classic performances in some cases.

None is a better example than Sir Alec Guinness immortalizing the character of Obi Wan Kenobi in STAR WARS.

The 1970's Topps Partridge Family set included Oscar Winner - Shirley Jones.

For many autograph collectors, there is a challenging (and expensive) array of Oscar Winners on various autograph cards. some are less flattering such as Charlton Heston in the remake of Planet of The Apes. They are none-the-less valuable as Hollywood signatures and in a few cases, gone for good.

The Batman series of cards have an extraordinary run of famous autographs. Not only does this include California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, but a nice handful of Oscar Winners including - Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, George Clooney and Micheal Caine.

One of the select (that I know of) who appears in more than one autograph set, is Dame Judi Dench. She signed cards in the forgettable able sci-fi movie Riddick - and in the James Bond set as well.
Another classic series that offers a surprisingly strong Oscar Winning alumni is the X-MEN set that includes Halle Berry and Anna Paquin.
Berry is one of the other actors that have autographs in additional sets - appearing in the James Bond series too.
Others worthy of mention are autographs by Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider and Kim Bassinger in Batman. Non-autograph card appearances of note include Nicole Kidman and Jack Nicholson (Batman), Jessica Lange (King Kong), Sally Field (The Flying Nun) and Gene Hackman (Superman).

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Few Rounds ... with the Mail Bag

A few minutes is all I have lately - so these blogs are like boxing rounds ... or maybe just the time between rounds.

Anyway, a kind member of one of the message boards sent me this W580 strip card of Heavy weight Champion - Jack Johnson from the 1920's.
I had already gotten Max Schmelling - the German Heavy weight Champ from this 1932 Monopol series. So when I saw the "American" that beat him for the title - Jack Sharkey - I had to have it. Although he was born Joseph Paul Zukauskas - he changed it to the more American sounding Jack Sharkey.
Compared to the prices that the modern Allen & Ginter are fetching, I am pleased with finding these much rarer and contemporary cards of these famous athletes.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ladies Firsts - Althletes of the Fairer Sex

With the passing of Valentine's Day most of us men are thinking of women - or at least one particular one. I certainly was. After duly celebrating the amorous holiday, my mind went back to cards.

I had recently purchased a large lot of German Cigarette cards. The cards were from the MONOPOL CIGARETTE series of 1932. The majority were well know soccer internationals. However, among the group were several pioneer female athletes including Ellen Braumuller - the Silver medalist of the Javelin Throw at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Another German athlete in the set was Karoline "Lina" Radke. She specialized in distance running -1,000 meters. However, for the 1928 Olympics - the first to allow females to compete - the distance was restricted to 800m. Not surprisingly, Radke won the Gold medal. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was barraged by exhausted competitors from this run. Subsequently, the event was banned from the games and did not see a return until 1960.
The set also includes other nations such as Norway's skating star Sonja Henie. Another women, who was named "the prettiest girl" of the 1928 Olympics, was Ethel Catherwood of CANADA.
Catherwood's fame was not so much from her accomplishments - a Gold medal in the High Jump - but because of her background. Dubbed "Saskatoon Lily", her private affairs were interest of news reporters. After her Olympic success, she moved to California with many offers to appear in movies.

She declined them all - after having admitted she was actually an American from North Dakota. She had a quick wedding, a Reno divorce and sold all her awards and medals and then married a speedway racer.

There are many more athletes and stories in these pre-war card series coming soon.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Going Ape

Over the past few days one of the movie channels ran the entire catalog of seven PLANET OF THE APES films.

One of my first memories of trading cards came from seeing the display in my local "5 and Dime" (when things actually cost that much) of the APE movie.

These were released in 1968 and another set based on the TV series in 1974.
The series was a box office hit as a Sci-Fi film, but later reasonated for its social impacts. As a collectible it made it way as far as Argentina (see below) in the form of pogs.
If you ever have a day to watch the entire library of 7 movies, I recommend it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

History Repeats ... again ... and again

There has been a great deal of talk of what is worth collecting, what should be invested and what should be produced by the card companies. The recent Topps Heritage set contains several historic figures and events using some of the classic baseball card designs.

A very generous board member over on Collectors Universe forwarded me samples of these knowing I am a fan of history - and in particular Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.

I very much liked the 1962 baseball wood grain design for the Revolutionary Hero subset. The Presidential subset recycles the 1952 baseball design except in the standard size rather than the original 1952 cards.

This has been brewing for some time as the past few years leading up to the Presidential election, several makers have included the U.S. Leaders like the Turkey Red series (above).
But for my taste, and for my dollar, I think obtaining some of the vintage cards like the 1951 Topps Look-n-See series (below) is a better investment. Some of the very same personalities are included and the artwork on most is excellent.

although the 2009 Heritage contain numbered versions, chrome and refractors - I would dare say that value wise you can get several good deals getting these ...

... the Royal Bengal Cigarettes T68 series. These tobacco cards from 1910 are still very affordable - and original.

While you are enjoying your search for the T68s (above), you might come across some others like the American Carmel set - E50 with contemporary personalities like Teddy Roosevelt (below) ...
and contemporary Sea vessels like the one in the 1927 Phillip's Cigarettes series (below). These are far better than the recently released Mayo football set that to me is appalling.
Don't misunderstand me, I like the fact that card makers are adding history to modern cards - but it might be time to add more contemporary figures. This will be a factor in future sets and in your collection.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Montreal Celebrates 100 - PART 5 (1940-1949)

The Second World War disrupted the chance for any of the original six to establish a dynasty. But the birth of one was brewing in Montreal as the Habs secured two Stanley Cups in 1943-44 and 19-45-46.

Veteran "Toe" Blake led the team along with 1940's newcomer - Elmer Lach.
But the real surprise was a player who had every promise but was injured in two of his first three seasons. Maurice Richard earned a place as one of many other players went off to serve in the army.
The "PUNCH LINE" - of Blake, Lach and Richard was to become the mainstay of the upcoming Montreal dynasty.

Maurice Richard was dubbed "The Rocket" by teammates even though he broke his ankle and arm in consecutive seasons at the beginning of his career.

Montreal's goalkeeping woes were answered by a smart thinking, ambidextrous net minder (who wore two catching gloves) named Bill Durnan. He went on to win 6 Vezina trophies. He was ably assisted by two stalwart defensemen - Emile "Butch" Bouchard and ...

a youngster named Doug Harvey. Harvey would change the way NHL defenders played until a player named Bobby Orr came along.

Since there were no major cards produced during the war years, many of these players rookie cards debuted in the 1951-52 Parkhurst set.

Pre-War Goalies - A Collecting Passion

Every card collector should have - the wish list and an ambition to complete a run, a set or a mastery of any given subject. Mine desire just happens to be acquiring a period of pre-war soccer cards. And my goal is lofty and if not impossible - a great challenge to do so.

You see, I wish to own one soccer card of every great pre-war goal keeper from as many clubs and countries as possible . One of my favorite sets are the GALLAHER'S CIGARETTES series which were release in 1925, 1926 and 1928 - in the green, brown and red series respectively.

The significance of these sets were of course that they not only contained English and Scottish players but the rarest of Irish club teams as well.

Recently, I acquired about a dozen more players including 3 more goalies -

Dick Pym - who earned 3 ENGLAND caps. He was best known for playing in 3 F.A. Cup Finals (winning twice) with Bolton Wanderers.

Joe "Bert" MeHaffy played for New Brighton - a club that never played higher than the 3rd division in England. So this is one of the few cards of a goalkeeper from the club. He was one of four brothers to play prodfessional soccer in Ireland. Bert earned one cap for IRELAND in 1922.

Tom Farquharson was a pioneer of the position. He was originally from Ireland but landed in the English top league with Welsh club - Cardiff City. He made history when Cardiff became the one and still the only non-English team to win the F.A. Cup - beating Arsenal in 1927. He played a record 445 times for the club. An expert Penalty Kick stopper, he moved alround the goal line until the kick was made. In 1929 the laws were revised to keep the goalie on the line until the kicker touches the ball. Tom played goal 7 times for IRELAND.

Since it has been a while since posting a blog on team cards, I was pleased to see TOPPS return to using them in regular issues - like these 2008-2009 Topps Total Football sets.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Language of Game Cards

Just returning from a short hiatus ... or rather a working period away from play ...
I am so far behind on my mail openings, scanning and posting of used cards that it will take some short entries to get back into the swing. and before I can properly discuss the history, integrity and breath of important cards - I have to start with some simplicity.

Submitted for your approval - or not - are gaming cards designated CCG or Custom Card Games. Being interested in many things STAR WARS I was aware that there were Japanese versions of the sets. I always though these looked really cool. It is a known fact that Star Wars creator George Lucas is a big fan of Japanese cinema so it is fitting that the Asian nation pays such homage to the series.
What I did not know - or ever expect - is to showcase POKEMON cards in all my collection. But while I was away I obtained a box of cards at a garage sale which included a binder full of these kiddie collectibles. There were a handful of them in Japanese ...

some in German ...
... some in Italian ...
and others in Spanish.

I've always appreciated the global impact of trading cards - especially as I enjoy exchanging cards with people from all parts of the world. This gives special opportunity for collectors of soccer, hockey and basketball - which are becoming badges of international greetings.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

We Interupt Your Regularly Scheduled Program ...

I have not been able to post lately as I am on location - working for an independent film maker.

I truly miss posting and apologize to my loyal readers. I should be back from hiatus in one week.