Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Kind of Greeting Cards ...

One of my pet peeves is waste. Wasted time, wasted money and wasted materials. So when it comes to greeting cards - well, I'm one of those who will save a tree or save you $3.00 or whatever they cost these days.
Don't get me wrong, I understand the sentiment of Birthday, Father's Day and Christmas wishes. But for me personally, send me a collectable card !

So my holiday greetings - from people who know me - came in the form of a 2009 SPORTKINGS limited autograph / jersey card (below) of ...
the New York Cosmos legend - GIORGIO CHINAGLIA. I can now add this to my collection of World Cup player autographs. Giorgio appeared in the 1974 World Cup held in Germany. He was a star for Lazio in Italy before making the move to the NASL and joining Pele in New York.

Also making it into my stocking is this card (below) from the 1902 Ogden's Cigarette series. It features another international player who starred over 100 years before Chinaglia. JOHN ROBERTSON made 16 appearences for Scotland and played over 100 games for the Rangers F.C. dynasty around the turn of the century.

One of his claims to fame is that he was the very first Manager of the then newly formed club CHELSEA F.C..

Two cards, made over 100 years apart, in different parts of the world - still mean one thing - HAPPY HOLIDAYS !

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Card Recipe For Rip-Offs - Fake Jersey Cards

Like everything that is deemed valuable, someone comes along and tries to ruin the joy for others. Well, I will do my best to put a hammer blow into those plans that attempt to destroy this great hobby.

It is not difficult to take advantage of the naive and uneducated soccer collector. This seems to be more prevalent as the hobby of collecting soccer memorabilia is ramping up. (see my article in the latest issue of SCG Collector Magazine

 Here is proof that with a few purchases anyone can bake a rip-off recipe:
- buy one unlicensed retro New York Cosmos jersey (ebay) like this

- copy one of a thousand Pele photos avialable on the internet
- puchase  a few dozen cheap plastic card holders
- cut and paste - print
- advertise liberally (ebay recommended)
What you have is the making of the "evilbay jersey card". You will notice that Pele, who played in the 1970's Cosmos team has the same swatch as Ronaldo who never played for the Cosmos, but was active from the 1990s to the present.
The culprit for this sickly meal is ebay seller kvadteck.

I have also noticed a recent abundance of the 1958 REKORD rookie card of Pele. The Swedish magazine Rekord had a paper insert in a 1958 issue. Considering the high asking price, it seems that either someone is clearing out the old magazine offices or someone's scanner is working overtime. BUYER BEWARE !

There are so many better choices for Pele cards out there with reliable sellers who have collected for a long time. Get to know your sellers and the items you want to acquire. I don't think that chasing a rookie card is neccessarily always a good investment for soccer collectors. If you look at the above card, Pele' real name ( Edison "Edson" Arantes do Nascimento) is not even correct. Secondly, it is on low quality thin paper - making it ripe for counterfitting.

Ironically, some of the modern cards of Pele are as expensive as his earliest ones - namely the FUTERA Legends cards and the WCCF cards from Japan. however, these are quality cards with excellent company backing.

Eat, drink and collect !

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Youngest Rookie of the Year ... ever, Gets A Card !

Major League Soccer's 2010 Rookie of the Year - Andy Najar - becomes the youngest ROY in the 5 major sports. The 17 year old DC United forward surpasses the Winnipeg Jets' Dale Hawerchuk, who was 19 when he won it in the 1981-82 NHL season.
To commemorate the event, DC United issued a collectors card (above) exclusively for their season ticket holders. All copies are to be signed by Najar.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Great One Retires and The King Turns 70 !

One of the true legends of Major League Soccer has hung up his boots ...
DC UNITED star JAIME MORENO retired at the end of the regular season. He not only ends as the all-time goal scorer with 132 tallies, but is still the only player in MLS to record 100 goals and 100 assists. He scored a goal in his final game to remain the all-time leader.

Here are just some of his career magical highlights ...

Moreno is not the only star leaving the soccer fields - U.S. International and American star BRIAN MCBRIDE played his last match for the CHICAGO FIRE.

McBride, like Moreno, spent time in the English Premier League with Preston, Everton and Fulham. He finished his last MLS game with a goal of impecable style.

Both these players will be missed for their leadership and class.

The greatest of the greats - PELE celebrated his 70th birthday this week. Known all over the world, the current President of the NEW YORK COSMOS is the most recognized athlete on the planet. His cards are still in demand and you can be sure that any of his stuff is money in the bank.

2009 Futera - LEGENDS - Pele

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Portland Sends First Chop to Northern Rival ...

While this post may have less to do with cards than soccer, when something is cool, it is worth posting. Firstly, I have to ask what is not to like about a team that has a weapon in its logo ?

I've had enough of cute, furry creatures, Disney-made animatrinic mascots and stupid fantasy photoshop emblems that have plagued American sports teams. The saving grace of traditional soccer clubs is that they fought for every square foot of territory in which they play - Arsenal F.C. with a cannon, Sheffield United with crossed swords and Portland Timbers with an axe !

What makes Portland Timbers even more intimidating is that they had the balls to go up to Seattle and post this billboard right near Qwest Field (see sports complex to the right).
Seattle were dubbed "soccer city" by MLS Commissioner Garber as they have over 36,000 season ticket holders and draw over 60,000 for some matches.

You see, Portland will be joining MLS next year from the 2nd division, just like the Seattle Sounders did a few years ago. and now the rivalry they had in the USL gets more intense.

The Portland faithful are chomping (or should I say chopping) at the bit as seen here on youtube.

All this just makes me laugh at the idiots who think soccer is the sport of the future ... its already here bub. You might just want to come out of the cave ... soccer moms need not apply.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Super 70's Seen Through the 1978-79 FKS cards

The English FKS footballers sets of the 1970's are making a nostalgic comeback. Not only do they feature different cards of super star players like George Best and Kevin Keegan (below)

but up and coming players like Peter Shilton (below)
and Glenn Hoddle, who would star well into the 1990's.

A good portion of the cards depict the players coming out of the stadium tunnels. Others are in action while the remainer are posed or portraits. The Hoddle and Shilton photos were taken as visitors to Tottenham's White Hart Lane - noticable by the club banner above the tunnel.
One sign of the times is the lack of modern goal keeping gloves - and as in the case of Ray Cashley - poor technique (think Robert Green - vs. the USA or worse - Sylvester Stallone in the movie VICTORY).

Ipswich's Gary Pierce looks to don a pair of gardening gloves while sporting the UMBRO track warm-ups.

Leeds Utd. keeper Graham Moseley wears some funkadelic mits as a "Bobby" policeman watches from behind.
Derby County's Charlie George (below) has a stiff lipped "Bobby" guarding the exit as well.
David McNiven (below) sports the 70's popular track suit by ADMIRAL as a "Bobby" in rain gear watches ...
Leeds Utd. star Allan Clarke wears more ADMIRAL stuff ...
Luton Town's Pasquale Fuccillo, soon to be with the TULSA ROUGHNECKS, wears an orange version ...
as would another future ROUGHNECK - Manchester Utd. Chris McGrath (with huge ADMIRAL logo)
while Q.P.R.'s Eddie Kelly models the defunct GOLA zip up track top.
A close up of the ADMIRAL kit worn by Crystal Palace's Peter Taylor - the last 3rd division player to be picked for the ENGLAND team.
Here Steve Finnieston is seen in a rare CHELSEA all red away kit - with green socks!.
Some of the photos were stock pictures from previous years as Sunderland's Gary Rowell show him with the embroidered 2nd Division Champions on the shirt. They won that in the 1975-76 season.
One of the most significant revelations is the addition of Black players. While this is common place in today's leagues, it was unusual back then.
Two stars that emerge from this set - W.B.A.'s Laurie Cunningham (later transferred to Real Madrid) ...
and Viv Anderson, a key fixture in the rise of Nottingham Forest and England in the immediate years.
The set includes other emerging stars like Birmingham's Tevor Francis (seen in the bright away yellow kit), who would soon appear with the DETROIT EXPRESS, join Nottingham Forest as the very first $ One Million Dollar soccer player.
The 1978-79 FKS set is 400 small sized cards that were meant to be pasted into an album. In addition to the player cards, there were also Team groups like Arsenal (below).
These cards are still very affordable, but hard to find in unused or mint condition.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Star Wars Fight Against Cancer ...

Sometimes the universe calls for spending time doing other things that card collecting. But not in a galaxy too far away from cards ...
I was honored when I was asked to contribute my artwork for The Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation.
The sketch card art will be featured at the Chicagoland Entertainment Collectors Expo beginning on September 10, 2010. The cards are licensed by LUCAS FILM and carry the sponorship information on the reverse (above)
I was only able to do 5 sketches (Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Boba Fett and Obi Wan) as I was pressed for the deadline. I hope they are appreciated by collectors, but more importantly, giving to a good cause - children's cancer.

you can find out more about the artists and the Chicagoland Entertainment Collector's Expo here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

2009 Tiki-Tiki Magazine Stand-ups

There was a time when magazines gave away some of the best soccer player collectibles to their readers. This was a common promotional item in British magazines and newspapers. Many of these were cards from the 1930's and another spell came in the late 1960's and 1970's.

Tiki-Tiki, an Argentine publication, produced these cut out / stand ups in 2009. Not only do they display well with a color photo of the star player, but include their career highlights and stats on the reverse.

The promotion lasted through the 2009-2010 season and reflects the transfers of Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United to Real Madrid.
Some issues were before the transfers - like Kaka' who is still depicted with AC Milan. Although there  is not a complete checklist, the set does include at least two National Team group pictures.

Known cards in the set:
Kaka' - AC Milan
Cristiano Ronaldo - Real Madrid
Wayne Rooney - Manchester United
Carlos Tevez - Manchester City
Lionel Messi - Barcelona
Argentina Team
Holland Team

Saturday, July 17, 2010

MLS Sign Record Holder in Post-World Cup Frenzy

Major League Soccer has dipped their pen into the summer transfer market by signing two record holding players. Both players appeared in the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament in South Africa.

Switzerland's Blaise Nkufo (above), who actually signed for the Seattle Sounders before the World Cup, comes to America as the all-time goal scorer for FC Twente of the Dutch League. (114 goals in 223 appearences) He should be a good addition as the possibility of Freddy Ljungberg leaving are near.
The rumors came true as France's World Cup dream turned into a nightmare ... but that should not tarnish the illustrious career of former Barcelona striker Thierry Henry who heads to New York. A big NBA fan and friend of both Stve Nash and Tony Parker.
Before moving to the Spanish giants, Henry set the scoring record at Arsenal (174 goals in 254 appearences). Although his controversial handball eliminated Ireland from qualifying for South Africa, he will be best remembered as a back-to-back winner of both the World Cup in 1998 and the European Cup in 2000 with France.

Nkufo is coming to a struggling Seattle side who are experiencing the sophmore jinx. Meanwhile, Henry joins the New York Red Bull who are thriving in the new arena and under new manager Hans Backe.

Let's hope that both enjoy their careers in MLS and feature on a few nice trading cards during their stay.

Monday, July 12, 2010

WORLD CUP CONTEST - Winners & Prizes

Well the tabulations have been made and the results are in ... who knew it would be so much @#$%^ math to figure this out (I sure did't when I offered the contest.

However, it really came down to an interesting finish as actually 4 entries went down to the wire. Here are the results :

1. roofgod - 61 pts.
2. dayf - 43 pts.
3. Dan - 37 pts.
4. Captain Canuck - 32 pts. (tie)
4. Beardy - 32 pts. (tie)
5. Darkship - 14 pts.
6. Mttelkjel - 10 pts.
roofgod's pick of Hunduras' lows propelled him to the top. With two players in the goal scoring hunt for the golden boot, and both teams with the chance of a top scorer - it was neither that made the difference. (Villa and Sneijder)

So here are the prizes - (keeping in mind we are in a ressession) I will allow the first place winner to pick first choice, the second place pick what is remaining, and the third to take the left-overs (sorry I cannot offer more).

A. (20 different) 1990 Panini World Cup stickers (Italia 90) - won't tell you which they are, but you do the homework. Help finish / start your vintage Panini collection.
B. One unopened pack of (France 98) 1998 Panini World Cup stickers and ...
one 1998 Panini World Cup card.
C. One unopened pack of 2010 Panini Adrenalyn cards.

A, B, or C, That's it folks ... email your picks (in order of preference) with your addresses.

Thanks for playing.

I have thought about taking up the side bar (where the contest standings is listed) with a "hot top 10" soccer cards - both current and vintage. These would be updated weekly or monthly. Let me know your thoughts.