Friday, August 31, 2012

Have a Great (3-day) Weekend ...

You've all worked hard. Well, maybe you feel like you have LABORed and that's good enough for me. So take some time off this weekend and enjoy the fruits of your LABOR.

Keep those suggestions coming - I will tabulate, and calculate after the BBQ. 

Until then enjoy your cards !

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What Should I Collect ? CARD FOCUS

The question for many collectors (both new and experienced) is often heard - "what should I collect ?"

In this day of poor economy, low value  / high cost products, it is a dilemma for many collectors to even continue in the hobby. Before I go onto my conundrum, I know that the essentials for my collecting have to be two-fold:

1. Remain an enjoyable pastime (its a hobby folks)
2. Educate me while you entertain me (someday it may reward you)

I have amassed a pretty good amount of soccer cards through the years. The more I search for completion, the more I find that exists. Despite the optimism, I cannot have it all.

So my question to fellow collectors is "WHAT CARDS SHOULD I PERSUE ?"

I am a fan of history, so I am favorable to past players.

FUTERA is just one of several modern sets that has All-Time Greats and Legendary players. 

There is a resurgence with Legendary players making it into American card sets. Some of them are quite affordable while other are very high end. Many have come in the form of very good art work (like the EUSEBIO above) but are quite limited editions.

There is always some exotic set that I would love to collect (as the one above). The art, the history and the rarity make them desirable. However, their rarity make them almost impossible to complete.

I love the international appeal of soccer cards. An American playing Norway, a Frenchman in New York and a Englishman in France. It makes trading so much cooler.

By the way, I had to post the above card of TROY PERKINS. Montreal has won 5 in a row since the big trade that sent Perkins to the Impact while swapping Jamaican International Donovan Ricketts to Portland Timbers. The card was one of my favorite finds from the Norwegian League and is his rookie card.

As far as my goal for a collecting focus, I have set up some parameters to help me (and you) choose my next project.

Some of the sets that would fit are made by candy makers like BARRATT'S or BASSETT'S, and cigarette brands like OGDEN'S, CHURCHMAN'S, or PHILLIP'S. There are even a few Topps insert sets that fit the parameters.


1. The set should be 100 cards or less.
2. My budget is a modest $100
3. I would prefer pre-war cards, but with rising demand and costs I would settle for something from 1970 or earlier.
4. The set should be ascetically pleasing (on the eyes) 

While this leaves for a lot of possibilities, I do want it to be an attainable project and yet remain a challenge.  The budget I've laid out means that I should have some sort of head start already in place to give me the boost to get going.

Well, fans, its time to get those suggestions into the comment box.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

From my fellow blogger up in the Great White North (CANADA, eh ?) comes the latest card contest. WAXAHOLIC kicks off the English Premier League Season with THIS (click here for details).

For a country that supposedly doesn't care about collecting soccer cards, a few gems from the 2012 NATIONAL SPORTS COLLECTORS CONVENTION: 

New York's THIERRY HENRY - autographed card

The above card is cool for several reasons. One, its a nice design by Upper Deck, who are best known for either plain white borders OR glittery metallic haz-mat cardboard. Two, the cards are surely limited edition with a total of 35 world-wide. Now that may seem small for American collectors, but given that Henry is a fan favorite in no less than 40 other countries, its truly scarce. Three, its an autograph of a FIFA World Cup winner (France 1998). 

And four, the photo for the non-autograph version of the card is different. This, in itself, prevents much of the counterfeit signatures that are added to these issues.

The cards were part of a wrapper redemption offer only at the Upper Deck booth at the National Convention.

As Canada has a axe to grind with the USA (just kidding) when it comes to some of our soccer battles, this gem should be a peace offering. Canadian International and MLS All-Star / MVP and soon to be 100 goal scorer - DWAYNE De ROSARIO.


A look at the reverse of the non-signed cards and the Limited Edition seal on each card.

I really like these. I wish Upper Deck would put more effort like this into their soccer products. And if they should need an adviser, call me because I have a thousand ideas.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

BARCELONA F.C. - 90 Year Old Loot

Not much to say about these c.1924 Barcelona F.C. cards.

They are wonderful, colorful and irreplaceable. 





Both Piera and Carulla were Silver Medal winners in the 1924 Olympics for Spain's soccer team.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Better. Stronger. Faster. Six Million Dollar Man

Growing up after the space age, rockets and astronauts ... it was a thrill to tune into an All-American TV show called THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN starring LEE MAJORS as STEVE AUSTIN.

With the Olympic motto being quoted recently - higher, faster stronger - it rings a bell when watching the hit TV series intro.

Here is a look at the way the show began each week :

You know you had something popular when the toys companies make an action figure of your star -

Mattel manufactured a pretty good likeness of Astronaut / spy STEVE AUSTIN long before the scanning techniques which toy makers have today.

This weekend I found this at a garage sale and had to have it. Standing taller than the 12 inch G.I. JOE, at 13 inches, the BIONIC MAN is a powerful force.

This figure is version 1.0 from 1975 with variants produced later in 1977 along with agents, villains, Big Foot and even a Bionic Woman.

The doll makes a cameo appearance in the 2005 movie "40 Year Old Virgin".

1975 was about this time that the great soccer legend PELE' joined the New York Cosmos. He was the first athlete in American sports to break the million dollar barrier. He was shortly followed by Andy Messersmith of the Los Angeles Dodgers. (officially Nolan Ryan was the first million / per year)

I was not long after that sports writers loved to use the "million dollar man" tag with players who signed lucrative contracts.

Just think what Steve Austin, with a good agent, could ask as a sports athlete in today's game ?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Weekend Card Haul - vintage and modern TRADE BAIT

I do not envy those bloggers that write about there recent trip to Wal-Mart or Target to get the latest packs or boxes of cards.  I think its nice that each collector finds their own way. You see by my standards (and blog title), I like that my cards have some history. 

So while out garage sale patrolling I found a house that had a huge box of mixed sports cards. I didn't take all the time I wish I could because the lady running the sale fell down her own steps. So as the accident escalated to injury I had to make my purchase of the few cards I selected and depart.

1972 Topps - JOE TORRE

Just one season removed from being the N.L. MVP, Torre is in classic Cardinals kit on the psychedelic 70's card. 

1972 CUBS ROOKIE STARS (Burt Hooton)

Hooton would go on to be a star pitcher for the L.A. Dodgers featuring in 2 World Series. Was runner up for the Cy Young award in 1978. 

1971 HANK AGUIRRE (high number)

I liked this bit from Wikipedia - As a rookie for the Cleveland Indians in 1956, Aguirre struck out Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams the first time he faced him. After the game, Aguirre asked Williams to autograph the ball. Reluctantly, Williams complied. A couple of weeks later Aguirre faced Williams again. This time the "Splendid Splinter" smashed Aguirre's first offering for a home run. While circling the bases, Williams yelled to Aguirre, "Get that ball, and I'll sign it, too."


Something special about the above card as a near mint sample from the 1960's. Oh, and this Joe Coleman was son of major leaguer Joe Coleman Sr. and the father of current major leaguer Casey Coleman.

2002 Topps XAVIER NADY - autograph card

I like this card not only because it hard signed (neatly) on the card, but ...

short printed and numbered with a hologram on the back. Nady was both a Met and a Yankee. One of the select few who went straight to the majors without playing minor league ball.

Topps Heritage "Perez" insert - TIM LINCECUM

Dick Perez art is excellent. This was the first time his cards were included as inserts.

I know, i know - I really do not collect NFL football cards any more. But I like the product - Crown Royal with soda ... um, I like the look of these cards. I only wish it was a hockey card.


He was a N.Y. Giant setting the record for most receptions in a season. Great punt returner. First Giant to have three 70+ catch seasons. 2008 Super Bowl Champion.


I don't collect basketball either. I got the above card because Steve's brother Martin was one very good soccer player for the Vancouver Whitecaps. Steve became so involved that he is now one of the MLS  owners of the VANCOUVER WHITECAPS.

All the above cards are up for trade. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Con-tin-yooo ... Thomas The Tank Engine

Dealing in vintage toys can be lucrative. There are many adults recapturing their youth by buying the toys of their childhood.

My latest foray into the toys world has nothing to do with the above. I never had THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE Trains, nor did I have want of them.

There was apoint in time that I though even the people associated with this phenomena were over the hill. For those unlearned, THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE was a character created by a British author and made into a children's television program.

At various times, it was hosted by "train conductors" like George Carlin (American Comedian) and ex-Beatles, Ringo Starr (British Rock Drummer). So what were they onto ? (Or what were they on ?)

I recently acquired this large THOMAS train engine (below). 

It looked cool and had a handle that would be assumed to be a carrying case.

When it was opened, I found it had separate compartments for the different characters in the television series.

and what was once one train ...

... turned into a train yard. Not only was there Thomas the engine, but engines Henry, James and Gordon.

There were also coal tenders, a bumble bee car, a tank of electric eels and a shark tank !

Here is a look at Thomas (and a listen of Ringo's narration)

I first saw these toys that my nephew owned. He had several and a play table that went with it. I have sold a bunch of these from my store through the years. I think they are colorful, playful and most of all well made. 

The early versions were made from wood. Most of those are retired. There were some smaller die cast metal ones which are also out of stores now. Today, most of the ones that are in circulation are larger die cast.

While some people collect cards and ponies, I am looking for Thomas and Friends.  

Con-tin-yoooo ...

Friday, August 17, 2012

CHEAP THRILLS ... Baseball Rub-Downs

In this age of card collecting, where a pack of 2 cards can cost up to $70, its a wonder that kids can afford to stay in the hobby. Hell, its a wonder that adults can afford to stay in the hobby. 

Forget investments. Harken back to the 1980's when there were only 3 card makers for baseball. Digging through some of my boxes, I came across these packets which cost 39 cents.

The 1984 Topps Baseball photo RUB-DOWNS were a novelty in that these would have been inserts a decade before. Now, with the card collecting craze in full swing, they were a product unto themselves.

Each packet came with a card for specific instruction for those who did not know how to apply these rub-down sheets.

Each sheet featured either 4 or 5 players depending on if they were action shots or head shots.

There were also rub-offs of baseball equipment - bats, gloves and balls.

Each player had a yellow or red name plate with the team in bold capitol letters underneath.  The economy was pretty healthy as they show a quarter on the wrapper to use for rubbing the sheets.

In the above pack I got 4 Hall of Famers out of the 8 featured players. Not a bad ratio. Not bad for 39 cents and a cheap thrill ...

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Well it has been a super summer of soccer. Major League Soccer plows through the heat waves, their MLS ALL-STARS beating European Champions - CHELSEA FC. Meanwhile we had SPAIN winning the 2012 EUROS, the 2012 London Olympics saw MEXICO upset the favored Brazilians. 

So it must be time to rest my weary television blurred eyes - NOT.

The English Premier League kicks off this Saturday and the world watches (ESPN and FOX SOCCER CHANNEL here in the USA)

Liverpool are on a teetering brink or either sinking further from their glory years or rising under the new ownership (BOSTON RED SOX). As I await the new season, I have acquired 5 more cards for my 1975 TOPPS set. All of them RED !
The day when Liverpool had anywhere from 6 to 8 players on their respected National Team. 

The colorful Topps cards of the 1970s 

I have figured I only need less than 10 cards to have a complete run of TOPPS Liverpool cards from the 1975-1979 era. 

The USA triumphed in Mexico city last night. After 75 years, and the best result being a 0:0 draw in 1997, the Yanks came through winners in Mexico's Azteca Stadium.  

Not counting the smog, the high altitude and that the U.S.  was missing several key players, Sam's Army went in an played tough. Young guns kept the hosts busy enough that even Manchester United's "Chicharito" could not find the net. A 2nd half sub, Brek Shea turned on some boosters and combined with Michael Orazco, in his first appearance, to score the winner.

The hero of the night had to be Everton's netminder - TIM HOWARD, who made three amazing saves late in the match to preserve the historic shutout. This spoiled the halftime show dedicated to Mexico's Olympic gold medal winners - including their soccer team.

My own amateur photo of U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard ...

and a professional trading card ...

2011 Futera Unique - Tim Howard

 USA ! USA ! USA !

Friday, August 10, 2012

ROOKIE HAUL - White Whale !

I have never done 2 posts in a day, but as Arbitrary Crap had a midnight deadline for his contest, I will take tomorrow off and go surfing.

I had an exceptional collecting week, hauling in some most wanted cards. 

Crossed of my list, is this -

Carrera's STAN MATTHEWS rookie

 I had seen the Matt Busby go for a pile a few weeks ago, so when I saw this I jumped -

 TED DRAKE rookie

Ted Drake was transferred to Arsenal where he held every scoring record until the Premier League began (1992). 

The cards are quite small compared even to cigarette cards. They came with Adventure Magazine, a boys publication. The backs (above) were used for game cards.

The haul included a few different rookie issues like this gas station premium.


These were thin metallic discs that could be put in a collectors album.

And last but not least, a cigar band (a tobacco card ?) of "Der Kaiser"

1966 Casimir FRANZ BECKENBAUER rookie

I will not disclose how much I paid for fear I may be imprisoned. Let's just say I am pleased :)

Sporting KC Spoils Seattle Sounders History

The Seattle Sounders would have gone down as the greatest Cup team in American history. But the home field advantage went to Sporting Kansas City in the 2012 U.S. Open Cup Final. 

It was not a ballet, but a slugfest as Brazilian Paolo Nagamora finished with a bloody gauze taped over the left side of his face.

Kansas City ended a drought that neither the Chiefs or the Royals have been able to fix. Sporting Kansas City cards will probably get a bit of the bump on the hobby market.

GRAHAM ZUSI - US National Team Player



I like this horizontal card of Nielsen. Remember a few blogs ago I featured his Danish rookie card. Nielsen  was voted MVP of the match. His crazy antics during the Penalty Kicks was surreal. But the Captain came through and lifted the Cup for the MLS club.


The Gold Medal soccer match is on Saturday. Brazil v Mexico. Its been an good tournament with lots of young guns emerging. I'm hoping that some are going to show up in the next FUTERA or Panini set. The MLS had half dozen players in the Olympic Soccer competition. 

One of the stars - ROGER ESPINOSA - 

played in the U.S. Open Cup Final for Sporting. Rumors have him moving to a big European team at the end of the season. His rookie card is still a bargain at .90 cents at the above web site. The European season has begun with qualifying games and some leagues had their first week of play.

To think what might have been if the USA had qualified for London 2012 ... 

Here is a look back at Upper Decks 1996 Olympic Moments subset -



The "red rocker" looked better getting his head kick in then in a tie and jacket as ESPN analyst.

Are you ready for some REAL FOOTBALL ?