Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Beating COMC.com Prices - Easy, Fast and Fun

After hearing many bloggers and forum post about purchases on COMC.com (Check Out My Cards), I decided to have a look for myself. I went to the section that interests me - soccer cards.
I was (sticker) shocked to see the prices being asked.
2002 Panini foil stickers - $24.99

2010 Panini Fernando Torres sticker - $20.99 

1990 Panini Dunga sticker - $15.99
Holy-crapoly !  Does anyone really pay these prices ?  If so, I have a counter offer deal for you. I will beat those prices, and then some !
Looking at some of the other sports cards - baseball, football and basketball, it looks more like a showcase than a sales room. If I have any of the cards on COMC.com - I guarantee I can beat their prices.  So check MY CARDS out.

Monday, December 30, 2013

TIME FOR INVENTORY - Want Lists, Checklists and White Whales

How can I tell if I have had a good year of collecting ?  Well, when I have so many new additions I can't keep track.
2013 saw me curb my acquisitions to my target player collections or some very rare cards. I veered off the path a few times, but it was with reasonable spending and much satisfaction.
I ended 2013 with a "bang" by obtaining one of the harder to find PELE' cards. (more on this in a leter blog)
The 1962 San Giorgio World Cup All Stars (Tutto il Mundo)
I am going to be taking inventory for 2014. I will refine my "want list" and target some of my favorite players. I also have a larger inventory of duplicates which will be sold, and reinvested.
I will send some of my vintage cards to auction and trade with some collectors to help their pursuits.
I feel fortunate and would love to help some new collectors or veterans who could use a fire to rekindle their desire.
Thanks to everyone who has kept up and replied to this modest blog.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Candy - Barratt Footballers

George Bassett loved candy. Little did he know when he began that starting in the 1930's his confectionery sweets would be associated with soccer cards.  The company subdivided into Barratt Candy which issued some of the only English cards from the 1970's to the 1990's.
As a collector of certain players, I was able to check off a few of these with a recent purchase.
1986 Barratt # 34 - Shilton
My collection of PETER SHILTON cards stands somewhere around 40 to 50 issues. (I need to make a Master List for him).

1995 Barratt # 2 - Giggs
You cannot go wrong with the only player to play and score in EVERY Premier League season since it began in 1992. Manchester United's RYAN GIGGS is that Record holder.

1995 Barratt # 1 - Cantona
Probably my favorite Manchester United legend ever, other than George Best, is ERIC CANTONA. If you want to see a great soccer movie, check out "LOOKING FOR ERIC".

1986 Barratt # 39 - Dalglish
I probably don't collect any modern  retired player as frequently as "King Kenny" DALGLISH. The Liverpool legend appears on this card in a Scotland jersey.

1986 Barratt # 14 - Aldridge
Another Liverpool and Ireland star before he joined the Anfield club - JOHN ALDRIDGE.

1985 Barratt # 2 - Heath
A star from the "blue" side of Liverpool, was Everton's ADRIAN HEATH. Heath has been the Manager here of Orlando City - winning two 3rd Division Championships. The team will begin playing in MLS in 2015.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Spanish Gold - Chocolates Bilbainos Cards

Contrary to some beliefs, a good portion of pre-war cards were not distributed with tobacco or cigarettes. If fact, outside of Britain, most cards were issued as food or candy premiums.
Spain is an example of a region that had a sweet tooth when it came to soccer cards. If candy was the highway, then chocolate was the vehicle.
Playing cards depicting Spanish historic characters were printed as far back as 1896 and inserted into chocolate products. Litografías Industrias Madriguera produced a set aimed at children with suits designed as skittles, balls, swords and sundae dishes around which groups of children are balancing or climbing. Ribbons or blank panels on the reverse incorporated references to the chocolate products.
These were reproduced in 1930 for a soccer set which included some of Spanish Football's greatest names. The back design consisted of a soccer ball with a portrait picture of the player, Rectangle squares above and below the players were either blank or of a advertising of the chocolatier sponsor. 
Francisco "Pagaza" Pagazaurtundúa González-Murrieta
Racing Santander
I picked up 4 of these playing cards with the Bilbainos Chocolates advert. The Spanish National Team made their international debut in the 1920 Olympics. Pagaza was part of the starting eleven  which won the Silver medal.

Alvarez - Racing Santander

Salvadores - Real Valladolid
One of the most celebrated International players ever, Ricardo  Zamora encompassed the style and flair of early Spanish football. He played for both FC Barcelona  AND Real Madrid.

1930 Zamora card shows him with his second tour at Espanol, the club he bagan with and played in between the Barcelona and Madrid.
The playing card fronts of this design

An example (above) of the varied adverts that were featured on these cards. It is thought that these were issued over a period of more than one year. Zamora later appears with a Real Madrid designation on his card.
The card set is known to have come with the following adverts as well as blank box version:
Valencia Chocolates
Xocolates Fin
Choclates Torras
Mont Blanc
Chiclates Bilbainos

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Jax Card Show - These Are Not The Cards You Seek

I had planned to attend a card show when I traveled up North last month. However, the closest I got was a card shop and local department store.
This past weekend I finally attended a local card show. It was free admission and there were about 25 dealers with a good range of products from boxes to graded cards.
A good portion of the tables were loaded with modern era product in discount boxes. Shiny, swatches and even scribbled sticker autographs. Tons of them. No, thousands of them with no takers. None of these were of interest to me.
I could have had a few semi-star signatures or jersey cards for a 5 spot, but nothing that fit my collecting focus or taste.
One seller had some 1939 Churchman's soccer cards. He though he had a gold mine. I tried to let him down easy and informing him that they were obtainable for about a $1 a piece on line. Now he really hates soccer.
I found a few toy dealers and coin sellers at the show. I found one table that had some vintage non-sport cards as well as some action figures and odd toys.  My affinity for all exotic and foreign material led me to these:
1977 O-Pee-Chee Charlie's Angels.

I once saw Mexican versions of these with Spanish text. So when the seller said he could not find these in the price guide, it piqued my interest. I knew these must be O-Pee-Chee with the French text under the English titles.

I selected two Farrah Fawcett (Jill Monroe) cards and one Jacqueline Smith (Kelly). These were from the 1st season of the iconic TV show - the only one that featured Farrah before she married Lee Majors (aka Steve Austin, The Six Million Dollar Man).
Note: I apologize for the crappy pictures as my scanner was off line.
The other table I went back to was a seller who travelled often to Japan and specialized in BEATLES figures as well as GODZILLA stuff.
I made a deal for a miniature boxed Godzilla figure described as follows:
This Bandai "Candy" toy series (named because each box contains a little packet of candy) was produced in 2000 for the release of the Toho movie Godzilla vs Megaguirus.  The Super Real Godzilla series had 6 figures in individual boxes. This is the Heisei style Godzilla (Heisei refers to the time period which in Japan is based on the Emperor's reign, the current Emperor's time period is Heisei). So the style refers to godzillas from 1989 forward. The  figure  stands about 3 1/2 inches tall. Godzilla stands  on a cityscape diorama base  Each figure requires easy snapping together.  The parts are vinyl and plastic. The series is out of production and hard to find. 
I love the Japanese writing and colorful pictures on all sides of the box. (Front and side above)

Back of the box.

This is the 3 inch monster in all its glory.

This was the set of them on display.
I did not find any sports cards that fit in my collection, but I did enjoy the couple of hours looking through the merchandise. I will probably go to the upcoming show next month.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Re-Packing The Millenium Cards - What I Missed - Part 2

 The quantity of my garage sale find withstanding, the quality, for my part was in the baseball cards. Although only numbering about 200 to 300 hundred, there was a nice array of type cards and star players.
To start, there were at least 7 Pacific Ryans Express II cards. This was the 2nd series of Nolan Ryan's career highlights picturing him with the Mets, Angles, Astros and Rangers.

 Most of the card big companies were represented with Fleer, Donruss, Bowman, Upper Deck and of course, Topps.
The Topps Stadium club was unusual as the cards were only from # 600 to the 800's.
While almost every card had a duplicate (including Hall of Famer Gary Carter), there was a lone Members Choice of former Mets ace - Dwight Gooden.

To my content, there were a few food issue cards like Jimmy Dean and POST Cereal baseball. 
I still love to "eat and collect".
Ryne Sandberg must have been a focus of this person's collection as there were several choice cards of the Hall of Famer. There was this odd ball Bleachers 23k Silver issue of Ryne's pre-rookie card.
And this holographic SPx

And this Donruss Special Edition Long Ball Leaders.
 A card where Sandberg cranks one 440 feet !
The one that I have never owned was a refractor card. So "Ryno's" 1994 Topps Finest was pretty nice.
Sandberg was not alone in star power with a couple of "Donny Baseball" cards. There was plenty of LEAF card including this Don Mattingly.
Another food issue with a POST Kirby Puckett.
Housed in their own jewel case was the complete mint set of this 1992 Studio Heritage Series. The uniqueness of these was the sepia photos depicting the stars in throwback jerseys. Many of these stars are in jerseys of defunct clubs like Kirby Puckett with the Washington Senators.

 The only card to feature Cal Ripkin in a St. Louis Brown uniform.
The mix of card from football and baseball also included some non-sport cards. A handful of Marvel Spider-man cards contained a hologram card of WOLVERINE.  How cool is that ??
Again, if anyone wants baseball or football sets they want to complete from 1988 to 2000's, email me with a list. I am happy to trade.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Re-Packing The Millenium Cards - What I Missed - Part 1

Sometimes going backwards has its rewards. If you're doing it just for the thrill, it can be exciting. Like when you ride a roller coaster, flying toward the unknown has exhilerating possibilities.
I have come across 1990's cards numerous occasions during my garage sale huntings. I've always opted to pass on them. But I wonder what I've been missing since I stopped collecting modern sport cards in the mid-1980's ? 
Well, this weekend, I took a plunge into the card millenium - (1988-2000s) the years they produced over 100 sets per season. A dip into the sheer craziness of mass printed, overkill runs of card companies.
I've seen re-packaged cards in the stores and unopened boxes of 90's stuff at flea markets. But I've never spent a penny. But on this outing I had a vibration - a gut feeling, if you will, when  I stopped at Saturday's yard sale. I spotted a cardboard box of well ... cardboard. I glanced without picking, peeking or even checking for stars. I just paid. I paid less than a department store re-pack.
What I got was the pure joy of 2 maybe 3 hours of sorting through trading cards I've not really ever seen or cared about. I sold all my grid iron football cards a few years ago. They were mostly vintage.

What I found in this box were lots of shiny cards that glittered and gleemed. A few players were past retirement and some already in the Football Hall of Fame. This collector had a handful of Barry Sanders issues.
There were a couple of Emmitt Smiths ...

 and a couple of Payton Mannings.
There were a few hundred cards in total, some in a sorting long box. The majority were in excellent condition.

All the modern gimmicks were here - the inserts, the numbered cards, subsets and glossy gold and silver. There was even one jersey card of the Lions Joey Harrington. And some college issues.
The only absentees were autograph cards.  There were even Canadian CFL cards in the bunch which I thought were pretty cool.
 A short list of recognized names included Dion Sanders, Bo Jackson, Warren Sapp, Drew Blesdoe, Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, Dante Culpepper, Tory Holt, Charles Woodson, Jerome Bettis, Thurman Thomas, Kevin Greene and Tommy Maddox.
I enjoyed sorting through them and admittedly, tried to recognize alot of the players. To my surprise there were even five 1969 Topps Pittsburgh Steeler cards in the box !

If any of my readers are interested in completing their sets from this group, by all means, email me. I am always open for a trade. Since I do not collect NFL cards, I can be quite generous on my end.

Friday, December 13, 2013

What's In A Name ? PSA Doesn't Know (or care)

There is an elephant in the room and no one seems to care its shitting on the rug. Professional Sports Authenticators a.k.a. - PSA - is a business that slabs collectibles. Its President, Joe Orlando, claims they are instrumental in  furthering the hobby.
I beg to differ, and back my words with further proof of malpractice -
EXHIBIT "A" is the graded rookie card of the great soccer star "PELE".
A few years ago you could have passed off any card of the superstar made before 1980 as his debut or "rookie" card. But todays' soccer collector is much more informed and far more knowledgeable.
You need not be the sharpest tool in the shed to know that the above card is shared with another World Cup star - "GARRINCHA".
What PSA lacks in knowledge they make up in false profits ! Someone paid good money to have this item graded and identified.
Well, PSA got it only HALF right !
While it would not technically be incorrect to label the slab with a player's full given name, it would be almost a sin to do so for a Brazilian player. As most soccer fans know, Brazilians go by their nickname and not their actual baptismal title.
A comparison to of the 1958 card with the above example is clearly proof that Garrincha is featured on the Exhibit "A" card.
Not knowing that the card was shared by a a superstar such as Garrincha, is like baseball card collectors not knowing that a guy named Nolan Ryan also appears on Jerry Koosman's rookie card.
The misleading label is also paramount to identifying Babe Ruth as only George Herman. I pity the fool who pays such money only to be duped by PSA.
As our cartoon heroes GI JOE's used to say - Its good to know, "and knowing is half the battle".

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Very Merry BOBA FETT Season

I had to go a few thousand parsec from my part of the planet, but I was able to acquire the most coveted action figure in the galaxy. Ok, that may be a lot of Bantha Poodu, but this BLACK SERIES BOBA FETT is most certainly in demand among collectors.
And, I did have to travel out of state to get it.
Soon afterwards, I came across a garage sale that had this ...

The 1997 Don Post BOBA FETT helmet.
I was lucky when I acquired my first Star Wars Don Post helmet - a 1977 Darth Vader version found on top of someones recycling bin !
Since then, I've picked up a nice Clone Trooper helmet and several full scale weapons.

The Don Post head gear are the most respected and quality of the licensed Star Wars costumes. They are only superseded by custom made versions which can go into the thousands of dollars.
I got mine for considerably less.
Happy BOBA FETT celebration to everyone this season.