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Back to Basics

Posted by The Wilsons on January 18, 2018 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (0)

As a longtime card collector, my passion is my hobby, or maybe it's the other way around. Once I got back in to the hobby around 2010, I realized a nearly 20 year absence led to all sorts of new additions to checklists, fewer overall card manufacturers and a whole plethora of new terminology and verbiage that I needed to come up to speed on.

 

I created this blog a few years ago to share my thoughts on the hobby. As you can see I've let it go, as I returned to work after suffering a devastating knee injury that eventually will need to be replaced. My return to work, and subsequent entry into college, left me little time to write unfortunately. I did, however write a novel during my time off!

 

Now I want to get back to basics. Much like the simplicity of the 1986 Topps Tony Phillips base card (#29). This was, by far, one my favorite all-time sets. It's a clean design, color coordinated with the team that the player play(ed) for. It also happens to be the same set in which I received my first two packs of, thus creating the monster that you see before you today!

 

 

As we approach the first release of the new calendar year (2018 Topps Series 1 on January 31), I've spent the last few weeks reflecting on my personal collection and what I want to do with it moving forward. Call it the "(Yoenis) Cespedes Effect", or maybe the "(Sonny) Gray Effect", maybe the "(Ryon) Healy Effect", the latest Oakland Athletic to find a new home this past offseason. Once again my ever-growing PC was uprooted when the A's inevitable traded away one of the popular players.

 

Last year something struck me to the core as a collector that to this day is still bothering me. The Oakland A's called up one of their top prospects, Matt Olson. Olson was one of the main reasons that the A's felt Ryon Healy was expendable going into 2018, despite another 5 years of team control. Olson came up and started hitting home runs as if there was a limited supply on them and he was convinced he needed as many as he could get in order to survive!

 

I went to buy his Real-One Autographed card from 2017 Topps Heritage and it was selling for well over $50.00 (Auction and Buy It Now). There was no way I was going to pay that much for that card. Of course the cost of the card was overvalued and inflated due to prospectors and gamblers falsely inflating the price(s). It's simple economics 101. The elasticity of the price of the card, the supply v demand all hit a head as prospectors turned their eyes towards Matt Olson in lieu of the bigger fish (like Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger) who were selling for hundred, if not thousands, at any given point throughout much of the 2017 baseball season.

 

Gone are the days of 1985 Donruss (Carney Lansford) and 1985 Fleer (Mike Davis) shown above. Gone are the days of collecting a small handful of base sets, where true collectors built sets with the intent to keep them. Sure, some built sets as investments or with the intent to sell, but most of those were dealers and card shop owners, not Mr. Average Joe collector. Nowadays it seems more and more people have entered the hobby, eyes set on making profits. The amount of fly-by-night breakers that are here one day and gone the next is mind boggling. Every day I see new people who choose to see this hobby as a ticket to a quick ROI. I, for one, refuse to pay over-inflated prices for cards that are valued much less.

 

For most people that "buy" these prices up, they are hoping to see an eventual ROI. Please don't mistake me when I make that statement. I don't want to minimize my fellow collectors that also PC the Oakland A's, heritage sets or Matt Olson. I am just indicting the ones that superficially raise the elastic price of a card due to it's profitability potential.

 

Now, trust me when I say I understand economics. I am an economist for Pete's sake! I just don't want my expertise and my hobby to intersect any more than it has to. The perplexed look on Tony Armas (1980 Topps) sums up how I view the hobby and my PC at this moment. Do I really need to collect every A's card I can get my hands on? Or should I just be content with collecting every base/team set/insert with select autos/relics of retired players and a few affordable current ones, as they peak my interest?!

 

In 2018, I plan to get my PC wants/needs "back to basics". I want to collect what coincides with 85% of my PC which is the base/team set/insert. My wants database won't be nearly as full as it used to be, with each new release. Because after all, there will always be another new release. Probably another one as I type this sentence! Oh wait, its January. The one month when true collectors get a break. Thank the good Lord for that!

 

The cards featured on this blog post are not from my PC. They are just a sample of one of the best eras of card collecting, one that has long been forgotten as its referenced as the "junk wax era". These are some of my favorite cards from my PC. I am so glad that there is only one of each. Not 14 parallels, plus an auto, plus a relic, plus an auto/relic, plus a superfractor... That's why I am going back to basics!

Who needs a Checklist anyway?

Posted by The Wilsons on January 18, 2018 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)

(Originally posted on my ourtradingcards.wordpress.com on April 8, 2014)

I am beginning to think that these major trading card companies are taking their core financial supporters for granted. I think that they truly believe we will blindly support their products as if they are some kind of cult leaders. The voices are coming from the cornfields of Iowa... "If we make it... They will buy it"...

 

NEWSFLASH: YOU need US more than WE need YOU!!!

 

C'mon 'insert-trading-card-company-here'... We aren't asking for much. All we are asking for is a list of which cards will be in the latest product release. Is that really too much to ask for?

 

I don't want the checklist on Tuesday, when the product hits the shelves on Wednesday. Believe it or not, most of us hobbyists don't have the resources to continuously support every product release, every time, every year. Most of us are just Average-Joe collectors with household budgets, living paycheck to paycheck.

 

So, please, cut us some slack and allow us a chance to game plan and prepare for how we want to utilize are finite resources.

 

I have blogged in the past about the many parallels each product seems to have; And how there are far too many products to being with. So I won't get into that here...

 

I just want what you should want me to want... A list that prepares me, as a collector, for your next release. It would be something I could anticipate and get excited about. Knowing that there will be "XXX" of my favorite player/team in "product", releasing at the end of the month.

 

How could you not want that as well? Would it not benefit you? Would it not be nice for your core base of personal collectors, prospectors and case breakers to know what they are buying well in advance?

 

The two most common responses I have seen to the "checklist" issue is:

 

1. Checklists change up until the last minute.

 

My response: Okay, I can sympathize with that. For instance, there is a Turkey Red Auto that has still yet to surface and I am not sure it was ever made (although it appeared on the final checklist". However, what is the harm in releasing a preliminary checklist so that we have a general idea of what to expect?

 

2. Releasing an early checklist might be bad for Pre-Sells?

 

My response: So fix that (2013 Bowman Chrome anyone???). Strengthen your product. If collectors might respond negatively to a checklist... Then release a stronger product. Ask your customers what THEY want to see in next year's product. I, for one, am willing to offer my thoughts... Should you ever be open to listening... And I am sure, I'd bring 200-400 collectors with me... And that only covers my Twitter family...

 

Releasing a checklist early will not be detrimental to your A/R ledger... In fact, I strongly believe, it'd be the exact opposite... You'd created a more enthusiastic fan base... Whether that is the person that buys 1-2 boxes per year... the retail card shop owners who pre-sell at the store level... Or the big case breaker out in Arkansas... We'd be informed and know exactly what to subsequently tell our customers... Or wives!

 

We (the collectors) are not asking for much. We are excited for the new products. Please just allow us the opportunity to set aside some money for it. Please let us know what we can expect.

 

We aren't asking for the location of the Holy Grail... What came first, the chicken or the egg?... Or even the age-old question of God vs The Big Bang Theory...

 

All we want to know, in advance, is whether or not our favorite player(s) are in the next product release, what card number they will be and how much money we need to set aside... So that way we can start kissing up to the wife today... 3 weeks in advance... And not the night before!

 

Unless, of course, you'd like to personally call my wife and explain where that extra few hundred dollars that is missing from our checkbook went???

 

Did you need her phone number???

I miss my childhood...

Posted by The Wilsons on January 18, 2018 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (0)

(Originally posted on my ourtradingcards.wordpress.com on April 2, 2014)

Yesterday was a day of reflection for me when I had a I-miss-"my"-childhood moment at my Local Card Shop (LCS).

 

I've took to Twitter in the past to vent my frustrations with the current state of this collecting hobby. Something that should be fun, seems more like a headache more often than not. Collectors have so many different products to purchase nowadays, you simply cannot collect everything. Especially not at the retail prices that our LCS's have to charge to make a profit.

 

But I digress, this is not about the cost of the hobby as much as it about the sheer volume and speed in which it comes at us. Before you have a chance to catch your breath after the release of Topps' flagship Series One in February, you are slapped in the face with pictures of cards on Twitter from "Next Week's Release of Topps Tribute"! But don't get caught up in the excitement of this $50 per pack product, because 2 days later, is the release of Topps Turkey Red, a limited print run product (which features major coalition issues, but that's for another day). Before Topps could get to it's next big release (Heritage), Panini drops Donruss into our laps. Then after the "street date" gets pushed back 3-4 times, Heritage finally hits stores... Followed very quickly by Museum Collection (At $50 a pack and $200 per box, no less)... And folks, that covers February and March of 2014!

 

I fancy myself as a 3-type collector... I collect Oakland A's cards for my personal collection (PC). Any ole' A's card will do and it will be much loved. Second, I am a vintage collector, leaning towards my PC A's first and foremost. And lastly, I am set builder/collector.

 

In recent years I have completely stopped buying packs/boxes of cards. Not at the cost of $75-$500 per box. The reasoning behind this revelation in my collecting habits stems from wanting to focus on my PC needs first. However, with this change though, comes the fact that I won't ever get the thrill of ripping into "wax" anymore. I won't ever get the chance at the big "case hit"... Or any other highly sought after cards from the latest release. The beauty of this type of collecting is that I can funnel ALL of my resources into buying specific cards for my PC and I have the peace of mind in knowing that I will only be buying the cards I truly want.

 

If you know me from Twitter (@ourtradingcards), you know that I love me some Yoenis Cespedes... I love me my A's cards... And you may be asking yourself where exactly am I going with this blog and my "revelation" yesterday at my LCS. Before I get to that... Let me show you one small example of how frustrating it is to be a TEAM PC'er in today's hobby.

 

If I wanted to just PC the Oakland A's and just PC them from one product, let's use Heritage as our example, it can be extremely costly. The following is a breakdown of only the A's cards featured in the 2014 Topps Heritage product and the approximate cost of acquiring those cards in the secondary market:

 

A's 15 card team set: $3

 

Jarrod Parker SP: $5

 

Sonny Gray SP: $5

 

Jarrod Parker Error Card (Sonny Gray pictured): $65-85

 

Yoenis Cespedes Throwback Variation: $85-115

 

Josh Reddick Throwback Variation: $85-115

 

Yoenis Cespedes Purple Refractor: $5

 

Yoenis Cespedes Refractor /999: $7

 

Yoenis Cespedes Chrome Refractor /565: $10

 

Yoenis Cespedes Black Refractor /65: $30

 

Yoenis Cespedes Gold Refractor /5: $100

 

Yoenis Cespedes Mini /100: $10

 

Sonny Gray Mini /100: $10

 

Yoenis Cespedes Black Back: $35

 

All other 16 Black Backs @ $10 a piece: $160

 

Yoenis Cespedes/Rickey Henderson/Reggie Jackson Triple Relic /25 $100

 

Yoenis Cespedes/RIckey Henderson Redemption Dual Auto $250

 

Let me recap (and I will assume I didn't overlook any)... The approximate cost (on the low end) for this A's whole Heritage collection sits at $965! Or the cost of almost 13... THIRTEEN boxes of Heritage! So please explain to me again why I would buy a box to bust before I pursue my A's PC???

 

The last year I bought Heritage by the box, in fact, was 2012. I bought 1 blaster for $20 from Wal Mart and 3 boxes from a LCS at $70 each... So my total investment was $230. The base set featured 425 cards. After compiling my personal set, I was almost 200 cards short of a complete set! No SPs or insert sets! Just the BASE set! And I had more cards in my "dupes" pile than I did in my set pile! So now we are getting to the purpose of this blog.

 

This hobby is and most likely will always be a "Man's" hobby from this point forward. Gone are the days of the 10 year old kids running into their LCS with their lunch money in hand. Choosing an empty stomach in pursuit of opening up a pack of cards to unearth their favorite players (and a stick of stale gum!).

 

So back to where I began. Yesterday I am sitting at my LCS surrounded by an array of over-priced unopened packs of glossy cardboard pictures of men. There was Topps Museum Collection (NFL and MLB) at $200 per box; Panini National Treasures at $500 per "pack"; Panini Titanium at $100 a box; Panini Totally Certified at $120 a pop; Topps Tribute at $300 a box; And, of course, many more products! The only 2 products that were "affordable" were Topps Stickers and Topps Opening Day... Afterthoughts to 98% of collectors in today's market.

 

So, two kids walk in... Probably 6 & 9. They go through the LCS's selection of $0.10 inventory blowout cards. They were so excited to see Cal Ripken and Ken Griffey Jr in there! Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa! One of the boys yells to his mom "This guy used to play for the Philadelphia A's"! (Referring to an old Fleer product and a Jimmie Foxx card). I knew damn well, watching these boys, that they'd never know the joy of taking $2.00 into a hobby shop and taking away eight packs of cards. (At least not 8 packs that feature current players... I am sure every LCS has tons of old 88-91 packs laying around).

 

These kids were so excited to spend their $2.00 each. Both of them chose 10 of the blowout cards and one pack of Opening Day. The little guy, opens his pack... He had a sparkle in his eye... He looked at his brother and yelled... I mean he was loud...

 

"My pack had three Marlins players in it... How sick is that"!!!

 

Yeah, Topps... Panini... Leaf... Quit focusing solely on high-end, hit-driven, prospect-laden products... Cut the crap out of Quibis, Chipz and other gimmicky crap.... Give the young collectors something to get excited about... So if any of you happen to read this...

 

I want to open a box again... Not for the latest, greatest Bryce Harper, Mike Trout or Yasiel Puig hit... But for sheer fun of pulling a base card of Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss... Looking at my wife... And saying... Honey... For only $0.50... I got my 3 favorite players in ONE pack...

 

"How sick is that"...

How many variations do we really need?

Posted by The Wilsons on January 18, 2018 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (0)

(Originally posted on my ourtradingcards.wordpress.com on June 26, 2013)

Cespedes Bowman Rainbow

 

Okay Topps... We get it. You like to make variations of the same card. I have 8/10 cards of the rainbow. Yes. There are, in fact, 2 more variations! They are, however, both 1/1's (Red and Superfractor).

 

Last week, Topps released Series 2 to their base set for 2013. With it comes another onslaught of multiple variations. Every base card has a white base version (1). A red Target exclusive parallel (2). A blue Wal Mart exclusive parallel (3). A purple Toys R Us exclusive parallel (4). And then a few pack inserted parallels: Emerald Foil (5), Gold serial #'d/2013 (6), a salute to the military with their Camo serial #'d/99 (7), a tribute to breast cancer Pink serial #'d/50 (8), a black bordered serial #'d/62 (9). And then there are the Silver Slate redemption packs: Blue Silver Slate (10) and Silver Slate serial #'d/10 (11).

 

That's right folks. Every card has 11 separate variations for all of your collecting desires. And I am guilty as charged! I want every variation for my beloved Oakland A's. And at last check, Topps inserted 15 different A's players into the Series 2 checklist. Thanks Topps! That's 165 cards that are on my Christmas wish list. At $5 a piece... I have to explain to the wife where that $825 just went.

 

Unfortunately for me... They aren't $5 a piece. The Silver Slate /10 and Black bordered /62 can get quite pricey. So let's just say that there are 9 "affordable" variations... bringing our $5 per card total all the way down to $675!

 

Wait, wait, wait. There were 8 cards times 10 variations in Series 1. That's another $400. And I am sure Update Series will have... Say another 10 base cards... Times 10-11 variations...

 

Does anyone have $2,000 I can borrow?

 

Also... There are autos. And relics. And auto/relics. And inserts. And SPs... OH MY!

 

Good thing Topps only produces these 3 Series every year and nothing else. Wait... Please hold... That's the other line...

 

"Hello"?

 

I have some guy named Bowman and all of his variations on call waiting. And his brother Bowman Chrome is also calling. Their cousin Bowman Draft also wants to make an appointment.

 

Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects wants to be on Tier One of the appointment list.

 

I just had a walk-in wanting to make some kind of Tribute to the past. Someone is on hold wanting to discuss their Museum Collection.

 

A lady from the Archives department is holding as well. A representative from Allen & Ginter called and left a message while I was at lunch. Sounds like a law firm to me.

 

Bowman Platinum and Sterling must be wanting to sell me some kind of jewelry.

 

I can make reservations at the Finest restaurant. They have 5 Star service. Just don't sit in the back by the bathrooms. There's a Gypsy Queen who usually sits back there.

 

Mom just texted me wanting to discuss our family Heritage. She seemed upset also. She must have figured out that our pet Turkey is Red.

 

Well enough about all the different variations of Topps Series I, II and Update. I am off to detail my rims. I have to polish the Topps of the wheels with a Chrome finish.

Online Group Box Breaking dying a slow death...

Posted by The Wilsons on January 18, 2018 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (0)

(Originally posted on my ourtradingcards.wordpress.com on June 26, 2013)

6 months ago, you couldn't find a box break that wasn't already sold out. It seemed box breakers couldn't bring the product(s) in fast enough to support the demand. Prospective buyers would flock to multiple breakers to scoop up their favorite team(s) and/or the team(s) with the hot and upcoming prospects.

 

The Nationals (Harper) and Angels (Trout) were gone as soon as they were listed on the web site of the breaker. The Colts (Luck) and Redskins (Griffin) were gone before the breaker hit refresh on their latest listing.

 

It seemed every day, no less than 5 new breakers, were following me on Twitter and asking me to peruse their web site for all the latest products and deals. People that had little, to no business, breaking boxes came out of the wood work.

 

Maybe I am mistaken. Maybe I just got a false sense of the direction of the online portion of the hobby. However, it seems over the past 2 months or so, box breaking has slowed quite a bit. Is it because of the change of weather? Folks are out with their families more?! I doubt it. Ebay sales have seemed to screech to a halt as well. More families are spending less on hobbies these days.

 

It's not just trading cards either. I was speaking with my dad the other day about hobbies in general. He mentioned that toy trains (his poison of choice) has seen a drastic dip in both online sales as well as the overall value of the product. Trains that once sold for $100 are being listed at auction beginning at $0.99. The seller is ecstatic to get rid of the item for $10! Can you imagine selling a low-grade 1969 Mickey Mantle card for $10? Can you imagine being happy that you got that much?

 

Talking to multiple local collectors, there seems to be zero interest in group breaking at the moment. Even in person where there is instant gratification. No one wants to spend good money without any guarantees of getting a decent return on investment (ROI). It's hard enough to sell them a box that guarantees them 3 autos for $100. There's no guarantees those autos will be worth than the cost of 1 pack combined.

 

Box breaking has become a rich man's game. Another way to gamble, while gaining a tangible asset. Even if you get skunked in a break, you still do get "something". But for the average collector on a moderate hobby budget... A $30 gamble is a huge potential loss. Especially now that most breakers have went to a random team format.

 

Why have they went the route of a random team format? Well, because... Um... No one wants the Marlins. Or Padres. Or Astros. Or Twins. Or... you get the point. There is a half dozen teams that a small group of collectors want for their personal collection. Yet, for the guy with $100 a month to spend on cards, spending $25 on a random team break and ending up with the Marlins doesn't seem like a good ROI. And if the breaker sells the break by team, then they won't sell the same group of 6-8 teams.

 

I recently found myself bored and looking for something to do. I got into a small, affordable, break. I bought 3 spots for $18. There was only 1 box being opened, so my chances of getting a decent ROI were below-average at best. I was randomed the Marlins, Padres and Tigers. The product being broken (2013 Bowman) was not terribly impressive for any of those teams. So before the box had even been broken, I realized I essentially flushed $18 down the toilet. The end result? A pile of base cards and 1 gold parallel that I would be lucky to sell on ebay for $0.99.

 

As the initial excitement of online box breaking started to wane... I believe collectors started getting smart about their money. "Why spend $30 for a random team (on the chances they may get a ROI) and if I get something good, I can sell/trade it for something I do want". Why not just spend the $30 now? Buy packs at a LCS if you want the thrill of "gambling"? Buy an individual card(s) for my personal collection. Spend the money on something I know I want that I can appreciate more than a random stack of cards.

 

Sure the Live Case Breaks and Mojo Breaks of the world will always be around. I am sure you can always find a box break to get into if the fancy strikes. I predict the number of box breakers that will start to close up shop will increase over the next few months. They had there 15 minutes of fame and their day in the sun... I believe collectors have become smarter with their resources. I believe a lot of folks have realized their money is better spent on certainty as opposed to chance.

 

The days of "Boom! I just nailed a $60 auto" are over. Since it cost that collector $400 to finally get something good.

 

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe it's just me that changed my perspective. I just don't think so. And if I am wrong... If breaks are still selling out as strong as ever... then enjoy your ever-growing stacks of random base cards and $2 autos... While my personal collection continues to grow... and grow... and grow...

It's time to do away with Professional Sports All Star Games

Posted by The Wilsons on January 18, 2018 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (0)

(Originally posted on my ourtradingcards.wordpress.com on February 17, 2013)

At long last we should end ALL of the professional sports All-Star games. Once a highlight of their respective sports, they have come to a point where they are all rather pointless.

 

I wanted to get a few of my thoughts out. I, am in no way, an expert on the revenues, television ratings or business benefits that they mean to each league. And frankly, I don't care. My opinions come from that of an avid fan of the NBA, NFL and MLB. I won't comment on the NHL All-Star game since I don't follow the sport and I don't know the validity of their A.S. weekend, but from what I've heard, it isn't much better than that of the NBA.

 

These games used to be amazing. From Pete Rose bowling over Ray Fosse (1970)... To Willie Mays' response to how the NL could beat the AL (In the 1950's); "What should our lineup order be"; Mays replied "Bat Roberto (Clemente) first, Me 2nd and Hank (Aaron) 3rd. After that it doesn't matter"!... From Carl Hubbell striking out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin in order (1934)... To Michael Jordan vs Dominique Wilkins for the slam dunk title...

 

These games and special skill competitions used to mean something. Pride was at stake. History was on the line. Bragging rights, Me vs. You, who will steal the spotlight?, anything you can do, I can do better! It was all there for the world to see. It was the ultimate show on the world's greatest stage. 24 All Stars. 50 All Stars. 100 Pro Bowlers. The best vs. the best.

 

Now it is just something to fill out the league schedule. It's nothing more than a ratings grab... A revenue ploy... A gigantic midseason party for the game's best talent (with the exception of the NFL Pro Bowl, which is played in the week between the conference title games and the Super Bowl).

 

MLB:

 

Baseball has the most watchable All Star game in my opinion. It, by no means, is perfect. The Home Run Derby has become a very long commerical for Geico and other sponsors. It is very drawn out and usually filled with middling stars. The best HR hitters make occasional appearances, which is nice. However, I don't need to spend 3 hours watching a glorified batting practice.

 

Some star players would prefer to have a midseason 3-day vacation, rather than participate in the All Star break. I can't blame them... It's mid-February as I type this and players have already reported for Spring Training. Their season won't wind down until at least October (unless they qualify for postseason play). I think I would prefer a mini vacation with my wife and kids too!

 

Since the game takes place in midseason, pitchers and their pitching schedule(s) play a big factor in who can be used and for how many innnings. Having an All Star game in midseason complicates a lot of issues. Not to mention the voting process which is a separate blog topic in and of itself. I love having sub-par aged veterans voted in on their resumes alone... Cal Ripken anyone? Or injured stars who haven't played a single game all year voted in as a starter... Ken Griffey Jr. anyone?

 

NBA:

 

I love watching 400 points of NBA action in 48 minutes. I love watching games with no defense. A game where 3 pointers rain down more than Pacman Jones' one dollar bills at a "skrip" club. The game itself is actually not that bad. It's the All Star weekend festivities.

 

I can live with a skills competetion. It's a fun watch if you have a half hour to kill. I can live with the 3 point shooting competetion. It's also a fun watch, especially if you have a favorite player in the shootout. However the dunk contest has got to go.

 

For one, no star has competed in the Slam Dunk contest since Vince Carter. And even then, he left a lot of "star" to be desired. Long gone are the days of Dr J., Jordan, Wilkins... And even Spud Webb! Now we are stuck watching Gerald Green, Terrence Ross and James White. What's a James White??? All the while... On the sidelines... Sits Blake Griffin. High fiving Kobe Bryant. Who shoulder bumps LeBron James. Kevin Durant wraps his arms around Chris Paul. James Harden standing next to Carmelo Anthony, both wearing blazers and stylish sun glasses. But, it's cool. Terrence Ross won the Slam Dunk title. He won't be in the league by 2015... And he went 3/16 in the contest. Congratulations. You are the 2013 version of Jamario Moon!

 

NFL:

 

 

By far the worst of the 3 All Star games. Why? I wouldn't know. I never watched one. I don't like my NFL football with a touch of Arena League. I don't need to watch a 63-56 football game. I don't need to see players playing for a $25k check to pay for their weekend trip to Hawaii.

 

The Pro Bowl players are announced on a Saturday. By Sunday half of them have politely declined due to... Um... An unforseen injury. Or 'my grandpa will be having a funeral that weekend'! Here comes the substitutions. Yes, Carson Palmer is an appropraite sub for Tom Brady. Come on down Jaquizz Rodgers... Adrian Peterson has a prior engagement.

 

The NFL got the bright idea to move the Pro Bowl from the week following the Super Bowl to the dead week in between the Conference Championship and the one with the 38 minute half time show. Oh boy! Now I will watch! Sorry, Super Bowl players... You can't play in the game, even if you had wanted to. Now next year, I will hear all about how many Pro Bowl appearances a player has made. Really? He was the 8th best QB in his conference last year. But he was a "Pro Bowler" because the first 7 called in sick.

 

In closing:

 

 

I wish all of the leagues would do away with their respective games. They won't and that's okay. I am just one person with an opinion. Announce the players who were the "best" that year. Give them recognition for that. Maybe even a bonus of some kind. Just please save the fans from the crap that ensues when you try to play a "real" game with these athletes who don't seem to care about the end result.

 

"And Pete Rose rounds third... Fosse has the plate blocked... The ball hits his glove... The collision... BOOM!...Fosse flies backwards"...

 

Gone are those days...

Being a box breaker isn't for everyone...

Posted by The Wilsons on January 31, 2013 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (0)

My first introduction into box breaking was at a local card shop (LCS). I was there with my wife and daughter at a monthly trade night. I was just getting back into the hobby (2010) after an almost 20 year hiatus. I was just learning about all of the additions that cards companies had made.

What was a relic?

An auto card was pretty self-explanatory!

What were refractors and parallels?

Some cards were numbered...

Some were chrome...

Some were retailer variations...

Some were worth more just based on the product in which they came out of...

Whew! That was a lot to learn! The hobby was no longer just about buying a $0.50 pack and hoping for a player from your favorite team! So the idea of box breaking was a whole new aspect. Fellow collectors would pool their money together to open a pre-set number of boxes. Each buying a specific amount of teams as their budgets and level of risk taking would allow.

My wife and I tried buying into a box break and were hooked. The gamble was fun. The adrenaline was intoxicating. Could we be going home with a case hit worth multiple times our small investment? Or would we strike out and go home with nothing more than base cards/inserts? It was time to double down!

However after a few months of this, we tired on the prospect of those big chase hits. We were spending $60 to come home with stacks of base cards from the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers. With that, we retired from box breaking at the LCS.

Somewhere along the line, I discovered Twitter and found a vast community of fellow card collectors and hobby enthusiasts. I also found an entire online community of box/case breakers. Some of these breakers were much more reliable and trust worthy than others. Some were fly-by-night breakers, selling their spots on eBay and through Pay Pal invoices.

I found a few really great box breakers. I made good friends with the Layton's of LaytonSportsCards.com. Rich and Sara Layton have always treated me well and I always have fun in their breaks. They are fair, fun and reasonable priced. They have superior customer service and I always feel welcome in their box breaks.

However, the box/case breaking business is not for everyone. It's not as easy as being able to buy some product and being able to sell the slots to customers. As the months have passed, more and more box/case breakers have popped up. As the days go by, it seems there are more people trying to break than there are customers to fill those breaks.

I have had the pleasure of guest breaking for DandPbreaks.com. I had a lot of fun being on the other of the table. Ripping packs and sharing in the excitement of the awesome cards being pulled is more than a thrill for this collector!

However, there is a lot of time and effort that goes into this aspect of the hobby. I have seen first hand a small glimpse of what it takes to execute a successful box break. It's a tough business and it shouldn't be taken lightly. It definitely isn't a business just "anyone" can do. I do believe, it helps to have a reputable brick and mortar store behind your breaking business.

These are just a few of my thoughts on a rapidly growing addition to the hobby of card collecting. In summation, box/case breaking should be left to the professionals. It's not an easy gig and I don't envy anyone for doing what they do. Personally, I just don't think it's a good way for everyone to make money. It's long hours with a very small profit margin and a tight window for mistakes.

Just because you can get a case of cards, doesn't mean you should venture into this highly competitive side of sports card collecting. Sometimes it's okay just to sit on the collector's side of the table!

Ben

@ourtradingcards

Value vs Worth (Sports Card verison)

Posted by The Wilsons on September 13, 2012 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

What is value?

"Value": relative worth, merit, or importance.

What is worth?

"Worth": having a value of, or equal in value to, as in money.

As a follow up to my "Jersey Gate" blog, I wanted to explain what I think the definition of these two words are and how they relate to the sports card hobby.

As we have learned that all of our "relic" and "cloth" cards, may/may not be 100% authentic, it brings up the question:

If the cloth is not real, does it "devalue" the card any?

In my opinion, it does not. I laid out my thoughts in my previous blog. Many fellow collectors were quick to point out that the Beckett value of the card has dropped. I contend, again, that it has not. Beckett is not a "value" guide. It is a "price" guide. The word "guide" reflects it's sole purpose. To give someone an idea of what something is "worth" in today's free trade market.

If asked what my most expensive card is... I will quickly answer my 1933 Goudey, Lou Gehrig RC. We can all turn to page 32 of the Beckett Price Guide and see how much the market dictates it should be "worth".

If asked what my higest valued card is... I will quickly answer my 1986 Topps Eric Davis. It is now listed as a common card in the Beckett Price Guide.

So why is it my most "valued" card?

In 1986, as a 7 year old, I went to my cousin's birthday party. He was a few years older then me and I always wanted to be like him. He started collecting baseball cards that year. At his party, each kid received 2 packs of 1986 Topps cards. That was the night I got my first taste of the madness. I opened my packs and stuck them in my pocket. It wasn't until later that week that my dad brought home my first Beckett Price Guide. In one of my packs, was the Eric Davis card. When I looked it up it was "worth" $1.25!!! I was 7 years old with a card that was worth more than a dollar!!! I was rich! I figured I would sell it, put the money in the bank... Possibly buy a car or a nice house someday with the profits... It didn't matter, I was on my way to the big life!

Speed up 26 years and the same card is now "worth" a penny. However to me, it is invaluable. No card, not a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle or a 1911/1912 Tobacco Honus Wagner is "valued" at more money! That is my most prized card.

So does the authenticity of the cloth in the new cards devalue a card? No. It may make their "market worth" less. It, however, does not make it less valuable if you enjoyed collecting the card for your PC. I enjoy all the A's cards that I have added to my PC throughout the last few years. They don't need to have authentic game worn gear in them to make them "valuable" to me. I just enjoy collecting, sorting and looking at them.

Why can't we all just be the 7 yr old kid again opening their first pack of cards... Why can't we all just feel "rich" again, when holding our favorite player's rookie card... Why can't we get excited when we pull a card with a relic or auto on it? Why does it have to be all about eBay? Why does it all have to be about "Beckett's Price Guide worth"???

Shame on us. I "value" my hobby as more than it's "worth".

Jersey Gate

Posted by The Wilsons on September 13, 2012 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

This week something came to light in the sports card world that could disrupt it's integrity for year's to come. It appears that at least one, if not more, 3rd parties sold fraudelent jersey's to the major card companies (MCC). They sold them with the intent to profit off of jersey's that were in fact not ever game worn.

So how does this affect the sports card hobby? Well it depends on how you view this revelation. This coming to light. means that it is quite possible that the cards that the MCC's placed into packs were in fact not 100% authentic. Now, I personally don't believe that Topps, Panini, Upper Deck or any other company that purchased fraudulent material, placed these "cloth" pieces into cards with the intent to profit with fraudulent intent or malice. That legalese would be for those MCC's, their lawyers and the Honorable Judges to sort through.

Where my opinion came into play this week was both on twitter and again on Card Board Radio's Wednesday evening (9/12/12) blog radiocast. I told some friends and other tweeps, that I didn't personally care if the cloth in these cards were real or not. I purchased the card, for the card itself. The design, the rarity, the player, the team, etc. It didn't matter if the tiny sliver of cloth was real or not. If "said player" "wore" this item, did it even really touch his DNA? Was it game worn, or just on his body for a few seconds? Does it really truly matter? If I removed the piece of cloth from the card and had it DNA tested vs the player's actual DNA, would the scientists even find a match? Probably not.

To me the integrity of the card, does not lie in the accuracy and authenticity of the cloth, bat, seat or base that has been inserted in the card to raise it's rarity and value. The integrity of the card lies with the fact that Topps, Panini, Upper Deck, etc actually made this card.

In my aforementioned disussions (or disagreements), I was told by a few people that if the authenticity of the cloth within the card is in question, then the card itself is in fact, "not real". I am sorry, but I have to disagree. I look at the bottom of the card and I see "TM, (R), (C), 2010 The Topps Company Inc". In my opinion that means to me that the card in fact is real. If Lou Gehrig, did not in fact touch the bat in which the relic came from, then so be it. This is a sweet card, that I felt was worth my hard earned money. I have enjoyed looking at it for 2 years on my desk. I believe I got my money's worth.

Using the word "worth" brings up my next point, which I will save for my next blog. In short, I don't mind if something was actually worn or touched by my favorite player. Just keep giving me good looking cards that are affordable and would be nice additions to my PC. After all, we do this as a fun hobby and not to make money.

And if you are in to make money... You are in the wrong line of work! And you may also want to google what the word hobby means. For heaven's sake, they are only baseball cards!

2012 Panini Prime Hockey

Posted by The Wilsons on September 11, 2012 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Let me first start off by saying that I do not (yet) collect Hockey cards. I am an old school Baseball card collector. I prefer to collect sets as opposed to chasing the box/case hits. However, since Topps has the exclusive rights to the MLB license, it limits the products and designs available to baseball card collectors. That is frustrating as a collector when I see much better quality in the NFL, NBA and NHL cards.

I recently watched a live box break of the 2012 Panini Prime Hockey, brought to you be my twitter friends Card Board Radio (http://tinyurl.com/8frzqfc). I was fascinated by the quality of the product. It was bold with bright colors. The Autos jumped off the cards. The base cards were all numbered. It offered a variety of rookies and veterans. The patches were very colorful with team colors.

Having team colors on a card, to me, is very important. I am an Oakland A's fan and I just LOVE spending big money to get a patch that is white. I hope you caught the sarcasm there. If not, I will wait for it to catch up. White? Really, Topps?

Now, I will not pass myself off as an expert on hockey. I have not broken a box or even opened a pack. I am just a casual observer who admires the product. I must say, however, that I am intrigued enough to consider buying a pack/box. I give credit to Panini for developing a product that is so good, that a non-collector of the sport is considering using "baseball card money" to purchase a hockey product. That means that have went above and beyond their call of duty to offer a solid product to their customers.

Credit to Panini! I have always admired Panini since 1988 when I bought my first Panini book to fill with stickers! I am envious of the work that they do and wish I had a chance to buy their product with a MLB license attached!

And a special thanks to Doug at (@cardboardradio) for sharing his video and offering his insight! (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cardboardconnectionradio) Doug hosts a Wednesday and Friday evening radio show. I highly recommend checking them out! It's a great listen and well worth the time!

Till next time,

Ben

Follow us on twitter @ourtradingcards


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