Saturday, March 27, 2004

My bent is still towards looking for in-person opportunities to acquire autographs from baseball players in-person as well mailing out requests for autographs on my trading cards for example.

On the other hand, I'd like to try and collect cheap and unique trading card inserts, particularly featuring some kind of `oddball' design like a Mel Ott 2003 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts Historical Impressions insert($0.99 plus $1.25 s/h off Ebay).

It is a thick card(like a memorabilia card but not game used) with a rubberized plaque, bearing his facsimile signature. It is a unique card, but like many inserts- especially from high end priced products, seems like a filler otherwise.

Game used cards are cheaper than packs of cards they've been pulled from. If I can pick up a Hank Blalock 2004 Fleer Tradition jersey card($0.99 plus $1.50 s/h off Ebay) then in my mind, it complements my autograph collection without breaking the bank. While these seem to represent the lowest common denominator purchases, I also do not have much collecting dollars to spend otherwise.

Three 2003 Bowman Baseball Futures Game jersey cards arrived in the mail yesterday. I paid $2.00 plus $2.25 for shipping and handling for this lot on Ebay to get the Francisco Rodriguez of the Anaheim Angels. Also included was Edwin Almonte and Chad Tracy.

Isn't it ironic that I remember ripping KRod's 2003 Topps Total into pieces before a game, because I was pissed, when he told me he couldn't sign it.

I have yet to receive the Blalock jersey card I otherwise considered a `bargain for a new generation.' I didn't read the instructions that said the seller did not accept cash. I sent $2.49 in cash and never got the card. I suspect that the seller just kept my money, but that it was my `lesson' for not paying more attention. So instead of $2.49, I'm paying $5.00 for a card. I feel retarded now.

I'd placed an initial bid of $1.99 for a bat card of Mike Schmidt on Ebay. I didn't expect to win the auction, but with 13 minutes left, I was going to try and win it. In a rueful couple of moments, I bid it up and ended up the winning bidder, paying $4.91 plus $2.00 shipping and handling for the card. With exceptions, similar cards have gone for $2-$5. I think I overpaid a little bit and there is a sinking feeling with this infatuation with low end card types.

15 minutes after winning the bid for Schmidt, I picked up another game used card for $2.50 plus $1.75 shipping and handling. It was a jersey card of Nomar Garciaparra from the 2004 Fleer Ultra Diamond Producers insert set, serial numbered 0523/1000.

I believe that I can collect whatever I want to, but game used cards are probably not worth collecting, unless I get it for free or by default. Game used cards are the Neifi Perez of collecting- a low on-base percentage type of player. Game used cards of Hall of Famers are default souvenirs to `high end' collectors or freebies out of no purchase necessary programs from a company like Topps. They are trade bait, they are packed in lots and aren't worth much anymore.

On the other hand, the `pressed penny' of trading cards, even as I say they `are probably not worth collecting' represent a tangible novelty.

I like the occasional game used card. I feel like I've been more involved with collecting autographs, as opposed to trading cards. I like my rookie cards and many of their same year parallels, but so does everyone else.

Little things mean a lot to me, as my relics. Game used cards are cheap.

I do have to also be aware of their value among other types of cards, so that I'm not overpaying for any particular card. Two years ago, I probably would have paid $10-$15 for any number of common game used cards, depending on the player. Now, I'm a little more aware and basically I'm not in such a hurry to add game used cards to my collection as true `showcase' items.

There are players with harder to get certified autographs cards otherwise. Game used cards serves more as a complementary piece for players whose autographs I've already secured(uncertified/certified) and also for my `award winners' collection. My main priority for players I have no autographs of just yet(uncertified/certified), is looking to pick up their autographs first.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Maybe one of the most important things in colleting is merely knowing the the trends followed by an average modern or `contemporary' collector. There are more choices, more options with trading cards. A card with a piece of a player's equipment may still have novelty, but it isn't considered as a serious card collectible anymore. Parallels of rookie cards, 1/1 autographs of legends and icons, take on more importance.

My mentality is more to collect to hoard. I've been conditioned by looking back at stories of lost treasures thrown away by mothers.

Still, at times it doesn't matter to me anymore.

You find that you really have no foundation for your collection. It is all crap because you've collected for novelty and lose out because you are collecting for frivolity. There is no theme. For whatever reason, you aren't really able to outspend.

No matter what, you are the Pittsburgh Pirates or Montreal Expos of collecting anything. You make some transactions, sign several players of mediocre or middling talent. You are content with potentially serviceable talent, but you see the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox and realize you have no realistic shot at greatness.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The 2002 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Alexis Rios has been one of the hottest cards in the hobby due to the fact that it is numbered to 1,000 and it is his only rookie card.

Those cashing in on the hype are living large. I didn't particularly know or care for him when he was a $5 rookie(supposedly) and now the card has gone from $25-$40 to $125-$130 in some cases.

Rios' performance in the Puerto Rican fall league had Ebay speculators probably thinking `Albert Pujols' as a relatively unknown player who has the potential to explode during the upcoming year.

Rios is only 23 years old and a lot can happen. Rios has been compared to Dave Winfield. He maybe another Juan Gonzalez.
How about Juan LeBron?

The lesson to be learned from Rios is that there are still diamonds in the rough out there for a `baseball card' collector.

This particular card came out of hobby boxes of 2002 Donruss The Rookies.

While once generally overlooked at $20, box prices have been creeping up in the $35-$40 range.

One didn't have to plunk $100 for a box in order to have the opportunity to pull this card. Hope springs eternal, looking for the next `bargain basement' product with the potential to pull a hot card.