Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Card show on a budget
What are your priorities at the card show, when you only have $10 and change to spend during your time?

If you can, you want to spend $4-$6 on one card [game used/autograph] of a fan favorite or prospect for example. Still, at a card show, it is hard to find something cheap and good when there are only a limited number of booths with so-called bargain bins you can sift through.

Also the price is usually a few bucks more than you’d be willing to pay on cards that are basically given away. If it there was a particular card you wanted, you may pay a small premium [if you consider the plight of the guy at the booth], but usually there is usually nothing compelling about many cards that you may see.

You maybe better of saving that $4-$6 to spend on collecting supplies such as plastic sheets, boxes, top loaders, et al. Maybe a few packs of cards as well.

If you can’t find what you are looking for, you end up settling for cheaper ‘fence busters’ found in the $1 and under bin. That maybe fun, but you need to be careful that what you pick up isn’t getting even more redundant because of the sheer number of cards you already have at home.

You have to be creative, knowing that when you have a nickel-and-dime budget, you aren’t going to pick something that is going to be particularly valuable – just something to bide your time.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Mail Day
2005 Upper Deck Team USA Ryan Zimmerman auto numbered 26 out of 595 [$15.92 plus $2.50 s/h from Ebay].

I put in a two second snipe and won this card, which is apparently the most common version of his certified autograph from the set.

This is where I dabble in prospecting - a cursory pick up of a guy who isn't a secret anymore. Zimmerman is on the fast track - a guy who has actually had a cup of coffee with the Washington Nationals in 2005 after he was drafted and is expected to be their regular third baseman in 2006 after the team traded away Vinny Castilla.

The scan is not my actual card, but the one the seller used in the auction that I had won.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Mail Day
1987 Donruss Greg Maddux PSA-9 [$9.99 plus $3.50 s/h from Ebay].

It is funny that most the mainstream cards I clamored for back in the day aren't worth much anymore and I don't have to have a millionaire's budget to recapture my nostalgia.

I bought a copy of this card for $6 in the early '90s, but it was off-center. This one is a more attractive copy, though the value has softened over time. Still it is nice having a rookie card of one of the best pitchers of his generation, whether it is worth $50 or $5.

Check out that 'porn star' mustache on Maddux...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Mail Day
2005 Donruss Throwback Threads Ron Cey patch #'d 20/25 [$2.99 plus $2.50 s/h from Ebay seller: snwman8].

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

2005 Award Winners

Most Valuable Player

Alex Rodriguez (American League) - I think when you play for the New York Yankees, individual achievements mean nothing when you don't win a championship. Still ARod's anemic playoff stats don't matter. Love him or hate him for his contract, playing in New York or the slap, ARod was pretty darn good in 2005.

Albert Pujols (National League) - I would have liked to see Andruw Jones win, just so that the certified autograph I bought before the 2005 season started would mean something towards my award winners collection. I think Pujols was another sentimental [and probably deserving] favorite among the baseball writers voting after putting up such dominant numbers over the last five years and having nothing to show for his efforts. Derrek Lee was awesome, but his Chicago Cubs stunk it up in 2005.

Cy Young
Bartolo Colon (American League) - Even though he pulled up lame in the American League Division series for the Los Angeles Angeles, he was a horse all season long.

Chris Carpenter (National League) - I think the St.Louis Cardinals' ace was the sentimental favorite among the baseball writers voting after the injuries he suffered [and worked to come back from] before putting together some pretty numbers for the Cardinals over the last two seasons.

Rookie of the Year
Huston Street (American League) - Oakland Athletics' star rookie established himself as one of the league's top young relievers in his first season in 2005.

Ryan Howard (National League) - Suddenly I think it is going to be hard for the Philadelphia Phillies to justify trading Howard with him taking home the Rookie of the Year award. He may have more trade value, but there is a little more buzz to his name now. He isn't some other good, young player that maybe expendable. What happens between him and Jim Thome in 2006?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Active collection
I want to look at the items I've collected, display them and with the particular cards I've collected - get them autographed as opposed to just cram them somewhere to get out of the way.

Ideally I want cards that I pick up for my collection to have a purpose.

I make it a point to spend my money to pick up cards and non-card memorabilia items. I should make it a habit to learn how to enjoy them instead of moving onto the next fad.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Mail Day
A Ebay winning finally arrived in the form of a 1973 Kellogg's Al Kaline. It is probably worth what I paid for it [$1.52 and a SASE on Ebay].

While it isn't worth much, it has the novelty of being a 32 year old card - making it sorta, kinda of an antique - I just hope for my sake, it isn't trimmed.

Maybe I'll send it for a possible autograph request.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Liberating retails pulls at the Target close to my school:
2004 Upper Deck II ($1.49) - lame Jason Giambi insert, lame Roger Clemens [checklist] - the best card as far as I was concerned was a Gil Meche base card worth half a nickel - you can see a blurred Ichiro cameo in the background.

2005 Bowman Chrome ($2.99) - Hernan Iribarren rookie card

2005 Topps Fan Favorites ($2.99) - Cal Ripken Jr. base card - but also cards of luminaries such as Jerome Walton [1989 National League Rookie of the Year], Jeff Brantley [ESPN], Ron Blomberg [first ever designated hitter], Jim Leyritz [New York Yankees] and Joaquin Andujar - I wouldn't want to pull these guys' [except for Ripken Jr. perhaps] cards during the time they played, why would I want to now?

2005 Topps Basketball ($1.99) - ugh, why did I pick up this pack of shiite?

2005 Bowman's Best ($19.99 for a blister pack of two) - my auto [guaranteed in the blister marking] was a John Barratt with a 'notch' on the autograph sticker, numbered 422/974.

Briefly looking at his stats on baseballamerica.com, it looks like he was beaten up in the Cal League in 2005.

Looking at the back of his card, he is 5'9" - which makes him:

A.) A long shot to make any Major League roster
B.) A lefty specialist

I know if I just wanted 'some cards,' I could do things a little better than waste my time and energy on retail packs.

I feel so violated - but it is like, I'm the one who succumbed to the crap.

This is where I really hurt my collections.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Late season releases -
2005 Bowman Draft - midlevel
2005 Bowman Sterling - high end
2005 Upper Deck Rookie Update Prospect Edition - midlevel
2005 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection - high end
2005 Upper Deck Exquisite - high end
2005 Topps III - low end/midlevel
• Roger Maris - PSA/DNA certified auto
• Ty Cobb - PSA/DNA certified auto
• Babe Ruth - PSA/DNA certified auto
• Lou Gehrig - PSA/DNA certified auto
• Roberto Clemente - PSA/DNA certified auto
• Jackie Robinson (Baseball) - PSA/DNA certified auto
• Tiger Woods (Golf) - Upper Deck certified autograph card
• Muhammad Ali (Boxing) - PSA/DNA certified auto
• Kobe Bryant (Basketball) - certified autograph card
• Brett Favre (Football) - certified auto i.e. 8x10 or mini-helmet
• Kevin Garnett (Basketball) - certified autograph card (full autograph)
* Eddie Murray (Baseball) - single signed baseball
Value Judgements
How much am I going to pay for certified autographs cards of today's breakout stars including Travis Hafner, Adam Dunn, Miguel Cabrera, Jason Bay, Bobby Crosby, Johan Santana, David Wright, et al.

What casual speculations can I make about these 'young stars' and where they will end up in their careers, so that I can evaluate their personal value?

Except for probably for Dunn, Cabrera, Wright and Santana, the other guys are not young enough to get an opportunity to put up milestone numbers or at least be on a Hall of Fame track. On the other hand, these guys are pretty good young players and if they stay healthy, they will enjoy relatively long careers.

In 10 years, will be I be happy that I bought a Santana certified autograph? How many wins will I assume he accumulates, so that I don't feel like such a dolt for buying to the hype right now? What if my sure things flame out? Will their certified autographs be worth anything then?

On the side, how much am I willing to pay for certified autographs of past and present superstars? I want to collect items that have some long term mainstream value, even if I’m only truly collecting for myself.

There is an idea to add 'instant bling' cards to my collection and picking certified autographs of superstars will add instant value to brag about perhaps. Instead of gambling on picking up unopened boxes of cards, there is always satisfaction in getting the card I want, instead of being one of the people who would rather bust a box, than pick up single cards.

For example:
1.) Kobe Bryant certified autograph card - see previous posts

2.) 2005 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Albert Pujols auto - I have the opportunity, why not pick a nice certified autograph card of his?

3.) Lebron James certified autograph card - see previous posts

4.) 2005 Prime Cuts III Biography Willie Mays auto - his autographs on these nice cards look like a signature instead of an autograph signed [on a cut material?].

5.) 2005 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Mike Piazza auto - was a superstar, but career has slowed down to where he may have more time and may not be as elusive to sign for pay as far as card companies are concerned.

6.) Alex Rodriguez certified autograph - maybe baseball's Kobe Bryant and a guy whose autographs I always want for my collection, though I already have several. I'm always looking for nicer ARod autographs, though on cards it maybe good enough to see him slack off on the quality as long as it is certified by a card company.

7.) 2005 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Mike Schmidt auto - $35-40 for the best looking certified autograph cards in the planet, though I'd rather pick up a single-signed baseball for about twice as much.

8.) Derek Jeter certified autograph card - 2005 Upper Deck Sweet Spot

9.) Peyton Manning certified autograph - 2005 Upper Deck Potraits 8x10 or 2003 Upper Deck Sweet Spot auto

10.) Eli Manning certified autograph - 2005 Upper Deck Portraits 8x10; maybe get into his bandwagon as a future star.

11.) Brett Favre certified autograph - 8x10 or mini-helmet

12.) Michael Vick certified autograph - 8x10 or mini-helmet; one great injury away from being mediocre perhaps - but still a young rising star.

There are things I think about:
I think I have to temper my enthusiasm for picking up certified autograph cards of Bryant, James, Pujols, Rodriguez and Jeter. These players are still in their prime, but have signed so many cards already. They will likely continue to have deals with card companies, where they sign newer cards. Each new trading card product is the opportunity for the release of certified autograph card featuring these players.

Barring some kind of individual dominance [coupled with a dynasty - Bryant and Jeter not included], there will be more opportunities to pick up certified autographs of these players, where the values won't shoot up.

Also, if I have to spend $100-$200 on an autograph of a current superstar, I would much rather try and find something that is not a card. Maybe that isn't possible, but this is where the autograph collector in me shows up and not necessarily the trading card collector. More and more certified autographs are on stickers and not on the actual card. I typically prefer autographs signed on the actual card, unless it is on a unique cut material [or just a white surface as opposed to a holographic sticker or clear cut label]. I'd rather much have something like a baseball, mini-helmet or an 8x10, rather than what would be an oddball size autograph item with regard to how much I might be willing to spend.

Bowman AFLAC - sent my redemption card out
Donruss/Playoff Zenith - returned my damaged cards

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Player Types I value
HOF icons - players etched in history and in the lore of baseball - Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, Babe Ruth, et al.

Exclusive clubs - players etched in history, belonging to exclusive numerical clubs -George Brett, Eddie Murray, et al.

HOF legends - guys who made their mark on the game and enshrined to the Hall of Fame because of it.

Future HOF icons/legends - already have established their credentials as retired players or are still active players towards the end of their careers.

Superstars - players that are at the height of their popularity - Vladimir Guerrero, Derek Jeter, Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez. Some players deemed superstars do not have the statistics (or particularly) or the longevity to ascend to being future HOF icons/legends, but it can be said that in the prime, they were at the top of the heap.

Award Winners - players etched in history as having individual seasons worthy of the MVP, Cy Young or Rookie of the Year awards.

Rising Stars and Prospects - typically regional players from my home team and top prospects everyone is bound to know.

Semi/minor stars - regional favorites from my home team as well as selected other players who have starred in Major League Baseball for 10-15 seasons.

Friday, November 04, 2005

When you can't afford new cards....

You simply work on displaying the ones you have.....
Top 10 Cards Wanted 1980-1995
1.) 1987 Fleer Glossy Barry Bonds - BGS/PSA 9

2.) 1995 Bowman's Best Vladimir Guerrero - BGS/PSA 9

3.) 1985 Fleer Roger Clemens - BGS/PSA 9

4.) 1982 Topps Traded Cal Ripken Jr. - BGS/PSA 9

5.) 1985 Donruss Roger Clemens - BGS/PSA 9

6.) 1982 Topps Cal Ripken Jr. - BGS/PSA 9

7.) 1983 Topps Ryne Sandberg - BGS/PSA 9

8.) 1983 Topps Wade Boggs - BGS/PSA 9

9.) 1984 Fleer Update Roger Clemens - BGS/PSA 9

10.) 1986 Fleer Basketball Michael Jordan - BGS/PSA 8
Kobe Bryant and LeBron James
I'm looking for certified autographs of the two players. I'm not even a casual NBA fan, but these are the two initial guys I'd pay to watch [or pay to pick up their autographs].

Kobe Bryant
What is clear to me is his killer instinct on the court and as a casual fan the fact that when I see number '8' on the court, sticking it to some other team - nothing else matters. What happened in Colorado and the chain of events that tarnished his image as a golden child [the breakup of the Los Angeles Lakers] isn't something to scoff at.

On the other hand, as unpopular as Kobe supposed to be, as many fans boo him - he is really, really good and he is going to go down fighting, not be denied.

LeBron James
I'd like to get a certified autograph of his before he truly hits his prime and hope he is the focal point of a dynasty.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Mail Call:
A Hank Aaron Upper Deck Authenticated autograph baseball arrived quickly after I sent out payment last Saturday - for less than a pack of 2005 Prime Cuts III would cost or a box of super premium cards - I got an UDA certified autograph baseball of the current home run king.

I inspected the ball quickly and there is a special logo, featuring an inscription that is a little worn off. The autograph isn't as bold as it would ideally.

On the other hand, I've needed an Aaron autograph for my collection and it is 'in-hand' as I type.

*Also a 2005 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Signatures Paul Molitor auto arrived in the mail -it was truly more of an impulsive purchase. It took a while to get this card because of logistics. While he is a Hall of Famer, he already has other Sweet Spot auto releases, which saps the value of his latest Sweet Spot autograph insert.

Still, he has over 3,000 hits and is considered the greatest designated hitter of all time - sorry Edgar Martinez.

Late at night after I picked this card up on Ebay, I watched Beyond the Glory on the DH and it was cool he was featured prominently for his accomplishments at the position.

This autograph was signed in black ink, which is kind of a negative, it is still a nice complementary addition to my personal Hall of Fame collection.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Collection Definition
My goal is to have some quality when it counts and have some quantity for fun.

My fear is going around in circles as far collecting baseball cards or collecting signed non-card memorabilia. I like all sorts of different cards valued from $1 to $100. Maybe I'm riding through fads that have no substance [or at least will leave me high and dry as far as value is concerned].

I want to have a definitive purpose, so I'm not sabotaging my efforts to pick up the next piece of item that is going to be in my collection. Many times, I like a little bit of everything and I'm swayed by delusions of grandeur, instead of reality that I may not be able to collect everything.

It is mind numbing to think that I may want this, I may want that - but I can't really afford all that...

Baseball Cards
I want to be able to account for every single card in my collection as a group, whether or not they are worth a nickel or a $100. I am looking for definition to my collection, as far as what I can classify as valuable and what I can classify as more for the 'true art' of collecting.

My philosophy maybe is to typically have no modern 'bling, bling' cards in my collection, which I would likely see as the lowest serial numbered, super-duper refractor autograph rookie year parallel/rookie card of an unproven prospect [or legitimate star like Albert Pujols].

At this point, there is no way for me to get in that game of prospecting. I prefer looking for a particular player's representative [if not definitive] rookie card graded PSA/BGS '9' condition.

Each month, I'd like to secure at least one rookie card of players from 1980-1999 and dabble in perhaps picking up rookie cards of prospects I like from the last five years [maybe the most common/or second most common versions; autographed if possible].

I need to look for 'solid value' purchases, where I'm getting something I like, but not spending willy-nilly.

Every month should be an opportunity to add a signed baseball, photo or a signed mini-helmet. It would be great, if I got a game used jersey, bat, et al - but basically I want a keepsake that displays well and features an authentic autograph by an Hall of Fame icon, member of an exclusive statistical club, current superstar or rising star. I hope to get the guys I typically haven't gotten otherwise [for free].