Sunday, July 17, 2022

Sunday Edition

1953 Topps Set Build Progress

I picked up both of the above cards, Jim Gilliam and Johnny Podres, in the last month.  I've been slowly piecing the 1953 set together for about a decade now, with it being a real point of emphasis the last two or three years.  I figured that these two would both be in the final three cards I picked up (along with Willie Mays).  I was pleasantly surprised when I landed both of these recently for well under what I expected it would cost.  They've got some good wear and tear to them, which fine, they came in at about 25% of what I thought I may be on the hook for.  I'll trade condition issues for price issues any day.

I've also picked up these seven cards in the last month.  The result being I am now two cards away from completing the 1953 Topps set.  I still need to add #244 Willie Mays and #273 Harvey Haddix.  I knew the Willie would likely be the last card I needed, but I'd be lying if I said ever really gave the Haddix a second thought.  Lately that card has been demanding north of $50.  When I started building this set, $5 was my target price for high number commons.  Then I reluctantly moved it up to $10, and for the last year or so I've been trying to keep it under $20, which has really sucked a lot of the joy out of it.  I'm not sure what the deal is with the Haddix, but I'm going to patiently wait it out.  It's going to be awhile before I cough up the ransom the Willie is demanding too.  I went from hoping to getting one for under $100 ten years ago, to just hoping it drops down to below $500 again when this market inevitably crashes back to earth.  Thank god I picked up a chewed up copy of the Mantle when I did about nine years ago or I'd never complete this thing.

The 1953 set isn't very big at just 274 cards.  It's numbered to #280, but six cards were never printed.  Which left me with a delimma.  Do I leave blank spaces in the sleeves, just fill in the cards and skip the missing numbers, or come up with something else?  I came up with something else.

For decades people have speculated who the missing cards were.  Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Richie Ashburn, and Nellie Fox have long been popular theories.  About eight years ago the mystery was solved by Bob Lemke and Keith Olbermann by going through old internal Topps memos and vault.  The truth turned out to be far less exciting.  Art had actually been commissioned for five of the players and they were able to locate that as well.  "Bobw" took that info and made up some mock ups on his blog, and also came up with his own art for the Hoot Evers, by using the art from the '52 Hoot Evers Bowman, and photoshopping in a Redsox "B" in place of the Detroit "B" on the original Bowman.  He really did great work and hopefully doesn't mind me printing these off.  I only added "never printed" banners to them before printing them up.  The result is below:

I didn't notice until after printing them, but a few of the numbers were actually wrong.  I went ahead and fixed them with a sharpie, as I'm not much of a custom card creator and just getting these six out the way they are very much pushed my patience to the limit.  I also forgot to add a "never printed" banner to the Billy Cox card front, so that got sharpie treatment as well.  In the end, they're good enough though and had the desired effect in the 3-ring binder where I sleeve the set.

A final point to make with these 53's, is that people are putting WAY too much emphasis on the alleged SP/DP distribution within the high numbers.  The simple version is this, there are no double or short prints in the traditional sense.  While the final print run of 80 cards in the high series wasn't printed evenly, it wasn't 2 to 1 either.  It was likely more of a 2 to 3 ratio further watered down by a few of the SP's being used to fill in for the six cards that were pulled from production and never produced.  Which is all to say, people are grossly over paying/charging for percieved SP's that really aren't all that short-printed.  Harvey Haddix I'm looking at you.

This information is all thanks to George Vrecheck.  Vrecheck did an incredible amount of research for an article in Sports Cards Collector's Digest back in 2015, going so far as to study miscut cards to determine the actual layouts of all the uncut sheets, something that had previously been unknown.  If you're a vintage set builder, it's 19 pages of pure card nerd and math nerd bliss.  

As it stands for me, I'll keep Haddix and Mays saved in my eBay searches and hope for a miracle, but for now, I'm more or less done with this set.  Rather than tackling a new vintage set, I think I may try to build the first series, or 100 cards or so, in every set from 1955-69.  This is a much more economical option than trying to actually build all of those sets, and I like the idea of having a run of sets where at least the ten or so pages in the binders are filled out.  We'll see.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Ottawa, Ontario

The contents of this envelope sent by Angus from Ottawa, make up one of the more unique batches of cards I've ever been sent.  By my count it's the fourth time Angus has sent cards.  Envelopes from Canada often contain fun groups of cards with O-Pee-Chee and Leaf frequently being included.  This still stood out from the crowd.  The 2003 Donruss Expos card is only my second copy.  I picked up my first one in 2013 and it was one of the tougher Wallach cards I've ever tried to track down that wasn't one of those individually numbered variations, which I only consider to be quasi-unique as far as cards go.  The Stuarts are also less than common as far Wallach cards go with the pair in this mailing representing only my 8th and 9th copies of the card.

Thanks for the cards Angus!

Updated Totals:

Monday, July 11, 2022

2019 Topps Archives Expos 50th "Green Variation" #/99

Card Review: 6.6  As far as I'm concerned this is more or less the same card as every other color variation it comes in, with foil stamping above the "EX" in "EXPOS" being the only change.  I guess if Topps is going to take the time to put these out in different colors I'll take the time to give them different grades.  This green comes in below the red and blue and just above the silver for me.

This card represents a rare instance of my first copy being acquired by a way of a reader sending me cards.  It arrived with a package from West Seneca, NY (thanks Brian!) a couple months ago.  It's probably only the 3rd or 4th time that's ever happened, and it may be few than that.

I've already written about this card on six other occasions as this is now the seventh variation of it that I've acquired.  How many variations do you modern collector's need to be happy?  This is absurd.  So if you're really interested in my thoughts on it, go ahead and click this link to the other six reviews.


Number of this card in my collection: 1 (98 more to go)

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Coralville, IA

This was sent recently by Matt of Coralville, Iowa.  It's at least the third time I've received a mailing from Matt (and could be more than that).  I'm not sure whether or not to call this "Hit the Books" bookmark a card.  I've seen these bookmarks pop on eBay and other sites for years, but have never actually purchased one.  This is in fact my first copy of these to make it's way into my collection.  Being the first one I've obtained, I haven't yet had to make the call on the "card/not a card" issue.  I'm inclined to say "not a card," but that doesn't mean I'm not happy to have one.  It's actually very nice to finally have one and is made even nicer by the fact that it was sent by a reader.  I'll do a formal post for the book mark soon and will make the final call then (the post the bookmark or post the mailing debate was already decided in favor of the mailing, as you may have deduced on your own by now).

Thanks so much for sending this my way Matt.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

West Seneca, NY


This extremely large offering of 316 Wallach cards was sent to me by Brain of West Seneca, New York.  West Seneca is a new addition to my map of where cards have been sent from.  While the city of Buffalo is not represented, it's now flanked by suburb of West Seneca to the south and Niagra Falls to the North.

This a diverse and interesting set of cards that Brian sent.  It covers the entire run of Wallach's there is to be found ranging from 1982 Fleer all the way through the 2019 Topps Archives and is also a healthy mix of standard junk was and less common odd balls.  The 65 copies of 1987 Topps is about as ordinary as it gets (albeit, it's unusual to receive that many copies at once) and also includes rarely sent cards like the 1986 Provigo and 1991 O-Pee-Chee (1st I've added since 2015), as well as modern "manufactured scarcity" like the Green variant of 2019 Topps Archives individually numbered out of 99.  That card is actually one I didn't previously own.  I'm not a huge enthusiast for the the forty different variations of cards that Topps puts out.  My feeling is the base card is the "real" card and everything else is just a gimmick that no one will remember in another 20 years.  That said, I'm always extremely pleased to add new cards when I can.

For good measure Brian also tossed in a 2021 Topps Chad Wallach.  Thanks for the cards Brian!

Updated Totals:

1982 Fleer: 458
1982 Topps x5: 1,247
1983 Topps: 409
1984 Donruss x3: 189
1984 Fleer x3: 189
1984 Topps x9: 1,239
1985 Donruss x4: 150
1985 Leaf x4: 49
1985 Topps: 485
1986 Donruss x3: 174
1986 Fleer x3: 176
1986 Provigo: 31
1986 Topps x2: 478
1986 Topps All-Star: 741
1987 Donruss: 481
1987 Donruss Opening Day: 60
1987 Fleer: 247
1987 Sportflics: 51
1987 Topps x65: 1,116
1988 Donruss All-Star x5: 61
1988 Fleer x4: 325
1988 Fleer Star Stickers x2: 87
1988 Jiffy Pop: 3
1988 O-Pee-Chee Super Star: 8
1988 Score: 329
1988 Topps x3: 851
1988 Topps All-Star x3: 895
1988 Topps Mini Leader x3: 42
1989 Bowman x5: 196
1989 Donruss x3: 527
1989 Donruss Opening Day x2: 32
1989 Fleer x5: 459
1989 K-Mart x3: 70
1989 Topps x4: 933
1990 Bowman: 139
1990 Donruss x5: 551
1990 Donruss Opening Day x2: 17
1990 Fleer x3: 515
1990 Fleer Award Winners: 12
1990 Score x4: 370
1990 Topps x2: 681
1990 Upper Deck x4: 370
1991 Bowman x3: 86
1991 Donruss: 362
1991 Donruss MVP x3: 358
1991 Fleer x3: 227
1991 Fleer Ultra x2: 105
1991 O-Pee-Chee: 4
1991 Score x4: 311
1991 Score "The Franchise" x3: 264
1991 Score Super Star: 23
1991 Stadium Club x3: 154
1991 Studio x3: 103
1991 Topps: 334
2019 Topps Archives "Green": 1  (It's my 1st copy!!!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Peoria, IL

These 206 cards were sent by regular contributor Tom of Peoria, Illinois.  Tom is involved with the "Saints Prison Ministry."  They visit penitentiaries and attempt to reach out to people through sports rather than just preaching.  You can click the images below to learn more about what they do.

Thanks for the cards Tom!

Updated Totals:

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Sunday Edition

Vintage Additions

About two weeks ago 2022 Topps finally showed up in my local Target.  I bought two packs, enjoyed opening them, and feel like I have my fix for the year.  I'll go ahead and pick up a factory set in August and try it again in 2023.  I'm just enjoying vintage too much to spend time sifting through a million goofy inserts, being at the mercy of store shelve supplies, and amassing countless duplicates trying to build the first series of 2022 Topps by hand.  

This batch of vintage represents the last two weeks of my eBay hunting.  The three 1953 Topps above are the biggest hauls of this group.  I'm just 16 cards away from finishing the set.  Granted, one of those cards is Willie Mays, so I may not be finishing it anytime soon, but other than Mays, Warren Spahn is the only other HOF'er I still need.  Johnny Podres and Jim Gilliam also figure to be painful shots to the wallet.

I'm not actively building the '55 set, but I've been amassing a good number of them recently.  The trio of high dollar rookies in the set are doing a pretty good job of scaring me away from the prospect of trying to build it, but I haven't ruled out the idea.  I'm going to need something to do once I decide being one card short of completing '53 is good enough.  Might as well try to get 3 cards short of finishing the '55 set.

The Kaline is similar to a '56 Killebrew I recently picked up.  A second year card of a great slugger in spectacularly rough shape.  I can't enough of cards like this.

(The '56 Killebrew from a few weeks ago)

A trio of somewhat random cards.  The Red Rolfe is of the 1935 variety of Diamond Stars.  Determining whether a Diamond Star is from 1934, '35, or '36 is not as easy a task as it should be.  It's my second card from the set, and I don't expect to have a third anytime soon.  Though I do really like them.  The best part of the Warren Giles is the back of the card.  Picking up the AL president just became more of a priority as I'd like to display the backs of them side by side with all the logos.

The Spahn and Aparicio are both duplicates, but when the price is right on HOF'ers from this era, I'm okay with doubles.  The Aparicio is actually a fourth copy for me.  I beginning to suspect collectors don't realize he and Robin Roberts are in the Hall of Fame, because I routinely pick up their cards for the price of commons.  The Spahn is actually a significant improvement over my first copy (condition wise) if you can believe it.

That Banks replaces a 1962 Topps as my oldest Ernie Banks card.  The '60 Aparicio is more proof of the disrespect shown to him by collector's given my paltry winning bid.

Another Ernie Banks, this time a '71, in less than "gem mint" (whatever the hell that means) condition to show off.  This was probably the priciest card left in my 1971 Topps build.  I still need Richie Allen who is now definitely the highest dollar card remaining of the 25 or so cards I still need (and he may have been before the addition of Ernie B).  

Given the price of cards currently, it's unusual for me to pick up a card for cheaper now than I could have in 1987, but trust me, no one was going to pick up a 1977 Dale Murphy for $4 in 1987, which is the price I paid for this one.

Finally a trio of non-baseball additions.  Isiah Thomas leaves me 8 cards short of the 1987-88 Fleer Basketball set.  I've wanted a Gretzky rookie for about 30+ years, and will likely continue to want one for the foreseeable future.  In the meantime, this 1980-81 second year card feels like a decent silver medal that I can live with.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

1983 Fleer Lot


That's what 830 copies of the same 1983 Fleer card looks like when laid out on a table.  It's the most copies of a single Wallach card that I've ever acquired at once.  They were purchased on Ebay along with over 700 copies of Wallach's 1984 Topps card.  At less than 4 cents a card shipped, I'm hoping the seller as some more large lots lying around.

I have to tip my hat to Fleer.  In sorting through these over 800 copies of the card none stood out as any sort of manufacturing error.  None of the cards had any huge issues with ink levels or centering or anything else to make them stand out.  Just what I would consider ordinary variances from card to card.

The seller did let a few mistakes slip through the cracks, no doubt being fooled by that Expos logo in the lower left corner of the card.  These six cards were mixed in the lot.  I actually didn't have any copies of the Raines, so that was sort of a nice surprise.

Updated Total:

1983 Fleer: 1,054

Monday, April 25, 2022

1984 Topps Lot

 I recently purchased two large lots of cards from the same seller on eBay.  This lot of 780 copies of the 1984 Topps Wallach and a similarly large lot of 1983 Topps Wallach cards that I will post later this week (I need to stretch out my limited opportunities for new content).  My general rule of thumb for large lots is to not pay more than 10 cents a card shipped.  The seller of these two lots agreed to combine shipping and the result was I ended up picking these up at just over 4 cents per card.  I think it worked out well for the seller and myself.  He picked close to $40 and cleared out some shelf space and I picked up close to 1,600 new Wallach cards.

I'm not sure what sellers are holding out for.  The demand for a lot of 300 copies of 1988 Donruss Tim Wallach cards just isn't there.  At the risk of sounding arrogant, they're selling to audience of one.  If I'm willing to pay you $3.00 on top of shipping cost, that should be a no brainer.  Unless some people just like endless piles of worthless cards sitting in the their closets, of players they don't collect and sets they aren't building.  To each their own I guess.  Given the nature of this blog/collection, I'm well aware that I'm one of the last people who should be throwing stones from inside this glass house of mine.

The last decade or so, it's become increasingly rare for me to obtain more copies of a card than I previously already had.  On the rare occasion it has happened, it's usually some odd-ball release like the  Provigo food product set, or an O-Pee-Chee sticker that I only had 2 or 3 copies of.  I don't recall the last time I picked up more new copies of a main stream release than I already had.  But that's the case here, as the 780 new copies nearly doubled the 444 I had in my collection.  The huge addition makes this the second most abundant card in my collection behind only the 1982 Topps Wallach by a margin of just 16 cards.  It's conceivable that by the end of the year, 1984 Topps could end the 82's decade plus reign at the top of the list.

As far as the cards, I have to credit Topps for their quality control.  Nearly 800 copies and there were only three that stood out as I sorted through them.  Below on the left is what I consider a "nice" clean copy.  Moving left to right is one with ink levels that left it looking faded, then a slant cut, and finally on the far right a copy that was miscut on the top/bottom enough to show the top of the card below it (which would be Paul Molitor).   They're a little curved, but in my experience that eventually goes away once I get them sorted.  The slant cut card is odd enough that I'll move it into my pile of manufacturing errors.  The others, while unique, will be sorted with the others and stashed away like the ark at the end of the first Indiana Jones film.

I reached out to the seller to inquire why he (or she) had so many copies '84 Topps and '83 Fleer (and to see if they had any other lots they wanted to part with) but never heard back.  Someone spent a lot of time sorting these though and did a pretty good job too.  However, the five cards below did get mixed into the lot.  I can see how that would be a common slip up with the pink vertical "Expos" looking similar while breaking down nearly 800 completes sets worth of cards.  Hopefully this person cashed in on their Mattingly's and Strawberry's back during the feeding frenzy on them around 1989 or so.

Updated Total

Friday, April 22, 2022

Eden Prairie, MN

These six Wallach cards were sent by "Chies" of Eden Prairie, Minnesota.  Also included (but not pictured) was a Terry Francona sticker and a 1971 Topps I needed.  I believe this is the first time I've received cards from Eden Prairie, though the greater Minneapolis area is well represented.

Thanks for the cards!

Updated Totals:

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia


These four cards were sent by regular contributor Ryan of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  That's in Canada if you're keeping score.  Ryan has been sending cards for nearly a decade now going back to 2013.  The '90 Fleer is actually of the "Canadian" variety.  I often see this set labeled as "1990 Fleer Glossy," but as far as I can tell there is no gloss.  The only distinction is on the back which shows it to have been printed in "Canada" rather than the "USA."

In my experience these "1990 Fleer Canadian" variants are extremely rare.  This only the 6th copy I've seen and first new one I've added since 2014.

Thanks for the cards Ryan.

Updated Totals:

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Keizer, OR

These 484 cards were sent by "Bo" of Keizer, Oregon.  This is at least the 6th time Bo has sent me cards going back to 2018, and it could be more than that.  My record keeping in that department isn't as on point as I'd like it to be.  This is one of the larger boxes of cards I've ever been sent by a reader.  The generosity of other collector's never ceases to amaze me.  Below are some photos of what was in the box.

Updated Totals:

1983 Topps x3: 407
1984 Donruss x10: 186
1985 Donruss x2: 145
1985 Topps: 478 
1986 Topps x3: 474
1987 Donruss x4: 479
1987 Topps x6: 1,042
1988 Donruss x4: 983
1988 Donruss All-Star: 52
1988 Fleer x2: 319
1988 Fleer All-Stars: 18
1988 Kay-Bee: 40
1988 Leaf: 41
1988 Score: 327
1988 Topps x27: 837
1988 Topps All-Star x40: 881
1988 Topps UK Mini: 99
1989 Donruss x3: 522
1989 Fleer x6: 452
1989 K-Mart: 67
1989 Score: 213
1989 Topps x37: 925
1989 Upper Deck x2: 281
1990 Bowman x2: 137
1990 Donruss  x6: 550
1990 Fleer x13: 508
1990 Fleer League Leaders: 13
1990 Leaf: 141
1990 Score x2: 362
1990 Topps x29: 676
1990 Upper Deck x2: 363
1991 Donruss x32: 354
1991 Donruss MVP x50: 353
1991 Score x29: 303
1991 Score The Franchise x21: 258
1991 Score Super Star: 22
1991 Stadium Club x3: 148
1991 Studio x2: 98
1991 Topps x7: 328
1991 Upper Deck x7: 366
1992 Bowman USA x7: 80
1992 Donruss x42: 296
1992 Fleer x2: 198
1992 Leaf x3: 129
1992 Score x18: 130
1993 Bowman: 26
1993 Donruss x10: 147
1993 Fleer x2: 91
1993 Pinnacle: 48
1993 Stadium Club x2: 84
1993 Studio: 62
1994 Score x15: 86
1995 Score x13: 71
1995 Fleer Ultra: 53 a pair of 2020 Topps Chad Wallach cards.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Ramsey, NJ

These five cards (depending on what you count as a "card") were sent by frequent contributor Max of Ramsey, New Jersey.  This is about as an eclectic mix of cards I've ever been sent, at least in recent memory.  The ghost of Sy Berger forgives you if you don't immediately recognize all of these (I even had to double check the year on the O-Pee-Chee poster).  Here's a break down of what it all is.

The large item in the upper left is a 1985 O-Pee-Chee Poster.  I don't know much about these posters.  They come folded up (you can see the creases) and have a plain white back.  When I first published the post for these I mentioned I had no idea how these were distributed.  When this one arrived I once again did a google search and didn't find anything at first.  But I decided to follow up on a hunch and a google image search gave me the answer I suspected, these came inside packs of O-Pee-Chee along with a stick of gum.  "Bonus Poster" See the borrowed image below:

I wouldn't mind adding an unopened pack of those to my collection at some point.  I just wish "Expos" had been given top billing over "Blue Jay" on the wrapper.  

The sheet of three cards included is an uncut (unperforated?) copy of the 1986 Provigo Wallach.  Provigo is a Canadian grocery store chain.  The tiny sealed card is a 1987 Hostess.  A reader from Canada filled me in that these came inside bags of potato chips and is actually a sticker.  The display in grocercy stores had a free blank poster on which you could stick all the stickers.  If anyone has a photo of that I'd love to see it.  The final two are 1989 Topps "Baseball Talk" cards.  These are the ones with what is more or less a tiny vinyl record on the back that plays an interview with the player.  As a kid I had the player and the Wallach (and a couple others, they came three to a pack in the toy aisle).  This pair doubles the number in my collection to four.  Storage has always been a problem for me and both of mine were in less than ideal condition.  These two are in great shape and should stay that way given the fancy packaging used by Max.

Thanks for the cards Max!

Updated Totals:

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Hazle Township, PA

These five Wallach cards, and a 1981 Expos Team card, were sent by Cooper, a young collector from Hazle Township, Pennsylvania.  Hazle Township is a new addition to my map, and appears to be located a little east of Williamsport, a destination I've long wanted visit for their World Series.

Included was an 1986 O-Pee-Chee.  I always enjoy adding O-Pee-Chee from the 80's to my collection.  The 1981 Expos Team card may or may not include Tim Wallach, second from the right, in the first row standing behind the seated players.  Here's a zoomed in look at the card:

I can't tell.  

Thanks for the cards Cooper!

Updated Totals:

1985 Donruss: 143
1985 Topps: 477


A reader smarter than myself, "Bo," left a comment confirming that it is in fact Wallach in the team photo.  He provided a link to the official team photo with names below.  Here's a copy of it.