Sunday, January 28, 2018

I had a 90,000-card bonfire today

     Today I burned about 90,000 Topps baseball cards that included over 50 complete Topps sets from 1985-2001, and over 50 complete Topps Traded sets from 1986-1991.  I burned a few complete sets of 1999-2002 Topps complete and factory sets as well as a number of other '90s Topps lots.  I burned nearly complete sets of 1980-1984 Topps and multiple partial sets of 1974-1979 Topps with numerous duplicates including stars.  I also burned an 800 ct. box of 1948-1973 Topps/Bowman cards.  Lastly, I burned about 15 unopened wax boxes and about 20 vending boxes from 1987-1991 Topps among many others.  Since this was work, and not pleasure, I didn't think to take pictures until I was finally breathing a sigh of relief at the end.  I wish I had more photos to share.
     None of these cards were part of my personal collection and represented only material from previous upgrades.  I did not spare the stars either.  Key burns include rookie cards of Eddie Murray, Ozzie Smith, Tim Raines, Ryne Sandberg, Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, Don Mattingly, Roger Clemens, Kirby Puckett, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz,  Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr., and Craig Biggio.  Other key burns include '70s cards of Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Reggie Jackson, George Brett, Tony Perez, Bruce Sutter, Dennis Eckersley, Paul Molitor, Mike Schmidt, Gary Carter, etc.  I threw it all in. 
     I did what I felt I had to do given the amount of time I had available to prepare.  It all had to go, and it had to go right now.  Not later.  Not in a little while.  Not let me box this up for a special delivery.  This was a 100 yard dash into a blazing glory that lasted from dusk till dawn.  There was no planning or premeditation involved.  This was spur of the moment, little by little, get rid of a whole bunch of $hit really fast.  I don't really expect anyone to understand.  It's what had to be done, and I'm d@mn proud of it.  Hopefully, the increased scarcity of these late '80s Topps cards will raise the value of your collection by at few pennies.  Perhaps people should start hosting some more burnings, although this one was sort of by accident--at least it was never the plan.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

1960 Topps World Series Team Sets: Pirates vs Yankees

     As I close in on the 1960 Topps baseball card set, more and more team sets become complete.  I recently acquired card #480: Yogi Berra of the New York Yankees to finish off the World Series contending teams of the 1960 World Series.

     These 2 team sets alone include plenty of superstar names like Mickey Vernon, Roberto Clemente, Bill Mazeroski, Casey Stengel, Bill Dickey, Frank Crosetti, Ralph Houk, Eddie Lopat, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Elston Howard, Mickey Mantle, and Roger Maris.

     It also includes plenty of other minor star and semi-star names like Danny Murtaugh, Harvey Haddix, Smoky Burgess, Roy Face, Bill Virdon, Bobby Shantz, Gil McDougald, Bill Skowron, Johnny Blanchard, Bobby Richardson, Ralph Terry, Tony Kubek, and Clete Boyer.

  So far, I've completed only 2 sets from the '60s decade--1968 and 1969.  The 1960 Topps set will most likely be my 3rd complete set from the '60s with only 2 affordable cards left to go.  Completing sets from the start and end of this decade will serve like a set of bookends for the decade. 

     Although I did not intend to collect '60s cards this way, the affordability of 1960 Topps set at the time led me to this point.  However, I've noticed a recent uptick in pricing for high-numbered cards in this set that didn't seem to exist when I first started collecting it earlier this decade.  I'm not sure if that'll be a long-term trend or not but I'm glad it's almost over for me. 


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Can you spot the fake 1967 Topps card?

     My 1967 Topps set is slowly closing in on completion with 21 high-number cards left to go.  One of those missing high-number cards is Brook Robinson #600.  Even though the Beckett BV for this card is $250, finding one of these for 10%-20% BV ($25-$50) seems nearly impossible to do online.  Over the past few years I've seen them for as low as 24%-30% BV ($60-$75), but lately, finding one for under 40% BV ($100) seems to be a major task.  I've noticed that common high-numbers from the 1967 Topps set tend to bottom out at 40% BV, but generally, star cards can usually be found for half the BV percentage of commons in lower grades.  That doesn't seem to be the case for 1967 Topps 7th Series.

     While going through one of my typical online scans through the 1967 Topps set for my missing cards, I came across a #600 Brooks Robinson fake listed as a reprint for a total of $2 shipped.  Since this is a highly counterfeited card which looked completely real to me online, I decided to throw away the $2 on one of these counterfeits to see how difficult it would be for me to recognize.  As I suspected, it was not difficult at all for me to spot out this counterfeit. 

     Original cards from the '60s don't have smooth glossy backs like the fake card I received.  The fake seems like it would repel water for a lot longer than an original '60s card, which tend to have a rougher, dryer, and grainier back that seems like it would absorb water like it was thirsty and would discolor when wet.  The fake doesn't seem like it would discolor when wet.  The side of an original card is double-ply and brownish, while the side of the fake is single-ply and white.  The scan of the card backs above makes it look like the B.Robinson card color stands out from the others, but actually it does not.  Card color is not really a factor in determining this card is a fake (unless you scan it I guess).  The last thing that really stands out is the photo quality of the card front and back looks photocopied.  This counterfeit card shouldn't fool anyone even mildly familiar with handling 1967 Topps cards.   
     Since I don't buy graded cards (or I crack them if I do), one of the things I tend to avoid are perfectly-cut and centered cards for high-valued star cards.  Print defects and other imperfections help me to authenticate my own purchases.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

1964-1965 Topps Set Building

     Here's a bunch of cards that I got in the mail yesterday from the 1964-1965 Topps sets.  There's nothing real fancy here, just an example of how I continue to chip away at vintage sets to eventually complete them.  I got this lot from 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

1955 Topps Milwaukee Braves Team Set

     I've been getting a bunch of 1955 Topps cards in the mail lately, and have just closed in on 200 cards out of the 206 card set.  I'm actually still waiting on 4 more cards to arrive, so technically, I sitting at 196 cards.  Today, I received a Chuck Tanner #161 card to complete the Braves team set.  With only 6 cards left to go, I still don't expect to complete this set anytime soon.  I can see myself adding 4 more cards to the collection soon for a total of 204 cards, but completing the last 2 cards in the set is probably going to take a while.  I don't think that I've ever spent more than $100 for a single card before.  Acquiring the Roberto Clemente and Sandy Koufax rookie cards is definitely going to break a spending record for me, and 1955 is not yet a priority.  I've been missing 3 cards from the 1954 Topps set for a couple of years now because of the Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, and Al Kaline rookie cards.  Here's my Braves team set pulled straight out of the binder starting with Warren Spahn, and ending with Joe Jay.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Preparing my 1965 Topps Set for Completion

     With only 82 of 598 cards left to go before completing the 1965 Topps set, I decided to organize it into "set formation".  This means that I go from starting each new team from the beginning of a new page, to starting each new team from where the last one left off.  The 1965 Topps set fills nearly 67 binder pages.  When I first started collecting this set, I divided 67 pages into two 1" binders and started off each team with a fresh page.  After doing this for a few sets, I learned that the pages start to run out when I get below 100 missing cards for a 600-card set.  That's when I start figuring out how many cards I'm missing from each team so that I can leave that number of spaces at the end of each team set.  When completed, my set should end in the 4th slot of the 67th page.       

     Here's the tally sheet I used to make the calculations.  My numbers didn't match the first time around so I went through the cycle again and discovered a simple error.  My checklists said I was missing 81 cards, but I also have 16 cards that are still on the way, so I wanted to make sure to account for those spaces as well.  After reorganizing my set to leave only the number of missing spaces that I have identified below, I discovered that my checklist didn't match up with the reality of how many cards I actually have (or have coming).  Somewhere along the way, I marked off a card that I never really obtained.  This would have been a much simpler task if I collected sets in numerical order.  Instead, I had to go through my checklist and verify each card physically by flipping back and forth through 67 different pages.  I finally discovered the missing card as #409, so my set was actually missing 82 cards (not 81).   

     The next 9 scans show the missing spaces intentionally left at the end of each team set beginning from the '65 WS championship Dodgers team to the contending Twins team, and then sequentially according to each team's regular season winning percentage.  Players are organized from oldest to youngest.  Pages without missing cards are not shown.  What I like about this "set formation" strategy is that I can start counting off each team set as it's completed.  All of my sets after 1965 are organized this way including some of my older sets that are also approaching completion.  So far, none of my team sets for the '65T set have been completed.   

Thursday, December 28, 2017

1962 Topps Set: One Down and One More Left to Go

     It's been so long since I've added a new '62T card to my collection that I can't even remember who or what the last card was.  Just a few days ago, I received another addition to my '62T set, which brings my collection to within 1 card of completion.  Yes, Bob Miller was the missing link towards completing my last-place-finishing, inaugural Mets team set.

     All that's left for me now is one of the final eight Rookie Parade cards featuring Doc Edwards, Ken Retzer, Don Pavletich, Doug Camilli, and Bob Uecker.  This card sells for way over the NM Book Value of $80, and should probably be reconsidered at the $125-$150 BV range.  Anyways, I'm holding out for 25% of the current $80 BV (or $20).  Obviously, this might take me a little while.  One important thing to note is that there are plenty of counterfeits of this card out there.