Saturday, October 24, 2015

1969 Topps Set Build w/ '68T & '69T inserts

Up until recently, I was concerned with how I'd be able to continue building sets from the late-'60s.  Since I'm only willing to pay up to 20% BV for '60s cards on average, finding reasonably priced commons for the '69T set can be challenging.  At a $1.50 BV, I'm looking to pay only up to $0.30 per card.  I used to large card shows and shops in Northern Virginia and the surrounding area, where good deals were easily found.  Now, I live 3-4 hours from the nearest card show locations with no card shops and have to rely primarily on online sources for most of my purchases.

Ebay has been a great source for my star card purchases and commons with higher book values from the early '50s, but it's been terrible for finding good deals on '60s commons.  Pick lots for more recent card sets offer a nice option for set builders, but there really are no good pick lots for '60s cards back.  Sellers are asking for over $1.00 per card for lower grade commons, which doesn't even include shipping charges.  Well, enough ranting.  

I recently signed up on the Trading Card Database (Toppsbawlyn87), and read a forum about online sources for common card purchases.  Someone mentioned Sportlots among others, so I decided to give the websites a look.  I found these 53 cards from two different sellers on Sportlots for under $30 total.  Many of the cards were listed for as low as $0.18 before shipping, which fit my budget.  What brought the price to over a $0.50 per card average were the Brooks Robinson, Rod Carew, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mays cards shown below.  I also acquired other big name players like Red Schoendienst, Bill Mazeroski, Tony Oliva, Juan Marichal, and Denny McLain.  Overall, I was well within my 20% BV maximum.  I'm definitely a fan of Sportlots now, and will be looking to fill in some more of my other late '60s card sets.

I only recently began collecting '60s insert sets.  The two shown are are my favorite two from the decade.  The 1968 Topps Game insert set strongly resembles Topps' first set from 1951.  If you've read more than a just of my past posts, you're probably aware that I'm a strong proponent for the 1951 Topps set.  The 1968 Topps Game insert set makes for a nice tribute to the '51T set.  It only contains 33 cards, and is really affordable.  The 1969 Topps Deckle Edge insert set is also a very affordable set with a total of only 35 cards.  It's a surprise to me that these two insert sets don't seem to get talked about much.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

2015 World Series Probables: Royals & Mets

With the Royals leading the Blue Jays 3-1 in the ALCS and the Mets leading the Cubs 3-0 in the NLCS, it's highly likely that we will be looking at a Royals and Mets World Series.  This match-up could be determined as early as today if the Royals and Mets both win.

The last time the Royals won the World Series was in 1985 against the Cardinals.  They have been to the World Series two other times in 1980 and 2014, but did not win.

The last time the Mets won the World Series was in 1986.  They also won the 1969 World Series, which was the inaugural season for the Royals.  The Met were also part of the 1973 and 2000 World Series.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Best of the Boom Era, Part II: 1988 Topps

1988 was probably the peak of the Boom Wax Era--at least in terms of today's low-value pricing.  To this day, the 1988 Topps set is the least valuable Topps base set of all time.  It reminds me of a cross between the 1967 and 1967 Topps sets.  

The base set consists of 792 cards.  The traded set consists of 132 cards.  There's a 60-card Glossy Send-in insert set, 22-card Glossy Rookies insert set, 22-card Glossy All-Stars insert set, and 16-card Wax Box Bottom set,  That's 1044 total cards for 1988 Topps.

Here, I've displayed all of the Hall-of-Famers and many of the other Stars, Semi-Stars, and Minor Stars.  The '88T set had a tough act to follow after the wooden-bordered '87s, but the hobby market was certainly booming strong--just look at how much material was produced.

So, just how big were baseball cards booming in '88?  Well, in the December 1988 issue of Beckett Baseball Card Monthly #45, here is some of the notable pricing:

1983 Topps set = $95 (now $80)
1983 Traded set = $55
1984 Topps set = $100 (now $50)
1984 Traded set = $85
1985 Topps set = $100 (now $80)

These sets were less than 5 years old then and were worth more that they are now.  Remember, $100 in the '80s was considered to be a lot more than it is today--especially since minimum wage throughout the '80s was only $3.35/hour.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Best of the Boom Era, Part I: 1987 Topps

As of today, I am going to start referring to the era of Topps sets manufactured between 1987-1992 as the "boom era".  It seems to me that while I was away from the hobby between 1992-2000, the industry assigned a derogatory label to some of my all-time favorite baseball card sets.  These sets now carry little monetary value because of mass-production, not because of any lack of greatness.

The baseball card industry was BOOMING in the late-'80s.  These were the years when the entire nation had suddenly woke up, and finally discovered that the value of their childhood baseball card collections were skyrocketing.  To my knowledge, people were still collecting baseball cards for fun in the '70s.  Dr. James Beckett's first large-scale price guide was printed on an annual basis beginning in 1979.  By the end of 1984, Beckett's "new" price guide became a monthly magazine, and America's first "convenient" source for baseball card pricing data.  By the time I started collecting baseball cards only three years later, these price guides had become like a bible to the industry.  The values for early Topps and Bowman sets had tripled in between those three year between 1984-1987.

Here are the first six editions of Beckett's Annual Baseball Card Price Guide as shown on the first page of a reprinted copy of Beckett Monthly's first issue.    

Pricing from 2/79 to 11/84 to 11/87 to 11/90 to 11/93 to 11/2015:

1948 Bowman: $180 to $390 to $900 to $2,850 to $3,600 and now $5,000
1949 Bowman: $1,100 to $2,500 to $5,500 to $15,000 to $17,000 and now $15,000
1950 Bowman: $420 to $925 to $2,500 to $8,250 to $10,000 and now $8,500
1951 Bowman: $650 to $1,600 to $5,000 to $16,000 to $21,000 and now $20,000
1952 Topps:     $4,300 to $8,500 to $22,500 to $42,000 to $66,000 and now $65,000
1953 Topps:     $350 to $1,700 to $4,500 to $12,500 to $14,250 and now $15,000
1954 Topps:     $240 to $800 to $2,000 to $7,250 to $8,300 and now $8,000
1955 Topps:     $175 to $625 to $1,350 to $5,600 to $7,600 and now $8,000
1956 Topps:     $185 to $625 to $1,500 to $6,000 to $7,700 and now $8,000

The pricing data from the 1979 Sport Americana Baseball Card Price Guide was based on cards in Mint Condition.  Current Pricing data is based on cards in Near Mint condition.

During the "Boom Era", new card stores were popping in extraordinary numbers everywhere.  There was a significant increase in crime and violence associated within the baseball card industry.  People began investing in cards like stocks--actually believing that the cards would someday send their kids to college, or even prepare them for retirement.  People were storing cases of unopened material like they were gold bars in Fort Knox.  It was really crazy.  I read articles in my older issues of Beckett about kids claiming to get ripped off by greedy dealers, as well as young adults suing their own parents for throwing away their childhood card collections.


I think that there was some type of realization that occurred after I had already quit collecting cards in 1991, which probably left a lot of people feeling like they had been "burned" by the misadvertised industry.  Looking through my old Beckett's, I can see that my 1987 Topps set peaked at $42.00 between 9/90-12/90, before plummeting into the depths of oblivion forever afterward.  The entire baseball industry was headed for a crash that resulted in a strike that cancelled a World Series in 1994.  Card prices haven't changed much in over 20 years now.  While many of the older cards held their value, boom era wax fell significantly.

My Boom Era Wax fits into three 1" binders for each set that tends to be color coded for the wax packs the cards originally came in.  I'm still working on the Cracker Jack team stickers for the top 3 teams of each season.  These binders contain the debut set, base set, traded/update set, wax box sets, glossy send-ins, glossy all-stars, and glossy rookies if they exist.  Here's a fairly large sample from my '87T set.

The good thing about the affordable pricing of these great cards is that it's easy to upgrade sets as well as to experience opening original packs, boxes, and factory sets of older material without much investment.  I currently own 13 compete sets of '87 Topps.

I don't have any expectations for these sets to gain any significant value, although I believe they are still very collectible.  I would like to see Beckett update the pricing of individual cards in relation to one another within these sets, however.  It seems that the company hasn't even looked at the individual card pricing for the 1986-1992 sets in over 20 years.  There are Hall-of-Famers listed at $0.05 while rookies that barely even played in the majors are being listed at $0.20-$0.40.  I guess it's kind of like counting pennies, which most people just don't do.  It's obvious to me that much more attention has been given to updating the commons, minor stars, semi-stars, and superstars for the much more valuable older sets.  

I tend to look towards Hall-of-Fame ballot voting statistics for determining player value.  Understanding that almost any evaluation method can be considered skewed, I find that using HOF ballot voting statistics really helps when you haven't seen many of the players in action.  I've compared the statistics to the older sets, and it seems to correlate that players with 0%-5% of the vote during their best year on the ballot receive consideration as at least a minor star,  while those receiving 5%-75% of the vote in their best year are considered at least semi-stars, while those receiving at least 75% are considered stars.  This correlation doesn't exist much for cards from the boom era.  Just a thought.