Sunday, April 14, 2019

Vintage Market Shift Analysis for '50s-'60s Baseball

This post is long overdue. Over the past 2 or 3 years, I've noticed an increase in certain vintage pricing that appears to have become permanent.  I used to build vintage baseball card sets in reverse chronological order until reaching the 72, 71, and 70 Topps sets, where finding affordable pricing for high-number cards became more scarce.  This occurred sometime after the start of the current decade, when I decided to open my focus to collecting 3 sets at a time.  When I got down to collecting the 67, 66, and 65 Topps sets, I decided to abandon the reverse chronological order principal altogether and just build vintage sets where I could find the best deals relative to lowest percentage of book value.  That principle, which I still follow today has led to my completion, or near completion, of multiple other vintage sets like 50B, 51T, 54T, 55T, 59T, 60T, and 62T.  Throughout the while, I always kept a minor focus on finding deals for my newest incomplete sets like 1966 and 1967 Topps.                

     Now only 6 cards away from completing the 1967 Topps set, online deals that I used to scoff at only 5 years ago are nowhere to be found today.  For example, I could find #609 Tommy John for $12 shipped (15% BV) from time to time but was holding out for $8-$10.  Now I can't find one for under $30.  Common 1967 high numbers like 535, 572, and 578 used to be easily found from $10-$12 but now they're nowhere to be found for under $25-$40.  I've noticed the same principles applying to 1966 high numbers, but also to lower numbers like 1964, 1963, and 1961 Topps, which are the next older sets that I'm currently collecting (1965 is only missing Mantle).  It seems to me that 1960's cards pricing have just gone up overall, while many of the 1950's cards have remained the same.  Now, 1951 Topps cards have really jumped as well, which used to boast Redbacks for under $3 and Bluebacks for under $10.        

     This doesn't just seem like normal inflation to me because of the differentials in price changing between 1950s and 1960s cards.  The price levels were really flat overall for most of the time since I came back to the hobby in 2001 (and probably long before that after the baseball card market crash of late 1991), so what I've recently noticed in vintage card price changes since about 2016-2017 has really been shocking.  I'm just glad that I've been able to compile many of these '60s cards before they started price jumping.  So what's the 1951 Bowman #173  Hank Arft have to do with all this?  Not much.  I accidentally purchased an extra one.  How? I don't know.  I only have 40 cards from this set.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

55% Complete on '55 Bowman Set

I typically don't go after key cards so early during my set building, but I saw another '55 Bowman collector's post about their recent Mantle acquisition and I decided to check prices.  Of course, as a low-grade collector I looked for the cheapest authentic Mantle I could find.  Surprisingly, there actually was one for sale close to my budget, so I placed a bid on it for 10% BV shipped, and the seller accepted.  It's nothing fancy, but its real.  Except for Hank Aaron, Bob Feller, and 5 umpires that no one ever heard of, this completes all the high-valued cards listed above $50 BV.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Replacing 1953 Bowman Reprints with Originals

1953 Bowman has some of the highest-priced commons for '50s Bowman cards, which is why having the reprint set was such a big deal to me.  It isn't the most attractive Bowman set out there, and the reprints don't completely replicate the card size or photo cropping of the originals, but to me you either have access to the story that each set of vintage cards tell, or you don't.  Since card collecting is more of a historical education endeavor to me than a pack-opening gambling addiction problem, I'd rather have the reprint set than to have only a couple of cards or no set at all.  I'm not looking for the Cracker Jack prize in the box silly rabbit, tricks are for kids.  This is grown folks card collecting with childhood passions.  Oops.  Back on track here.  To make things worse for 1953 Bowman, the 224-card set is divided into a 64-card B&W set and a 160-card Color set, but to me it's still just a 224-card set like the 1954 set produced the following year.  Because of the high price of 1953 commons, I only add new originals to my collection every once in a while.  This month I've added 8 new cards, and 4 of the replaced cards are shown below.  The reason I've been showing the reprints and not originals is because my family and job keep me crunched for time, so I'm showing what I already have scanned for online sales.  I don't think a lot of collectors see the value of these reprint sets or even know that some of them are out there so maybe this will spark a collector's interest.  This is the golden age of bubblegum baseball cards that may have started in the '30s, but didn't really become consistent until the 1950's decade (or 1948 technically).                   

Update:  I decided to share a page from my 1953 Bowman binder showing the integration of Reprint, Original, B&W, and Color cards sorted by team performance and then player age from oldest to youngest.  It's not the prettiest sight.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Replacing 1951 Bowman Reprints with Originals

Here are 10 reprints from the 1951 Bowman set that I recently replaced with originals. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

1952 Bowman Extension Set #253-267

In 1982, TCMA came out with a 15-card "Cards That Never Were" extension to the original 252-card Bowman set.  Here are 5 of them.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Replacing '48B Reprints with Originals

My 1948 Bowman first started out as 48 reprint cards.  Over the years, I began replacing reprints with reprints.  My latest acquisitions bring the divide up to 33 originals with only 15 reprints.  Here are 3 reprints that were just recently replaced in my '48B collection.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

1954 Topps Milestone Addition: E.Banks RC

I just made what was most likely the highest priced single card purchase that I've ever made.  I think the previous record was somewhere between $99-$104.  Today's purchase was for $117 with shipping (yes, I count shipping costs as part of my card purchase price).  Today's acquisition brings my 1954 Topps collection up to 248 out of 250 cards for a 99% completion rate.  This is a rare addition to my set building as I had been 3 cards short for a few years now.  I actually expected to get the #201 Al Kaline RC first, but that'll probably be my next acquisition.  Now, I don't know if I'll ever get the #128 Hank Aaron RC but who knows.  Yes, I'll be cracking the slab on this card and putting it into 8-pocket binder pages with the rest of the set.  If I can't readily tell if the card is real by looking at it in my hand, then I don't want it.  That's one reason why I collect low grade.  

Here's a link to a slabbed 1954 Topps #128 Hank Aaron RC being sold as a Reprint with 20 bidders for about $200: 

Look at the deception and temptation provided in the write-up.  This card could actually be real! or a fake or be one of those Sports Illustrated cards that came out in 1954, but I'm certainly not spending $200 to find out.  Counterfeiters have really put a ding in the vintage collector's market.  They can sometimes be spotted when you see READ DESCRIPTION in the seller's title, which typically means "I'm trying to tempt and deceive you".