Monday, April 28, 2014

1951 Topps #B-43: Willie Jones, Philadelphia Phillies, 3B

Today's mailbox left me only one package containing my 6th addition to the highly sought after B series (Blue backs) from the 1951 Topps baseball card set.  This one is of an original Phillies "Whiz Kid" nicknamed, Puddin' Head, who was also an All-Star in both 1950 and 1951.  Willie Jones played a total of 15 years in the majors between 1947-1961, most of which was for the Phillies.  He played all four World Series games at 3rd base in 1950, and scored 1 of the 5 runs that the Phillies earned against the Yankees.  

This card appears to be in really nice shape according my acceptably low grade collecting standards.  The centering is 50/50 L-R & 40/60 T-B on the front, and 35/65 L-R & 25/75 T-B on the back, which is good enough for NM-MT 8.0.  The corners are more chipped than they are rounded, notched, or layered, but let's say moderately notched for a VG 3.0.  The edges are readily chipped for a VG-EX 4.0.  The surface has noticeably crease, but no color/focus imperfections, discoloration, wax, ink marks, tape stains, scuffing, or tearing, so let's say GD-VG 2.5.  Beckett allows up to 2 half grade increases for the lowest rating if the other categories rate high enough.  With the ratings from lowest to highest being 2.5, 3.0, 4.0, and 8.0, an increase of a half grade should be justifiable.  Overall, this is a [VG 3.0] card in my book, worth 30% BV. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Joe Dimaggio "Cards that Never Were"

Three different reprint-type Joe DiMaggio cards arrived in my mailbox over the past week.  After recently obtaining the 1952 Topps reprint set, I began to feel the void that is Joe DiMaggio at the end of his playing career.  Although he announced his retirement prior to the production of the '52T set,  Joe DiMaggio would have had a card the following year according to today's standard.  In my haste to obtain such a '52T style Joe DiMaggio card, I jumped on the lowest priced one I could find.  The 1995 JSW card shown will fill that void for now, but there are definitely some obvious issues with using this card to represent my '52T version of DiMaggio.  The most obvious one is that the back of the card is nearly blank, which certainly wasn't depicted in the online listing.  On the front, the Yankees logo is replaced with some type of American League logo and DiMaggio's name is replaced with "1941 World Champ" written twice.     

If I had my choice of a 1952 Topps Joe DiMaggio, it'd look like the following picture, which I have not found available online yet. The photograph of DiMaggio looks like what I would expect for a recently retired player--not like the youthful swinging at bat pose of the 2007 National reproduction card.  This card has the Yankees logo on the front with DiMaggio's name and signature.  The back of the card is depicted in the appropriate style of the '52 set.  I will continue to look for a version like this one for a reasonable price.  Other missing '52s that come to mind are Casey Stengel, Ted Williams, and Stan Musial.  

As an avid collector of the '50B set, I found the following depiction of Joe DiMaggio to be a perfect example of a '50B reprint at first glance.  Of course, I didn't realize that the card isn't the same size as other '50 Bowmans, and in fact, doesn't even fit into 9-pocket pages.  Not looking to collect the card for any value, I actually cut the white border frame around the photograph so that it would fit into my 9-pocket pages behind Casey Stengel and in front of Allie Reynolds in my '50B binder.  Of course, I also didn't realize that the back of the card looks nothing like a '50 Bowman.

The following reproduction of a '48B style card is appropriately sized to fit in with my '48 Bowman reprint set, but like my other two acquisitions above, the card back doesn't replicate the style of the card that is supposedly being reprinted.

I am currently batting 0 for 3 with Joe DiMaggio reprints right now, but at least have some type of place holder for a card that belongs in every baseball card set produced prior to 1952.

Friday, April 25, 2014

1950 Bowman #194: Billy Cox, Brooklyn Dodgers, 3B

  My 172nd addition to the '50 Bowman set is yet another Dodger player by the name of Billy Cox.  This one arrived in today's mailbox along with a couple of Joe DiMaggio fake reprints that I'll probably list in another post.  He played a total of 11 years with 3 different teams between 1941-1955.  Most of his career, however, was spent as a Dodgers third baseman or middle infielder between 1948-1954.  Cox saw postseason action with the Dodgers during the 1949, 1952, and 1953 World Series.  He was responsible for a total of 21 Runs and RBI in  15 World Series games played.   

This card is definitely in Poor condition [PR 1.0], but I would not throw it into my even lower filler category that I call Bad [BD 0.5].  Most noticeably, the card has a bite taken out of one corner with 3 other heavily rounded ones.  Next of course, is the major creasing and paper surface.  The edges are certainly worn, and the centering is noticeably off.  On the positive side, this card is substantially complete and readable.  There is no paper loss resulting in an unreadable or unrecognizable portion of this card; there are no masking marks; and the card is not miscut.  It's just a beat up old collectible card.     

Mailbox: '57T, '62T, '63T, & '65T F.Robinson

My mailbox brought me quite an assortment of singles yesterday.  The '57T Charley Thompson card was an attraction at just $1.  Actually, I try to purchase just about every Pre-1957 Topps card I find at $1--'57s too I guess.  Hal Woodeshick (how's that pronounced?) is another high-number wood-grained classic for my collection, which now approaching 75% completion.  I like the '63s, but currently only look for super bargains of key cards to improve the appearance of my '63 binder.  Team cards and League Leaders certainly fall into that category for me.  The same concept goes for the '65 set.  Former Reds player, Frank Robinson, will fit very nicely next to my new '65T Pete Rose, currently sitting in my binder without any other Reds buddies.  This would be F.Robinson's final car in a Reds uniform as he was traded to the Orioles, were he helped them win the World Series in 1966. 

Card backs made for a colorful pastel collage between 1963-1970--a lot of interesting information if you have the time.  Today, I don't. 

Mailbox: Some '62s and a '52T Reprint Set

Some new '62T high numbers showed up in my mailbox a couple of days ago. 

Nothing fancy here, just your typical hard-to-find overpriced common cards.

Now, here's something--a complete set of 1952 Topps baseball reprint cards from 1983.  I've been waiting 26 years to obtain this set, or at least reprints for the set.  For a long time I thought that 1952 was the first Topps set, but regardless, it is certainly the most valuable.  I actually only discovered the existence of this reprint set sometime after getting back into the hobby after 2001.  Knowing that I will never have even a remote chance of completing a '50s Topps collection, I started out by purchasing a '53T reprint set a few years ago.  Next, I found a '54T reprint set at a decent price.  Now, I have completed my early '50s Topps reprint sets with the the following acquisition.     

The '52T reprint set is actually missing 5 of the 407 cards due to lack of authorization for Topps to reprint them.  Those 5 cards are #20, 22, 159, 196, & 289.  So far, I have been able to obtain the Solly Hemus #196 card at a reasonable price, but will have to be patient for the others.  Like my other reprint sets from the early '50s, I have already begun to insert this one into 8-pocket pages according to player age by team winning percentage.  According to this system, the first card in the binder is former Yankees' coach, Jim Turner followed by Bill Dickey.  Casey Stengel should be the first card, but one was never produced for him in '52.  Also included in my '52T set are card #'s 408, 409, and 410 from the 1995 Topps Archives set for players that were never actually printed.  I also have a 'cards that never were' reprint for a '52T Joe Dimaggio who actually retired after the end of the '51 season.  I intend to get 'fake' reprints of this set for players like Ted Williams, Stan Musial, and other key players that should have had a card in this set.  I'm doing the same for the '53 and '54 reprints sets as well.

Just like my other vintage reprint sets, I insert the original cards in place of the reprints as they are obtained.  In this case, I only have 11 originals for 1952, focusing the majority of my vintage effort on the 1950 Bowman and 1951 Topps sets.  I'm sure there'll be some postings showcasing my reprint set in the near future.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

1963 Topps #500: Harmon Killebrew, Minnesota Twins, OF

There was only one package waiting for me in my mailbox yesterday. 

Harmon Killebrew was just returning from his best season to date in 1963 after placing 3rd in MVP voting with a league leading 48 HR's and 126 RBI's the previous season.  In 1963, Killebrew would repeat as the league leader with 45 HR's and a 4th place vote for the MVP title.  He made his 3rd career All-Star appearance, which Killebrew would continue to make consecutively each year through the '71 season. 

As an original member of the 1961 Twins team, Killebrew made the move to Minnesota after the '60 season when the Washington Senators relocated.  Although an expansion Senators began playing the following year (through 1971), most of the old regulars became a part of the new Twins team.  Below, Killebrew is shown as the youngest member of the six Twins players I currently have available from the '63T set.  Lenny Green and Camilo Pascual also made the move from Washington, D.C. to Minnesota with Killebrew, while Rich Rollins began his career with the new Twins organization as a rookie in 1961. 

     At 6.7% BV, I'm satisfied with the Killebrew acquisition that I'd grade at the lower end of [FR 1.5].  The corners and edges are obviously Poor, but the card seems sturdy.  The surface seems Fair with only minor creasing, some general scuffing, and even some warping from moisture damage.  The centering doesn't really look bad at all.  Call is a top-notch poor card if you'd like, but it'd say it's still worth at least 10% BV. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mailbox: '65T P.Rose, '65T R.Roberts, & '67 B.Mazeroski

     I looked into my mailbox, and what did I see? Three Hall-of-Famers staring at me.  Actually, I saw a package wrapped in brown paper sack material, two envelopes, and a bunch of other stuff that I will just refer to as junk.  I'm sure glad that I did not go ahead with deleting this blog as, today, I discovered how to retrieve all of my missing pictures from previous posts.  It's a long and tedious process, which I have nearly completed.  Throughout the process, I realized how bad some of my photographs appear.  Until I started using my scanner, I used to photograph my cards using a camera with a broken flash from sitting on it at the ballpark.  Perhaps I'll go back and improve some of the older photos eventually.


     The highlight acquisition from today's mailbox is definitely the 3rd year Pete Rose card with a BV of $200.  At 7.5% BV, I can accept the L-R off-centering.  Nearing the end of his career, the former whiz kid, Robin Roberts will make a nice addition to my '65 binder.  The major issue with this one is the moisture damage around the top right corner of the front and visible on the back. 

     Next to Roberto Clemente, what's a '60s Pirates collection without Bill Mazeroski?  The card is in great shape for a lower grade card with excellent centering and surface condition.  The typical corner wear and creases govern the strong [VG 3.0] rating.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Mailbox: '65T Clemente/Campaneris/Kubek/Conigliaro, '62T, '54T

     Today, my mailbox left me a few much needed key cards from the '65T set.  In previous attempts not to spread myself too thin in building my '60s collection, I have neglected the three sets between '62 and '66.  With not many deals to my current needs, I found a '65T Pete Rose at 7.5% BV (hasn't arrived), which spurred me into a whirlwind of obtaining a few more key cards from set.  With the following 4 acquisitions, my 41-card collection of '65s looks just a little bit less pitiful.  Of course, the highlight of today's acquisition is the Roberto Clemente, which is tied with P.Rose and S.Carlton for second most valuable in the '65T set next to Mickey Mantle. 
     In order to convince me of purchasing the Clemente at 10% BV, the card had to be in at least [GD 2.0], which I believe it barely meets.  The corners look VG, the edges VG-EX, and the centering EX.  The surface is what kills this card, but I'd still give it a FR.  According to Beckett rules, the grade of a card can be up to two 1/2 grades higher than the lowest rating if the other three ratings warrant it.  GD is only a 1/2 grade higher than FR.  This might not align with what I'd get sending the card to a grading service (which I don't), but it certainly will align to the standard that I buy and sell cards.   

     Honestly, I'll tell you what I think happened to the surface of this card.  It appears that the front was gum stained at one time, and someone used a liquid chemical other than water in an attempt to remove it.  I read a few articles in some of my '80s Beckett magazine describing different ways to clean and preserve cards (Are you kidding me?).  Although it appears that this card had been "cleaned" quite some time ago, let me tell some of you a little secret that obviously many people still don't understand.  There is no such thing as a gum-stained card front.  I love buying discounted cards due to a gum-stained front.  The solution is simple, but I actually shouldn't be sharing this.  Grab cotton t-shirt or dress sock and wipe the darn thing off.  Gum stains are easily removed from the front of a card without any additional damage or trace that it was ever there to begin with.
     The other three '65s in today's mailbox are also key cards to a lesser extent, shown in Beckett's Monthly's abbreviated listings nevertheless.  The T.Conigliaro is just shy of a T-B centering of 100/0, which doesn't bother me much as it might to a Red Sox fan, or those of you old enough to remember his potential.  For me, it's another listed player in my '65 collection.  Now the B.Campaneris RC acquisition was really nice for me as a Kansas City fan.  Prior to obtaining this, I was only one card shy of completing two pages of A's cards in my '65 binder (if you could call it that).  I actually have to put all of my '63, '64, and '65s into the same binder right now.  I like the T.Kubek acquisition since I've been listening to him a lot as an announcer in some of my "throwback" World Series DVDs, such as the '82 series between the Cardinals and Brewers that I'm currently finishing up. 

     The next two cards simply add to my collection of favorite sets from the '50s and '60s.  For quite a while, I wondered why K.Hubbs was a listed player and often passed on the opportunity to purchase this card for 15% BV, but have recently come to realize that similar to T.Conigliaro above, Hubb's career had been affected by more than just the aging process and daily grind.  In Hubb's case, his career had been cut short due to a plane crash that ended his life.  He was apparently a very talented player that never had the opportunity to come anywhere near to realizing his potential. 

     Steve O'Neill began his MLB career as a catcher with the Cleveland Indians and played for a total of 17 seasons for four different teams between 1911-1928.  He appeared in all 7 games of the 1920 World Series Indians' victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers.  O'Neill certainly factored into the series outcome, batting .333 with a Run, 2 RBI, 7 Hits, and 4 Walks in 25 plate appearances.  He had 3 brothers who also played in the majors.  He began managing after a car crash shortened his playing career and reached the Major League level again in 1935, again with the Cleveland Indians.  O'Neill continued managing over a 20 year span for four different teams through the 1954 season, highlighted by his Tigers' 1945 World Series victory over the Chicago Cubs.  This was his last baseball card.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mailbox: '50B J.Banta, '54T H.Pollet, '62T J.Donohue & J.Horlen, '72T B.Sudakis

     Today's Mailbox features cards from each of the '50s, '60s, and '70s decades.  It's funny how as a kid I used to enjoy opening wax packs from the store, while I now enjoy opening mailed packages from online. 

     The first card I received today was a much needed Dodgers card from the oldest set I currently collect.  With fewer Dodgers cards than any other team in the '50 Bowman set, I've been looking find some at a decent price.  I found this $15 Jack Banta card for $2.50 in [FR 1.5] condition.  After coming up in 1947, and pitching part of 3 games against the Yankees in the 1949 World Series, Banta played his final major league game in 1950.  Below, Jack Banta is shown alongside four of his teammates: Joe Hatten, Pee Wee Reese, Jimmy Russell, and Bobby Morgan.
     The second card I received today was a Chicago Cubs pitcher, Howie Pollet from the 1954 Topps set.  A page out of my binder shows Pollet next to two other original '54s, including the first card I ever owned from this set: Ray Blades.  The reprint cards are from the 1994 Topps Archive set, which I replace as I gain originals for each player.  The two cards on the top left were never actually produced, and will probably remain with the set even if I were to ever complete it.    
     Today, I add two cards to one of my all-time favorite card sets, and the first vintage set I ever saw in a binder as a kid, which so happened to resemble the 1987 Topps card set that I was collecting at the time.  The following semi-high commons typically book at $12 each, which I was able to obtain for $1.99 and $2.00 (or about 18% BV).  What I like about collecting this set online is that it's possible to find cards at 10%-20% BV.  This set featured the first year of the Houston Colts (Astros) and the New York Mets.  The Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Angels were in their second year in 1962.
     The final acquisition for today brings me to within one card of completing the 1972 Topps set.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mailbox: 2008 Topps Update Set #1-330

     Today's mailbox brought me a complete set of 2008 Topps Update Baseball Cards.  The set features key rookies of players like Evan Longoria, Justin Masterson, Jay Bruce, Jed Lowrie, Clayton Kershaw, and Max Scherzer.  I recently acquired the 2008 Topps base set about a year ago after deciding to get back into the modern card game. 

     As I've expressed previously in various posts, I quit collecting modern cards after 2006 and sold most of my modern cards only to buy them all back last year.  I guess I'm just a diehard.  With this acquisition, I'm now only missing the 2011 Topps Update set, and the 2003-2004 Topps Traded sets.  My 2002 Topps traded set is missing the first 110 short prints. 

Mailbox: '67T A's Team, '68T Billy Williams, & '72T high #

     Who doesn't like to see a team card in the front of their binder team sets?  While searching for a few reasonably priced '67ers, I came across the A's final card as a team in Kansas City.  As a KC fan, I figured $1.49 was a decent price for a $4.00 card in [VG-EX+ 4.5] condition.  Only the L-R centering puts this card below EX.  I've now compiled a total of 12 team cards for the '67 set, which features HOFer Catfish Hunter.  Reggie Jackson was actually a part of the '67 team, but it's actually the '66 team depicted on the card.

     Has anyone else noticed that Billy Williams cards list for much higher than price guides tend to advertise?  The same seems to go for Ron Santo cards as well.  Going down the line of listed stars for the '68 set, I punched in #37 for Billy Williams and found this $8.00 card for $1.75, so I jumped on it.  I typically try to remain within 20% BV (or $1.60), but like I said, Williams and Santo card prices don't seem to align well with their book value.  I'd call this one a [VG+ 3.5] due to the absence of creasing, nice edges, and minor corner wear with dings.  It's the scuffed surface that holds down the value of this one--a good deal regardless.  With this acquisition, I have the completed the Banks, Williams, Santo set for the '68 Cubs, which also features Leo Durocher as manager and young pitcher, Fergie Jenkins.

     My final Mailbox acquisition today brings me within 2 cards of completing the 1972 Topps baseball set of 787 cards (I actually have one more on the way).  I would recommend to anyone just beginning this set to purchase it whole if at all possible, because the high numbers from #526-656 and #657-787 are more difficult to obtain than any vintage Topps set dating back to 1967.  Of the three sets between 1970-1972, this set should command the highest value according to the cost of collecting it, but doesn't.  I used to collect sets strictly in reverse consecutive order, but since working on the '72 set, I've come within 2 cards of the '71 set and 13 cards of the '70 set before completing this one.  At $3.01, diamond-cut Pat Jarvis was well worth it to me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

In My Mailbox: 1950 Bowman Lot w/ T.Kluszewski

     Today, I received three packages in the mail containing the following 11 cards pictured below.  After losing all of my pictures from posts created over the past couple of years, I almost deleted this blog instead of starting all over.  These new Mailbox posts will allow me to quickly share my current card collecting interests as I recover from the loss of all of my previous posts. 
     Since accepting the '51 Topps set as the 'true' 1st Topps set some time ago, the only gap left in the '50s decade of baseball cards to me was 1950.  I found that the '50 bowman cards were the same size as the '51 Topps cards, providing some continuity between the two brands for my collection.  Currently, I have compiled over 2/3's of the collection with 172 cards of the 252 total in this set. 

The highlight of this lot is the Ted Kluszewski, 1B, Cincinnati Reds card on the top-right, valued at $125.  The first 72 numbered cards in this set (low numbers) were actually valued more on average than the rest of the set.  The entire top row in the picture above features low number cards of: Al Kozar, 2B, Washington Senators ($50 BV); Hank Sauer, OF, Chicago Cubs ($60 BV); and Buddy Kerr, SS, Boston Braves ($50 BV).  The bottom row above features some of the higher number cards highlighted by Charlie Keller of the Detroit Tigers ($40 BV).  The rest of the cards valued between $15-$25 include Frank Shea, Mike Guerra, and Ted Gray.  With only 80 cards left to complete this set, I am actively pursuing '50 Bowmans.

I get cards in the mail almost daily, so the topic of tomorrow's post is really up for grabs.  

In My Mailbox: 1967 Topps Leaders & H.Wilhelm

My 1967 Topps set was beginning to look a little weak surrounded by my '66 and '69 sets, some I grabbed a Beckett Monthly and went down the list to see what I could find online at under 15% BV.  Leaders cards are always nice, with stars like F.Robinson, H.Killebrew, and B.Powell featured on the two below.  I had to look twice when ordering to make sure they weren't the same.  As one of the original closers, with a career spanning well into his '40s, the Wilhelm card appeared to be a good catch. 

     These cards actually look pretty sharp for the price I paid.  High number '67s are worst I've dealt with to date, although I haven't yet taken a serious stab at pursuing them.  After '67T high numbers, it's the '72s that seem to be the toughest to obtain.  I do have many high numbers from the '66 and '62 sets, which have given me nowhere nearly as much trouble as I anticipate when searching for high '67s.  Getting a card in the 400's for under 20% BV was certainly a catch.

     I get cards in the mail almost daily, so the topic of tomorrow's post is really up for grabs.