Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Collecting Wax Pack Wrappers: 1966 Topps

In the back of most of my Topps set binders, is a folded up empty wax pack wrapper.  Actually, I use a single card to help shape and stiffen the wrapper.  Before today, I had only every wrapper dating back to 1969 Topps.  These wrappers start costing more than a low grade Mantle in the '60s, but I was able to find this one for $10.99 shipped.  I'm still missing 1967 and 1968, but it'll probably be a while before I find an affordable one.  I don't collect all the back ad variations, but I do collect the front cover variations like 1973 Topps.  1966 Topps was the first year that 1-cent packs were not available.  Minimum purchase in 1966 was 5-cents.  The 1966 wrapper looks very similar to the 1974 and 1976 wrappers.  

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Inching closer to 1951 Topps completion

     Here's my first 1951 Topps acquisition in probably a couple of years now.  Although I had to pay more than I'm used to for Series B cards to get this one, at $15.25 shipped it's pretty much a good deal for what I've been seeing high-number '51T sell for lately.  This acquisition now leaves me only 3 cards short of completing the 106-card inaugural Topps set (52 Series A / 52 Series B / 2 Traded).  If you remember, Andy Pafko was famous for being card #1 on Topps' sophomore release in 1952.  For some reason, it was treated as the first Topps card for many years, even though 1951 Topps followed the same format as 1948-1950 Bowman.  1951 Topps was treated as a bastard set for many years until Topps finally decided to recognize their illegitimate child in 2015 with their 104-card Heritage release.  That's probably what caused the recent price jump I discussed in a previous post.  For many years, price guides didn't even include this set.  In fact, I didn't even know about the 1951 set until sometime after the millennium even though I started collecting Topps in 1987.  That's how much this set had been disowned by the card industry.  Think of it as racism for baseball cards and you'll get the idea.  1951 Topps got categorized out (i.e. not really a baseball card set).  The last Beckett guides I saw to include this set at the start of this decade had Redback commons listed for $15 and Bluebacks listed for $30 in NM condition.  Since I collect low-grade, 20% BV is supposed to come out to $3 and $6 for Red and Blue Backs.  That's how out of touch Beckett was on this set.  I haven't seen what the newer Beckett's are listing commons for but it's nice to see 1951 Topps finally getting some respect in the market.  Blueback commons should list for about 3x-4x the amount of Redback commons from my buying/selling experience, with Redback commons listing for about $50 in Beckett.

1953 Topps High Numbers

     I recently acquired my 3rd of 54 different high numbers in this 274-card set.  1953 Topps highs span from #221-280.  For some reason, there were 6 numbers that did not exist: #253, 261, 267, 268, 271, 275, and 279.  The 1991 Topps Archives reprint set actually included cards for these 6 numbers, which I have also integrated into my 1953 Topps set binder.  1953 Topps highs are nowhere near as steep as 1952 Topps highs but they can get a little pricey in comparison to the rest of the 1950's Topps sets--unless, like me, you consider 1951 Topps Series B "Blue Backs" as high numbers.  Without these highs, the best you could ever hope for is 80% completion on this set.  This card books for about $100, but there is hope as I just found it for $5.99 shipped.

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.