The Pull of my Childhood: 1989 Fleer Bill Ripken “F*** Face”

Yesterday Jason posted about the pull of his life.  I thought it was a fun piece to read and judging by the amount of reads that it received, so did many others.  That told me that perhaps people would be interested in mine.

Jason has also posted a couple of times on errors and variations from the cards of our youth.  This card is certainly one of those.  While not the most “valuable,” it’s likely the most well known error card.  As I write this, I feel like this piece is all due to Jason.

I started collecting cards with the 1987 sets.  My uncle, who was a collector, gave me a 1986 Topps set for Christmas (of 1986).  I’m sure my parents just bought me a couple of packs of those 1987 Topps at first, but I can’t remember for sure (I would have only been eight at the time).  What I do remember is being hooked by those wood grain borders.  I obviously showed a continued interest and ended up getting more and more cards.  I also remember that each Friday, my mama would go to a wholesaler in Westover (across the river from Morgantown, West Virginia) and by me a box of 1987 Donruss cards.  My life was never the same after that.

For whatever reason, it seemed that Fleer cards were harder to come by in Morgantown early on in my collecting life.  I don’t recall ever getting a pack of 1987 Fleer.  I vaguely remember my dad getting me a couple of packs of the 1988 cards.  I believe he picked them up at the 7-Eleven on University Avenue, across from where he worked.  It was really cool  to have a few of those cards in my monster boxes, breaking up all of the Topps and Donruss ones.

One evening, it had to be the spring of 1989, my mama calls me in and asks me if I know about some Ripken error card and if I had it.  I didn’t – know about it or have it.  It was a Fleer and to that point, I didn’t have any.  She actually saw a story about the card on the national news.  I grew up only having satellite television, so it had to be one of the major networks that mentioned it.

I can’t say how much later it was until the next card show in my town, but I don’t believe it was too long.  There haven’t been steady shows in north central West Virginia in years, but in the late 80s – early 90s, there was one two or three times a year at the local Ramada Inn.  That was where, as I kid, I experienced my first card show autograph guest.  It was none other than Chicago Cub Doug Dascenzo.

Moving on…

That spring 1989 show, my mama must have come down with card fever after seeing that piece on the news.  We went to the table that was run by my local card guy, Bob.  Bob Bailey owned a (very) small neighborhood grocery store, and had a few singles displayed in the back of the store and always had packs in the front.  We didn’t have a local card shop in town at the time, so that little grocery store WAS my LCS.

I want to say that he was asking three or four dollars a pack.  Bob was a good man and he wasn’t price gouging.  He knew what the market was on them and was just asking for the going rate.  I was shocked when mama let me pick out two or three packs!  At that time, wax packs were 50 cents or so.  She was letting me buy these, and this was a woman that scoffed at 1989 Upper Deck, which was $1 a pack.  I was floored.

Packs in hand, we headed outside the ballroom to a spot where there were a few chairs.  Not sure at what point, but I opened a pack, and there it was!  THIS EXACT CARD:

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There was an “older” guy that offered to pay me a whole $10 for the card!  I’m pretty sure that I not-so-politely declined.  I probably would have said worse, but my mama was there with me.  I guess as long as cards have had real “value,” there have been people trying to take advantage of others.

I’ve gone through a couple of times in life where I’ve “left” the hobby, but that’s relative.  There was a point where I was down to just one four row box of cards.   However, this is one card that I have always kept.  Not sure why that price tag is on the back.  Maybe I did consider selling it at one point.  Maybe I needed to put it into a new sleeve when I was younger and that’s the only one that I had.  However, this card has been mine for 26 years now.  It will always have more sentimental than monetary value to me.

Sometime in the last couple of years, I added this Ripken variation:

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It’s cool to have because of the history of the ol’ 1989 Fleer #616, but it’s just a card to me.  It is nowhere in the stratosphere of the “F*** Face” card that I pulled as an eight year old.

If you like what we’re doing and would like updates when we post new pieces, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Please take the time and also look through some other pieces on the site.  I’m still looking for more folks that would like to contribute, so let me know if you are!  You can follow me on my other Twitter handles at @kin_kinsley and @DFW_Card_Shows.

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The Pull of My Life: 1990 Topps Bo Jackson

It’s no secret that I’m primarily a baseball collector and that’s always been my primary focus.  Every year I look forward to the new sets, new themes, and new designs that each manufacturer comes out with.  But, 1990 Topps baseball will always be #1 in my heart and nothing will ever replace it.

Although I collected cards prior to 1990, that was the year that I really became immersed in card collecting.  I can still remember buying what I always referred to as “double jumbo packs.”  These were the mother of all packs of cards!  Where else could you get 106 cards in a single pack?  I’m not entirely sure where I purchased them from, though.  They were most likely from Hills Department Store or possibly Walmart, but I’m leaning towards Hills.  Either way, I was the happiest kid on earth every time I got one of these packs!

1990 Topps Jumbo Packs

But, what always drew me to this set was the colorful borders and how I always felt as if no two cards had the exact same border (they probably did, but I was a kid not really dissecting the cards).  So many colors existed and at this time I was already aware of what the 1975 Topps set looked like because my dad still had a few and I honestly probably made the connection of “my dad has these cool old cards from 1975 with all these colors and here’s my soon-to-be-cool old set with all these colors.”  Whatever it was, I was in love!

That set also had what would become the first Bo Jackson card that I pulled myself and I can still remember the day I got it out of a pack my grandparents had purchased for me.  I remember opening the pack in the car on the way home as we were passing Fairmont State University and seeing that glorious card staring back at me with it’s purplish border and Bo crushing a baseball in his white Royals uniform.  Once I realized what I had (a guaranteed $1 Beckett book value card), I just held that half of the pack in my hand ever so carefully so as not to crease or bend it in any way.  It sat on top of that stack the entire ride home as I never took it out of my sight.  I don’t even think I opened the other half of the pack until later that evening.  Once home, I ran across the street to my friend Randy’s house to show him and he was just as excited as I was (well, maybe not, but at the time I didn’t care).  In my mind, I had just pulled the greatest Bo Jackson card that had ever existed and it was in my collection!

1990 Topps Bo Jackson

Today, I have multiple copies of that card and every time I see it I pause for just a second and take a gander.  It still rekindles the memories I have of that particular day and just how excited I was.  That card may not let me retire early, but it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Just a plain (white envelope) #mailday

Last week, I posted the break results of a hanger pack of 2015 Prizm Draft Picks (football).  I also share some of my blog posts elsewhere and someone on Sports Card Forum was interested in one of the cards.

LINK:  Pack Break: 2015 Prizm Draft Picks Hanger pack

The trade was a low dollar one, so we agreed to chance it and ship in plain white envelopes.  When I got home Monday from work, mine had arrived and I had another addition to my WVU collection.

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It’s nothing big, but only shipping in a PWE made the trade worth it.  I wouldn’t have done it if he’d wanted to ship in bubble mailers.  It really wasn’t worth $2 to me, seeing as I will probably find this card at some point in quarter boxes at a local card show.

If you like what we’re doing and would like updates when we post new pieces, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Please take the time and also look through some other pieces on the site.  I’m still looking for more folks that would like to contribute, so let me know if you are!  You can follow me on my other Twitter handles at @kin_kinsley and @DFW_Card_Shows.

Grading Errors & Variations: Pro Set Style

I love graded items.  Let’s get that out of the way.  I love graded cards, graded packs, and even graded toys!  I’m a sucker for these types of items.  There’s something about the permanency of a collectible being encapsulated in that acrylic shell that adds to the beauty of the item inside giving it that archival look.

Today though, let’s focus solely on graded cards.  In our hobby today, there exists “the big three” in regards to grading companies including Beckett Grading Services (BGS), Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), and Sportscard Guaranty (SGC).  But, between those three exists major differences in multiple aspects of each’s respective grading system but that’s an article for another day.

Today, I’d like to complain just a little bit and also see what the readers out there think about my complaints and get their opinions.  Recently, I had a friend that wanted to send some cards to BGS to get graded so I decided to add a few cards to his order and save us both some money.  Oddly enough though, we are both Pro Set football collectors, he collects anything and everything and I focus on the rare errors/variations, and thus, the focus of my complaint today lies with those aforementioned errors/variations.

As many of you may know, Pro Set sets had MANY errors/variations inside due to their “living set” idea in which cards were updated during the season (because of trades, free agent signings, etc) and re-released in later series depicting said updates.  In doing so and as a repercussion of doing this so quickly, many errors/variations exist due to printing errors.  Don’t believe me?  Check out Junk Wax Gem’s reference guide to all of the errors/variations produced for the 1990 Pro Set football set.

So here’s my complaint.  I have some of these errors/variations and some of them can be quit valuable.  However, trying to get one graded by any of the “big three” to grade one of these AND label them as an error/variation is (almost) impossible!  Even though they’re not officially recognized by the grading companies, they are recognized by collectors regularly.  Try doing a search on eBay for Pro Set error and see what you can find.  Rarely, does a Pro Set error/variation that’s graded pop up for sale.

Yeah, maybe it’s a small gripe that an even smaller percentage of collectors are upset about, but I just never understood why BGS, PSA, or SGC wouldn’t recognize these if collectors do.

If you like what we’re doing and would like updates when we post new pieces, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Please take the time and also look through some of the other pieces on the site.

1-of-1 #Mailday for #TheAndrewShawProject

If you read out recent player super collecting post, I mentioned that there was another gentleman that was collecting Shaw, but stopped on it.  We’ve “met” through SCF first then later Facebook and even though we’ve never met, I consider Jim a friend.  We were chatting about Shaw cards one day and he mentioned a 2014-14 printing plate that he didn’t bid on, because he thought I was the high bidder.  It turns out that I wasn’t.  I never even saw it, as the seller had it listed on ebay.ca, but it didn’t show up on ebay.com.  The auction ended at under $3 and my heart was broken when I saw that it was gone.

I’m sure that many people complain and gripe when people buy to resell.  In this case, it worked to my benefit.  A few weeks later, a Shaw printing plate popped up on eBay.com with a BIN/OBO of $30.  I immediately submitted my offer of $10.  Previously, I paid $14.99 for the magenta plate and $8.53 for the black plate.  I felt that I was certainly in the range of actual “value.”  I became nervous as hours, and then a day, went by without hearing back.  I looked to make sure that nobody jumped in and bought it at $30 (or that he accepted another offer).  They hadn’t, so I kept waiting, though I considered upping my offer just to be safe.  Over the second night the seller came back with an offer of $15.  I wasn’t messing around and losing it, so I accepted.

Now, he is among friends.

2014-15 Upper Deck Printing Plates Cyan #287 Andrew Shaw
2014-15 Upper Deck Printing Plates Cyan #287 Andrew Shaw

If I can come across the yellow plate, I will have the complete 2014-15 Upper Deck Rainbow.  As proud as I am of my Shaw PC, it would be the first true rainbow I have.  No matter what set/year combo it is, if there are more than a handful of variations, I am missing at least one of them to complete it.  I don’t believe I’ve seen the yellow so I’m not giving up hope.

there's a chance

***UPDATE***

After I wrote this, but before I posted it, I left the seller his feedback and contacted him.  I explained to him that I collect Shaw and that I was so appreciative that he picked it up and resold it where I could get it.  An hour or so later, he replied with this:

“Hi there Kin, thanks for the message! I sincerely appreciate it, as I love being able to get cards into the right collector’s hands!

What’s funny is that I’m on SCF and I knew there was a big Shaw fan, but admittedly I didn’t look super hard for the proper username (I do my ebay listings right at the end of every month, and the printing plate arrived near the end of that particular month). Once you made the offer, I knew I recognized the name so I was glad it found the right home. I saw the thread with photos of your collection, it looks incredible!

Thanks again!”

There are times that I get burnt out on the hobby.  However, it’s getting messages back from others like this one and just talking to others (like Jim and Jason) that enjoy what I (we) do that gives me that kick in the butt that I sometimes need.  There are a lot of people that are in the hobby for what I feel are the wrong reasons.  However, there are so many that truly are in it for the pure fun and enjoyment of it.

If you like what we’re doing and would like updates when we post new pieces, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Please take the time and also look through some other pieces on the site.  I’m still looking for more folks that would like to contribute, so let me know if you are!  You can follow me on my other Twitter handles at @kin_kinsley and @DFW_Card_Shows.

Had (yes, had) to get this Jedd Gyorko

A couple of years ago, I had planned to seriously collect Jedd Gyorko cards.  He’s from my hometown, though you played at the rival high school) and also played at my alma mater, WVU.  Unfortunately, that didn’t materialize.

Link:  Hometown Heroes: Do You Collect Any?

There is just too much baseball product out there.  In a recent post, Jason and I discussed player super collecting.  I mentioned every collection having it’s challenge and for me, with Gyorko, one of them was going to be the number of cards that were out there.  In his rookie season, he only hit .249, but he did hit 23 home runs in just 125 games.  His product was hot and a lot of cards were just out of my price range, which was another problem.  The third problem for me is that I just don’t have any interest in baseball anymore, so I don’t buy product.  I had no product to trade for his stuff.  The final thing that made it difficult was that I was putting so much into my Andrew Shaw PC.

When I was packing, and later unpacking, for the move to Texas, I found some of the Gyorko cards I had accumulated.  I decided that in time I would start back at it, but it a limited effort.  I would stick to just a handful of things – anything in his WVU uniform, anything with the Topps trophies on them and also anything Heritage.

Jason and I often talk about Gyorko and since he collects baseball, he has a better idea of the market.  He knew what I was going to collect and let me know when one showed up on eBay and what they’d been going for.  I plaved a couple of bids but decided to bow out at a certain point.  The auction price had exceeded what the last few had gone for AND Gyorko cards were as cold as the could possibly be.

However, a few week ago another one showed up with a low buy it now.  I had the money in my Paypal balance to cover it, so I went ahead and took the plunge.  I don’t like HOW the autographs appear on these swatches, but it is what it is.

2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Collegiate Patches Autographs #JG S#004/125
2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Collegiate Patches Autographs #JG S#004/125

I am really excited that I added this one to the PC.  Hail, West Virginia!

If you like what we’re doing and would like updates when we post new pieces, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Please take the time and also look through some other pieces on the site.  I’m still looking for more folks that would like to contribute, so let me know if you are!  You can follow me on my other Twitter handles at @kin_kinsley and @DFW_Card_Shows.

Andrew Shaw to the Toronto Maple Leafs? This Supercollector’s Cards thoughts and concerns…

I’m leaving work today and as I wait for an elevator to come up to floor 15, I’m checking out Twitter.  I didn’t scroll far before I saw this tweet.

jvrhawks

Unless you’ve been under a rock (or you don’t follow hockey), you know that the Blackhawks have some work to do in order to put together a full roster under the salary cap.  Patrick Sharp was a casualty of this.  Consensus is that Bryan Bickell and his $4M cap hit are next on the chopping block, if a trade partner can be found.  Then, next on the list is Andrew Shaw.  Shaw’s 2015-16 cap hit is $2M in his last season before becoming a restricted free agent.  Barring unforeseen circumstances he will get a pay raise to at least $3M per season.  All of this makes him a prime candidate to be traded from the Windy City.

It’s just Twitter.  Twitter isn’t life.  It’s just a rumor from someone typing on a keyboard or phone.  It’s a rumor that makes sense, however.  Someone threw out Shaw’s name as a candidate to go (the tweets appear to have been deleted).  This would break my heart.  Shaw is from Belleville, ON, which is just a couple of hours from Toronto.  The Maple Leafs are rebuilding and snagging some local boys isn’t the worst way to go in the meantime.  Van Riemsdyk’s cap hit is more than twice Shaw’s, but Toronto could pick up some of that.  JVR is also an American.  He could be excited about the possibility of playing in the States.  Oh, yeah…do I need to remind you that his brother Trevor is a defenseman for the Blackhawks?

Hopefully you’ve read our Supercollector Q&A piece from Saturday.  Jason has already dealt with his player leaving his first team.  It’s almost inevitable in today’s sports structure that players will play for at least two franchises.  I’ve been asked before if (when) Shaw leaves the Blackhawks, will I still collect him?  The answer to that is “yes.”

LINK:  Supercollecting Q & A with Jason Dean Martin & Kin Kinsley

However, his going to Toronto could affect my supercollecting, both positively and negatively.

A quick look at the Toronto Maple Leafs’ roster tells me that he could potentially be higher on the pecking order there than he is in Chicago.  As it stands now, he’s a third or fourth liner in Chicago.  He could be more of a second liner on the high side or a third liner in Toronto.  When it comes to his cards, he is also behind more defensemen on the pecking order in Chicago than he might be in Toronto.  He was in only four base sets in the 2014-15 releases, so there’s at least a chance that the number could go up.

I am placing the Maple Leafs’ sweaters on the negative side, maybe.  Their sweaters are only two colors, so you won’t see beautiful patches like you can find from Blackhawks jerseys.   The reason I stated “maybe” on this is that while Blackhawks swatches can be much better, the only set a Shaw jersey card was produced for was for the 2011-12 The Cup set.  To be honest, I hadn’t even realized until today just how few jersey cards have been produced.

Another initial concern I had with the collecting aspect was confirmed with this tweet from one of my followers, Johnson Sports Promotions.

jsptweet

On the bright side, if prices jump, it might not be as dramatic as it could be.  While Toronto fans are good collectors, so are Chicago fans.  Shaw is a fan favorite on an Original Six team that has a strong collector base.  His cards have never been cheap.

Through trading, I’ve learned that because of the Post Offices, Canadian traders are much more willing to trade with United States traders than the reverse.  A big part of this is that if you take a bubble mailer to a lot of U.S. Post Offices, they will charge you over $7 just to ship.  There are other methods that cost half that, but not everyone knows about them.  I do, and am more than happy to trade with the friendly folks up north, so that’s one less concern that I have.  There are enough “Canadian Only” items from Upper Deck that it could cause a delay, or cost more, if the circumstances were reversed.

I can’t definitely state whether there are more Blackhawks or Leafs collectors.  If there are more Toronto collectors, that leaves the potential of less of the low numbered items making it to the secondary market.  I feel confident stating that about 98% of my Shaw cards have been secondary market acquisitions, making this a serious concern to me.

So, if the Blackhawks could just trade Andrew Shaw somewhere like Phoenix or Carolina, that’d (maybe) be great.  Although, then there might be even less cards produced.  At this point, I’m not even sure what to hope for.

If you like what we’re doing and would like updates when we post new pieces, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Please take the time and also look through some other pieces on the site.  I’m still looking for more folks that would like to contribute, so let me know if you are!  You can follow me on my other Twitter handles at @kin_kinsley and @DFW_Card_Shows.