Tuesday, February 28, 2023

And it starts...

 I've been waiting patiently for the opportunity to get to the local card shop or for my Walmart or Target to stock 2023 Topps Series 1. I've been hearing that once the shelves are stocked, they stay that way and that no one is buying retail. So I figured if that was the case, once they stocked the shelves I wouldn't have any problems. I run by Walmart on my way home and lo and behold, there are 5 hanger boxes left. Just 5 boxes. There were two almost completely empty display boxes. You guessed it, I bought all 5. 

It's always fun to rip packs, especially the new Topps release. 




I like the design of the base cards. The headshot brings back memories of the 1983 and 1984 Topps sets. I'm not a huge fan of the backs of the cards with the different colors, but its not terrible either. The inserts are decent looking too. I do like the throwback card design from 1988. I think its an under appreciated  design because its from the junk wax era, but its a good looking card. 

All in all, I'm excited to start collecting my 3 sets, one for me and one for each of my grandsons. 

I've been watching a bunch of YouTube videos of collectors and they are all bashing Topps Series 1 retail release. It seems to be all about the inserts, which in turn, means its all about the money. Now I, like every other collector loves it when I open a pack and find a really nice rare card. A card that I can add to my collection or maybe sell off/trade for something that I really want to add to my collection. It doesn't always happen, but when it does... There was a YouTube guy who said, "A true collector wouldn't buy retail because of the odds are so bad getting a gold card. True collectors would only buy hobby boxes because the odds are better." I thought that was a pretty arrogant statement. Makes me think maybe that guy isn't a true collector, but a speculator/investor. To each their own. That is what I always thought was cool about baseball card collecting. To each their own. You get to collect what you want. Build sets, collect teams or players...whatever you want to do. I don't get why people have to bash or look down on others who do something different. This is supposed to be fun! Don't think I'll be watching that guy's video anymore. I can live without the attitude. I get enough attitude teaching school!

Peace, 

Michael

Isaiah 40:31

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Where do you get your cards?

     When I first started collecting cards there were only 3 places to get cards; retail stores, your local card shop, if you're lucky enough to have a local card shop or a card show. Now I readily admit back in those days I was not in the know about any card shows, save one and that was the one that the card shop I worked for put on once a year. Now, thanks in big part to the internet, the opportunity to get cards is at the tips of your fingers.  I get the majority of my cards at Walmart, Ebay, BSC.com, a local card shop and a couple of card shows a year. 

 Walmart

    Walmart is as close as I come to a local card shop. As I mentioned in my first blog, I collect Topps current years for myself and my grandsons. It's been an interesting few years trying to get cards at Walmart. If I see it on the shelves, I've got to grab it because it won't be there long. That is until I get to the point of only needing a limited number of cards and then I find tons of product that I don't need. For the most part, it works pretty well for collecting the new releases for me. 

Local Card Store

    Where I live, in a major metropolitan area, there are several card stores, but they are about an hour away, mostly because of traffic. Their hours and my work schedule just make it really difficult to visit. My youngest son and I spent a Saturday driving all over town visiting all the stores we could find checking them out. Out of all of the card stores there is really only one that carries anything vintage or cards to complete sets. Everyone else is all chrome and shiny stuff, some that I actually think looks cool, but not something that I feel like I want to get involved collecting. The closest I get to the flashy stuff in my collection is Topps Chrome and that's only of those players that I really like. 

Ebay

    What is there to say, almost everything can be found on Ebay. One thing I do like about Ebay are the pictures of the cards that you are purchasing. Bidding on cards can be a problem, especially for me. I hate to lose. It takes a lot of control to stay on my budget and not go over. What really gets me is when I lose a card by less than a dollar. I have started using buy-it-now and make an offer. Helps keep me from getting in a bidding war.

 BuySportsCards.com  

    I kept seeing ads for BSC in my emails, on YouTube and other places so I thought I'd check it out. It seemed to be a decent site so I made some purchases and it worked pretty good.  I think this is a good site to pick up lower end cards. It has its drawbacks like a $3.00 minimum on purchases and you don't have an uploaded picture of the card you're buying, but overall it's not bad. I decided to try and sell some of my extra cards on the site because it seemed pretty easy to do. I listed some cards and within a couple of days sold 3 cards. I thought this is easy! Well, two weeks later and not another sniff at selling a card. Oh well, the cards will sit there until something happens. 

Card Shows

    Card shows are a blast. I love walking around, talking to people and looking at their cards. I haven't been real successful at the shows, but that's because I haven't figured out the best way to work it. I have picked up cards that I really like but hasn't helped in completing any of the sets I'm working on. The last show I went to in January I picked up these cards.


They're pretty rough and the Clemente has a crease right across the middle, but I got a great deal on the cards. Shows can be a bit overwhelming too. So many tables, cards, people everywhere, but the overall experience is awesome. I have yet to meet a dealer at a show who wasn't a good guy. I've never been to the National, but I want to. Maybe one day. If you get a chance to go to a show and you haven't been, go its worth it. 

Online Trading

    I've never traded cards online. I think I'd like to, but really haven't figured it out yet. I'm hoping that by writing this blog and meeting some people that trading will become an option. Sounds like everyone who's online writing blogs trades with Night Owl, so who knows?

Let me know in the comments where you get your cards, I'm always looking for a good source!

Peace, 

Michael

Isaiah 40:31


Wednesday, February 1, 2023

To Grade or Not to Grade

 When I really got back into the hobby I had no idea about grading cards and the different grading companies. Like most Americans these days, I turned to Google, which led me to YouTube, which led me to watching, I don't know, how many different videos on grading. 

Like the majority of collectors, not seen on YouTube, I am on a very fixed budget when it comes to collecting baseball cards. I don't do this for a living and after my original attempt to make a buck(see my first post!), I collect because its fun and something that keeps me involved with baseball, its past and I can share it with my sons and grandsons. So, spending a good amount of money to get cards graded doesn't make sense to me. Also, buying graded cards costs a lot more and that doesn't make sense to me either. 

Now as I understand it, there are three reasons to get a card graded. First, to authenticate the card as real and unaltered. Second, to give the card a grade that everyone can agree on and third, to protect the card in a case. Let's take these one at a time.

Authentication. 

This one makes sense. Especially with all of the people out there willing to cheat someone to make a quick dollar. I get this one. Now, I recently read the book Spotting Fakes by Ryan Nolan. I only read the baseball card portion because, I only collect baseball cards. I thought this was a well written and very informative book and I highly recommend it for collectors. Now I'm not saying that I can recognize a fake from an original, but if I'm spending big bucks on a card I'm telling you I'm checking that card out really good. I'm also telling you that I'm not buying that card online. I want to see it for myself. I have even watched videos where cards that have been graded and then regraded come back as altered or fakes. I do believe that this is a rarity though. All of that to say, this is the one reason I see to get a card graded. 

Card Grades

This one I don't get. I'm the one who's acquiring a card, so I'm the one that gets to say if I think the "grade" of the card is a 10 to me. Even the guys I've watched have said the grades don't matter if you like the look of the card anyway. I cannot tell you how many times I've heard on YouTube videos people complaining about the grades of the cards when they get them back(which, by the way, takes way too long as best as I can tell!). Even better, they are going to resubmit it to another company to try and get a better grade...even more money spent. It's all about eye appeal to the one acquiring the card and not about some number some person who you don't know puts on the card. 

Protect the card

This one doesn't make sense to me either. For a whole lot less money and a lot quicker time, I can get a case to protect the card. There are all different cases to choose from too. I have even seen videos of people cracking the cases without much effort to get the card out in order to resubmit to another company. 

One last thing and I kind of already mentioned it, is the cost. I have never submitted a card for grading and at this point I don't see it happening. The main reason is the added cost. I'd rather spend that money on more cards! 

I didn't write this to bash those collectors who are into getting their cards graded. The great thing about collecting cards is you get to do it your way and you don't have to conform to everybody else. I do hope someone reads this and can share their opinion on grading cards to teach me something that I don't know. I'm open for discussion!

Peace, 

Michael

Isaiah 40:31


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