Sunday, January 22, 2012

What's so Great about 1957 Topps?

I have yet to score a Topps card from before '55, and I'm working on it diligently. But as far as vintage Topps go, I prefer my '55 and '56, which are the best sets to me. I realized, though, that I didn't have any '57, and that's just silly.

So, I ended up finding a nicely priced lot off the 'ol 'bay.

Four cards that I don't really need and one Tiger. If anyone needs any of the other cards, let me know. I don't know what it is about this set that turns me off. The photos just feel drab for some reason, the poses too posed while trying to be candid with the players never looking at the camera. I think '53 Bowman did such a better job with photography. And what's up with the whacky, seemingly random coloring of the text? So, I'm not much of a fan of the fronts, but the backs, that's another story.

If there's any design-oriented reason for Topps' longevity, I'd say it's for what they did with card backs. Stats, write-ups, and the beloved comics. And that's enough to make me enjoy this set.

I mean, just check out that comic. Beardy McGuire defends his graceful aging to Shoulders O'Bulky.

And Tommy Byrne--who looks suspiciously like Shoulders--gets educated on plate physics.

That's right, Tommy, there's a plate down there.

Monday, January 16, 2012

That Goo Has Mystique

I always like to pick up a pack or two of discount hobby packs when I'm in my home town, visiting the parents. And one of my favorite to buy is 2006 UD Update. I guess I'm hoping to find that Pedroia rookie, and I've whittled away most of the packs in stock at this point. Was this time a success?

Here are the highlights from 3 packs. Some short prints and an auto. I dig the Soto. Not much going on with the auto besides a cool name. Colter Bean played a few innings for the Yankees and a ton in the minors.

But this post is about to have more mystique, Fleer Mystique, that is. This LCS has a few packs of Mystique from 2000 and 2003, and I've scored a nice pull off these in the past.

So, what did I pull this time?

Some shiny base cards of some good players. Well, that's dandy. And what's this?

So, in case you haven't ripped any Mystique, they randomly insert these mystery cards. If the wrapper wasn't enough packaging, they offer you yet another chance to bust open a card. These sparkly coatings are stickers that you peel off on both sides of a card that's some sort of insert. So let's get to peeling.

Oh, that looks like a Ripken. Awesome for a Ripken collector, right?

Oosh. Not so awesome. The sticker left goo all over my Ripken. I was freaking out because this is a card I actually needed for the PC, and it's a cool one. But what to do about the goo? I was thinking about getting out the lighter fluid, which is the best way to remove sticker residue (technical term: goo) from top loaders and such. Then I started just rubbing at it, and the gunk balled up and fell off.

After a few minutes of rubbing, I was covered in little balls of gunk, and my Ripken was finally clean. It's still sticky, but even a sticky Ripken is a good Ripken. Now, I'm left wondering why the hell Fleer thought this was a good idea. I guess I'm just glad Topps never got their hands on Mystique's sticker gunk technology.

By the way, any of these cards are for trade, besides the Soto and Ripken.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Trade Bait: GU and Manus of the Stars, and Some Guy with a Red Mustache

Trade bait post. You know the drill. Everything below is up for trade.

Robin Roberts: 2009 Topps Legend Commermorative Patch (manu-patch)

Frank Robinson: 2011 Topps Commemorative Patch (manu-patch)

Jim Palmer: 2010 National Chicle Relic (bat)

Darryl Strawberry: 2005 Upper Deck Classics Materials (jersey w/ stripe).

Sammy Sosa: 2003 Fleer Authentix Game Bat (bat).

Billy Wagner: 2008 Topps Update All-Star Stitches (jersey).

Rick Burleson: 2005 UD Past Time Pennants Signature Silver (auto).

Leave a comment or send me a message if you're interested in any of these. You can find my want lists at the top of the page, and you can also find my other trade bait up there, if these puppies haven't enticed you enough.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

More Christmas Loot, Tobacco Style

So, my last post chronicled my awesome cardboard Christmas presents from others, including the 1955 Bowman Al Kaline card my little sister picked up for me. This post will go over the Christmas cards Santa told me to get for myself.

I stopped by an LCS in Grand Rapids on my way to pick up sis from the airport. The place is called All-Star Sports Cards, and if you're ever around GR be sure to stop in. Lots of great deals on singles, and lots of variety due to about a dozen glass cases leased out for various consignment.

The price was right on this Ryne rookie, and it was one I'd been needing for a while. The corners are pretty rough, but I don't mind.

I picked up these singles randomly because they're cool. Archive Nolan and Shiny Mantle, hell, who could pass those up? The Kaline is a TCMA card, which I had a ton of at some point but never this one. When I was about ten, and a die-hard junk wax collector, my trading friend gave me a whole box of random TCMA cards. If you've traded with me, chances are you've received a few. My friend who gave me these thought they were worthless oddities. I dug them, though. And, really, these were probably the best cards I acquired through my years of busting '91 Fleer and '93 Studio.

Now we're getting to the really good stuff. One of the consignment cases had a stack of various tobacco cards. None featuring baseball players, but very cool nonetheless. I know almost nothing about Wills's Cigarettes, and the internets aren't helping much, but from what I gather Wills's put out a few train sets. I think this one came from somewhere in the '30s. I find this picture especially cool. I've always been more interested in the details of the work itself than in, say, cool pictures of trains. Here we have a dapper engineer pulling the dead man's handle. What's that, you say?

Crap, my scanner censored a side of the card. You should be able to read it still. Basically, if the dapper engineer chokes on his egg salad sandwich, dies, and stops holding this break, it will release and engage the break. Pretty neat.

You might have been thinking boxer here, but, no, Montague Holbein was a famous cyclist and swimmer. But just look at that fine mustache. He could be a turn-of-the-century pugilist with facial hair like that. I haven't seen too many tobacco cards with black borders, so that initially drew me in. But, yeah, Holbein is just too perfect of a feature for a tobacco card to pass up.

The back gives a very concise lesson on Montague. But it didn't really help me track down much info about this card. I know Ogden's made some cinema cards and such, but I can't find any info out there about this set. I found a picture on Wiki's tobacco card page that looks like it's from the same set, but it doesn't say when that set was made. Any help out there would be appreciated. Regardless, a pretty sweet pick up, and I have a hunch that this might now be the oldest card in my collection.

Here's the cream of the crop, for me. I know this probably doesn't seem like the most exciting subject or one that anyone would jump on right away. But I spent ten years as a house painter before starting grad school and becoming a teacher, so this one is perfect for me. I just love the practical absurdity of cards that would give you useful hints. Imagine Montague pulling this out of his cigarettes and then telling his wife, "You'll never postulate what I gleaned about painting from my cigarettes, see."

Pay attention. That there is a good painting tip. I used that when I used to paint, though I didn't really need a shield. I was known for being one of the best cutters around. I didn't use shields or blue tape--all freehand, baby, and my lines were the cleanest. Enough bragging about something I don't even do any more. This card was taped into a top loader that had the date listed: 1927. So I at least know that. I didn't see any other cards from this set, but I'd be interested to learn some more useful tips.

Next time I'm at this shop, you can bet I'll be picking up a few more of these.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas Loot over at the Coot

Christmas brought some cardboard goodness to the Vealtones that I'm just getting to posting now. I usually just ask the family for random packs, tell them anything baseball works for me. My mother-in-law stressed, though, worrying she'd get me something I already had. The concept of opening packs for opening packs' sake is foreign to a non-collector, I guess. Anyway, she and other gift-givers picked up a few packs for me. I'll show you the highlights.

This was my first pack of 2011 Opening Day, and I have to say it was pretty great. The Stadium Lights inserts look awesome. And I guess I pulled a mascot, which are short-printed or inserts or something? The David Wright card came from some earlier UD packs.

My mother-in-law must have known I'm a Cabrera collector, because the packs she snagged yielded some nice pseudo-rookies. My biggest hit from the holiday packs was this Andrew Oliver auto from 2008 Timeline. It's no Strasburg, but he's a Tiger.

The wife picked me up a blaster of Update. Here are the shinies. Some pretty great ones, especially the Avila. The Cano is nice, too.

I also pulled a not-so-short-print Feller. He looks a little pissed off in this shot. Don't mess with Feller.

Here's my manu-patch. Not a terrible pull with Frank Robinson. Now I need a Reds or Robinson fan to offer me a trade for it. All in all, a pretty nice blaster.

This came out of a grab bag my little sister picked up for me at a LCS in Texas, where she works. This was the guaranteed hit. The rest of it was filled with Peavey and Eric Munson cards. I'm guessing these grab bags were made up with once promising players who flopped. Still, it was fun to go through. If anyone needs the Alexei jersey, let me know.

And from myself to me were five packs of 1994 Bowman. I'd never busted any Bowman packs from this year, so when I found these at an LCS in a city on my way to my parents' house, I picked up all five packs. They sold for a buck a piece, and that seemed like a deal, when I was imagining all those Posada rookies I'd pull. No Posadas, but this was a great looking set. You'll notice I included two LoDucas and Hendersons. All but one of the packs had duplicates right next to each other. At least I got good doubles.

I picked up some other gifts for myself at this shop, but they'll get their own post later.

Here's the highlight of my Christmas this year:

Boom! 1955 Bowman Al Kaline. Kaline's only vintage Bowman card, and a card right at the top of my wish list. My little sister picked this up for me, because she's so awesome. Whose sibling would waste hours scouring eBay to find this card? I'm a lucky bro. And this card is just awesome. It's in great shape, and it is everything I could ever want out of a vintage card.

Here's the back:

I like Kaline's mini-memoir here. He sounds so young, especially the last sentence: "My childhood hero, incidentally, was Ted Williams, and I think he's the greatest hitter I've ever seen." This just rings of Beaver Cleaver or Opie--all-American childhood innocence. This card makes me feel that way. I think Al Kaline is just the swellest!

Pretty awesome Christmas.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Vealtones Jam out Some New Goals

I enjoyed reading all of your collecting goal posts yesterday, and it makes me want to join in the fun. I'm a day late for making resolutions, but oh well. Nothing special below, but it helps to write it down.

1. It's high time to finish off that 2007 Bowman Heritage set. I'm shooting for finishing the base set in 2012. It's only 29 cards away.

2. Keep adding on to the player collections. Also, I'd like to add a few new players. I've been collecting Kaline, but need to make a nice, neat list like I have for the others. I'll also try to add sweet Lou and a maybe one or two more.

3. Longer-term goals are to collect Tigers team sets of 1950-52 Bowman. I have a decent jump on this with a lot I recently picked up on eBay that I'll post soon. I also plan to post a vintage-for-vintage trade page listing the '50s vintage I have as bait for the vintage '50s I want. I hope that some of you will be down for some vintage trading.

4. Which leads me to another goal: more trading. Since starting the blog way back in 2011, I've been trading a ton more, but I want more trades. You guys send great stuff, and I find a lot of joy in pulling a card from a pack or quarter box that I know someone will need. Here's to many more trades soon.