Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Let's Go to the Card Show: Dime Box Extravaganza

I went to a card show a couple weekends ago, the only one that happens anymore in the city where I live, Kalamazoo, Michigan. There used to be more shows last year, but there wasn't enough interest, and my lone presence scrounging through the dime boxes wasn't enough enticement for the dealers.

This show, though, has been going on for decades annually. And I always find good stuff. I'll start off this series of card show posts with every one's favorite: the dime boxes.

Actually, these all came out of a nickel box. Can't turn down reprints for a nickel, nor Fisk cards I don't have. I love Fisk's diving '82 In Action card. His action shots just tend to be epic.

Random rookies from the dime box here. I needed the Ventura. The others were just cool.

Here's some more complete randomness from the dime box. These cards are the size of tobacco cards but about twenty times as thick. I know nothing at all about this set, but the cards are so cool and weird. I guess the company that made them is in Michigan. Benton Harbor is about a mile away from Kalamazoo. Now, that explains nothing about what the hell these cards are, but they completely epitomize the joy of exploring the weird worlds housed in the dime box. After some searching, I did come across this House of David site, which these cards seem to be based on. Pretty cool bit of baseball history.

Some of these were dime box gets, including another House of David mini, and some of these were higher-end. The Gwynn was in the fifty cent box and totally tricked me. I thought it was his rookie, stupidly missing the modern Fleer logo on the bottom. I always love picking up framed Masterpiece cards, and that Ichiro card is stunning. The Biggio Artist's Proof is pretty sweet, too.

Some very nice Ripkens for the player collection. I'm always able to bring home a nice stack of dime box Ripkens at every show I go to. I had a few of these already, but would you turn down any of these for a dime?

On to the dime box vintage. Yep, these were all a dime, and mostly all from one dealer who always has tons and tons of early '70s cards in his dime boxes. They're not all in great shape, but not too shabby.

More cool dime box vintage. I have trouble passing up team cards. They make for great add-ons in trade packages. Speaking of which, I really need an Angels and Phillies trade partner; I have a ton of great stuff for those teams. The Denny McLain check list is all beat-up and written on, but it was a nickel, as was the Schofield/Lanier card. Awesome.

Not a bad haul, eh. I'm already jonesing to dig through some more dime boxes, one of my greatest joys of the hobby. I think it is for many of us.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Argh! Check Out Me Pirate Treasure

I recently traded with Brian over at Pirates Treasure Room. And this trade was epic. It's one of those trades that take a long time to complete, and that only builds the tension for an epic transaction.

I'll only be able to include some of what he sent, and I really tried to edit myself so this post wouldn't go on forever. It was tough to do, though. I just had to keep scanning all of the glory.

We'll start off with the vintage. The constantly mustachioed Jack Morris makes a bottom-right-corner debut, and then there's good old Freehan showing off his catcher's mitt.

From some Tigers classics to the new kid, our new fifth starting pitcher in the rotation. We really need someone to fill this spot, and maybe Turner's the guy.

Brian sent along some always-appreciated Ripkens for the player collection. I'm surprised how well the hologram card scanned. It looks better in the scan than in person.

Some nice Cabby and Pudge cards for the collection. I'm a big fan of the Stadium Lights inserts, and this may be the sweetest card from that set. And a numbered floating heads card is always cool.

I'm surprised I didn't have this card where Verlander is securing his alibi with a newspaper. The bottom right card here is a genuine Verlander rookie from 2005. I always love picking up one of these.

Now we're onto the hits, and they were plentiful. I'm not a big fan of this GU set, but leave it to Verlander to make this set look awesome.

Speaking of Verlander and awesome, check this thing out. I don't collect Mags or Granderson all that much, but I love this card. Simply amazing, and the lowest numbered Verlander GU card I own. This is a new favorite of the collection.

Brian didn't mention he was sending any Pudge cards originally, so this is a bonus, and a helluva bonus at that. Pudge is looking extra puffy in his windbreaker.

Another sweet Pudge GU card here, featuring my favorite things: Pudge, catcher's gear, and a Tigers uniform.

Thanks, Brian, for the fantastic trade.

Be sure to check out Pirates Treasure Room to see the most amazing Pirates card collection in the blogosphere. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Contest Plug--Win the Duke

I just stumbled onto Cards Beyond Oceans, a cool new blog. They're having what they call a "small" contest, but it's anything but small. You can win a Duke Snider relic auto. Now that's what I call a huge contest. Go check it out and enter here!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy P-Day, Mr. James K. Polk

I didn't even realize it was Presidents' Day until this evening, when I went to the mailbox and saw no bubblers waiting for me. Really, this happens many days, and those days are always disappointing--a day without baseball card-related mail is a sad day. But no bubblers, no nothing. What gives?

How could I have forgotten this important day? To make amends, I'm giving a shout-out to my favorite president--as far as collecting and historical curiosity goes:

 James K. Polk was a badass, and UD did such a great job with this set. This is one of those cards that sits on my bookshelves and makes me a little happier every day. Polk reminds me to grab on tight to my manifest destiny. Polk completely fascinates me, and I can't exactly explain why. I'm not a huge history buff. I once tried to explain my interest with early and lesser-known presidents to a friend of mine: I think about them like little novelty figurines that you buy for a quarter out of a toy machine, and they pop out the slot in those plastic bubbles, and then you get Taft waving his plastic arm at you from a sudsy bathtub, for instance. Does this metaphor explain my fascination or more explain some peculiar facet of my disturbed pysche?

Why was Polk such a badass? He bought up a huge part of the land we now call America during his presidency, for one. My favorite Polk fact is that he served for only one term, and that was his plan and platform all along. He vowed to get it all done in four years, and he did so much in that time. What kind of politician has that kind of gumption these days? Well, it's a different climate now, but still Polk is awesome, and They Might Be Giants wrote a song about him:

So hail to the Polk today. And if any of you have any more Polk cards besides the ones here, I'd love to trade for them.

PS: I try to keep this part of my life separate from the blog--I don't want to bore you guys--but if any one's interested, I have a semi-historical and completely ridiculous story featuring James K. Polk that was published at the literary magazine Cream City Review. You would have to order a copy to read it.

If you're really, really interested, an electronic version of this story could probably find its way to your inbox.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

All Work and No Play, Except for a Little eBay

I've been hiding in the library, studying for my upcoming qualifying exams--a test that makes every PhD student cower in fear. So sorry I haven't been posting much. Having 100 books to read in less than a month doesn't leave much time for anything. All reading and no blogging makes Dhoff a dull Vealtone. I'm way behind in trade posts, in everything.

But there's always time to waste away a few minutes shopping on eBay. I recently picked up some Pudge GU cards:

Nothing too amazing: an awkward toothy smile and a big ol' swatch of white. I'm always happy to pick up a Pudge jersey card, but I have to complain about the design here a bit. The scrawling "Honor Roll" text makes this card overly busy. Then again, maybe I'm just sick of words.

On the other side of the spectrum, I love the design of this card. The background is all shiny and refractory and fancy. I like the circling of the bat for the bullseye effect, too. And, of course, we have an action shot of Pudge wearing the right jersey.

This is a set I really admire. Diamond Kings just did it right in 2005, as far as I'm concerned. The double GU is always nice, as well. But there's something very wrong about this card. See the big crease.

Here's a close-up of the back to highlight the crease. That's what you get with free shipping, I suppose. I've won a few cards from this dealer, and I think the crease occurred from trying to jam a GU card into a regular width top loader. I have to actually cut the cards out of the plastic when I get them from this dealer. Still, a cool card for the player collection regardless.

Last but certainly not least: my first vintage Mays card. And it's one of the multi-player subset cards that I dig so much from the early Topps sets. A bit of tape residue, but that hardly bothers me. Not like a creased Cabrera, anyway.

Well, back to the library for me.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Disco Zombie Version of Diamond Giveaway

I only got 6 codes from packs of Topps in 2011, and nothing at all good on the site. But then, last weekend, a bunch of code lots were selling on eBay. I watched a few going for crazy prices. But this one lonely lot of a dozen codes had no bids, with a starting price of 99 pennies. So I put in a bid for a few bucks, and much to my surprise, I won it for 99 pennies. Crazy, right?

The seller sent over the codes, LOL-ing about how I got a pretty good damn deal. Neither of us can figure out why it didn't get any bids. His listing looked good. He had a solid rating. Go figure.

Anyway, I went to put in my codes, and I won this:

A 1978 Bill Russell I already had. Odd, I thought to myself. Another code, and what do you know, another damn Russell flashing his crooked smile under curly locks. What the hell? me thinks. Well, as you may know, the Diamond site died last week. Oh, cruel fates. Just when I luck into some codes.

But they extended the deadline to the 7th, and yesterday, the site rose from its grave. I was wary, and put in my first code, worried about its pale skin, its moth-eaten teeth, what looked like a fleck of human flesh under its ring fingernail. I put in one of those already-used Russell codes, and, boom:

1965 Steve Barber spewed from its purple lips. That's real vintage, my first pre-1975 card from the Topps' sites ever.

I put in another code, and out drooled a 1970 Bruce Del Canton. Hey, still pretty vintagey. More codes, more moans of cards from the 1970s. And that's when I noticed zombie Diamond Giveaway's white bell bottom's, the gnarled plume of chest hair bursting from his shirt with the three first buttons undone. Just barely, if I listened close, I could hear him mumbling, Diii-scoooo Infernooooo. Disco Zombie Diamond Giveaway revealed himself. He was stuck on a long loop of cards from the '70s, and the whole dozen of my codes came out from this period, not counting the '65 card.

One of the better cards was this one:

Koosman himself is looking pretty zombified here, with his staring white eyes.

I still don't know if I'll be paying the shipping. I don't even know how much it costs. Regardless, it was worth a buck.

By the way, Topps has since found a cure for disco-zombie-itis, but for 15 glorious minutes, nothing but '70s.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Making the Trade

I've been really lucky to get a slew of good trades going lately, and I only regret that it's taken me weeks/months to get these posted. I'll go over a few in this post, some new traders, some old, all great.

This is the third time I've traded with Ryan over at "O" No Another Orioles Blog. I first traded with him before I had a blog, when I was just a reader. And since he took a chance with me, he gets pretty much all my Orioles cards. Of course, this is far from generosity on my part. Ryan is a hell of a trader, a guy who pays attention to your want lists and always sends exactly what you need.

I contacted him about a couple Miguel Cabrera jersey cards.

I always like when a jersey piece has some imperfection, like a mysterious stain from Rollie Fingers. There's a little bit of rough stitching here that makes it a bit more interesting than just a gray swatch.

I really dig the design of this set. Lots of foil, minimal colors without being drab, and a nice shot of Cabby. This is a great-looking card, and a nice addition to the player collection.

To top things off, Ryan sent Ripkens to fill some gaps in my player collection. I'd been wanting that '92 Fleer Ripken card for a long time--me likey art cards. The Os bros card is cool, too. Little did Billy and Fleer know the history that would happen a year later.

Another trade I recently completed was with Carl Crawford Cards. I didn't have much in the way of Crawfords, but I did have a few legendary Jonny Gomes autos to send his way. And for those he sent this beauty:

This is my first and only Kaline relic, and I love everything about this card. All the foil makes it feel like I just won a trophy. Just an amazing card here of one of my all-time favorite players.

This was a great trade, and we had a lot of fun talking dissertations and qualifying exams--the pains of academic hazing he's too familiar with. If you have some Crawford or Gomes cards be sure to head on over and make an offer over at Carl Crawford Cards.

Finally, Eric over at Maupatches & Chrome-staches sent me some sweet Boesch rookies I needed for our first trade. 

I didn't have either of his regular Bowman cards, and now I have two. Awesome. Here's to hoping for a healthy season for Boesch. That is if he can stop sliding headfirst into every base.

Thanks for all the great trades, guys. Looking forward to many more.