January 9, 2017

Little Sun prospect card highlights Jeter's 1992 offerings

Even though Derek Jeter's rookie season came in 1996, he appeared on trading cards starting in 1992  -- the year he was drafted. He appeared on a few minor league cards and high school prospects cards. I have the base and inserts for some of his cards from 1992. I'm actually seven cards short of the cards I want to own for that year. 

One of my newest Jeter cards is actually one of his oldest cards – 1992 Little Sun High School Prospects #2.

I received the card as part of my anniversary gift from my husband (this is why we are married). While I was going through the cards I owned from 1992 and putting them into the binder, my husband peeked over my shoulder and we talked about the cards. Little did I realize, he was also scouting out which cards I needed. Very sneaky.

The 1992 Little Sun High School Prospects was a 30-card set of top high school baseball players in the country with just 3,000 sets made. There are also an autographed versions of the cards available. The set includes Jeter, but a few other former Major Leaguers including Jason Kendall and Preston Wilson. But it’s safe to say Jeter is the main attraction of the set.

The back of the card contains a blurb and high school statistics. It was neat seeing Jeter’s stats from high school, showing the struck out all of six times in four years. I bet those guys who struck him are still riding that story all these years later.

Little Sun made cards of top high school prospects for a number of years with some quirky designs with 1992 being its last.

Based on some research, it seems Little Sun started its prospect sets in 1989. There designs were, well, very basic and something that anyone with a small of Photoshop skills can put together these days. However, it probably wasn't that easy in the late 1980s.

The 1989 Little Sun High School Prospects 23-card set featured former Atlanta Brave Ryan Klesko. Just 5,000 sets were produced, however, you can pick up a Klesko card for $2.50.

The colorful 1990 Little Sun High School Prospects did a little bit better at finding high school seniors that would one day make it to the Big Leagues. This 24-card set included Mike Lieberthal, Carl Everett, Garrett Anderson and Mike Hampton. Just 6,000 sets were produced, according to Beckett.com.

In 1991, Little Sun decided to make this set a thing and included a title card calling it the "third annual." It also expanded its offering making 36 cards of the top high school seniors in the country and 10,000 sets were made. This set included Mike Sweeney, Manny Ramirez, Shawn Estes, Cliff Floyd and Benji Gil.

Little Sun made its last prospect set in 1992 and the company dropped its print run to just 3,000 sets. This one notably includes Derek Jeter's card, which sells for around $100. There are also autographed versions of this card available (which I do not have). This year's set also included Jason Kendall and Preston Wilson.

January 2, 2017

Finding errors in your collection you didn't know existed ... are they worth anything?

A funny thing happens when you're sorting cards. You might discover a card that you hadn't realized existed.

As I work through my Derek Jeter cards -- finally creating a want list and putting together a definitive list of what I own -- I came across on an error card.

The 1995 Fleer Major League Prospects -- Jeter's first Fleer card -- has two different versions. One has all the correct marking on the back while the other is missing the licensing marks from the bottom of the card.

It's not a significant error nor one that seems to be worth much. There are several of both cards listed on COMC starting at the low, low price of $1.65. Beckett doesn't even list the error, where PSA has it separated out for the master collection.

When looking in my binder, I realized I had the card with no markings. Great, I already had the error card out of the way, so now I needed the correct version of the card. Amazingly, I couldn't find this card in box of Jeter doubles, so next time I'm at a card show, I'll have to look a little more closely at the backs of these cards.

Error cards are interesting because so many people think that just because a card is an error that it's worth more. Generally, it takes two factors for an error card to be valuable:

1. The error card needs to be scarce, because ...
2. There is a corrected version of the card.

With modern cards, error cards usually remain just a widely circulated error. These error cards, usually, carry no premium.

However, there have been famous error cards throughout the years that are very valuable.

1957 Topps Hank Aaron #20

Topps mistakenly used the reverse negative for this card image and Aaron, one of the greatest home run hitters, is pictured as a left-handed hitter.

(These kinds of mistake still happen with players standing in the wrong pose. There are some recent Joey Votto cards where he's pictured with a righty swing when he is in fact a left-handed hitter.)

1987 Donruss Opening Day Barry Bonds #163

On the first print run, Bonds' teammate Johnny Ray is featured instead of the slugger. However, Donruss fixed the mistake on subsequent printings, which makes the error much more valuable. The Ray error card has been sold for hundreds -- if not thousands in a high grade -- while the Bonds rookie sells for far, far less.

1989 Fleer Billy Ripken #616

We all know what is said under the black or white box that Fleer put on different printings. The expletive made it onto some of the cards before it was noticed and the company covered it up. There are several versions of this card with the book value ranging widely on them. The original without any airbrushing is popular, but actually not the most rare. The card with the "white scribble" where it looks like someone tried to write over the bad words sells for the most on the secondary market.

1990 Topps Frank Thomas

Another popular and valuable error card is Frank Thomas' 1990 Topps card that has no name. One of the reasons it became so valuable is because a corrected version in a much higher quantity exists. The no-name version of the card will run collectors hundreds, if not, thousands of dollars.

These days, missing name happen from time-to-time on cards that have the name stamped in foil. Sometimes during the printing process, there will be a run where the foil is missed. When caught, the cards are removed and destroyed, however, a number still make it through.

These won't fetch dollars like the Thomas card. For the most part, the only people who would chase the missing foil cards are probably player collectors looking to have as many different variations of a card that are possible.

October 4, 2016

Video Unboxing: 258 West Authentic Autograph of the Month Club

I joined 258 West Authentic's Autograph of the Month Club in its third month - missing out on Hayley Atwell, who was the first autograph sent to subscribers. I've been happy with the 8x10 autos I've received so far and created a video for the September edition of the club.

Watch the video to see the autograph I received ... Hint: It was a Game of Thrones actor.

Check out the Autograph of the Month Club here.

Past signers for the Autograph of the Month Club include:

February 2016: Hayley Atwell
March 2016: Liam McIntyre
April 2016: Pedro Pascal
May 2016: Adrienne Wilkinson
June 2016: Patrick Gallagher
July 2016: Alan Tudyk
August 2016: Manu Bennett

August 26, 2016

The best player collection EVAH!

When I started this blog in 2007 (holy $%!* that’s a long time ago), my life was very different. I lived in South Jersey, played poker 3-4 times a week, interviewed athletes and wrote about sports nearly every day.

Nine years later, life is drastically different. I’m married a man who also collects baseball cards, which seemed impossible.

And now I’m a mom.

Many new parents post photos of their children on Facebook or Instagram, or they send out birth announcements. But a simple photo was not enough for us, not a family with a cardboard problem.

We made baseball cards to announce the birth of our son. We plan to make this a yearly tradition for all of his birthdays and potentially major milestones. I already have a special binder to place his cards, creating the most amazing player collection I will ever own.

Since mommy and daddy don’t root for the same team, we made two different cards: Yankees and Rangers. As long as it’s not the Red Sox or the Mets, I would be OK with any other choice. But, I can tell he’s already a smart kid and I believe he will be rooting for the team in the Bronx.

These cards were very easy to make. I didn’t get special treatment just because I work at Topps. Topps offers custom cards on its website with a number of different designs (check it out here). We chose the 2016 design because – naturally – he was born in 2016.

In 2014, we also created one for our wedding and used the 1968 design.

Best collection ever!

December 29, 2015

More like a Funko problem

A photo posted by Susan Lulgjuraj (@yanxchick) on
This blog is obviously about trading cards -- it is a "A Cardboard Problem" after all. But in essence, it also about collecting, a hobby so many of us share together. I love collecting, and sometimes, not just cards.

Many of us don't just collect trading cards, but often find other things we feel compelled to hoard. While I slowly add Derek Jeter cards to my binders, I have another collection that I have been devoting time to. 

Pop! Funkos have gotten my attention. I don't know how long the fad will last, but I am here as long as they are. But, like card collecting, I don't want all of them. No, I just want the ones of the players (or in this case, the TV show) that I am interested in. 

I love Supernatural. I've watched the show since it aired on Day 1.

The Pop Funkos of Supernatural are my newest collection -- I've even dedicated a page to it here on the blog. The names in blue are the ones I own, red means it's on the way, and white means I still need to track it down.
A photo posted by Susan Lulgjuraj (@yanxchick) on

The page is more of checklist for the Supernatural Pop! Funko toys. New ones come out often and I haven't been able to find a definitive checklist for these collectibles.

But I am a completist, and currently I own 14 of the 22 possible variations that have been created. That's 64%, which is why better than my Jeter collection's current statistics. When it comes to my Jeter collection, I own just about 13% of all of his cards ever made. That doesn't seem like a lot, but it's more than 2,000 unique cards.

Slowly, both of these collection will build, but I have a feeling I may finish my Funko collection (not counting the minis) long before my Jeter collection. 

October 11, 2015

In search of Road to the Championship cards

OK, so I have reached my wits end with searching and waiting for these cards to appear.  I need all of the McDonagh cards with the exception of R1G1, R1G2, R2G4.

If anyone has any available for trade please comment.  I have some of these with other players I would be willing to trade, and plenty of GU/auto cards to offer.

October 2, 2015

Show off!

I may be off the grid but I still creep on eBay sniping and bidding (yelling,screaming and crying) over cards.  I always wait until I have a big bunch of cards and then I scan them to put into the folder on my computer with all my McDonagh autographs and game used cards.  After scanning everything and opening all my Ultra Pro snap magnetic snap cases, I have realized I did not buy enough 130pt ones to put everything away which makes me angry.  I have a little bit of an OCD with how i keep my autographs and game used cards for my PC.

Here is what I have picked up since the last time we spoke:

 2010-11 Showcase Showdown /19

2010-11 NHL Ink /25

2011-12 Threads /50

Has anyone opened any 2015-16 The Cup Hockey?  Curious what people think about opening a box of that since I will never ever be able to justify buying one on my budget.

Also, if you have any base or inserts of McDonagh that you don't want please contact me to trade.

April 14, 2015

My newest cardboard obsession

I have a new obsession. I love to collect things. Sometimes not just baseball cards, and I usually have to curtail a collection before it starts so it doesn’t get out of hand.

Pop Funko Vinyls: I’ve had to limit them to just the Supernatural ones. The boxes are not small and can add up after just a few purchases.

Oyo Toys: Only going to get the Jeters (though I’ve been lucky to get most as gifts)

Hallmark itty bittys: I refuse to buy one even though I want ALL of them.

Then Topps began making oversized cards to sell on its website. I held off on buying the wall art – 10x14 passes my thresholds. Now we’re talking posters (which was a problem I had in college and have since been on the poster collecting wagon).

But these 5x7 oversized sets have got me hooked. I received a six-card pack at the start of the baseball card season when Topps created a “media pack” that featured Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, a few other players, and some dude named Derek Jeter. They were just a 5x7 version of the 2015 Topps Series 1 base cards with the full back. These were unnumbered, but I think just 100 of these packs were made.

A short while later, Topps released the team sets of these on its site. I loved the way the Jeter from the media pack looked, and my finger clicked order. The team sets were numbered to just 99 copies.

I controlled myself for just a little while and then Topps created the Cardboard Icons collection. It features a pack of 5x7 cards of every Topps cards from that player’s career. It started the collection with Derek Jeter – and I ordered a pack of the regular set numbered to 199. I let the Gold Edition numbered to 49 go.

Then, last week, Topps released a 1952 Tribute team set … with one retired star in each of the team sets. Of course, it was Jeter for the Yankees, and, of course, I made a purchase.

I work for Topps and this post could definitely seem like a plug, but I have to pay for my sets of cards just like anyone else. If I didn’t like them, I wouldn’t spend my money on them. But, spend my money, I have, and now I have a new collection of 5x7 Jeter cards.

One step closer to being a hoarder.

April 12, 2015

Kris Bryant Auto Superfractor coming to a repack near you (hopefully!)

The Kris Bryant autograph superfractor has found a home – only to be going to a new home, and maybe a new place after that.

Prospect Rush is a repack product featuring the ultimate break for prospectors. The company has said on Twitter that it purchased the Kris Bryant 2013 Bowman Chrome Superfractor Autograph to be put into an upcoming product.

The company likely spent A LOT of money. But this type of hype will bring attention to the company (see: this post), and get case breakers, prospectors, and thrill seekers to purchase it.

It seems as though the Bryant will be placed in Prospect Rush Draft, which is scheduled to come out in May.

This is an interesting take on repack products. Many of them tend to focus on a specific sport, but Prospect Rush goes for a smaller part of the marker. The cards include many Bowman and Bowman Chrome autographs, many of which are graded. The cards it has shown off on its Twitter page features many of the current top prospects .

There are several repack companies these days with Prospect Rush, Leaf, Fairfield, and Super Break Sports. Let’s talk about repack products in this week’s #CardChat on Twitter. Tune in at 3 p.m. on Monday.

April 7, 2015

Hobby news making its way into the mainstream

Every once in a while something in our little card world breaks its way into mainstream media. Usually, it has to do when a card is worth lots and lots of money.

It’s happened again. Kris Bryant's 2013 Bowman Chrome Superfractor Autograph has turned up and the card is on eBay with a BIN of $89,999. Will the card go for $90K? Of course not, but the consigner says there are offers of on table between $35K and $45K, according to a Fox Sports report.

Prospecting is a crazy part of this hobby. Guys who have yet to play even a second of Major League Baseball can have their cards sell for thousands. The same happened with Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper’s Superfractors. Now, it’s Kris Bryant’s turn.

But don’t tell this to the doomsday media outlets. There was a video piece in the Washington Post recently entitled The Rise and Fall of Baseball Cards. Short version: Collecting isn’t the same as it was in the boom of the 1980s and 90s (but, really, what is?), card shops are closing and baseball players don’t like to smile at 7 a.m.

Yet, there is no mention of how ecommerce has affected the hobby. No mention of eBay, COMC, cards being sold on Amazon. No talk of prospecting or how vintage collecting is bigger than it has ever been. Nothing about those who only sell online spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a year or group breakers – you’re never going to see those guys selling at a card show or opening a hobby shop, but they exist.

As someone who has spent more than a decade in the news world, it can be difficult to get over your biases when beginning a story. You have a preconceived notion, but it’s important to keep an open mind and ask questions to get the full story rather than mold a story into hole you created. Maybe MSM can get it right the next time.