February 26, 2014

I collect because I want to


Collectors are all over social media. It's great. This collecting community isn't as small as it can feel sometimes, especially when your closest trading partner lives three states away.

But there is a drawback that comes with social media.

It seems everyone wants to tell you what a collection should be or what cards you should collect or what packs of cards you should open (none!)

You spend money on cards – FOR SHAME!

How can you give money to these big, greedy corporate card companies who produce the same cards year in and year out?

Well, maybe it's because I like collecting.

I know why some people don't collect certain things – and that is their right. Some will spend hundreds of dollars on hobby boxes where the return value is 20 percent. And you want to know why? Some people aren't trying to make money out of their hobby because it’s fun!

Most people still feel the same rush they did as a child while ripping open a new pack of cards. It could be a 99-cent pack of Opening Day or a $100 box of Triple Threads. At the end of the rip, it's supposed to be fun, and I usually have it.

So just because I don't hate my hobby anymore doesn't make me any less of a collector or make me wrong. You're allowed to your disenfranchised opinions as much as the next person.

Just don't tell me what to do with my cards because I am collector not a seller.


February 20, 2014

Follow that Bird!


I don’t hate the whole rainbow. There are some parallels that I like from 2014 Topps Series 1 Baseball.

I have always been a fan of blue, but this color works so much better on chrome cards (really, all the colors do). For the base set Gold, Black, Red, Clear (those look awesome) and Blue would be my colors of choice for me the parallel game. However, the Red and Blue are exclusive to the retail outlets they are sold in.

But there is one parallel I like this year – Big Bird.

I didn’t make up the term. I saw it on Twitter a couple of days ago and that’s what I plan on calling them.

The Big Bird parallels look sharp, perhaps reminding me of 1991 Fleer (one of the first packs of cards I remember opening).

However, they are tough pulls. There are just two in every hanger box, which costs $10.  The Derek Jeter Big Bird parallel has been selling between $30-$40 on eBay and there are some players I haven’t even seen posted there yet.



(FYI, the Green parallel is similar in they only come in retail rack packs, but I don’t like those as much.)

I keep thinking about venturing back to Target to pick up a couple of boxes simply for the Big Bird parallels. But spending $10 for just two cards is holding me back – and the fact I have grown a rather fond attachment to my money lately.

The only way to rationalize this is by looking at the cards I have gotten and seeing what they sell for on eBay to see if I could make my money back.

Here are the four Big Bird parallels that are in the house (Dan also bought a hanger box):



A dinged-corner Rajai Davis: negligible … no one wants a card with a banged-up corner, but one sold on eBay for under $5

Bronson Arroyo: under $5

Heath Hembree: five sales averaging $18.40 with a $2 outlier on day of release.

Brian Dozier: Three sales $1, $3 and $12

That didn’t help – only that I should sell my Hembree card right now.


I guess like the rest of opening cards, it’s all just a gamble. 


February 14, 2014

Around the blogosphere: Derek Jeter edition

Derek Jeter's upcoming retirement captured every baseball fan's attention this week, and around the cardboard blogosphere, a number of posts were written about the New York Yankees captain.

Here's a look at some of the posts:

Card Buzz
Derek Jeter to be put out to pasture after 2014

Among the other things I'll miss about Jeter are the little clips that might capture his personality, his mannerisms perhaps - the fist pump, and maybe a 'loose, confident smirk' here and there.

The Lost Collector
My Jeter Relics

I have a lot of Derek Jeter cards. I haven't taken an official tally, but I'd say I have around 500 different ones, which isn't too bad since he's not a guy I actively collect. That doesn't mean I don't love any and all Jeters I'm sent - I do! I just have never declared myself a Jeter collector. His cards are a bit too pricey to go all in, and I figured I'm better off focusing on smaller named guys and prospects.
My Jeter Painting

I don't want to ruin the painting, so check out the link to see the painting

Sports Card Collectors
Derek Jeter's final season (small card gallery) 

I am still in shock that this will be the final season I will get to watch one of my favorites don the number 2 in pinstripes. I will say it outright, he will be missed for sure. He was a great example on and off the field and someone many of the new short stops in the league look up to as an example. He will certainly be a first ballot Hall Of Famer when eligible. That's a no brainier.

Sports Collectors Daily
Derek Jeter cards are current generation's Mantle

Jeter holds a special place for many card collectors and they haven’t been shy about investing in his cards. His situation has been one of the last “perfect storms” for collectors. Since his first mainstream cards showed up in 1993, just before the expanson of brands, there remain relative few quality Jeter rookie cards on the market and most all are attainable. There is no ultra high-end Jeter rookie autograph patch card.

February 12, 2014

Oh, sweet Jeter!



Derek Jeter announced 2014 would be his last season playing professional baseball. I can't say we didn't see this coming. With how difficult it was for him to bounce back last season from injuries, it was only matter of time before this became a reality.

Many you card-collecting bloggies (that's not a real word) know that I am a Derek Jeter collector. I have more than 2,000 unique cards of his and am always looking for me.

His soon-to-be retirement won't change any of that -- and I am sure Topps will continue to produce cards of his for years to come, keeping the chase going.

I wrote about my Jeter collection and his retirement earlier for Beckett. Here's a little snippet and a link to the full article.

Also, check out some of  favorite Jeter-centric blog posts from A Cardboard Problem below that.

I knew the day would come. It inched closer and closer with every at-bat, every season, every centimeter of forehead that was new and fresh.
Derek Jeter would eventually retire from baseball. Jeter announced today that 2014 season would be his last.
Even though I knew it was coming, it gave me a pause. I stopped what I was doing and simply stared out into nothing. 
Then, I smiled. 
While there is a part of me that is sad because Jeter has been my favorite since 1996, I can’t help but enjoy thinking about the way he played. I had season tickets to Yankee Stadium for several years; I traveled on the road to more than 15 different ballparks to watch them play. I got to see spectacular plays in person that get replayed on highlights reels all these years later.
For me, Jeter is the Yankees. He is my Mickey Mantle, my Joe DiMaggio, my Babe Ruth.

Top Jeter posts from A Cardboard Problem history

- My favorite Derek Jeter Cards








How I learned to hate rainbows



Spring has sprung … eh, not really.

Even though Spring Training is in the air with pitchers and catchers reporting, spring is nowhere in sight especially in the northeast. We’re expected another several inches of snow coming our way to go on top of piles and piles of slush we have right now.

But there are signs that spring is getting closer since The Weather Channel looks to be running out of names for its winter storms.

Topps Series 1 Baseball hit the shelves last week and I received my first order of Derek Jeter cards.

No one will ever accuse me of being a set collector, so I don’t tend to look at those elements when chasing cards. Therefore I have no opinion – at this time – of 2014 Topps Series 1 as a set.

I do, however, have new Derek Jeter cards to add to my collection.

This mail day added seven new Jeters to the ever-growing collection, and the first 2014 cards.

The Class of ’96 card was interesting. Topps has jumped from manu-patches to creating manu-relics in recent years. This card included what is considered a “class ring.” Pssh, my high school ring looked better than that – and, sadly, was around the same time. However, I do like the card and adds an interesting aspect to my collection.



The “Before They Were Great” card is a neat looking card. I got the gold version numbered to 99 in my lot of Jeter cards, but don’t have the regular one. It’s nothing special. I’m indifferent toward the card, and it reminds me of one of the inserts from last year.



Another insert included with “50 Years of the Draft.” Clearly, there is a theme here with Topps as it seems to be getting nostalgic with this year’s set.

I also received the Topps All-Rookie Cup Team (which I didn’t care for the design), the base, Gold and Red Foil parallels.

That’s seven cards … and here is the problem.



Not counting 1-of-1s from 2014 Topps Series 1 Baseball, there are 33 different Jeter cards from the set. Parallels include: Gold, Camo, Black, Pink, Red Foil, Clear, Wal-Mart Blue, Green, Yellow, Target Red Border and Toys R Us Purple Border.

Eleven parallels.

I’m going to collect as many Jeter cards as I can, but the parallel explosion is usually why I make just one order of Jeter cards when the set first comes out and don’t go crazy chasing down the rainbow. If I happen to come across the cards I don’t have a card show, I might buy them for the right price, but 11 parallels is way, way too many in my opinion.

Were Green and Yellow really necessary?


February 6, 2014

Chatting with ESPN Mint Condition

I got the opportunity to be on ESPN's Mint Condition on Thursday. We talked about the 2013 football season and the lack of cards for the Legion of Boom.

This is the third or fourth time I got to be on ESPN Mint Condition. I get a kick out of it every time too.

Hope you enjoy the video.

February 5, 2014

I won a case on eBay as a SELLER...

Here's my story.  I got the new iPad mini for Christmas this year, so I decided to sell my iPad 2 because no one needs two iPads.  The item sold on December 31st, which was great because I had a plan for what I was putting those funds towards.

I mail the iPad January 2, since the post office is closed New Year's Day and I get a message from the buyer...  "You sent it to the wrong address, that is my sisters house."  So I told the buyer that since it was her confirmed address and the only way to protect myself, even if she told me this earlier it was still going to that address for my protection since eBay "never" rules in favor of the seller.  She says ok, my sister will mail it to me...

January 27:  Buyer has opened a case.  Really?  No e-mail nothing, just opens a case.  Suddenly my mint condition, perfectly working, barely used iPad "stop working after 3 use"... Yes, that was English.  I asked if it was charged, if it was plugged in during a power surge, etc.  I tried every which way to help despite not offering a return.  I also looked up her eBay ID to see any other purchases recently, and she purchased the Square Trade Warranty on items up to $500.  She bought it yet clearly didn't try to use it, if in fact there was a broken iPad sold to her.

January 30:  Naturally eBay said she can return it.  Wonderful.  It was well documented that this iPad had traveled the world once I mailed it so I decided to one up this con artist.  I called Apple and got the serial number confirmed for my iPad so that I would be certain it was mine coming back....

February 5:  iPad arrives.  I opened the box, it was well packed.  The iPad box was completely crushed in one corner and that was not at all what was sent.  I open the box, immediately notice a scratch that mine did not have.  I check the serial number.... NOT THE ONE I SOLD.  Nice try lady.  So now I call eBay, explain the item is not what I sent her and that I have proof that I never owned this serial number iPad nor was it ever registered to my Apple ID or name.  They put me on hold to contact the buyer and find out what is going on....  Guy gets back on the phone, says well third party shipping is not covered by eBay Buyer Protection so they are ruling in my favor and she gets nothing back.

While yes, it is great that I don't get screwed in the situation but what if it had gone directly to her, would I still have had a valid case with eBay?  Their ruling is based on the 'ring around the rosey' shipping they did with the item not that she tried to pull a fast one.  I'm happy to have won the case but I am annoyed that this person will likely do this to another person in the future with no repercussion unless the seller can prove with serial numbers what she did.

I know I shouldn't be annoyed about this anymore but it is still bugging me.

Moral of the story:  If you sell any items with serial numbers, list them in the auction as proof so they can't bother even trying to pull a fast one.  Luckily I had mine verified and both mine and the broken one sent to me were given to eBay for the case file.

February 1, 2014

The one card I wanted from 2014 Topps Baseball


I have separation issues. I don’t like to deal with someone or something leaving until the last possible moment. I have countless examples of this throughout my life, but the most recent goes back to last baseball season.

Mariano Rivera was retiring. The game’s best closer and one my favorite player’s career was coming to an end. He could have continued without embarrassment. Rivera still had plenty left. However, he decided 2013 would be his last go-around as an MLB player.

I pretended it wasn’t happening.

There’s a good chance I have seen about 100 of Rivera’s 652 saves live. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I attended about 40 games a season – including road trips – with my high mark being around 60 in 2003. Add in playoff games I saw him compete in and the smattering of games over the last five years that I attended and the number of saves I have seen is probably around triple digits.

Every time I hear Enter Sandman, there is a leap in my heart I can’t accurately describe. But I immediately want to jump to my feet and yell at the top of my lungs – what I did every time Rivera jogged from the bullpen to the mound. That song creates a Pavlovian reaction no matter where I am: in a bar, in the car, at the gym, and always at a baseball game.

But last year I didn’t want to deal with the fact that Rivera’s baseball career was ending. I saw pictures of items he received throughout his retirement tour. It was great that he spoke to workers and fans at different ballparks. The All-Star Game was a great moment for him and his fans – there might have been a tear – and then there was the last home game at Yankee Stadium.

I didn’t go. I didn’t watch it on TV. I acted like I didn’t care. I told myself I had seen enough of Rivera throughout my life, and one game wouldn’t change the way I feel about him.

It wouldn’t.

It hasn’t.

However, that night when I was alone, I put on SportsCenter and watched the highlights. Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte met Rivera on the mound to take him out of the game. They hugged. They cried.

I cried.

Rivera’s career was over in that moment. He shared it with some of his longtime teammates and with a roaring crowd at Yankee Stadium – screaming and chanting his name, saying thanks in the way they had during his 19-year career.

This card reminds me that we shouldn’t be sad because it’s over, but happy that it happened (Dr. Seuss or someone said that). Jeter and Rivera are smiling and I’m sure Pettitte has the same grin on his face if we saw the moment from another angle.

Rivera was one of the best I got to see play baseball and not even for how he made a baseball dance with his cutter, but in the way that he seemed to treat the game and carry himself. If I only had to own one card from 2014 Topps, this would most certainly be it.


I’m glad I was able to get one today.