May 28, 2014

Can Major League inserts save Archives?


When Topps Archives came out two years ago, it seemed as though I ran to the closest hobby shop to pick up a box. I wasn’t disappointed either.

Besides being a fun break with a bit of nostalgia thrown in, there were autographs of players we haven’t seen in products in quite some time – and in some cases, never. It didn’t hurt that I pulled a Yu Darvish autograph either.

However, last year’s product didn’t capture the same excitement for me. To me, Archives feels like a product that should be released every four to five years. Give collectors a chance to miss some of the old designs. But if we continue to see the same designs over and over, they don’t feel special anymore. It’s the same way with the Topps Football designs with the 1963 and 1984 designs. It’s going on three years of using the look from the memorable sets.

This year’s Archives added Major League cards, which has created some excitement around the product. The cards feature five actors from the iconic baseball movie in character: Roger Dorn, Jake Taylor, Eddie Harris, Rachel Phelps and Ricky Vaughn. There are also autographed versions of these cards.

Or course, there are “Worst to First” parallels, which makes me feel as though the Baseball Card Vandals had their hand at these cards.





So far, Charlie Sheen has been the hardest pulls it seems with is his auto selling for more than $300. 





Tom Berenger autograph - he signed it in a funny spot.


Where's Jobu?




May 26, 2014

That's one way to re-imagine Lewis & Clark's expedition



Where to find itAmazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks TFAW eBay

Zombies are very popular these days. But what if a person became a zombie through an organic disease?

Manifest Destiny isn’t exactly about zombies, but humans and animals are being infected by a deadly virus that essentially turns them into bloodthirsty flora. Man-eating plants may sound a bit odd, but the it’s done well in Manifest Destiny adding fear, despair to the type of horror that is portrayed in the graphic novel.

One of the unique factors of the Manifest Destiny comics is that it follows the journey of Lewis and Clark – yes, that Lewis & Clark that explored the unchartered country with Sacagawea in the early 1800s. The story could have still been intriguing without using these historical figures, but by using these characters, it already ups the stakes of their journey because nearly everyone has heard of Lewis & Clark.

But the creator doesn’t assume those reading the comic know who these figures are and gives each character their own traits that allow them to stand out.

One thing I love in the first volume was the use of color. The reds really made specific scenes pop -- such as the one below -- and conveyed emotions that run deeper than just showing a man screaming and running.



I was a bit surprised at how well I enjoyed the historical fiction, even it did bring in supernatural elements to spice up the expedition on the frontier.

The first trade paperback featured the first six comic in the series.

This won't give you nightmares.





May 22, 2014

Custom-made Derek Jeter card added to the collection



I’ve always been intrigued by custom-made cards. Probably because my Photoshop skills are non-existent. Cropping a pic is about as far as I go.

So when I got a new Derek Jeter card in the mail, I knew I had something unique. Matty Yerkes created this card. We follow each other on Twitter. That’s as far as our connection goes. The card, however, was sent to me by another Twitter buddy who won it in a contest. And the foremost Jeter collector – not really – he sent the card my way.

The card has a great look to it and looks like a bit like a Topps Superfractor. Since I will never own a Superfractor, I’ll just pretend.


Matty has a range of styles with the cards that he produces. Look below at some of the cards he has shown off on Twitter account (and give him a follow while you’re there). 

To be fair, this is not my first custom-made Jeter card that I own. Topher from Crackin Wax made one a long, long time ago for me





Better change your eBay password

Oh eBay.

It was revealed yesterday that the company data was hacked. That means if you use eBay, you should change your password.

So, that pretty much means all of us.

I bet there are plenty of collectors out there who have dealt with similar issues when it comes to PayPal or eBay. I’ve heard plenty of stories over the years of people’s PayPal accounts being hacked. It happened to me several months ago. It was good thing I was sitting in front of my computer at the time because I received an email that I just spent $7 using my PayPal.

I didn’t.

I immediately called PP and there were two other attempts at charges for a gaming company based in Sweden. That was definitely not me. PayPal fixed it. I changed my passwords and we all moved on.


These kinds of things happen. It’s one of the pitfalls of the current world, but just make sure you head over to eBay and change that password as soon possible. 

May 15, 2014

Book review: 1954 by Bill Madden


Available: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple

Bill Madden’s 1954 intrigued me based on the tag on front of the book: “The Year Willie Mays and the First Generation of Black Superstars Changed Major League Baseball Forever.”

Yep, immediately hooked. It was still a year away from Elston Howard making his Yankees debut – as the Yankees were one of the least teams to integrate, but there was information included on Howard, which I found compelling. There were good tidbits on players here and there with Madden having an occasionally insightful quote.

Yet the biggest problem is that 1954 was just a big recap of the season in which the New York Giants swept the Cleveland Indians in the World Series.

I hoped 1954 would go deeper into the race relations and issues in baseball. We all know Jackie Robinson was the first black baseball player in 1947. He was recently celebrated with a movie that depicted many of the hardships. But it seems as though Madden glossed over many of these issues, and when he did write about them, he only briefly touched on it. He didn’t spend more than a page at a time going through what minority baseball players contended with.

Most couldn’t stay in the same hotels as their white teammates. There wasn’t much talk as to how this caused problems within the team or how teammates felt about this.

The book was all about baseball – and it’s a baseball book – but the feeling was that it was going to touch on something deeper and it just never went there.

Madden writes in his introduction that more than 10 years ago Larry Doby had contacted him to write his autobiography. That is a book I would have loved to read. Unfortunately, Doby died a short time after that and the book was never written.

I didn’t dislike Madden’s 1954, I just wanted more from it.

May 14, 2014

Having fun with pre-sale pricing

I subscribe to the Steiner Sports newsletter. As a New York Yankees fan, how can you not? They are the official place to get Yankees memorabilia, and occasionally they have good deals on products. I actually picked up a signed Derek Jeter photo from his 3,000th hit a while back when I saw it for a good price

I think I roped my mom into giving it to me as a Christmas present since it seems she never knows what to buy me.

One of the emails I got a couple of days ago centered on pre-sale prices for upcoming autograph signings. I realized there are actually some great deals if any of these players appeal to you.  



Griffey won the Home Run Derby that year with 19 dingers, beating Jim Thome. The ball costs $219 without a case, and is dropped to $119 on the pre-sale. 




Clowney was the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He plays defense, which means Houston's D might be a little scary this year. The football is regularly $129.99, but is down to $99.99 for the pre-sale price.

I think I read O'Neil is a new exclusive signer with Steiner. Seems they are rolling out his stuff quickly. The cool thing about this hat is that it's also inscribed with "Warrior." Yankee fans know that means. Regular price: $249.99, pre-sale price: $149..99

This comes with the inscription "1998 World Series Grand Slam." Regular price $249.99, pre-sale price: $129.99. 


Regular price: $149.99. Pre-sale price: $89.99


This one is for Mets and Orioles fans, not so much Yankees fans. Regular price: 189.99. Pre-sale price: $89.99. 

May 13, 2014

Happy belated birthday, Yogi -- now if only I could afford your Rookie Card


Marie and I have an awful running joke. Awful by me, she is the innocent in all this.

It started a couple of years ago when a former Yankee passed away. I made a comment on how Yogi Berra was probably next. Marie was horrified and claimed I was trying to kill off poor Yogi. I love Yogi. I would never do such a thing, but he’s getting up there in age.

Yesterday, I sent Marie and a text. “It’s Yogi Berra’s birthday.”

Her response: “He showed you!”

Berra turned 89. While my first thought was to text Marie, my second thought turned to his baseball cards – most notably his 1948 Bowman Rookie Card.

It’s such a simple card. A black and white photo with Berra on the backswing looking as though he’s tracking a ball. There are no words on the front of the photo and just the logo on the cap to show any discernible identifying marks.

It’s a card I would love to add to my collection. However, they do not come cheap – a couple of hundred dollars in poor condition.

So I am adding a new card to my baseball card bucket list. Right now, it’s only two cards long. When I get to at least five, I’ll make a post about it. But unless I hit the lotto, I don’t stand a chance of completing it. Did I mention the other card is a 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig?


Interestingly, many older cards have been reprinted throughout the years. So, even if I can’t own a Berra 1948 Bowman RC, there is the option of getting a 2001 Bowman Heritage reprint. The biggest difference is the Bowman Heritage logo at the top right corner, but at least that allows collectors to know the difference without some unscrupulous dealers trying to pass off one as an original.

There are also 1989 Bowman Reprint Inserts featuring Berra and 10 others. The backs note a sweepstakes entry, so there is no confusion here either. These cards could easily be found in bargain bins and not worth a lot – but a cheap way to get replica Bowman cards. 

May 11, 2014

Ebay has turned into advertising platform for sellers


Collectors and investors use eBay for buying and selling cards. While not a perfect system, it’s the most widely used way to buy and sell cards. But when it comes to big-ticket items, eBay is being used as something else it seems.

A large advertising platform.

The 2014 Bowman Superfractor Jose Abreu Autograph was pulled from the product on the first day. It took a day or so to wind up on eBay but it was there for several hours before the listing was pulled. Pastime Cards announced on its Twitter page that it bought the card.

It was reported the sale was $16,000. Insertion fee could have been nothing for this card. The first 50 listings from a seller every month are free.

A final value fee for this card would have been about $250, according to the eBay fee calculator. But, there was no FVF, or PayPal fees, which would have hit the seller with at least another $500. The seller saved about $750 for selling the card offline. That’s less than five percent of the total cost, but still money saved.

Do I know if that is exactly the route the seller of the card took?

No. But it’s an option that I am sure plenty of people have taken.

EBay has seemingly become a free advertising site for high-end cards.

Of course if I have my math wrong, let me know. 

May 8, 2014

Does your mom want memorabilia for Mother's Day?


You can get your mom flowers for Mother’s Day. But who says you can’t get something in return.

Steiner Sports is offering an interesting promotion for Mother’s Day that allows collectors to benefit too. People who are shopping at Steiner can get 20% off orders using the code FLOWERS14. Then, if you have spent $150 or more, you get a voucher for $50 to 1800Flowers.com.

Mom may want some memorabilia too. Seriously, when I have a child he/she had better buy me a Derek Jeter baseball card instead of flowers.

So, really, you could spend $150 on memorabilia for that special woman in your life (hint, hint) and throw in the flowers as a bonus.

I could imagine my mom’s reaction giving her a signed baseball with a single rose. She might not invite me over for Mother’s Day anymore.



May 7, 2014

Leaf offers Jose Abreu cards on eBay


Jose Abreu is the hot player right now – on the field and on cards.

With his autographs just hitting the market, his card prices have blown up. Expect his cards to be everywhere now just like they were last year with Yasiel Puig. The good thing for Abreu collectors is that cards have hit earlier in the card cycle than it did with Puig.

Everyone wants to cash on this young star – including Leaf.

Leaf created a “Welcome to Chicago” card that it’s selling exclusively through eBay.

Of course, since it’s not Topps, it’s mean no logos or team names – and lots of airbrushing.

What do you think of this card?

May 6, 2014

Steiner offers discounts on Robinson Cano pre-sale autographs


A couple of days ago, one of our readers, Dan, left a comment saying that Robinson Cano was doing a signing for Steiner Sports in June.

Of course, we all know that Cano is in Seattle now, but he’s still popular with Yankees fans – well some of them – even though he signed with a different team as a free agent. The reality is Cano is a great player no matter where is. He may get less home runs playing in Seattle, but he’s still hitting well – only his slugging is really, really down.

But if you want a chance to get a signed baseball by Robinson Cano, this might be it.

The pre-sale price for a signed MLB baseball is $100.

I know $100 is still quite a few bucks, and an autograph baseball card could be cheaper. But I just wanted to throw the option out there for anyone who is interested.

When you go to the page for the Cano signed baseball (here), it shows up as $249.99. It’s not. Add the MLB Authentic ball to your cart, and when you hit checkout, the shopping cart shows -150.00, so it’s $99.99.

The autograph bat up or pre-sale is also lowered from $499 to $199. You can check out the bat here.


What do you think of these prices? Is $100 reasonable for a signed baseball of Cano? 

May 4, 2014

Starting a new generation -- on comics


I’m not a comic book collector.

But I love to read.

I have a few comics in my collection because I can’t get enough of Mass Effect and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So when Free Comic Book Day rolled around, I was there. This allows me to jump into stories from the beginning and decide if I want to stick with it and keep paying for it.  

However, the reactions from my niece and nephew were better than the new comics.

My nephew will be 12 soon. He loves comics, Legos, Dr. Who and Minecraft. I asked him Saturday morning if he wanted to go with me to comic shop for free comics. Who could say no to that? My 10-year-old niece wanted to come along, so we all made our way to a local shop.

We walked into the comic shop The Spider’s Web, and the place was mobbed. The doors were wide-open, balloons hung in the doorway. The owner was even outside yelling at people to come get comics.

They even had free cookies and cupcakes.

This shop allowed us to take five comics each from the promos. There were stories that appealed to girls and boys, and much darker stories for adults (I grabbed those). I didn’t realize how much my niece loved comics until we were in the shop. She’s a huge Archie fan, and one of his free comics was available.

There were Hello Kitty and SpongeBob comics. Yep, she found enough to fill her bag.



Of course, we bought stuff as well. We didn’t just come for the freebies. I grabbed Mass Effect Foundation #10 and Buffy Season 10 #1 and #2. My nephew got a Dr. Who Lego-like set that featured 11 of the doctors – it was his early birthday present. My niece grabbed another Archie comic where he married both Veronica and Betty in different timelines.

But here was the best part: As we were leaving, they both in their own words said how this was one of the best days they ever had.

It wasn’t over.



There was another comic shop about 10 minutes away, and we headed there. They got a few more comics and I picked up Battlestar GalaticaSix #1. Oh, did I mention I love BSG too? My niece picked up another Archie, and my nephew grabbed some other Lego-looking toys of Marvel superheroes.

This shop was also bustling and there several early 20-somethings talking about comics. They discussed artwork, storylines, and what they expect from certain titles. My nephew was lost in this conversation and when he broke free of his trance, he said, “I didn’t know a place like this existed.”

Welcome to a new world, kid.

I promised I would take them back to the comic shops in a few weeks. I seems like we made some new comic fans.

May 3, 2014

Rack Pack Hit!


I wanted to follow up on the post Suzy did about the odds of a rack pack vs. a blaster.  While I had never read the two to compare them until that day, it makes much more sense to go with a rack pack now.  The difference in cards is not enough to warrant buying a blaster especially when the odds of hits goes up so much.

I bought two rack packs of 2014 Gypsy Queen a week or two ago just because I was bored and I hate money.  I never get anything so imagine my face when this card appeared...

Ben Revere, serial numbered /49 on card auto.

While I couldn't care less about this player or his autograph, it was nice to actually pull something cool from retail for a change.  Anyone that is interested in this card, I am more than willing to part with it for a pack of pens or something.

May 2, 2014

A free Robinson Cano autograph...


Today I get my mail and inside was a big envelope from Topps.  I was like oh maybe it's a blogger playing a practical joke since I haven't bought anything recently, or won any auctions that would come in the mail (especially from Topps).  So I opened it with the excitement and anticipation of a kid on Christmas morning, and holy smokes it's an on card Robinson Cano autograph...  Instant smile (despite wanting to kick him).  

So then I am sitting at the kitchen table staring into space wondering where the hell this came from and wondered how the cardboard Gods knew they needed to intervene in my disinterest in cards.  This went on for a few minutes until I realized I didn't look at the paper that was wrapped around the card.  I  opened it up and realized it was a redemption...   Which I apparently redeemed at some point.  I have literally no idea what I paid for this or when I redeemed it so it was basically like getting a free gift in the mail.  I vaguely remember buying it months and months ago.

eBay doesn't go back far enough for me to find the auction and Topps only shows shipping dates so whatever, it was free as far as I'm concerned.  My last purchase on eBay in January was a Callahan auto, and before that I made 3 purchases according to my feedback. One in August, September, and October so maybe it was one of those.  I should buy redemption cards more often so that when they arrive months later it's a fun surprise.

Anyone else ever redeem a card and forget about it or am I the only crazy person that's done this?

P.S. I went to label this post "Marie is crazy" and it was already an option... That made me laugh.