Saturday, May 23, 2020

The State of the "Hobby".

Hope all is well with everyone out there. It's been a crazy last two months or so. The world has transformed. So has the sports card industry and "hobby". I put hobby in quotes because it feels less and less like a hobby every day. Sports cards are more popular now than they have been in a long time and that's a good thing, right?

With everything going on in the world due to the coronavirus, I think most people would have assumed that spending on things likes sports cards would decline drastically. They would have been wrong. Boy, would they have been wrong.

I mentioned in a previous post that I stopped spending money on cards in January, so I haven't been buying during this sports card boom, but I've been taking advantage of the extra dollars in the market by unloading some of my duplicates and other unwanted cards.

One of the contributing factors to the surge in sports card sales has been the ESPN documentary The Last Dance. I've always been a big Jordan fan and had a bunch of duplicates that I've been selling on OfferUp. I've sold several lots already and each buyers has mentioned The Last Dance and how it has brought them back to their youth and the hobby that they had left behind. I love hearing this and I love unloading my dups for a nice profit.

The Jordan effect has spread from Michael Jordan basketball cards to Michael Jordan baseball cards, to 90's inserts of all sports to "junk wax" gems. Cards that you could routinely find in dime boxes, are selling for dollars. Unless they are graded and then they are selling for hundreds of dollars.

Topps and Panini are selling certain products exclusively online and have so much demand that their websites can't handle it. Retail outlets can't keep their shelves stocked with toilet paper or Mosaic.

Then you have the Topps Project 2020 cards. I haven't bought any. Not just because I'm on a strict budget. I just don't really see the appeal. To each their own though. The dollar amounts they are bringing in the secondary market are mind blowing. The last sports card boom lasted about 10 years. I'm not sure that this one will last more than 10 months.

Why do you think about all the craziness that has recently transpired within the "hobby"?

Sunday, April 5, 2020

How do you store 10 card insert sets?

I hope everyone is doing well. Things are crazy right now. So let’s talk about baseball cards and maybe take our focus off of the fear and uncertainty that we are all feeling right now, even if for but a brief moment.

One of the collections I bought last year contained a couple of binders filled with various insert sets. I enjoy theorizing about how the collection that I bought came to be. Today let’s look at 1994 Fleer Ultra insert sets. Did this person buy packs and boxes to put together these sets? Did they buy singles at shops and card shows to pice these sets together? Maybe they traded with other collectors to fill their needs. I supposed they could have bought the sets off eBay, but that doesn’t sound as fun as the other options.

1994 Ultra came in two series. The insert sets that were part of the collection I bought are all from Series I. Boxes contained 36 packs and each pack contained 1 insert.

First up is the Second Year Standouts. This is a 10 card set that was inserted at a rate of 1:11 packs. This means it would take 110 packs or 3 boxes to complete this insert set and that’s if you didn’t get any dups.

The biggest name in this set is Mike Piazza, followed by fellow 1993 Rookie of the Year award winner, Tim Salmon. I remember Aaron Sele and Jeff Connie being popular for a bit, but Piazza was and still is the biggest name in this set.

With this being a 10 card set, the previous owner chose to display it in one 9 card sheet with the 10th card on the back. How do you store 10 card sets when you put them in sheets? Do you double them up or start a new page? If you start a new page, do other cards get put in that second page?

Growing up I didn’t purchase enough boxes to put together many complete insert sets. I bought packs and boxes way more than I do these days, but even then I would rarely focus on completing full insert sets. I’d just buy the singles of players that I liked. So deciding how to store a 10 card insert set back in 1994 wasn’t something I had to deal with. These days when I come across a 10 card insert set, I Will give it two pages and don’t fill in the rest of the page, which bothers me, but it would bother me more to have other cards on that second page so I leave it vacant. How about you?

Sunday, March 1, 2020

1984 Supers

Last year I bought about 5 or 6 collections. When looking at a collection to determine if I would buy it or not, there are always three things that always go through my head. Number 1, what are the big cards? Number 2, what will I keep? Number 3, how easy will it be to get rid of everything else?

My theory is “Don’t pay more for the entire collection than you can get for selling the big cards. Keep whatever else I want and dump the rest as quickly as possible.”

Sometimes it’s easy to sell the big cards and sometimes it’s not. I had little hesitation selling a 1976 Topps Walter Payton rookie card. Sure I would have loved to keep it, but it has to be done. So I did it.  I am trying to focus on baseball cards. I say that but I can’t get myself to get rid of some 1986-87 Fleer basketball cards that were the big cards in another collection I bought. No Jorfan, but some other big names.

But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about some of the cards that aren’t big cards, but that I decide to keep.

For me there are two reasons I keep a card. I have either wanted it previously or never knew it existed.

Here are some cards that I never knew existed.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “Um, this is a 1984 Topps Cal Ripken card. What do you mean you didn’t know this card existed?” Well, this isn’t a 1984 Topps Cal Ripken card. It’s a 1984 Topps Super Cal Ripken card. The “biggest” difference between the 1984 Topps and the 1984 Topps Super Card is the size. The Supers are 5x7 compared to the standard card size.

There are just two other differences, which are found on the back of the card.. The card number, which on the regular card is #490. The 1984 Topps Super set is a 30 card set numbered 1 - 30. Cal Ripken was rewarded with card #1 in the set due to the second difference which is at the bottom of the card, which states “*** EXTRA *** Selected 1983 A. L. MVP”

Are you familiar with the 1984 Topps Super set? If not, you will be now because I’m going to show off the 30 card set. From what I can gather, these came in one card packs. I didn’t start collecting until 1988, but I’d love to hear from some of you that remember buying and/or collecting these cards back in 1984.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Am I done collecting?

I’ve been quiet over the last month or so on my blog. Be read plenty of these types of blog posts over the years and it usually results in a post about how it’s time too move on from collecting. That is not the case for me. I am still collecting, but I haven’t spent any money on cards in just over two months. That’s the longest that I’ve gone without spending anything on cards in a long time. If I had to guess I would say that it’s been 18 years since I’ve taken that long of a break from spending any money on cards.

Now, keep in mind that I said I didn’t spend any money on cards. I did have a very small amount of eBay Bucks that I used to get one card. I picked up a 2014 Allen & Ginter SP of Paul Goldschmidt. I bought it thinking I needed it. Even though I have had the card for roughly a month I haven’t actually opened the envelope until today. Here it is.

When I was browsing eBay trying to determine what I would spend my approximately $3 of eBay Bucks on, this card didn’t look familiar and I knew it was an SP so I pulled the trigger. After opening the envelope today and attempting to file it away, I realized I already had it. Darn. Oh well.

Since  I have the cards out I thought I would take a picture of Goldschmidt’s Allen & Ginter cards as a Diamondback. His rookie card from 2011, but Goldschmidt didn’t have an Allen & Ginter card that’s year. He has cards as a Diamondback from 2012-2018.

There are probably a hundred or so parallels and inserts of Goldschmidt in addition to these seven base cards. I only have 17 of those parallels and inserts, so I’ve got plenty of work to do, but I’m glad that I do have all of the base cards.

The reason that I haven’t spent any money on cards for just over two months is because starting January 1st my wife and I started the Dave Ramsey financial plan. If you aren’t familiar with Dave Ramsey and his wealth building plan I will give you a brief overview of his baby steps.

1. Save $1000 as a basic Emergency Fund
2. Pay off all debt other than your home
3. Increase your Emergency Fund to 3-6 months worth of expenses
4. Save 15% of you household income for retirement
5. Save for kids college
6. Pay off your home
7. Live and give like no one else

Baseball cards don’t come into play until step #7 and I’m on step #2 currently. So while I’m still collecting, I will not be purchasing any cards for a while. In fact, I’ve sold some cards and will continue to do that to help me pay off debt and build wealth.

We don’t have a ton of debt other than our home. We actually only owe on a car that has a 0% interest rate. Even so, we had 3 years left of payments. My initial plan was to pay it off in 1 year instead of 3. Once we actually started, we changed our goal to 6 months. Now that we are 2 months in, I am thinking be might be able to pay it off next month. After that is paid off, then we take our $1000 Emergency Fund from $1000 up to around $10,000, which would be roughly 3 months worth of expenses. At that point we start putting 15% away toward retirement and start funding 529 plans for our 3 boys. Anything else extra will go towards paying off our house early. My hope is that all of this is done in about 8 years. This will give me some time  to organize my collection.

Okay, so that is my explanation as to why I’ve been quiet on my blog. The plan is to not purchase any new cards for some time, but that doesn’t mean my blog will go dormant.

How about you? What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without spending any money on cards?

Sunday, February 23, 2020

100 Pounds - 100 cards - #51-#100+

So it’s been almost a month since my last post and I am just going to finish off these posts all at once with a flurry of Paul Goldschmidt cards.

My next post I’ll explain what I’ve been up to this past month or so.

Here we go. No particular order.