Monday, May 28, 2012

Topps 2012 Archives - Inserts, SP's and Auto's!

The first of my "special" cards that I'd like to highlight are the "deckle edge" - and I hope they come off as spectacularly on the scan as they do in hand.  Marichal and Mauer are 2 of the 15 "1969 Topps Deckle Edge" cards. - and these may be my favorite insert.  Nothing cluttering up the front - just a cool black and white photo and auto - less is more!

These are the "1977 Topps Cloth Inserts" and there are 25 possible cards.  I don't really think McCutchen really fits with this crew.  These have a nice feel to them, and like the deckle edge, just strike me as unique and interesting.

This is where Archives gets a little trickier.  I'm going to show the back, as well.

The Rod Carew card is a "Topps Gold Stamped Reprints Insert" - and obviously it is not one of the four years featured in the base set.  If I am correct, Carew has a card #80 in the base set as well - and I guess it must be a '71.  The Yount card is also not one of the four base years, either.  This is one of the high numbered short prints, which runs 201-240 (or 241 if you count the Harper).  I feel like this is a merging of two different short print ideas:  the high numbered SP from Heritage, and the photo-variation (in this case, actually a whole different year!  so a year-variation?!?) that we saw in this year's Gypsy Queen.

And here are my auto's!  I do love how Topps has assembled some great 80's names to sign - and both of these cards made me smile when I saw them.  I know there are some better names out there, but I love the nostalgic nature that this set inspires - a more recent nostalgia, certainly, than Heritage - and these cards certainly capture that!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Topps 2012 Archives - Visual Guide to Base Cards

I have opened my first eight packs from my Hobby Box of Archives, and thought I would share some of the base cards for anyone who hasn't seen them yet (or perhaps just wants to peek at some of what I found).  The interesting - or perhaps decidedly UNINTERESTING fact about these scans is that these are all cards that many people know of and are quite familiar with.  To be honest, I am not very familiar with the 1954 set, so that becomes a good place to start my tour:

I've decided to take my favorite current card and my favorite retired player from each of the sets, so you can get a sense of some different examples.  The photos are nice, crisp and clear.  I have seen a lot of negative reaction to the card stock.  And I have to admit, I see why.  It seems flimsy, and is definitely not close to the classic cardboard feel that Heritage does a good job of replicating.  But what I will say is that the cards have a neat "shine" to them - and this effect helps the photos really jump off of the card.

The backs of these cards are cool, as well.  One thing I love about Heritage is re-connecting with the old-style card backs - and this one has it all:  cartoon, short bio in a very traditional font, personal details in the upper left corner.  A simple and great design.

That takes us to 1971, and guess what?  I think I recognize that picture of Verlander - seems like the exact same photo shoot, judging by the background, that they used for Heritage.  Even the pose looks familiar.  Am I being overly picky?  Oh, and for my retired player, I was going to select Rizzuto, but it just felt wrong not to pick Gehrig.

Like the 1954 card, I don't have much of a recollection of 1971 cards.  I've seen some - I probably own a few - but I don't have a "collector's" memory of the set.  The pictures are pretty big, and that's a nice touch, but this is not a great card back in my estimation.

Well, it didn't take me too long to break my rule of selecting one old and one current player, huh?  Ozzie Smith and Darryl Strawberry really take me back to my early baseball fandom.  I was just old enough to truly obsess over baseball during their careers, and these cards probably do what Archives is best at - making guys my age drool over the first cards and players they remember collecting.

And finally a card back that I remember!  Who could forget that color?  What is it?  Sea foam?  A return of a cartoon for these backs adds some appeal - as well as the full career stat line.  I remember being so disappointed when Straw left my Mets, but looking at his numbers on this card, I don't think I remembered that he really only had one good year away from them.

I had baseball cards before 1984.  But I feel like these are the cards that made me feel like I was building a collection.  This is Mattingly's rookie, right?  (I may be wrong, but I remember that card.)  And a Gooden, but I think that was Topps Traded.  I think '84 might be Straw's rookie card, too - but now I'm really guessing.  This is probably the year I first put baseball cards into plastic sheets.  Great plan for collecting the later 80's, right?!?

Seeing Stephen Strasburg on a 1984 card brings up a memory from that year.  I remember watching all of Dwight Gooden's starts and being mesmorized by his dominance and by the way the ball seemed to explode out of his hand.  His curve ball, falling off the table, seemed unhittable when teamed with his heat.  When Strasburg made his first start, I think I caught his last few innings on MLB network, and was equally transfixed.

That brings me to the end of my base card tour.  Perhaps tomorrow I'll share some of the "special" cards I pulled - including a couple of autos!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Big Fat Gypsy Queen Hit!

Confession - it's not that big.

But the Starlin Castro is probably the best hit in my two boxes of Gypsy Queen.  I *really* am liking these on-card autos.  They look great - the signature really jumps out with the blue pen on the faded portion of the card.

I saw the Castro's fetching around $25 to $40 on ebay - probably the best single card I've pulled in 2012, counting flagship, heritage, and now GQ.

I still plan on purchasing Archives, so we'll see if it gets any better.  And since I'm a card collector more than a card seller, I am quite happy with what I've got.  I may hunt around for the Jon Niese auto card, as it's the only Met - but I don't really "need" it...

These are a few of my "special" minis - not the one's in the little box - these all came from packs.  Two sepias (#/99) is a little better than the odds, I think.  I haven't fished through all the minis enough to know which are SPs, so I'll hold off on showing those.

How about some photo variation SP's?  These are the six I pulled in this box:

Again, I plan on chasing these, but I have a lot to find.  I will probably hit a card show this weekend and see if my "dealer" who hooked me up with a bunch of Heritage SPs will have some for me...

My final scan includes my relics and another framed paper - and I really like those!  (the framed paper - not the relics)

I'll try to get some overall stats up soon, and I'm not going to scan the other insert sets in GQ - the moonshots and glove stories and sliding stars - I'm sure you've all seen them.

All in all, my first GQ experience has been very positive!

Monday, May 14, 2012

2012 Gypsy Queen - I am one pleased customer!

Since I didn't jump right into Gypsy Queen by pre-ordering, I was able to read several posts and even some reviews about the set before I leaped.  Four hits per hobby box seemed intriguing, but I've grown wary of hits considering that my Heritage hits were pretty bland.  So instead of hits, I just like nice cards with some interesting inserts of SP's - and here is the blue framed paper insert (parallel?) and this Rivera is a nice card to look at and a great name to own!  And the Johnny Bench photo variation SP was another notable card in the final eight packs of my Hobby Box that I opened.  But more was on the way...

My three favorite mini's for the eight pack series include this black border, and two great names.

But then I found something I had not ever seen before, and also something that now ONLY I OWN!  (That's right, my first ever 1/1!!!)

I know Stephen Drew is not exactly a great name, but I was simply thrilled to pull this printing plate!  Here is the back, if you haven't seen one:

I really have no idea what I am going to do with this.  I did spend a bunch of money - probably more than I wanted to - on these two hobby boxes, so I may look to get a little back on ebay.  I might have to ask you guys for advice on how to sell cards on ebay - just little tips and general suggestions - since I've never done it before.

But for the short while, I'm going to just enjoy owning a 1/1!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gypsy Queen heats up!

As a Gypsy Queen rookie, I'm not really sure how big any hit really is, but some cool cards came out of the eight hobby packs I opened tonight.

I decided to open up my Hobby Box eight packs at a time - I usually do 4-6 packs a day, to allow more time to write up some of the better cards, but since Gypsy Queen has been out for awhile, I decided to open a slightly larger amount.

I posted some of my San Francisco Giants hits yesterday, and I will say, that trend DID continue.  But I saw some other nice cards, as well - starting with this framed paper blue Mickey Mantle above.  I'm not sure if it comes out as good as it looks in person, but it's a really nice card, and it's numbered /599...  cool stuff!

I am not sure what this is.  And I'm not sure I like it.  Some other one's are actually autographed, and I think they are really rare.  But I don't really get it.  Is it humor? 

Yup, more Giant love.  So now I have a big Lincecum jersey swatch, and this framed little one.  It's cool and the frame is nice and heavy.  Go Giants!  (I guess)

And then an on-card auto.  My other was Brett Anderson from the A's.  Two rather non-descript players.  On-card is cool, though, so I'm still enjoying the card.

And, of course, what would a Gypsy Queen post be without some mini's?  There is a sepia, a green, a blackm and Yaz and Koufax.  Still have no idea what my plan is with GQ mini's.  I am thinking to try to obtain one mini for each player (1-350) and simply not worry about color or style or short prints...  any thoughts on this plan?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Gypsy Queen 2012 - Are the baseball card gods trying to tell me something?

I am a Mets fan.  Perhaps the Cardboard Gods feel otherwise.  My two hobby boxes of Heritage last month yielded two relics - A Ryan Vogelsong manupatch, and a Pablo Sandoval manupatch.  (Actually, I'm not sure if these are manupatches - are they jersey swatches?  My terminology may be wrong...) 

So three Giants relics, as this Lincecum card was in the first hobby pack of Gypsy Queen that I opened.  I think any Mets fan might be looking for a new team to follow - especially if they don't find a way to sign David Wright after this season... I think THAT would be the ultimate slap in the face to those of us who have stuck with the team, watching game after game in some tough years.

More packs await!  (Anyone feeling a Nate Schierholtz auto waiting for me down the road???)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

How the Gypsies Got My Money

It was simple, really.  Strawberry.  Carter, as a Met.  And a David Wright in the blaster I bought - that pretty much did it.

I know I am late to the Gypsy Queen party.  About a year late, from what I see people have written about 2011 GQ.  And I know some bloggers have panned the design, especially the grey color.  I really think it works, though.  It allows the colors in the picture to really jump out of the "frame" - an effect that I think works in these three cards I've shown.

I saw that Target had Gypsy Queen blaster boxes about 2 weeks ago.  I resisted buying.  I have been looking forward to Archives, so I didn't want to get involved in another chase.  If you follow my blog, you'll know that 2012 Heritage was the first non-flagship purchase I have ever made.  And thanks to a vendor I keep stalking at local card shows, I have parlayed the two hobby boxes I bought into a just-about-complete master set of Heritage.  (I haven't finished New Age Performers yet, nor the stickers - still deciding on whether to chase either.  But I have all the high-numbered SPs - yay, me!)

So that brings us to what happened here.  Innocently enough, I bought a blaster box and a hanger pack (not sure if my terminology is correct, but whatever - I spent $30!) and really liked the look of the framed paper cards.  And then I made the big mistake - I started reading blogs.

And I think I am so jealous of the dedication and approach of Lifetime Topps Project, that after a week went by, I bought another blaster box.  And after stalking prices at Blowout Cards, I decided that maybe I would grab some GQ when the price went down.  (I had noticed a price drop for Heritage, and thought GQ might follow suit.)

And finally, I simply got tired of waiting, and ordered two hobby boxes.

So while I limped in to this product, I look forward to opening some packs tomorrow night.  If time permits (it hasn't lately!), I'll try to get some posts up for those who want to follow along.  And feel free to comment on what I should look for, and HOW the heck to collect GQ - the sheer variety of the mini's is baffling to me...