Vintage Vintage Everywhere……

I’ve been thinking that if I’m going to try to write about vintage cards on this blog, maybe it would be a good idea to start by defining exactly what vintage cards are!

There really are no hard and fast rules governing the definition of vintage trading cards. To a young collector, “vintage” could mean a card from the 1990s. Others consider true vintage cards to be those produced prior to WW2. Both of these are valid points of view. It all depends on the collector.

There are several distinct points in time which most collectors use when deciding what vintage means to them.

The Pre-Bowman/Topps Era – If you’re not really into vintage cards, you may not be aware of the plethora of sets that were produced prior to WW2. Several large cigarette card sets featuring baseball players were produced in the late 19th century through the first couple decades of the 20th. These were followed by sets which more closely resemble the cards that we know today – Goudey, Batter-Up, Diamond Stars, PlayBall. To many, these are true “vintage” cards.

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1941 Play Ball Joe DiMaggio

The Golden Age or The Series Age – The arrival of the first Bowman card sets in 1948 sparked the modern era of trading cards. Bowman produced both baseball and football sets in those early years. The first modern Topps set came out in 1952, although this had been preceded in 1951 by the small Topps Red/Blue Backs. From then up until 1973, Topps released their products in “series”. Series 1 would normally appear prior to the start of a season, with new series hitting the shelves periodically  throughout the year until a set was complete. Print runs on later series in any given year tended to tail off, commonly giving rise to scarcity among higher numbered cards.

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1952 Topps Dizzy Trout

The 1970s or The Decline of the Topps Empire – In 1974, Topps changed their printing and distribution strategy and released all 660 cards in that year’s baseball set in one fell swoop, a practice they would continue for the next 3 decades or so.. Topps were still the only game in town at this point, but were coming under increasing pressure from other companies hoping to feed from the trading card trough.

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1974 Topps Mike Schmidt

Competition Time! – Topps monopoly was finally broken in 1981 when licenses were granted to both the Donruss and Fleer companies to produce true baseball card sets. Other companies soon appeared on the scene. In 1989, Upper Deck released the first premium quality card set and kicked off the UV Age.

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1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr.

Collectors of “vintage” trading cards tend to use one of the above milestones as the cutoff point for their own definition. Most, however, consider 1980 to be the last “vintage” year – before the hobby was opened up to almost anyone and everyone who wished to produce cards. This is the definition that I will most often use within this blog.

Hi, Everyone!

bobbleglenn    Hello to The Wax Fantastic community!

As you will have gathered from Andy’s posts, I’ve been asked to contribute an occasional word or two to the blog on the subject of vintage collecting. Hopefully, I’ll also throw something else in to the ring once in a while, but for the most part I’ll do my best to give those of you who might be a bit new to the hobby some insight into the wonders and joys of vintage cards.

I guess it would be best to start by telling you who I am. My name is Glenn Codere. I was born in Detroit, where I spent the first 13 years of my life before moving to Scotland in 1973. I now live in Glasgow. I started collecting cards in 1968, the same year my beloved Detroit Tigers won the World Series. As a kid, I collected cards from all 4 major US sports but baseball was always my big love. When we moved overseas in 1973 most of my collection was left Stateside. I often wonder where all those cards ended up. I re-discovered cards on my return to the US for a vacation in 1988, but it wasn’t until my next trip in 1990 that I really started to rebuild my collection. At first, I concentrated solely on putting together those sets that I had as a kid (1968-1973) and building a Detroit Tigers team collection. I was incredibly naive as far as prices were concerned, and grossly overpaid for cards in those early years, but it was a start. On returning to Scotland, I began to use a variety of mail-order dealers that I tracked down through Beckett Magazine. Over the next few years, I moved on to use several fledgling internet auction sites. These were the pre-eBay years. Progress was slow, but in 1997 I discovered an online group of collectors called OBC (Old Baseball Cards).

Membership of OBC has over the years not only boosted my collection, but its also given me a wonderful education in card collecting and connected me with many collectors across the US who I now count as good friends. Its also given me the appreciation of the joys of helping out fellow collectors whether it be through trade or (more fun) through sending out cards unsolicited. Thanks to OBC, a wide variety of online auction sites, and several dealers with whom I’ve developed relationships, my collection has grown from strength to strength. Since 1990, I’ve completed a run of Topps Baseball sets from 1968 to 1980 (more on the significance of that year in a later article!), as well as sets from 1960 (my birth year set!) to 1962, 1964 and 1965. I only need a handful of cards to knock off the 1963, 1966 and 1967 sets and have recently started working on sets from the 1950s.

In addition to baseball cards, I also work on US football and hockey sets from the late 1960s/early 1970s period, and Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions (football) and Detroit Red WIngs (hockey) team collections from all eras. Lastly, I’ve also managed to put together a tidy little collection of cards relating to Bobby Thomson, who was born right here in Glasgow and went on to hit “The Shot Heard Round The World” in 1951 – one the most famous home runs in the history of the game. Although I do collect some newer stuff – mostly Topps Heritage Baseball – my real love is for vintage cards.

I’ve already got several ideas for articles floating around in my head – and believe me, there is plenty of space for stuff to float in! – which I hope you readers will find interesting. One thing I’d like to make clear though…..I really don’t consider myself an “expert” on vintage cards or the art of the hobby. I’ll do my best to get my facts straight, but I’m well aware that I’m still learning new stuff all the time. Hopefully, I’ll be able to share some of this knowledge with you as we go.

I’d like to thank Andy for the opportunity to contribute to this blog, and I look forward to your comments, questions, and opinions.

…And On The Subject Of Vintage Cards

I just wanted to give a shout out to a fellow collector over in Texas who’s been around since the early days of ‘The Wax Fantastic’. Craig Parker is a collector of vintage Topps! A big collector with BIG collecting goals!!

Check out his latest blog post – My Lifetime Card Collection Project – where he outlines his grand collecting plan!

To be honest it’s an absolutely huge task he’s set himself, and when he finally completes it – WOW! It’ll be something to be truly proud of! Something he can pass down to his little boy – and any other little Parkers that might come along in the interim 🙂

But Craig needs your help tracking down those elusive cards to fill some of his gaps!!

If anyone reading this can help him then you can contact him through Twitter – @parker94ttu – or directly through the comments section to one of his blog posts!

In the immortal words of Dr Fraser Crane “Thanks for listening”!!

Our Friends In The North

I’ve just come back from a business trip to Scotland, and while there I managed to find the time to meet up with fellow UK-based collector, Glenn Codere!

Around March of 2012 I started looking for other UK Baseball card collectors in an effort to get some sort of network together for the purposes of trades and general card-related chit chat! This decision (although unknown to me at the time) would set the wheels in motion for the creation of this very blog that you’re reading today!

However, it was that initial Google search – “baseball card collectors UK” – that first threw up a post that Glenn had put on a collecting forum a couple of years earlier.

So I emailed him, and then went on my merry way looking for other collectors! It took a few months before Glenn got back to me as my original message went to an email account that he’d pretty much stopped using, and when he replied and we got to talking about collecting. The blog was pretty much good to go by this point so I told him all about that and he jumped on board as one of my first subscribers! We’ve been in touch pretty regularly ever since and he’s a frequent commenter (is that a even a real word?) on my posts!

I’ve already spoken about Glenn previously but just to fill you in he was born in Detroit but moved to Scotland a fair few decades ago. He’s a vintage and Detroit Tigers collector primarily, with Heritage being pretty much his only real luxury when it comes to modern cards!

He has complete sets of Topps from 1968 onwards and an absolute shedload of other stuff from before then. He’s got Tigers cards going all the way back to the turn of the century (that’s the 20th and not the 21st :)). There was even a Ty Cobb card from the 1920’s!! I initially went in with the intention of taking a few photos of Glenn’s collection but decided against it while I was there – there was just no way I could have done it any kind of justice.

While there we exchanged a few cards, and I was lucky enough to receive this awesome autograph of Bobby Thomson from 2002 Topps Finest!

Glenn’s a big Thomson collector as well, which is hardly surprising as Thomson was born in Glasgow in 1923 and was nicknamed ‘The Staten Island Scot’ during his career!

I now regret not having taken any pictures that I could have shared with you all. This was the first time that I’d ever been around a ‘proper’ Baseball card collection – a collection that had been built up over decades with appreciation, patience and an incredible love of the Hobby! I was completely in my element and unfortunately there was nowhere enough time to take it all in! Heaven only knows when I’ll get the chance to do it again!

When ‘The Wax Fantastic’ was in its infancy, Glenn offered to to write some posts on vintage cards for the blog. I loved the idea but wanted to get the things established before bringing someone else on board. Having caught up with Glenn last night I talked the topic over with him again and luckily for me (and hopefully for you good folks) he’s agreed to start contributing!!

I’m painfully aware that I don’t cover vintage Baseball as much as I’d like, and this is primarily due to the fact that I don’t collect vintage cards and don’t know a great deal about the topic! So I’ve decided it’s about time I handed it over to the professionals!

This means that very soon you’ll start to see some posts appearing from Glenn. He’s a great writer and has a wealth of collecting experience to share with us! Personally I can’t wait!!

All that remains is to thank Glenn, and his wife Maureen, for their hospitality and for inviting me into their home. Hey, I could have turned out to be some kind of crazed lunatic, you know!! Trust me, I’ve got the eyes for it 🙂

And a special thanks to Glenn for sharing a truly wonderful collection with me!

How Much Is Not Enough?

In my recent push to start collecting certified autographs of St Louis Cardinals players I managed to get hold of what I’d consider to be one of the ‘biggies’ – Bob Gibson!

You can click here to read about that life-changing event!

Now there’s only one player who I’d consider to be ‘bigger’ than Bob Gibson in terms of Cards autos, and that would be Stan Musial! So with this in mind, and a bit of loose change in my pocket (i.e. my PayPal account) I set my sights on obtaining this piece of cardboard greatness off eBay –

I’m sure you’d agree that that it’s a lovely card and one that any respectable lover of Baseball would give their right arm to own!

The seller (I’ve not mentioned their name as it’s not really important) had it listed at $99.95 Buy It Now and the ‘Make Offer’ option enabled! So I put an initial offer in for $70.00!

Now, this wasn’t an arbitrary figure that I just plucked from the air. No, I’d done a bit of research on this one and looked at the sale history of this particular card. And what I found was (based upon the last 10 sales in a standard auction format, with the most recent sale price first) this card had sold for $55.93, $58.00, $61.00, $61.00, $51.00, $69.00, $46.88, $54.88, $66.00 and $53.50. That’s an average sale price of $57.72.

In the corresponding time frame covering the sale of these cards, and in the few weeks prior to the earliest sale that I looked at, there had been no sales using the Buy It Now option, and there were certainly no sales higher than the $70.00 that I initially offered!

Anyway, long story short, my offer was automatically declined!

Fair enough, I thought! Kinda half expected that to happen anyway!

Not to be deterred (as I really wanted the card anyway) I decided to contact the seller. I explained what the card would mean to myself and my collection and attempted to find out what they were looking at as a ‘reasonable’ price to accept as an offer so I could look at whether I could afford to go much higher.

That message was sent on 7th May and I haven’t received a bloody reply yet! I can appreciate that people are busy, but this seller has 100% feedback and I figured I might have heard something – even if it was a simple and straightforward “no” or a “get lost”!!

Just strikes me as a bit rude, that’s all!

But this then started me thinking about how we perceive the value of the cards we both sell and collect! It’s worth pointing out now that for the purpose of this little piece I’m more interested in the fiscal value of cards rather than the personal or sentimental value.

How much a card is ‘worth’ is something that preoccupies the thoughts of most collectors. I won’t say ‘all’ collectors as I’m sure there are those individuals out there who simply don’t care what their collection is worth, as it’s something that they do purely for the joy or fun of it!

In the (almost) 14 years that I’ve been on eBay I’ve bought and sold many different items, not just sports cards, and I’ve come to the conclusion that when trading on sites such as eBay, the ‘value’ of a card can be looked at in two ways (again, remember we’re talking in monetary terms here!) –

  • the Perceived Value – what a seller believes a card to be worth and the value that they’d be happy to sell it for, and
  • the Actual Value – the maximum amount that a buyer will be willing to part with in order to obtain the card

In the majority of cases these two amount will often be poles apart, but through a bit of bartering in most instances the two parties can meet somewhere in the middle!

Whenever someone asks me what I think something is worth, my answer is always the same – “Whatever someone is prepared to pay for it”. This isn’t some grand economical theory that I’m talking about here. If an item is priced too high by a seller it’s highly unlikely anyone will be prepared to buy it from them – unless of course you have money to burn (which, lets face facts, would be rather nice).

The seller might stick to the hard-and-fast ‘rule’ that the card they are selling is ‘worth’ X amount of pounds/dollars/euros, because that’s what they perceive it to be worth, and in some instances they won’t budge from that stance. I can’t say I necessarily blame sellers for adopting this strategy, after all they are trying to make a living selling cards and will want to get as big a return as possible on their item(s).

Going back to the above example of the Musial card. Based on my research of previous sales the maximum amount that the card went for in a standard auction listing was $69.00. I went in with an initial offer of $70.00 to test the water, but was prepared to up that as I really wanted the card. The seller obviously had ‘perceived’ the value to be higher than this amount, hence the declined offer.

But what interests me is at what point point do you say “Ahh, screw it” and just take the money? $70.00 isn’t exactly a small amount for a 3″x2″ piece of card. Sure other cards sell for much more, but given that the card had been selling an average of around $13.00 less over the preceding few months, is $70.00 THAT unreasonable an offer to accept?

I’m keen to hear from other dealers on this issue!

I don’t know how long this card had been listed and re-listed for! Could have been a few weeks, a few months, even a few years! If the card had been on eBay for a length of time would it not be best to accept $70.00 for it rather than holding out for $100.00 that hadn’t been forthcoming up to this point, and may well never come?

Obviously a lot of sellers (and collectors/buyers) still use Beckett as ‘The Bible’ when it comes to assigning a monetary value to a card. Surely this is a somewhat outdated notion these days? Sure Beckett is great as a guide, but the real measure of a card’s value comes from examining the areas where the cards are sold – auction sites, card shows, LCS, and so on!

Even though I’d done my own research into the potential saleable value of this particular Musial autograph, it proved to be pretty futile when coming up against the seller’s perception of it’s worth and value. Sure it would be great to get $100.00 for the card, but wouldn’t $70.00-$80.00 be better than no sale at all?

There’s been many a time where I’ve sold a card on eBay for a lot less that what I felt it was worth. Removing that element of sentimentality and stubbornness from the sale made it much easier to let it go for a lesser amount than what I felt it should have gone for! But I guess I’m not in the Hobby to make a living from it, so I’m not as concerned about maximising profits as much as a full-time seller/dealer would be.

Hopefully I’ll take another stab at the Musial card again sometime soon! But it would be great to get your thoughts on the whole card ‘value’ issue!

Mucho Machado

I’ve previously spoken at length about my failings as a player collector!

Try as I might I’ve always ended up getting frustrated at the speed (or lack of) that my collection grows at and I often have the age-old issue where I know deep down at the back of my mind I’ll never be able to put together a ‘complete’ player collection – or at least what passes for one in this era of minisculely serially numbered cards!

However my recent foray into the world of collecting Cardinals certified autos has given me a newfound perspective on the nature of collection – emphasising patience over speed, deferred gratification over immediacy!

And this ‘fresh’ way of collecting (for me at least) has meant that I’m going to take another stab at becoming a player collector again! And there’s one particular player who has recently caught my eye over all others – highly touted prospect and new Orioles third baseman, Manny Machado!

The Baltimore Orioles have a long and storied history of players who have presided over the ‘hot corner’, from one of the best defensive third baseman to ever play the game in Brooks Robinson, through to Robinsons successor Doug DeCines! Cal Ripken Jr moved over to third in the latter stages of his career and All-Star Melvin Mora took over the role throughout the 2000’s!

Going back even further to the days of the St Louis Browns you have Harlond Clift, Bob Dillinger and George Kell! That’s some pretty lofty company right there!

And now it’s Manny Machado’s turn to fill a pretty big ‘historical’ pair of shoes at third base for The Birds!

Now, I’ve spent a bit of time doing some background research into Machado in an attempt to find out more about him, and everything I’ve read so far points to him being a real old-school type of player, a rare thing for such a young talent!

In the ESPN article Manny Machado – A True Disciple of the Oriole Way Jerry Crasnick looks at Machado’s approach to the game and how he fits into the Oriole’s future plans. There are some great little stories in the article and it’s well worth a read. One of my favourites is from Adam Jones, in which he describes how Machado ups his defensive game and overall intensity if he is having a bad day at the plate!

That’s a refreshing attitude in a younger ballplayer, showing that the team and the game comes first! And it’s one of the things that drew me to him as a collector!

Given that 2013 is Machado’s rookie year most of his cards will be a little bit more expensive!

Here’s a look at what I’ve managed to get my hands on so far –

These three came from my recent Gypsy Queen Box Break with Kidder Cards and includes Machado’s base rookie card, his Glove Stories insert and a black mini parallel #’d/199

This one is a base rookie card from 2013 Topps Heritage. I love this card as it has the bonus of being Dylan Bundy’s rookie card too!!

The top card was purchased last week off eBay and is Manny Machado’s 2013 Topps Tribute rookie card! The image doesn’t do the card any justice at all as it’s simply stunning to look at!

It was purchased off eBay seller denjenniss11 who is an absolute star as far as I’m concerned as he also threw in the 2013 Topps Machado base rookie! Great seller!!

Last week I had this 2013 Bowman Autographed rookie in my sights, but unfortunately I was outbid on the little beauty at the very last minute! But one day you will be mine, my precious, one day you will be mine!!

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So it goes without saying that I’m on the hunt for Manny Machado cards at the moment. I’ll be happy to do some trades and will soon have my ‘Trade Bait’ section of the blog completed so you have an idea of what I have available. If you’re interested in anything then let me know and we’ll sort out a deal!

Cheers, Andy

Panini Peek: 2013 Cooperstown Baseball

Hot Dang!!!

This looks bloody awesome!! For me last years Panini’s Cooperstown Baseball was one of the best sets that no-one seemed to know about!! Gorgeous cards and an amazing HOF autograph selection!! This years looks even better!!

Well done Panini! Can’t wait for this one!!

The Knight's Lance

2013 Cooperstown Baseball Main

You just knew that Panini America’s 2012 Cooperstown Baseball, one of last season’s most history-steeped baseball releases, would raise the bar with its highly anticipated encore. 2013 Cooperstown Baseball is slated to go live in mid August and once again this season will pay homage to the greatest baseball players of all time with another legendary assortment of on-card autographs, a rainbow array of Cracked Ice parallels and the addition of Cogan’s Disks, Cooperstown Lumberjacks wood cards and oversized box-toppers.

Each 24-pack hobby box of 2013 Cooperstown Baseball will deliver one on-card autograph (either a Cooperstown Signatures card or a unique Heroes Buy Back autograph), two Cooperstown Lumberjack wood cards (featuring a mix 0f Deadball Era players and Hall of Famers), six Green Cracked Ice, one Gold Cracked Ice (#’d to 299), three Blue Cracked Ice (#’d to 499), two Red Cracked Ice (#’d to 399), two

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