Collectors Without Borders

You know, every now and again there are certain occurrences in the crazy world of Baseball card collecting that constantly surprise me.

That Prospect cards have taken over the venerable old Rookie card as THE player card of choice is one such oddity that I’ve always had trouble wrapping my head around! That people still go out and buy boxes of Topps Tier One is another! Come on guys, will someone please explain that one to me?

There are others that crop up from time to time, but the one thing that consistently blows me away is the friendliness and generosity of our fellow collectors!

On a personal level I’m always happy to give away cards – always have been! I’m well aware that there’s a thriving trading community out there, both online and at the grassroots level, and I dare say that there are few unscrupulous types who will only entertain a trade if it suits them, if they get the best end of the deal!!

However that isn’t the way Patricia Bates raised her only son, and I’ve always been of the opinion that I’d rather give cards away as long as I know they’re going to a good home. It’s just the way I’m wired! I’ve done it several times in the past and no doubt I’ll end up doing it again in the future!

One such giveaway happened a few weeks ago when I butted in on a Twitter conversation between two Cardinals fans. Don’t you just love that the existence of Twitter somehow allows you to bypass the standard social conventions and rudeness associated with interrupting a conversation in a real world environment? One of these Cardinals fans was my good friend James Ruffin, and the other was Shannon Smith from Sterling, Illinois!

I found out that Shannon had a Yadier Molina PC so I enquired as to whether he had the Gold Parallel #’d/199 from this year’s Topps Archives! He said he didn’t and – BLAM – the card was his. I got his address details and off it went. No fuss and no discussion of a trade. I had a card that another collector wanted and as far as I was concerned the card was his (it didn’t hurt that he was a Cardinals fan either 🙂 )!

A couple of weeks later he found out that I have a fledgling Bob Gibson PC and he sent me a couple of pictures of Gibby singles via Twitter, but I had nothing else to trade so I let him know it was cool and didn’t bother pursuing it further.

Now there’s a popular adage across the sport that the St Louis Cardinals have the best fans in Baseball. On this occasion I’d like to extend this just a bit further and say that they’ve quite possibly got the best card collectors in Baseball as well, as around three weeks later a package turned up from Shannon containing the following –

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Wow!! What can I say??

My Gibson collection suddenly jumped by 50% from 40 cards to 60 in one go, and he also threw in a few extra goodies as well including an X-Fractor of Adam Wainwright from 2013 Topps Chrome!

This is a shining example of the generosity of spirit of my fellow collectors! Without any selfish agenda Shannon was happy to part with 24 cards from his own collection, sending them overseas to help to help a fellow collector in a far-off land! It makes my contribution of a single Yadi insert look a bit lame, all things considered! But if you weigh up the fact that we’re looking at a 24 card to one trade, then I guess you’re missing the point to begin with!

James perfectly summed this up recently when he called it ‘collectors without borders’! You see, I love being part of an international community of collectors, and I love that we all watch out for each other – helping out wherever we can to build upon our collections! Sure, getting cards for your own collection is great, but what’s wrong with spreading the love (and the cards) every once in a while too, eh?

Collectors without borders, long may it continue!!

Thanks Shannon!

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Introducing My New PC

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I’ve been toying with this idea for some time and now that the off-season’s here I figured it was as good a time as any!

You see, Paul Goldschmidt excites me!! As a young hitter with incredible potential he was one of only 13 players to smack over 30 Home Runs this last season!! Only 13?!?!? That’s crazy, but if this is any indication of the post-steroid/PED era then I guess we shouldn’t be surprised!

So Goldschmidt has become my new collecting goal, and I’m pretty stoked about it!

And while you’re there, please bear in mind he was completely robbed of this years NL MVP award, probably due to the fact that Andrew McCutchen got to see some post-season action with the Pirates for the first time in like 200 years, or something! Have a read of this article from Captain Canuck over at Waxaholic, who sums up this injustice so much better than I ever could! It’s an awesome read with a great bit of research behind it!!

The A&G auto you see above is so far the only Paul Goldschmidt card I own (acquired in a trade a few months ago from fellow Brit, Jeff Vernon) so the sky’s the limit folks! I’m keen to set up some trades for any of his base cards/inserts and I’ve updated my ‘Trade Bait’ list that you can find at the top of this page!!

Let me know if there’s anything that interests you and maybe we can work something out!

Cheers!

Andy

All Hail The Postman

I know I’m not alone in experiencing that giddy thrill whenever a card package arrives on the doorstep! You just need to see it sitting there, in that little area just below the letter box, and you instantaneously know what it contains!!

This is one of the great payoffs in the life of a card collector!! It’s alright shopping for cards, talking about cards, or even blogging about cards, but actually receiving the cards – priceless!!

So I feel as if my cup has runneth over recently as I’ve received three separate packages over the last eight days!!

Yay me!!

The first lot arrived from UK-based collector and rampant Mets fan, Ash! He recently busted a jumbo box of 2013 Topps Update and sorted out all the Cardinals cards for me.

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Some nice rookies and inserts in this little lot, including my first official Michael Wacha RC!!

One day I’ll return the favour and get something David Wright-related sent back down to the West Midlands, but given the frightening rate in which his collection is expanding it’ll have to be something pretty special and unique!

Anyways, thanks for these Ash!

Second up is an eBay purchase and my first from this year’s Topps Triple Threads.

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Last week I wrote about my particular fondness for this years Triple Threads product and I was eager to get my grubby mitts on a sample. So when I won this card on eBay for the princely sum of $6.75 I was more than happy!! The $6.00 postage left a nasty taste in my mouth but now’s not the time or place to go on about that particular issue again!

I’m not the biggest Rockies fan but I do like the different swatches on this card! A lovely example which perfectly highlights the beauty of this set!!

I’ll definitely be getting some more of these!!

And last but not least comes this beauty from my buddy James in Alabama!!

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Now before you all go and get excited at the sight of a Rip Card, you should at least be aware that the back looks like this –

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OK, I know what you’re all thinking – “That James Ruffin guy eh, what a tight wad!! Pulled a bit of a fast one there with the ripped Rip Card, didn’t he?”

Well don’t worry too much! I knew it was coming like this and it’s going to take it’s place in my Bob Gibson PC where it belongs!! The Gibby collection has grown a bit quicker than I initially thought so it looks as if I’m going to have to move it from my Ultra-Pro album into something bigger!

Got to plan ahead and all that!!

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So there we go! A bit of an eclectic mix and all extremely welcome additions to my collection!!

My thanks go out to to my fellow collectors who once again have shown the generosity of spirit that makes our small community one of the best to be a part of!!

Cheers!

5 Reasons I Love This Card

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Reason #1

2013 Topps Triple Threads

I have to confess – I’m a little bit in love with this years Triple Threads!!

There, I said it!

From the design of the base cards to the numerous autographed and relic-based inserts, Topps have put together a truly classy looking set of cards!! And while I’ve been vocal in the past regarding my ambivalence towards high-end card sets, I’d happily make an exception in this case!

Reason #2

Themed Insert Sets

You can see from the above image that we’ve got a theme going on with the players depicted. Topps appears to have made a great effort to apply these types of themes across many of it’s multi-player relics in Triple Threads, categorizing by both team and position (or sometimes both as in the above card)!

This is a nice touch and is especially good for team collectors as they can often get three players from the same team on a single, great looking card!

Reason #3

Different Materials

At times you’ll often find a certain amount of laziness when it comes to the manufacture of relic cards! Often you get a single, drab-looking swatch that’s never the most attractive of cards to look at or own. But the thing about this particular card is that once again Topps has taken the time and effort to put together something worth owning.

Imagine how easy it would have been to put three separate jersey swatches together, but instead we get three distinct materials, with a nice differentiation of colour to really make the card stand out

Reason #4

Three of a Kind

Perhaps my favourite aspect of this card is that it features three of the best position players ever to play the game of Baseball! OK, the jury may still be out on Manny Machado (maybe we should revisit this in 10-15 years time), but from what we’ve seen of him so far he’s not given us any reason to doubt that he’ll be up there amongst the greatest defensive third baseman* in Baseball history!

And what makes the card even better is that they all herald from the same team! A perfect example of Orioles past and present!

Reason #5

All Of The Above

Manny Machado, Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken Jr! All on one card!!

Even if you’re not an O’s fan surely you can’t help but get excited at the prospect of a card like this? With it’s gorgeous and varied design, along with its great player selection (TWO Hall of Famers and one potential future member of Cooperstown), this really is a card that stands out from the crowd and would make an awesome addition to my anyone’s collection!!

* OK, I do concede that Ripken Jr is known primarily as a shortstop, but he did move over to third base in 1996 where he remained for the final five years of his career!

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And if you like the look of this card, why not check out this beauty as well!!

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Let me know which one of these two would you like in your collection the most? Or is there another from Triple Threads that’s caught your eye??

Where Have You Been All My Life?

Some of the more eagle-eyed readers of this blog might have notice a distinct lack of presence on my part over the last couple of months. Apart from a re-blog back at the start of October I’ve not put fingertips to keyboard since mid-September!!

Now, I can appreciate the sort of impact this could have. Hearts have been broken for less!! Stock markets have crashed… Nations have even gone to war, damn it!!

But fear not!! I’m still here, I’ve not gone too far!

The truth is I became a bit disillusioned with the whole Baseball card collecting malarkey! I just wasn’t being as inspired or getting as excited about the Hobby as I had been over the previous 12 months.

Topps’ upcoming 2014 output was starting to look insipid and uninspired! A lack of funds at my end meant that I wasn’t able to get hold of any new boxes or singles, which in turn meant that my own PC wasn’t progressing as quickly as I’d have liked! I was even feeling a bit burnt out trying to maintain the frenetic posting pace that I’d imposed on myself, trying to bring you something new and worth reading on a regular basis!

The thing is, I’m not a writer!

Now while some of you may laugh at this and happily point out that that particular bombshell hasn’t come as that much of a surprise given my prior output, what I’m trying to say is that I’m not a trained writer. I have no previous experience doing this sort of thing. Nothing to tell me what’s great syntax and what isn’t. No idea of how best to structure paragraph upon paragraph of inane ramblings and half thought-through musings about cardboard! Most likely the above criteria applies to 90-something percent of the blogging community!

So when I hit a ‘wall’ in terms of coming up with something new and exciting to continue writing about I ended up stopped in my tracks! Could I/Should I just continue writing just for the sake of keeping The Wax Fantastic going on a daily basis? Or maybe it was time to regroup and take a timeout!! (Or maybe I’m overthinking it all)

So I decided to step away and take a bit of a break! Recharge the batteries, and all that!!

And now I’m back – kind of!

I remember reading something somewhere (I forget where or when) that likened the Hobby to ‘cardboard crack’! And they weren’t far wrong. However off-kilter I feel about it at times I always keep coming back for more! I just can’t help it!! So what if Topps’ 2014 brands are looking all ‘been there, done that’?!?! There’s still a load of other cards around right now that are just as deserved of our time and attention! And then there’s also vintage as well!!!

So while I feel in a good place to go back to blogging again I’m purposely going to cut back on how often I post. I always knew that the rate I was going at was going to be unsustainable for me – as a father and husband, with a full-time job and a host of other responsibilities!

But I can’t turn my back on it completely, I enjoy it too much!!

So for The Wax Fantastic, normal service (or at least what passes for normal round these parts) will be resuming – albeit in a slightly diminished capacity!

Feels good to be back, and thanks for sticking around!!

Andy