Sunday, October 23, 2016

Soccer...from WalMart

I make no apologies for being a soccer fan. I coached the sport and still enjoy watching it for the most part. I don't follow the MSL but I am a fan of European soccer in general and the Premier League in particular. Manchester United is my UPL club. I follow a bunch of different International teams, those that my family has roots in, Portugal, Germany, Italy, England and Mexico. 

I don't collect soccer per se but every once in awhile I'll pick up a card of a player I like. 

Last week I ventured into WalMart, a place I usually avoid. The two in my vicinity rarely have any cards worth looking at. That's why I'll drive over a toll bridge to get to Target. But when it's 11 p.m., you are facing an early wake-up call and you are fresh out of coffee creamer its any port in a storm!

WalMart surprised me by having not only a nice supply of 2016 Football, new Topps Heritage High Number packs and two(!) 2016 Soccer releases, Topps and Donruss.

I bought a hanger package of each of the soccer products. Both came with two packs and what they advertised as bonus cards. I both cases I got an extra bonus card so that's a plus. That never happens to me with baseball of football cards. The bonus cards are shiny chrome things that a) don't scan well and b) otherwise look like the regular cards. The two cards above are both bonus cards.

The Topps cards are very 'busy'. The cards are of players from teams involved in the European Champions League. They are designed to be used as part of some sort of digital game. Who the heck has time for that nonsense?

There are no stats on the back. There isn't much of anything on the back for that matter. 

The Donruss cards I liked a lot more. They resemble their other 2016 products. Like the Topps package I received an extra 'bonus' shiny card. They promised two but I got three (one of which I didn't bother to scan). 

Also like Topps the regular cards are, at least to me, more attractive than the chrome ones.

And with Donruss I got the best card on the night, Messi. He can be a putz but there is no denying his amazing talent. 

The backs lack traditional stats but had a bunch more info than the Topps cards.

I won't buy more of these, at least not any more packs. But I may pick up a player here and there for my slim soccer binder.

I'll scan and post a few cards from the baseball and football packs I also bought that night very soon.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

My '58 Topps Blog is online

I spent a bit of time over the past week getting the 1958 Topps Blog ready to go. You also can find the link over in the sidebar. The format is still a work in progress but it'll likely remain pretty simple: a scan of both sides of the card, a blurb about the player(s) and maybe an odd fact or two from the 'net.

Right now I have 353 of the 494 cards in the set which puts me at 71.4%. Maybe a dozen or so of what I have will get upgraded eventually but for now I can live with them. The set itself doesn't get much love from collectors. The numerous head shots and lack of backgrounds tend to push it down any list of 'faves of the 50s' but that doesn't faze me. I have a sentimental attachment to it and maybe my blog will stir up some converts. Honestly, a binder page of ex/m 58s is a thing of beauty.

According to my calculations the 1958 Topps set contains cards of 39 Hall of Famers. Several are represented on multiple cards in the set including base cards plus the All Star subset and the multiplayer specials. They are:
  • Ted Williams
  • Bob Lemon
  • Willie Mays
  • Don Drysdale
  • Hank Aaron
  • George Kell
  • Roberto Clemente
  • Al Kaline
  • Dick Williams
  • Luis Aparicio
  • Duke Snider
  • Robin Roberts
  • Early Wynn
  • Jim Bunning
  • Enos Slaughter
  • Mickey Mantle
  • Sandy Koufax
  • Red Schoendienst
  • Richie Ashburn
  • Bill Mazeroski
  • Warren Spahn
  • Frank Robinson
  • Harmon Killebrew
  • Will Harridge
  • Warren Giles
  • Brooks Robinson
  • Ernie Banks
  • Walter Alston
  • Whitey Ford
  • Hoyt Wilhelm
  • Orlando Cepeda
  • Yogi Berra
  • Pee Wee Reese
  • Nellie Fox
  • Larry Doby
  • Whitey Herzog
  • Eddie Mathews
  • Casey Stengel
  • Stan Musial
I'm not sure how frequently I will be posting over there but I'll try to maintain a one- or two-a-week pace. I also want to keep my 1960 blog moving along. I neglected that one for a few months until this week.

I hope you'll check out the '58 site. Comments and criticisms are always welcome.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Upgrade Mania

After chasing the '59 Topps set a card or two at a time I decided that a more efficient way to collect a set was to start with a large lot purchase. Doing so gets you a big jump on the set at a reasonable cost per card. Downside being that large but affordable lots invariably contain some filler cards that will need upgrading. That's even true in my case despite my rather liberal view of what makes a card 'acceptable'.

I employed the 'large lot' strategy with the 1960 Topps set, the Civil War News set and most recently with the 1958 Topps set. Each purchased lot definitely had a card or two that fell into the 'I won't even put this into the binder' category.

1960 Topps Don Elston.

This beauty came in my 200 card lot. All-in-all the cards were pretty sweet but this one? Yikes.

Actually the corners were pretty nice but I think I went to eBay the day the cards arrived and found a better one:

Softer corners but at least Elston has a face.  I like to pass along my vintage dupes but there was no way I could put that first one in a PWE. It went in the trash.

1958 Topps Hank Foiles.

The guy who sold me the big lot of '58s had them in a box in card number order. That meant that Hank Foiles here, card #4 in the set, was  right on top. I remember immediately thinking that I'd made a huge mistake. The cards in the listing looked to be in at least Fair shape, most looked better than that. But if this card was representative of what I was getting then even at under a buck a card I was going to be very disappointed.

Luckily the Foiles card was the worst card in the box. By quite a wide margin. Again I had to wonder why the seller had even bothered with it. I didn't do as I did with the '60 Elston and find a replacement right away but I found one for sale on eBay from a seller I've dealt with and loaded it in my cart. I bought it a few days later with some others. Again the replacement Foiles card isn't perfect but it is perfectly fine for my binder.

The new one looks even better when placed alongside the original.

1962 Civil War News 'The War Ends'.

This card came with the original lot I picked up on eBay that averaged about a dollar each. It may be definitely is the worst card I've ever paid for. I had fair warning though. The seller went out of his way to make the condition of some of the cards very clear. He even emailed me about it after I paid.

It was obviously trimmed to include the card number.

With the cost of nice ungraded cards from this set being pretty high (routinely in the $7 to $10+ range) I did well with the lot I bought. So I didn't feel bad for paying $8 for the replacement

It's off-center but nearly every card in the set was miscut, or so it seems from looking at what I have and what is for sale. But other than that it's the nicest example of the nearly 50 CWN cards I now have. Bottom line...CWN #82 went from worst to first in my binder.

I'll continue to play the upgrade game with my 1958 set. But other than the Foiles that will have to be when I'm finished with the thing. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

NFL Oddball...1966 Amoco Stamps

One of the things (OK, the BIG thing) about getting old is a tendency to forget stuff. Like where you see things that first caught your eye. In this case I can't remember whose blog had a post about these 1966 Amoco Oil All Pro game stamps. Wherever it was I knew immediately that I needed at least one of the Colts in the set.  Old, oddball Baltimore Colts items are at the top of my list of coveted collectibles.

Poking around online I wasn't able to find much info on these but looking at the eBay auctions it wasn't hard to piece together the idea behind them. You fueled up at a Standard Oil station, received a sheet of three stamps and pasted them onto the game card.

I was able to nab a three stamp game piece that included the great Lenny Moore. As you can see by the fact that the print on the reverse is plainly visible in the scan these things are very thin.

Rules/instructions on the back with the front side showing through. Opening the package I found that the piece was in a wax paper envelope that appears to be about the same vintage as the stamp. I'm guessing that's how you received it at the gas station. 

On eBay currently there is one 'collector's card' up for grabs. I snagged the photo from the listing to show here. Top prize was a 1967 Mustang! Damn, I'd love to have one of those right now.

Just like all these types of collect-a-piece promos (McDonalds' Monopoly game comes to mind)  it appears that finding all but one of the top level prize pieces was easy. Getting the last one? Not so easy.

The stamps themselves? They are so poorly executed and incredibly cheesy that they have quite a bit of charm. Just look at these things! I can't tell if they are photos or drawings. I think they are some goofy combination of both. My Lenny Moore may be the best (least awful) of the lot.

I blew up a couple of others from the collectors card photo. 

Pete Retzlaff  (a terrific receiver in his day, btw) resembles the Great Gazoo, no?

But my very favorite is Redskins LB Sam Huff. WTH? He looks like Daniel Craig in a fez. Sam Huff was one of my father's favorite players when he was with the Giants. I bet my old man wouldn't have picked this shot as a Sam Huff photo.

Anyway it's a neat little item that now has a place in my huge Baltimore Colts binder.