Sunday, August 23, 2015

Manu-Say What?

Yes, I'm doubling up in the same month for the first time in over two years.  Maybe if all goes well, I'll hit three in August......yeah I probably shouldn't make any promises.  This post was actually the one I had intended to write a few weeks ago, but somehow that post got hijacked as I could never tie my way from how I started collecting into this topic.  Although I enjoy collecting sets, it has been difficult to complete many along the way.  Something new comes out and I kind of drift off until I think about that set from 6 months ago that I never made a Series 2 purchase.  I do finally make my way back which is why my want lists from recent years are usually not put up until long after the set has been available to the public.  Again, I feel myself drifting, so I'll bring it back to the intending discussion point for today.

The late 2000's is when I started to really delve into the true collection process again.  There were a few years prior that online purchases were to complete one subset or another and less about getting a box to open.  I have since mended those evil ways so that the online purchases made nowadays are mostly boxes to fill gaps of those days gone past.  Maybe once every six months, I'll see something that catches my eye, one that was still needed to complete that subset or in one case, a purchase was made to be able to send along with other cards in a trade with one of my fine readers.  Sometimes what I have to offer needs to be upgraded a bit here and there.  Believe me I've got plenty to trade but not everyone is looking for the standard issue and I enjoy helping fellow collectors out when I can.

Once I started looking to complete sets again, the big box store offered boxes that didn't break the bank and allowed me to get a wide variety of cards for a mere $20 here and there.  And if they discounted those boxes, I could really do some damage on collection gaps if I was lucky enough to find them. 2009 Topps brought a new twist to my collecting.  The blaster box included a manufactured card that really caught my attention.  Although those packs don't really offer the ability to get any big hits, knowing that one of the manu-cards was always included made it a nice box to pick up.

They were new and interesting.  The problem was in order to complete the set, you'd need to purchase way too many boxes at the one per box ratio.  But still, I kept on purchasing these boxes to get  the manu-card.  The patches were cool, old-school style pieces that allowed a collector to grab a glimpse of the 80 year old All-Star game patch from the Polo Grounds.  You don't see that very often.  Then 2010 Topps hit the street and there were more Manu cards to collect.  Again, some really nice looking cards from long ago years be it World Series or just generic patches from the last year at Yankee Stadium.  As Topps has a way of doing something that in hindsight isn't probably the best thing they could have done, the Update series manu-cards were sloppy.  They were crooked, had excess glue and the gray backing made little attempt to stay firmly placed on the actual card itself so it appears to be floating.

2011 rolls around and although the 2010 Update set left me wanting better, I still looked to see what Topps was going to do different.  I won't get into the online card trading program that was now in full swing.  That's a subject for a different day.  So back into the manu-cards I dove.  Not the same type of patch, these were more team specific and less game oriented.  Not a bad product in my mind and the quality was better than previously mentioned.  I still liked the concept and looked to collect these.

Then in 2012, Topps started to include some very interesting pieces as manu-cards.  I really enjoyed the two different types that Topps was producing. Both very player specific which was different from any previous manu-card produced.  Yes, there were players on the cards but the patch itself was more driven to a team or past event.  I'm sure Topps could have chosen any number of players to place on a random Yankees or Reds patch from a mid 1970's World Series card.

The name stitched cards, to me, are the nicest.  A big piece of cloth (and yes I know these are not in any way meant to be game worn products) was a nice way to make it appear to be tied to the player.  I'm sure some look at these cards as being wasted cardboard just as I look at any Panini product, but that is what makes my collection different from anyone else's. Some cards are meant to hold a special place and some are meant to be given away if they find their way into my collection.
In 2013 and through today, I didn't even look to see what Topps was going to put out in these blaster boxes.  I felt complete with what I had seen and I tried to purchase some hobby boxes to switch it up a bit.  I think I have one of these cards from 2014 but that was only because someone was kind enough to purchase a box for me for either my birthday or Christmas.  Maybe you have some of these and look to trade for others.  I do have a few extra.  Or maybe they fill your collection and it doesn't fit in.  Either way, if you're so inclined to trade any, let me know.  I have a special place in my collection for these cards and would welcome trying to find a way to complete the 600 or so total manu-cards from those years.  Thanks again for checking in and hopefully you'll be reading my blog again soon as I make the attempt to be here more often than I have been.  Happy collecting my friends.

Friday, August 7, 2015

What brought me here? Do I have a story?

I have been a Topps collector for many years, decades in fact.  Collecting in the 70's was based on how many packs the parents would bring home on their occasional trip to a local store.  That got me through and I'm thankful that I still have every one of those cards even if they were abused, or loved depending on your viewpoint. Dependency at its finest.  I dropped off the radar all together in 1980 until I went back to it in 1982.  Not much of a span but to collect 1980 and 1981 Topps cards wasn't always easy at that time.  Collecting in the 80's through the mid 90's seemed to be too easy as you could find cards every store you walked into.  It was fun as a teenager moving into adulthood.  Prices were within reason and you could complete a set if you worked on it.  You weren't really thinking of how much money you were throwing away to get those last 7 cards needed to complete that 1986 Topps set.

Once more and more companies joined the fray and the insert craze began, the completionist (if there is such a word?) that I am started to unravel.  How could one possibly keep up?  Topps begat Fleer and Donruss who begat Score who begat Upper Deck and Bowman who begat Leaf who begat Stadium Club, Ultra and Studio......the Genesis of the downward spiral that was the 90's of card collecting.  Early on I thought I could manage them all.  Who was I fooling?  College had ended and kids started entering my life.  Who has time for all of that?

So again the collection had it's time (very little in reality) on the side.  Over time I found a way to dedicate time to collecting without putting too much strain on the rest of life.  "Back in the day", there seemed to be a card show every weekend and to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon wasn't obtrusive.  The quotes in that last sentence speak of my experience.  I refuse to use the term age there as it is difficult to accept the number of years in which I have existed.  It just can't be reality can it?  I managed to grow the collection one card show at a time.

The millennium hit and so did the $20 box of cards at your local big box store.  For $20, you get your fix and live to tell about it.  Sometimes that hit was a dud and sometimes life altering packs make there way into your hands.  I was fortunate (or maybe not depending on who's viewpoint your looking at) enough to get a big hit in a box of 1999 Upper Deck Ionix.

After that, the completionist in me set in again.  Ebay became my biggest friend in collecting.  There was no way I could complete the POH 500 HR Set by opening packs.  I had to purchase each one until the set was complete.  I don't believe it is complete today as I may be missing a couple...Man Ram and the Big Hurt come to mind, but at the time prior to the "alternative substance" group became part of this once elite subset, they were all mine.  Complete and accounted for.  But then...3000 Hit Club, Yankees Signature single, double and triple signature cards, Master Collection........Ahhh!!!!  More Ebay, more buying.  Upped Deck was killing the bank account.

After that settled down, it was time to go back to collecting sets.  I didn't abandon it altogether it just wasn't the focal point for a few years.  So there are some lean years in my collection that I wish I would have given more attention to at the time, circa 2000-2003.

I may have stated this before, maybe not, but I now try to focus on the Topps product line and not even all of it.  I love the Topps Heritage line but pay no attention to the Archives line.  Go figure, right?  I have zero interest and I mean zero even in the relic/autos of the Panini brand of unlicensed cards.  It just doesn't do anything for me.  I don't over indulge in packs and or boxes that exceed the $100 threshold.  I am interested in collecting cards, not necessarily in getting the big hit by spending $50 on a pack of cards that will have 3 cards numbered less than 50 in hopes that I get that 1 of 1 that will hit Ebay to pay for the last 35 purchases that have yielded nothing more than a Hall of Fame autograph card numbered to 49.  There may be only 49 of that card, but there are 49 different auto cards numbered to 49 for that same player in the same year.  How do you put 9 cards of those three packs into an 800 count box to fit the organizational structure that is - my collection.  Not going to happen.

So I am now not an Ebay daily, hourly, minute by minute watcher.  I'll wander over once in a blue moon to see what's grabbing my attention on those saved searches that haven't changed in five to ten years.  I'll make a purchase from the new LCS in my town every now and again too.  The camaraderie and friendships gained doing this blog and trading to fill my, and others, want lists far outweigh the hours spent staring at the monitor watching the seconds tick by on that "I need it now" auction purchase.  So thanks to those that read my blog and especially those that continue to help a brotha out with filling the gaps of the ever growing want list on this blog.  That want list is still lacking in many lists but if you get a chance to view it and think we could swing a trade, let me know.  I'm always open to helping you out too.