Monday, August 3, 2015

Hunting a Card that Doesn't Exist

When I first started actively looking for, and buying cards for my PC, I wasn't exactly a big spender.
Take this card, for example.  I had never seen this card ... ever.  In all my 26 years of collecting.  It was a blank back and up for sale for $4, I believe, and shipping was $3 if I recall correctly.



I wasn't too keen on spending $7 on a card like this, so I did what anyone would do in my situation.  I asked the buyer if he would be willing to do $5 including shipping for this card.



EPIC FAIL on my behalf.  I can probably pinpoint this as being the turning point to know when to spend money and when not to ask for $2 off.  It was purchased shortly thereafter, and I got a message from a friend.  "Hey Tanner, check what I just picked up.  I've never seen it before - crazy, right?"

This card is nowhere - not even on checklists!  Well, except for my personal checklist ... notating that I DO NOT HAVE IT!  I emailed the seller to try and glean some information from him about it, and he said he got it years and years ago at a card show & has never seen it again, or since.

My friend and I were going to do a trade but he couldn't find it, so I decided to research it more heavily, to no avail.  After a while, I saw an ebay listing for some Prism advertisements from the early 90's.



Do you see the picture in the bottom left corner of the ad?  Here it is blown up a bit for you ...



Look familiar???  It is a box of 1995 Pacific Prism Spanish.  The box top looks awfully similar to the card I was chasing.  Perhaps I wasn't trying to chase a "card" at all, but rather a box top!

The ad was titled for 1992, so it took me a while to figure out it was for 1995.  After emails out to dealers, and others on ebay, I simply couldn't find these boxes for sale!  I found a blog about them back in 2010, and wrote him but never heard back.  I also found someone that had sold several boxes of them for $400, if I recall correctly.

I decided to write the seller and ask if he would please reach out to the buyer (even though it was months ago) to see if he would sell me a box.  I didn't think this was going to happen, but I had to try.  Sure enough, he put me in touch with the buyer!  We'll call the buyer Brandon (because that is his name...duh!)

I asked the buyer if he would just sell an empty box.  He said it took him a while, but he actually did find an empty box and said he would just send it to me for free!  I do not know the guy at all, and here he is, saying he is willing to spend his time and money to just send me one!

The box came in tonight, and I was ready to rip into it to make a card out of it.  The mail was late, and I was going to dinner/movie with a friend, so I couldn't do it until I came back,  Here is what the box looks like.



Isn't the box itself gorgeous?  Here is the top of the box ...



And what is this?  A cool little graphic on the front!



I don't know if I have ever seen as nice of a box before.  Pacific used the same card stock for the box as they did their cards, and the top portion was outstanding, because it has all of the characteristics for a card:  A picture of the player, a picture of the logo and the player's name ... all inside of a 2.5x3.5" area.



The bonus was the front flap, which has Jose standing in front of the Pacific logo.  It is a little smaller than a mini goudey:



Here are all of them together along with the REAL card that is in the set.  Brandon was kind enough to send that over to me as well!



So, that wraps up that mystery!  Thanks for reading and THANK YOU again Brandon!








Saturday, August 1, 2015

My First Break, The National and Brian Gray

My wife and son have been gone on their mission trip since Thursday afternoon, and I am stuck here all by my lonesome - well, aside from our 2 dogs who are so depressed about their departure, that they don't acknowledge that I'm still here.  (Seriously, dogs - the least you can do is come downstairs when I walk in the door!)

This morning, I opted to not let my inner uber-lazy-tv-watching bachelor win and actually got out to do something.  One thing I have been wanting to do is to actually physically see my Beckett on the news stands for myself in person.  I asked for some people around the nation to send over some pics, and I got some which I was very thankful for, but I figured - when is this going to happen again?  So I made the trek out to Barnes & Noble.

Before going out, I called to make sure.  I asked the lady if the Beckett with Joey Gallo on the cover was still on the stands.  After about 5 minutes, she came back and said it was, then offered to hold one for me up front.  I told her no and asked her to please leave it on the stands.  She seemed confused as to why I would request this, so I told her I'm on the front of it.  She started giggling and said "Oh, so you are THE Joey Gallo!"  I reluctantly said no, and that I was the really tiny dude at the top.

Yeah, I'm dorky enough to take a selfie of myselfie with my magazine in the store.  (Are you sick of seeing my face yet?  I'll spare you the horror - close your eyes and scroll like ... a half a second down!)



Okay, you can now open them again.

How nerdy I must have looked - a 35 year old man taking a picture of himself in a bookstore for no apparent reason.

Anyway, I wasn't just going there to see it in person and take a quick awkward pic of myself.  The main reason was to pick up a few copies of the Beckett and some frames to display them on the wall in my office.  I wanted to also frame the "custom" Beckett cover I made to put on the wall as well.



Sorry for the crummy pic - the window right next to it was causing a horrific glare.  The bottom right pic is one of our favorites.  Jose was trying on a Devil Rays jersey while wearing some shorter shorts - we all got a great kick out of that, so I figured it was wall-worthy.  Plus, I needed something to fill in position #9.

After this, I figured I'd make the long trip to the only baseball card shop I know for sure is still around.  I checked google, and it said they were open at 11 on saturdays.  After a half hour of driving, I was greeted with a sign that said "We will not be open until 12 today due to baseball games."

DANG IT!  I wasn't about to wait for an hour just to pick up some boxes (that is what I was going there for primarily anyway).  Besides, my first ever online break was coming up at 12:30 and I was starving.   At the end of every year, I buy copious amounts of wax to re-sell and trade away.   A few years ago, I did something called "I Break You Buy" - if someone wanted to buy a box from me and wanted me to break it for them online, I would then allow them to pick the top 5 cards and ship to them, to save money on postage.  I did several, and it was fun - but I had never been on the receiving end of something like this.

For $19.99 + shipping, I was the winner for the spot of a 2015 Leaf Legends of Sport Case Break for Jose Canseco.  (Imagine that!)  I got home and it took a while for them to get started.  I wasn't sure why, but I was more excited about trying this thing out than I care to admit.  One of the really cool things about it that I didn't know, was it was being opened at the National.  Though I wasn't able to attend, I really did want to.

The whole scavenger hunt that Beckett had setup was really intriguing to me. First, the fact that I was going to be on one of the National Exclusive cards, but there was also a chance at a National Exclusive 1988 July Beckett Card of Canseco - autographed!  The way it worked was like this:  If you were one of the first 200 people who went to each of the 15 booths to pickup a National Exclusive Beckett card (and buy something from each booth), then presented it to the Beckett booth, then you would be awarded a "blind wrapped" signed Beckett card.

I was very fortunate to grab the signed Canseco off Ebay yesterday.  It is numbered to 30 copies, and is a thing of beauty - it is even encapsulated!  I can't tell you how happy I am to get this! 



Right before lights out, I did a deal for the unsigned version of it as well.  I didn't even know these existed, and they apparently are rare.  Either way, I'm very glad! 

Perhaps the coolest thing though is when Chris from the forums (Chris, I forgot your screen name - please stand up so you can get a round of applause!)  reached out to me.  He said that he got me not one, but TWO of my national exclusive cards for me!  Razor, my fellow Canseconite said that I should figure out how to get the visual checklist since I was on there as well.  He pointed me to an ebay listing to where someone was trying to get $100 for the checklist alone.  Jeesh!  I asked Chris if he by any chance would be able to get his hands on one, and he said he figured I would want one, so he got me one!  Chris, again ... THANK YOU!  I really do appreciate it! 



OKAY - back to the case break!

With the case just sitting there in front of the camera, I noticed the label showed that there were 200 ten box cases produced.  I read earlier that each box only had 1 pack and each pack had 7 cards.  This I quickly did the math.  I guessed that with the 3 flavors of Canseco that come in it, each having cards #'ed to 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 as well as (completely guessing) 100 each of the 'base' versions of these 3 flavors, I figured that perhaps there were about 500 Cansecos out there.  It looked like my odds were good at pulling at least a base, which would have made me happy (I admit I did my math wrong on the fly and thought I only had a 1 in 4 chance at one!)



After a while, they mentioned they were going to have a special guest.  The guest, it turns out to be, is no other than Brian Gray, CEO of Leaf!  I see BG to baseball cards as I see Dana White to MMA.  Sure, there are other brands, but Brian is the only one I know of that gets in the forums and blogs online to interact with others.  For all I know, the CEO's of Topps & Panini may do this too, in which case may completely nullify my previous comparison, but to my knowledge that is not the case.  While the break was about to start, I said something about how Brian should have his autographed card inserted in the boxes.

The boxes kept being busted open, and still no signs of Jose.  Finally, in the 2nd half of the case, I finally hit one!  A base auto.  Again, I'm fine with this as that is what I was hoping for - at least one.



At the end Brian asked what "mouschi's" real name was on video, so I typed it in the chat box and the other guy on the video confirmed my name as well.  Brian pulled out a blank card of himself and said "Well, Tanner - I'm way ahead of you on the card thing.  Here you go."  He personalized the card to me and it should be coming along with the Canseco!



Even though I got a Canseco autograph, I'd have to say the most fun part of the break was getting BG's auto personalized to me.  I didn't really ever understand why so many people wanted my autograph, since I'm a nobody (Read: not a baseball player), but after getting his autograph, I can now see how it could be fun to collect autographs of people other than sports stars.

As I was about to close out the window that had the online break, I saw a dealer walk by the camera who I talk to each time that the Tri Star show is here.  I don't even know his name, but I thought it was pretty funny.  It kind of reminds me of one of those grainy big-foot pictures.



For fun, I wanted to see if Brian had any autos on ebay.  Interestingly enough, one did sell for over $20 recently.  Brian, if you are reading this, a word of advice - grow a moustache and put a hair in the card.  It will go for crazy money!  Just make sure you use the Alpha Whisker.  Keep up the good work with your cards, and don't forget to keep adding Canseco in to your releases!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Card Revived from the Trash Heap

During my collecting journey, I've made some pretty good friendships with others.  Two of them are very close to Canseco.  One of them pitches to him before games to warm him up and in home run derbies.  At Jose's 51st birthday party, he mentioned the poker cards I made him.  Canseco said "Oh yeah, Tanner made these for me - I love them - they are my favorite!"

To hear that your favorite player say something like that about what you made for him AND remember your name (oh yeah, my name is on the back of the cards) - words can't describe :)

My other friend hangs out with him fairly frequently whenever he is in his neck of the woods, and was able to get me some more autographs.  A few didn't come out all that well during the signing (hey, not all can be perfect when signing 170+  items, right?)  A few of them came back the other day!

Here is a goofball cameo card.  Can you spot who is all in the background?  (Hint: 2 are famous, and the other 2 are me and my son.)




Here is my favorite in the bunch.  I just sent over the front of this one and Jose signed it.  When it came back, I put together with a very nice patch from a jersey I had him wear.  I think it came out great!




This next one isn't one from my friend at all, though.  As a matter of fact, it isn't one that I was even going to do anything with.  I found it in my "scrap" pile and forgot about it.  It was based off of a football design, if I remember correctly.



It struck me as nice, but I thought it would REALLY pop if I tweaked the colors a bit.



Much better, I think!  Then I took a bit of a patch from a game used jersey:



Man, wouldn't it be sweet if I had him sign it when I was at his house?  Oh wait ... I kind of did!  (I got a few sticker blanks signed by him for projects such as this.)



Here is the end result:



I cannot believe this card was going to be dumped!  I really love how it turned out.  I think the colors complement the design nicely, and the patch selection is perfect for the box.

As a side note, The National is coming up.  If anyone is able to snag the card of Beckett magazine that they made, please let me know!  The same goes for their random Beckett card of Canseco that was autographed by him.  I'm mega interested in both!







Saturday, July 25, 2015

Garage Sale Results for my Wife and Son's Mission Trip!

I posted this on the forums as a final post to the thread I started showing my moustache / autograph card I was selling for the mission trip.  I know this doesn't have much to do with baseball, but wanted to post it on my blog as well ...

My wife and son leave for their trip on Thursday, so I thought I'd just give an update on the whole money raising part.  I had about 6 people buy the mini blue/red autographs of me, which was very nice of them.  I even had 2 people donate some money from the forums!

My wife decided to do a massive garage sale, and asked some friends/family members if they had any junk to donate for us to sell.

Yeah, they did.

We ended up getting a boat load of stuff.  People came through in a huge way.  While I was very thankful for the donated items, I was worried about the amount of stress it would cause just listing everything.

We stayed up in the garage last night until around 2am and were pretty much out on our feet by bed time.  Our neighborhood isn't very well trafficked for this kind of thing, so our expectations were low.  To help traffic though, I went ahead and posted it on about 7 websites.

By our calculations, we had $637 left to raise for their part.  (We still are responsible for about $500 to contribute to the "pot" to pay for the building materials / furniture for the house.)  We had done a few other fund raising garage sales and the last one ended up bringing in about $150 or so which was great.



7am came early, and we feverishly started putting things out.  Before I even had time to litter the freeway and our neighborhood with our garage sale signs, people were checking out what we had.

By 8:30am, we were already sweat soaked because it was so hot and humid.  At the end of the day, we filled up the cardboard mobile (the name I affectionately call our minivan thanks to my several excursions picking up card collections) and packed it to the brim (not joking - I'm surprised I fit in the driver seat!), then dropped the leftovers off to "Resale with a Purpose".

When I came back, we dumped all the money on the floor and counted it as a family.  Keep in mind the part to pay for my wife and son was $637 (I actually didn't know this exact dollar until after the fact.)  We ended up selling $645.55!

Needless to say, we are very happy and will be going out for a victory burger later.  We still have about $500 left to go, but I would classify this as a miracle - that is a lot of money from a garage sale!  God is good all the time, but He was especially good to us today!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Custom Time with a Babe Ruth Bat

Since taking apart several 1 of 1's at the requests of their owners to create something truly unique - and posting them - I have had a number of critics.  While several have said they like what I came up with more than what the card companies created, many just thought it was "wrong" to do...regardless of how nice they turned out.

One thing that has come out of this whole ordeal is apparently what many of the card companies have been putting out simply are not enough to keep people satisfied.  I have had a lot of interest in others doing the same thing.  Particularly from one person you may have heard of before:  Danny Olberman.  (Google him and you will know who I am talking about.)

Mr. Olberman has arguably the most impressive pre-war collection on the planet.  When he caught wind of what I was doing, he wanted to take a few of his prized possessions to the chop shop owned by yours truly.

If you think what I had done before was dastardly, you may want to look away, because this blows away everything else I have done up to this point.



Olberman had not one but TWO game used bats from the sultan of swat:  Babe Ruth!  He wanted me to cut up both, but I convinced him to keep one of the gamers whole.  Here is what we were working with:



and a close up of the barrel...



After about 5 hours of grinding and chopping, the yield was decent, though a LOT of it is not usable for card material.



Thankfully, the nameplate came out perfect!


After spending some time on the design, here is the front of the card:



Ahem ... might i say ...

GOT HEEEM!

I know, I know - I'm fresh off the heels of my posting for my finger card.  I halfway promise I have it out of my system now.  :)

No, I did not chop up a Babe gamer, and no, I did not get contacted by a Danny Olberman.  Completely fictitious character.  I did, however, have the opportunity to create something pretty dang awesome (I'm not kidding this time...Keep reading!)

What I did have the benefit of doing is creating something truly unique out of a Ted Williams signed check...



And one of his patch cards...




I personally think that the card is beautiful, albeit an odd pairing of both players and relics.  Barry Bonds and Ted Williams?  Okayyy....  And a PATCH of Teddy Ballgame with a base for Barry?

Weird.

One of the challenges I faced was the signature's size.  A card is 3 1/2" wide and the autograph was.  I typically like to work with signatures 3" or less, and this was cutting it close as it was.



Instead of trying to cram it into a standard card, why not make it bigger?  How about a vertical booklet size without the channel in the middle of the card?  It doesn't need to bend since it isn't pack pulled anyway, right?

Here is the carnage of the nice Bonds/Williams that is now gone forever.


So here I present to you:  The Splendid Splinter Patch / Cut Auto 1 of 1 nestled nicely in a vertical booklet holder:
 

The back has pictures of the check, COA and the donor card for this art piece.  I find it funny that about 10 years ago, Donruss was putting pictures of the memorabilia used to make their cards.  Fast forward 10 years, I'm now putting pictures of the cards I'm destroying that are used to make my cards.


Here is a size comparison with a regularly sized card.  I was at first curious about the patch.  Would it be that funky size in the SPX card, or would it prove to be a nice square?  I was glad it was the full square, though it was a task and a half to get it out of the card in one piece.



This just might be one of my favorite pieces I've done.  I love how it turned out!

Before I sign off for this post, I have a request:  If you see my Beckett on the stands in your local card shop or store, would you mind snapping a pic of it and sending to me?  Having a selfie with you in it is perfectly acceptable as well.  :)  I'd love to have a small collection of pics from where it is being sold in various places.  I'm not sure I'm going to be able to make it to the store to see one live in a store before it comes off the shelf!






Thursday, July 23, 2015

Latest Canseco Pickup!

About 16 years ago, you may recall Fleer putting out a set by the name of Brilliants.  The base cards feature a chrome mirror like finish, and had a very premium look by itself.  Very classy looking card.  I remember seeing them from time to time whenever I would go through huge collections I purchased, and would find a Canseco.  I would be ecstatic because it was so nice looking!

Later on down the road, when I got more serious into my PC, I sought out the parallels as well.  They had a blue version, which was insanely beautiful - I was able to get my hands on that next, and they also had a gold version which was drop dead gorgeous.  It was numbered to 99, and I think I've only seen one up for sale, which was from former Canseco supercollector @1st4040.


I LOVE these types of rainbows.

But, there is one final parallel to the set.  A 24kt gold version with a rainbow type finish and numbered to /24.   This was pie in the sky for me - especially when you have guys like Griffey selling for $1,500.  Heck, even the Thome recently went for $400.

I've only seen 2 others, and they are from 2 other fellow Canseco super collectors who wouldn't give theirs up if their lives depended on it ... or for anything less than $500 I'd imagine :)

I just so happened to be having the right conversation with the right person at the right time.  This person JUST pulled it from a pack!  I made an offer and he accepted!  Here is my precious ...



And now, all in a row ...



What's that you say?  The pictures show my new treasure in different card holders?  Well, I couldn't very well stage it with the others in a different holder, now could I?  Don't judge me - you know you would do it too.

Anyway, I'm still mega hyped about my new pickup today.  I didn't know if I would ever see one, and as it turns out - this particular copy has only been seen by the guy who pulled it, and me ... until now.  

Friday, July 17, 2015

When baseball cards aren't baseball cards + Custom Rip Card Reveal

I remember having an early interest with Allen & Ginter back several years ago.  I was still getting over the fact that boxes of cards were significantly higher than the $15 I was used to as a child.  I was very intrigued by the pack pulled autographs and relic cards.  So much in fact, that I was willing to drop $80 on a box of A&G. 

I was disappointed.

I had been told that there would be not one ... not two ... but THREE "hits" (either game used cards or autographs) in the box.  Silly me ... I thought they were talking about BASEBALL CARDS.  A few packs in, I hit my first relic card - it was a scrub.  No problem!  I still had several packs to go and 2 hits left!

The 2nd hit was....

a piece of slacks...

from a bowler. 

I didn't see that one coming, but surely the final hit was going to be something mega awesome from a super star.  A red ink 1 of 10 incre....

Flannel.

It was a flannel relic from a duck hunter. 

While I still would not be happy with those "hits", I can see our baseball card collecting hobby has changed fairly drastically over the past several years - right under our noses.  Even for myself.  If I pulled a Will Ferrell autograph several years ago, I would have been confused.  And now?  Heh, due to the pricing, I may be more excited than if I had pulled an on card autograph of Mike Trout!

Last year, I caught the non-sports bug as well by meshing baseball designs with non baseball personalities, such as some Star Wars in a 2009 Topps Refractor style.



Even something simple but elegant like a cut auto of Jessica Alba from  Fantastic Four.



But lets face it, you aren't living unless you have a 1993 SP Foil Homer Simpson.  Derek Jeter who?



Among countless others.  My 10 year old self would truly be scratching his adolescent head for making such cards when he could be making cards of oh ... I don't know ... BASEBALL PLAYERS. 

Nevertheless, it brings me great joy.  Perhaps something else that makes it even better is when my tv "heroes" can be found in real life, and you can get your creations autographed. 

Hold onto your moustaches, gents - today's new arrival was one I thought was surely gone forever.  After 9 months of waiting, here it is:

RON SWANSON



and the bacon back ....



Nick Offerman ... errr....Ron Swanson ... took it up a notch though.  He sent me a personalized letter!  Here it is:



You know it is going to be a good day when one of your favorite television personalities sends you a profanity laced personalized message! 

So yeah, today was a good day :) 

I'll wrap up this blog posting (or "thread" for those of you who are reading on a forum) with the announcement that Mouschi Code is now open for everyone to give it a try!  Out of the hundreds of people who tried to win, there was only one victor.  However, I wanted to allow everyone a chance to crack the Mouschi Code.  Here is a teaser of what the rip card winner experienced:

First, the rip card:


But what was in it?



Yes!  A mini card of me eating a baseball.  Just what everyone wants!  I know what you are thinking.  That is plenty rewarding right there!  But keep reading ... The card says enter the code on the back of the card at the website. 


However, there is NOT a code.  It is a riddle FOR a code.



The winner would then figure out the riddle and enter it here:



If he got it right, he would be met with several goofy questions that involve a video of me doing things like serenading him ...



Snarling at him as a pirate



and even get an up close moustache lashing ...



All in all, it would probably take someone 15 minutes to an hour depending.  Based upon the above images, you now have the ability to try it out for yourself since you have the first riddle on the back of the card to try it.  Sorry, you won't be winning $10,000+ worth of cards like A&G gives its winners.  However, if you do crack the Mouschi code, you will definitely get mad respect from friends, family members and strangers alike.

I've always been intrigued by the Ginter Code, and have always been too dumb to figure it out, so I've wanted to put together something for those of us who are not ridiculously smart like @calculusdork.

The site is crazy cheesy / dorky, and took about 2 1/2 days to put together & I had fun doing it.  It is my hope you all will get a kick out of it too.