Friday, March 21, 2014

My FIRST Custom Booklet

Okay everyone - I've been laboring over this for quite some time now.  The learning curve / research / testing / time / materials has been huge, but here it is:

Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire Custom Dual Patch Booklet!

I started out designing in Photoshop, of course.  I was working on another for someone, and ended up using similar artwork, but changed it to meet the needs of my personal collection.  I found a GREAT picture, of the Bash Brothers doing the bash.  I'm very happy with how the graphics turned out.

Then, after I got everything lined up, I printed this bad boy out ....Oh crap!  I forgot to photoshop out my '90 Donruss Frank Thomas Rated Rookie.  Now everyone is going to know it's a fraud!!!!

Chop, chop!

I admit, it got hard here.  I wanted to stop and just have these 2 as standalone cards.  But, I kept going ...


All done!  The outside of the booklet

And the money shot ....

I'm happy with how it came out for my first try.  I just might do one without patches, and see if I can get them to sign them. The word on the street is that McGwire will NOT sign anything with Canseco on it, so I'll have to have him get it signed as a standalone card, then bind it up later.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Frank Thomas Rated Rookie? Former Donruss Employee Confirms Existence

Monday, March 17th 2014
Written By: Joseph King

Frank Thomas Rated Rookie? Former Donruss Employee Confirms Existence.

 In what could be the most exciting news to come out of baseball cards from the early 90's, a former Donruss employee has confirmed that there are a very small number of Frank Thomas "rated rookie" baseball cards from the 1990 Donruss "AQUEOUS" set in existence.


Known by collectors as the "junk wax" era, the late 80's and early 90's were dominated by the "big Five" - Topps, Donruss, Fleer, Score and Upper Deck. "The printing presses literally did not stop from December until June." commented Jason Sutcliffe, former Donruss Employee. 

"We told those close to us to never invest in baseball cards, because we knew like any investment, it was all about supply and demand. While the demand was at an all-time high in 1989, we who worked at Donruss knew that the supply was so high, every man woman and child on the planet could own at least 3 sets of 1990 Donruss. 

That just isn't a recipe for a sound investment." Sutcliffe was right. As the internet became more mainstream, the eyes of the public were opened to a better idea of the glut of product out there. Auctions for 100 Sammy Sosa 1990 donruss rookies would pop up, and after a while, you could start picking them up for a quarter per card. The card itself would have a book value of $2.00, but the true value of the card would be significantly less, because everyone who collected already had at least a few, so nobody wanted one. 

So what makes this 1990 Donruss Frank Thomas so interesting? If Sammy Sosa's card only goes for a dime, wouldn't a Frank Thomas from the same set be somewhere within a dollar of that? "It is an 'Aqueous Test' version of the card." Sutcliffe commented. "We were getting many complaints about health hazards due to the ink we were using back in the late 80's, so as a test, we tried a water based ink. 

 It did not turn out to be cost effective for us, so after a few test runs, we were ordered to destroy the the cards that were printed. Everyone ended up keeping them. I didn't get any of them, except for the 'throw aways'." "The 'throw aways' were of 3 cards: Gregg Jefferies, Jose Canseco and Frank Thomas. While Jefferies and Canseco made it into the set, Frank Thomas did not.


You can easily tell these from the others. Aside from 'INC' missing the period on the back, and the back being marked with "AQUEOUS TEST", the MLBPA logo on the back-right does not have a border, whereas the other Aqueous tests do. Another thing to note is that the borderless version of Jefferies and Canseco featured completely different pictures from the ones that made it into the set. The photography was so bad on them, they came close to not even making it into the set. Finally, they were able to get suitable replacements." 

 "The Thomas however, is a completely different story." Sutcliffe recalled. "People got fired over this. Half of the decision makers were not a fan of Frank Thomas. He was young, unproven and would have likely been included in the Donruss supplemental set "The Rookies" that would come out later on in the year anyway. Because of this, they scrapped Thomas from the set entirely, after the Aqueous no-border MLBPA run. As you can see, Thomas would have been #41, but instead, Andy Benes took his place. The unbordered MLBPA versions of Jefferies, Canseco and Thomas were literally only printed a few times. When they first went through the printing presses, the quality control inspector caught the lack of bordering around the MLBPA logo and ordered the press to be stopped immediately, for fear of not meeting the MLBPA's logo usage guidelines. That could have easily cost the company what Thomas got paid from the White Sox over the first 2-3 years of his career." 

"The copies of the 3 card panels were literally thrown in the trash. I scooped them out and used the cutting equipment at Donruss to separate them. Only two others of these exist. I know, because I gave the doubles to two co-workers after they left the company a year later. One was a big Canseco fan, and the other had a kid who collected cards that was a Mets fan." 

The '90 Donruss Frank Thomas card that Sutcliffe, and a few other unknown people out there own could end up being the most significant card from the junk wax era, if one ever hits the market. The 1990 Topps Frank Thomas version without his name on the front can easily command over $1,000, and so can some of the stars from the 1990 Donruss Aqueous test set. 

"I would never sell it. This is a piece of baseball card collecting history." Sutcliffe commented. "Don Sherman, the Donruss Quality Control Inspector contacted me the day after Thomas was inducted into the Hall of Fame and offered me $5,000 but I turned him down. I didn't even know he knew that I had it! I'm going to keep this forever. For all I know the other 2 have been lost or thrown away." 

 It looks like the crown jewel of Frank Thomas collectors everyone might be out of reach. For now anyway, unless one of the other two owners step forward, or if someone ends up printing them. 

About the Writer 
Joe King is one of the many writers for King has been a writer for years, and is more of an idea, than a person, just like the others. He has investigated and cracked many fabrications such as the one above. Joe King spends his free time producing high quality, unsubstantiated news articles for his readership to enjoy. Please note, he is never serious. He is Joe King!

I've really been itching to produce this card in an inverse border/rated rookie logo color variation.  I think it turned out super sharp.  Here are some pics!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A VERY good week for my Personal Collection

I have posted a few times this week about some custom cards for my pc (Canseco). I was really bitten by the custom card bug hard. Mainly because Canseco prematurely ended his career, and I wished that the card companies would make more legends cards of him. Since that didn't happen, I decided to step in :) Soooo ... I pulled out the big guns ...


After doing a few mockups, I knew I wanted some of my favorite years of Topps ... in some of my favorite colors, blue and yellow: of 2009 ...

and 2011 ... 

and 2013 ...

While were at it, I was thinking why not a superfractor? 1 of 1, baby!


And what the heck, why not an actual custom INVISIFRACTOR - that's right, folks. You saw it here first!


The back reads: "Congratulations! You have just received an invisifractor baseball cards of Jose Canseco." (It is stamped #0/0). "Enjoy your beautiful new card. It is a shame that you are the only one who can see it!" Then at the bottom it says "The invisifractor: known by all. Seen by none." My son helped me with the wording, so I'm very happy to have had him in the mix. I made the cards all to have a logo look like Topps, but have it say ""

If you don't know what the invisfractor is, check out more here . It is fantastic stuff. Sumrtop gave me a surprise by doing the psa holder - that was a great addition! If you look closely enough to these designs and know what to look for, you will see a blurred picture of me and Jose together in the background of each card. But way ... there's more! Shortly before this flurry of Canseco-ey goodness, I found out Jose was going to be in town to sign autographs. (YEAH!!!) So I decided to design a card with an autograph window. Then another. Then another. Trying to forget what all this was going to cost and remember this is like the ultimate PC opportunity, I went all out. I designed the cards, had them put together and rushhhhed to me next day air. But wait ... what if I get the wrong sharpie? What if it runs? What if it bubbles?? What if it smudges? NOOOOOOOO!!!!! After scouring the internet, I went to the store and found my answers:

Baby powder to smudge on the top of the card for the auto to stick, and a few types of sharpies to practice with to see what I liked best. So, with all that taken care of, I went to bed last night, ready for the big Canseco meeting. But then I had an idea. What if I could design and print out a custom Allen and Ginters in time for the show? WAIT ... I'm doing 3 autographs already ... why not 3 A&G's??? What if I could put them inside existing A&G autograph frame cards, after yanking out the non-Canseco auto that already exists??? So I got up out of bed, stayed up until 3 am last night, and that is just what I did.


Then I got up at 7:30 and went back to work on them. At a little after 12, I was in the car with my 6 custom cards ready to be signed. While I waited for Canseco to get there, I went to a few tables to pick up some one-touch magnetic holders (I have never bought these, because I generally never buy anything for my pc!) and some cheap-o A&G autos that I can pop out and put my customs in. I got in the line, and there he was! Mr. Canseco, in all of his muscle-ey glory. I told him I had 6 things for him to sign and that they were my customs. He said "Really? Wow, these are cool!" I had him sign the 1st 3 in blue, and then the last 3 in red. I asked if he could put "1/1" on the red autos, and he said no problem ... while signing the A&G's, he commented a few times "this is the smallest autograph I have ever done!" Finally, at the end, I mustered up enough courage to ask if I could have a picture with him, and he was fine with it, so a guy in the line volunteered to take my phone and take a few shots. So, with all that said - here is what all made it worth it ..


 Yes, they have backs - custom wording and such with 1/1 gold stamping


 I am so stoked about these new additions, not to mention the memories. I've gotten so many compliments on the superfractors and the A&G's today, it has been wonderful. I'm not sure anything Canseco I pulled from a pack would stand up to these cards, but then again, anything I pull couldn't be what I put together to my tastes, either. Finally, here is the pic at the end!


It is nice to have not just cards that I wished had been designed and put in the sets originally, but to know that I'm the only one with them, and they are autographed - and that Canseco gave me a compliment on them.  Such a great day!

As an addendum, I just got an email saying that Jose Canseco responded to one of my tweets.  Did you hear that?  He responded to one of my tweets!!!  Okay, I'm not sure exactly where this falls in line with greatest day ever for me, but sure is up there.  Now, in an effort to stop like a giddy school girl, I'm going to go ahead and wrap up this blog posting.