Saturday, February 28, 2015

This week in Customs ... (Yeah, I'm a little bit excited)

(If you don't want to read the below drivel, and are not a big fan of pictures, I have a video below showing off some customs ... but please do stick around and read this first, if you have the time!)

So, I think I have an addictive personality.

When I first got on my own, I BALLOONED to quite a rotund size, thanks to an IV drip of dr. pepper, and a steady diet of McDonalds.  I couldn't stop drinking that sweet, sweet nectar of the gods.  Thanks to running and a much better diet (read: a wife who keeps me in line!) I am not so "hearty" these days.

When I got back into collecting, the allure of the new "game used" cards hooked me.  I didn't want some of them.

I wanted all of them.

So, I scouted out ebay, and bought all kinds of $1-4 cards, until I felt like I was gonna puke.  It took a long time, but ultimately, I learned my lesson, and ended up making a little money off of the cards.  Sure, it probably ended up being something to the tune of $2 an hour, but dealing in cards is more fun than work, right?  :)

The list goes on with me - I have 2 speeds: "full bore" or "not at all".   My 2.0 collection of Canseco has been going this way as well.  For the most part of last year, I was happy with just picking up cards I needed haphazardly, but the more I dug, the more I became obsessed.  I find myself checking ebay several times a day seeing if there is any cool stuff to get.  Here is the latest shipment - and I have quite a few more coming in as well!  A lot of this is odd ball stuff:

This is a smattering of stuff from a former super collector.  Do you see the size of that sportflics disc?

Here are the 2 bigger ones that completed 2 rainbows:  The blue rookie cup #/50 and the Studio silver #/100.  The Studio is a rather rare card - I don't know how there are 99 others floating out there, because I haven't seen any others.

I also completely my "clear" rainbow of 1998 Tek - I still need most of the colors and golds, though.

Gallery of Champions!  I only need the silvers now.

Here are a few more - namely autographs that I picked up, as well as various 2014 Topps Tek variations:

I have a 2014 Stadium Club autograph redemption in the bunch #/25 and the one that sticks out to me moreso is the Collect-A-Books Canseco.  In my 26 years of collecting, I have never seen this.  I was made privy to the fact that there was a 1990 collect-a-book Canseco #28 perhaps a year ago, but I just thought it was the same card as the regular version, only with a different number.  When I saw it online, I had to get it.

While I love the autographs, inserts, etc. I still love the junk wax era variations, and try to educate myself on them as much as I can.  If you see me neck deep in 1990 donruss, you know I'm checking the backs for improperly placed asterisks.

Heck, even the "STAR" cards have really intrigued me as of late.  I had NO IDEA there were so many of them.  I will likely do a post on them at some point.  There are glossy versions, matte versions tons of promos stating a print run of 100, green backs, blank backs, etc.  The interesting thing is that though they SCREAM unlicensed, they actually were licensed cards.  In spite of this, Beckett only lists a few of the sets in their annual price guide.  I think there must be at least 30 or 40 sets of Canseco alone!

Now, onto what I've been working on in the Custom Card Shop.  A friend of mine had pointed out that a well known blogger had written an article on a number of custom card creators, and mentioned me, saying it would be quite terrifying if me (or someone like me) turned to the dark side and started making counterfeits.

Did someone say dark side?  I just got this back from James Earl Jones... Yeah, I have a Darth Vader SUPERFRACTOR, BABY!!!  On card auto!

Shortly thereafter, I received back a few other customs from my favorite basketball player growing up.  SHAQ!  On card!

Someone had approached me to do a few supercross cards.  I don't know much anything about these dudes, but check the video below on a small clip of their race ... I might have to get into this!

The two guys above got into a bit of an altercation as shown on the video ...

Holy cow, right?!?!?!?

Here is another card that was done that was quite a bit more involved.  Blue foil with a massive Indians face patch!

If you are familiar with Christian music, you know that there is every type of genre known to man kind.  Sure, you have the gospel stuff, but you also have hip hop, ska, rap, hard core, grind core, apple core (ok, I made that one up) and everything in between.  The big 3 for me growing up were DC Talk, Newsboys and Audio Adrenaline.

My best friend growing up came to visit, and we ended up having a blast together.  To give you an idea of how close we were back in the 90's, well ...

Nothing embarrassing about 2 18 year old guys dressing alike, right?  I get a kick out of this pic every time I see it.  Anyway, we had a good time hanging out until about 3am (which is a good 3-4 hours past my bed time) He is a a former local rock star in Arizona, who is now a full time worship pastor.  We hadn't seen each other in person in years, so it was pretty amazing how we picked up where we left off.  No, we didn't dress alike this time!

He told me one of his friends that he introduced me to (Adam) years ago was being picked up by a major record label.  The band name was Stellar Kart.  They have been on the radio numerous times, have their songs in movies, etc.  Anyway, Adam just left Stellar Kart apparently, and was just hired to be the front man for ... Audio Adrenaline.  Pretty crazy!

I know that was a pretty wordy segway into this next custom, but this custom is of a guy from another prominent christian rock band - (he is a board member - so feel free to speak up if you are reading this!) The card features one of their custom picks encased inside the card itself.  I think it turned out amazing.  My friend I was speaking about above knew very well of August Burns Red, and his band even did a cover of one of their songs at one point, apparently.

He was gracious enough to send me a few guitar picks.  As a guitar player myself (if you can call me that), I can never have too many picks.  I ALWAYS lose them.  Rest assured, I won't be losing these!

The next one is a fantasy card of a 2010 Topps Chrome lime-canary refractor of Yoenis Cespedes.  I had sent it out with some others about a year ago.  I'm sure you know the story:  Cespedes got traded to the Red Sox ... and then to the Tigers.  I thought all hope was lost.  Until ...


I was very happy to get that return!  I thought I'd never see it again.

Speaking of Fantasy cards, have you ever seen a Canseco card of his time with the Dodgers?

Of course not - because he never played for them :)  I did a 2004 Topps style Berry-Fractor (remember my Expos Berryfractor from my last years posting?) as a "what if?" fantasy card.  Check out the back, and all will become clear. If you look closely, you can see my face in the crowd.  If I'm gonna make the cards, I might as well be in them, right?!?!

Obviously, none of that happened, and Jose ended his career at 462 homers, but I thought that would be a fun card to do.

Here is a Devil Rays card I did recently as well:

Seems normal, right?  Check out what happens when you tilt it:

How about the back?

Or when you put it up to the light?

It is a really fun card to have in hand - something a little more different from what you would see usually.  It is like a regular card, but with a translucent refractive type of material.

This next one is inspired by my son's first (and only) pack pulled game used card ever.

He got this years ago from a card show ... when card shows were cool (no, I'm not still bitter about the last card show 2 weeks ago! LOL!)   As you can tell, the card has seen better days - ahhh, the rough life of a basketball card in the collection of a then - 7 year old.

As me, my wife and my son were all organizing my son's cards in pages (mostly star wars and pokemon), I found it, and said HMMMM ... I bet this would be mega cool if Canseco had a card like this!

So I went to work...

You can see some changes I did - "Tanner's" in the upper right instead of Bazooka, no flag at the bottom, but rather and autograph area, and the star area is a good bit bigger so it can show more game used bat material.  I thought an A's card would look great with this, but I don't have any green/gold game used material of Canseco, and plus, I want to diversify a bit of my work, so it isn't all just him on the A's.  You can't see it too well - especially in the picture, but in the background of the red star, if you look carefully in person, you can see a picture of me and Canseco together from a signing.

For the back, I got a little creative - I whipped it up myself.

The background of the red star again, has a little easter egg.  This time, it is a bazooka joe comic.  You can very faintly see it - and even less so in this picture.

I really, realllly considered changing bazooka joe out for my caricature I have on my business cards for my company, and slapped a hat/eye patch one me....

... but I decided against it.

Do you remember the Good as Gold card I did a month or so back?  Well, I revisited it, and amped it up quite a bit:

I LOVE the gold foiling on the card, and how it goes with the Good as Gold title.  Can't wait to get this puppy signed in gold.

In my constant search of finding design ideas of card designs I like, I remembered that I've always wanted a Clear Cut Elements card of Canseco.  I ended up doing that this week as well.  The one thing I thought that would look ultra cool with the design is gold foil.  My wife doesn't like it all that much, but I'm very excited with how it turned out.  I had a bit of game used Canseco Blue Jays material that I used.

Last but not least, the most anticipated card for me has been completed.  I don't mean just the card - that has been done for almost a year...literally a day or two after I had a literal dream about it.

Speaking of dreams, it was a fantasy to even think I could get it signed.

And then BlueJet66 came along.

I had done a Steve Garvey fantasy 1969 Topps rookie card that he had signed and it turned out amazing for BriscoGun.  This got BlueJet66 to thinking, and he ended up reaching out to me because he knew someone who knew the former bash brother.  Not Canseco ... the other one.  You may have heard of him before ...

MARK McGWIRE!!!!!!!!!

MARK FREAKING McGWIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Autographed custom!!!!!!  He signed it *PERFECTLY*.  The refractor turned out beautifully, and the signature did too.  I can't believe it actually happened!  (For those of you who don't recall, I did this card last year, and printed with a fake signature.  This is the real deal!)

A card so nice, I take a pic of it twice.....

So, this is a very, very long posting, but I just had to show what was up in my neck of the woods.  I am happy with how everything came out, but I think the McGwire kind of steals the show.  THANK YOU BLUEJET66 for making this happen!

Here is a small video of the customs I have done so you can take a look at them in another dimension.

Thanks for reading/watching!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Tri-Star Show & the Case of the Grumpy Dealer

The Tri-Star show is something that I look forward to like Christmas.  I always am able to make lots of deals, have a TON of fun, and come home with a haul of cardboard to go through & enjoy.

That didn't happen this time.

Friday was fairly dead for me, and I ended up spending about $20 or so on a few Canseco cards for the collection, and a few cards to resell.  I ended up picking a Mike Lowell printing plate, a Bobby Doerr bat card and a Tony Perez bat card for 50 cents each . Those were great deals, but worth the price of admission?  No, not really.

The coolest thing of the evening is I got to meet and talk with John Kinsella for quite a while - John was an actor in the Field of Dreams.  It was very cool!  I got to try on his dad's baseball glove from the 1920's.  We spoke about how it was to work with Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones and more.

A funny/potentially embarrassing thing that happened was a guy selling a nice rare 90's insert Jeter card.  It was a PMG from the 90's.  As I had purchased a bunch of Canseco stuff, I knew that the PMG's were rare and desirable, so I thought I'd branch out a bit.  It had the Beckett RCR holder and said it was $70.  It had some chipping on the side, but I thought to myself  "self:  I wonder if he would take $50 for it.  I know nothing about the value of these, but I think that would be a great buy!"
I requested to see it, so he got it out of the case and showed it to me.  Upon closer inspection, I saw the grading was 7.0.  Did I mix up things in my head about his asking price?  Did he not quote me $70 and I just saw 70 on the holder and assumed it was $70?  Hmmmm....I better not offer $50.  I better go ahead and ask what the lowest is he'd go.

He informed me he is asking $1,000 ... but he would take $800.

WHOAAAAA.  Glad I didn't offer!  If you know about 90's inserts, you were probably smacking your forehead when I first said I was about to offer $50. I know.  PMG's ARE valuable ... much moreso than I knew.

Saturday, I opted to spend the day with my wife since it was Valentines day, so no cardboardy goodness there.  We did hit a few garage sales and actually picked up some things that probably will yield more of a profit than cards would have, had I gone to the show.

Sunday, we went to church and my wife said she would go with me and my son, so we just left church and went to the show.

It was rough.

Nothing too eventful happened - I got some one touch holders for some of my custom work, and an autographed card for another project I'm doing.  My wife and son were getting restless and I was feeling guilty about dragging them along (imagine being 12 years old, no interest in sports and NO IPOD!!!)

I took him to the corner dealer who I knew had a Darth Vader.  My son was asking about Star Wars stuff so I wanted to show him.  As he and my wife were looking at that, I went to another table.  When I was done, I went back to the dealer with the Darth Vader, and saw my son was digging in some of his pokemon cards.  He pulled a star wars figure and a pokemon card that the dealer quoted $2 for the card, and $3 for the figure.

While I was there, I asked the dealer what he would take for his box of basketball cards cards.  He said $200, and I said I'd think about it.  After a while, I decided not to counter, because that was just way more than I knew I could even sell them for myself, so I didn't want to offend him by offering $60-80.

As for the pokemon card and star wars character, I asked my son what he thought and he was undecided, so I asked him if he wanted to think about it over lunch.  He said sure, so I told the dealer that is what we would do.  He didn't really respond, so I assumed he didn't hear me.  No biggie.

My son said to me "Dad, do you think he would take $1 for the pokemon card he was asking $2 for?"  I said I don't know, son - maybe - you should ask!

A little background - my son has a hard time talking to strangers, so this is a bit of a big step for him to ask something like this.

We finished our food and went to his table.  My son went up to him, and as timidly as he does normally, he said to the dealer ...

"Ummm, I was wondering if you would take $1 for the pokemon card."

The dealer looked him straight in the eye and gave him a very sharp "NO" answer, then walked away.  I was a bit shocked, but as the dealer walked away, he said "I'm tired of you all bothering me."

I bit taken aback, I asked him to repeat what he just said.  He turned to me and said "I said, I'm tired of you all bothering me."  Then walked off.

I admit, I was not happy with this grown man who decided to talk to my son like this.  We walked off in a bit of disbelief,  I told my wife I had to go back and say something.  I was part rage, part wanting to smooth things out ... perhaps he misunderstood, was just having a bad day, etc.

So I went over there and we talked for about 10 minutes.

- He was tired of me asking him pricing in bulk, him quoting me a price and me never pulling the trigger.  (I have asked for pricing 2 other times in the past)  I told him his pricing was too high for me, and I didn't want to insult him with a counter, but he didn't take it.

- He was very upset apparently that I didn't buy his basketball box.  He even went as far to try and take me to another dealer to back him up saying the cards were worth it.  I tried to tell him once again that it was simply that I would be buying to re-sell and I wasn't confident I could sell for a profit at that price.

- He didn't like that my son offered $1 for something he said $5 for (I corrected him and said he was asking $1 for the $2 card, but he didn't back down anyway).

- My wife and son were in his space and probably cost him $45 due to lost sales because they were in the way looking at things he had for sale.

- He inferred that I was raising my son poorly by having him negotiate.  (Again, this is after I corrected him saying he was trying to get the card for $1 instead of $2).

In the midst of me going over to him to clear the air (in a spirit of peace), he still decided for some reason it was a good idea to stick to his guns and blast me.  I'm very disappointed with how he handled my son, and the situation in general.  I wrapped up the conversation with him with a hand shake and assured him we won't be stopping bye to bother him again in future card shows that he is at, I walked away...still in disbelief.

That wraps up this year's winter edition of Tri-Star.  It was the my least favorite one I've gone to, but I do hope if you went, you had a great time, and scored some great deals!  If you ever run into a grumpy dealer, don't let him get you down - just spend your money elsewhere!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

10 OUTRAGEOUS things you can do with baseball cards ... #7 will SHOCK you. (plus - video inside)

How is that title for click-bait?  I'm sorry, friends - I don't have a list of 10 outrageous or shocking things that you can do, but I wanted to pay homage to all of those websites that post on facebook and encourage me ... no ... spiritually move me to click, just so I can see what the heck is so shocking about #7.  While I'm there, might as well read the other 9 as well!  My wife is complete opposite ... she won't click on something like that if her life depended on it.  I guess I'm the only sucker in this family.

In my last posting, I titled it to the affect of joining me while I go into super-collector status.  While I'm not sure I'm there yet or not, I admit I was intentionally trying to write a provocative title so more people would read.  (Provocative?  Yeah, yeah - I know - it would only be considered to be that by nerds like you and me who have a love for cardboard!)

A friend and I got into a conversation about it - what is a super-collector?  Is it someone who just bought a bunch of cards of one player/team/other theme?  Or is there more to it than that?  Is a pre-requisite that you must be a long-suffering collector who has searched high and low for half your life to find the best of the best for your collection?

While I'm not certain if *I* am there yet, I'm more uncertain of what one truly is.

In any event...I bought more!

It was so large, it made my dog quite happy.

But, before the deal was made, quite a few things happened.  I made this purchase from someone who had put in thousands of dollars for this collection and wanted to get out of it.  I ended up getting everything for thousands less, which was great!  Waiting a week, admittedly had me biting my nails.

The day I made the deal, I made a new friend at a party.

Meet Wendy the Alpaca - beauty, eh?  (We took our son to a birthday party at someone's farm and they raised Alpacas ... word to the wise ... stay away from the males!)

A few days later, my son wanted to update his website, so we spent a the good part of an afternoon adding all kinds of bells & whistles for he and his friends to have fun in his password protected site on the web.  A center piece for any kid website is, of course, staging legos and taking pictures of them for the site.

I'm proud to report that not only did he figure out how to upload the logo, he also took pictures of his legos and loaded them onto the site all by himself!

Last but not least .... HOLY COW. His feet are almost as big as mine (and I wear size 12 shoes!)

Okay, so I'm sure that while you are VERY entertained with pictures of alpacas, legos and feet, you are looking more to see and read about the cards.

After going through the collection spreadsheet of the guy I bought from, I was split between trying to buy a few vs. everything.  At first, he was asking 3 times more for it all than what I was to offer initially.  That prompted me to spend a LONG time going through the list of 1,200 or so cards.

I found about 175 or so cards that I needed, and unfortunately, after all that time, it turned out that the number I had in my head for everything was what he wanted for those 175 cards.  I ended up going up a smidge, and got it all!  The 175 I needed consisted of a lot of great stuff.  Heck, even the cards I already had were great - like early finest refractors, serial # pacific 90's cards, etc.

Here is a picture of all the cards I received:

Here are some pics of the stand outs.

There are several #'ed to between 5 and 25.

Heck, I think I even have 3 or 4 serial #ed cards in the bunch that are number #1/10.

I already had the 93' finest refractor shown below, but I love it a ton.  It will definitely be sold off, along with the other 1,000 duplicates.  The subway token is a card that I've always wanted, but sometimes fetches $50.  The Topps Tek below is #/10 and is gold.  The Metal is a PMG  and the Fabulous 40's card is something I was very happy to get my hands on.  It is hand numbered, and was a card I had bid on months ago - I think I put in about $18, and it ended up going for something like $60-70.

Some Circa Raves!

Aficianado First Pitch ... PREVIEW.  This card was only to be had by doing a phone interview or something like that, iirc.  The '86 Donruss Highlights card is the white letter variation.  Again, just one of those cards that when I saw online, would go for $80-$100 and would just be something I would hope to own one day.

Platinum Medallions!  These suckers are hard to find.  Another ebay sob story for ya - the one on the very right was one I saw pop up online earlier this year.  I offered $20 or similar to someone - I think he said he'd take $25.  I thought about it, and someone bid so he said never mind.  It ended up going for $60-80 EDIT:  LOL - My sometimers is kicking in here.  Apparently I told this exact same story in my previous posting.  In any event, you guessed it - I now have 2!

I am still absolutely baffled that even though I have gone through *LITERALLY MILLIONS* of cards over the past several years, how few of the 90's serial #'ed stuff (and even non-serial #'ed) I simply never saw.  I guess in order to really get a substation collection of a player, you truly to need to seek out the special cards instead of just opening boxes and relying on purchasing collections.

There are just tons and tons of cards and variations I have never even seen!  I guess when some inserts/parallels are 1 in every quadrillion packs, the insert/parallel of the guy you collect could be 1 in every bazillion packs.

I will stop there - there is a lot more goodness to be seen, but one thing that has taken my heart was finding out the different variations of cards not mentioned in beckett.  Take for instance the prisms - they can be found with or without serial numbers:

But even more interesting to me was the "junk wax era" variations I have been finding.  I have gone through so many of these types of cards, I can't even begin to tell you.  I find it very funny that there were so many variations to have marched through my fingers, and I didn't even know it!  For instance:

The 1991 Donruss Grand Slammers ...see the border variations?

1987 Donruss ...

Turn them around?  Yup ... the factory set version backs were opposites!

The wax box bottom cards ...

... can be found in 2 different card stock!

1991 Donruss not only had different border splatter colors...

but on the back, they had some with a period after INC and some without.  The kicker for these is this:  The 2 cards that you see are identical just above this sentence are the ones that are different in the pic below!

What about the 1989 Donruss Grand Slammers?  Everyone knows about the several color variations ... right?  I just found out about it myself maybe a year or so ago?

Well, how about this!  One of the color variations has 2 variations:  one with a back stripe and one without.

The list goes on and on.  One other - the 1988 donruss versions have different border variations, as well as factory set variants.  The factory set back has a *slightly* different font, so the wording on the back ends up in a different place.  These are generally 20-30 times rarer than their wax counterparts.  Don't get your hopes up too much though, as that probably means there are only about 3,000,000 of each instead of 100,000,000 each LOL.

Fleer, Score, Upper Deck, and others all seem to have different variations.  It is maddening for collectors, but I am getting such a kick out of this.  It is making me look differently at junk wax.  Now, they have more value to me.

Moving on, I have been doing a few other customs for my collection.  The first is a 1952 Topps style Canseco in an Angels uni.  The back of the pic was mega boring, so I added a picture of a baseball stadium (25 points to the person who guesses what stadium it is).

I really, really wanted to do a white border with only the stadium background a refractor style.

I hope to have Canseco sign in red, in the white spot at the bottom.  I think that would be an awesome twist to the card!

Finally, the latest one I did was today - I browsed a thread that asked people to post their favorite card in their PC, and someone posted a 2014 Topps Heritage Bob Gibson.  I LOVED the design, so I just had to do a Canseco using it.  I think it came out great!  My wife doesn't like the design, but I fell in love:

Plus, it has Rickey Henderson melting into his arms ... what is not to love about that?

I love doing my own designs as well, and some of my designs are my favorites, but I can't get over using card designs that already exist and use them to make a card of Canseco that doesn't exist.  It gets  me every time.

That about does it for this week - here is a little video I put together to show off the customs and some of my latest Canseco acquisitions.  Don't forget to hit me up if you have any Canseco cards I need!  My check list is at: - remember anything NOT highlight or NOT on the list ... I NEED!  

This weekend is the TRI STAR CARD SHOW - my Christmas!  Wish me luck - the last time I went, I searched for some Canseco cards, and only found 2 that were for sale!  How crazy is that?  One of the biggest shows in the world, and 2 Cansecos were being sold.

My next blog will likely be about the show, but *perhaps* the posting after that one will be about what is in this box that I just received yesterday.... TO BE CONTINUED