Friday, March 27, 2015

Aliens, Junk Wax Variations and White Whales

In January, we had a pre-teen Bible study at our house, and I was talking to the kids about how vast the universe is.  As I'm sure you can imagine since it was a Bible study, we then went from how incredible the universe is to how awesome God is who created it all.

If you disagree and are rolling your eyes, don't worry - I'll get to the baseball card bit here soon, and it will all tie in together shortly, I promise :)  

Here are some interesting points: 

- The earth is huge, right?  The sun is huge...er.  So massive that if earth were melted down, 1,300,000 earths could fit in our sun. 
- The sun is crazy tiny compared to the biggest of stars (check out this quick video for comparisons  )  


- We have an estimated 400,000,000,000 (400 BILLION) stars in our galaxy
- We have an estimated 100,000,000,000 (100 BILLION) galaxies in our solar system

Jaw dropping, right?!  If they taught this stuff in school, I must have been asleep, because this stuff is now INSANELY fascinating to me.  

I'm not sure if many folks don't believe there aren't aliens out there anymore, but it seems to me that it would be highly unlikely no other intelligent life exists anywhere else.  That would be kind of like me finding a grain of sand that is green on a beach and proclaiming that it is preposterous to believe there is not a single other green grain of sand on any other beach!  

Being the baseball card nerd that I am, I began thinking about cards.  The junk wax era AND those gorgeous 90's inserts in particular.

You may recall the one million sports card acquisition I made at the end of last year - they were all shoe horned into one 850 square foot house.



Wall to wall, they were stacked ....


Even in the bedroom ...



Heck, even the kitchen!  (Note the nook where the fridge should go.)


It was absolutely ... dare I say ... amazeballs.  (No, I was not able to secure the hamburger buns in the picture above as a part of the deal!)

Needless to say, one million cards is huge.  It is insane.  It is massive.  Did I mention that even the car port was used as card storage?

Now, could you imagine every single one of those cards being the exact same?

Back in the junk wax era, that is what they did.  Some sources say that 1991 donruss printed 3 million and 1991 topps printed 4 million ... of each and every card!

Can you imagine four small houses being stuffed to the gills with the exact same card?  Better yet, let's extrapolate that out to all 792 cards in the set ... can you imagine about 3,168 houses filled with 1991 Topps?

Sit back and think about that for a while.

When I was a kid, I bought a lot of baseball cards.  A lot.  We are talking maybe 20 boxes of everything.  That is a ton for a kid.  After all of the ripping was done, you are talking about close to two monster boxes full of cards.  That's it!  Not one time did I hit anything crazy.

Not a single Donruss Elite card.

Not a solitary vintage Topps card they randomly inserted into packs of their 1991 product.

But when you think about it, how feasible would it have been?  Sure, it would have been cool to get *any* card out of the norm (such as an Elite autograph) but for me, I would have been looking for a Canseco Elite.  #'ed out of 10,000.  By today's standards, that number would be utterly ridiculous.  Could you imagine a card being #'d to 10,000?  Heck, they probably make some regular cards with that type of a print run nowadays!

But think about it for a second - how difficult would it be to find a card #'ed to 10,000 in a product that had over two BILLION cards printed?  Sure, there were factory sets that probably accounted for a good chunk of it, but lets say it was *just* 1.5 billion.

If memory serves me properly, there are 15 cards per pack, so that means perhaps 100 million packs.  Divide that by 10,000 and you have 10,000 packs.  The odds of hitting the Canseco Elite were one in 10 thousand packs.  (Yes, I know they had jumbo packs and other types most likely, but HOLY COW!)



10,000 packs is about 278 boxes of donruss.  Back then, boxes were $15 each, so if I had about $4,500 burning a hole in my 11 year old pocket, I too, could have near-assurance of having the Canseco of my dreams....and enough '91 donruss to keep my house warm for 427 winters.

Nowadays, you can pick up one of these dudes for $20-30 off of ebay.  Everyone complains about how the internet made the house of (baseball) cards crash, since everyone now knew that their "rare" cards weren't exactly so rare.

I've mentioned this before, but the growing up, the big time collectors may have had 5 autographs of the guy they collected.  Nowadays, it is not unheard of for a guy to have 100 autographs of their favorite player.  Think that could have ever have happened without the internet?  Not a chance.

The most rabid of collectors would have been stuck on house #4 of the 1991 Topps neighborhood trying to find that one card they were hoping to get, after 12 years of search through the previous 3.

True, card shops are on life support, and card shows seem to be going the way of the buffalo too, but isn't that how life is right now anyway?  We pay our bills online, deposit checks via smart phone...heck, black friday and the "Christmas rush" *can be* obsolete at any moment, because it can all be done online!

After having over 4 to 5 million cards go through my fingers in the past 6 years, I had always set aside the Canseco cards.  My philosophy was this:  I knew I was going to be buying up inventories and collections, so I would get all of the Canseco cards I ever wanted and needed.

I was wrong.  I dug up a picture of my old collection from childhood up until a few years ago, and here is what it looked like:



I knew that "one day", I would go through them, organize and put in a checklist, etc.  As it grew, I ended up simply not knowing that I did and what I didn't have, so it got frustrating.  With no time or desire to go through and make a checklist, I decided to sell it all.

Sure, a lot were different, but there were also a lot of duplicates scattered throughout the collection as well.  Close to 3,000 cards, but quite possibly over half were doubles, and *maybe* one of them could fetch over $10.

I took the funds from the collection and found a guy who was selling a lot of his Canseco.  I ended up buying a ton of early refractor cards, donruss press proofs, collector's choice gold signature cards and jersey cards, etc.  These types of cards simply were cards that I never could find.  Logically speaking, it makes sense, too.

Remember the math exercise we braved through a few short paragraphs ago?  I can speak from personal experience - figuratively speaking, I was on house #28  in the 1991 Topps neighborhood and had yet to find one *really* special card.  Sure, I'd find a 1994 bowman's best Canseco ... but the refractor? fuhgettaboutit.  A 1995 Collector's Choice silver signature?  *Maybe*.  But a gold signature?  Not in a million years!

I decided to continue on, slowly but surely, to intentionally pursue my collection.  To maybe, hopefully one day become a featured collector in Beckett or something.

After finding a few big-time Canseco collectors selling their collection, I ended up buying a ton from them.  I found myself spending the time (and I mean hours upon hours) pouring over my checklist and theirs to see what I did not yet have.

The end result (up to this point) is over 2,700 different cards - something that would not have ever come close to happening if I just kept rowing through collections and inventories I was buying.

If you were to come into my office today, this is what you would see...


But upon closer inspection, you would see that every single card has a holder, and I am doing something that I had not done previously:  I am organizing them.  (Yes, I am *that* sick to put a 1990 Topps send-in advertisement w/Canseco on the front in a holder...and salivate over any variations it may have!)


As my checklist now has more x's next to each line than not, I have found myself going into full obsessed mode.

You know what I'm talking about.  If you are a hardcore PC collector, you probably do the same thing.  Here are some possibilities:

- Wake up in a cold sweat, remembering the card that got away because you got out-sniped.
- Search for various mis-spellings of your PC guy's name
- Hit up ANYONE AND EVERYONE you can find that may have cards you need
- Secretly open the ebay app on your phone and discretely check what new listings ... 800 times a day.  "Me?  Oh, I'm just checking my email...."

That is where I have found myself.  For the better part of a month, I don't know if a day has gone by where there hasn't been something in the mail for me or where I haven't purchased something.  It is a full.blown.sickness.

Here are a few things I just got in today:



I threw in a few from yesterday as well since they were still on my desk:



The most expensive of the group is the 1987 Topps card - it is actually a buyback autograph #'ed to 99.   It holds special meaning to me, in that the 1987 Topps Canseco is the first card I remember having.  Being autographed from Topps and hand numbered is extra special for me.  You also see a holo gold Donruss Greats #/100, a dual auto of Canseco/Eckersley and a buyback 1991 Leaf auto #/33.

This brings me back to my point - the odds are slim to none that I would have ever been able to have come across any of these cards in any collection or inventory I purchase in the future.  Heck,

The autographs are nice and all, but don't throw out your "junk" commons just yet.  The other day, I did the unthinkable.  I bought a lot of 1988 Topps Canseco.  Yes, you heard me right.  The card that they probably made one to four million of:  I bought 12 of them!

Here is what one looks like, if you don't recall off-hand.  A young Jose in his early 20's about to become the charter member of the 40-40 club.



Did you know that this card has a variation?  I didn't either, but take a look ....



Note the discoloration in the bottom left.  See it?  Here it is side by side.


At first, I didn't buy it being a true variation.  I am not one to say that all cards with printing flaws are to be marked a variation.  For me, it has to be more than just one.  After seeing one for sale, I searched high and low for a duplicate copy of this variation on all the usual suspect websites, and simply could not find one!

Then I found this listing:



In a sea of non green streak variations, someone was selling a small cache of them!  So now, I have my green streak variation.  It is things like this that make collecting so fun.  Junk wax all of a sudden now has new life breathed into them for me.  Here is another.

The 44 card boxed set 1990 Fleer Baseball MVP's is not a highly sought after product.  It is known by many player collectors that this set has a variation of its own.  It is the "top line" variation.

The clean version does not have this.  Here is a close up:



However, did you know that there was also a bottom line variation?  I did not know this until I saw a McGwire super collector's checklist.  Then one day, while cruising on ebay, I found one!



Here are all 3 variations together:



Not all variations like this happened during the junk wax era.  The 2011 Goodwin Champions mini black Canseco had a "white dot" variation.  I cannot find this listed anywhere, but when I bought a Canseco collection, it had an unsightly blemish  on it in the upper right hand corner.

When attempting to replace it with a clean copy (from someone's checklist w/no picture) I was sent yet ANOTHER with the white dot in the same place!  Thankfully, I was able to secure one without the dot.



All of this has certainly been fun chasing down different variations, but my favorites ... the ones I desire the most ... are still out there.

1989 Donruss (and Leaf versions) Blue Chips
1990 Donruss Aqueous
1996 Select Certified Gold
1997 Pinnacle Totally Certified Gold
1998 Donruss Crusade Red

There are others, but those are the ones that keep me up at night.  I keep thinking to myself, we live in an age where we have the internet for crying out loud!  How can it be that difficult to come across one of these?  There are probably 100 total copies combined of all of those cards above.  100 versions out there - not one person can come forward with information on one, or one for sale?  Granted, I haven't been actively searching for that long, but jeesh...

There are some cards that I would LOVE to have that are numbered to between 100 and 200, and I have never ever seen before.  It really makes me wonder if the serial numbers are truly reliable or not.   Seriously, with the internet at our disposal, how can 200 copies of one card exist, and I can't put my hands one a single copy?  Perhaps it is just buried in house #158 of the Topps neighborhood.

I guess it makes sense though.  I mean, if Topps did create 4 million copies of each card, and if Donruss, Fleer, Score, Upper Deck, Leaf, Stadium Club and Bowman all produced just half of that, that is roughly 13.5 BILLION cards produced ... just for that year.  Just for that year!

As collections get mixed together, it is no wonder why some cards can be down right impossible to locate.  Perhaps it can be likened to finding life on another planet.

With all that said, if you have been a player collector for any amount of time, you know how hard it is to get the cards you want that are rare.  When you get started, you may be like me and thought that it was merely a matter of having the money to purchase the cards you want.

Wrong.

You literally have to hunt.  I guess that is what makes collecting so addicting.  The thrill of the hunt, and the thrill of landing a card that you otherwise wouldn't have found in a million years.  That kind of thinking is right up my alley.  I guess it wouldn't be nearly as exhilarating if the hunt weren't a piece of it.

Case in point, I found a few iced tea food issue prototype disc squares that are coming in. They wouldn't mean nearly as much to me had I been able to just go onto some website with all cards ever made listed to purchase them.  No, it took a while to track them down.  Ahh, the feeling of conquering something for $15 bucks.

There is so much more I have to say, but I'll go ahead and stop it here.  The dinner bell is about to ring, and mrs. mouschi doesn't like me staying up here in my office tapping away at my keyboard when some good venison chili is on the table.

In the mean time, good luck to all you player collectors, and for anyone reading this - you know what cards I dream of, so let me know if you have any leads!



Thursday, March 19, 2015

Story Time!

If you have been reading my posts for a while, you know that I'm not your typical blogger.  I don't really have a rhyme or reason to much of what I write.  There is very little cohesiveness in my articles, and my segues are a bit of a stretch, to say the least.  I don't check for spelling, because writing is fun, and proof reading is not.  I'm considered the family dictionary (and calculator), yet I almost left segue above as segway.

They are meant to read more like a journal, I suppose.  Not that I'm that particularly interesting of a person (it is my life-long hope that my life doesn't turn into something movie-worthy, because that typically means something absolutely wretched happens!)

This "article" is not any different, so I suppose I'll just start off with what has happened since my last writing.  It begins at the mailbox.

The mailbox can be a great source of joy, or a great source of pain.  If I'm waiting for a check that hasn't yet come, it can make me anxious ... I am waiting for one such check now.  If I have a few of those nifty bubble mailers, it means I got me sum cardboard goooold!

The other day, I got a bit of everything.

After grabbing the bubble mailers and pouring them on my kitchen table to find out which goodies I received for my collection this time, I noticed something horrid.

DRIVERS LICENSE RENEWAL NOTICE ... MUST COME IN TO RENEW....NOT ELIGIBLE TO MAIL IN.

What??!?!?!?

Oh yeah, I'm old.

It is time to change the happy, plump 23 year old mouschi to a much more refined, hairy, mouschi.  We'll get to that in a bit.  First, lets get to see what santa brought me!

Nothing too crazy huge, but a 1992 leaf buy back auto #/33, a platinum blue pacific (very rare), sterling silver coin and a tek variation auto #/25 round off the list nicely.  There are more shown below as well, but I'll show them in my completed errr... "rainbows".


Here is what my current run of Tek Cansecos look like:



I've gotta be honest with you, I feel like they are a bit "bland".  I always have.  With as much as people are whooping and hollering over them, I just don't get it.  I mean, they are COOL ... but I think they could be coolER.

Here is one thing I did to help that a bit.  I took the latest addition:


When adding a blue background to it, it looks like it pops a bit more:



The difference is even more noticeable in person.

I also picked up the sterling silver gallery of champion Cansecos to complete my "metallic rainbow".  After I tracked down the 87, I didn't think the 89 was going to come my way for a while, but as I purchased the 87, I noticed the seller said he had a lot of these types from 87-91 or similar.  I HAD to ask...and he said he had it!  We struck a deal on both.



Last but not least was a completion to a 2004 SP Prospects autograph run.  They are beautiful cards, and a must have for any Canseco / A's fan.  The one in the upper right is the latest addition.  The bottom one is #/50 and the other 3 at the top are #/25.  The happy accident of it all is left to right, the triples are #20/25, #21/25 and #22/25.  How cool is that?


I've also been studying up on my variation knowledge, which has still been an absolute blast.  The one that gave me FITS was the 1989 Upper Deck MVP blue/black variations.  Check the 2 below.  See a difference? #659A and 659B respectively.




I didn't either, until I searched endlessly on the web, and looked under a jeweler's loupe.  Check out the below pic ...



It is all in the wings.  The left is the blue version, as the white areas in the wings are not nearly as prominent as its black eagle counterpart.  I count that one a victory!  I have others, which I will share later, but for now, it is time to go to the drivers license office.

After spending 30 minutes on the phone with these lovely people, it was clear as mud as to what I had to bring, so my philosophy is to bring too much than not enough.

License ... check.
Social Security card ... check
Marriage Certificate ... check
Stool Sample ... you get the picture.

When I got to the newly built government establishment, I've gotta admit ... it was ... eery.  Ever see those movies set in the future where everything runs like a top, super high tech, but is very 1984-esque?  Everything is recorded and organized.  Sterile.  Intrusive, big brother style.

I walked in, and was instructed to go to the kiosk, which in turn had me input my cell phone # so their system could text me when it was my turn, and whee to go.  After doing so, I was directed to the waiting area to fill out a form that requested what seemed to be much too much information for a simple renewal.

On the screen, you could see the last four digits of your cell phone number, what the approximate wait time was, and what station you were to go to.  This was also announced over the speakers by what sounded like a ... how can I put this ... futuristic sexy computer robot woman's voice.  I'll call her Rhonda.

I had not particularly been looking forward to going to this, so I felt like I had to make it worth my while.  When Rhonda told me it was time to go to the station, I was seated in front of a woman who I don't think even looked at me.  She may not have even had the ability to smile (or perhaps the gubment has told her she cannot show emotion...HMMMM??!?!?)

She asked me to stand up and look at a blue dot for the picture.  Now was the time to make this worth it.  I made a subtle "off" look on my face.  I didn't want her to scold me for doing so, but I wanted to have a little fun with this, and see if she would do anything.

The picture was taken, and I had wondered if I did elaborate enough for it to show up in the pictures like I had practiced in the mirror the night before.  When the flash went off, I looked at her, and she squinted hard into her computer screen as if to say "wow, that was awful, dude".  Though, all she verbalized was "Let's try again."

Now was my time to be a little less subtle.  Lo and behold ... my Drivers License Pic for the next 6 years....



It came out just how I had practiced ... crazy eyes, with brow slanted diagonally, upper teeth showing due to upper lip being pulled back and cheeks filled out.

That alone was worth the price of admission.

Back at home, there was much work to be done ... in the way of ... you guessed it - CUSTOMS!

I was asked by someone a while ago to do a booklet of their son.  A booklet card.  Here is what I came up with - the left side has a slight fade so his son can sign in the middle if he wants, and the right side is a jumbo piece of his jersey .





Perhaps the coolest (and most time intensive) project I have been a part of was the next one.  A close friend of Jose's traded me an autographed card and will have the following below signed for me to send back.  It is a 4x6 holographic press pass - in person, they came out beautifully!



Only 4 of these puppies exist, mine, Jose's, one for his close friend and one for his manager.  They are meant to be used at signings and such.

I have not written much about any pickups for reselling lately.  If you followed my flip quest last year, you know I hit it really hard, and did pretty well.  I haven't picked up too much stuff recently, but it hasn't really been for a lack of trying.  Unfortunately, there are too many people out there who still believe their junk wax is gold.  Here is an example...

I found someone online with 10,000 uncirculated baseball cards that has he says "could be worth tens of thousands" for only $1,500.

He had me at uncirculated.

I emailed him, inquiring about the cards, and he wrote back with his phone number, instructing me to text him.  I ended up doing so, and he simply said "please refer to my ad, as it has all the information you need in it."

Uhmmm...

What?

I reminded him that he emailed me asking me to text him for more information.  With that said, the floodgates of a wealth of information was unleashed in his single response:




Yes, friends.  That is it.  That is the only response I got.  A single, solitary picture of a few packs of 1989 Donruss.  Don't get me wrong ... these packs are so well loved by me in my childhood, that I would probably had considered renaming my dog 1989 Donruss, had my parents let me.   For $1,500 however, I think I will pass.

With as many negative, bone-head reactions I get from people, it still seems as though there are so many good people out there.  Neil is one of them.  He runs www.buyselltradebaseballcardsandmemorabilia.com  - I met him through ebay asking him if he wouldn't mind selling one of his packets of CMC promo cards.  He was selling 100 of them for $100.
This is one of the variations I had just uncovered - many are familiar with the little Jose Canseco collectors baseball card kit they put out in the late 80's.  It came in a little green binder, with a square record and several 4 pocket pages to put in a few dozen Canseco cards that came with the kit.

I have had this kit a few times over, but I had never seen this before:



It is the version with the advertisement on the back!  Neil doesn't know me at all, but he said he would send me one for free!  I probably get just as much of a kick out of these 80's and 90's variations I've never seen before as I do the new and shiny autographs.

Thanks Neil for the new card!  It will be well loved.









Monday, March 16, 2015

Seller Demands Double Payment for Wrinkled Cards

From time to time, I seem to get in some streaks of awesome luck...
(a TTM custom autograph from a member of Vampire Diaries - she put To Tanner on the back ... cool!)


or horrible luck...
(yes, that IS paper in my breakfast sammich that I took a bite out of this morning!)


I know, in the grand scheme of things, not horrible - actually, it is funny, hence the picture!  I generally do not classify paper in my breakfast to be horrible luck, nor would I consider it bad luck when a wasp decides to land on my sideview mirror at the very moment I parked, forcing me into my car while I wiggle the mirror from the inside to get it to fly away.



...But when I get a string of 3 damaged items in the mail...that is what I consider bad luck.

None of them are very eventful, though, so I'll spare you the boring details of most of them.

This one, however, was interesting.

I saw a seller selling some cards I wanted .... no ... NEEDED ... (okay, wanted...I mean, I'm not THAT obsessed with my PC guy...)



 He was selling them at very high prices.  When I contacted him, he said he was NOT negotiable as much as I would have liked, so it was suggested to do a deal offline, so the seller could save fees, and such.

I don't do this normally, people - but let me say this:  DON'T DO IT.  You will never know when a person's integrity is only in tact when Ebay makes it so.

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but it gets worse.  (Strike one, Mouschi).

He said he would NOT come off of his obscenely high prices unless they were off ebay ... AND ... as paypal gift.

It took me a while to wrestle with this.  The guy did not seem too terribly much like a "people person".  I've learned that with my programmers especially, when you are working through doing a deal, you have to be calm, but be weary of red flags.  Unfortunately, these cards blinded me to the point to where I simply knew I wasn't going to get them unless we did it "his way".

After looking at his stellar 100% feedback, I decided to take a leap of faith, and give it a spin.  The cards, after all, have not been for sale ever from what I could tell.

(STEEEEEERIKE TWO)

A few days later, I received the cards.  Great!  Nice little package...some put in 9 sheet pockets and accordianed up, but ok ... no harm, no foul.  Then, I looked at 4 of the most important cards in the lot.
All had problems.  2 had wrinkles on the front of the card, and 2 had fairly significant blemishes on the faces of the cards.  I notified him about them so he could exchange them for the ones he had scans of, and he led off by saying one of the listings had mentioned that the crease on one of the cards was mentioned on the listing.

Ha!  Whatever ... I'll show him and show a screenshot of what he really said ... crap.  He was right.

(STRIKE THREE ... I'm an idiot.)

The other 3, however, were not mentioned at all as far as having any issues.  Instead of apologizing to me and saying he will get the others out right away, he told me that he would change them out for $10.

$10 ...?  Wait a second ... you mean you want to charge me $10 to replace cards that you made a mistake?  After going back and forth with him, it was apparent that the guy just sent me the lowest condition cards he had, since I didn't have protection from ebay.

I responded by telling him it wasn't fair, and that no one in their right mind would have paid a dime more to fix the seller's mishap.

Then, he got belligerent.

He decided to tell me "how it really was" - how he is sick of me and how he bent over backwards for me...that I was begging and pleading with him forever to drop the price.

This kind of shocked me to hear.  This guy has such high feedback ... does he not understand that people negotiate?  Did he really consider me asking him TWICE about pricing to be endlessly badgering him?

In the end, he said he would actually end up swapping them out, after I send them back, but not before ripping into me over the course of about 4 more emails.  I always kept my emails short and sweet.  Which by the way, takes a LOT of restraint at this point.

With how much this guy was crying about things and how badly he was behaving, I had made my mind up that if I wasn't going to be sending these cards back, because he would probably just keep them anyway, and I would get incredibly angry waiting.  This would also give me the chance to clearly and concisely teach this guy how to behave in business, where he went wrong, and how he is a massive knucklehead, in not so many words.

Before I decided to craft the email response of the century to right all of the wrongs, I ended up going to bed.  In the morning, I woke up and began my email.  Then mid-way, I decided to just stay the course and send the cards his way.  Once I sent him the tracking #, and a quick "thank you for making this right", he decided to pepper me again with back-handed comments.

He informed me that after this, he doesn't want to ever heard from me again and I will have to find cards somewhere else, because he is not selling to me again.

After much nail biting, I got my cards in...and there was much rejoicing!



They may not look like much to you, but these are rare glossy and/or variation-backed star promos.  I didn't know this until recently, but apparently Star made both matte and gloss finish versions.  I closely inspected all the cards, and they were in VERY nice condition.

So, that is about it on this one!  But it is important to mention that the villain seller didn't go down without a fight.



They were sent using the grossest holders ever, and taped with about $5 worth, it looked like.  The pic above does NOT do it justice.  I probably could have cracked a safe quicker than I was able to safely get the cards out of the holders!

With all that said, I must say the good encounters for me FAR outweigh the bad ones.  Since this deal was going on, I have had:

TarjetasBĂ©isbol offer me cards for free
joey_peapod offer me cards for free
and
JimV sent me a deckle edge Canseco I needed.

How cool is that!?!  Thank you all so much.  I am truly blessed!

Aside from my poor judgment on display here, I'd say I made out pretty well!  Remember kids, don't buy via paypal gift from people you don't know, and make sure you read the listings before buying!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fantastic New Additions to the PC, Some Customs and More!

Another busy week here at the offices of Mouschi, inc.  Firstly, I know I don't show off much non Canseco stuff, but take a look at this beauty:

A Bobby Doerr Topps Tribute patch!



It is always nice getting in game used patch cards of players that played several decades ago.

Could it be a fake?

Could someone have actually torn this card apart ... a REAL Bobby Doerr Topps card and swap out a plain old relic for a patch?  And if so, how?

Well, let me show you.

Simply take this card:

Saw it in half:

and put it back together with a patch. Voila! A $5 card becomes an $85 card.


Topps doesn't have anything on the back of the card saying it is a jersey, bat, patch, etc. It just says the "relic" is not from any specific game, event or season. Welp, I guess in that case, it isn't really a FAKE patch then, is it?

Just to be safe, I thought I'd add a bit to the Topps disclaimer...



I didn't spend too terribly much time on this card, but it goes to show you how scary it can be with a little time and elbow grease.  I initially bought this card for the bat piece, as I have a few Doerr sticker autographs so I could make myself a nice bat/auto custom of Doerr.

I had always wondered how easy and how good the card would look if I tried something like swapping out a jersey piece.  Now I know, and so do you.

I had debated about whether or not to share the pics above with you, because now the internet will run away with this, and no more plain jersey swatch cards will exist!

So, what is the takeaway from this?  Two things:  Be mindful that it is definitely doable for someone with time and energy to do this, and also, if you are concerned about a patch, CHECK THE EDGES.  I am not here to tell you all patch cards have smooth one piece looking edges.  I just don't know if that is true.  I also don't know how closely lined up a "card hacker" can make the edges, but I do know that in my humble little attempt here, you can see a seam.  I believe if I had spent more time, I could make it less noticeable though.

How did I get that patch piece?  It was an un-usable leftover piece from a project I was working on for a family - someone from the boards wanted a booklet card made of their family commemorating their time at Fenway when Jeter played his final game there.

The dad sent me jersey pieces they worse, as well as the ticket to create a few booklets.  Here are two of them!

First, the patch one that spells their last name:



and now a button one!


This is what the front/back looks like:


I'm really happy with how they turned out, and don't think the pictures do them much justice.

Moving on, I had also done a Gypsy Queen style card as a gift for someone.  I'm sure you've already seen my Ron Swanson card before.  I'm sure you have also seen this one I did for a friend of mine:



The backs of cards are fun for me.  Remember last week when I took my caricature and made him look like Bazooka Joe?



Well, instead of a Gypsy Queen back, how about a monopoly mouschi man on the back?



That is one of my favorite card backs I've made.  It was my wife's idea to put the top hat and monocle.

Now, as for my PC, I won't bore you by showing a thousand pictures of this week's additions, but I will show a few quick updates, as well as an interesting story.  Here is the majority of the loot:



There is a ton more coming in as well, but shown above are several autographs, an A&G box loader, a Canseco mask, porcelain cards, uncut 1991 Topps promo sheet, and tons of various other little things like pocket schedules, and more.  My idea of keeping my collection to pieces of cardboard 2 1/2"  x 3 1/2" or less went completely out the window when I saw the mask.

I used to have that mask in my Canseco 1.0 collection, and had to have it back.  Then, I have been really wanting to get the Topps folders of Canseco again.  One is incoming.  Perhaps the most interesting things from the haul above to me, were the mini posters.  They are about 4x6 and were used as display promotional pieces for the big sized Canseco posters when they were selling them in the 90's.  I had some of the posters on my walls as a kid, and have very fond memories of them.

They suit me quite well in their miniature size, as I don't want to have my walls plastered with posters of Jose.

Speaking of big pieces, I did get one other thing this week ...

I didn't know quite what it was. It was so confusing. What was in this box?



Another box?



BAM!

This thing is HUGE. I think it is like 11x17 or similar. I knew it was incoming, and met the mail lady out at the box 3 days in a row to make sure she wouldn't try to cram it into the mailbox - LOL - little did I know that would be a physical impossibility anyway.

Here is a comparison of it with an 8x10 and a regular sized card:



Perhaps my absolute favorite thing that came in this week was a this next thing.

I found someone selling a Canseco batting practice jersey worn by Jose when he was with the Rangers.  After having a conversation with the seller, I felt very comfortable with him and the jersey.  The seller was selling several jerseys he had acquired through the years.  Some were marked game used, and others were marked not game used.

The Canseco jersey was used during batting practice, and that is pure gold for me.  Worn by my PC guy who was practicing what made him famous?  It doesn't get any better!  The thing that really got me salivating was what he found in the pocket.  I love the 125th anniversary patch as well!



After I purchased it, he mentioned that there was medication of some sort in the pocket, and that is how he got it.

COULD THIS BE STEROIDS??!?!?!  Could I be the owner of Canseco's steroids?

I want you, as the reader, to fully appreciate how much I was freaking out at this point.  Was a steroid 1/1 card in the works?  Heh, YOU BET!  That is, if that is in fact what it was.

So, the jersey came, and I quickly checked the pockets.  Along with an old hand written note that mentioned where the jersey came from, there were 3 horse sized looking pills.

AHHHHH!!!!!

They said "1 2 3" on them.  I quickly scurried to the computer to do a search .

And just like that, my dream had vanished.  It turned out they are 800mg ibuprofen.

My next though:  Could steroid guys have taken steroids and crafted them into ibuprofen looking pills to get away with them easily?

Okay, Tanner - give it a rest.  It is ibuprofen.

That is okay though.  After researching, athletes have been known to take these to be able to have shorter down-time between work-outs.  Canseco Ibuprofen may not be as cool as Canseco Steroids, but I'll take it, and am very happy to have them in my collection ... at some point, in card form!



After all that had calmed down, I was able to focus more on the jersey itself.  I had looked for who knows how long for a similar style of Rangers jersey that Canseco had worn.

Google was useless.

I started to get a bit worried, because nothing was showing up.  I was resigned to the fact that a picture of Jose wearing this style of jersey simply didn't exist.

Then, I stumbled across something truly awesome.

A Canseco collector who runs a website has TONS of pictures that he apparently took himself when following Canseco around in the 90's.  When I found that link, I quickly clicked.

One of the pictures said something similar to: "Jose taking batting practice 6-22-94".  Whoa, dude.  How was there a picture online somewhere that had a picture of Jose taking batting practice less than a month and a half before this jersey reached the hands of the person I bought it from?

I clicked, and here is what I found:



This was extremely exciting for me - after checking over everything I could on my jersey, everything looked outstanding and matches perfectly.  This picture simply could not have been found, had I not tried randomly by going to the Canseco fan's website.

Needless to say, I'm happy as a clam right now!  It was a good week.