Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Bridge between Collecting Art and Baseball Cards

If your collecting career was alive and well during the 1980's, you were treated to finding your favorite players packaged with all sorts of things. From cookies and breads to sausage and dog food, they were everywhere. Unless they were Broders, you were very familiar with the airbrushed hat, not unlike what Panini and Leaf have to do these days. Companies did a great job understanding what their consumers liked, and in the 80's, it was baseball cards. Cards being inserted into bread is now a thing of the past. Card companies have done a number of things differently from back then. Some loved, some hated. One such item that has drawn criticism are sketch cards. Perhaps this is a way to bridge the gap between the nerdy card collector and snooty art collector, but it really is a mixed bag. I am not going to post pictures of anyone's work in terms of which sketch cards are laughable, but I'm sure you have seen them. Heck, I threw my hat into the cut auto sketch ring one time ... remember this? :)   20140620_172124 If that isn't talent, then I don't know what is! Card collectors in general are learning that value is not just about how the art card looks; but also who sketched it. I'm getting off track though. What this post really is about is my latest PC addition (don't worry, it ties in later ... sort of.). As I was cruising online recently, I saw a painting that looked vaguely familiar. s-l500 I shuffled through my odd-ball box to the food issued card section, and found something that looked to be identical to what I had seen online. As it turns out, the painting above is the original painting used for this card: 20151124_194210 Does this look familiar to you at all? It was put out by Metz Bakery back in 1993. Metz Bakery did a set of 40 cards consisting of several bigger time players from the 80's and 90's like Griffey, Barry Bonds, Will Clark, Roger Clemens, etc. As you can see, the card type shows a painting of the player, and not an actual photograph. This isn't a blockbuster card by any stretch of the imagination - heck, the highest I've ever seen a 1993 Metz card sell for was a PSA 10 Rickey Henderson for $25 - but allow me to provide some background on it. To me, the more interesting of a story, the more valuable the card is. First, some history: Metz Bakery was not exactly a mom and pop shop. As a matter of fact, they were apparently bought out for 625 MILLION dollars in the late 90's. (Man, think about how many baseball cards you could buy with that kind of cash!) Dr_evil_one_million_dollars Somewhere in the mix, Michael Schechter & Associates was involved in this. If that name doesn't ring a bell, perhaps you know them better by the initials MSA. Those initials are linked to many food and oddball issues of the 70's and beyond, like Ralston Purina, Kraft Singles, Jimmy Dean, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Slim Jim, M&M's, etc. The list goes on. Basically, if it was a food issue, the chances are that MSA had something to do with it. As mentioned above, Metz Bakery was added to the list. The photograph that this was modeled after was even used for another odd ball issue. 0002790000093_A Nothing like a good ol' Canadian bread card issue! 20151124_194225 I'll put them side by side for you ... see the resemblance? 20151124_194241 For a COMPLETELY unrelated reason, I was searching eBay today, and found this had sold a few months ago. s-l1600sm Look familiar? That is because it is a picture (from the Topps Vault) that was most likely taken a mere SECONDS before or after the model picture for the Metz and JJ Nissen cards. What are the odds that I would come across this without looking!? Here it is with the JJ Nissen card on top of it. jjnissen2 So anyway, Metz Bakery went a different route and commissioned an artist to paint 40 portraits of the players they selected for use in their baseball cards. This is what makes this set unique- where most cards during this time period were photographs, Metz said "let's commission an artist!" and it was so. Original artwork of any checklisted card is intriguing to me, so I reached out to the seller to find out more. You can think of this as not just a 1/1, and not just a printing plate, but something in between. The name of the artist is Don Ivan Punchatz. As with any piece of art that I run across, I went to google with it to see if he is famous, has done anything worth mentioning, etc. Most of the time, I'm left empty handed with an unheralded artist, but this particular artist had a few interesting pieces. Mr. Punchatz passed away 6 years ago on the same month/day my son's birthday. He was an artist that his work definitely did not go with him, as it is all over the internet. They are VERY unique and many look quite bizarre. Try this one on for size: 09-Don-Ivan-Punchatz Aside from doing work on various CD covers, National Geographic and Time Magazine, he is remembered well for this little piece: DOOM Yes, my friends - he is the one who did the box art for DOOM. The video game that I wasn't allowed to play when it came out because it was too violent. With all of these accolades, it was enough for me to really want this piece of art, but there was one thing that REALLY got me on board. Here is another piece of his: swcnov09 Boom. He drew the very first Star Wars poster. If you didn't already know, my son is a HUGE Star Wars fan, so to have a Jose Canseco painting done by someone who did Star Wars art which was used as a checklisted card - that is just a home run right there! To make things even better, when it arrived in the mail, it was absolutely stunning. It is such a beautiful piece, I couldn't be more happy. I took some pictures to show it off: Here is the front cover. It had a clipping of the picture used, along with a drawn "T" on the hat. The bottom has instructions telling the company to send back the art back to Mr. Punchatz when they were done with it. 20151124_194305 When you flip this piece of cardboard over, it acts like an easel almost, to stand up the piece. I figured I'd display the 2 cards I have with it, in a cubby in my office. 20151124_194151 Here is a close up of the pic. Note there is a loose clear sheet that is over the entire painting to protect it. 20151124_194343 I asked if he had any others, and he does - as a matter of fact, several are on eBay right now, but he has some that are not. Sadly, the majority of the big stars are not available, but I was able to pick up the Will Clark as well. will-clark Here is a pic of the card the painting above was used for: Untitled-2 The more I dig into these odd ball cards, the more interesting and collectible I find them. While I'm not a fan of sketch cards (I've never bought one before), I would definitely be a fan if they were drawn by artists who have somewhat famous pieces out there. Here is a little video I did of the latest piece for my PC:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Customs with Premium Relic Pieces

This past week has been quite eventful! I was asked to write my second article for Sports Collectors Daily. I wrote about how to break down and sell a large collection of cards before your wife kills you.

I was also asked to play a part in a commercial! The commercial was for an entry in Crash the Super Bowl for Doritos. I wrote about it and put it in some "Off Topic" forums, but figured I'd post it in this blog posting as well.


You can check it out here:

Needless to say, I'm not going to be quitting my day job anytime soon, lol!

The video guy who created this posted it on the Doritos site, and so I had my family check it out. I decided to view some of the other entries... guess who is in another entry also?

Jose Canseco!

I thought that was really ironic. I mean, what are the odds?

Speaking of Jose, I ended up doing a few customs for my collection. After doing some 1976 customs, I figured I'd try one out of him.


Then, I thought - hey! Why not do one of a picture my wife took of him when we were at his house? Here is the back side of it ... so much more interesting than boring old stats :)


A few days ago, I saw a video of someone's collection, and as he was flipping through his cards, he showed a dual patch 2007 Ultra Dual Materials. I thought that it looked awesome, so I figured I'd cook up one of my own using this jersey:


So, here it is:


While I was making it, I kept thinking about how Ultra had Gold and Platinum Medallion parallels. I figured I'd cook up a new one myself. How about an Atomic Medallion?


If only 2007 Ultra made it for real, but since it is for my personal collection, I guess this will more than suffice :)

As for premium pieces, I was able to put together a few nice pieces of some Hall of Famers, like Bert Blyleven, Dave Winfield and Paul Molitor. Here they are:





I realize this isn't nearly as wordy as what I normally post, but I just figured I'd post some of these pics up before the dinner bell rings. Thanks for reading/looking!

Monday, November 16, 2015

I'm in a Doritos Commercial!

Would you please go to and vote 5 stars? You can view it there, and don't need to login.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

My Jose Canseco Collection in Videos & Pictures

I'm not sure if this happens to you or not, but quite possibly the highest point for me in picking up a new card for my collection online is NOT actually receiving the card. The highest point happens for me, when I have won it. If someone posts it up as a buy it now or best offer, you have the option to just get it over with, and click the BIN button, potentially overpaying a bit. You also have the option of OBO'ing it and running the risk of someone else grabbing it right from under your nose. The next option is someone posting a card up you want for auction starting at 99 cents. Under a buck seems so harmless for 6 days, 23 hours and 55 seconds. Then everyone and their brother bids. Before you know it, that little 99 cent bid becomes something that either makes you laugh or cry. For the moments leading up to those last few seconds, you have a choice. Do I go big, or do I go home? How much do I *really* want this card? The card up for auction is a big risk/reward possibility for the seller, because there could be nobody that wants the card, or there could be multiple high rollers duking it out. Depending upon how much you want the card, those last few seconds could get your heart pounding :) Victory? Time to celebrate! Defeat? Sadness. I've been on both sides of the fence, as I'm sure you have too. The point for this post is not to analyze the psychology of an eBay buyer's habits. It is actually just something I wanted to try out to display my collection in a little bit of a different way. This is a way for me to slow down and enjoy / be thankful for what I have, instead of just hunting, buying, winning, hunting, buying, winning, etc. Here is a pic of all my cards - NO doubles - (not including memorabilia / customs / oversized stuff). I hope to be able to store these better at some point, but for now, this works for me! I had a little bit of fun with this video - I've never done any video editing before, so I might use this as a sandbox to try out some stuff too. Video & Pictures below! My 2000 TEKs Here is what happens when you put some cool card stock behind the clear base version: My 2014 TEKs My 2015 TEKs Oh, and if anyone has any, here is what I need: 2000 Topps Tek Gold - ALL of them (except for 11-4) 2014 Topps High Tek Autographs Red Storm Diffractor #HTJC /10 2014 Topps High Tek Small Maze #HTJC 2015 Topps High Tek Stripes Red Orbit /5 Any/all 1/1's. Thanks for watching/reading! I'll be updating this thread with more video/pics showing off what I have as I get time.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Collectability of Oddballs, Variations, Fakes & Customs

My memories from when I was 12 and younger are few & far between (or is it far & few between?...I'm gonna stick with the first one.) Many of my memories are marked with things that have to do with baseball and baseball cards. Why? because ...

( cards. Baseball cards measure 2.5x3.5")

Fewer still, are the memories that don't have anything to do with baseball. One such memory is with my childhood friend David. I went with his family up into the mountains, and we went wading into the crystal clear water of a brook/river of some sort. I remember the excitement of finding neat & interesting rocks to collect. There was no thought of book value for the rocks. No concern of rival bidders trying to go for the rock that I liked. No wondering if the rocks were gradable, counterfeit or altered in any way. Just me and my friend, searching for neat looking rocks for our collections.

Whenever I pickup some cheaper variations for my collection, I'm taken back to that time. Going for a low numbered, highly sought after Canseco can be stressful and sometimes ends in disappointment if some lunatic out there is willing to pay more than I am (Hey, it has happened on occasion! I normally get my card, but not every time.)

I have been fortunate to pick up several new cards for my collection recently. Some have been of the main-stream higher dollar variety, but I'm going to focus on the pickups that I've acquired which are much more obscure. Variations / errors / odd balls that you won't find in Beckett.


Yes, variations that are not checklisted. Allow me to invite you into a world where checklisted cards are not the only cards of value.

Enter: The Cardboard Matrix ....

I could talk about the recent 89 Score promo Mattingly that went for well over $400

Or perhaps the 1988 Star Griffey (GASP! That Star company has cards of value?!)

Or what about the '93 finest Nolan Ryan promo?

Yes, these are the exception, not the rule, as the vast majority of this stuff goes for peanuts, but my point is that the collector of 2015 has come a very long way in terms of placing value on cards. Gone are the days of collectors saying "If it isn't in the price guide, it doesn't have value." But enough about other people's cards. Let's talk about my latest additions, shall we?

Fresh off the heels of my 1991 Topps article, (check out the # of ebay listings for '91 Topps glowbacks now) I have picked up a few other variations of the 1991 Topps Canseco

First, I grabbed the pink number version. This is about as borderline as you'll see in my collection in terms of the "c' this *really* a variation?" question. I have it primarily because it is known by other 1991 Topps collectors as a legit variation.

Second, I was able to grab a bold 40th logo back version.

As for the glow cards, I picked up a smattering of 1991 Topps regular and all-stars. I was able to find the light back glow, dark back glow and no glow for the All Star. I also was able to get those for the regular Canseco ... well ... except for the no glow. Then, jacksoncoupage stepped in and said he had one. He mentioned he'd send it to me, so that should be coming in soon - thanks!!!

This is where things get a little more interesting ... for me, anyway. I found this piece:

It is a blank back, the cards are normal size and on 1991 Topps card stock. I don't know if I've ever seen a blank back 1991 Topps card before, so I had to pounce on this. Apparently it was a promo sheet only given to people in the "MVP Program". As I wrote about previously, the regular 1991 Topps cards had about 4 million of each produced. How many of these sheets were produced? 10? 100? 1,000? Regardless of the number, the amount of blank back cards available from them are likely significantly less after 25 years of these things being destroyed. Heck, when I got this sheet, the Boggs had a heavy crease through it. With that said though, I was able to pull a perfect Rickey Henderson, Bo Jackson, Roger Clemens and Walt Weiss from it. #lovethisstuff

A while back, I saw some 1991 Topps baseball cards with football backs. I thought that would have been a cool item to have if a Canseco ever popped up. Well, I tracked down a 1991 Topps All Star Canseco with a football back. Now I need the regular front version if that exists!

I also picked up a 1991 Topps cracker jack 4 in 1 card w/Canseco on it.

A few neat cards that came in the other day were these two 1992 Topps cards:

Notice anything different on them? (Hint: something is missing on the front of them!)

And just like that, junk wax cards are exciting & fun again. Sometimes, I feel like that kid who was searching for rocks in the stream in the mountains again.

I had been looking at a particular Panini sticker card for a while that has the venezuelen stamp on the back. It is a mystery as to what they are and why they have the stamp. Was it some collector who did this, or was it Panini? The sticker is shrouded in mystery - even after my feeble attempts of researching. For me and my collection, the value is in the mystery and the potential back story. The more of the story I have, the more valuable it is to me.

Even if it is some kid that stamped them on his own, there is still collectability for player collectors, somehow. A while back, I posed the question to the collecting community: "Do you collect known counterfeits?" The answer for many, was a resounding YES. No, I'm not talking about forged autographs or butchered patch cards. I'm talking about the well known counterfeits of yesteryear. The infamous Pete Rose rookie, the 1984 Donruss Mattingly, the 1986 Donruss Canseco (Beckett reads: BEWARE OF CANSECO COUNTERFEITS).

Another card that was heavily counterfeited was the 1984 Chong's Jose Canseco. It was his second card ever made. A flimsy black and white card, where the back notes of "Sequoia Super Market" and "Biggest Little Supermarket in Town". Canseco played for the Modesto A's, and is a very well known card among his collectors. After the question was poised, fellow Canseco collector Razor asked me...

"So, do YOU have the REAL Chong or FAKE Chong?"

I never figured to check, and didn't even know what to look for, so he schooled me on the differences. Sure enough, mine was FAKE! I was fortunate to grab a REAL copy, though. If the tables were turned though and I already had the real version, rest assured I'd be looking to purchase a counterfeit version for my collection as well. Here is a pic of the two side by side. The fake is on the left, and the real one is on the right:

Which leads me to this request: If you have a counterfeit '86 Donruss Canseco or 91 Desert Storm Canseco Call me.

If you were ever into odd-ball cards in the 80's/90's, you knew that Canseco had 2 cards with Madonna. One was rather promiscuous looking, and the other was more of a cartoon. While I have both of them, I ran across a promo 4 in 1 card of the cartoon version that I had never seen before, so I grabbed it:


One of the let downs was an oddball card of "JOE" Canseco. This oddball (along with one other, I think) had card shops and collectors talking, because it was either an error, or they were trying to Americanize the Cuban slugger. I found one on ebay, and while I had it already, I noticed it had a much brighter border than mine. I took a picture of mine and compared it to the one for sale, then sent to the seller to ask if his truly represented the color on the screen. (His on the left, mine on the right).

He said yes, so I took a chance. It came in yesterday aaaandddd....same border color :/ Oh well - I had to give it a try!

I picked up this other prototype that I TOTALLY whiffed on. It was on ebay, I didn't see it until it was too late. Fortunately, the seller said he had a few ... as in ... only 3 or 4 were made! 1996 Leaf Steel Proof:

Upon more investigation, here is the back story: His company made them for Leaf. The tooling was destroyed after they went bankrupt and these were used as early tests for the process. Only about 15 players in the set have these proofs made.

The final card I'd like to mention in my collection is something that doesn't quite fit in with the others above. I received this card for free along with a note:

Thanks again Patrick! That was incredibly nice of you.

This doesn't fit in with ANYTHING I'm saying, but I thought they were clever enough to whip up and post. Does anyone else feel this way?

Or perhaps more suitable ....

Last but not least, I thought I'd show off a few extra customs. Why? Because if you are as sick as I am, you know that the card companies simply aren't making enough variations (ha!)

I present to you some 1976 Topps Yankees legends:

and 1976 Topps ....

Finally, some Chipper Jones love in NNOF, Superfractor and Wax Box bottom form:

Worry not, folks - the backs of my work mention they are not "real" just in case they do slip into the wrong hands at some point down the road :)

Anyway, that about does it for this article. I hope to hear from you about your cool odd ball / variation / error finds. More importantly, I hope to hear about your Canseco stuff that I don't have!