My 1st Mantle

Over the past couple of years, I’ve participated in a bunch of vintage set breaks. These types of breaks are when you buy a spot and receive the card assigned to that spot by a blind draw. You are guaranteed a card for each spot purchased. These breaks are intriguing to me because you have a chance of landing some nice vintage cards at a fraction of what they typically sell for. I am a big fan of vintage cards and this is a fun way to add some to your collection.

I found @BurlsSports a couple of years ago on twitter. He generally does one vintage set break each week. He mixes it up with a nice variety of sets from 50s-70s and very reasonable prices per spot. I try to get in a couple breaks each month and have hit a few HOFers. Some of these include ‘65 Duke Snider, ‘66 Ernie Banks, ‘68 Steve Carlton and a ‘69 Joe Morgan. In April of this year, I landed my biggest hit to date. I pulled a 1965 Topps PSA 6 Steve Carlton RC. This sharp looking HOF RC was easily my biggest hit until recently.

Two weeks ago, a set of 1969 Topps was listed. This is one of my favorite sets from the ‘60s. I like the design and it’s loaded with HOF stars and a nice selection of rookies. Each spot was only $6, so I purchased 7 spots. For this set break, both versions of the Mickey Mantle cards were included. I usually do not watch the breaks live, but instead catch the video after it’s posted. The video started and a bunch of HOFers came off the board without my name being called. The biggest easily was card #260, a PSA 6 Reggie Jackson RC. Another batch of All stars, HOFers and stars were shown, then finally it was time for card #500, Mickey Mantle. Burl shows the card first. It’s a sharp looking PSA 5 White Font variation of The Mick. The card has crisp corners and edges, just OC a bit. He slowly scrolled down the list of names, stopped at #500 and the next thing I heard was my name called. I sat there stunned, staring at the screen. Holy Crap…I just won a Mantle! The 1st vintage Mantle that I own. Needless to say, the rest of the video was a blur.

This card is special for a few reasons. Some of the higher number cards in the ‘69 Topps set had a printing error where their names were in white font instead of yellow. This includes the Mickey Mantle card. This variation is more rare. At this time, PSA has graded 8,000 versions of this card. Only 1,040 were the white font variation. And of those, only 574 cards had a grade PSA 5 or better. Also, this is the last card that Topps made for his career. Mantle announced his retirement at the age of 37 in March of 1969. So the back of card #500 had the full career statistics of the future HOFer.

A few days after the break, the card was on its way. I anxiously checked tracking a few times each day. The card arrived on Monday and looks even better in person. Aside from the scarcity of this version, this is a gorgeous looking card. This card has a great photo of Mantle. The design of the card is clean and looks sharp. Also, with this being his last card, Topps lists the stats for each year of his storied career. I am not a Yankees fan, but Mickey Mantle is an iconic player and I’m happy to add this centerpiece card to my collection.

The Warren Spahn Collection

With the sky rocketing prices of current hobby and retail boxes, this is the perfect time to take a closer look at vintage cards. These older cards are full of history. The card designs are iconic and the names are etched in baseball lore. With their careers over, everyone knows who the stars are and which rookies to go after. There’s no need to bet on the futures of unproven prospects.

I’ve been adding a lot of vintage to my collection lately. Currently, I have a few mini collections that I’m working on; graded HOF RCs, a 1960 Topps PSA HOFers set, and a raw HOF collection that I keep in semi rigid holders. I decided to start another. I wanted to focus on a player’s run of cards for his entire career.

Buffalo born, HOF pitcher, Warren Spahn is the ideal choice for this mini collection. Warren Spahn was born in Buffalo, NY in 1921 and attended South Park High School in South Buffalo. He was signed by the Boston Braves in 1940 and was called up in 1942. After the season, he enlisted in the US Army and served four years during WWII.

He saw action during battles in Europe and earned several medals, including the Purple Heart. Following the end of the war, Spahn returned to the Major Leagues in 1946. Spahn would go on to pitch another 20 years, and become the winningest Left handed pitcher in MLB history. He would finish with 363 wins and 2,583 Ks. Spahn was a 17x All Star and would win both the CY Young award and World Series in 1957 with Milwaukee. He also threw two no-hitters in 1960 and 1961 when he was 39 and 40 years old.

I already have a few of his cards in my collection. These include a couple raw cards in semi rigid holders and also a PSA 1960 Topps card in that mini collection. For this run of cards, I plan to acquire cards that are in PSA holders. I like BVG holders as well,

but there are more PSA cards that are available. For this set, I want to put a collection together that has nice eye appeal. I’d like to get cards that have nice corners and edges and are at least mid grades. For some of the earlier cards, I might have to sacrifice condition for cost. For now, I will focus on Topps and Bowman primary releases. Between 1948-65, there were 25 cards made by Topps and Bowman in the main sets. Warren Spahn’s rookie card is the 1948 Bowman card. His 1st main Topps card is the 1952 Topps card. Last weekend I made my first two purchases. I won a couple of auctions on eBay for around the same cost as two retail blaster boxes. I won a 1957 PSA 5 and 1961 PSA 6. Both of these cards have good edges and corner. The centering is a little off which brought the grades down.

This mini collection is going to be a marathon, especially with the early Bowman cards. I have very few cards from Bowman sets from early 50s and I do not have any cards from the 40s. I know that they will be tougher to find. I may pick some of his cards from the odd-ball sets, but they aren’t my focus at this time. I’m looking forward to this journey. Happy Collecting!

The Warren Spahn Collection:

1948 Bowman RC

1949 Bowman

1950 Bowman

1951 Bowman

1952 Bowman

1952 Topps

1953 Bowman

1953 Topps

1954 Topps

1955 Topps

1956 Topps

1957 Topps ✅

1958 Topps

1958 Topps AS

1959 Topps

1959 Topps AS

1960 Topps

1961 Topps ✅

1961 Topps AS

1962 Topps

1962 Topps AS

1962 Topps IA

1963 Topps

1964 Topps

1965 Topps

1974 Set Build

What a strange time we are living in. During these past couple of months, I’ve added new terms to my vocabulary like social distancing, Zoom Happy Hour and flattening the curve. Like many others, I’ve been working remotely from home and practicing social distancing for weeks. Both my county and state has been battling the spread of global pandemic Coronavirus. My family has kept to ourselves. Besides picking up our weekly curbside grocery order or odd trip to the Post Office after hours, we haven’t gone anywhere in weeks. We haven’t had any in-person social interactions. Instead, we’ve become very skilled at the Zoom Happy Hours. I am very grateful to live in a quiet neighborhood and have a beach on the shores of Lake Erie that is only 5 minutes fromimg_5332 my house. So we are able to get some exercise and fresh air daily. However, it is easy to get overwhelmed when watching TV or reading articles. There’s only so much information and new conferences that you can take before you’re in a dark place. Everyone needs a release or distraction, so I’ve decided to focus on cards. I try to have a Cardboard Therapy session everyday. This helps to clear my head and think about a simpler time during my childhood.

With more quiet time, I thought this would be a great time to finally start my 1974 Topps set build. Going in, I knew that this vintage set build would be the most ambitious to img_5121date. It’s easily the oldest set that I will have attempted to complete and could only be done through already opened product. Previous sets, I’ve always used unopened packs or boxes, then filled in with singles. I feel that it adds more personal experience to the set builds. While at the 2018 National in Cleveland, I wanted to pick a vintage set to work on. I ultimately chose the 1974 Topps set due to its design. This is also the 1st Topps set that was released as a whole set, so it should be a bit easier to build. Prior years, Topps sets were released as different series. Later series are more rare and therefore more difficult to put together.

There was something about the design of ’74 Topps that drew me to the set. The cards are printed on grey card stock and the front of the card uses a solid white border around the entire card. Inside that is a thin colored border and banner type boxes at the top andimg_5792 bottom of the photo that lists the city and team name. These are color specific for each team. The player’s name and position is also stated. The set has a mix of staged poses and a few action shots. Some of the action shots are memorable due to the wide angles used and distorted backgrounds that appeared on the cards. The card backs use avocado green as the dominant color, with black as the accent. The card backs are loaded with information. Besides the player’s bio, his full stats are printed, there’s a couple of interesting bits and a cartoon.

It’s now July, the area is calming down and things are starting to open up. My family still isn’t doing a lot, but we are outside as much as possible. I am well into this set. I knew from the beginning that this vintage set build would be different from previous sets. In order to keep cost down, I would need to be more liberal with the condition of the cards that I collate. I img_5168want a nice looking set, ideally with all of the cards VG/EX. I’d rather have cards with soft corners or OC, then ones with creases. The toughest cards would be Dave Winfield rc and the Washington Ntl League cards. Starting with the 2018 NSCC in Cleveland and then again the 2019 NSCC in Chicago, I was able to find dealers that sold vintage cards at great prices in bulk. I was able acquire quite a few stacks of commons and semi stars without having a checklist to work off. When I started to binder the set this past spring, I had a good start. After the initial upload on Trading card Data Base, I was around 45% complete. I was able to knock more of the set off from my LCS in Buffalo, Bases Loaded. During the early weeks of the pandemic when businesses were closed, Jeff made home deliveries. I added two 100 ct snap cases of cards for the set. At the time of writing this post and completing a couple of trades, I am 72% complete. I have 480/660 cards and 483/678 with the short print errors included.

When picking up stacks, I’m not too concerned with dupes. I’m constantly upgrading cards that are already paged. Also, the 1974 Topps set is perfect for autographs. I have used a lot of dupes for ttm requests. With the white borders and photos that are used, autographs really pop on these cards. This has been a fun set to build. I have a bunch of HOF and star cards, but still need to add more. I’m constantly searching eBay for car that have nice eye appeal, but at a great price. I know that this will be a long term build. Definitely a marathon, not a sprint. Happy collecting!

1988 Topps…UK Style

1988 Topps UK (2)While on a visit to my LCS in the Buffalo area, I came across a wax box that I haven’t seen before. It was smaller in size and had a different shape then other wax boxes of that era. Upon closer look, I found out that it was a box of 1988 Topps American baseball cards, also known as Topps UK minis. I did some quick researching of the product and found out that it was a small set and thought that this would be a fun rip. I bought the box and a few loose packs.

The box of 1988 Topps American Baseball cards had 48 1988 Topps UK (7)packs. Each pack consisted of 5 cards and a stick of gum. The gum threw me at first because it was white. Apparently, gum that was made overseas didn’t have food coloring added at that time. The cards are smaller in size, 2 1/8″ x 3″. The set consists of 88 cards, including a checklist card. This product was made in Ireland and sold in Great Britain in 1988 and 1989. The cards were printed on white card-stock and feature a nice design. The front has a player photo with a thin red border, surrounded under a thicker white border. The team names are at the top of the card, using each team’s script that is on the 1988 Topps UK (5)uniforms. The player’s name and position is listed at the bottom. The back of the cards are very unique. The player’s 1987 stats and career stat total are listed and also features a cartoon of the player with a bio stat. Also, there is a baseball with the player’s signature. What makes the card backs unique, Topps included a rule or explanation of a baseball term on each card.

*** Finished this post almost two years later ***

A few weeks ago, I purchased another box of the 1988 Topps American baseball cards or UK Minis. I remembered writing a post and when I went to look for it, found that it was1988 Topps UK (6) still sitting in the draft folder. Life sometimes gets in the way and I became busy with other things. I started writing this post in June of 2018, but just finished it this week. My interest was peaked again when Matt of the Wax Ecstatic podcast started talking about these card. I highly recommend catching the show released on July 3rd that features this set. Like all of his shows, Matt goes into great detail on the set and a few of the players of cards pulled.

This was an easy set to put together. I opened 40 or so packs from the original box that I purchased and completed the set. The dupes are used for ttm requests or given to friends. This was a fun break and a great look back on a set that came out when I was just getting started in the hobby. This set was only produced for two years and for some reason, the 1989 version is harder to find. I have several packs from the 1988 box that I am keeping sealed in my wax collection. If anyone is working on the set, message me on here or twitter and I can help with some of the dupes that I still have.

An Unexpected Signing

IMG_6423It’s 11pm on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and we still need to buy everything besides the turkey. We made a decision to go to the store at that time to avoid the crowds that surely existed earlier. And the plan worked out. The parking lot was nearly empty and since our Wegmans is a 24 hr store, we didn’t have to worry about it closing on us. After getting our cart, I noticed a sign near the store entrance. Buffalo Sabres Captain Jack Eichel was having a signing at the store. It would be a free signing with a purchase from their team shop, but only a limited number of tickets were available. After getting more information at the service desk, I found out that I would need to come back tomorrow to get a ticket since the machines were down for the night. Also, there were only 200 tickets available.

Thanksgiving morning, while everyone else was still sleeping, I braved another trip to the store. This time, the parking lot was full and the store was packed with last minute shoppers. I bought a Sabres Jack Eichel tee shirt and secured my ticket for the signing.

Leading up to the signing yesterday, I wasn’t sure if would happen. A lake effect storm system came through the area. The storm effected both the morning commute and again the evening commute. Before leaving work, I called the store to see if the appearance was still on and it was.

IMG_7919The signing appearance was set up really well. The signing was free, but you needed a ticket. Each ticket allowed 2 people to get into the line and each person could get a free autograph. With the storm that was hitting the area, i wasn’t sure if my better half would be able to meet me at the store. However, she braved the roads and made it safely. When we checked it, we were given a ticket that said we were in the “G group”. We waited about 25 minutes in the holding area and then another 10 minutes in the line that moved pretty quickly. I brought 2 items to get signed; a Buffalo Sabres game puck and an 8 x 10 from last year’s All Star game. I IMG_7928couldn’t find a photo from this year in this new #9 jersey and the Captain patch. Jack was great with all of the fans. He posed for pictures and interacted with everyone. He was really good with all of the young fans that were in line.

This was a great surprise signing. Both autographs came out well. He signed the puck with #9 and the photo with last year’s 15. Jack Eichel is one of my favorite players on the Sabres, which are having a great year. He’s an exciting player that I enjoy seeing develop before our eyes. I’ve had season tickets for the Sabres since the 2006-07 season. The last 3 years have been brutal. However, I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the dark tunnel and Jack Eichel is one of the main reasons for that.

Card Show Day

I know it’s been awhile since I posted something on my blog. These past few months have been extremely busy, and my time has been limited, even for sending out TTM requests. Along the way, I have been picking up retail blasters, working on some collections and doing my favorite activity, hunting on eBay. I’ve made some purchases, but really haven’t had time to organize my collections or sit down and write a post.

However, today was a special day for card collectors like myself. There aren’t many Card Showexperiences like going to a Card Show. This particular show was my 1st since The National in August. This weekend’s show, Legends and Stars Sports Expo, is the largest held in Western New York. It is typically held in October and February each year at the Batavia Downs racetrack and casino in Batavia, NY. Generally, there are 20-30 vendors that sell a wide variety of sports cards and memorabilia. Also, a promoter brings in a pretty good lineup of former athletes for signings and photo opportunities. The lineup is usually loaded with former Buffalo Bills and Sabres, but also has appearances by national stars from the NFL and MLB. Besides Bills and Sabres stars like Bruce Smith and Pat LaFontaine, this show was headlined by Emmitt Smith and also featured Ken Anderson and Irving Fryar.

I have had the opportunity to meet almost every Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres greatMcDowell over the years. So I generally lean towards the baseball players that make an appearance at the shows. Over the years, I have met stars like Jack Morris, Kevin Mitchell, Bill Lee and Fergie Jenkins to name a few. This show had appearances by Jack McDowell, Andy Van Slyke and Ron Guidry. This was a great lineup for me. McDowell was one of my Van Slykefavorite pitchers in the 90s and I still needed to add Van Slyke for my 89 Topps set. Since I started sending out TTM requests in 2016, I have been fortunate enough to receive a few autographed cards from Jack McDowell. This show gave me an opportunity to get his signature on a ball. I also made an impulse decision to get a 8×10 signed as well. I also bought an autograph ticket for Andy Van Slyke. I am working on getting the 1989 Topps set signed and I still needed his base card for my set. Both guys were great. They took time to chat and take pictures with everyone in line. Ron Guidry had a long line, filled with Yankee fans. since I already had his signed card for my set from a TTM request , I passed on getting a signature today from him.

After the signings, I wandered the room, stopping at each vendor’s table. I didn’t have a goal in mind, but knew it would be something vintage. There were two vendors that I’ve74 Topps (1) made purchases from in the past and I hoped would be there again. First up was a vendor from the Albany, NY area with a wide selection of cards from the 1960s and 70s in binders. I plan on starting the 1974 Topps this winter, so I flipped through that binder. All of these cards were in mid range condition. Commons were .50 each, while stars and HOFers were $1-3. I picked up a stack of 50 cards for 74 Topps (2)$20. My next stop was with a local guy that sells cards on the side. He has a great selection of vintage cards from the 1970s. His inventory is mostly star cards in the lower to mid range, kept in semi rigid holders. I could spend hours thumbing through his boxes. I ended up pulling 6 cards from the 1974 set. They’ll either be for my set or my HOF collection. My final purchase was vintageVintage Hockey hockey. I’m a sucker for vintage hockey. I added 4 cards of HOFers to my collection. Couldn’t pass up adding another Perreault to my collection. I love the look of the 71-72 set. Also, this might be my 1st Stan Mikita.

Today’s show was very successful. I picked up a few autographs, including a card for my 89 set. Also, you can never go wrong with adding vintage to you collection. I’m looking forward to starting my 1974 set build this winter. Between National and today, I will be off to a good start. Now begins the enjoyment of organizing everything that I bought.

Happy collecting, everyone!

A Sense of Accomplishment

It’s a great feeling when you complete something. Especially when it’s a project that you’ve worked on for several years. This is something that happened to me 1980this past February.

In the Fall of 2016, I decided to build a couple of sets from my early collecting days. I wanted to store these sets in a binder, so I could page through the set and reminisce with the cards of my childhood. I began with a couple of sets that had a lot of meaning to me, 1988 and 1989 Topps. These two sets were the ones that introduced me to the Hobby and started it all.  Both of these sets were easy to build, strictly through wax boxes. There is a lot of unopened product, at available for very reasonable prices. After opening a couple of wax and cello boxes for each set, I completed both in a few weeks.

For my next set, I wanted more of a challenge. I wanted to pick a set that was special to me. I decided to go after my birth year set, 1980 Topps. From the start I knew this set build would be very different. The unopened product from this set is a lot more scarce and tends to be expensive. I had some cards in my collection already, but was basically starting fresh. The biggest card in 1980 Topps is the rookie card of HOFer Rickey Henderson. I already had a Beckett graded version of this card, but for this set build, I wanted to pick up another.

Aside from the Henderson RC, 1980 Topps isn’t very popular with collectors. Most of the complaints revolve around the design of the cards.  Although, I did not share those views.  The cardIMG_0233 features a single photo of each player, with a facsimile autograph towards the bottom of the card.  There are 2 information banners on the card that are color coordinated with the teams; one stating the player’s position at the top and a second showing the team name at the bottom.  The back of the card features a blue background with white trim and black text.

Since I was starting this set build from scratch, I had to decide what condition I wanted the set to be in.  I knew that cards would be harder to find, so mint was out of the question.  I decided that I wanted all of the cards to at least be in Excellent condition; no creases or major dings.  I wanted a set that had good eye appeal.  I purchased a couple of cello packs on eBay IMG_1331and already had a couple of wax packs in my pack collection.  I opened these and hit a few HOFers.  These cards were crisp and in mint condition.  They were a nice start to my set.  Over the winter I picked up several small count lots here and there on eBay; Team checklists, rookie cards and series checklists.  If I acquired dupes, always checked to see if I could upgrade cards that were in lower condition.   Months would go by and not much work would be done on the set.  However, in Summer 2017, my LCS handed me a treasure chest.  He acquired a 500 count vending box of 1980 Topps baseball cards and sold it to me at a great price.  Mostly full of commons, these cards were in really good condition.  I do not think they were handled that much since 1980.  More than half of the box were set needs and the rest were used to upgrade a lot of cards that I already had.  Then at a card show in November, I made another large dent in my set needs.  Between the purchases at the show and some trades made on Twitter, I was within 20 cards of completion of the set.

This would bring me to the spring card show this past February.  I picked up the remaining 7 cards that I needed and completed a project that I began in October 2016.  The final cardIMG_4183 that I put in the binder was card #290 Steve Garvey.  When I completed this set, I felt great.  This was the oldest set that I’ve built and proved to be the most challenging.  I enjoyed the process of acquiring the cards that I needed and always looking for set upgrades.  This set was loaded with HOF veterans and young stars early in their careers.  I obviously knew those guys going in, but there were a ton of players that I wasn’t familiar with.  It was fun learning about players of that era.  This set build was a fun experience.  For my next challenge, I want to try and build a set from the 70s.

Collating 1984 Topps

With the imminent completion of my most ambitious set build, 1980 Topps baseball, I needed to choose which set that I would try to put together next. I wanted to pick a set that had great design, an abundance of stars and a nice rookie crop. With that being said, I decided to go after the 1984 Topps baseball set.

1984 Topps (4)This is a great looking set that has a unique design and a couple of memorable rookie cards of stars from the Big Apple. It’s also loaded with HOF stars that are either late in their career (Reggie Jackson and Rod Carew) or just starting out (Ripken, Gwynn, Sandberg & Boggs). In my opinion, this particular set design is one of the better overall concepts (front and back) produced by Topps. The front of the cards are sharp. They1984 Topps (5) have two shots of the player, with an action or posed photo as the main picture and a smaller head shot in the bottom left corner. Topps did not add team logos to the front of the cards this year. Instead, the team name is printed in vertical font on the left side of the card. However, it’s the back of the card that really increases the overall grade for this set. The coloring of the card back features a great royal blue with a deep orange-red accent. Most of the stats are printed in blue font inside a light red shaded text box.  This is one of the better color combinations that Topps has used for its yearly release. Topps also placed the team logo in the top right corner on each card.  The card back design is visually sharp and easy to read.

When I build sets, I prefer to do so through packs as much as possible. There’s something 1984 Topps (1)about ripping wax packs, breathing in the aroma of cardboard and gum and being the 1st person to thumb through the cards. It would be easy to buy singles of this set and complete it quickly.  However, that wouldn’t be as exciting.  This is why I am 25 cards short of completing my 1987 Topps set build.  Although packs of 1984 Topps are harder to find then 1987 Topps, it’s a lot more doable then my previous 1980 Topps set build. There is a decent selection of wax, cello and rack packs to choose from on eBay. You can pick up wax packs for $2-3 each and rack packs for around $5-6 on eBay.  Recently, I picked up a couple of lots of these unopened rack packs to get me started with this build. Also, I1984 Topps (2) ripped a bunch of wax and cello packs of 84 Topps in recent years. I’ve kept these cards un-sorted in 100 count snap cases.  Two weeks ago I officially started this set build with a little Cardboard Therapy session on a Saturday morning.  I sorted the cards that I previously ripped and also the ones from the rack packs that I just acquired.  I picked up a new binder and a box of pages and I was on my way.   This past week I made my initial tally to see where I am at.  Counting only cards that I personally opened from packs, I currently have 456 of the 792 cards in the set.  I have a few of the glossy All Star cards from the rack packs and plan to add them to the binder.  However, I do not plan to actively collect these for my set.

I purchased a few more rack packs and should get them in the next couple of weeks.  After I open them, it should put me closer to the 600 card mark.  Also, I plan to buy PSA graded cards for the two key rookies in this set; Don Mattingly and Darryl Strawberry.  Once I get down to the final 150-200 cards, I will look to complete the set through lots and singles.  Also, I have a large stack of cards that I’ve received from @LumberjackCards to go through.  I’m very grateful for them and I’m sure they will put a large dent into my need list.  This is a fun set and I’m looking forward to the journey that it will take me on.  As an added bonus, these cards look great signed and I can use my dupes for TTM writing.

Happy Collecting,

Steve

#CardboardTherapy

Everyone needs a way to unwind after a busy day.  A way to relax and unplug from our hectic lives.  Everyone has their own way of doing this and to each, their own with whatever way they choose.  For me, my method is something I like to call Cardboard Therapy.

I work 2nd shift-type hours and do not get home until late, so its usually quiet atIMG_2228 home when I arrive.  What better time to bust out my cardboard and work on my various collections as a way to unwind.  Another perfect time for a cardboard session are Saturday mornings.  Before we start our busy weekends, I like to have my coffee and play with my cardboard.  And there’s always something that needs my attention.  Whether its sorting cards, working on building a set or writing a few letters for TTM mailings, there’s always something that needs to be done.

Relaxation is important.  We all need to unplug from our long days.  For me, I find that thumbing through cards from my childhood is one of the best ways to do this.  All these years later, Topps cards from the 80s still hold that intoxicating aroma of sugary gum and cardboard.  When I hold a stack of these cards and take in a long breath, I’m instantly taken back to my childhood.  They bring back a lot of memories.  This is mostly the reason why I built the 1988 and 1989 Topps sets.  They are very important to me and full of nostalgia.  I love thumbing through the boxes, seeing the iconic photos and reading the backs of the cards.

For the last year, another part of Cardboard therapy has been TTM writing.  I’ve been mailing cards to athletes in hopes that they send the cards back to me signed.  I willIMG_5156 research players that sign, make lists of the players that I want to send to and then search through the different boxes for their cards.  I hand write both the letters and envelopes.  This is something I like to do when I get home from work.  The entire process takes some time.  I often have several stack of cards that are in different steps of that process.  I find all of this relaxing.  The 87 Topps Jimmy Key card was my 1st TTM success.

Sometimes Cardboard Therapy can have a deeper meaning.  This past summer, I experienced one of the worst situations to effect my family.  This difficult time was hard for everyone and I chose to stay away from the hobby for awhile.  There were more important things that needed my full attention.  I was trying to deal with everything the best way that I could, but it was a difficult time.  One day I was cleaning out my childhood bedroom, I found some old binders full of cards.  Looking through the pages, I realized that these 3 x5 pieces of cardboard were helpful in another way.  A lot of great memories came pouring back to me.  I came across cards from my childhood that I forgot I had and found others that triggered many memories.  Whether it was from a baseball game that my family went to in Toronto, or a stop at the card store with my Dad or the family trip to Cooperstown, those binders were loaded with a ton of great memories.  A distinct one was from the very beginning of my card collecting.  I remembered sitting behind my garage, opening a couple of packs that were given to me by my Mom.  A lot of great memories came pouring back to me thanks to these 3 x 5″ pieces of cardboard.

s-l1600Its funny how some of these photos on the cards stick out to you all of these years later.  One that I will always remember is the 1989 Topps card #361 of Kelly Downs.  This card is special to me and I will never forget it because of the green corrugated fencing in the background of this photo.  We had the same plastic attached to our fencing in our backyard when I was little.  I remember hitting whiffle balls off of it all of these years later.  Its little things like that that always take us back to our childhood.  I believe in Cardboard Therapy.  Not only is it a wonderful way of decompressing at night, but it can have a deeper importance as well.

Greetings

Hello, my name is Steve and welcome to my latest project.  This is totally different for me Image116and way outside my comfort zone.  I am not a writer, but wanted to create something where I could share with you my small part of the hobby.  Please ignore any typos and incoherent tangents as I type away, two fingers at a time.

I have been a collector since the summer of 1989.  One day, my Mom gave me a couple packs of 1989 Topps baseball cards.  Between the bright photos on cardboard and stale gum, I was hooked.  During my peak childhood years on 10, 11, 12, I collected a lot of baseball cards, and some football and hockey cards.  During those early years, most of my collection came from wax packs.  Whenever I went shopping with my parents, I would buy the odd pack of Topps, Score, Fleer or Donruss (didn’t have any Upper Deck until 1991 for some reason).  I would come home, rip the packs open, eat the stale gum and sort the cards by teams.  I then stored them in one of those plastic boxes and looks like a locker.  A couple of times I remember getting a few factory sets for Christmas; notably 1990 Topps Football, and  1992 Topps baseball.  I collected a lot of cards until the mid 90’s.  By the time I got to High School, I drifted away from the hobby.

After college, I picked up a few packs here and there.  Before I knew it, I was back in.  I was dabbling in a lot of the current hockey and baseball products.  Between rookies and autographs, I was hooked.  However prices kept going up and it got to be too much.  In order to limit my focus, I started to develop a few personal collections.  Then in the last few years, I realized my love for junk wax.  Wax boxes from the late 80’s and early 90’sIMG_5750 can be purchased cheaply and found easily.  My local card shop has a great supply that gets restocked.  These cards, that are 25-30 years old,  are full of nostalgia and could offer hidden gems.   Who needs a Brien Taylor or Todd Van Popple rc?

My current collecting in mostly junk wax and the odd rookie single that I pick up.  I still collect team sets from my teams; Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Bills, Red Sox and Everton FC (English soccer).  I am big into vintage cards.  I have a few different personal collections revolving around cards from the 1960’s, 70’sand early 80’s.

During the Fall 2016, I began writing TTM letters and sending cards out for autographs.  This has become a large part of my hobby.  Its a great use of the extra junk wax cards that I have.  Plus, who doesn’t love getting mail?

I’m not sure how often I will write, but I hope this blog is interesting to some of you.  I love this hobby and cannot wait to share it with you.  Many have helped me, especially with TTMs, and I would like to pay it forward.  If you ever have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Here’s to ripping boxes and collecting gum and wax stained cardboard.

Cheers!

Steve