Monday, December 31, 2012

It's been a long time comin'


After 5 years, one slightly trimmed card, an argument and a meltdown, I have finally landed one of my whales.  Part of the "high numbers" (#277) series, this card features a similar card to this, but a you can see has some additional cartoons where the "low number" (#253) lacks the cartoons.  These cards are often identified by either their lack of or feature of these cartoons.

I actually paid less than what I did for the card I bought at the National Sports Collectors Convention in August, (link to the story here) and from what I can tell from the eBay pictures the card is in far better condition, so I'm a happy camper!

I actually don't have the card in hand yet, should be here Wednesday when I get home from work! Color me excited.

Happy New Year everyone,


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Year in Review

2012 was a good year for me, but a slow one comparably to a year like 2008-9 or 2011. Many of the cards I bought this year were what we call premiums.  These types of cards were given away if kids were to collect a certain amount of cards or candy wrapper, or of the like.

From my memory, the first card I purchased in 2012 was this premium from 1936 (Greenberg is pictures in the first row last on the right):

The next premium I got was a rather inexpensive 1950 Indians team issue. This large card pictures Greenberg as the GM of the Cleveland Indians.

The next premium is a favorite of mine, from 1939 Goudey, Black & White variation.  My favorite part of this card is actually the back, which I do not have a scan of.  It features a very dumbed-down explanation of how to hit; everything from the stance to hand positioning, etc.

The next card is a first of me.  A signed vintage card of Hank.  1939-46 Exhibits Salutations.

This card is a rather large, rather damaged, but nice premium from 1936 R311.

This next premium measures 7''x10'' and features a nice photo of Greenberg leaping in the air. It cost me a little bit more than I'd like, it has punch holes in the top, but is a rather awesome card to own from 1948-9 Sports Exchange All Stars set

The next card began a slew of Wheaties premiums that were originally cut out from the backs of Wheaties cereal boxes.

Another Wheaties panel.

This next premium was my only purchase at the National. 1936 R311 Leather Detroit Tigers team photo.  Greenberg is second row up last on the right.

This premium is a gorgeous Wheaties premium. Got it for a good price, very happy with it.

And the final card of 2012 was the most recently acquired 1939 Play Ball Sample back

Thanks all! Hope 2013 is a good year for everyone.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Condition doesn't mean shit

In the world of cards, condition is king. A card's value revolves around factors such as age, rarity, condition, etc.

But who really needs to follow this criteria to say that a card is valuable/not valuable? This seems like a post-modernist/ "hipster" view of an old hobby, but it's a valid argument to present in this day of financial woes. Sure there will always be those collectors that have endless money that they can just throw at cards. Most collectors aren't like this, and can share my sentiment with the cards that are beat to shit, but still love as if it were fresh out of the pack.

There is definitely an affinity with cards with the sharpest corners, with the most vibrant colors, the straightest edges. But these cards cannot tell a story. What does a perfect card say about it's original owner? Probably nothing worth knowing, or interesting enough to want to know.

I like to hear of a card's journey. Recent attic finds totaling $500,000+ is interesting to hear about, but those cards were stashed away for 90 years. They sat, and sat, and sat. My money is on the fact that the original owner of the cards probably forgot that he even had them. Which is a travesty in of itself.

I want to hear stories about how the cards was flicked against the side of a brick wall, about how they were stuck in bike spokes to make riding a bike sound like riding a chopper.  Some people grimace at the sound of those stories, especially when it involves a card of high "value". See, there's that word again..

I am so content with the value of my collection, and the condition of the cards in it. I know that I might never own a card worthy of the Hall of Fame, but I couldn't care less.

I don't really know how I want to end this post, but maybe leave you all with something to chew on..

If you were building a collection starting today, what would it be, and what would you base the value of it on?

Monday, November 19, 2012

What do I win?

Today I had a unique experience with a card that I have owned for the better part of 4 years. It's not even a card I particularly love. This card has been a staple in my collection, and before tonight I thought was one of the more common vintage cards I owned.

That was before about 2.5 hours ago.

In a conversation with my cousin Steve about the Play Ball sample card he got on eBay a couple of weeks ago, I learned that the 1939 Play Ball card that I own is in fact rare.

Steve was telling me how the only card he needs to complete his 39 Play Ball set is the lowercase name variation. I didn't know this was even a variation. I thought back to my own copy of this card, and remembered thinking that the name was lowercase, like in the picture shown. Apparently, the variation is pretty rare. But how rare?

I'll have to do some more research. But all I need now to complete my set is the most common card; the all uppercase version of the regular card.

Thanks Steve!

"So, what do I win?"

Monday, November 5, 2012

HUGE CARD LANDED: Could be my Rarest card

Each of the first 115 cards in the 1939 Play Ball set can be found with red overprinting on the back indicating sample card status...
Collectors will pay a small premium for a type card of a common player. Sample cards of most star players will sell for about double the price of the regular-issue cards, while DiMaggio and Williams samples sell for about the same price as their regular-issue cards.
 2011 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards -- Lemke

You could count the total number of sample cards that I have seen on eBay on one hand. This, and the 1941 Play Ball Paper variation are two obscure, and incredibly rare variations.  Think of what kids did when they got these cards. Something with a red stamp on the back of their card? Right in the trash. The scarcity of these cards are unknown, but some information has been gathered about how this card was distributed in 1939. This promotional advertisement card was handed out at ballparks and other such venues to create excitement for their new Play Ball gum cards and product.

I think I got this card at a great price, and I'm very happy with it. Also, please comment and share this blog/story with whomever you feel would like to follow it. Let me know if you would like to see more videos in the future, or if I should stick to scans.

Thanks ------

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

CARD LANDED: Not what you'd expect...

1976 Playboy Press "Who Was Harry Steinfeldt?"

My cousin Steve is actually the one who assisted me in acquiring this card. Steve has been collecting for the better part of his life, and we try to help each other out when we can. It's quite nice to know somebody personally that shares your hobby and love.

"This 12-card set was issued in 1976 by Playboy Press to promote author Bert Randolph Sugar's book "Who Was Harry Steinfieldt? & Other Baseball Trivia Questions.  The black and white cards measure the standard 2.5'' x 3.5'' with a player photo on the front and a trivia question and ad for the book on the back."
 - 2011 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards - Bob Lemke 

I figured by studying the card that the image on the front of the card is in fact the answer to the trivia question on the back.  In my opinion, this is a failure on the part of those who designed the card.  If they intended for collectors or their targets, (since I am in advertising) I would have reversed the front and back of the card, in order to ask a trivia question, and then provide the answer, instead of giving customers an answer to a question they never knew existed.  It just doesn't make sense.

Anyway, I like this card. It sure is different.  

PLEASE stay tuned early next week, for I have a HUGE pickup coming :)

Thanks guys,

- Brian

Friday, September 14, 2012

Card(s) Spotlight: 1935 Diamond Stars #54A & #54B

One of the most sought after cards that Greenberg has in his player set is his 1935 National Chicle Diamond Star.

Issued by the National Chicle Gum Co. of Cambridge, MA, the set was produced for 3 years, between 1934-36.  As players would make their debut in the majors, or become prominent enough to warrant being placed in the set, they were placed accordingly.  Featuring drawn players strewn across pastel backgrounds of stadiums and scenery, these cards have become a favorite set to collect among pre-war set, type and player collectors.

Hank Greenberg actually has two cards that were produced in this set.

This was the first card produced in the set. However, an error made it's way past the editors and onto the card. Can you spot it? Hank GreenbUrg never played a single major league game, but Hank GreenbErg nearly 1,400 games in his career.

This error, as well as the error with Ernie Lombardi's card were quickly brought to the attention of those in charge, and were corrected in subsequent releases of the product. So in turn, this card became highly sought after because of it's rarity.

Typically, the cards in this set do not look like the card to the left.  This card has been made a work of art by a 10 year old that didn't like the white border around the card.  I bought it for about $12, and it will remain a place holder in my collection until I can afford to purchase one in a condition I feel is adequate enough.

The card that was the result of a printing error was this on the right.  Notice the U changed to an E.  There is a significant difference in the value of the error compared to that of the corrected card.  Although the corrected card "books" (hate this term by the way) at $400 in Near Mint condition, and the error "books" at $600 in Near Mint condition.  Well let me tell you something about book value Beckett. An error card that is in NM condition in an SGC or PSA holder will never, ever, EVER EVER EVER sell for $600.  It will sell for much more. That is for another post though.  Sorry about that.

Anyhow, this card had eluded me for sometime before I was finally able to land it in a private deal. I am guessing that I might have been outbid/lost out of 15 or more different cards similar to this one before finally acquiring it.  I might have overpaid for it at $100, but I NEEDED this card. It is a staple for any Hank Greenberg collection.

I know that I am not the only Hank Greenberg collector out there, and I am not striving to be the best, most high-dollar spender there is. I just know that I probably won't stop until this project is over and done with, and I can look at the collection as a whole and reminisce to myself about the journey, the struggles and the triumphs.

Thanks all.

[Information gathered from Old Cardboard]

Monday, September 3, 2012

Why this set is so difficult to complete

I began collecting Hank Greenberg vintage cards 4 years ago (around this time, ironically enough), and when I bought my first card, the 1936 Goudey Wide Pens I had no idea it would lead to this journey.

As my collection grew and grew, I quickly came to the realization that I am not the only Hank Greenberg collector in the world. Countless times at card shows I would ask a dealer what he had, he would routinely say, as if it were a sick joke, that he just sold a card that I needed.

I still do not know how many cards are in the master set (I should really get on that) but I would guess it is about 50-60 or so, and I think I am half way there, with some serious cards still to be acquired.

The last two cards I hope to acquire to finish my journey will be the 1938 R301 Overland Candy Wrapper (which isn't really a card at all) and the 1935 Goudey R309-2. Both incredibly rare, and incredibly condition sensitive. I saw an Overland wrapper at the most recent National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore, MD that was being sold for $2,100. Needless to say, I didn't negotiate for it.
This realization has taught me that all of my collecting doesn't )and won't) happen in the present. This journey will take longer than expected, but it will be worth it in the end.

But the 1938 R301 and 1935 R309-2 aren't the only cards I am worried about. Although not in the thousands of dollars, the 1937 V300 O Pee Chee is a card that tends to get very pricey. There was a PSA 2 card that sold for $245 on eBay that I should have pulled the trigger on. I feel like I'm going to regret that one for some time..

Another card that is tough is the 1936 V355 World Wide Gum. At one point I was offered a SGC 20 V355 for $425.  That shit ain't happenin'. I was also burned on this card. One went up maybe a year and a half ago for $149 that was a SGC 10, and I waited on it and was beat by somebody else. Live and learn.

What really hinders my collection is my inability to drop money on higher end cards. For other collectors it seems it is easier for them to amass more expensive cards and in better quality. I'm a completest; to me condition is not a big issue. As long as the card looks nice I am open to buying it.

Hank Greenberg, according to Frank Ward, resident vintage baseball card guru is one of the top 10 vintage players to collect. Jewish player collectors love to buy his stuff, and it seems that sellers always want it because it sells so well.  The competition for the more scarce and high dollar cards is high, but I'm determined to eventually finish the set. The fact of the matter is, there are a lot of collectors of Hank Greenberg, meaning that once these cards are bought, they will remain in someone's collection, and likely never see the light of day again. Once they are gone, they are gone, making a card rarer and rarer by the day.

There are some cards that were produced one Hank Greenberg that I still to this day have seen available at auction.  There are still some issues being discovered today, as original collectors are passing away and their estates sold.  This hopefully will make some more of the rare issues more common, if even possible. Because some of these issues are so rare, when they do show up for auction, they command a huge premium, for the reason being no one knows when the next card will surface.

This journey will be taxing, both on my time and wallet.

I will finish it.

Stay tuned.

Monday, August 27, 2012


1936 Wheaties Series 3

Landed it for a good price! Super stoked!


This 1936 Wheaties set features cards measured at 6x 6 ¼ and included 12 cards in the set. 

Usually cut from the back of cereal boxes, it is very rare to come across a card that is well-cut, such as this example above. It does have 3 pin holes in the card, which was not uncommon during the time that is was produced. Kids would routinely pin them to their walls or bulletin boards to give homage to their favorite players.


[Information gathered from Old Cardboard]
[Image from darby-s]

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Frustrating Situation

It was 11am.

At the National Sports Collectors Convention two weeks ago in Baltimore, Maryland, I happened upon a card I needed; a 1938 Goudey Heads Up. It looks identical to this card, but it has cartoons around it:
Reference this link (not my card). That is what the card looked like, but it was not graded. I knew this deal had the card for a very long time, about 4 years, which is a long time to sit on a card. The starting price for the card was $395, which was WAY more than I wanted to spend on it.  For that day, it was marked 20% off, which brought it down to $320, still much more than I wanted to spend on it.

With much help from my friend, I negotiated the price down to $200, which I was comfortable paying. I was on top of the world. I could not have been happier, spending the day with a best friend and picking up a card I needed for a price I wasn't upset with.  I brought the card right over to SGC to be graded.

It was 12pm.

We perused the show for the next 2 hours waiting for the card to be graded. Coming back to the SGC booth I'm thinking to myself how I could not wait to finally have the card in hand.  I was elated, excited, anxious, all of the above.

My day was about to be ruined.  It wasn't the worst news I could have possibly gotten, but it's pretty close.  Under heavy examination, the top border of the card came back slightly trimmed, making the card grade 'authentic' instead of a number grade, which would have designated the card was original and untampered with.  In a frenzy, cursing the world, and in somewhat disbelief, I walk back to the dealer who sold me the card.

This would happen to me.

It was 2:15pm.

My strategy going into this conversation with the dealer was to not be hostile, and ask what we could do to remedy the situation. They did not fight with me at all, instead they were very understanding of the situation and refunded my money completely, and even paid for half of the grading fee, which was a considerate gesture.  

At this point, I was without-card, and lost 3 hours of valuable time looking for a card to replace the one I lost.  

Luckily I find this to replace it, but the feeling of the day ending like this is shitty, and on the 1 1/2  hour drive back to Fairfax, VA I was mad at the world, and still in disbelief.  

I didn't think at the time to offer a price on the trimmed card to fill the collection spot for now, then in the future upgrade to a better copy. I was just too flustered.

Fast-forward to today.  I make a call to the dealer, asking for a price on the very same card, hoping I could get it for significantly less than $200.  To my utter surprise, they offer $180, only $20 less than what I originally bought the card for.  Doesn't surprise me at all actually, their original price for the card was WAY above what anyone wanted to pay for it, thus it sitting for 4+ years in their display case.

I explain to him that the card is trimmed, and the legitimacy is compromised.  He argues that the card is still in G-VG condition. "No, sir, it isn't. It says right on the label that it is authentic."  He then goes on to say that they will resell the card as G-VG, but trimmed, and set the price at $190.  Seriously? Sorry bro, but that card will NEVER sell. 

Have fun letting it sit for another 4 years.


Monday, August 13, 2012

I did a bad thing... Math.

So, last night with friends I decided to show them my collection. With that came a lot of questions.  So, with a fancy iPhone calculator and a tired brain (mine) I somehow recollected every price I paid for each vintage card I owned, including these two, at          and          respectfully, the most expensive 'non-vintage' cards I own.

I surprised even myself at my memory. It maybe have been because it was after midnight, and everything is more fun after midnight, and there were two attractive women at my house. I don't really know what that has to do with it, but whatever if you had to remember something with them in the room you'd do it too.

My total came out to be           .  This total includes the price of the cards (less shipping b/c calculating that would have been a nightmare) as well as grading fees ($10/card).

Can you imagine what I could have done with that money in the past 4 years of my college career? It's kind of crazy to think about, but at the same time, I have accumulated all these cards at a very reasonable price. In better condition, I could have spent more than double that amount.  I am fortunate that I have a low budget, and patience (at times) to wait for the right deal.

Remember, the cards totaled were less than half of what I have in total. The modern cards I have cost me less, on average, but they outnumber the original vintage cards I have.

Well, now that that's out of the way, I can chart from now on how much my collection has cost me. 

Thanks friends -


Turns out I hate Tumblr lol. Staying on Blogger for the near future.

Moving to

More efficient, prettier, and more awesomer.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Rookie Card

As a young up-and-coming kid from Brooklyn, Greenberg garnered a lot of attention from the New York Yankees, looking for a first basemen to replace Lou Gehrig. Greenberg remembers an account of Gehrig, describing him as a "man amongst boys". A 20 year old being the successor to Lou Gehrig? Hank didn't have that in mind for himself. 

Instead, he signed a contract with the Detroit Tigers, a team with a solid core of veterans that were one year away from winning a World Series championship. 

Now to the card. I bought this card in the Fall of my first semester of college in 2008, a time where I had a lot of disposable income and chose to buy a lot of vintage instead of boozing.  It cost me about $45 on eBay, and I haven't found a card go for that low since.  Although it is pretty beat up, it still retains that nice vintage look and smell, if you're into that kind of kinky shit.

I am looking to upgrade it to maybe a SGC 40 (VG condition) but I would not part with this card simply because of the importance of it to my collection.

All Them Cards

If you don't want to scroll through all of the pictures, use this link and navigate through that:

If you're the lazy type

Sorry that the format of the pictures got kind of messed up at the end, but at least they are all there.