Monday, September 1, 2014

How do you hide a Refractor? With Camouflage!

First off, I hope everyone is enjoying their Labor Day. I know some of you still have to work today, but hopefully you're able to take off from work earlier or enjoy a slower day. Being in the corporate world, I am off today, and I "worked from home" on Friday, if you get my drift.

While I was hoping today would be lazy, my wife and I actually went to look at a house. Not sure if The Lost Collector and fam will be moving out to the burbs, although it's going to happen eventually, and sooner than later.

Anyhow, on to the post title. As you know, Topps has issued some camouflage parallels as of late. I feel like every couple of years, camo is fashionable, whether it's men's shorts or t-shirts or women's tank tops or something. I can't say I own any camos shorts, although I do admit to having a camo thermal shirt.

I'm curious to see if the camo parallels stick around, or if they'll be done after this year. I sort of like them, although the camo-ness of the Topps base design is a little less camo-y than I imagined. See what I mean?
I took another shot on a camo parallel, this time from 2014 Bowman Platinum. Not only that, but it's a Refractor and is numbered 15/15. Yep, AN EBAY 1/1 OMGZ! I grabbed this card on Listia for 7,999 credits, which is a lot, but it's a cool card of a player I collect. So why not? The refractor-ness of it is awesome, and I like how it's incorporated on the whole card, as opposed to just around the border. I wish the flagship did that, like they do with the red foil parallels.
What do you think? Is camo IN or OUT?

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Dutch Victory

A few weeks back, The Dutch Card Guy pulled an A&G rip card and held a contest about the mysterious card. I correctly guessed that it was a Jacoby Ellsbury card, and somehow, my guess was right! It was weird...I was actually watching the Yankees at the time and Ellsbury was up, so that's why I guessed him. Pretty cool.

For the correct guess, I won a prize:
Sweet1 I've gotten a David Phelps auto TTM before, but not a certified one. This GQ on-card auto is really nice! I like how loopy his signature is.

The Dutch Card Guy also threw in a healthy stack of Yanks. Here are some highlights. Mr. Dutch, thanks for the contest and prize!
 
 



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Q&A with Napkin Doon



There has been a gaping black hole in the “blogosphere” since Napkin Doon left it on March 4, 2014. The Adventures of Napkin Doon was one of my favorite blogs out there. Nap is a Rangers fan, but has a love for vintage and lesser-collected sets. He also has a kick-ass LCS named “Cleve’s”, and I think we’ve all been jealous of it a time or two from the weekly auction stories he used to share.

Napkin Doon also held a contest/game called “Big Fun Game.” Creative name, eh? Actually, Nap wanted to rename the game at one point, but I threatened his life and forced him to keep the “Big Fun Game” name. You don’t just throw away a perfectly good name like that. For those who never had the privilege of playing, it was essentially a Yankee Swap/White Elephant game where one could steal another man’s prize. It was ruthless. Actually, it was quite civil. Too civil.

He hung up his blogging shoes a little while ago, so I decided to reach out for a quick Q&A to catch up with the legend. For those of you unfamiliar with his work, go read the archives. They are free for all to enjoy RIGHT HERE.

Enjoy!

The Lost Collector: What have you been up to?
Napkin Doon: I guess I should just be honest-  I spent the last 3 months in a federal prison on a money laundering charges.  I made some decisions based on advice from the wrong people, and I paid a hard price.  It wasn't so bad.  In a sense, it was a pretty relaxing break, and the food was better than expected.  Obviously being away from the family was extremely tough on me, even with weekly visits.   Now that I'm out, I truly appreciate what it feels like to be free.  Thankfully, it was a white collar prison and the other guys were not exactly hardened criminals, so I felt pretty safe.  Actually, I'm making all of that up.  I don't really even know what money laundering is.  In real life, we just finished moving out of our old house and are bunking in an apartment for the next 10 days while the new house is being finished.  So that's sort of like prison I guess.  Add to the stresses that come with moving and building a new house, we are 2 people short at my office so I have been dog paddling just to stay afloat for a few months now.  I know, poor Napkin!

TLC: Any Cleve's stories lately?
ND: I hadn't been to Cleve's in almost a month before this past weekend.  I haven't done anything with auctions to speak of lately, but on my last visit, I went in guns blazing and bought my first ever vintage Mickey Mantle!  I also picked up a 1980 Rickey Henderson and a 1961 Warren Spahn.  I'm looking forward to getting back to another auction soon though.

(TLC Note: Napkin Tweeted at me last night that he got his ass handed to him by an old geezer at Cleve’s while bidding on some vintage Bowman)
Napkin Doon's first Mantle!

TLC: You always appreciated unloved sets, such as Topps HD. What are your top 5 favorite sets, and a few unloved ones collectors might enjoy?
ND: My 5 Favorite Sets Off The Top Of My Head:
     a- 1952 Bowman
     b- 2009 Topps Sterling
     c- 1999 Flair Row 1
     d- 1999 EX Century
     e- 2003 Diamond Kings
As for unloved sets, I always thought the "All Star" Cards that came inserted 1 per Rack Pack in the 80's were great cards.  Glossy, star studded and simple designs and they are super cheap to purchase.

TLC:  How's the sampler album coming along?
ND: It's coming along great!  Maybe it's because I'm still in "moving" mode, but I've really moved away from mass purchases and accumulation and wax busting, and am just concentrating on a few things.  The Sampler Album is basically satisfying all of my collecting urges and has been super easy to contain and keep up with (I have an album of 1 page for every base Topps set for those that don't know what I'm talking about).  In fact, I've been purging a lot of my bulk cards and will probably get rid of a lot more over the next few months.  I'm starting to become a "less is more" collector.  It also makes big purchases like the above Mantle easier to handle.  That said, I only need 2 more 1951 Topps to fill the 1951 page and then the album will be full.  Then it's just a matter of changing out cards as I see fit.   The 3 cards I mentioned from Cleve's all went to the Sampler album.  I'd like to only have 1 card of any player (2 or 3 is ok if it's a superstar like Aaron or Koufax or someone) and trying to make sure every page has a few cards with interesting tidbits.  For example, on my 1968 page I have a card of Sam McDowell, who was the inspiration for the Sam Malone character on Cheers. On my 1965 page, along with cards of Mays, Aaron, and Koufax, I have Masanori Murakami who was the first ever Japanese born MLB player.  I've actually toyed with the idea of reviving the blog at some point and just dedicating it to my sampler album and writing about 1 page per week.  So that would give me 60+ weeks of blog material.  But I doubt I do it.

(TLC Note: DO IT! DO IT NOW!)

TLC:  One of my most read posts ever was titled "Napkin Doon is a Jerk". How does this make you feel? (read the post HERE)
ND: A little sorry for you, if that's the biggest draw you could muster.  You should try "Fuji is a Mother F*cker" or "Night Owl Made a Pass At My Woman"  Then you'd get some ratings.

(TLC Note: Those are his words, not mine. See? He is a jerk.)

TLC: You stopped blogging during Spring Training. This season, the Rangers suck. Is there a correlation between you not blogging and the Rangers sucking?
ND: Yes. Next question.

TLC:  Are Doon Discs permanently discontinued?
ND: We are dealing with some, shall we say, unintended side effects from a few of our customers.  At this point it's a legal matter and I can't go into much more detail.  But trust me, Doon Discs are everything I ever said they were, and I am not responsible for any misuse or unsupervised distribution to children or the elderly.

TLC: Any other message for the "blogosphere"
ND: AVENGE ME!!!! AVENNNNNGGGGE MEEEEEE!!! WOLVERINES!!!!!!

Thanks to Napkin Doon for answering my questions. Hope you all enjoyed this look in to one of the most mysterious (former) bloggers out there.

A new way of collecting



I feel like I’ve become a different sort of collector over the last few weeks. I wouldn’t necessarily say that my style is changing, but that I can accomplish my collecting itch in more frugal ways.

As many of you know, my wife and I welcomed our second child in April. Everything has been going great. It’s a lot of work, especially when you add on 2.5 year old and potty training and his “why?” phase, but it’s been rewarding and fun and tiring and awful and great and noisy and restless and a whirlwind and awesome.

As any parent must do, we put the needs of our kids first. Lately, I’ve been feeling a little guilty about spending money on myself (aka on cards) as opposed to on my kids. We aren’t poor by any means, but the $19.99 for a blaster is money that can be better spent right now, like on diapers or food, or god forbid, put into their 529’s. Not to mention saving for a house in the near future, and it’s easy to pinch pennies when it comes to the hobby.

Additionally, I just haven’t been too interested in some recent releases. I’ve never been a big A&G guy. By the time Series Two of the flagship rolls around, I’m not too excited. I love the look of Finest, but with no LCS around, I don’t see too many chances to buy Finest. And not to take it for granted, but I know eventually most of the Yanks from Series Two or A&G will find their way to me in trades, so I don’t feel the urgency to go out and snag everything right away.

But none of this means that the collecting stops. If anything, I feel like just as many packages are coming in. Between trades and PWEs and Listia (yes, I still play on Listia) and the occasional TTM return, the daily mailbox trip is still fun. I have many of you to thank for that. THANK YOU!

For me, it’s been a fun evolution of finding new ways to stay interested in the hobby, and I’m feeling very content right now. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stay like this forever or become a permanent cheapskate. It’s just refreshing to know that I can still have fun collecting without spending and arm and a leg.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Random Listia autos - Part 1

In yesterday's post, I mentioned that a seller sent me about 100 random autographed cards with my "purchase" of a Michael Pineda auto/relic and a Phil Rizzuto auto. There is such a great assortment of cards, sharing them in random groups of five or so should prove to be pretty fun. If anything, it'll help me learn a bit more about baseball history, especially because some are guys I had never heard of or guys from the '50s.

If you have any more info or interesting anecdotes on the players featured here, please feel free to add in the comments section!

Here are the two from yesterday's post. There were actually a few from this set.
A couple 1953 Bowman reprints with autos of Bill Wight and Gus Zernial. Wight was a lefty who spent 12 seasons in the majors, actually starting his career with the Yanks, which I didn't know. In fact, he spent 1942 playing in Binghamton, my hometown and former Yankees affiliate. His best year was in 1949, when he won 15 games for the White Sox. After his playing days were up, he was a scout for 37 years with the Astros and Braves, and was responsible for scouting and signing HOFer Joe Morgan. Not a bad claim to fame. Wight passed away in 2007.

Zernial is a name many of us know. In 11 big league seasons, "Ozark Ike" was a HR-champ and an All-Star. He lead the AL in HRs and RBIs in 1951, with 33 and 129, respectively. He also hit 42 dingers in 1953. Sadly, Gus' career was delayed (as so many were in 1940s) with three years of military service from 1943-1945. He passed away in 2011 at the age of 87.

Now, on to five more randoms autos from this generous seller.
After looking at a few 1953 Bowman reprints, here's a more modern 2001 Topps Gold Label auto of Fernando Vina. Vina played 12 seasons in a career that spanned from 1993 to 2004, winning two Gold Gloves and representing the Brewers in the 1998 All-Star game. Most probably remember him best for his time with the Cardinals in the early 2000s. Post-playing days, Fernando has become a TV analyst. He spent time with ESPN in 2007, and I thought he actually did a fairly decent job on national TV. His career is marred by his inclusion in the Mitchell Report, and while he admitted to using HGH to aid injury recovery, he never admitted to using or buying steroids. Good luck with that, Fernando.
The next man needs little to no introduction. The long-time voice of the Tigers and Ford C. Frick Award winner, Harwell spent 55 years in baseball, and 42 of them were with Detroit. He's especially well-known for being the only announcer to be traded for a player. Could you fathom that now? I can't imagine many people would be calling Brian Cashman to check in on the trade availabilities of Suzyn Waldman or Michael Kay. Maybe David Cone would draw some interest. Anyhow, Harwell was beloved in Detroit and throughout baseball. He passed away in 2010, and the Tigers wore a black "EH" patch to honor him.
Oh yeah, time for some sweet Topps Archives. I believe this is from 1991. The first thing that struck me was the White Sox logo. What happened to that? It's pretty sweet. I love it when guys with a nickname include it in their signature, and that's exactly what Red Wilson did here. Wilson played for 10 seasons from 1951-1960, mostly with the Tigers. He was a talented enough football player to be selected by the Browns in the 1950 NFL draft, but decided to pursue a career in baseball. He passed away just a few weeks ago at the age of 85.
The first auto of a current player is none other than Yovani Gallardo of the Brewers on this beautiful Topps Turkey RC. Somehow, Gallardo is in his 8th MLB season already, all with the Brewers. He's 89-60 in his career with a more than respectable 3.68 ERA. He's the definition of a solid mid-rotation guy, and he's on pace for another year of a low-3 ERA and double-digit wins. From 2009-2012, he struck out between 200-207 batters each season. How's that for consistency?
Last but not least, the infamous Bobby Bonilla. Bobby Bo was a six-time All-Star in 16 seasons and one of the most feared sluggers in the game for a long time. While he only spent about four total seasons here in NY, I will always think of him as a Met first and foremost. Maybe it's because they are still paying him through 2035! In 1990, he actually finished second to teammate Barry Bonds in the MVP race. You know it's a good year when teammates go 1-2 in the MVP voting. Bonilla won a ring in 1997 with the Marlins

So there's the first batch of autos, which I'll roll out in groups of a couple at a time.





Monday, August 25, 2014

PC autos from Listia

A few months ago, I picked up a card on Listia that I had wanted forever: a Topps Stadium Club Co-Signers Tino Martinez. It cost me a pretty penny (in terms of credits), but also included a few goodies.

Later, that same seller put up a few other cards that I was interested in, and I was lucky enough to win them both. I'm especially excited about the on-card Rizzuto certified auto. I have a few other Rizzuto autos, but they are TTMs and uncertified. It doesn't get much better than this.
 
The Pineda is a solid PC pickup as well.

Now, you might remember that when I won the Tino, the seller threw in about a dozen Yankee autographs. We exchanged a few emails, and I found out that he was an avid autograph collector and overall good guy.

Just how good? Well, between the Rizzuto and Pineda, he threw in about 100 autographed cards! The variety is incredible, and I'll show them a few at a time over the next few weeks. Here's a sample of what you can expect:
Stay tuned!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Not my finest sketch

I recently decided to do a Javier Baez sketch card. Admittedly, it's not my best. I'm finding that I'm starting to do these a little faster though, and I just need to get better with my level of detail, notably, faces.