Monday, October 5, 2015

Seriously, A $300 Tim Beckham Autograph.

At some point earlier this year I added a wanted list to the side of my blog.  Look over there to the right hand side of the blog and you will see it sitting there with some holes in it.  I have been able to add some of the cards on my list to my collection over the past year, but recently I have not kept up with the list.  Honestly, I am a little bit frustrated with a particular card on the list.  

The top card on my most wanted list is a Bowman Platinum Tim Beckham autograph.  It's a rather tough find, but then again it's Tim Beckham.  I like Tim Beckham.  He has spent a consider amount of time playing for the Durham Bulls and I have enjoyed watching him play.  His cards are fairly inexpensive and not too difficult to find.  

I understood that putting the Beckham card on the top of my list was a challenge, but it has turned out to be the exact opposite problem that I was expecting.  Beckham has a low print run of autographs in the Bowman Platinum set, so I figured finding the card would be the difficult part.  How much can it possibly cost?  It's Tim Beckham...

Well, the card has been on Ebay for awhile.  I have made offers, sent messages, and received nothing in return.  No: 

"Hey, this is my bottom line" 


"I could sell you the card for this much"

Nothing.  The problem with buying it as it is currently listed?   

You have to squint your eyes a bit, but that listing does say $299.99 for a Tim Beckham autograph.  I made my first offer on the card a few weeks back, then made a second, and a third today after hearing nothing from the seller after multiple attempts to contact them.  My third offer was the most insane price I have offered on a card in a long time, but sadly I knew that the seller would turn the offer down.  Sad, but someone would not take $50 for a Tim Beckham card.....

Crazy offer, crazier seller.  So, let's talk about unique cards for a minute.

I understand that a lot of collectors have cool, unique, low print run cards in their collection.  I have had some print plates and autographs of some really cool players during my time collecting baseball cards I have no problem cashing in on those cards.  I have a Mike Trout Finest autograph and would not hesitate to asking for a lot cash back for a card like this.....

Many of us also have cards that look really cool, and could be valuable, if they only had a different player on the front.  For example, I own this awesome Brett Wallace patch card from Topps Pro Debut.  It's an incredible patch piece......

No matter how cool the patch piece, or low serial number (it's print run is 5), it's still just a Brett Wallace card.  If a ever ran into a huge Brett Wallace fan, or someone who wanted the card, I can honestly say that I would guess the card is worth $30.  I wish it were something I could turn around for $300, but it is not.  

The moral of the story is this: If you have a low print run card that's autographed, or has a cool patch piece, be proud of your card.  However, if you are going to sell or trade the card keep in mind who is on the front and be realistic about what you are asking for your item.  We all want the most for the cards we are selling, or trading, but there comes a point where you are just being completely unrealistic.  

Sunday, October 4, 2015


The Durham Bulls season has now been over for almost a month, but I am going to give one of their players the space on #MyCardMonday for their great work playing in the Majors for the Tampa Rays.  Here's a black parallel of Mikie Mahtook's 2014 Topps Heritage Minor League set from last year.  

Mahtook's line in Durham this year was rather disappointing.  Mikie spent most of the summer shuttling in between Durham and Tampa, at bats did not come at regular intervals, and his performance took a turn for the worst.  However, the Rays have been finding at bats for Mahtook and his play, especially at the plate, has been on the upswing.  For the month of September the Rays outfield prospect has hit .349/.397/.683 with 5 home runs, 1 triple, and 4 doubles.  I am hoping to see a few of these out of him next summer.....

Podcast Episode 3

Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Five: Top 5 Sets from 2008

5. 2008 Topps- It's not my favorite Topps set of all-time or anything close to that, but this was one of the better designs that Topps came out with during this era.  I like the team name at the top and clean white borders around the edge.  That describes most of the 2000s Topps era sets though.  I am not sure that I love the placement of the Topps logo protruding into the middle of the picture frame, but in a thin year like 2008, this set makes the list.  

4. 2008 Donruss Elite- I am glad that Panini brought back college baseball cards this year.  I am still working on landing a few of them, but in the meantime I still love going back and looking at the Donruss Elite sets from this era.  There are some good names in these sets and I love the looks of the patch cards with the college logos.  

3. 2008 Topps Heritage- This was a cool looking set based on the 1959 Topps set.  Love the design.  This set was also a little bit harder than the average Heritage set to assemble for set builders.  The 2008 set was the first year that Topps put out a high numbers set which boasted the set up to 720 cards with even more short printed cards than the normal Heritage product.  

2.  Topps Allen & Ginter- This is one of my favorite Allen & Ginter designs.  These are just simple clean cards.  The autograph check list is a little lighter than other Ginter sets, but there are still some nice names floating around for collectors to add to their collections.  

1.  2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces- Not quite as good as the original, but still a really really good set.  The cards look beautiful and I could literally spend time just sitting and looking at the artwork in the base set.  Add in some really nice on card autographs and this is one of the real winners from 2008.  Unfortunately this was the last year that Upper Deck produced this set.  I know a lot of fellow collectors who miss this product.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ray Lankford From The Vault Part 1

I have done several posts about the Topps Vault before in the past, but this week I have two really awesome items to post.  I am not sure whether these are my favorite two items I have ever picked up from the Ebay Store run by Topps, but if they are not they are really high on the list.  Obviously I have never really posted about items that I have lost on the Topps Vault, but I have missed out before on a few cool Cardinals items here and there over the years.  However, I have never seen an item posted of my favorite 1990s Cardinals player Ray Lankford.

This past week so that change when the Vault listed two Lankford items.  I was worried that I would miss out on the items.  One of the last rare Lankford items I needed for my collection, a 1998 Donruss Red Crusade card sold for almost $200 last night, so I was anticipating something crazy with the items last week.  As much as I love collecting Ray Lankford cards I have a price point at which I will walk away.   In this case my fears about the items becoming overly expensive never really became a reality and I paid less than $25 for both items including shipping.  Tonight is the lesser of the cool items.  Here is my new Ray Lankford card......

This card is in a sealed snap down case and is a 1/1 card.  If I am understand the card manufacturing process correctly this card serves as sort of a proof in the pre-production process.  The back is on another card which has not been offered for auction yet, I think, but Topps does have card backs floating around on the Ebay store from time to time.  I like Lankford's 1994 card.  It's not the best card design, it's not the worst either, but I like that the card features an action photo of Ray running the bases in Wrigley Field.

Let's take a look at the back of the item......

Again, the back is blank, but you can see the hologram on the bottom right corner of the card.  The hologram matches a corresponding certificate that Topps mails out with all of the items they sell on the Topps Vault.  The certificate is shown below.  Kind of reminds me of a Merit Award they'd pass out in a Middle School......

Since most of the Lankford cards were issued before the proliferation of printing plates, this is as good as a 1/1 card for my player collection of the former Cardinals outfielder.  If you have not spent a little bit of time exploring the Topps Vault take a few minutes and flip through the items listed on the page.  Sure, some of the items are rare and expensive, but you never know when you will stumble across something unique and inexpensive for your collection.

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Rainy Saturday Afternoon Spent at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds Buying Cards From Men Behind Wooden Tables

Card shows are some of the coolest events that card collectors could possibly attend.  Yet, I have never written up a single card show on my blog.  In fact, I do not attend enough card shows.  They have them all the time at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, about a fifteen-twenty minute drive from my house, but I just never make it out to them.  I decided this weekend to change all of that and spend some time with a few other people who enjoy collecting cards.

Since I have never written up an appearance on at a card show on my blog I have also never shared my rules for attending a card show:

1. We always eat lunch/dinner before attending the card show
2. We have a cash budget and we stick to the budget
3. We never buy cards of the home team

So, I decided to toss the third rule since I no longer live in St. Louis and there is no home team in Raleigh.  We are all just a bunch of transplants from other cities.  Here's how I did on the other rules:

1.We always eat lunch/dinner before attending the card show

 I went out to lunch at the Cook Out in Cary.  It's a fast food restaurant that is loved by many in the south.  On this rainy Saturday I purchased the Cook Out Tray with a Hamburger "Cheddar Style", that's onions and melted cheese, fries, and a soda.  The picture of the "Cheddar Style" burger is below.

 It's delicious, but wise to pack some breath mints, or gum for afterwards.  Hand sanitizer with a strong scent is also good since the onion smell tends to stick on your hands.  Some complain about the smell of onions, so I think of the gum and scented hand sanitizer as more of a courtesy.  The Cook Out in Cary is alright, it's not as good as the Cook Out on Western Boulevard down the street from NC State, nor as good as the Cook Out in north Durham on Roxboro.  The north Durham location is my personal favorite.

 2. We have a cash budget and we stick to the budget

In this case I had right around $35.  There might have been a few extra ones floating around in my pocket after buying an attendance ticket at the Carr Building.  Here's what I got:

That's eight cards for $35-$40, or roughly about $5 a card.  Considering that included a cool Stan Musial Heritage relic, a Topps Heritage autograph, two Cardinals autographs, a Juan Gone autograph, a jumbo Lindor relic, and a sweet autograph of local Durham Bulls favorite Mikie Mahtook I am going to consider this a great day at the office.  It was also great to see a bunch of local collectors I have met over the past year or so hanging out at the local card shop.

Overall, a really fun afternoon and something I will go back to when the next card show hits Raleigh sometime in December.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


I picked up a really cool Jason Heyward card about two weeks ago and I have been dying to post it on here, but have not had the chance to do so yet.  I picked this card up off of Ebay, after being a little bit reluctant to do so at first, I think it is a really cool item.  Here's a look at the card....

This card was a giveaway from Topps during the National Card Convention this summer in Chicago.  I have seen plenty of Card Show/Card Convention exclusives and usually avoid them, but I love the Ginter set and was really intrigued by this one since it was not being passed off as an Ebay 1/1 or somehow/someway exclusive.  Instead, I was able to pick this card up for just a few dollars.

I was halfway expecting the card to be thicker given the cutout looks on the side of the card, but this is actually the regular card stock that Topps used this summer for Ginter.  The back does not have a stamp, or special markings to show that it came from the National Card Convention.....

Overall a really cool card.  Not sure how many different players were passed out in all, but I have seen a few others floating around in trade rooms on Facebook and auctions on Ebay.  There is at least another Cardinals player in the set, Michael Wacha, so I will have to work on adding that card to my collection.  Cool looking card for less than $5 and definitely worth looking into if you have a favorite current player or team you collect.