Saturday, July 7, 2012

Even More Joy.

       Complete pages are what my collection is all about.  Starting Nine is not just a name, it's a philosophy.  These eight pages have all been finished recently and then added to their respective books.  Each one has its own story of who, what, where, and why and I will fill in the blanks if circumstances call for it.

I didn't buy much 2010 Topps.  I believe I bought a series one jumbo out of habit and it was not long after when I realized the bloom was off the rose for me constantly purchasing new product strictly "out of habit."  This is not to say 2010 Topps was a bad set, quite to the contrary, I rather liked it.  I especially liked the Franchise History cards they gave each team.  It was a good way to add a little wrinkle to the base set.  I recently gathered the doubles from that aforementioned jumbo box and wouldn't you know it, I had nine of the Franchise History cards in there.  That calls for a page:
Sometimes I go out of my way to find nine very specific cards for a page.  This is a good example of the exact opposite, making a page out of only nine cards.  I mixed up the horizontal and vertical and got a nice mix of old and new teams, not to mention a nice mix of different pictures. 

I think I have made a good point of emphasizing my love of dime boxes.  I am the guy who, when he finds a nice one, will pull up a chair and pour over the whole thing while at a show.  I take care not to block others with equal love of the dime box, but I have been known to make an afternoon of especially good full boxes.  I found one such box at the White Plains show over the winter.  I plucked 442 cards from that one.  That particular haul has been poured over and divided a few times, but there were some leftovers that I never got around to sorting until this week.  The following five pages come from those cards.

I love Topps Finest, but in my typical contradictory fashion, I have never really bought any of it.  I can't really tell if it is a price thing or a fatigue thing (Finest usually comes out later in the year).  Finest, more often than not, lives up to its name, at least visually.  They are usually very good looking cards.  I found a vein of the 2010 base cards in this box and made a pile of them.
I then, while still sitting at the dime box, went though them, found a nice mix of players and poses, and plotted out my page.  I do this a lot and while it usually illicits a funny look, it hardly ever gets questioned aloud.  Eventually, I will make a page of all the Finest offerings, for now, I have a lot of mid 90's stuff and only a smattering of recent offerings. Quick aside: I once bought a box of 1993 Finest for a (relatively) cheap price just to find a refractor - and, of course, hope it was a good rare one.  Oh, and I got a refractor...the player I pulled: Lee Smith.  Oh well.

Dime boxes are usually the dumping spot for a lot of unwanted base cards plus unnumbered and unautographed inserts.  While this is a sad end for some nice cards, it also lets me build pages I otherwise never would have even considered for less than a buck.  Much like Finest, SP Authentic is a venerable brand that I have long admired but rarely purchased.  This is a page of abandoned 2008 SP Authentic inserts, a handsome little set called Authentic Achievements.
I kind of like these little orphan inserts.  The scan doesn't show it, but the writing is all in a shiny rainbow foil, and the set itself is like 50 cards, which is large but not unwieldy.  Anyway, there were only about 12 of these and this was the best I could do with what I had.  While not the most aesthetically pleasing group of pictures, I think it fits with the whole nature of this set and the reasons for me finding it.

Ahhhh, the 2008 UD Documentary set.  This set has been run through the ringer so many times, I am not going to dig up the corpse and do it again.  Needless to say, it is one of the perfect examples of a great idea poorly executed.  So poor, in fact, that this set may have been the nail in Upper Deck's coffin in the eyes of many collectors.  I avoided this set like the plague.  I heard so many bad things, I never bought a single pack and never even asked any one about it.  In this dime box seemed to be about 1000 of these cards. 
Enough time has passed since the initial release of this horrorshow, so I took a chance.  I made a pile and, once again, carefully selected a nice assortment of photos and players for the page.  I purposely ignored any write ups on the front or back, knowing that I would be infuriated by what I read.  Overall, I think this is a very good looking page, as long as I never read a word and just look at the pretty pictures.

I need to learn to write things down.  I know how unorganized I am and yet I do very little to remedy the fact.  If I consistently wrote things down, both important and trivial, I could save myself a lot of headaches.  Every once in a while, though, I randomly remember something at the right moment and those little moments of synchronicity make good things happen.  While going through this box, I found a little run of 1993 Stadium Club stars.  Big stars.  This made me recall that while looking at my Topps books recently, I noticed that the only SC year I was missing was 1993.  Instead of rummaging through all my boxes to see if I had any, I now had all I needed to make a page.  Well, almost...
...I got eight cards from this dime box.  Look at the names here and I will let you decide which is the one that does not belong.  That card was found amongst my endless team piles and placed on this page to complete it. 

The nice thing about collecting your way is you get to make the rules.  Every once in a while, I get to make an executive decision about a page and that word is law.  We're still in that same dime box and I found a bunch of 1994 Fleer inserts.  These inserts were as understated as the base set.  But, much like that set, they work.  And while they all seemed to be the same, it turns out, they were different.  I found 6 Team Leaders and 5 Prospects.  Not enough to make a page of each, but, since they looked so strikingly similar, I decided to make a page that combined the two sets:
Both sets have gray borders, super imposed players, gold titles, and big colorful logos in the background.  If you just glanced at this page quickly, chances are you wouldn't even realize they were different sets.  The differences and similarities contrast very nice, I think.  It makes for a nice change up in my Fleer book, if you are even paying attention. 

The last two pages here have been a long time in completion, at least in my definition of completion.  This first one has been sitting in my retro book since the set came out in 2002.
Well, eight of those cards have been in that page for 10 years, that middle one was only recently procured from COMC. These cards are specifically a subset called the All-Time Series Team and it is from the 2002 Fleer Fall Classic set (a most handsome faux vintage set as has ever been produced IMHO). I have no idea why it took me a decade to complete this page.  The middle card was forever a random insert from this set featuring Yogi Berra and Thurman Munson.  I am not sure if I didn't like the three outfielders breaking up the nice symmetry of the two players on the other cards or if I just never pulled one of the two outfielders cards from this subset. Recently, I decided I didn't like how this page looked - unfinished - so I went online and fixed that. 

Last but not least is a similar dilemma I found a distinctly different solution to.  I have, since they started the set in 2001, bought some of the Topps Heritage set when it came out.  Heritage has a nice regimented sameness to it.  The inserts always have the same theme yet a unified look to the design of the year in question.  Since I am a sucker for faux vintage in general and nostalgia specifically, the Then and Now inserts have always been a favorite of mine out of Heritage.  But what to do?  Having page after page of the same kind of insert set would be dull.  Plus, there is always 10 cards in the T&N set, which ruins my love of 9 card pages.  Who do I leave out?  Do I leave out the same card for every year?  Not to mention the cost of accumulating all these inserts would be prohibitive to the overall result.  What to do, what to do?  Well, make a page with one from each year, of course. 
I had between one and eight of just about each year of the Then and Now inserts.  I didn't have any from this year, nor did I have any from 2001, 2002 or 2004.  So, to complete the page with a run of years, I went back to COMC and grabbed the 2004/1955 Herb Score/Kerry Wood card you see there.  Perhaps in seven years, if Topps is still marching the Heritage set out every year, I will make another page, including the missing 2001 & 2002.  Please check back in 2019 to see if I do.


Robert of $30 a Week Habit has claimed the 2012 Topps Stickers from last post.  The system works.

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