Collecting Goals – March 2018

I have been thinking a lot about my card collection lately. I have a lot of Oakland Athletics cards, it is one of my passions. Recently, a new friend of mine Ben (Twitter @ourtradingcards) sent me a copy of his Oakland A’s master checklist.  Looking through this checklist, I realized that there are a lot of cards I don’t have. There are some sets that I never even knew existed.

I have decided that I am going to set collecting goals for myself each month. I am on a budget and I need to limit and focus my spending. This will help me save money for sets and hobby boxes I really want, like Bowman and Topps Pro Debut, while making progress on my Oakland A’s collection.

Each month, I am going to pick up a few Oakland Athletics Team Sets I do not have. One will be a Vintage set. Vintage I will define as pre-1980s cards. One will be a set from 1980-1999. One will be a set from 2000-2017. The final one(s) will be any team sets from new releases.

Here are the team set I am planning to purchase for March 2018
Vintage: 1954 Bowman
1980-1999: 1988 Mother’s Cookies Oakland Athletics SGA
2000-2017: 2009 Upper Deck
New Releases: 2018 Topps Heritage (02/28), 2018 Donruss (03/07), 2018 Topps Opening Day (03/14)

Note: Topps Gypsy Queen, Inception and Tribute also release in March, but I will likely be saving those sets for pickup in April. March is a release heavy month.

Vintage
I chose the 1954 Bowman as my Vintage set because it is a simple design that I have always liked. There are 14 cards in this team set and I already have 2 in my collection: Bobby Shantz (#19) and Alfred Robertson, Jr (#211)

1980-1999
The Mother’s Cookie Cards are some of my favorite cards. For the most part they have a full-bleed design (no borders), good profile photos and a nice glossy finish. These are typically limited in quantity (approximately 15,000 sets each year) because they were a Stadium Give Away (SGA). I chose the 1988 set because it is one I have been wanting because it was the first year I really followed the A’s. I’ve been a fan since 1985, but didn’t really start following intently until late 1987.

2000-2017
I chose the 2009 Upper Deck because I’m pretty sure my Local Card Shop (LCS) has this team set and I want to support them while picking up something I need.

The sets in these goals will not be all that I buy, but they will be the primary focus of my spending.

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2017 Topps Heritage High Number Hobby Box Recap

The other day I opened a hobby box of 2017 Topps Heritage High Number. Over the past couple of years Heritage has become one of my favorite series to open. I enjoy all of the Heritage including the Heritage Minor set. The nice thing about the Heritage High Number is that the set is smaller, 225 cards (including short prints), so there is a higher percentage of set completion from a single box.

This particular set picks up where the Topps Heritage leaves off. The base set is card number 501-700 and the last 25 (numbers 701-725) are short prints. There are 24 packs per box and each pack has 9 cards. Every hobby box comes with a topper and a hit. The topper is either a 3-card Ad Panel, 1968 Original Buyback or a Poster. The hit is either a relic card or an autograph card.

Here are some stats for this box:

Base Cards (501-700): 191 cards, no duplicates = 95.5% complete
Short Prints (701-725): 8 cards, no duplicates = 32% complete
Total Set (501-725): 199 cards = 88.4% complete

Based on the set completion percentage alone, there is no need to buy a second hobby box, unless you are chasing hits. Notable Rookie Cards in this set are: Cody Bellinger, Ian Happ and Matt Olson.

Fortunately, I pulled all 12 Oakland Athletics cards:

Notable inserts:
Chrome
Base: Koda Glover 558/999
Refractor: Kyle Freeland 453/568

Inserts
Now and Then: Aaron Judge
Now and Then: Andrew Benintendi
Nolan Ryan Highlight: Breaks Strikeout Record

2017 HHN Inserts

Parallel and Variations
Action Image Variation: Brandon Phillips
Blue Border: Josh Reddick (not serial numbered, but only 50 made)

2017 HHN Parallels

Box Hit
Clubhouse Collection Relic: Masahiro Tanaka

2017 HHN Tanaka

Box Topper
1968 Originals Buyback: Ray Culp.

2017 HHN 1968 Buyback

Other Insets (not pictured)
Rookie Performers (2): Bradley Zimmer; Dansby Swanson

Award Winners (3): Kris Bryant – MVP; Eric Hosmer – ASG MVP; Kris Bryant – Hank Aaron Award

Combo Cards (2): Carlos Correa/George Springer – Houston Hammers; Eric Thames/Domingo Santana – Brewers Bashers

Now and Then (1): Wil Myers – Triple for the Cycle

All in all, this was a fun box to break. Hertiage is known for having many variations, parallels and error cards to chase. Not all of the variations are obvious so you have to look closely at many of the cards to make sure you are not missing anything. Check out Cardboard Connections’s Heritage High Number Variation Guide for more info.

With the high percentage of set completion and the variations to chase, I believe this box is worth the money.

Have you bought any 2017 Topps Heritage Minors? Whether it is a single pack, retail Blaster Box or a Hobby Box, comment below and let me know what you think of this set!

Card of the Week: Giancarlo Stanton 2015 Topps Stadium Club Lone Star Signature

My card of the week for October 10-17, 2015 is the Giancarlo Stanton 2015 Topps Stadium Club Lone Star Signature. This card is numbered 18/25. This is likely the most valuable autograph card I own. I pulled a redemption for this card from the first box of 2015 Topps Stadium Club I purchased. I bought 2 in total. Giancarlo Stanton is currently on the Miami Marlins.

Redemption card for the Giancaro Stanton auto card.

Redemption card for the Giancaro Stanton auto card.

After pulling the redemption, my first thought was do I sell it or keep it. I decided to keep it. I watched the Topps Redemption Update report to see when Stanton signed and turned in his cards. About a month ago I saw that Stanton submitted his cards to Topps and so I entered the redemption code. Just over a later a week later I received the the package containing this beautiful card.

Giancarlo Stanton 2015 Topps Stadium Club Lone Star Signatures #18/25

Giancarlo Stanton 2015 Topps Stadium Club Lone Star Signatures #18/25

Of course now the question remains: Will I get this graded? At this time, I’m not sure. I don’t really have the money to invest in getting cards graded right now. Also I am undecided as to whether or not getting cards graded is worthwhile for me. However, if I do decide to invest in grading cards, this would be one towards the top of the list.

Card of the Week: Sonny Gray 2014 Stadium Club Rainbow Foil Auto

So I was inspired by Jesse over at the Dodger Dad Blog. He has a feature on his blog for a card of the week. This is something I’ve thought about doing for a while, but I wasn’t sure which card to feature as my first card of the week. A week ago I bought the perfect card. I happened to get this card on eBay for under $10 shipped. I received the card on Friday and so here we are…

My card of  the week for October 4-10, 2015 is the 2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Rainbow Foil Autograph. This card is number 04/50. Until this summer, I did not own any Sonny Gray autographed cards. This card is now my 3rd Sonny Gray autographed card.

2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Autograph Rainbow Foil #04/50

2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Autograph Rainbow Foil #04/50

I have always loved Topps Stadium Club. It is one of a few sets where the photography takes center stage. This particular photo appears to have been taken during the 2013 ALDS. That year Sonny pitched in Games 2 & 5 of the series. Both of those games took place in Oakland.

Here is an up close picture of the gold foil stamped number.

2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Autograph Rainbow Foil #04/50

2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Autograph Rainbow Foil #04/50

One Year of TTMs: A Progress Report

I have been sending out cards to be signed though the mail (TTM) for just over a year. I wanted to share a progress report on this process and outline what my focus has been for sending cards .

I sent my first TTM out to Pat Neshek in March of 2013. The return was really fast, around 6 days. However, it would be another 8 months before I would pick up this hobby full force.

Since November 2013 I have sent out 110 requests including 15 that I sent out in the last 2 weeks. Of those requests I have had 88 successes, a return rate of 80%. Of the pending requests 12 were part of the requests from the last 2 weeks. This means that 10 requests are over 1 month old.

In the successes, I have received back 307 autographed cards from the cards I sent. I have also received 3 bonus signed cards included in 2 of the successes. 2 cards from Bob Lacey and 1 card from Frank Tanana.

As of this post, I have only had 2 failures. One RTS for “not at this address”. One RTS because forwarding time expired, but it did list the current address on the label and I was able to turn that failure into a success.

To date my primary focus has been sending out Oakland Athletics cards and cards that are apart of one of the following sets: 1981 Fleer, 1987 Fleer and 1988 Topps. So far, I have received 92 Oakland Athletics cards from my TTM requests.  Here are the stats for the sets I’ve been collecting:

1981 Fleer (660 cards): 29 autographed cards – 4.39% complete

1987 Fleer (660 cards): 45 autographed cards – 6.82% complete
1987 Fleer Update (132 cards): 10 autographed cards – 7.55% complete
1987 Fleer combined (792 cards): 55 autographed cards – 6.94% complete

1988 Topps (792 cards): 56 autographed cards – 7.07% complete
1988 Topps Traded (132 cards): 3 autographed cards – 2.27% complete
1988 Topps combined (924 cards): 59 autographed cards – 6.39% complete

Note: Not all of the cards in these sets were signed TTM some were signed in person at various ball games or events.

In my next post about TTMs, I will outline some of the changes I have made to the focus of the requests I send out.