Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cardboard appreciation: 1977 Topps Johnny Grubb

(There are only two more days left in the high school sports season. And then life gets so much easier. This is the No. 1 argument against a year-round school year as far as I'm concerned. Here's to summer vacation!  Time for Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 117th in a series):

It's been a fairly cranky week in collecting. As you know, Topps Series 2 is out, and while that's a generally happy occasion, the news was dominated -- at least on the hobby connections that I have -- by how many twinkle variation cards there are, and the fact that there are now double twinkle variation cards, and that some cards look like twinkle variation cards and really are not twinkle variation cards, oh, twinkle, twinkle, little card, twinkle, twinkle, twirkle, twunkle, twooooo.


You know what I want to say. Some of you are thinking it already:

Why the hell does anybody care about twinkle variation cards? I can understand some of the criticism of the cards, but honestly I don't care to save anyone from their money if they're loony enough to chase these cards. More power to the advocates, but I just don't care. It's their bankroll, not mine.

Meanwhile, Series 2 breaks are popping up, and not only can't I get in on them (no time and no money), but I can't even live vicariously through those that can because after I get home from work, and child activities and home stuff, I find out -- oops the live group break is over. I missed again. (Wait, someone just posted links!)

Then there is the Million Card/Diamond Giveaway controversy. A few collectors have recently not received the cards that they ordered. Topps didn't have them in stock and sent them a different card (without warning) instead. That would enrage anyone. I didn't mind that people were calling attention to this, but there were a couple (not all) of posts that threw the entire Giveaway promotion under the bus (calling it a rip-off and a sham). That is hardly fair when an abundant number of collectors -- including me -- received all of the cards they ordered all FOUR TIMES that they ordered them. Yes, I agree with those who say fix the problem. I don't agree with some of the critics' piss-all-over-it treatment.

It's during moments like these that I realize why some bloggers stay only with vintage. There are no gimmicks with vintage. I mean, it is possible to travel in the modern world without getting caught up in the twinkles and giveaways and, grrrrrrrrr, ANGST, but sometimes the attraction to "the now" is too strong.

I find that when I am dealing with vintage, I'm a much happier collector. There is no edge, I'm not in danger of cursing, nobody needs to find a blood-pressure monitor. It's all happy all the time.

In other words, I'm happier when I'm collecting ironically.

I'm sure I'll find some Series 2 sometime soon, but since I'm not collecting the set, I won't get too involved. I will probably also end up buying more of those Fairfield rack packs, which I have mentioned a few times already and I am still appreciating very much.

The most recent one didn't yield a super vintage card. But it did produce another relic card (saved for later), and a few late '70s vintage cards.

As someone who just starting to re-collect the 1977 set -- I feel a want list coming on this summer -- I was enormously pleased to pull the Johnny Grubb card, since it is a key name from my childhood and a card I did not have.

I am not enormously pleased every time I buy a modern rack pack. But I am every time I buy one of those Fairfield rack packs.

So, as I continue to bounce between the vintage world and the modern world, still unable to commit myself fully to either one, I think I'm firmly on the vintage side at this moment.

It just makes me happier. The hipster collector. I can definitely dig that.


  1. Greg,

    Are you being serious about the Fairfield repacks? I think you are - but I'm just checking.

    Not knowing what they were and intrigued, I searched your site and found a post from you in May '09 when you seemed less than enthusiastic.


  2. If you're citing my post on the repack boxes (I think there might be a couple of those posts), then, yes, I'm still not enthusiastic about those. Haven't found anything cool in those.

    But these repack rack packs that have been in Target the last few months produce a few vintage cards and the occasional hit. They're good fun, if you don't mind a generous portion of junk wax mixed in.

  3. Ah, that explains it. Thanks. I've seen various repacks at Targets and Walgreens and I've admittedly bit on those at Walgreens a time or two when I see a card I need on the clear front or back of the package.

    Are the Fairfield packs at Target labeled "Fairfield" or some such?

  4. Actually, the Fairfield name is pretty well hidden, on the back of the package.

    The rack packs look like the one on this post:

  5. Ah, thanks again! Haven't seen that packaging locally but I'll keep watch.

  6. I think I'll be starting a 1977 Topps blog sometime in the next couple of months. I'm running out of 1976 stuff to feature.