Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mini misery

One of my purchased rack packs yesterday contained a Lineage '75 mini that I needed. Former Dodger farmhand and general annoyance Shane Victorino.

But before I could mentally express my thanks to the cardboard god for blessing me with a Lineage mini that I needed, I noticed an imperfection on the Flyin' Hawaiian's card. You may not be able to see it that well, but that's only because I've already tried to alleviate the damage.

When I pulled the card out of the pack, a portion of the top edge, just above the "E" in Phillies, was folded over. I don't know what the baseball card term is for that kind of imperfection -- chipped, I guess -- but good gosh, it's awfully irksome to pull a card with that kind of damage out of a pack.

The worst part is that it seems to be happening more often with retail packs, or at least I've come across it more often this year.

And even worse than that, is it seems to be happening MOST often with mini cards, which are inserts, which don't pop up as often as your average base card, with are more difficult to obtain, which are more difficult to collect, which are more valued than average cards, which means DON'T SCREW 'EM UP, TOPPS!

Here is an Allen & Ginter mini I pulled out of a pack -- I don't remember if it was a rack pack or loose pack. It's as if someone took an exacto knife and carved two marks, one about an inch-and-a-half long, into the top left edge of the card.

This card is now useless to me. I'm not a major condition snob or anything, but I'm not collecting this set. So it's only value to me is as trade bait, and I can't in good conscience offer this card up at all. So there it sits. Which I suppose is appropriate, given that it's a turtle card.

I pulled another animal mini insert earlier this year that also had damage to it. I don't recall the kind of damage. I then promptly forgot about it and I see that I don't have the card anymore, which means I probably sent a damaged card to a fellow collector who now hates me. Kudos, Topps, kudos.

You probably can't see the damage to this mini, but I'm posting it here in hopes that if you click on the scan you can see the indentation that travels from the top of card, through Blubber Panda's left shoulder, and down to the bottom of the card. It gives the impression that the right quarter of the card is lower than the rest of the card.

It's common knowledge that I hate the Giants. I am required to get all of their cards the hell out of my collection. But I can't even foist this card on a Giants collector. That's how horrified I am by what Topps is doing to its mini cards.

The rack pack of Topps Update I bought yesterday contained this Kimball mini. You might think that the scanner cut off the bottom border, as it often likes to do. Nope. There is no bottom border. Came out of the pack like that.

So both mini cards pulled yesterday had card quality issues. 2-for-2! Woo-hoo!

Sometimes mini cards are the only reason why I buy a pack. I know that it would make more sense to get them online, that I am closing in on 50 percent of the Lineage minis and I'm taking a risk on getting dupes every time, etc., etc., etc., and I do do that. I do shop for individual inserts online.

But I also like to buy rack packs at stores and find a nice little surprise inside. It's the super-fun side of collecting. I love retail pack surprises.

But this is no surprise. This is Topps dumping its rejects on its customers.

If they want to mess up a regular base card, fine. I grew up in the '70s, we used to pull miscut cards out of packs all the time. I can handle that. But cards cost more now and there's a premium placed on inserts. There needs to be more quality control with minis.

Minis are supposed to make me happy, not sad.


  1. Speaking of minis, I haven't forgotten about you... I'm hoping to have my life in order at some point this weekend to which I'll start packaging up a bunch of cards for people (including you since I owe you some more minis)!

  2. PS: If you keep the wrappers, you can send the damaged minis to Topps for replacement. It's not a lot of fun to go through the hassle but if more people did it, I'm guessing Toppps would be more likely to change it's ways (for the better we can hope).

  3. You can foist any and all damaged cards on me if you wish. I officially do not give a crap about condition any more.

    I realized this last week when I dumped green tea all over all 16 cards I have from the Allen & Ginter Ascent of Man set - the only A&G set I'm actively trying to collect - and afterwards I thought it made the cards look better. I think I'm turning into the card collecting equivalent of the crazy lady who runs an animal shelter for horribly ugly pets no one would ever adopt.

  4. I will gladly take that turtle card. I have two baby box turtles and that one would look nice next to the Hare card from the Penultimate mini set. The turtles don't care about condition.

    I noticed lots of roller marks on Chrome Football this year but I guess those are pretty normal. We're expected to expect a bunch of damaged cards. Also, a Jeter Finest from our distributor-fresh case was whack from the pack. Very lame. -Andy