Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas gifts, authentic or otherwise

I think it would make a nice test case study if you could put non-card collectors in front of a card display, featuring every kind of current card imaginable, and come to some conclusion based on what kind of packs they select instinctively.

I kind of do a mini-version of that study -- all in my head, of course -- at Christmas time. I've now gotten to the point where I know I'm going to get something related to cards each year at this time. But since I refrain from asking for specific items -- I'm not going to make them track down a 1958 Duke Snider -- I'm basically sending them out into the woods and asking them to shoot at the first thing that looks good.

And from the looks of what kind of cards they find for me, I can draw some horribly inaccurate and unfair conclusions.

But it's fun, so what the hey.

For example, my in-laws would be the shiny mojo type. I know this because almost every time they've purchased cards for me on the last 4 or 5 occasions, it's been some kind of chrome card. Most often it's Bowman Chrome.

I don't know how this is possible. It's not like they can see the shiny cards from the package. They have no idea that they're shiny. Yet, they buy them over and over. The cards are also the worst deal in card history. Three cards for like 5 bucks.

But this year I received a BoChro rack pack from my sister-in-law, and a single BoChro pack from my mother-in-law.

Between the two of them I ended up with the Bobby Bundy base Chrome and the refractor version:

Silly me, I thought I had pulled two cards of Dylan Bundy, until turning over the card and figuring out that this was his brother.

The look of these helmets -- if they make it to the majors -- is going to make me want to stop watching baseball games.

The rack pack was devastatingly Marlins heavy. Which means I'll be holding onto these cards -- unwillingly, I might add -- until forever.

This was the best card of the bunch. A shiny insert of a can't-miss prospect with an obtrusive advertisement. And the team affiliation is already obsolete!

I have to add that I received two new binders from my in-laws and three separate packages of pages. Considering that both my 1993 Upper Deck and 1975 Topps binders are falling apart, and I have nothing to put my 2011 Allen & Ginter set in, these were probably the star packages of the entire holiday.

But no one wants to see pictures of binders, so I'll move on.

My daughter, if I had to describe her "collecting type," is "strictly flagship." She's a budding Night Owl. She goes straight for the Topps base.

Two packs of Series 1. I thought this would be filled with dupes as I bought quite a bit of Series 1. But she lucked out. I found 13 cards in those two packs that I did not have.

Included were two of the best cards to be produced in 2012. I was really starting to sweat out the fact that I would never land the Kyle Blanks card.

Also included was a parallel version of Jason Vargas, who some deluded Angels fans think is as good as Zack Greinke. ... they just can't stop comparing their team to the Dodgers.

My daughter also bought me packaging tape -- for card packages! There was a time when she'd cover her ears every time I pulled off a piece of tape because she didn't like the noise. Now she's graduated to feeding my hobby habit.

She's growing up just fine.

Finally, I'm still trying to figure out what kind of collector my non-collecting parents are.

I've mentioned before that they go to auctions. They do collect, but it doesn't have anything to do with sports. They periodically tell me they see baseball cards, but don't bid on any because they know nothing about them and are afraid of giving me garbage. This causes me to roll on the floor in pain.

The last auction they were at, there were cards, but they passed over them to make a harmless $12 bid on three signed photographs. They thought I might like them.

The first is the Johnny Blanchard photo you see here. There is nothing on the back about authentication. I have no idea how you could prove whether the signature is real or not.

But here is where it starts to get interesting:

Yup. Stan The Man.

Now, please keep in mind, I do not collect autographs. I think the whole pursuit is a hassle and way too much work. So I know next-to-nothing about the ins-and-outs of legitimate and illegitimate, authentic and fake, handwriting analysis, process of verification, any of that. I don't know about it and I don't want to know about it.

Doing a quick internet search I realized that Musial's signature here sort of matches his signature, with the large exception of the "S" in his first name. He usually loops the "S" on the bottom, and there's no loop there.

That's the back. I'm not sure what the photo of Musial signing a different photo is supposed to prove or signify.

As you can see, it comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.

I did a quick search of MFP Reborn Inc. and I didn't find good things. Near as I can tell, there are a lot of fakes associated with this organization.

That's the person who verified the signature and the date that it was verified. I looked up Nicholas R. Burczyk, and depending on who you talk to, he is either legitimate, not to be trusted, or doesn't even exist.

I love the autograph hobby, don't you?

This Burczyk fellow crops up on the back of the other photo I received, too.

That's The Hammer. In front of Johnny Bench.

Based on my brief walk through the internet, the signature is similar to Hank's signature. He's not always consistent with the second half of his first name.

That's the COA on the back.

Autographed Legends has the same less-than-sterling reputation online as the other authenticator did. I got the feeling that they started out legit and then started buying up forgeries and then everything got tarnished. I've got zero confidence in this autograph.

But again, this is all coming from someone who doesn't deal with this side of baseball memorabilia at all.

Some might say that the fact that my folks got these for only 12 dollars shows they're not real. And maybe so. But my folks know auctions, and sometimes things can slip by for next-to-nothing because the people who are interested in the items aren't there. Or the items were not fully advertised in advance.

That doesn't mean I think they're real. I'm pretty certain they are not. The only way to find out would be to send them somewhere reputable that can verify them. I don't know what place that would be.

As usual, I just like the pretty pictures. They're cool pictures. The signature kind of detracts from the photo for me.

As for my folks and what kind of collector they are, so far they've bought me baseball buttons and signed baseball pictures.

They might be the hoarder type. And allergic to cardboard.

But all-in-all I can't complain about any of my gifts, collecting-related or not.

Because I also got money for Christmas.

And we all know what kind of collector I am.

Get ready to see some Dodgers in the future.


  1. Pretty cool auto photos, especially if they are real.

    Speaking of a 1958 Duke Snider, I actually picked one up recently. I was hoping to pick up something else real nice, pair them together and try to pry that 57 Mays away from you some day.

    What else might it take so I can be on the look out?

    Merry Christmas!

  2. That Blanks card is pretty awesome. I have to say it is one of the best, if not the best, card photos I have ever seen

  3. Here's the thing with those Green Marlins. Ones a Blue Jay now and the other is a catcher (everyone named Austin is a catcher, now. I think it's in the rulebook.)

    I'll take them off your hands and send you some '13 Dodgers when I wrassle some up.

  4. That multi-image illustration of Musial is awesome and so is that photo of Aaron. They're both like pieces of eye candy... authentic or not.

  5. I tend to think the Johnny Blanchard photo is real, at least. He was a common autograph signer and your signature seems similar to two I got in person at a signing a few years ago:

  6. Its not Angel fans who are assuming Vargas is as good as Grienke. Its Angel management. They're too busy signing 1B/OF types to worry about pitching.

  7. "That Blanks card is pretty awesome. I have to say it is one of the best, if not the best, card photos I have ever seen"

    Q4T - Now I want one.

  8. Great cards. I love the Brent L card, which I hadn't seen before. The photos are also great, whether or not the autos are authentic.

    My wife and kids would never consider fueling my passion for collecting cards. Enjoy your presents.

  9. Nice pretty stuff. Of the Bud er Bobby Bundy cards I hate to say this (since I am usually anti-refractors) but the refreactor version on the right looks a bit better mostly becuase you can read his name. I hate the "lets put the players name in hard to read silver leaf in a difficult to read font style"

  10. As for autographs...if I didn't see it signed or know the person who did, it's as good as fake.