Friday, May 2, 2014

Long live die cuts

I've mentioned before that my brain doesn't fully comprehend die cuts. The die cut phenomenon started in the 1990s, right when I stopped collecting. And it flourished while I was blissfully unaware of cards.

Because I didn't get in on the ground floor on die cuts, I still look at them with puzzlement. There is a lot of "why?" and "what's that supposed to be?"

But that doesn't mean I don't like them. I like them a lot. It's nice to say "I have no idea what that is. But I love it." It's freeing. It's like looking at a painting in an art gallery. What is it? Who the hell knows? But it looks cool.

Still, there is part of me that stares at the die cuts and tries to determine what I see in them. They're like a Rorschach inkblot test or puffy clouds in the sky. What do YOU see in that die cut?

For instance, take this die cut from last year's Bowman Platinum that I received from Sam at The Daily Dimwit. What does it say to me?

Well, I look at it and I see a nice, big swivel chair. One of those monster executive models that would fit a 7-footer. Those things sticking out on the left and right are arm rests. And you can see the beginnings of the chair's legs at the bottom.

That's what I see. I can't unsee it now.

Some die cuts are a little more difficult to define. This card arrived from AJ at The Lost Collector. He guessed correctly that I would put this Tommy Lasorda card in my Dodger collection.

But I can't quite place what the die cut should be. It looks like a puzzle piece to me. Maybe one of those from one of those Gameboy puzzles from the late '80s.

This one reminds me of the second house in The Three Little Pigs, the one made of sticks. But I'm sure the National League's home run leader is much more protected than pig No. 2.

This, of course, looks like a diamond to me. You know how Topps likes to compare its cards to precious metals or coveted jewels.

It also looks like a six-legged sea monster. Depends on my mood, I guess.

Die cuts are quite a bit more extravagant than when they first came out. Back then there were just a few little notches on either side of the card. It didn't look like anything other than a card with some notches in it.

And I really should let things go and just let the die cuts be their fantastic selves.

Sometimes a die cut is just an inkblot, a puffy cloud or some splashes of paint on a canvas.

But it's just too much fun to see a six-legged sea monster in a baseball card.


  1. The David Price is a giant burrito wrapped in a shiny, blue paper.

  2. There's a part of me that will always associate the 90's with die-cuts and the whole cardboard industrial revolution. Good times.

  3. The Lasorda is cut into the shape of his favorite pasta.

    P.S. Thanks - now I can't unsee that office chair as well.

  4. I feel like due cuts nearly went away for most of the 2000s. I'm happy to see them resurface over the past 3-4 years.

  5. I say "heck, yeah!" to the die-cut.

    ...that Gonzo is one of the craziest I've ever seen. Nice.