Thursday, August 28, 2014

My kind of 1/1

I have just one 1/1 card in my collection. I don't think you can even call it a card. It's this printing plate of Wilson Betemit here.

Although 1/1s are mildly interesting to me, I've never made it a priority to try to find any. I couldn't even tell you what the lowest serial-numbered cards are in my collection without looking them up.

I'd like to find one or two someday, but I don't think I'll ever get to it on my long list of card priorities.

And I think that's because I've experienced plenty of a 1/1s in my card collecting history, although they're only 1/1s by my definition.

This is my kind of 1/1.

This is the only 1978 Topps card of Tim Hosley that you can find. That you will ever find.

There is no gold parallel Tim Hosley
There is no tiffany Tim Hosley
There is no no-numbered Tim Hosley
There is no cracked-ice Tim Hosley
There is no chrome Tim Hosley
There is no black-bordered Tim Hosley
There is no superfractor Tim Hosley
There is no mini Tim Hosley
There is no Polar Bear-backed Tim Hosley
There is no mini, chrome, black-bordered, variation-backed Tim Hosley.

This is the only 1978 Tim Hosley you get from Topps (go to O-Pee-Chee if you want variations). This is it. Even though there are probably infinite versions of this exact same card, it is a 1/1 to me because each one of those cards is essentially the same card.

This doesn't exist in collecting anymore.

Virtually every single card is paralleled in a dozen ways or more. And it's been that way for a long time.

Take these cards I received from Ryan of "O" No!!! Another Orioles Blog recently. No reflection on the cards he sent -- I like them all and need them all -- it's just that they're from a certain time period when we weren't content to look at just one card of the same guy.

That's a Clayton Kershaw 2014 Allen & Ginter card. It's the mini version of the Kershaw base card (By the way, in 1978, there was no need to say "base card". It was just "card").

That's a Tom Lasorda 2014 Allen & Ginter card. It's also the mini version of the Lasorda base card.

And both of them are A&G-backed versions of the mini card. A version of a version.

That's a gold-bordered version of the Orlando Hudson Season Highlights card in 2009 Topps Updates & Highlights.

And that's a gold-bordered version of the three-legged Manny Ramirez card from 2009 Bowman.

And there's a gold-borderd version of the 2007 Topps Updates & Highlights all-star card of Brad Penny.

And, of course, each set has multiple versions of different versions. In 2007, we had red-letter backs to go with the very pedestrian white-letter backs.

Chrome has hit the streets. And, of course, Chrome is just one giant-paralleled set. And there's two different versions of it, too. Topps and Bowman.

Here, there is a slight difference in the cropping between these two cards. But that's not enough for me not to consider it the same card. Different border, different crop, same damn photo.

Here is a set known for its parallels and variations. Topps Stars featured one-star cards and two-star cards and three-star cards ... of EACH PLAYER. In 1997 Stars -- which these are all from -- it was a relatively staid foil (front-and-back) parallel card.

Finally, here is a card that I don't think had a parallel. 1998 Pinnacle Plus featured Artist's Proof parallels for only some of the cards in the set, Roger Cedeno not included.

It was also the last set that Pinnacle ever produced. No doubt because people frowned on not being able to find a variation for EVERY CARD.

And that brings up the question:

Would people collect a set that featured no parallels, no variations today? Will they ever again?

I would.

I admit, I love certain kinds of parallels and I'm a sucker for a lot of them. But if they all disappeared tomorrow, I could collect a set with my kind of 1/1s.

Because for the first 10 years or so of my collecting journey, that's exactly what I did.


  1. That Topps Stars Konerko looks like crap in your collection. You really should get rid of it.

  2. I think the companies have gone overboard with parallels. They were a nice novelty back in the early 90s but now with today's cards you're chasing so many parallels that it makes it impossible as a team collector to get all of them. I've counted 42 parallels from the 2013 Topps set (that includes Topps Chrome and the printing plates). To me that's taking it to the extreme.

  3. Great post...I'm still trying to understand the parallels system for Bowman and to figure out what kind of cards I receive when I trade or buy team lots. I only recently found out that my mini A&Gs had back variations....and that Topps included some SP variations of base cards.
    I feel dumb. I hate feeling dumb. Stop those variations !