Friday, December 2, 2016

Cutting corners and other childhood collecting predictive behaviors

It doesn't take more than a couple of minutes of online searching to find a study on how childhood personality and tendencies can predict adult behavior.

First you have to weed out the links that pop up immediately that make you fear for our society -- is your child a sex abuser/serial killer? Then you come to the inevitable scientific and scholarly studies.

But what about children and cardboard? What does their physical treatment of cardboard say about their behavior as adults? Well, sadly, I believe there is no study on that. So I'll have to invent my own observations and conclusions based on absolutely nothing.

Take this 1972 Jim York card with the corners cut off. What does that say about the kid's future adult self? I looked up the genesis of the "cutting corners" phrase, and it refers to any kind of traveling -- taking a quicker, potentially more peril-filled diagonal path rather than following the lines and turning the corner.

So did this York corner-cutter grow up to drive wildly on the roads, or -- as the phrase has come to mean -- take shortcuts in his job or personal life?

I say, "no". Because the corner-cutting above doesn't have to do with any shortcut that I can figure out, unless he wanted to see what a card looked like without putting it into one of those photo albums with the corner tabs.

Who knows why corner-cutter did this? Probably grew up to be a psycho.

Let's consider this card.

It's a fabulous 1933 Goudey card of Dodgers pitcher Owen Carroll, who won 13 games one year at the tail end of his career for Brooklyn. It was sent to me by Nick of Dime Boxes. He got a deal on it because the border is missing. Someone removed it.

Now if this was a kid who cut it off, who did he grow up to be? I say he became one of those company penny-pinchers. "We don't need this border! It's just a bunch of white space. How much is that costing us?! Get rid of it!! And all the people we employ to put borders on things. Out on the street of all of you!!!"

Sure the card is collectible. Almost as much as with the original border. I refuse to complain because I wouldn't have the card if it had a border. But I may quest for a bordered one in the future, because I don't want to see those border employees on the streets during the Christmas holiday.

Let's see some more cards that Nick sent.

Hmmm. That's a little interesting. I didn't know these Upper Deck Textbook inserts had parallels, but of course they did. The scalloped edge is pretty pointless to me, but it was probably constructed by someone who was a corner-cutter as kid. Only now it's known more professionally as "die-cutting." What a relief. Corner-Cutter didn't grow up to be a psycho. He's a perfectly respectable Die-Cutter.

Buybacks. What kind of kid collector was the adult who invented buybacks?

Maybe it was the kid who scribbled out "2b" on his Jim Davenport card because he never saw Davenport play second base. And then, years later, somewhere in his cynical adult mind, he thought, "hey that's a NEW version of that card. Hey, Gold Foil Stamp Guy, let's stamp all these old cards and turn them into NEW cards." And buybacks were born.

And people collect them. Even I collect them. But for ironic reasons only. That '75 Sonny Siebert buyback is headed to my inevitably disappointing quest to complete a full 1975 buyback set.

OK, the rest of the cards you'll see from Nick haven't been altered -- much.

1997 Ultra Gold Medallion Brett Butler.

2015 Stadium Club gold parallel Kenley Jansen.

2013 Chrome purple parallel Matt Magill.

Two modern inventions that I wish would go away in one card. It's a foil parallel of a guy in a host-team themed jersey.


Two 2016 Update team needs. One card to go.

2016 Bowman International Ink insert of Oneal Cruz. No idea. But happy to have it.

Yay! A 1976 Kellogg's Don Sutton. The cracks are much more evident on the scan. This card will go toward my completion quest for this set. Expect to see a want list next year.

And what does this card say about the collector's adult behavior?

As you can see this 1962 Post Charlie Neal was cut off the cereal box in a rather careful way. But that's deceiving. Judging by the ragged edges and wrinkles, they probably either didn't wait for the cereal to be emptied from the box, or didn't flatten the box before cutting. THEY JUST WANTED THE CARD, MAN!

And that means that this person grew up to be just about every card collector I know.


  1. This post put the image of a rolled up wrinkled Jackie Rookie card. What would you say about the kid who did that? LOL.

  2. This post brought back a memory I had not thought about in probably 18 years. Back in 1996 when I first got into collecting the NBA, a friend of mine had a 1994-95 Hoops base card with cut corners just like the one posted, maybe with less cut off. He tried to convince me that it was a rare parallel, but even then I could tell it was nothing more than a damaged card. I think I ended up with it anyway somehow.

  3. I'm continually fascinated by the ways I see Post, Hostess, etc. cards cut from the box. Some are done with near-perfectionist quality (almost alarmingly so), while others do indeed look like the kid didn't even wait to eat the cereal/candy before cutting the card off. It'd be an interesting study to do one day. Glad you liked the cards!

  4. I think the difference in how post/hostess are cut depends is if mom made you use the kid scissors or let you use her "good" scissors.

  5. I must shamefully confess that at the age of about 6 or 7, I actually cut up a bunch of cards--drew a line around the player's image and cut just that out. I recall my Dad saw what I was doing and suggested I stop. No idea what in the world I was thinking.

    I have my flaws as an adult, but definitely nothing in the category of " psycho".

  6. I couldn't cut the Neal that way if I tried. That had to be a 2 year old holding a pair of safety scissors for the first time.