Monday, May 20, 2019

Cleaning up

I've mentioned several times that I'm not one of those people who looks for deals or bargains. If I happen to be low on money and at a card show, then I will scope out discounts, but that's about the only time.

This doesn't mean I'm rich or a wild spender. I'm neither. I just can't be troubled with spending so much time searching for deals. I don't check out the circulars in the Sunday paper, I don't pester retail salesmen for cents off, I don't argue with the check out girl about the price on canned pears. It's just too much time spent on something that doesn't mean much.

If you grew up during the Great Depression or in a poor family or are a college student, then, yeah, I get why you'd be obsessed with finding steals. But, overall, I think too much noise is made about who got what for how little. I don't play that game. I don't care. I hope I never have to.

This offends some people. A few days ago, my brother went to the store to buy some ingredients to make homemade pizza for the family. He bought a block of mozzarella cheese. The lady at the check out said in an accusatory way, "That's not the one that's on sale." My brother, who has no use for what people think of him, said bluntly, "That's the one I want." The check out lady gave a couple harrumphs and rang him up. Apparently my brother had shirked his American duty to buy only sale items. I've had encounters like this, too. It's baffling.

Anyway ...

All of that was to tell you I recently took advantage of a sale! (I'm such a two-faced collector). COMC is famous for its Black Friday sale, which I never participate in because I can't spend money on myself on Black Friday without going to confession. However, COMC also has a Spring Cleaning sale, which happened to be this month and happened to land during a time when I had extra cash. The stars were aligned. So let's see what I got for less money than I'd normally spend with absolutely no guilt feelings.

This is my new philosophy with insert cards of Dodgers. I will purchase them only if they appeal to me in some way. Gone are the days of me trying to obtain every Dodger insert (they'll probably always be listed on my want list, though). All three of these appealed to me.

Same goes for online exclusives of Dodger cards. If it's something I find cool, I'll track it down. But there's no way I'm looking for every Dodger online card. I can't afford it and some of them ain't great.

In general, if the online card resembles some sort of '70s tribute, I am there. This is an ode to the 1974 Topps Monster Initials stickers, which is so cool I can barely stand it.

These are "modernized" versions of the 1978 Topps design, basically scrapping the border. These appealed to me as soon as I saw them on gcrl's blog. They were quite cheap, too.

The backs, though, as they are on a lot of the online exclusives, are lame. Same words on every card, a couple lines of self-promotion and that's it. Speaking of discounts, they should discount the cards if they're not going to put any effort into half of it.

It seems odd to need a 1989 card so far into my collecting life, but I realized I had never obtained the Brian Holton error card, in which the pitcher shown is Shawn Hillegas.

There is the corrected version.

These are cards from the 1984/1985 Doug West Series, issued by Sports Design Products and featuring the art of Doug West.

I discovered these cards while writing the 1985 Topps blog (which I just completed earlier today). I immediately looked up the Dodgers, found they were awfully cheap and grabbed them. I never saw these back in the '80s and they're kind of nice.

This is one of the few Ron Cey autographed cards that I didn't already have in my collection.

I've ignored it for awhile because it's an unlicensed set and the look of Panini's Golden Age doesn't appeal to me. But I saw the card displayed on the Penny Sleeves blog the other day and I figured it's about time I got it, since I'm the Ron Cey collector and all.

OK, that pretty much does it for the Dodgers in my COMC envelope. Let's move on to the set stuff.

These are two more "divisible by three" needs off the 2008 Stadium Club set quest. I'm down to needing Justin Upton and Robinson Cano and then the set is complete! At least as far as I want to go with it.

The card at the top of the post tells you what other set I focused on with this spring cleaning selection. It is the '76 Kellogg's 3D set, of course! I'm loving this quest and I'm about to show you how much.

So much in love. Those dudes from the '70s are my dudes. The Eck rookie card is in a little less pleasant shape than the others, but nothing that will bother me.

With this salvo of '76s I now need just 13 cards to complete the 57-card set. One or two tricky ones remaining (Pete Rose, the stupid Steve Hargan card that costs too much because it's card No. 1), but it shouldn't be that taxing.

My next set mission with this purchase went toward the set where I haven't the foggiest idea where it will end.

These 40 buybacks from the 1975 Topps set bring me to 323 cards from the set in buyback form. That is seven cards away from the halfway mark.

Once I get to halfway, which I know I can do easily, my "have list" for these '75 buybacks will turn into a "want list."

These are the best cards to get during a COMC sale because, brother, people charge way too much for buybacks. They're buybacks!!!! Nobody wants a stupid stamp on their card!! Price them accordingly. Even someone like me, who isn't perpetually searching for deals, won't pay the prices for these things unless COMC is holding a sale.

Finally, I found one card for another set I am trying to complete. It was a sticky one. But it's mine, for a discount:

Willie Mays' final Topps card is a pricey item if you want it in respectable shape. This one is and I'm really glad I don't have to think about it anymore. It didn't keep me up at night but you set collectors know how cards like this loom over your head.

This was a pretty successful COMC grab and I admit I was impressed with how little I paid for it considering. I guess there is something to be said about looking for those deals.

But that doesn't mean I'm going to start throwing coupons at the grocery store checkout people or bragging to co-workers about how much I saved on gas. I'll probably keep the deal-hunting to baseball cards.


  1. Great day at the COMC aisle. Bargains indeed

  2. You have a chance to complete the only 1975 buy back Topps set in the whole world. Keep going for it.

  3. You know I love my deals, but I agree that a whole lot of people take it to weird extremes. I overheard a guy at work the other day return a book because he was charged $6 for it instead of the $5 he mistakenly thought it was on sale for. (???)

    I also took advantage of COMC's spring sale, and you're gonna see a whole lot of those '78 On-Demands when I get around to writing my post. They're awesome and oddly cheap.

  4. Those are some awesome Kellogg's cards. I need to get me one of those Eck's. Also, a card of Willie Mays as a Met is a wonderful thing.

  5. Agree with your statement that nobody wants a stupid stamp on their card. Buybacks, what's the point?

  6. I think it would be great if you could complete the buyback set. It would be a great addition to the other two 75s. FYI, your article is also in the new Beckett Baseball. I'm looking forward to reading it.

  7. People can spend whatever they want on cards. Too much. Too little. It's none of my business. I'm kinda like your brother when it comes to food. I'll pay full price for a brand I like over sale price for something I don't like. I guess the same thing applies to cards. But most of the time, I prefer to find deals.

  8. I feel like you should treat yourself to some Frosted Flakes or Raisin Bran when you're opening up a COMC package with that many Kellogg's cards in it.

  9. I never saw that insert set with the Letter N so I don'e know what other ones there are out there, but it sure would be cool if there were enough that you could spell out Night Owl.

  10. Cool pickups. Nice final Mays card. That is another almost 50 year old card (technically only what 46?) I SHOULD have but don't.

  11. I have never seen that Upper Deck error before, pretty cool! I really miss the days of wrong player's being shown on cards. The Willie Mays is really great too, but those buybacks!!!!! Even during a sale I'm amazed that you were able to get so many for affordable to you prices.

  12. Every time you feature 1976 Kellogg's cards, I feel the need to ramp up my own effort... Maybe I just need you to write about the set more often (and especially when I'm about to go to a card show).

    I once got into a small argument with a woman in a fast food restaurant about a discount:
    Me: Burger and a medium drink, please.
    Her: It's actually cheaper if you get the combo.
    Me: Thzt's OK, I really don't want the fries.
    Her: But it's CHEAPER...
    Me: No, thank you (after which she rung me up but seemed put out because I spent too much).

  13. I've considered trying to build that 2008 Stadium Club set, but every time you post about it and your struggles with it, a decade later, it scares me off. Thankfully Topps at least realized its error when it rebooted the set again in 2014. Sheesh.

  14. I'll look at your Kellogg's list, 'cuz I know a dealer that has a whole box of the 3-Ds for about 25¢ each on average. It's mostly 1981, but there are a range of others. I started the '74 set from just that box and got half of them and three out of the six variations.

    Will add any Alstons that I have to your next package.