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Cards I'll never buy

I started thinking about the topic of this post even before I saw this image today on the Twitter page of @halocline_gg.

I immediately breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing the photo. This hobby disaster had nothing to do with me.

To run into a sign like this -- if it involved baseball -- would be deflating. And that's why I was relieved that it was targeting a product -- and collectors -- that are so far removed from the way I collect.

Here are the things that I don't care about concerning 2019-2020 Optic Mega Boxes:

1. It's Panini
2. It's basketball
3. It's basketball players on Panini cards.

There are few cards that I know I will never buy, but current basketball cards are definitely in that category.

And here's the exercise: since I have a wide variety of card interests and lots of things that I would buy, I tried to think of cards I would never buy. Ever. Not on a whim. Not on a dare. Never.

I came up with a few. Let's start with the topic du jour:

1. Current basketball cards

Nobody freak out, this is not my card. I don't even know if it's the card everyone wants. I just saw the price it was selling for and the player and figured it'd be a reason why people are tearing up card shelves.

There is no chance that I would pick up a box or pack of current basketball cards. I have zero interest. In fact, the only basketball cards that intrigue me are those cards on tremendous designs from the early 1970s. I may never pick up any of those either, yet it's a possibility.

But modern hoops? I will avoid the fray.

2. Buybacks that aren't from 1975 Topps

You've seen plenty of buyback cards on my blog.

The vast majority are from 1975 Topps. That's because I'm trying to complete that set in buyback form. And I'm doing that because I think buybacks are stupid and I want some sort of meaning to come from them.

To me, buybacks will always be ruined cards as long as that stamp is defacing the card. And I'll never buy a non-75 one. What's the point? I can just get the actual card without the stamp.

3. Cut signature cards

Like buybacks, cut signature cards ruin cardboard. What was once a lovely 1953 Topps card of Pittsburgh twirler Cal House has been chopped up and shoved into a pointless border. It's the card equivalent of a kidnapping and stuffing the victim in a trunk.

It  looks ugly. It's lost its meaning. It's practically heartbreaking.

If I was an autograph collector, I could see the point of getting a card like this if it's the only way you can get that player's autograph. But I'm not an autograph collector and, once again, what a relief.

4. Current Leaf cards

This card is from a 2019 Leaf set that just came out. Kody Hoese is a top Dodgers prospect.

You know me, I'm a Dodgers fan who likes as many Dodgers cards as I can get. But I will be able to avoid this card all day. I'll be able to avoid any current Leaf Dodgers card because, good god, are they atrocious.

The images are lousy, there are no logos anywhere, the designs are brutal. I feel like I'm wasting money just viewing the image.

5. Soccer cards

All right the previous four items are likely not too controversial for many readers of this blog. But now I've arrived at a couple things that a lot of people like.

I can't get into soccer. Not that I've tried much, but there is nothing about the game that I find interesting or exciting. It's painful to watch. I watched plenty of the college and high school variety and I know that's not top-of-the-line soccer, but it's not going to matter to me. I don't care.

That follows that I know almost nothing about who plays soccer or what the leagues are, which also follows that I know almost nothing about the cards.

Those are ingredients for me staying far, far, far away from soccer cards.

6. Garbage Pail Kids cards

Many collectors who grew up in the '80s adore these cards and find them quite humorous.

I was too old for them (I think I was in college when the first GPK cards came out). Also gross-out humor doesn't appeal to me. If you're going to go the gross-out route, you need to have something else to draw me in. Wacky Packages had something else: a parody of a product. GPK just has rhymes and alliteration. That's not going to get me to buy a card of a cartoon showing some kid with boils all over him.

You'll notice I picked one of the least offensive GPK cards I could find. I can't even deal with them showing up on my blog let alone owning one.

So, anyway, that's about all I could think of that I would never buy.

There are plenty other products or sports that don't interest me or I don't like. But there are always chances I could buy Panini Donruss or wrestling cards or cards from some movie I don't like just because the actress is cute. The chance is always there for many products.

I'm just very pleased that all the card commotion is about this particular product, from a company and a sport that doesn't interest me in the least.

Now, I've gone through this entire post without touching on the controversy over this whole NBA Optic thing, and that is limiting customers in what they can buy off of shelves.

In general, I am not someone who thinks that cards should be sold behind a counter or glass at retail outlets. I even dislike it in card shops, although I understand the reasons there. Cards should be available to the masses to purchase at their whim. If they want one box, fine. If they want 20, fine. As long as they have the cash.

The people who walk into a Target and load 30 boxes of Topps Update into their cart to sell at a massive mark-up price online are exhibiting pretty jerky behavior, and maybe because of that a special case has to be made.

But overall, I'm not crazy about the trend.

And since this has been a whole post about what I don't like, here are a couple of cards I definitely DO like and I definitely do buy: 

They arrived from Jeff of Cardboard Catastrophes and they knocked off two more numbers from my 1956 Topps want list.

They are beautiful, phenomenal even.

And I will buy them until I can't buy them no more -- or until I complete the set.


Billy Kingsley said…
The optic boxes are being bought and resold for 5 to 6 times the original price. There are also lots of reports of people opening them in the store and stealing the rookies.

This is actually a move I support. There are ways to get around it but if it can keep some of the scammers at bay, then I won't be complaining.
Base Card Hero said…
Basketball card are getting out of hand. I feel there is another collecting bubble growing again.
Sean said…
That Cal Hogue card is brutal to look at. Cut signatures are the worst.

As a kid in the 80s I have a lot of fond memories of trading Garbage Pail Kids on the playground, I kept them in the same pile with my baseball cards so the two are inextricably linked in my mind. Though I don't have any Garbage Pail Kids now, I would definitely buy the ones I used to have as a kid just for the sentimental reason because, yeah, they are pretty horrible.
Zippy Zappy said…
So you WILL buy football cards then. Okay.
LOL. Greg your turn to play
steelehere said…
I feel like a perfect addition to the list are the unlicensed ACEO (art/sketch cards) that are all over eBay. How these even exist on eBay is beyond me.
Nick said…
Hate to sound like a misanthrope, but the whole Optic (or whatever) basketball craze really has me worried about the selfish & herd mentality qualities of the human race. I cringe to think of the ramifications of all this insanity down the road.
bbcardz said…
I'm glad I'm not alone in avoiding the latest bandwagon trends in the hobby. I'll just stick to what I like.
Billy Kingsley said…
By the way, as one of the few actual basketball fans and collectors in the blogosphere, I won't buy any of Optic either. Not that I don't want them, but I will not pay the scalper prices. The reason all this is happening is because the best pure talent of the past 15 years is a rookie this year. If you've ever heard the term "generational talent"...yeah, that's Zion Williamson. He's projected to be on the same levels as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James...who I'm sure even the non-NBA collectors are familiar with.

What I won't buy: Garbage pail kids. Hate them. They are the primary reason I can't tell people I collect non-sports cards, I have to say SOME non-sports cards. They are the only cards I won't even accept as gifts. Soccer...meh. I tried watching it in the Olympics. Didn't enjoy it. Actually put me to sleep. I have little to no interest in football but I can't guarantee I won't buy any; if they ever do a set like Allen & Ginter I would. Other than A&G I don't buy baseball either. It's just not my thing. I have bought A&G in the past looking for the non-sports cards, but money is so tight that I don't do it often...I can't even keep up with the three sports I actively collect. I'd do boxes if I won the lottery.
I will collect any sports cards that are given to me; even baseball and football and soccer. I just won't spend money on them.
Brett Alan said…
These days I pretty much stick to baseball only. When I was a kid I collected the other sports, and even when I returned to the hobby I dabbled in hockey cards. I'm a big hockey fan, but at this point I don't really collect the cards. I might buy a non-sport card once in a blue moon, but that's about it.

I did collect Garbage Pail Kids for about a month--I was working at a day camp as a college kid, and the kids were collecting and trading them, so I bought some packs so I could join in. Other counselors were doing it, too. After a while the camp decided to put a stop to it lest a parent get the idea that the counselors were cheating the kids in trades. (I wouldn't think anyone WAS, but I guess I can't be sure.)

@steelehere, I don't really have a problem with those sketch cards and such existing, but--like with Broders from the junk wax era--I don't think they're worth more than about a dime a card at most. If they turned up in dime boxes, I'd buy the guys I collect. The WORST are those fake autograph cards--I get "Iconic Ink" as a SPONSORED item in my eBay searches all the time, which is really sad when those cards are clearly illegal (using player images and team logos without permission) and a scam (hoping people won't know or notice was "Fac Auto" means).
Fuji said…
This is a pretty cool idea for a Blog Bat-Around. My problem is that there are few things I wouldn't buy... assuming the price was right. For example:

1. Current Basketball Cards - I normally wouldn't buy this either. But if I found a Zion rookie card for a buck, I'd grab it.

2. Cut Signature Cards - I can't stand TriStar Signa Cuts. But if I saw guys I'm familiar with for a buck, I'd buy them. I'd even pay $3 or $4 for hall of famers.

3. Current Leaf Cards - I'd never go out of my way to look for current Leaf cards. But if I found some autographs in a 25¢ bin, I'd be hard pressed to pass them up.

But here are two things that I came up with while reading your post and writing this comment:

1. Junk Wax Era commons from sets I already own - Even if you offered me 1000 for $1, I'd probably pass.

2. Fievel Goes West cards - If you offered them to me for free, I'd pass.
friend11 said…
Strictly a baseball guy. However, If a card has a bubble does't matter what sport or non-sport.
GCA said…
I feel like I complain about the cards I don't like much more than the ones I enjoy, but I'll chime in here too.

It's hard for me to find football and hockey sets to pursue (when does XFL come out?), so I got nothing for hoops or soccer either. If they came out with a purely historic racing set (from the 70's) I might be tempted, but don't follow that either.

Can't disagree with most of your choices. Those cut autos are a sacrilegous abomination. They're like card carcasses put out for display.

I would expand the rejection of Leaf rookie autos to include prospect sets of any kind. (Sorry Bowman). Tack on most high end products where all the "hits" are rookie-centric too. Which most of them are, regardless if they're "event-" or "game-worn" or not.

Like you, I was too old for GPKs, and don't find them funny either.

I can add most shiny parallel sets (Chrome, Optic) mostly for the higher cost, and because the shiny isn't a selling point for me.

I don't pay much attention to Topps NOW!, but there are a couple I want. I don't keep up with any of the other online exclusives either, mostly because I can't understand how they can charge so much for them.
Chris said…
I've been collecting basketball cards more frequently in the past 2 years but I am NOT jumping in to this Zion/Morant craze. I also stay away from blasters of unlicensed sets (though I do get tempted by Donruss Optic/Panini Diamond Kings) GPK was a big part of my childhood and I occasionally pick up '80s singles on COMC, but I wouldn't buy packs of the current sets.
carlsonjok said…
I’m with you on basketball cards. I have been following basketball much closer than baseball lately and have bought some of Panini’s “Opening Day” equivalent. I hate the set and my disdain is currently in a mortal struggle with my need to finish sets. I’ve been contemplating a hate post about the set.
Jafronius said…
Kudos to that Target for putting that sign up and doing what they did. If some guy cleaned them out for their own enjoyment so be it, but everyone here knows the guy is trying to flip the product.

I collect basketball also but wouldn't play full price for Panini chrome. I'd rather roll the dice and see if a pack winds up in the Walmart clearance box. That's how I get to sample football cards nowadays.
Can you expand on why you don't buy basketball card some? We think they are some of the best investments right now... thx!

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