Friday, June 24, 2011

Gypsy Queen Retail Box

I have to first say that I absolutely LOVE this product. I bought a few blaster boxes at release, and was very pleased with what I pulled. I got some PC stuff, sold some hits, but generally wasn't going to try for the set because of the toughness. I amassed a good number of cards that I traded away over the past month or so, and I now regret it, because I really want to complete this set.

So I found a retail box of Gypsy Queen online, ordered it, and broke the box on Thursday. I was very pleased with the results; you are guaranteed one hit, a Game-used card, either a jersey or bat relic. Lucky me, I got my hit (Jacoby Ellsbury red jersey), but I also pulled a Carl Pavano card with a 13-cent stamp from 1976, with the Connecticut flag on it. The card was also numbered 9/10, a very rare card, indeed.


I also pulled a couple of bronze-framed cards numbered to 999, Nelson Cruz and Justin Morneau, and got 24 mini-cards. The base and inserts brought me to about 35% complete for the set, but I figured I'd try to sell the stamp card on eBay and recoup some of the cost if the box. I ran into a problem trying to find a value for the card, though.

Not surprising, seeing that there are only 10 of the cards in existence to begin with. On other stamp cards, though, the final sales prices fluctuated wildly, with no rhyme or reason. So I figured I'd list for half the box price, or $39.99, with free shipping, and I'd make it a 5-day auction. I could always drop the price if it doesn't sell.

I listed the card yesterday at roughly 3:15 PM, and figured I'd just ride it out. How would I have guessed that just 15 minutes later, I get an e-mail saying that my card has sold! But now I start doubting myself - it sold too fast; I must have listed it for not enough. Now I'm kicking myself - could I have listed it for $50 and made a sale?

Well, it's too late now; the card is gone. I do have a nice addition to my Paypal account, and I'm working my way towards completing my 3rd set of 2011 (2010 Bowman Platinum is done, and I need just 5 more cards for the 440-card set of 2011 Bowman).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Inventory Woes

Over the past few days, I decided to go through the laborious task of cataloging every baseball card I own into a Word document, and saving it on a flash drive. Since I've been back in the hobby, I've been buying and selling so much product that I really don't know what I have, exactly. It is time-consuming, to say the least, and it won't get any easier with my 2011 Bowman box coming today. Add another 192 or so cards to the list.

What I'm finding, though, is depressing - I have a lot of "junk". Junk as in many, many commons. I'm taking a guess that when I'm done with this project that I will have somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 cards. Not much by some standards, but enough. And a good majority of those are crap. Almost-complete sets of 1987 and 1988 Topps. 2007 and 2010 Topps Updates. 2008 SP Authentic. Even my vintage years are mostly commons.

I've tried selling cards as large lots, as "U-pick" lots, and as team lots, and nothing is working. It seems everybody is in the market for autographs, serial numbered, rainbows, etc. Which is fine, except that I'm stuck with a lot of flotsam that I can't move.

I have my 1974 Topps set that I'm working on that holds a special place, as it was the first year I really started collecting cards (I was 9). I have my Phillies cards, some going back as far as 1957. That's special because of my fan-dom. And I have my PC's to keep me interested. But the other stuff is just that - stuff.

I can't sell it (because it won't), but I can't just throw it all way, worthless as it is, I find throwing baseball cards away to be sacreligous.

Maybe it's just that I put too much value on the cards. I had my entire 1976 collection up on eBay a few weeks back, $29.99 for 176 cards, and got no takers. That's 17 cents per card - maybe that's too high a price, I don't know. There were a lot of Hall-of-Famers in that lot, too.

Nevertheless, I'm working my way through the inventory and will hopefully come up with a way to consolidate my collection to the things I really care about, without just dumping cards.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sniping Successes

A few weeks ago I discovered a free service geared towards eBay bidders called GavelSnipe. This site allows you to enter a max bid on an item you're watching, and it will execute a bid for you at a specified time, usually within the last few seconds of an auction. I hadn't had much success with this, until last night.

But first, I'll tell you my bidding theory. When I see a card that piques my interest on eBay, I will study the most recent completed sales (including shipping) of that card to determine an average sales price, and a pricing trend. That gives me a baseline from which to make my max bid. I make it a rule of mine to not bid more than the average sales price, unless the card is trending upward.

So, I had 3 active "snipes" out last night: first was a 2010 Bowman Sterling Gold refractor, numbered 44/50, of Phillies catching prospect Sebastian Valle. This card's average sales price was $9.45. Less the $2.00 shipping cost, my max bid would be $7.45 for the card. I won the snipe last night at $4.25 - not bad.

Next, I had a bid out on a 2010 Bowman Sterling dual auto of Team USA players Matt Barnes and Brad Miller, both projected #1 draft pick next month. Average sales price was $17.05, but the price was trending upward the past week. I put my max bid at $17.55, and won the snipe at a price of $7.05 - getting better!!

Finally, my last snipe was on a 2010 Bowman Platinum Blue Refractor Auto of Phillies prospect Matt Rizzotti, numbered 60/99. This one was more of a shot in the dark. There were no recent previous sales for the blue refractors, but a Rizzotti green refractor auto numbered to 199 sold recently for $11.55. After doing a bit of research on other greens vs. blues, I found that there was about a 1.25 markup on blue autos over greens. So I figured the bid on the Rizzotti blue would be about $14.50 - I won the card at $8.50 - also, not bad.

In total, I had 3 bids out for $39.50, and I won with a total outlay of $19.80, just about a 50% discount off of my max bids. What helped on the dual auto and the Rizzotti auto may have been that the auctions ended later in the evening on the East Coast. Also, the listing for the Rizzotti said it was a Green refractor auto, but the picture and inside description said it was a Blue - maybe that worked in my favor, I don't know.

Either way, I got 3 nice cards on the cheap to add to my PC's. In the case of the Barnes/Miller dual auto, it may present a good selling opportunity after the draft, depending on where they are picked. But overall, a good night for sniping.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Hockey Cards

Even though I primarily collect baseball cards, I've been a hockey fan for slightly longer. My first hockey game was early in the 1973-74 NHL season, when I saw the Atlanta Flames take on the Philadelphia Flyers at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. I didn't go to my first baseball game until May of 1974 (Phillies-Dodgers at the old Vet).

My best friend was the one who got me into hockey cards, and I had a bunch that he gave me from the 1972-73 season, and I collected up until 1979 or so. Sadly, those cards are long gone.

But with my return to baseball collecting this year, I decided to start a PC of one of the most exciting young players on my team, the Flyers: Claude Giroux. So last week, I found a seller on eBay auctioning a 5-card lot of Giroux base cards, and I took the plunge:

Giroux's got an extensive checklist (especially for a young player), so I think using him as my hockey PC will keep me busy there. Plenty of GU's and autos to go along with his base cards.

Don't hesitate to steer me in the right direction - I'll be looking mainly at Upper Deck, SP, and Panini. I don't like the O-Pee-Chee cards, and I won't bother with the likes of Fleer.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wednesday Pulls

I'm a sucker for blaster boxes. Bowman Draft, Bowman Platinum, Topps Series I, Topps Heritage. I have no problem deciding on the spur of the moment to go to Target and drop $20 on one. Usually, I don't have much luck.

Until yesterday.

I bought a Topps Heritage blaster, only my second of the year, and ended up with 2 hits:

Now, I'm not much into the Game-used/Relic cards; this is actually the first one I've pulled, and only the second that I own (I bought a Matt Barnes GU/Auto a fw weeks back). This card doesn't have great value on eBay, so I guess I'll hold this for trading purposes.

The Halladay/Barton card, on the other hand, got me a bit more psyched. I'm a Phillies fan, and the A's are one of the teams I root for in the AL (the Orioles being the other), so this one is a little more special. It's also the second "stamps" card I've pulled. I made a mistake selling off the other one so quickly, so I will hold this one for trade bait, too, unless the value goes through the roof.

I also pulled 3 SP's from this box, Miguel Cabrera, Yunel Escobar, and Aubrey Huff. I'm currently negotiating a trade with someone who's collecting all the SP's - I'm attempting to pad my PC in exchange for some of those. The Cabrera card, though, is selling for $5 on eBay, so I may hold that one for a better trade.

I'm looking at buying my first hobby box, too. The 2011 Bowman comes out next month, and I think I'm going to take the dive, buy the box, and hopefully score some more hits.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursday Mailday

I received two more cards today that I bought off the 'bay to add to my PC's.

Here's the first, and one I really, really like - a 2010 Bowman Platinum Matt Barnes GU/Auto card, 128/740:

(now if I could only figure out how it got vertical when I took it horizontal)

And then there's this one, a 2009 Upper Deck USA Star Prospects card for Jameson Taillon:

I've been very pleased with both my selections and the prices paid. I'm thoroughly enjoying getting back into the hobby again.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Zach Britton

When I got back into card collecting recently, I contemplated certain prospects to add to my PC. I chose Zach Britton of the Orioles as one of those for a few reasons -he's the O's #1 prospect; he was very close to the bigs; and when he got to Baltimore, I'm in their TV market, so I could follow him on TV.

Britton got his first big-league start this past Sunday, in Tampa against the Rays, and was simply dominant. And a fortunate eBayer made out like a bandit because of it.

I was pricing some Britton cards this morning, and I saw that someone had put at least 13 Britton cards on the market recently (the picture was one of them). The auctions ended last night, and this person ended up raking in over $450 for those 13 cards - a collection of Bowman colored and serial numbered autos and Donruss Elites.

I was both happy and jealous to see this. Happy because people are now recognizing Zach Britton, and jealous because this guy made a huge haul in one day, either by chance or by opportunity. Either way, I assume it's what most of us strive for as collectors, to someday make big bucks off our cardboard.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday Mailday, 4/4

I've been hitting eBay pretty hard the past 10 days looking for bargains for my PCs.

Here are two cards I received today from what should turn out to be a pretty fruitful week for me:

Both of those for less than $6 total. Two nice additions to my 1948-80 Phillies collection.

The Richie (call me 'Dick') Allen card was his last one from his tumultuous first tour with the Phils from 1964-69. He was part of the infamous Curt Flood deal with the Cardinals in 1970.

Lefty's card is from the season following his monster 27-10, 1.98 season in 1972 for a team that won just 59 games. He finished 1973 at 13-20; not what people expected after '72.

More to come this week...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2011 Topps Heritage Blaster Box

So I was walking through my local Target yesterday at lunch time, and wandered over to the sports card display. I saw that they had some blaster boxes of 2011 Topps Heritage for sale, so I picked one up. I have to say I was non-plussed by what I pulled.

I did pick this, though (serial numbered 62/62):

Only one of these has sold on eBay in the past 2 weeks, $11.98 total. I did see a lot of incomplete listings, but those all started out at $9.99 plus shipping. So I decided last night to list this for 99 cents, with $1.50 shipping, in hopes that I can get some bidders and maybe get close to that $9.99 mark. We shall see.

I also pulled 2 SP's from this box - Felix Hernandez (#475) & Drew Stubbs (#487). I threw those out in the 'Bay, too, along with a few 'star' cards.

I'm interested to see if I can get anywhere close to the $19.99 retail I paid for the blaster box.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Welcome to my Blog

A little bit about me...I've been a baseball card collector since 1974, with lots of breaks. For example, I went from 1979 to about 1990 without collecting (high school and military service), as well as leaving the collecting scene completely again in the mid-90's.

I got back into collecting again in 2011 after cleaning out my house readying it for sale, and I came upon my old collection of approximately 2,000 cards. My cards went as far back as 1957 all the way to 1994. I made the decision to unload most of my old inventory and focus on a personal collection. Currently, this PC includes:

1974 Topps set (currently about 75% completed)
Philadelphia Phillies, 1948-80 (25% complete)
1971 Washington Senators (83% complete)

I also made a decision, based mainly on blaster boxes I purchased this year, to focus on 4 players to collect: Chase Utley (being the die-hard Phillies fan that I am), Andrew Bailey (he being the first MLB player to come from my high school), Zach Britton (top prospect of the Baltimore Orioles), and Jameson Taillon (#18 Prospect in MLB in 2011). These PC's could change throughout the year, meaning I will more than likely add players to my PC as the situation warrants.

I will focus mainly on Topps and Bowman, with some Upper Deck and Donruss Elite as needed. I'm still trying to understand the hype over 'game-used' cards, and although not a big autograph hound, I will look at autos of players in my PC, for collection sake.

I'm also a seller on eBay (dn43591), as a way for me to shed some of my older cards (1975-79 Topps mainly) and make a few bucks with which to build my PC.

This blog will hopefully attempt to document my attempts to complete my PC, liquidate my inventory, and comment on the industry/hobby as a whole. I also will be open to trades and/or sales if anyone is interested.

Happy reading!!