Friday 23 December 2011

2012 Topps Premier League stickers- apologies to Waxaholic

I only seems like yesterday that I was apologising for starting him towards the 2011 Premier league Album.
A Premier league album and stickers will be winging their way to him in Canada again in 2012.This year I intend to collect the whole album as well, so we will be collecting alongside each other.
There are no fancy 3D cards this year, just 462 stickers with the odd shiny club emblem and Star Player shiny plus Special 20th anniversary 'History of ' superstar stickers.
 There are 5 stickers per packet at a reasonably priced 50p per packet.
 There are 23 stickers per team, which includes 18 players, a club emblem shiny, two home and away kit stickers, a first team squad sticker and a star player shiny.
Let the adventure begin. Follow my progress at Pursuit of Red Sox.

Thursday 17 November 2011

2011 Topps baseball stickers

It has only taken about 3 months and I am behind most other collectors of this set. But I can now hold my head up in pride, as I have finally obtained the 2011 Topps baseball sticker album and some stickers(7 packets to be exact).
My first perusal of the album threw me a little. For a split second I thought that the stickers were not in numerical order, slight little panic and then realised the numbers shown were shirt numbers...phew.
The stickers are in numerical order, a page devoted to each MLB team and there are 309 stickers in total to collect. This includes 30 team logos and 9 legends. The centre pages are dedicated to the 30 team logos and the back inside page the 9 legends.
The sticker packets are not what I have come to expect of stickers. In the UK most stickers come in a paper packets sealed along all four edges. Often in haste to retrieve the contents, opening the packets can cause the stickers to be ripped. Which can be annoying if it is the one sticker you are after. These packets are more like baseball card packs.
The stickers themselves are incredibly strudy and very unlike football (soccer) stickers which come backed on flimsy paper. I can only guess that this is to cater to the collectors who will choose the 'no stick' option and store them similar to cards.
Then a slight conundrum dawns- to stick or not to stick.
Before you waste your answer, I have taken the advice of  Topps themselves and 'started peeling those stickers.'
I will also chronicle the steps towards completing the whole album here at 2011 Topps Baseball Sticker Album.
Pack 1:

Pack 2:
 Pack 3:

 Pack 4:

Pack 5:

Pack 6:

 Pack 7:

Looking forward to collecting the whole lot.

Monday 7 November 2011

Gift from Mark, the Mayor of Porthleven

Mark has been dropping in on this blog since I started back in 2008. He was draw to a post about TTM autographs when I was about to embark on a ambitious task of getting Jacoby Ellsbury to sign some Allen+Ginter cards. He offered advise from his years of experience in collecting autographs. The cards have never returned but thus begun a friendship of story swapping about his autograph hunting and general baseball.
Mark has also embarked on a number of trips across the Atlantic to see actual baseball games. I'm sure that is not the objective of his family holiday, but he has seen alot of baseball. After every trip he gifts me a number of items including books and cards. Mark knows that I like the details and photographs of where he has been, the autographs he has collected and who he saw. His son is paid-up member of Pawsox Kid's club and I am always amazed how well the baseball clubs look after the younger and future baseball fans.
Mark recently returned from a transatlantic holiday and a package arrived with some Red Sox cards. He carefully detailed exactly where he had obtained the cards. He also added that the cards might make me feel better. What could he possibly mean?
From Don's Sportscards in Portland he purchased these vintage Red Sox:
1962 Topps #368 Bob Tillman
1962 Topps #512 Mike Fornieles
1962 Topps#542 Dave Philley
1963 Topps #28 Mike Fornieles
1964 Topps #305 Jack Lamabe
1964 Topps #352 Ed Bressoud
1966 Topps #502 Lenny Green
Don also threw in a set of these 2011 Topps Prime 9 Redemption cards which were only available through hobby stores.
The third and final item from Mark was a pack of 2010 Allen and Ginter, although I am trying to collect the 2010 set of A+G, that is not what makes this pack interesting. It was in fact purchased from the Yawkey Way Store, which is directly opposite Fenway Pack. This may not seem exciting to regular attendees but for a guy sitting in Westgate-on-Sea in the UK it most definitely is.
Thank you Mark for thinking of a Red Sox fan during your holidays.

Sunday 6 November 2011

Another pile of baseball cards

The head of my school returned from another short break holiday to the USA. It would appear that this will be the last trip, as they have sold their house in Florida. My first thought was for them ... obviously. The occasional baseball packet haul was nice while it lasted.
 I have been the lucky recipient over the last few years of numerous blasters and loose packs. Their recent trip was interrupted by a freak snow storm which grounded planes across the East Coast. Once again their delay is my windfall. Nothing will ever compare to the Icelandic Volcano delay of a few weeks, however the three day delay meant more cards for me.
This trip I received:
1 blaster of 2011 Topps Series 2
1 blaster of 2011 Allen+Ginter
1 blaster of 2011 Topps Update
and a rack pack of Topps Chrome
The one thing I actually asked for was the 2011 Topps baseball sticker album and some stickers. Unfortunately they searched high and low and were unable to find any. Are they that rare or have I missed the boat on this?
I will be opening these packs on Pursuit of Red Sox over the coming weeks.

Thursday 3 November 2011

Trade with The Cardboard Junkie

One of the many quirks I have developed in collecting baseball cards is keeping the wrappers. Not just the wrappers but the boxes also. Before blogging came about I wrote the players pulled from packs and kept the wrappers along with the scrawling in a notebook.
Fast forward a few years and I still do this but in the guise of Pursuit of Red Sox. An attempt to keep an accurate record of the cards pulled from packs and an easier way of keeping track of the Red Sox pulled from packs.
To further the cause Dayf recently proposed a intriguing hostage relocation program. English football (soccer) packs for American baseball packs. Serious transatlantic negotiations began and finally winging their way to Georgia were some packs of 2010 Adrenalyn XL World Cup cards. Luckily my local newsagents still carried some stock. So I bought what was left and the hostages were released from English tyranny.
Relocating to England these former abductees were sent by Dayf:
2 packs of 2011 Gypsy Queen,
1 pack 2011 Allen & Ginter's,
1 pack 2011 Topps Opening Day,
1 pack 2011 Topps Attax,
1 pack 2011 Topps baseball Series 2,
1 pack 2008 Donruss Playoff Extra edition.
All of which I intend to open at Pursuit of Red Sox.
Wait a minute. I call foul. Two of the packs have been tampered with. Get Ban Ki-Moon on the phone quickly. Relax......Unclench.......Slow down. The hostages have been treated in accordance with United Nations guidelines.
On further inspection both packs were chock full of Gypsy Queen Red Sox and Topps Red Sox. 
Please forgive my accusations. The packs were brilliant.
Thank you Dayf. Hopefully we can negotiate additional transactions. 

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Trade with Section 36

There is plenty of misery in the Red Sox camp, but the ever positive Section 36 has dissected, sew back together and then dissected again to recent failings in the Red Sox franchise. It's no choke (see what I did there), he is a real fan sitting week in, week out, in what he calls the best seats in the Fenway house-Section 36.
Who better to make a Red Sox trade with than a diehard fan and New Hampshire resident. My package of Red Sox made its way to Concord in New Hampshire and before long a Red Sox heavy package arrived in Westgate.
Ron wrote a short message on the back of a baseball score sheet. It is either of his own making or do they give these out at games?  I remember seeing Kevin Coster recording the score in Field of Dreams, at the game where Archibald Graham's statistics flash up onto the screen. I am presuming that it is quite common. Is this correct?.
Thanks to Ron at Section 36. Always nice to trade Red Sox for Red Sox.

Thursday 27 October 2011

Doctor Who Monster Invasion Extreme

 If you didn't already know, we are big Doctor Who fans in this household. My boys in particular watch the TV series repeatedly, collect the cards and the Lego like figures.
The second series of Monster Invasion was released in September to coincide with the second half of the new series. It finished a few weeks back and I was disappointed with the ending. The writers had excelled themselves with some terrific episodes all series. The Silence were particularly creepy. In the end though it failed to deliver a satisfying ending with his plot hole ridden climax.
There are 180 cards in total. 150 base cards, 18 rare cards (1in every pack), 6 Super Rare cards (3 in every 10 packs), 5 Ultra rare (1 in every 10 packs) and the Infinite card, which is 1 in every 1000packs so is limited to 1000 cards world wide. The Infinite card is a great looking 3D/hologram of the Silence creature and I have actually held this rare card in my hand. An interesting(ish) story with an unfortunate ending.
Knowing how rare these cards, a child at school announced that he had pulled one from a pack. I didn't know whether to believe him or not, you know what children are like trying to impress their friends. He went on about the card for a few days and I decided to call his bluff. He said his mother wouldn't let him. I left it at that.
A few days later the child in question informed my friend Dion and I that he bought the card and produced it from his coat pocket. A sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as to the condition of the Infinite card, but on first inspection it was in surprisingly good condition and the 3D/hologram was excellent.  We looked with some awe and Dion informs the child that a similar card was selling for £170 on e-bay, so I decided to place the card in a sleeve and top loader for extra protection. (I keep a little stock of these at school-you never know.)Now here comes the unfortunate part. While I am placing the card in the sleeve for extra protection I turn it over and there written across the back, I say written more like gouged, in black biro is the child's name rendering the card virtually worthless to serious collectors. 'Why did you write your name on it?' I ask. My mum thought someone  might take it.
I had to wonder if he would have done this anyway or only because I had asked to see it.  Was I the cause of the card disfigurement?
The cards continue in a similar vein to the last series divided into Doctors, Allies, Villians, Monsters, Gadgets and Adventures. Roll on Christmas for the Doctor special.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Trade with Waxaholic

That reminds me, I need to send Waxaholic some football stickers, Premier League stickers. It is a top of my list of things to do. That and finding ways to watch Canadian Women's Soccer. Where does he find these images?
On a completely unrelated topic he sent me a bunch of Red Sox cards, including the Josh Beckett shown above. I have obtained a number of red swatches recently and it makes a change from the usual white swatches. He also sent some unopened packs of cards. A rack pack of 2008 Upper Deck and 1989 Topps BIG. Sweet. I will be cracking them open on Pursuit of Red Sox, to further my ongoing mission to locate Red Sox in packs.
Thank you Sir Waxaholic. 

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Trade with Play at the Plate

A super trade with Brian at Play at the Plate. A while back he was eager to complete the Topps Diamond giveaway, which he eventually did way back in September. It was very easy on my part to e-mail the diamond codes. In exchange he sent a pile of the Kimball Champions cards, which for some explicable reason I decided to collect. My progress has been slow, but these are such lovely cards I'm not giving up just yet.
Thanks to Brian for bringing me a few steps closer. 

Monday 24 October 2011

2011/2012 Topps Match Attax Football

The recent 6-1 drubbing of Manchester United by their close rivals Manchester City put a huge smile on the face of most football supporters (except the Manchester United faithful-naturally). It would have been nice if it had been Norwich, or West Bromwich Albion, or even Fulham handing out the humility lessons. However we are not fussy. It's not bitterness or jealousy that makes us feel this way. Manchester United is, and has been, a great team for many years. It is more the cocky, swaggery arrogance that the manager and some of the players have adopted in recent times. There lies within the joy of an unbiased supporter.
Unfortunately Topps has developed a somewhat similar attitude towards the Match Attax Brand. Build it and they will come. It's Match Attax, they will buy it no matter what. Let's not forget this is a product directed towards children, the Pokemon, Yu-gi-oh generation. But I cannot feel anything except disappointment as an adult and as a swap club organiser at school.
Let me talk about the positives, or more fitting 'the' positive is an insert called Golden Moments.
Yes they are golden cards, but the 40 card insert focuses on the last 20 years of Premier League football. The set looks at some of the iconic moments of Premier League football such as Jurgen Klinsmann's goal celebration from 1994, David Beckham's goal from the half-way line in 1996, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer netting four goals after coming on as a sub in 1999 and the remarkable Blackburn Premier League winners in 1995. This is a great idea for an insert, even in gold. Dissapointingly missing is Eric Cantona's flying kick on a spectator in 1995, Roy Keane's leg breaking tackle in 2001, Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer's same team fight in 2005 and any one of the many Patrick Viera moments- Roy Keane tunnel bust up perhaps. However, for me, the positives stop there.

My main beef is the 'Limited Edition' cards, of which there are 6. These limited cards are not inserted in packs randomly except for one, which is inserted randomly into packs only available from one particular chain of bookshops. The other five limited cards can only be 'collected' through purchasing a football magazine (£2.99), the Match Attax collectors tin (£9.99), the Match Attax collectors box (£7.50), the Match Attax multi-pack (£5.00) and the Match Attax starter pack (£4.99). So a very clever marketing ploy to make you purchase more Match Attax in unique disguises, at a rough cost of £30.00, which would give you the five limited cards and roughly 150 Match Attax cards. There are 360 base cards to collect and a further 65 Man of the Match,100 club and a referee. Is the picture becoming clearer. Some collectors may feel that this is fair and that you purchase all these different products and obtain the limited card, rather than trawling through packs. Fair enough.
My other complaint is that it still much the same as the last years set, and the years before, and the year before that, with just the colour of the backs changed. Topps has the ability to produce design changes elsewhere. Why not here? The starter pack book to keep your cards in is crap as well.

All that said, I will however be collecting the entire set again as part of the swap club I run at school. The lucky winner of our club competition gets to own the completed set and as many of the 'inserts' I can collect.
I think though that this will be my last time doing it. My fifth and final completed set.

Saturday 22 October 2011

An uncomfortable silence

So sorry for the uncomfortable silence of the last month or so. Real life, once again, took over. Many things took place during this forced interval- a few trade packages arrived, a number of blog posts floated into the ether, my computer reset itself to the factory settings,  the Red Sox collapsed, (which is well documented and probably doesn't need to be mentioned again), Match Attax 2011/2012 was released (pretty much the same as what has gone before), this years Doctor Who season finished with a flourish (some excellent episodes but the ending was a disappointment), Australia were knocked out of the Rugby World Cup by New Zealand (England didn't fare much better) and my head sold her house in Florida, so I can no longer expect surprise baseball cards (nor Icelandic, volcanic, delayed treasures).
But now a short holiday and a chance to catch -up.

Thursday 1 September 2011

Confessions of a Collector Part 2

This is the continuation of Part 1
I recently completed this fascinating book by Hunter Davies, a well known journalist/novelist in the UK. He talks about being an accumulating collector. He hypothesises that there are two distinct species of collector, accumulators and serious collectors. 
The serious collector goes out of their way to collect, and actively searches for items. You don't have to spend much money, or acquire masses, but you do have to be serious enough to go forth and collect. Then there is the accumulator, a much more passive animal. A collector who doesn't really throw anything away and amasses 'stuff'.
He suggests that he started as an accumulator and then moved onto serious collecting. As he became older he had more time on his hands, more money, his children had grown older and then there was the dawning realisation that he had accumulated some interesting items along the way.  Although he says he has about 100 collections on the go, for the sake of writing this book he condenses them into 16 specific categories, although he adds that there is overlapping of his collections.
I tried to think back to all the collections that I have started, because like Hunter I never went out and actively collected. For instance- my primary collecting area for many years has been baseball. If baseball items became available for sale on e-bayUK I would bid. In the earlier days of e-bayUK, I'm talking 2000ish, I won many of the baseball cards items listed, usually unchallenged. At this time there didn't appear to be any active baseball collectors in the UK. Primarily it was cards that people had bought back from holidays, or been given by someone who had been on holidays. Occasionally vintage cards came up for sale. I'm talking about pre-1980, hoping not to offend with the vintage tag. These attracted some attention but considering what they were, it was minimal. Gradually more collectors appeared and more baseball cards, I then became more discerning and only went for the interesting and unusual or cards that I had never seen before. I accumulated 1000's of cards. Thankfully I was able to trade most of them away and become a serious collector of Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox and vintage. I'm still not that serious, don't get me wrong I enjoy baseball cards, but if I was a serious collector I would own the black parallel 2005 Bowman rookie. But I don't.

So thinking back to other collections I have had such as stamps. My dad worked for a company that dealt with Japanese companies, so I had many Japanese stamps and coins. I also accumulated matchbox cars, I didn't think to keep the boxes because I wanted to play with the cars not the boxes. For a while I collected train tickets. I had masses of train tickets. There was in the 1970's a radio station called 2SM which produced, on a piece of paper, a top 40 singles list. It came out every week and we had a record shop very close so I was able to get those and some posters advertising records. Later I accumulated a large stack of 'singles' records. 

I have already mentioned the aluminium milk bottle tops. For a while I collected money boxes. The local banks produced different money boxes sans money. My biggest collection was football cards - rugby league and Aussie Rules. When I was collecting, Scanlens was the biggest producer of cards in Australia. The designs I realise now are similar to the baseball and football cards in the USA. I collected, traded, ticket off my checklists every year. I even save the labels from Ardmona peaches to send for complete sets of cards.
Even back then I collected stickers; my bedroom door was adorned with overlapping stickers. Two I remember specifically- A large Fußball macht spaß German sticker which roughly translated is Football is fun and a bright orange sticker that said I'm mad about muffins. Where these came from is anybody's guess.
Another ongoing accumulation was Ephemera, all manner of magazines, Asterix and Tin Tin books, clippings from newspapers, postcards, computer punch cards (again from my father's work), cards from Weetbix and Sanitarium cereal boxes. Boy did I collect some crap. But reading Confessions of a Collector, it appears that I wasn't alone.
Think back...what were the most obscure items you collected?

Saturday 27 August 2011

Confessions of a Collector Part 1

I have just finished reading this book by a pretty well known newspaper columnist in the UK, Hunter Davies. Not a hack rag tabloid phone hacker either, he is a proper journalist. If you're a Beatles fan you may recognise Hunter as the only person to write an authorised biography of the Beatles. He describes himself as a compulsive collector and goes into great details about his numerous collections. He also talks about why he chose particular areas of collecting.
Hunter started with stamps. I am sure there are many of us, of a certain age, who collected stamps. Unfortunately the glory days of stamps and stamp collecting are behind them. I still carefully remove stamps from envelopes and packages, mainly because it is so unusual to have stamps now. It is all pre-printed and computer generated labels, which is disappointing because stamps can be very interesting. 
Whenever we receive a parcel or letter from my parents in Australia, it always has stamps. I not sure if the Australian postal system doesn't have printed labels or whether my parents, being 80plus, use stamps out of habit.  They are a minority. Recently the Royal Mail issued Thunderbirds stamps and this bought the stamp collector within me back again.
Hunter talks about swapping stamps, laying awake scrutinising his stamps and learning a great deal about other countries from stamps like: kings and queens, plants and animals, holiday celebrations, science and space, that sort of educational stuff. But he also talks about them being therapeutic. He was ill with asthma in his childhood and all the allergy testing and prescribed medicines didn't work. However he found that the distraction of immersing himself in his collection would offer relief. He also collected cuttings from newspaper about his favourite football team, postcards from interesting places, marbles and comics. Then he went off the university and forgot about his various collections. This all sounds very familiar.
In my pre-secondary school childhood I collected football cards (I even kept the wrappers), football programmes and a weekly magazine called Big League. For a short time I collected milk bottle tops, the aluminium foil type that came in many different colours.To this day I'm not sure why. Maybe I was just attracted to shiny things. Then other interests took over: playing sports, school work and I became interested in statistics and gathered information from the newsapaper about cricket and football, keeping my own league tables, man of the match awards and other useless pieces of information.
Hunter then goes onto describing becoming a 'born again' collector. It all came flooding back to him- the joys and delights of collecting. It was a gradual thing, over many years, he just took a  while to realize it.
I know exactly when I became a collector again and it wasn't over many years. It was in October 1980- a warm spring evening. No not really. I don't remember in that much detail. But it was October 1980 when I was given a stack of 1980 Topps baseball cards, 84 to be exact. The rest, I had to wait a little longer to collect.

Friday 29 July 2011

Trade with Waxaholic

Look here baseball stickers.
I am one of the many fans of baseball stickers, wouldn't it be nice if they reintroduced baseball stickers.
I looks as if our prayers have been answered.. Now to get a hold of some.
Thanks again to Big B for the Red Sox.

Thursday 28 July 2011

Trade with 'O' No not another Orioles Blog

Another of the boxes of cards that arrived recently. This time from a new trader Ryan from 'O' Not another Orioles Blog. 'O' it was brilliant (see what I did there) to find a home for the Orioles cards and a new state as well - Virginia. I don't think I have traded with anyone from Virginia before, but I could be wrong. A great assortment of cards from the wants list, including these very nice Carl Yastrzemski cards.
Thanks Ryan.

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Trade with Martyn from Abitary Crap

I love the 1940 and 1941 PLAY BALL sets. If not just for the fact that it reminds me of 'The Natural', but also for the names of the players on the cards. Names like Blimp, Duke, Buck, Indian Bob, Gunboat Harry, Hot Potato, Vandy, Happy, Bronk, The Horse, Moe, Soupy and my favourite Stormy Weatherly. These are the names on the cards, not the back, right there on the front. One has to wonder how a player gets the nickname 'Hot Potato'. Hmmm.
The reprint above of 'Joe' Cronin, who spent a semi-glorious 11years with the Red Sox from 1935 to 1945, came in a nice stack of cards from Martyn at the brilliantly named blog Arbitary Crap.
Martyn is a fellow UK dweller adds to the growing band of UK baseball bloggers.
What a terrific selection of cards he sent my way. I scanned just a few. The Upper Deck Masterpiece relics are superb.

Big Papi looking rather pleased with himself on a 2005 Diamond Kings short print (34/40) . Don't let the smile fool you.

There was such a great variety from Martyn.
1955 Topps Hal Brown
1966 Topps Chuck Schilling
2010 Bowman blue border Dustin Pedroia 194/500
2011 Topps gold border Jed Lowrie 1175/2011
2011 Topps 60 memorabilia Daniel Bard
Just to hame a few and I could go on and on.
Thanks Martyn.