Saturday 20 October 2012

Confessions of a Collector Part 3

Wow I forgot that I had written a third part to this about a book by Hunter Davies.
To jog the memory Part 1, Part 2.
I have just completed a very interesting book about collecting by the journalist Hunter Davies. He writes with such as easy and friendly style that you are drawn in. A little hint of you wants to get on the phone and call to say -'Hey I collected that...'
In Confessions of a Collector, Hunter maps the course of his collecting obsessions. He refers to his collecting as 'obsessive' because that is what he becomes, absolutely obsessed, with collecting every possible item he can. He rarely refuses to an offer of items relating to his collections.
The Beatles are his longest and most expensive collecting obsession, but he doesn't draw the line there. His collections span subjects such as football, autographs, suffragettes, Penny Black stamps, Prime Ministers, Coronation mugs, magazines and other pieces of assorted ephemera like postcards, invoices and letters from the Victorian era. He never apologises for collecting, but it is obvious that he a little troubled by his need to keep matchboxes, napkins and coasters from places he visits.
There is an pause in the showcasing of his collections, a chapter called 'Joys and Pains of Collecting.' In this interlude he asks: 'Why do we collect?' and 'What is the joy in collecting?' Questions I have asked myself many times.
Why...oh why...?
Being a cleverer gent than myself, Hunter has determined that there are 9 reasons why people (although not exclusively, but mostly men) collect.
1. Hunter-Gathering.
Apparently going back to ancient roots. There is delight in going out foraging, looking for treasure, or even scraps that might just turn out to be interesting. It takes cunning, patience and knowledge to bag the 'Big One'- just like hunting. The more you collect , the less likely you will come home empty handed, without a kill.
2. Possessing.
Possession gives you a great feeling, knowing you own something. Spinning out the pleasure for several days in order to truly savour the latest find.
3. Completion.
It feels pretty good to complete sets, runs and rows of objects, hunting down and then finally bagging that missing item, till at long last you have filled all the gaps. Although collectors often create their own gaps, just as they create their own hunt in the first place. Set ourselves goals and just when we finally finish the task we set ourselves, we create another. In the process building something unique.
4. Knowledge.
How else would we know that-  'Rick Monday hit 3 homers in a game in 1972',  Robin Yount's older brother Larry, pitched for the Astros and that one day he would like to be a professional golfer or race motorcycles or 'Which team suffered the most shut-outs in one season?' Well we know this from the backs of baseball cards. Likewise knowing the history of a sport can be completely fascinating. I like to know the provenance of my cards and packs, it makes collecting them a little more interesting particularly here in the UK. How did unopened packs land on these shores? What is a 1939 Goudey card doing as a bookmark in a book shoved in the back of a charity shop? It would be interesting to know, perhaps even more interesting than knowing that no one has ever a home run out of the Yankees Stadium, although 1963 Mickey Mantle came awfully close. Knowledge is good, knowledge is power.
5. Escape.
A wonderful escape and distraction from the humdrum of a busy life. I started poking around looking for baseball card collectors in the UK in late 2007, as a distraction from a new, stressful job, that I was hating. Laying awake at night thinking about the solutions to problems that may develop the in next day or week. In the process I found Ben Henry, A Pack a Day and Thorzul. The therapy, the easing of my psychological problems, this means of escape was soothing my troubled soul and I had found people of a similar ilk. All I had to concern myself with now, was when a little yellow package would be slipping through my letterbox.
6. Investment.
My dad would say 'A Mug's Game.' Hunter suggests, 'Never collecting to make money - only acquire what interests you'. If this is your reason for collecting certain items in the hope that it will one day pay off your mortgage or university tuition for one of your children. Stop right now. Look at all those people who bought boxes of cards in the ninety's. I've often thought about buying a load of cards to 'cherry pick' the ones I want and sell the rest to invest in more cards but my wife, four children and so may other things like food snap me back to reality.
7. Perfect for Loners
Hunter points out that there are may hobbies people take up in which to interact with others, he lists sports mainly and hints that certain collectors can happily be in their own little worlds collecting in the privacy of their own house. I must disagree with this one entirely. For as long as I have been collecting baseball cards, I have searched for collectors with similar habits, to discuss, compare and 'swap'. I didn't really find many people of a similar persuasion until I started blogging. A whole massive world (literally) of relationships developed and new ones being created regularly. I feel the pursuit of baseball collecting has become far more enjoyable since I started trading/getting in contact with other collectors. I am no longer alone..sniff, sniff.
8. Identity
I collect, therefore I am. There is importance and self worth in being a knowledgeable collector. It is unfortunate that there are very rich collectors who can outbid, gobble up all the 1of 1's, super refractors and mega relics depriving the rest of us those unique pieces for our collection. Yet, in moderation, the feeling of many collectors that their hobby somehow sets them apart is no bad feeling. 'There is nothing wrong in self worth.'

I really enjoyed reading this book.

Confessions of a Collector: Or How to be a Part-Time Treasure Hunter
Hunter Davies
224 pages
15 Oct 2009 1847246044 978-1847246042

Friday 12 October 2012

1964 Topps Giants

Ahhh...1964... the year Richard Kimble continued to outwit the Stafford Police,
Ben, Adam, Hoss and Little Joe Cartwright delighted us with western adventures on the Ponderosa Ranch,
Gilligan, et al are castaway on a deserted island,
'You Rang' becomes a popular catch phrase,
Herman Munster scares the crap out of thousands of children,
Russel Crowe, Courteney Cox, Stone Cold Steve Austin are born, 
The Beatles ride high in the Top 40 with 'She Loves You'.
Top of The Pops airs on the BBC for the first time,
Elvis as Rusty Jackson, sang and wiggled his hips alongside the gorgeous Ann Margret, in Viva Las Vegas,
Dick Van Dyke acted/sang, in what is regarded as the worst cockney accent ever and
Sean Connery, arguably the best Bond, fought Oddjob in Goldfinger, while From Russia with Love still excited cinema fans the world over. 
What a great year!
I had never really thought about collecting this particular oddball set before now. I'm not sure whether it really qualifies as oddball anyway. In 1964, Topps produced, along side the 587 card regular set, a number of stand alone sets-Topps Giants, Topps Stand-Ups and Tattoos.
One of the many pursuits I have is to collect the complete 1964 Topps set, hoping to snag some of the other '64 sets produced along the way. Even cards based on the design of the 1964 cards are falling within this particular pursuit.
So when this graded '64 Topps Giant recently appeared on eBayUK, I just had to have it within my collection.  

Thursday 4 October 2012

Doctor Who Monster Invasion limited edition.

We have to wait until Christmas to get the next 'fix' of the latest Doctor Who adventures. The last episode saw the departure of the Ponds, some might say finally.
There were some great episodes in Season 7, Daleks, dinosaurs, wild west gunslingers, and mysterious black cubes. The final episode was set in Manhattan starring the creepiest of recent protagonists, Weeping Angels. And yes the Statue of Liberty does feature as the ultimate Weeping Angel.
To keep the 'fanboys' happy, the lovely River Song 'Woozah' aka Melody Pond, also appears in the latest episode.
The cards shown are from a limited edition pack, only available with the Doctor Who Monster Invasion children's magazine.
Roll on Christmas.

Wednesday 3 October 2012

30 Unopened packs of baseball Cards

It doesn't happen very often but when it does... I'm talking about unopened packs of baseball cards on eBayUK. Just last week, a seller put five lots of unopened baseball cards up for auction, I was lucky enough to win four of them, I was hoping for the fifth but was beaten out. Hopefully it went to the good home of one of my fellow UK card bloggers.
All the packs are from 2002/3, Donruss and Upper Deck. I have a sneaking suspicion that they are from repack boxes because there is clear plastic glue on the back or front of about 5 packs.
Some of these sets are familiar, but most were new to me.
Included was;
1999 Upper Deck Powerdeck 1pack,
2001 Donruss Studio 4packs,
2002 Upper Deck Rookie Debut  pack,
2002 Donruss Fan Club 5packs,
2002 Donruss 1pack,
2003 Upper Deck First Pitch 4packs,
2003 Upper Deck Series 1 2packs,
2003 Upper Deck Series 2 2packs,
2003 Upper Deck MVP 2packs,
2003 Upper Deck Standing O!  2packs,
2003 Donruss Team Heroes 2packs,
2003 Upper Deck Honor Roll 2packs,
2003 Upper Deck 40 Man 2packs.

They were delivered in a lovely big brown paper covered brick. I'm not ashamed to say it was a tad exciting. There was only one draw back - postage. It started as £15.00, I was able to knock it down to £8.00, knowing full well that it wouldn't come close to that. The actual postage cost was £2.80. I'm not sure why sellers do this and it is one thing that puts me right off eBay.
But look at all these unopened packs, such a glorious sight.
I will be cracking them open at Pursuit of Red Sox, my bold mission to collect Red Sox cards from packs and complete the occasional set.
All other cards will go into various trade piles.