Monday, May 17, 2021

2021 eBay purchase: this George is gorgeous!

I'm just showing off one card today as I catch up on my most recent in-hand eBay purchase (with a multi-item buy coming soon!) and then I'll be back with another trade package.

This was the first of my buys from this month, about a week after I snagged the Zach Putnam plate I showed off recently. Considering the player here I was quite pleased to have spent almost half as much--$8.60 for the card and $12.83 total with tax/shipping:

Well I'll be damned if that isn't a thing of beauty! What you see here is a cyan (pretty sure) printing plate of HOF Michigan Baseball alum George Sisler out of 2015 Panini National Treasures Collegiate. The "National Treasures" portion of the name renders the product way out of my price range, but naturally "Collegiate" piques my interest, so happily I was able to let someone else play the cardboard lottery and get this card on the cheap!

Here's a look at the base card (/99, as you can see here) for comparison. I love how Sisler's team is proudly stated up front: "MICHIGAN WOLVERINES". 

As mentioned on the back, Tigers legend Ty Cobb thought very highly of the former Brown/Senator/Brave who hit at a .340 clip over his career, which included a pair of batting titles and the 1922 AL MVP. For some reason it took him four tries to make it to Cooperstown (1939), but then again I guess you'd say there was a pretty good backlog of legends since the Hall had only opened up three years prior.

The numbers he put up in Ann Arbor over three years (1913-15) were certainly a sign of things to come, and Wolverines coach-turned Browns manager Branch Rickey (a Michigan Law alum) was able to maneuver his former player's contract situation with the Pirates into a deal with Rickey's St. Louis club.

Besides being immortalized in MLB's Hall of Fame, Sisler earned entry into Lubbock, Texas' College Baseball Hall, as mentioned near the bottom of the card on the back. He's currently one of 11 "veteran (pre-1947 era)" players, and was elected in 2010, a year after Rickey. He joins Jim Abbott and Barry Larkin there.

The front of the plate, only being part of the image, isn't as exciting as the base card, but obviously it has the rarity factor going for it, and the back is still very cool. The write-up is nice and of course I love the large Michigan logo, plus the stamped script "One of One" is great. The overall design on the back (and base card front) makes it feel like a very sophisticated historic high-end product. My only quibble is that Panini declined to state exactly what color the plate is, which can be a big deal when they're hard to identify.

Overall this is an extremely cool piece to add to my collection at a very reasonable price, and it joins this Panini Hall of Fame plate from the previous year in my Sisler PC:
Now I just need to track down the yellow for each of them to get as close as possible to the maize and blue pairing!

With this pickup covered I'll be back soon with a fun new PWE from a reliable trade partner.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

2021 trade package #14: Scribbled Ink

My second package that arrived last week came from buddy of the blog Paul of Scribbled Ink (more commonly on Twitter these days). He'd let me know that he found something interesting at an antique/thrift shop plus I knew of a couple cards he'd set aside for me. I can't say I was exactly expecting this, though!:
I'll have to admit, my first thought when I saw this was
Well, there were indeed some cards to be found:
Here's a five spot of 2021 Topps Tigers. My collection of those was next to nothing because it wasn't like I was gonna go out and buy any packs, plus I didn't get into the dime boxes at the last show. Miggy is continuing his decline as most expected, but he'll still be fun to watch as he chases dual milestones of 500 HR and 3000 hits. One or both of this marks will probably need him to play until next season, but with Detroit in the midst of an endless rebuild there's not much reason not to play him! He's paired up with fellow "masher" Jonathan Schoop, who hasn't lived up to that moniker as much as say, catcher Wilson Ramos, in 2021.

Jeimer's been fairly reliable, though, and may be a rare example of a good outcome of an Al Avila trade. Is that possible? I hope to see that trend continue because the Tigers need all the bats they can get right now. Flipping over to the mound quickly, I was never really the biggest fan of Buck Farmer, so I wasn't terribly disappointed when he was let go recently. Paul's guy JaCoby is a player I do hope sticks around a bit longer, though, since he's a pretty good OF (if not a future top three guy) with a streaky bat but very good defense. I included the '95 EMotion Pudge here as he's in my collection of former Tigers and didn't fit in elsewhere. That was definitely one of Fleer's cooler 90s products.
Scan #2 includes the PC guys. Griffey leads off this group, and Longball Lore is a good set to include him in since he's one of just nine players to reach the 600 HR mark. This A&G insert from 2020 mentions him tying the MLB record for consecutive games with a homer at eight in 1993 (with Dale Long and Don Mattingly the only other players to do so). Fittingly, the '20 Update Chrome card that comes next also has something to do with dingers, namely Junior's 1994 HR Derby performance, the first of three he won.

Moving on, Mr. Padre is part of Topps' 70th anniversary celebrations in its 2021 flagship product. This 70 Years of Topps insert of Gwynn is done up in the 1974 design and the back explains that the set was released in one series for the first time that year, which I didn't know. Next to him is a Verlander Paul asked if I needed, and I said yes because I wasn't aware it existed. 2014 Bowman's Hometown is a parallel that brings to mind the International and Interstate versions you could have found in the late 90s.

Switching over to the horizontal axis we start with another '95 EMotion example of another former Ranger/Tiger, Dean Palmer. I was curious about the use of "alert" up front, and the back states, "Despite 22 errors in 1994, Palmer showed good range at third." A Gold Glover he wasn't, but he could hit! Sticking with that side of the infield we see a 2020 Topps Chrome Update Pink Wave Refractor of the Iron Man. I think there's too many types of Refractors (and Prizms too!) out there, but I'm cool with both the pink and the "wave" pattern here. By the way, like his fellow Junior above, this one highlights a HR Derby, in this case Cal's 1991 performance.
And last up we have the Michigan cards, three of which even feature Michigan unis--a relative rarity when it comes to baseball compared to basketball and football! My first Criswell card came from Jeff (and Sportlots) but was a Team USA card, so I'm a bigger fan of these 2020 Prizm Draft offerings: base and Green Pulsar (I believe). Very cool to see college action on a baseball issue like this.

Next, I was in on Cronenworth well before he surprisingly turned into a quality player after being dealt to the Padres, but his star turn has resulted in many more items than he'd previously had on his checklist, not to mention increased prices. That means I really appreciate Paul thinking of me with his 2021 Donruss base, one that stars the iconic "Rated Rookie" logo.

I should probably temporarily rename this blog "Too Many 2020 Topps/Chrome Updates" until I get 'em all because they've been doing a lot of work feeding my PCs. Dick Mountain doesn't have that many cards of his yearlong stint with the Twins, but this is one of them. He sure looked good making the Yankees bats look ridiculous the other night!

Finally, spark plug OF Jordan Nwogu makes his collection debut, joining former teammate Criswell out of 2020 Prizm Draft. The former walk-on was a blast to watch out of the leadoff spot, leading the team in batting average last year and enjoying the excitement of a College World Series final appearance plus getting chosen by the Cubs in the third round. He's a guy to keep an eye on to make lots of noise in the bigs and I'm excited to track down more of his cards.

Well that was a pretty exciting bunch of cards I think, so thanks Pau--


A box that large, $11 in shipping, and there were only cards inside, you say? Yeah, I guess you're right, I should see if there's anything else...

Oh yeah, here's something else:

Remember Ken Griffey Jr., Bart? He's back! In Bobblehead form! This hand painted bobblehead (it's NOT A DOLL, MOM!) is a super cool piece to add to my collection, and I really appreciate Paul finding it, thinking of me, and anteing up to send it to me.

Let's open it up and take a look:

I would guess that Griffey was the main reason I became aware of San Bernadino, located in southern California. Young George Ken was the #1 overall pick in 1987, of course, and he'd play most of his second pro season with the Spirit, Seattle's A+ team from '87-'94 (and again from 2001-06). They've changed classes, names, and affiliations a few times since, but that's where he found himself for a chunk of 1988, and that year Best would make him #1 (a full year before Upper Deck) in their Minor League set for the team:
Of course, the following year he'd begin his illustrious career just two years after being drafted, and he wouldn't look back. But Spirit fans got to see glimpses of his greatness before that, so why not celebrate one of your franchise's greatest alumni with a bobblehead? The Spirit did exactly that, and as far as I can tell this bobblehead was given out in 2001. Overall I consider it to be a very nice looking piece that's in great shape, plus it's even somewhat limited--this one is stamped "4078/5000" on the bottom. That it's complete with the packaging is icing on the cake, but I'll likely display it with my other bobbleheads freely because I like doing that. This is a very cool surprise indeed!

Paul, thanks for the cardboard and, uh, hand painted surprises that were perfectly targeted at my collections! I tip my cap to you for putting in the effort to find stuff for me, not to mention going out of your way to ship it to me. Hopefully with another couple shows on the calendar soon I'll be able to return the favor!

Speaking of trade packages another one arrived today, so I'll probably show that off soon in between a recently arrived eBay purchase and another that should ship soon. A steady stream of incoming cards is certainly keeping me busy!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

2021 trade package #13: Topps Cards That Never Were

I was happy to get to enjoy a surprise double mail day last week, so I've got two trades to show off before getting back to Sportlots stuff, and maybe even other secret stuff?

First I'm going to show you the very cool PWE sent to me by Floridian Tigers/Rays fan Jeremy of Topps Cards That Never Were:
Ooooh, more Larkins, I'm already hooked. And I couldn't help but laugh out loud at the parenthetical about the "usual Verlander parallel". More on that in a minute. Here's a look at what was inside:
I guess I'm living in a parallel universe since all three of these are alternative versions of base cards! Card #1 is a Sepia parallel of Barry Larkin's 2020 Stadium Club base. That's a product you could endlessly parallel and I'd be into it because the photo/design combo is Topps at its best (and I just don't understand why they can't bring the same success to flagship). The basic 2020 design, while being very textbook Stadium Club, differentiates itself nicely, and Sepia gives it a classy look for sure. Great start!

I think I may have to hand the first place trophy to card #2, though, a 2021 Donruss Holo Orange insert. The shiny orange border looks really nice on Barry's card, part of the "Retro '87" subset as it reuses that year's design. Makes sense since Larkin's Donruss RC can be found in that very set. Believe me that the scan doesn't do this one justice, especially because it leaves out the "holo" part. Just an excellent looking Barry, and now I want to track down one in red!

Finally, we have what's become an unintentional tradition in Jeremy's envelopes to me. This is the fifth time he's sent me some cards, and the last three in a row have all included at least one JV parallel. You can somewhat tell from the scan that this here is one of Justin's four appearances in 2020 Topps Update's Gold Foil set. His other three are league leader cards while this one highlights his 2019 All-Star Game selection. You'd be forgiven for thinking it's a Rainbow Foil card--I sure did--but the tell is the gold area on the left side of the card. Why have both Gold and Gold Foil parallels? Only Topps knows!
Here's a quick look at the backs, which I like to include when traders are nice enough to limit the amount of work I have to do!

Jeremy, thanks for the fun surprise PWE! I really liked all three cards, all of which I needed, and which are more than easy on the eyes. I should be hitting up at least one show, if not two, in the next few weeks, and I'll make sure to keep an eye out for a few things I think you'll enjoy. And maybe I'll figure out a "usual" type to send your way too!

Saturday, May 8, 2021

2021 Sportlots purchases part 3: better off Ted

Though I just received a couple trade packages yesterday, I had this post mostly ready to go, so today you're getting Sportlots cards and then it's back to incoming trades!

I've got a mix of team- and player-themed posts planned for this series, and today will be one of those single-subject features. Thanks to Sportlots I grabbed 33 new cards for my Ted Simmons PC. As a reminder, while the recent HOFer never played a game for Michigan Baseball, he still fits my Michigan baseball alumni collection, which includes guys who attended UM (and are therefore alumni) and then appeared on trading cards; Suiting up for the Maize & Blue is not a requirement.

Simmons is a relatively recent collection for me, but I've seen that grow a nice amount thanks to some purchases and trades over the past year. He has around 500 items listed on TCDB right now, spanning 1970, the year before his OPC and Topps RCs were produced, to this year (Leaf, Sport Kings, and a Topps buyback). His career lasted from 1968-1988 and the mainstream cards produced for him during his run went from 1971-1989, with some post-retirement issues popping up here and there.

Most of what you'll see here will be cards produced during his career, mostly because that tends to be my main PC focus early on in their collections. As usual, though, there's still a nice mix of cardboard to enjoy, and I'm curious to see what everyone's favorites and dislikes might be.

And now, on with the show:

I'll never understand fashion from the 1970s, especially hairstyles. That said, I don't understand any of that in general, and lord knows I cringe at the way I looked in the 80s and 90s, so I'm not one to judge!

Anyway, it's great to kick things off with some "true" vintage, which I tend to think of as anything before the 1980s (though, like "oldies" music, that definition could change at any point!). SSPC is the type of product where you're likely to find supplemental cards of some of your more obscure guys, not to mention stars like Ted, and it's become a staple of my collections of players from that era for sure. Topps issues from 1976, '77, and '79, finish off that decade while filling in some early gaps. Though it's somewhat beat up, I like the '77 best here, since I tend to prefer game/action shots to posed photos. Plus catcher cards tend to be very cool.

Don't be too shocked that almost everything else from here on out is from the 80s, thanks to the increase in manufacturers producing cards. 1980 was the last year Topps/OPC was it for choice, and that resulted in another terrific catcher card, one that highlights Simmons' sixth of eight All-Star nods. 1981's items include Donruss' solid debut, plus a sign of things to come for another new kid on the block (sort of), Fleer, and a very cool sticker. Then a pair of '82s--Donruss and Fleer flagship this time--reflect the December '80 trade that sent Simmons, Rollie Fingers, and Pete Vuckovich to the Brew Crew for four players, one of which was fellow Wolverine Lary Sorensen. '81 was a down year for the C/1B/DH, but he did get to experience the playoffs for the first time, an ALDS loss to the WS runner-up Yankees.
Here we close out 1982 with an OPC base. I don't have much to say about that product other than that you'll see a few more instances of "Canadian Topps" along with Leaf, "Canadian Donruss", this evening, but I do want to highlight Night Owl's post comparing some OPC and Topps cards, if you somehow didn't read it.

1983's cards feature stats from '82, Ted's second and final trip to the postseason, where his Brewers defeated the Angels to reach the Series but lost in seven to his old team, the Cardinals. The trio you see here from '83, the year I was born, are Donruss, OPC, and Topps.

The 1984 stuff changes things up a bit after normal base stuff from Donruss (a set I sometimes get nostalgic for, for some reason) and Fleer. While the '84 Topps Glossy All-Stars issue (celebrating Ted's final appearance in the Midsummer Classic) isn't that out of the ordinary, we do venture into the realm of the oddball with two other Topps-related ventures. First is one of 30 cards made for a Milton Bradley-produced game, with backs that determined what happened based on dice rolls. The other was done as a food issue for Ralston Purina, though the 33-card set didn't end up being anything like "annual", popping up again only in 1987, as far as I can tell.
In this scan we kind of get moving in a hurry, spanning 1985-88. First we have '85's Donruss/Leaf pairing, plus another Fleer base. 1986 includes just Leaf (I already had the Donruss card) plus one of my favorites, Sportflics. While I'd previously landed the regular Sportflics card, this one is from the Decade Greats set that's popped up in my collection on occasion. Here Simmons is grouped with fellow "Best 70's catchers" Thurman Munson and Carlton Fisk. Before his untimely death Munson was on his way to a Hall-worthy career, so all three of these guys should have been together in Cooperstown.

Starting with 1987's cards we get shots of Simmons with his final team, the Braves, to whom he was dealt in 1986. There he averaged around 75 games over his final three seasons, winding down his 21-year career. Here you see a couple shiny parallels from '87: Fleer's Glossy and Topps' Tiffany. Joining in the fun from '88 are Fleer's base and Glossy versions. Take my word for it that the last card in the above scan is much shinier than its predecessor.
Scan #4 closes out 1988 with a final Leaf issue and another Topps Tiffany card. '89's only representative is the final card I needed from that year, his Fleer Glossy appearance.

After that we have today's lone "recent" item, his base cameo in Panini's 2013 Golden Age product. To go with that I have one of his five (not including 1/1s) minis, so I need to track down his White base parallel and autograph.

And finally we have one more OPC/Topps combo, taking us all the way back to 1983. Topps doesn't really do this kind of thing anymore but you used to see these throwbacks to stars' earlier days a decent amount back then, whether they looked like this or went with the "turn back the clock" style.

I'm quite happy with the progress I made towards Simmons' checklist on the cheap thanks to Sportlots. My count currently sits at 79, and though I lack bigger stuff like his earliest stuff (especially those tough '71s) and autographs, most of my wantlist is looking quite reasonable. I'll keep at it the next time I work on some online card orders from my favorite sites.

After I put these away I'll be working on a couple new trade posts to say thanks and give some well deserved credit to two very cool trade partners, so watch for those next!

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

2021 eBay purchase: Razor sharp dressed Putnam

Though it rarely gets me these days, sometimes FOMO is real. I have no problem with the fact that I'll never get to 100% on most of my player collections, so I'll often pass on a rare item when the price is out of my comfort zone. But once in a blue moon I'll see something I just have to have, and fear of missing out kicks in.

Thankfully, with my overall spending down the past few years, I can easily justify splurging here and there. That's exactly what I did when a very interesting item came up on one of my saved eBay searches:

This card is at the intersection of multiple things I like to collect: former UM pitcher Zach Putnam, plates/1-of-1s, and 2008 Razor Letterman. It's a black printing plate from that fantastically fun product, and you really don't see super rare items from it come up for sale very often for whatever reason.

I think by now my reasons for collecting Michigan sports alumni and 1/1s are clear, but since it's been quite a while, here's a recap of my experience with 2008 Razor Letterman. I broke two cases (10 boxes each, five packs per box, one autoed letterman patch per pack) over a pair of group breaks back when you could find them in the neighborhood of $30-$40 per box, an amazing value given some of the names you could pull. Out of 100 cards I never managed to pull a single Putnam, but I bought and traded my way to a pretty nice collection:

The unnumbered nameplate
The /25 nameplate

The "N" and "T" /5

The "M" and "N" 1/1s

And today's Black printing plate to go along with the Yellow plate I already owned

When you see all of those together like that maybe you can understand why I didn't make too much of a fuss over spending a bit more than $20 (around $15 plus tax & shipping) when my butter zone for 1/1s of players that aren't my absolute top priority PCs is more like $8-$15. Passing on something like this would have been totally different than letting someone else overpay for, say, a plate from 2017 Topps. Like Bon Jovi said, I'm halfway there when it comes to this plate set, plus I now have four of the ten 1/1s of Putnam from the product, so I'm almost halfway to that crazy goal.

Who knows if I'll ever find the other two plates, much less any of the other 1/1 letters, but if I do, you can bet your bottom dollar that I'll be trying harder than usual to come out a winner as a bidder or buyer. There's only so much missing out you can live with, you know?
As you can see here, today's card continues to pad my dominant TCDB lead among Putnam collectors, with buddy of the blog Jeff pretty close to at least tying for second. You can see the complete list of those cards here, 35 of which are hits, broken down into
  • 16 autographs
  • 15 autographed manupatches
  • 4 1/1s (two plates and 2 more auto manupatches)
You may be surprised to find out that he's my #2 in the Michigan Baseball hits collection (only about 100 away from Rich Hill!), with Bill Freehan next at 25, J.J. Putz at 22, and Barry Larkin with 21; nobody else has hit the 20-card mark yet.

I actually have another (non-FOMO) plate from eBay on the way, one I spent a bit less on (but would have been ok with losing), and I'll show that off when it arrives. But given the momentum of posting I've built up over the past few days I didn't think it was worth waiting until then. Now I just need to see what I want to scan and post next from my piles of Sportlots cards! I can't promise I'll blog for a fourth straight day but I'll try not to keep those of you interested waiting too long. I wouldn't want you to miss out!

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

2021 eBay purchase: Pacifically Legends

Pacific Legends: for three years this better-than-expected low-end product from the manufacturer that would eventually be able to produce cards of current Major Leaguers (in English, even!) offered collectors another way of collecting some of the legends and past fan favorites of the game.

The sets came up on my radar last Summer when I was able to grab a couple boxes of the '88 version among a bunch of other stuff (generally smaller boxed sets) on Facebook. Fuji bought one and I busted the other, coming one card shy of a pair of complete sets.

In talking to Fuji about his interest in these sets, I later found out that he decided to keep the box he got from me unopened, and then grabbed the full 220-card '88/'89 set on eBay to go with a complete 1990 set out of a box he did open. This was relevant to me since he generously sent me a near complete '90 set earlier this year.

Thanks to Cardbarrel and Spotlots I was able to finish up my second '88 set and knock out the remaining 90s I needed, leaving me shy just the '89 version. I thought I'd purchased just that from eBay a couple months ago, but it ended up just being something like 20% of it, so I returned it.

Then, in Mid-April what did I come across on eBay but the very same '88/'89 set that Fuji had purchased for himself, also at under $10 shipped.

I pulled the trigger and happily received this package not long after.
As a reminder, the 1988 and '89 products comprised one continuous set, with the former numbered 1-110 and the latter picking right up again at 111 through 220. By the way, a nice bonus of this boxed version was the pair of checklists, which weren't packed out as far as I can tell. I can't claim to have removed the sets completely undamaged from this unorthodox packaging, but I'm fine with how the cards look.

Since I did a long-ass video of my 1988 box break and that allows you to take a good long gander at those cards, I won't show any off here, but I did think it was worth doing some highlights from '89 since I had very few of these in my collection before this purchase:
The Tigers included HOFers Cobb, Cochrane, Greenberg, and announcer Ernie Harwell, whom you would be unlikely to see in a set made by someone else.
I grabbed a back so you could compare it to the '88s. The fronts and backs are pretty much the same between '88 and '89 with the power blue background color on the latter being the only difference; the '88s are yellow. I also thought the back of this Reggie would be fun to scan because "Reggie's Hall of Fame election appears certain." definitely made me laugh.
Here's a selection of some of the legends from the '89 set, all well known names. As you've probably noticed, art work was used for most of the pre-WWII players, possibly to avoid having black & white images mixed in, I'm not sure.
I thought it would be fun to show a few of the fun/interesting appearances as well, from fan favorites to an ump and another broadcaster. A Mad Hungarian, former Tiger, catcher/manager of the Seattle Pilots, and mutton-chopped dude who slugged 50 HR (not to mention an umpire nicknamed "Shag") definitely keep you on your toes!

Since I'm showing those off this evening I though it would be worth doing the same with the completed '90 set since I never formally did that previously, with just a few examples when Fuji sent me the main stack and then some of the ones I bought to complete it.
The Tigers this time included HOFers Bunning and Gehringer (the one UM guy I believe you'd find in all three series), fan favorite Horton, and also HOFer Kell, whom I'm including with this group because he was with the White Sox for all of three seasons, as opposed to seven with Detroit.
If you compare the fronts of the cards in the group above to the '88 and '89 versions you can notice a couple subtle differences in the top corners and "banners" on the bottom, but they're still pretty close. The backs give you more clues that you're looking at a different product, though, especially with the 110-card set starting things back at #1. Color-wise it's like an inverted 1988 card, plus you lose the kind of scroll design for the writeup/stats area. I think I prefer this one a bit more, but there's nothing wrong with the prior versions. Also, how amazing is it that Appling was still alive when this card was made? He passed early in 1991, a few months shy of 84 years old.
There were lots of great choices for legends to show off, like these guys. If you remember some of the membership of the '88 set then you might notice some repeat cameos here, like Aaron (#1 in both), Banks, and Berra, but it's kind of understandable since it doesn't seem like it was meant to be a third series, but its own thing.
There were lots of fun choices among the other fan favorites, though, and I figured at least a few of you would see one or more guys you remember fondly here.

So now I can happily call myself the owner of all three two three (yeah, we'll go with three) Pacific Legends sets from 1988-1990. I got to bust a box, do some old-fashioned set-building, and even sort cards from a previously unopened set, all for under $30. Money and time well spent for sure, once again with a very appreciated assist from Fuji.

On a related note I have two completed '88 sets (#s 1-110) available for trade should anyone ever be interested in dealing for one or both, so hit me up!

I had another eBay pickup arrive just today so that'll probably get its own post soon, plus I'll be trying to get back to the huge Sportlots haul, so keep an eye out for plenty of new cardboard soon. As for me, I'll be enjoying the satisfaction of filing these away in a box in my card closet.

Monday, May 3, 2021

4/30/21 show report: I'd buy that for a dollar!

It's definitely been a long road--more than a year, in fact--but thanks to getting vaccinated recently I finally felt ready to head back to my usual monthly card show in Taylor this past Friday. Besides the fact that I almost always enjoy the experience of poring over boxes of cards for couple hours to bring home new stuff, I was really itching to go to grab some new trade bait. The online sources that used to treat me so well are less and less useful these days, and nothing can replace seeing cards in person, deciding you want them, and taking them home immediately--no astronomical shipping costs or USPS chaos, just instant gratification. I think you all know I love sending cards out as much as having them come into my collection, and shows are probably responsible for the majority of that trade fodder.

So I headed to Taylor early Friday afternoon and was relieved to see my favorite seller there. I ended up solely looking at the guy's $1 boxes because there were so many

(everything you see here, plus a few more to the right) and because I only have so long before I decide I've had enough. I love me some dime and quarter boxes, but this guy usually has $1s and $2s, and this time it was all dollars, so there were bound to be some good finds in there.

Roughly two hours later I came away with 70 cards from these boxes: a few keepers for me, a few for general/TCDB trade bait, and a healthy bunch for some of my favorite trade partners! Boy does it feel nice to be able to say that.

Here's a quick recap of the stuff that's not earmarked for anyone specific (available for trade!) and what I kept for myself:

This is the kind of stuff I love finding for a buck because either someone jumps at it and wants to trade for it, or I don't mind it sitting in my trade box as some pretty nice ammo for a future deal.

Wolters is an autographed letter patch (the "U" of "USA") from 2009 UD Signature Stars and is #d /100. Chandler is the "N" from his name and is also a signed manupatch, #d /250. I wasn't sure if I had the Hall 2010 Score Signatures auto but I did so I figured a fellow Michigan collector or Bengals fan might like it. Dixon is a football/auto from 2016 Panini Phoenix and is #d /199. And Hicks is a manuhelmet auto from 2003 UD Sweet Spot.

If you'd like to claim any of these, please throw a comment down below or shoot me an email and I'll be happy to work something out with you!

And now, onto my haul:
Let's start with Mr. Padre. Gwynn's a '98 Pinnacle Mint Silver parallel of the non-die-cut base card (which was bronze), and a great example of "90s inserts rule!". I probably could have found it cheaper elsewhere, but $1 seemed reasonable to me and now I don't have to wait to get it.

Kinsler put up four nice seasons in Detroit and was fun to watch, plus he helped wash the stink off of the Prince Fielder contract debacle. I happily paid a buck for my second jersey of the star 2B, though as with the one I already had he's pictured here with the team for whom he's most well know, the Rangers. Maybe I'll track down a Tigers hit at some point.

I would have sworn I had that 2005-06 SP Game Used jersey of former UM cager Bernard Robinson, but as it happens the other five cards I have of him are signed so it's actually my first relic of his. I have Maurice Taylor's jersey from the same set, and a quick look at the checklist makes me think they're the only Wolverines I needed to track down.

On the football front I found a couple cool Panini-branded rookie parallels I liked. Arrington is from the fairly confusing 2008 Leaf Rookies & Stars Longevity set (not the Longevity parallel of the regular R&S product) and is an Emerald parallel numbered /49. His collection is inching closer to the century mark so I always appreciate finds like that. Former UM QB John Navarre is next with an Aspirations parallel of his 2004 Donruss Elite RC, numbered /84. The red die-cut inserts look excellent, plus the Senior Bowl photo makes it a quasi UM uni card since he's wearing the greatest helmet in college football. I've previously tracked down fellow QB Drew Henson from the same set.

And we'll finish up this post with a fun trio of relics of former TE/WR Devin Funchess. The top-most on the right is from 2015 Panini Rookies & Stars, and the set is called "Longevity Rookie Jerseys" but the good news is there was no separate Longevity product that year, so no confusion there! Below that is a Topps Rookie Jumbo Relics jersey from the same year. And on the bottom right you'll find my favorite of the three out of 2016 Panini Unparalleled. Yes, I'm a sucker for shininess (and serial numbering--in this case /199) but in my view it easily has the best design, doing lots with Carolina's team colors. The R&S card is second for using at least some of the franchise's colors, and Topps is last for using various shades of gray that wouldn't be out of place in a February sky. These additions give me 10 Funchess relics and 18 hits overall.

Like I said, it was fantastic to get back to a card show after a layoff of more than a year, and I'm gunning to go back next month to see what that'll bring. I may have to continue skipping buying some needed supplies--mainly toploaders for my thicker cards--until they become more reasonable, but I'll be ready to hit those boxes once again to dig up some hidden gems and trade bait. And speaking of the latter, some of it may be heading to your mailbox as you read this!