Monday, October 31, 2022

Johnny's Box Part I: Matchbooks

Those of us who read Johnny's Trading Spot know all about John's Uncle Fred, who recently passed away at the age of 99. Fred was a collector of various items as well, and Johnny very generously shared some of his uncle's collection with me.

I've divided the contents of the box into three posts. This post features the items that took up the most space in the box, the matchbooks. Johnny sent hundreds of matchbooks, which generally appear to be from the 1960s-1980s.

There were more hotel matchbooks than anything else. Perhaps Fred had a profession that involved a lot of travel? I'd seen the "keyed-up executives unwind at Sheraton" before, but didn't own one. Now I own 33! Showed the front and back of one here. Anyone else who would like one, let me know. There were several other Sheraton varieties (I'm guessing he liked Sheraton best?) but plenty of others as well.

Here are a few well-known brands. There were several Florsheim matchbooks (various varieties) and a few other shoe-related ones too. Perhaps he was in that business? There were a few military-related ones as well. "Today's Army Wants to Join You" is a slogan that I can't imagine went over very well. I wonder if the tiny print indicates that even the person who ordered the matchbooks was embarrassed by it.
In 1973 the US government mandated that matchbooks could only have the striker on the rear of the matchbook, not the front. Front-strike books continued to be sold until 1978 to allow manufacturers to clear existing stock. (That's one easy way to determine the time period of a particular matchbook). I'd never seen a matchbook that actually referenced the new regulation, so I thought this one was really fun.
This looks like a matchbook, but it's not. It's golf tees! I've seen matchbook-sized sewing kits (in fact there was a Hilton one in the box), but never a golf tee holder before.
Perhaps Fred's business involved having matchbooks printed for his business? Universal was probably the biggest, and certainly most innovative matchbook company. Or perhaps, judging by the name on the foil matchbook, there was a relative in the business?

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Ben's Biz cards

These were in that big lot of inserts and parallels I mentioned a while back. A lot of cards (maybe 2/3 of the sets) of the Ben's Biz cards that appeared in a few sets of Topps Pro Debut. A guy named Ben Hill visited a lot of minor league parks and took some weird and wacky photos for some insert sets.

Here are a few favorites, like this team executive and memorabilia collector. I'm sure we can all identify with this guy.
Here's an example of a more unusual one, with players watching an eclipse.
How about a team store in an old synagogue?
I remember seeing this card a while back on another blog. (Maybe Dime Boxes?) Happy to add this one into my collection.
This card of "toilet paper first pitch" from a Kleenex-sponsored "salute to paper" night has to be the most bathroom humor on a card, right?
Not even close. Jamestown has a new stadium now, so you can't use the bathroom while watching the game, but this card will ensure that the locally-famous toilet's memory will live on.


Saturday, October 29, 2022

Vintage baseball bottle caps

When I was a small child, the first type of collection that I remember being aware of was bottle caps. Bert from Sesame Street collected them. I don't remember seeing bottle caps in my house, but when I would see them on the ground when I was little, I would think that some collector would like to have them.

I haven't gotten into bottle cap collecting as an adult, though I see the appeal, as a lot of the old soda bottle caps do look cool. I've checked out bottle cap lots on eBay a few times over the years but haven't been tempted enough to pull the trigger. However, I did come across a cheap lot of 1967 Coca-Cola baseball bottle caps with no bids, put a bid on and ended up winning.

There were 20 bottle caps, but lots of repetition so I only ended up with seven individual players. Willie Horton, Al Kaline, Frank Howard, Tony Oliva, Harmon Killebrew, Elston Howard, Frank Robinson.

Most of the caps were Coke, a couple were Tabs. Here are an example of each.

Here are the dupes available for trade. All are in used soda bottle cap condition.

Willie Horton (2 dupes)

Frank Howard

Al Kaline (2 dupes)

Harmon Killebrew (7 dupes)

Tony Oliva

Friday, October 28, 2022

Some fun old football cards

While the Yankees were stumbling to a disappointing finish, the Giants have had their best start in years, and are now 6-1. I'll celebrate their early season good play and good fortune with some football cards I picked up from the same seller who had the '55 and '60s baseball lots. This lot was 1960s-1980s.

Starting off with the '80s. A few moderately big names here. I love getting new '86 cards, the first sports card set I ever collected.

1970s. '70s Topps sets generally had pretty boring base cards, and a few fantastic action cards. That's pretty well represented here.
1960s. This is where the lot really shines. Of the two miscut '68s, one is a Floyd Little rookie card, one of the best cards in the set. But the card I was most excited about was the '62 Lou Groza. I've admired the black-bordered 1962 set for a long time, with the real action photo in the inset, but hadn't had a card from the set yet. Now I have one, and better yet it's of a Hall of Famer who was one of the best players of his generation, and revolutionized his position (Groza was the first really great long-distance kicker, in addition to being a solid lineman).
These cards were somehow in the lot as well. Not football cards, obviously, there are from a 1982 set of Marquette University basketball cards. I don't know basketball very well - Doc Rivers is the only name I recognize here, from his time with the Knicks. They're in rough shape, but maybe of interest to someone who went to Marquette or collects one of these guys.
Speaking of trade bait - I hadn't sorted the football cards yet when I took the photos. About 25 of them are dupes for me, including the '70 Bob Trumpy, the '76 League Leaders card with Chuck Foreman, the '77 Jim Zorn Record Breaker, and the '81 Mark Gastineau.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

1959 lot

Still making my way through the postseason arrivals. Here was a pretty nice 36-card lot of 1959 Topps. I needed 19 of the 36. First few needs . . .

. . . some more.
Rocky Colavito is the star of this lot. He's only Rocco on the front of the card, he's Rocky on the back. That Baseball Thrills card is easily my favorite; you rarely get action photos of any kind on cards this old, let alone one with a clear view of the fans in the stands. Oddly, the back is very vague about the event, only that Colavito helped out a tiring pitcher with a late game grab. Here's a link to the original, black-and-white photo that Topps colorized. May 10, 1956 - Colavito's sixth inning catch robs Gil McDougald of a home run. 36-year-old Bob Lemon and the Indians won rather easily, 7-2.
For those working on a '59 set, here's what I have to trade. Usually I'll trade the better conditioned version of a card. I don't really want to swap out my Art Ditmar card (I probably would for most cards, but not a Yankee). Anyone want that one, I'll just throw it into your next trade for free.
More '59 trade bait. Curt Flood, like Ditmar, I'll just throw that in if someone wants it. Most of the rest are not too bad.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Back in time, to 1955 (and the 1960s)

I picked up three lots from a seller who had literally hundreds of auctions at once, all ending at the same time. He combined postage so I knew I'd do all right as long as I won more than one. I ended up winning three, and was able to get my cards at a little over 20 cents a card. One was a 1960s-1980s football lot I'll show another time. For now, two baseball lots.

One lot was cards from the 1960s. Every year of the 1960s was covered in this lot. Even 1958! Funny thing, I also picked up a '59 lot that week and got that one first (I haven't posted it yet). There was a Harry "Suitcase" Simpson card in that lot, and I saw he had played for the Yankees briefly in '57 and wondered if he had a card with the Yankees. Well, turns out he did! These were my needed card from early 1960s. Great Tiger Stadium background on Rocky, and yes, that' Frank Robinson lurking on Elio Chacon's card.

This was one of those auctions where the only photo is a pile of cards, so the '64 Curt Flood was a huge surprise. That card has famously been hoarded by a single collector, pushing the price of this card artificially high, so it was a nice thrill to come across this card in the lot. That was the only '64 need but I knocked off a few '65's.
'66 was well represented, with the Koufax/Veale/Gibson leaders card the big highlight.
Three late '60s needs. A miracle Met and two managers.
Lots of dupes to trade. No big names here, but if you're working on a set and need some fillers let me know!
The other baseball lot was all 1955 Topps! I didn't have many to begin with - this tripled the number of cards in my '55 set. Mostly commons but Al Rosen is a big name.
The rest of the new-to-me cards, including two Yankee benchwarmers (Frank Leja and Charlie Silvera).
It's not every day I have '55s available to trade, but maybe someone needs something for a team set or setbuild.
Closing out with the back of Repulski, a 1/1 sketch card! Hey, it's better art than some of those Topps 2020 monstrosities. And as always I'll trade you the better conditioned version of the card I have, so don't worry about ending up with this copy if you need Repulski (unless of course, you want this one!).

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Inserts and parallels

This was an interesting lot I picked up. 1,000 inserts and parallels, mostly from the mid-1990s. ~3 cents a card. This was a fun thing to get, but I wouldn't do it all the time.

A lot of cards from the 1993 and 1994 Topps Gold parallels, and the 1995 Topps cyberstats parallels. I think with parallels, it's a little more fun to get them one or two at a time, rather than a whole lot at once. Still, it's fun to bulk up my holdings of these sets. Plenty to trade from, if you need some for your set. Also, if you have a PC or mini-collection where parallels are useful, let me know.

Some early 90's insert sets - '92 Pinnacle Team 2000, and '93 Select Stat Leaders. I needed maybe half of them, so lots to trade. No huge stars but some mid-level HOFers like Alomar and Smoltz. The '94 Pinnacle Museum Collection I needed just about all. That's a nice looking parallel.
Score put out the nicest looking parallels. I love the '95 Gold Rush, and the bronze '96 parallels are very nice too. I do have a few to trade from here.
Two Bowman parallel sets that were well represented - '97 Bowman International and '00 Bowman Retro/Future. I do have a couple from here to trade.
Some more parallel sets that had solid representation in the lot - '94 UD Electric Diamond, '94 Pinnacle Gold Rainbow, '98 Topps Minted in Cooperstown.
There was plenty of variety, it wasn't just those few sets. Here are a few shiny cards that stood out to me. Score really put out some nice inserts in the mid-'90s.
For some reason there was a bunch of Robinson Cano cards at one point. I needed half the Yankee cards (the parallels) and all the Mariner cards.
This was my personal favorite individual card in the lot. I hadn't realized how many nice insert sets Score made in the '90s. I like the view of Chicago, and the red foil really pops against the dark background.
Does anyone collect buybacks? Last time I asked this, I got directed to a Youtuber named Shoebox Legends but he never got back to me.
This is a much cooler buyback. I actually thought this was a reprint at first, but apparently the American Pie set included buybacks of old Topps nonsport sets. This is from the 1967 Maya: Mysteries of India set. That's Jay North, Dennis the Menace all grown up. It's a cool card but doesn't exactly fit in my collection so I'd be open to a trade.

These two cards are also available for trade. They appear to be run-of-the-mill 1993 Fleer cards, but they are blank backed. As far as I can tell that was not a parallel, so I guess they are just a printing error. Maybe they fit in someone's collection?


I haven't even shown some really fun minor league sets that were in there. I'll post those another time.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Contest winning and trade bait

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I won another Johnny's Trading Spot contest a while back. Here's what I won:

These four "cards" are actually 2019 album stickers. Like the sticker backs of the late '80s, I consider the stickers on the back the actual cards. Like the Severino I showed the other day. The other three were Carlos Rodon, Jordan Hicks and Jacob DeGrom. Imagine if Judge signs with the Mets and DeGrom with the Yankees? Both teams have trouble keeping players healthy so those guys will spend a lot of time on the injured list either way.

Four true cards of Judge. He'll be up there with the most popular Yankees to never win a pennant, like Don Mattingly.
It made me very happy to get a Rickey Henderson oddball from his time with the Yankees. I probably have most of them, but this one was new to me. Another Yankee I really enjoyed who didn't get his rings until after he left the Bronx.

As for the trade bait - 

I mentioned that Johnny's cards came in a huge box with a lot of other stuff. There will be a few posts on that, but I also had a lot of cards come in during the postseason that I haven't posted about yet. Got lucky on a few eBay lots while fans were watching the games, I guess. I'll be posting those over the next week or so, but I'd love to start pulling out cards from the dupes box before I catalog them on TCDB and my own list. So let me know if you'd like me to look for anything for you from:

- Vintage commons, mostly but not all in somewhat rough shape (but generally not too awful). '55-'69 with heavier concentrations of '55, '59 and '66. Not everyday I have some '55s to trade.

- Cards from any of these sets: '92 Pinnacle Team 2000, '93 Select Stats Leaders, '93 Topps Gold, '94 Topps Gold, '95 Topps Cyberstats

- Lots of other inserts and parallels from that '92-'95 range. 

- Three junk wax commons Rediscover Topps buybacks. (Butch Davis, KC, Don Carman, PHI, Darryl Hamilton, MIL.

Congratulations Astros

The Yankees showed a little more fight this evening, not a lot more, but a little. Now the question remains, what to do about the guy who made the last out of the ALCS (mini-blob?). The more I think about it, the more I wonder whether bringing him back is the right thing to do. He's a joy to watch when he's playing well, but he is kind of streaky, and gets hurt a lot. The way I see it, one of two things will happen. One scenario is the Yankees sign him to a huge, long contract, and in most seasons he misses half the games to injury, never again coming close to 50 HR, let alone 60. Or, he goes to another team, and starts hitting 65-70 HR each year, and hits some meaningful postseason HR as well.

Not long ago, a lot of people thought the Yankees made a big mistake not signing Robinson Cano. The Yankees turned out to be right with that move, and using the Judge money to fix the many holes on this team could make more sense than an injury-prone right fielder. Although, as long as Cashman and Boone are running the show, there's little doubt the money will be poorly spent one way or another.

Astros/Phillies could be a fun World Series. Rematch of a classic NLCS. I have no dog in the fight (and hold no grudge against Houston), so I'm just hoping for some entertaining baseball.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Almost finished

I was hoping that maybe the Yankees were so bad in Houston because they were worn out from the schedule, and a day off and their home field would help them out. Nope, they just really stink against the Astros. They don't even look like they're playing for pride. This must be one of the worst 99-win teams of all time. They won all those games in the beginning of the season, then lost their grip and couldn't get it back.

It's so bad even this guy is getting booed.

Yankee fans do their team no favors by booing them like this. The Yankees have won 27 World Championships with one of the most demanding fanbases in sports. The fans that booed DiMaggio, Mantle, Reggie, even Rivera. Would the Yankees have won 47 championships with better fans? Or does being forced to live up to higher standards make champion-caliber players that much tougher? We'll probably never know.

Friday, October 21, 2022

A welcome distraction from another loss

The Yankees struck out "only" 13 times last night. In two games that's 30 strikeouts, nine hits and four walks. That isn't going to cut it. The Yankees have actually pitched pretty well, that hasn't been their problem. Luis Severino pitched very well, except for one unfortunately-timed bad pitch.

This card came in a big surprise package I received from Johnny's Trading Spot. This was actually part of the regular contest winnings, Johnny threw that into a much larger box that I will share the contents of at a later time. I spent hours during and after the game going through everything in the box - it's probably the most fascinating, thoughtful package I've received from another blogger, and it will take a while to put everything together into some posts.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Expected but still disappointing

Yesterday's game went pretty much as you would expect. 17 strikeouts by Yankees batters - ugh! Still, they played with a lead for a few minutes, thanks to the fourth postseason home run by Darth Bader. Pretty much the only way the Yankees are able to score a run is if one of their big wild swings happens to hit a baseball. Bader's probably more lucky than good but he's been the Yankees' biggest highlight this October.