During my trading forum days, I used to go through books of stamps at a time.
After all, a good half of the swaps I'd make were those of the good ol' PWE variety.
As a blogger, however, I haven't had much use for envelopes. Most of the swaps we make around here are way, way too big to fit into a simple PWE.
It's saving my mom a ton on stamp costs as well.
I'm sure she's happy about that.
Still, I believe PWEs have a place in this hobby.
With the rising costs of shipping these days, they can be a great bargain for smaller swaps.
However, I've run into quite a few collectors who have nothing but bad things to say about them.
It's understandable, as they can be absolute train wrecks when packaged incorrectly.
I can speak from experience. I've received quite a few PWEs that included no penny sleeve and no toploader. No protection whatsoever.
No protection is definitely the wrong way to things.
I guess that's a life lesson, too. If you know what I mean.
However, it's good to see that PWEs are still alive and kicking around the blogosphere.
I recently received a pair of sparkling, well-protected, and intact envelopes in the mail from a couple fellow bloggers.
The first contained my "goods" from a recent holiday giveaway held by Jeff over at "2 by 3 Heroes".
Everyone in the blogosphere had their choice of two cards from Jeff's giveaway bonanza, yet another of the supremely generous acts I've seen during my time around here.
Of the 100 or so cards he listed, I had an awfully tough time selecting just two of them.
In the end, though, I decided that I absolutely needed to have this Verlander mini in my collection. I'd seen it many times before in the past year, but had never managed to land a copy for myself.
That is, before Jeff's giveaway came around, anyways.
Dugout shot? Check.
Ballplayers having fun? Check.
A tribute to one of the best designs in Topps history? Check.
This mini of Mr. Verlander has all the makings of a surefire "gem" for my collection.
And now I'll proudly be able to display it in my Tigers binder.
I couldn't be happier.
Cards of Vlad are my kryptonite.
I once found a dime box that contained a good 80 or 90 different cards of his.
And I bought every single one.
When it comes to Vladimir Guerrero, I just can't leave anything behind.
That held true with Jeff's giveaway as well, as I made this gold parallel my second and final selection.
Although it takes a year or two to really deem a uniform as "unfamiliar", I tend to already place Vlad as an Oriole into that category.
As much as I enjoy cards of him in the orange-and-black, I just can't get used to it.
But, in many ways, that's part of what makes this card so awesome.
Nothing beats free cardboard.
If that pair of cards don't attest to the amount of joy PWEs can hold, then these next ones should.
A few weeks ago, fellow blogger Lawrence of "Pence, Nix, and Pierre" contacted me about a possible PWE swap.
Although he hasn't blogged much as of late, it's always good to know that people like Lawrence are still active in the community. Hopefully, he'll get his blog up and running again soon.
It's obvious that Lawrence had read through a few of my older posts before sending that email.
I'm always appreciative of that.
He had a feeling I'd like this refractor of Carlos Pena. Although I collect Pena and love shininess, Lawrence knew I'd enjoy it because of the fact that Mr. Pena spent a grand total of 22 games in Texas during his rookie year in '01.
That instantly makes it a prime "short term stops" candidate.
Which is certainly a plus for my Rangers binder.
Although Willie Adams isn't a "binder guy", I can't help but love this one.
Anything of the "behind the camera" variety is a plus, needless to say.
It's awesome that a few fellow bloggers have taken the time to find more of these for me over the past few months.
They're always welcome in this household, "binder guy" or not.
Lawrence was also nice enough to add a couple key pieces to my Indians binder with these two.
A few months ago, I made Keith Hernandez the subject of one of my "Into the Sunset" posts.
In it, I incorrectly noted that Score's last Hernandez issue came in their 1990 offering. Unbeknownst to me, however, he'd been a part of their '91 checklist as well.
Even better, he did so in an Indians uniform, pictured during his largely forgettable 43-game stint with Cleveland in 1990.
Now, I'm proud to say that I finally own Score's true "sunset" card of Mr. Hernandez.
All I have to do now is find that pesky '91 Fleer card.
Like Willie Adams, Pat Hentgen isn't a "binder guy".
Still, I'll never be able to turn down a card that features "pitcher at the plate". Especially one of the ever-rare American League variety.
It's just not going to happen.
Like so many other awesome bloggers I've dealt with in the past, Lawrence was nice enough to include a few "freebies" on top of the previously agreed upon cardboard.
That Griffey was one of them, a nice little oddball that I have next to no information about.
Interestingly, it's the first card I own that features a ballplayer on the golf course.
It'll join the college basketball-playing Mr. Lofton as the only pieces of my binders that feature baseballers partaking in other sports.
As much as I enjoyed the Griffey, the other little "freebie" Lawrence added proved to be one of the best cards I've received as a blogger.
Ah, the sweet smell of vintage.
"Moose" Skowron is one of those guys that I feel often gets overlooked in this hobby.
He was overshadowed by many of the terrific players of the 1950's "Golden Age" of the game.
Even more than that, he was overshadowed by the likes of Berra and Mantle on the dynasty Yankee squads of the decade.
It's a shame, because the guy was one heck of a player.
Skowron was a key piece of those Yankee teams from the '50s, and a six-time All-Star to boot.
And, from what I've heard from him over the years, he was a wonderful human being who simply lived and breathed baseball.
Although I have a few nice older pieces of his, this is easily my new favorite vintage card of Mr. Skowron.
Just another testament to the joys that PWEs can hold.
A huge thanks goes out to Jeff and Lawrence for the wonderful, card-filled envelopes.
They're keeping PWEs alive in the blogosphere.