I've been trading baseball cards for about twelve years now.
In the beginning, my swaps came with friends at my local day care. Despite my lack of a collecting friend these days, I did have a few cardboard comrades as a kid. It seemed like we traded almost every day.
As I grew older and lost touch with most of my collecting friends, I moved on to the forums. Despite the gripes I may have with them now, trading forums probably ended up keeping me in this hobby after all was said and done.
Without that feeling of belonging to a group of fellow collectors, I'm not sure that my collecting habits would have persisted into and through my high school years.
And, yes, I made a whole boatload of trades on the forums. Trades that helped build my collection bit by bit over the years.
These days, though, I'm a proud member of the blogosphere.
Just being able to talk cardboard whenever I want is my number one reason for loving this community.
But I'll be the first to admit that the whole trading aspect of this place is definitely some sweet icing on the cake.
Through all my years of swapping cardboard, I've only learned a couple things for certain. One lesson certainly stands above all, though.
Any trade is a good trade.
Sure, I've absolutely loved all the brimming boxes of cards I've received over the past month. They were an absolute blast to go through.
Don't get me wrong, though.
Smaller trades definitely have their place in the collecting world.
Even with all the great "blogger boxes" that have been rolling in lately, I've still been ecstatic to find a few mini-packages arrive on my doorstep within the past few weeks.
So many different mini-packages, in fact, that I'll have to split them up into an rare two-part trade post.
These smaller batches were certainly a diverse group.
Some were from right here in the United States. Some came from north of the border.
Some contained the "latest and greatest" from the hobby. Some contained cards from past years of cardboard glory.
Some came courtesy of fellow bloggers. Some came from the "reader" realm of the blogosphere.
We start, however, with a couple of my recent Listia pickups, ones that arrived thanks to a pair of good ol' PWEs.
That "revolutionary" Jeromy Burnitz card at the top of the post set me back a mere 100 credits.
I thought it'd grab your attention.
Was I right?
It certainly grabbed mine.
I've cooled down a bit with my Listia pickups lately.
Not voluntarily, of course. It just doesn't seem like the site has many "gems" for the pickings these days.
Those "gems" are what made me a frequent Listia visitor a few months ago. I'm not there to pick up a sweet vintage piece or anything from 2013 Topps.
I'm there to discover a few "free" diamonds in the rough.
Nevertheless, "gems" still do pop up from time to time. The Burnitz definitely has the "gem" label written all over it.
As does this one.
For just 44 credits, I picked up a four-card batch of 2010 Topps.
As with the last "lot" I bought, I basically bid on it for one of the included cards. Unlike that one, however, none of the other pieces proved to be that spectacular.
However, this awesome Pirates team card was definitely worth the 44 credit price tag alone, wouldn't you say?
I never knew Pittsburgh had such a beautiful skyline.
While Listia might have its moments, let's move on to the blogosphere side of this trade post.
Here, we have the contents from the "north of the border" package I referenced earlier.
Specifically, this group of cardboard comes from Douglas, over at the terrific blog "Sportscards from the Dollar Store".
Although I haven't collected football for at least a decade, Douglas still chose to include a "pigskin" card in the batch he sent me.
Nevertheless, I was definitely happy to see it. This is instantly a new "oddball" addition to my still-growing multiple exposure collection.
On a fairly different note, Douglas just celebrated a birthday yesterday.
You know, from what my parents have told me, I came very close to having a Valentine's Day birthday.
But, alas, my "day" didn't come until five days later, on the 19th.
Which means that I share a birthday with this guy.
Yup, I'll be turning 21 in four days.
At the same time, Mr. Reddick will be celebrating his 26th birthday.
Although I'm still not all that big on these "Chasing the Dream" inserts, I felt the need to "claim" this one from Douglas after his 2013 Topps breaks.
Because of our shared birthday status, my new collection of Josh Reddick has easily been my favorite one to chase.
So, to any of you reading out there, I'll happily take any extra cards of his you may have.
It's the least I could do for a fellow birthday boy.
When Douglas put his unwanted '72 minis onto the trade market, I jumped at the chance to snag a couple.
I just couldn't let these slip through my hands.
Although it's still early, the '72 minis are probably a good bet to grab my "Best Insert Set of the Year" award in 2013.
One quick note before we move on.
Trevor Bauer pitched in four games with the Diamondbacks last year before being traded to Cleveland.
This mini is my sixth card of him in a D'Back uniform. My cards of Bauer in Arizona now exceed the number of games he actually pitched with them.
You don't see that everyday.
Around here, we save the best for last.
So, what is the "best" of 2013 Topps?
The base cards, of course.
After pulling his '72 mini, "Chasing the Dream" insert, and Target red-bordered parallel, I have finally managed to track down Anthony Rizzo's base card.
I was starting to get a little worried there.
Not a blockbuster trade, by any means.
But it was still one helluva swap, I think.
Douglas certainly knows how to put together a good mini-package.
And speaking of minis...
I know, the subtle humor behind R.A. Dickey's last name has probably been overplayed within the past year. But I had to get that one in there.
This new addition to my Mets binder came from reader Tom, who emailed me about a few of my 2013 Topps needs from the sidebar of the blog.
I absolutely love it when blog readers contact me about a trade. I could go on and on about how much it means to me, but a fellow blogger just did that a couple days ago.
The words in that post pretty much describe my overall attitude towards swapping with readers of this blog.
Between an R.A. Dickey mini...
...and a couple other spectacular 2013 Topps inserts, this trade simply confirmed my thoughts about "reader trades".
Plus, given that Youkilis signed with the Yankees this offseason, that "Calling Card" insert will go down as one of my hallowed "half-year" cards, a term I've used since my early collecting days.
I was sad to hear that the "Youk-ah" wouldn't be coming back to the South Side in 2013, but I'll never be able to pass up one of those "half-year" cards.
They're just too awesome.
Tom also managed to help knock out a few of my remaining 2013 Topps base needs.
Thanks to the efforts of fellow bloggers and readers and the like, my base needs for the set has been whittled down to a mere eight cards. My goal is to get those last eight pieces by the end of the month.
For now, though, I'm certainly happy to have these in my collection.
The "celebratory" Darwin Barney is easily one of my top five favorite Flagship cards thus far. After all, the Cubs didn't give their fans a lot to celebrate about last year.
Mr. Barney provided one of the few bright spots.
When it comes to the world of cardboard, not every package has to be a "blockbuster".
These certainly contained quite a few "gems" in their own right. And I still have one more of these posts in the making.
After all, the smaller trades can still pack quite a wallop.