Wednesday, August 7, 2013

National treasures, Pt. 3: Wax is overrated

I was a very different type of collector when I was on the trading forums.

One of the major renaissances I've enjoyed thanks to the blogosphere has to do with newly-released sets.

When I was on the forums, I absolutely had to have all the cards I needed from whatever checklist just hit the shelves. As soon as possible. Thanks to shipping costs, those trades put a heavy burden on my card collecting budget.

Still, even then, I knew that most of those cards would wind up in dime boxes within a few months. I was just an impatient collector, I guess.

These days, I'm perfectly happy with waiting out those few months. Sure, I like to bust a pack every now and then, but I let card show vendors fill most of my new set needs each year.

That's been the case so far in 2013.

Goal number one from my list of National hopes was to track down a bunch of this year's base cards that I'd previously passed on earlier in the season.

We'll get to the 2013 stuff soon enough, but I couldn't help but show off a few great 2012 Panini Golden Age singles I scored on Saturday.

Moe and Curly were nowhere to be found, but I can now cross Larry off of my Three Stooges needs from the set. I guess the vendor figured Moe and Curly were worth more than a dime.

The joke's on him, though, because Larry might just be my favorite Stooge.

The Golden Age brand is quickly shaping up to be one of my favorites in today's hobby.

Even without the benefit of logos, Panini managed to produce some darn fine pieces in this set.

I landed a nice stack of these at the last show I attended back in March. My luck continued at the National, as I nabbed a couple dozen additional ones this past weekend, featuring both baseball and non-baseball subjects.

Surprisingly, the centerpiece of this page is my very first card of film star Charlie Chaplin.

Goal number two from my "prep work" post was to land some singles from this year's Panini Golden Age singles.

The only bad thing about the brand is the fact that it's a hobby-only release. I don't have a local card shop, which means that the chances of picking up packs of Golden Age is pretty much nonexistent for me.

Taking that into account, you can imagine how much I was banking on the National to fill my needs from this set. It was basically my only hope to find a bunch of 'em in one place.

So, you can imagine my excitement when I found a whole row of 2013 Panini Golden Age in one of the dime boxes I flipped through. (The same one that held the 2012 Golden Age singles I just featured, in fact.)

In keeping with the "wax is overrated" theme of this post, let's take a look at how good of a deal I got on these puppies. (Not taking inserts or anything else into account.)

I can't guarantee my math will be perfect throughout the course of this write-up, by the way.

2013 Panini Golden Age:

Singles found -- 38 total (all base)

Price -- 10 cents each

Total cost -- $3.80

A six-card hobby pack of Golden Age will set you back three bucks. Six of those would've landed me 36 cards from the set, which is about how many I found on Saturday.

Six 6-card packs at $3 each -- $18

Cash saved -- $14.20

In the case of my Golden Age finds, we have a three-way tie for first.

One of my hopes was to land at least a couple of the Bad News Bears cards from this year's checklist, in what may prove to be the single best idea any card company will have in 2013.

Well, my wish came true. I didn't land any of the bigger names like Kelly Leak or Amanda Wurlitzer, I did score the Toby Whitewood and Rudy Stein singles you see above.

Toby's dad, as you might remember, paid (er, I mean, convinced) Buttermaker to coach the Bears in the original film. Rudy was the first pitcher the team ever had. I'd say his ERA throughout the course of the movie hovered right around the 100.00 mark.

That 25-run first inning the Yankees put up sure didn't help.

This was the second Fred Merkle card I picked up on Saturday.

Before that, I'd owned a grand total of five different cards of his. Considering Merkle is one of my favorite figures from the annals of baseball history, that isn't a whole lot.

These Golden Age singles are beautiful in their own right. The design is extraordinary, and their selection of both baseball and non-baseball subjects this time around was second-to-none.

The addition of Fred Merkle was just icing on the cake.

2012/2013 Panini Prizm:

Singles found -- 33 total (all base)

Price -- 10 cents each

Total cost -- $3.30

I'd never bought a single pack of Prizm before Saturday. Considering its three-dollar, four-card pack structure, I never thought twice about passing on these things. Eight packs would've just about equaled my total from the National.

Eight 4-card packs at $3 each -- $24

Cash saved -- $20.70

While these are officially labeled as a 2012 set, they were released earlier this year. For that reason, I'm classifying them under the 2013 realm.

Unlike Panini's Golden Age release, I still don't much care for the Prizm brand. I don't find them flashy at all. Even so, I wouldn't dream of passing on cards of guys like Ichiro and Mr. October for just a dime.

Along with that, one card almost managed to save the Prizm brand as a whole for me.

I can't remember the last time we've seen a new Fernando Valenzuela card.

Despite my feelings for Panini Prizm, this was one of my personal favorite dime finds from the National.

I was starting to think card companies forgot "Fernandomania" ever happened.

2013 Bowman:

Singles found -- 55 total (42 base, 13 parallels)

Price -- 10 cents each

Total cost -- $5.50

I haven't sniffed a pack of Bowman in at least five years. These, more than probably any other set, are most likely to wind up in dime boxes within an extremely short period of time.

Seeing as how you'd have to bust at least 13 ten-card retail packs to pull the thirteen parallels I pulled, I could very well total up how much I'd save on 13 packs of Bowman. But, just taking the base amount of cards I found, let's do the math.

For the purposes of this, let's just say buying a half-pack was possible.

Five-and-a-half 10-card packs at $3 each -- $16.50

Cash saved -- $11

I'll admit, this year's Bowman is a little nicer than it has been in the past. And I do like the fact that Topps snapped authentic Spring Training shots of guys in their new 2013 duds (like Youkilis and Dickey), rather than going the photoshop route.

Now, why they didn't decide to do that for their Series 2 release this year is anyone's guess.

My favorite card from this year's Bowman wasn't much of a struggle.

The honor ostensibly goes to Mr. Clayton Kershaw.

That throwback Brooklyn Dodgers cap is awesome.

2013 Topps Heritage:

Singles found -- 14 total (all inserts)

Price -- 10 cents each

Total cost -- $1.40

Since my Heritage buys were exclusively inserts, I'm not going to do the math on how much I saved with these.

Coming from the same dime box that held the Golden Age, Prizm, and many of the Bowman cards I scored, crossing off a decent chunk of my Heritage insert needs a dime at a time was a pleasant surprise.

The total cost of these wouldn't even buy you half of a Heritage pack.

While I don't necessarily collect Felix Hernandez, this was my absolute favorite Heritage insert get of the National.

I am and always will be a sucker for cards that document historical moments from the game of baseball.

I'm not sure it gets more historic than a perfect game.

2013 Topps (Series 1 and 2):

Singles found -- 33 total (21 base, 12 inserts)

Price -- 

Base (21): 5 cents each
Making Their Mark/Chasing History inserts (8): 10 cents each
1972 Topps Minis (4): 25 cents each

Total cost -- $2.85

One of the first tables I found had a smattering of Topps singles available, marked with a little post it note in ascending order according to price. It started with five-cent singles and went up to about $15 autograph material. I never made it past the quarter mark.

Twelve-card retail packs of Series 2 go for $2 a piece. Considering the crap luck I've had with my pack busts lately, a table like this was an absolute godsend.

Three 12-card packs at $2 each -- $6

Cash saved -- $3.15

The five-cent singles proved to be the cheapest cards of the day. Everything else I found was at least a dime or more.

For just a nickel a piece, those Holland and Smyly "throwback" shots were an absolute steal.

This, though, was my favorite Flagship buy.

Also priced at just a nickel, Topps captured the aftermath of Homer Bailey's 2012 no-hitter. (He's since tossed another no-no.)

I nabbed the blue parallel of this one from my local flea market last month, but the fact that I hadn't yet tracked down the base version was gnawing at me inside.

Thankfully, I don't have to worry anymore.

2013 Topps Gypsy Queen:

Singles found -- 62 total (61 base, one insert)

Price -- 10 cents each

Total cost -- $6.20

The majority of these also came from the same dime box that held my aforementioned Bowman, Golden Age, etc. finds. As you might guess, it cemented itself as one of the better selections of the day.

These were probably the biggest bargain of all my 2013 gets. For three bucks, you'll get a whopping six cards from Gypsy Queen.

Ten 6-card packs at $3 each -- $30

Cash saved -- $23.80

Admittedly, Gypsy Queen is the brand I love to hate. A lot of other collectors seem to enjoy it, but I never saw its draw.

I will give the 2013 edition this, though. They did a heck of a job as far as player selection goes. Names like Bill Buckner and Vida Blue aren't common suspects in the cardboard industry these days.

Oh, and let's not forget...

...Jim Abbott.

Before Gypsy Queen came along, my newest most recent Abbott card came courtesy of the unlicensed 2010 Tristar Obak checklist. His last licensed card of mine, amazingly, was from the faraway 2005 Topps Rookie Cup release.

I still might not like you very much, Gypsy Queen, but you did good here.

Thanks for reintroducing Jim Abbott to the hobby.

So, totaling everything up (not counting my Heritage inserts), just how much did I save with my 2013 Golden Age, Prizm, Bowman, Topps, and Gypsy Queen dime box finds?

Singles bought, total -- 221

Total cost -- $21.65

Equivalent pack costs, total -- $94.50

Cash saved -- $72.85

Like I said, that's not even counting my 2012 Golden Age and '13 Heritage finds.

I knew I'd do well with my 2013 needs at the National.

I just didn't think I'd do this well.

Thanks to my precious dime boxes, I managed to save over 70 bucks' worth of packs from my local Target.

Not bad.

Not bad at all.


Mike said...

Well..."saved" is a relative term....more like "had more money to go wild at the national"!...Haha!!

Adam Kaningher said...

I love that CarGo '72 mini. Great shot of him.

Spiegel83 said...

Thanks for informing me that Fernando has a card in Prizm for me to chase down. Nice looking batch you picked up.