This is often the time of year when my collection (and, by nature, my blogging) falls into the doldrums.
I haven't had a ton of time to spend with my cards lately, and since we're in the winter months, there haven't been any new releases here to get me running out to Target. I'm not all about the latest-and-greatest stuff, but new packs on the shelves do lend a nice flow to the collecting season. I feel a bit untethered without them.
Thankfully, over the last couple years, I've stumbled upon an antidote to the winter doldrums: COMC!
I became a heartless consumer and actually took advantage of COMC's Black Friday free-shipping promotion to finally acquire a cart of cards that'd been building for months (the fact that I'm just posting them now should tell you how behind I am on my blogging).
One reason I love COMC is that it's like a card show, if that card show lasted for half-hours here and there over long stretches of time and had stuff you've never seen at an actual card show. Stuff like BBM Masanori Murakamis (the first-ever Japanese player to play in the US of A), SI for Kids singles that just missed your youth, and...bubble refractors!
Those are a million times better than anything I'd ever find on the shelves of my local Target, I know.
There aren't any dime boxes on COMC, but that doesn't mean I can't still go mini-collection hunting.
A couple things I acquired during some of the many rabbit holes I fell through on COMC: Jim Abbott signing autographs and a Chrome photo-variation of Thor riding the Phillie Phanatic's ATV, for some reason.
In terms of quantity, my latest COMC order revolved around all the online-only sets Topps has put out in recent years, like this quartet of Topps On Demands.
I'd never fork over the money to actually buy them from Topps, and most of 'em aren't even all that good-looking (save that fantastic B&W Rizzo), but they're hard to refuse at pennies on the dollar.
Now these, on the other hand, are just fantastic -- an On Demand take on the '78 design without borders.
The other main online-only brand out there these days is Topps Throwback Thursday, and I went a little nuts with those this time around.
These are eons better than the On Demands because all of them riff on past Topps designs (and not just baseball ones!). The sets are a tad rich for my blood, but who needs them when you can just wait for the singles to pop up on COMC? With the exception of the Ichiro in the center (which I think was like $1.15 or something), none of these cost more than a dollar.
A lot of them were as low as 50-60 cents a piece during the Black Friday markdowns, which sure beats getting trampled at your local big box store like most Black Fridays.
Oddballs are king on COMC -- where else am I gonna find a Smokey the Bear card of Hughie Jennings? or a Shakey's Pizza-issued Three Finger Brown?
Here's a few more modern names of the oddball variety, including my first Granny Goose single (Norris) and an always-welcome sight of Goose Gossage as an Oakland A -- though it's too bad Goose didn't get a Granny Goose card.
Ah, it feels so good to finally have these two long-desired needs in my collection -- a pair of zero-year rookies of dudes I collect!
Turner was dealt to Baltimore in a package for Ramon Hernandez before ever playing for the Reds, and Hendricks came to the hometown Cubs in the Ryan Dempster deal without having played for the Rangers.
COMC's pricing can be weird sometimes -- a lot of photo-variations are cheaper than the standard base cards, which was the case with these four (not that I'm complaining about it).
A couple more Flagship variations, this time of the legend variety -- the Robinson is especially sweet since you don't see many cards of him with the Angels.
I didn't specifically try to buy only Bert Blyleven and Jimmie Foxx diamonds/liquorfractors, but it just so happened to work out that these were the cheapest of their kind at any given time during four of my many prowls through the COMC inventory.
Vintage played a bigger role in this COMC order, mostly because a lot of the ones I saw were heavily marked down as per Black Friday.
I mean, you can't seriously expect me to pass up a Post Rocky Colavito for less than a pack of Topps Flagship, can you?
I always check for cheap Nu-Scoops whenever I find myself on COMC, and I'm convinced that my subconscious is building this set without my actual self knowing about it.
A couple SSPCs, including a wonderful shot of Lou Piniella blowing a bubble from the scarcer '75 SSPC set.
I've noticed that the Kellogg's inventory on COMC doesn't turn over very often -- I've sifted through the same ones dozens of times over by now.
But every once in a while, you might just stumble upon a 3-D deal that makes those hours of searching through same card after same card worth it, as was the case with this glorious lot.
I don't often buy a ton of standard Topps vintage on COMC because it's hard finding ones I need at prices I like.
But again, persistence does pay off -- these two combined cost less than a pack of Gypsy Queen, and the well-loved Bench put a longtime "Keep Dreaming" need to bed.
And finally, here's the biggie -- a '63 Topps Sandy Koufax!
My target card at last month's show was the very card you see here: Koufax's best Topps single, in my opinion. Trouble was, almost all the copies I saw were in the $50-60 range, which was a bit more than I wanted to pay. My dad saw one for $30 that was gone by the time I decided I wanted to buy it -- thus I walked away from the card show without that treasured '63 Koufax in my pocket.
Guess you can call it a blessing in disguise, because this battered copy on COMC set me back all of $13 just days after the show. I couldn't click BUY NOW fast enough. It's the most expensive card I've bought on COMC to date, but still a small price to pay for such greatness -- now my oldest and very favorite Sandy Koufax.
Consider the doldrums properly thwacked.