I got a package in the mail yesterday.
This isn't normally a rare occurrence, but, for whatever reason, it's kinda felt like that this year. The package came from Bob, a reader and a recent friend of the blog who's generously decided to shovel large quantities of fantastic cards on me -- and it was the first cardsphere mailer I'd received in over three weeks.
The last thing I want is for this to come off as a whiny Why isn't anyone sending ME cards? kind of thing, because I certainly don't mean it that way -- it's more of an observation that, yes, trading seems to be a shadow of what it once was around here.
It could well be all in my imagination, but the days of seeing nothing but junk mail and bills in my mailbox seem to be multiplying as of late.
I suppose I'm as guilty as anyone else of scaling back a bit with trading. I'm not sure if it's a conscious decision. I never said to myself I'm gonna trade less this year, but facts are facts: mailing packages isn't cheap (pushing $5 for a basic-sized mailer) and my card funds are a bit lower now than they've been in the past.
The expense of trading is no secret: so in times like these, it helps to not only remember the selfish joy of seeing a bright yellow package waiting for me, but also the thrill I get out of putting a mailer together for someone else, mixing and matching that stack of cardboard you hope hits home.
Bob's been so prolific with his package crafting that I feel bad: the sheer amount and quality of stuff he's sent me woefully outweighs what I've offered in return.
He even did the impossible by actually finding a 1988 Donruss card I needed(?!?!?!?!?!) with that Ken Williams, a broken bat card I've either never seen or never noticed -- probably the latter since, like all other collectors, I have about 8,452 singles from '88 Donruss strewn around my house.
Part of the reason I'm so excited for the card show I'm planning on attending next week is that it'll (hopefully) give me a chance to knock out some of the reams of 2019 singles I still need.
In the past, I'd make quite a few trades for whatever I needed from the newest stuff (and find a good home for my extras from said sets) -- not so much anymore. My 2019 want lists remain bloated and in need of some quality dime box time.
Big League is gonna be a prime suspect at the show (there's a whole lot of excellent base cards I still woefully need), but Bob supplied a couple inserts for the cause here including a rare dual mini-collection hit with that Yelich.
Ironically, the cards I'm showing in this post about the demise of trading came from about a half-dozen different packages I've received from Bob over the past couple months.
I mainly cataloged my mini-collections for my own reference, but I'm pretty sure Bob checks my lists too because almost all the themed cardboard he sent was gloriously new -- for that, I'm eternally grateful.
But Bob's not all about the mini-collection stuff: here's a fine smattering of randoms, all fantastic in their own individual way.
Mini-collection hits are always welcome, but it's this kind of odd hodgepodge that really makes me miss the glory days of trading.
Obscure oddballs, hooray!
Ted Williams cards (especially the inserts) are always sure to win my heart, as is anything for my nascent Eloy Jimenez collection.
One of the packages Bob sent contained an absolute obliteration of 2017-18 Topps insert needs -- a welcome sight because I get a weird thrill out of seeing my want lists shrink with the deletion of each passing number.
More mini-collection hits, including another piece from Kirt Manwaring's infinite catalog of plays at the plate.
Mini-collections, horizontal edition.
Unthemed, but still excellent: I'm not sure how I'd never seen the Seanez before, one of the few cards I know of that features visible fowl in the background.
Here's another famous card I'm not sure how I didn't already have: note the rookie-year Ryne Sandberg cameo.
In a weird twist of fate, that Miguel Batista -- the silver parallel of a card that'd been on my Dime Box Dozen list for almost a year -- arrived from Bob the same day I got the base version of it from Tom.
Also, I've never heard of Micah Bowie (a Cub for all of 11 games in 1999), but that's one of the better Wrigley Field cards I've seen.
Two more Dime Box Dozens from Bob, both of which were of the annoying "Have Parallel, Need Base Card" variety.
Let's keep the mini-collection train going.
Another insert-themed assault -- that Koufax is particularly nice because unlike his '55 rookie, it's not one you see reprinted to death.
But lo and behold, along comes Bob with this coveted Harold Baines, only the second card I've seen of the new HOFer during his blink-and-you'll-miss-it 28 games a Cleveland Indian and one I didn't even know about until very recently. At its pinnacle, trading makes the impossible seem possible. I don't know if there's any better way to illustrate that than the fact that people like Bob are around to send me obscure Pacific singles of obscure, forgotten stints, out of the blue, just like that, in the magic that is mail. I miss that feeling.
So...anyone wanna trade?