Friday, May 24, 2024


I remember a time when trade packages flowed in my mailbox like wine.

Cards still arrive at Dime Box HQ pretty often these days, but they're mostly Sportlots orders and other miscellaneous purchases. And while buying specific cards is fun, I do often miss the thrill of seeing a package from a fellow blogger and not knowing what awaits. So much of my collection is in debt to those surprises.

It makes sense that a dip in posting would mean a similar scaling back of trade packages - but to my delight I still have a good amount of people who generously send me stuff despite my blogging darkness. And while I try to post them in a (somewhat) timely manner, I still find myself woefully behind in gratitude.

Greg from the illustrious Night Owl Cards sent me a package last year that I hadn't gotten around to posting about till now (sorry!) - a card as cool as this Jackie Robinson has no business sitting in a trade folder for that long.

Greg is always good at parsing through my want lists, and he came up with a few this time around as well.

(Seems like just yesterday I was watching Stephen Strasburg's debut, and now he's completely out of baseball.)

I believe I specifically requested that Baseball Cards Magazine Hershiser from Greg (love, love, love magazine-issued cards!).

I saw that 2023 Platinum Anniversary is out now (here in May of 2024) - I definitely support the set existing, if for no other reason that it gives us shiny cards of dudes like Derrek Lee that don't get many cards these days.

A reader named Alex who's no stranger to massive acts of generosity asked me about a Lance Johnson stadium issue I unearthed at the National last year.

I knew Alex was a big Lance collector, and agreed to send him the said stadium issue without a second thought, despite the fact that Alex promised me "something nice" in return. 

Little did I know that "something" would turn out to be a minor league card signed by LIMA TIME himself(!!!).

Dennis from Too Many Verlanders offered up a surplus of Swell cards he had available, and I took him up on that because I've found that, despite what I'd previously believed, I don't have everything I need from these sets.

A fair amount of the cards Dennis sent were indeed dupes, but a healthy portion were glorious needs like that Andre Thornton (where else are you gonna find guys like Thornton and Honus Wagner in the same set?).

Dennis was nice enough to throw a few extras in with the swell Swells, including new gets for a couple of my bigger player collections and some fun Cubs content which is always appreciated around here.

Laurens of Card Buzz surprised me with a two-card PWE recently...both of which were needs!

First up was this otherwise innocuous Glenallen Hill - a former "Dime Box Dozen" need due to the fact that Hill played all of a half-season with the Mariners and I had the Gold Medallion parallel of it without the base card (I can't emphasize enough how much that bugs me).

Better yet, an Anthony Rizzo relic came along for the ride as well!

I've probably said this before, but despite my dime-box leanings I still welcome autographs/jersey cards - although these days I treat them just like any other insert.

I couldn't tell you how long I've been sending cards back and forth with Jim (aka gcrl) of cards as i see them - but I do know he's one of my oldest and best trading partners.

I also don't keep stats on "Dime Box Dozen" needs, but I feel certain in saying that Jim has taken down more of them than any other blogger - a streak that continued with this painfully common '95 Topps card I somehow still needed of Obscure Favorite Danny Bautista.

It's hard to have a handle on everything I collect - heck, it's a challenge for me to define it a lot of the time - but Jim always seems to know exactly the right mix of stuff to send me.

Along with Darryl Kiles and broken bats came a couple 2023 A&G needs, a set I was admittedly kinda meh about at first but have really come around on lately.

More mini-collection hits - including a parallel of one of the more adorable cards ever made with that Shawon Dunston - and a shiny Tim Anderson (still weird to me that he's not on the White Sox anymore).

I feel like I have to whisper whenever I put an overproduction-era card on my "Dime Box Dozen" list...psst, hey, does anyone have an '89 UD Paul Molitor?

I've been collecting baseball cards for two decades. I shouldn't need anymore so-called "junk wax" at this point, right? Wrong. Jim helped me correct a glaring flaw this time, but I can guarantee you it won't be the last wait, how do I not already have THAT? moment. As is collecting.

There's no excuse for taking seven months to post a trade package, but please don't mistake that for a lack of appreciation - because where else am I gonna find people willing to dig through '89 Upper Deck dupes for me?

Friday, May 10, 2024

The elephant in the room on COMC

I think it's time I addressed the somewhat uncomfortable elephant in the room with COMC: their shipping times have gotten a bit ridiculous.

I placed the order I'm about to showcase here back in January - it finally wound up on my doorstep a few weeks ago. This after the shipping date was pushed back three different times in the process. And the only apology from COMC was a $5 shipping voucher to be used towards my next order.

I don't mean to sound selfish or impatient here - my cards will come when they come, it's really not that important in the grand scheme of things. And I'm not saying we should boycott COMC (I've since placed another order that, with any luck, will arrive sometime this summer). But taking three months to fill an order is a bit much. All I know is that if it routinely took that long to fill an order at my job, we wouldn't get much business.

I get that things are pretty hectic in the card-buying world right now. It makes sense that shipping would take longer. But in that case, one should, I don't know, hire more people. Maybe COMC is already doing this. But either way you shouldn't sell the cards if you can't keep up with the demand.

It doesn't seem like too much to ask.

But that's enough whining from this dime box collector, because the good news is that I did eventually receive this order, and it packed the usual fun odds and ends!

In addition to the hallowed Trevor Hoffman card at the top of this post - which hits a recent obsession of seeing big names at wrong positions - came a healthy slew of other minor league dudes I collect (long live Boof Bonser!).

You really can't go wrong with minis because there's so many different incarnations of 'em out there.

In this scan alone, you've got stadium giveaways, stained Hostess, National Chicle "cards that never were" (that unnamed Pirate is Waite Hoyt), and cards like that Shakey's George Sisler that were given out at pizza joints!

I've come to enjoy grabbing these recent T206 singles on the cheap because a lot of them feature guys you don't see in many modern sets, and/or a lot of legends in rarely-seen uniforms.

(Give me all the Randy Johnson Expos cards!)

A few more contemporary COMC pickups here - I needed to own that Betts the minute after I saw it on Night Owl's blog a while back.

It also saddens me that Jose Quintana's only Cardinals card came in the online-only Topps Living Set, but the good news here is that someone took pity on me and listed a cheap copy right before I placed this order.

As usual, a few new scores for the bigger player collections - I played Backyard Baseball to death as a kid, so that particularly cool Tony Gwynn earns bonus nostalgia points.

I'll never turn down new cards of the Ted Williamses and Cal Ripken Jrs. of the cardboard world, but if I'm being honest I get way more excitement out of landing new Luis Tiants and Joe Pepitones for my binders.

Neat bonus here is that Colorado Silver Bullets Phil Niekro - a lesser-known fact about "Knucksie" is that he was the manager of the first professional all-female professional baseball team.

Horizontal heroes!

I seem to say it in every COMC post, but it always floors me how cheap Topps Now cards can get (I paid a hair under $3 for that excellent Elly De La Cruz).

A couple stars from across the Pacific.

I went on a box-bottom binge on COMC one afternoon, and my collection is the better for it because these will always rule.

Maybe one day I'll be able to point to a specific reason why I especially love cards that were cut from other objects so much - because right now I really can't give you a straight answer.

Sometimes I'll be assembling a post like this for the blog and a scan will leave me confused as to exactly how I found such a random mix of cards buried deep within the COMC archives.

I have absolutely no idea, for example, what led me to discover that Terrence Long card, but I'm sure glad I did since that's a particularly shiny mid '90s insert set I'd never seen before.

Whether consciously or not, it does seem like legends always make up the bulk of my COMC orders.

Cards from the early Topps "legend variation" days can get insanely pricey (2009 was the first year they appeared), so nabbing that neat Tris Speaker for $5 was a steal.

More legends!

I've been after that TCMA Dizzy Dean for a while - Ol' Diz has painfully few Cub cards - and I believe that Nolan Ryan is the last '80s Kellogg's card I needed (the groovy Astros unis go well with the '81 Kellogg's design).

I did manage to scoop up a few vintage goodies this time around, including a very well-loved Jim Perry from the tough '61 Topps high-number series.

I'm also not sure how that '66 Bob Gibson has eluded me all these years - but alas, like my last COMC order, a vintage Gibson has to play second fiddle.

That's because the Hammer himself made an appearance this time around!

I don't know if Hank Aaron has any cards that could be described as "easy," but this is one of the more attainable ones out there (not a high-number, and not a particularly early card). I'd simply never found a copy that fit within the range of what I wanted to pay until now. It's a mighty piece of cardboard I'm thrilled to finally own.

Of course, I'd prefer not to wait months and months for my COMC orders to show up on my doorstep, but all things considered there's not really anything else like it on the internet - where else am I gonna find a '67 Hank Aaron and a bowling Mookie Betts in the same stack of cards?