Sunday, December 31, 2017

Year of the Trade/ Trade of the Year

As we approach the end of yet another calendar year, I thought the time would be right to take a look at this past year. As has been the case in the past, my collection took a turn in what it looks like. An emphasis on my complete run of Topps flagship sets dating back to 1977 was replaced by time, energy and money being spent on two new all-time roster projects I began a few months ago. New player collections were added to the old, and I continued the march towards completing the Mariners and Seahawks Topps team sets. While there were some disappointments in some of the 2017 products, I've tried to maintain a positive outlook on the hobby. Things change- culture, tastes, what's the acceptable norm- and I can't expect the hobby to remain as it was in the 70s, 80s or even the 90s.

Perhaps the greatest thing to watch take place in the card collecting world this year was the renewed interest in the hobby. And while many collectors bitched about Topps' emphasis on Aaron Judge and, to a lesser degree, Cody Bellinger, the two were a boon to distributors, hobby shops and retail outlets that carried baseball products. Personally, I don't mind rookie cards- in fact, it's one of the parts I enjoy about collecting Topps' flagship sets- and I don't look to pick up the legion of Judge cards, so why should I care? I'm excited to see new collectors coming into the hobby, especially if those newer ones are kids. Let's face it: those of us who make up the larger percentage of collectors aren't getting any younger and the hobby will die without new blood.

Most Unique Piece Added to My Collection

USS Mariner Stadium Giveaway

Although I wasn't able to attend the game where the USS Mariner was issued as an SGA (Stadium Give Away), I was able to secure one, thanks to the magic of the internet (and eBay). As you can "sea", the boat found a home on a bookshelf- right in front of a King-sized Felix card. 

Perhaps my favorite aspect of collecting this past year was the number of cards I was able to accumulate through trades. While I have been involved in trading through the blog over the years, it had always been at a minimal- and often involved "blind trading." This type of activity can be fun- kind of like Christmas, in not knowing what is included in the package- but often results in doubles or receiving cards I don't really want or need. I told myself early in the year that I would not be actively seeking out such trades anymore, resulting in few trades through the first three-quarters of 2017. But by November I decided to give it a shot over the website, Trading Card Database. This type of trading makes much more sense in that I can match up exactly what I'm wanting to add to my collection, all the while dumping stuff that I don't have a need for- and it's worked like a charm. In two months I have been involved in more trades than I had been the past two or three years, combined. 

My biggest- and best- trade of the year was with a user by the name of 49ants. This deal netted me a total of 50 cards for my collection and only cost me the shipping ($2.61, plus about two dozen cards. At a time where I am looking to spend less out of pocket money on the hobby, this is truly a goldmine for acquiring new cards for the collection. And I can only hope that there will be more like it in 2018.

Let's take a look at the cards I picked up in this transaction.

Starting a new player collection resulted in a change of heart regarding colored parallels. I still think there are way too many being done, but they do add something to what can be a very 'vanilla' looking set. One thing I would like to see Topps incorporate: spread the colors over different brands. For instance- Flagship would get Red (Target) and Blue (Wal-Mart); Opening Day would get purple (Toys R Us exclusive); Stadium Club would get Rainbow Foil; Chrome- Orange and green. Or something similar. Won't happen, but it's what I would like to see.

One of the difficult things about collecting a player- especially one who in their prime was a superstar- is you start seeing fewer inserts as they age. At one time, you could almost bet that the King could be found in most sets. Now... not so much. 

Moving away from insert sets and back to parallels... one set that was designed with parallels in mind was 2015 Topps and Opening Day. That set featured probably my favorite look for the various colors- including this O.D. Felix. Blue border that fades into the greens, not to mention the foil, and this is one beautiful card.

Let's move from the diamond and to the gridiron.

2017 saw a very big increase in the number of Cortez Kennedy cards, many of which came via TCDB trades. In this particular trade, I picked up 11 new cards of the late Hall of Famer. Despite being a defensive player, 'Tez isn't lacking for cards and most are very affordable. It's nice to be able to collect a Hall of Fame player and not have to worry about breaking the bank.

This year saw a couple of new projects in my collection- one of which is my attempt to collect one card of every player to have suited up and played in at least one game for the Seattle Seahawks. Each player's card must show them as a Seahawk (there are also other restrictions) and my desire is to see as many different sets represented. One card was added from this trade, former linebacker Tyrone Stowe. 

As it was in 2016, this past year just wasn't the same without Topps football. So desperate was I for new NFL products from the card manufacturer, that I contemplated downloading the Topps Huddle app and collect digital cards. Instead, I have continued adding Topps cards for my Seahawks team sets. One of these days this project will come to a completion and then what? Still haven't figured that out. The team set for the past two seasons has been Donruss (Score has also been contemplated) and that will continue to be the case, I guess.

One of the more difficult players whose cards I've tried to chase is another Seahawk and HOFer, Walter Jones. One card found its way to me in this mega-trade and, while one of the easier Jones cards to find, it is much appreciated and much needed. 

And there were plenty of more Cortez Kennedy cards... including a Gold Medallion from Fleer Ultra.

More Felix inserts and parallels... and even a relic card.

Closing out the trade was this SP Cortez.

Most Desired Card from 2017 That I Have Yet to Secure: (tie)

Most of you are aware of the National Baseball Card Day cards that were available in Hobby Shops on August 12th, but did you know that Major League  teams, in conjunction with Topps, also did card giveaways for NBCD? These Stadium Giveaways were done as team sets, with each team set including 10 cards- one of which was a retired legend. The only exception to this list was the Phillies, who included 20 cards. Anyway, the Mariners team set appeared on eBay twice (that I've seen), with the asking price being right around 50 bucks. The one card that I must have is #SEA6, Felix Hernandez. I'm still holding out hope of acquiring one someday.

A second card that has eluded me (due to cost) is the SSP of Felix from Topps flagship. Asking price on eBay is currently $99 OBO. I could offer $25, but don't want to insult the seller. Guess I'll keep on dreaming.

Hopefully you've had a good year in the hobby and I'm hoping that your 2018 will be just as enjoyable. As always, thanks for those who take to time to read this little blog- your readership is much appreciated!


  1. Love them Hawks! Happy New Year!

    P.S. SSP or not... the guy would be nuts to not take your $25 offer. I say throw it out there and see if he accepts.

    1. I guess you're right... never know unless I try, right?