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September 11, 2019

Why are prices of 2018 Topps Update Baseball so high?

If you have been checking out baseball cards as of late for Ronald Acuna Jr., you would have noticed that prices for 2018 Topps Baseball Update Series are silly right now.

How silly?

If you check eBay, hobby boxes are selling for around $250, jumbos are well over $300. Blasters, you're looking at the $40-$50 range.

Why are prices of 2018 Topps Baseball Update so crazy right now.


2018 Topps Baseball Update has rookies cards of Ronald Acuna Jr., Gleyber Torres, Juan Soto just to name a few. Collectors are cleaning out retail locations of any of Update that pops up, making this product scarce.

Generally, Update will have a smaller print run than Series 1 or 2. So, any rookies in Update will have fewers cards than if they were in any of the previous flagship releaes, especially Series 1.

We saw this effect with Mike Trout when his RCs were in 2011 Topps Update. Now, we see it again with 2018 -- with the potential of it happening in 2019.

Acuna's base rookie card (US-250) is going for about $30 on the secondary market. Parallels, photo variations and exponentially more.

The Acuna photo variation (with him batting with his bat down) is going for $200-plus.

Torres base RC can be had for $5-$10.

Soto cards are looking at $10 or more. And parallels are getting Big Bucks! A rainbow foil variation recently sold for $300!

It's crazy to see these types of prices, but not surprising. Acuna is having a stellar career. He's coming off a Rookie of the Year award, and his stats are even better this year. He has a good following and there are many collectors who have added him to his PC.

It's possible to see someting similar happen with this year's Update, especially once the checklist comes out and we see the rookie cards included. (And, no, I don't have any inside information.)

September 2, 2019

Trading Cards: Where do you get your checklists?

We need checklists for our collections. It's the guiding post that let's us sort through the cards we are looking for. But one thing I've learned is there not one source to find every card you need. 

There are good sites that posts checklist, some some don't go back far enough, others have incomplete data or don't account for printing or odd errors.

As a player collector, this is really tough for me. Because as I attempt to log and sort my Derek Jeter Collection, I find there is a lot more than just looking up the cards, putting it in a Google Sheet and going from there.

Here's how I work: 
  • I look the card up in Beckett
  • If it's not listed there, I go to Trading Card DB
  • If it's still not clear, I go to eBay, COMC or PSA Registry
So far, this has worked because someone somewhere has the same card, but they're not all listed in Beckett. Butc it goes to show that no place is perfect.

After discussing checklists online a bit, it seems a lot of other collectors have similar issues. Cardboard Connection is good for set checklists, but the checklist there don't date back decades. Also, I'm not sure there is a good way to search if I am looking for a specific player or just a team.

Beckett is good because its database is huge. But, I still haven't found every card I have. I also have found incorrect listings. 

Trading Card DB is also a good option though it's not as seamless as Beckett. However, Trading Card DB has had cards listed that Beckett does not, especially some of the regional sets that don't pop up often.

BaseballCardPedia is another great resource. I often go there when looking for more information on sets, especially when cards were released, how they were released or different quirks about the set. They usually have solid information in that regard.

I did an informal poll Twitter.

There is no perfect site. But I have found that using all of them has gotten me pretty close. It take a lot of research (which I actually have fun with) and a lot of open browser tabs. 

What has been your favorite checklist site of choice? Or do you bounce around as well?

August 30, 2019

As a player collector, I have a refined focus on my collection

1992 to 2019. There have been thousands of Derek Jeter cards made.

I didn't neseccraily choose to be a player collector. When I started collecting cards, I found I was just drawn to certain players.

As a kid, I was taking out of all the Yankees cards that I found in packs. As an adult, I still aim for the Yankees, but only certain ones. My bggest of those collections is of Derek Jeter and it's really taking shape as I have finally begun to sort and log everything.

Even though "collecting Derek Jeter cards" is a pretty narrow focus, it's is even more refined than that.

And here's a little secret: It has made collecting more fun.

It's impossible to try and collect everything. That boat has sailed a long -- and I mean A LONG -- time ago. Collecting what you love is a good sentiment and I believe in it, but narrowing my focus and knowing what I want has brought me a lot of joy.

I'm not just collecting Jeter cards, there are parameters around what I'm looking for too. I had to put them there because the idea of trying to get every Jeter card is daunting.

For starters, collecting Derek Jeter cards is competitive. I'm not saying there is a competition. I have actually found other Jeter collectors to be incredibly helpful. But there are just a lot of them. So when it comes to low-numbered cards, it's impossible for all the collectors with Jeter PCs to get one of them.

Also, there are sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo many cards. Did I sooooooooooooooooooooooo many cards? Sorry, I meant, my goodness that is an obscene amount of cards. There have been nearly 18,000 different cards created of the former New York Yankees captain.

17,834 to be exact.

That's just impossible.

So here are Sooz's rules for collecting Derek Jeter cards:

  1. No hits: This mean no autographs, no relic cards, no manufactured relic cards. I'm looking for just base, parallels and inserts. Maybe an oddball here or there.
  2. No cards numbered 5 or less. I don't want my collection to be impossible to collect.
  3. No 1998-2000 Topps Tek, No Topps Moments and Milestones. Those runs are just silly and I honestly I can't be bothered with them. There may be inserts I throw on this list as I log cards.
That's not to say I won't grab those cards if I see them and they are reasonably priced, or have any in my collection. I consider them bonuses to what I am trying to collect for my PC. 

That will significantly bring down the number of cards I am looking for. However, as I still sort and log what I have, I still don't have the exact number of what I need. 

That will happen one day. Just not today. 

August 22, 2019

A Gift from a Baseball Fan

A week before the National I was at work and one of our patient's came in for his routine visit.  He was telling one of the other nurses a story about a friend of his who is the only player to ever get a hit for two teams in the same day.  So she tells him, "Oh you should talk to Marie she is a big sports fan and is going to some baseball thing next week."

He begins telling me about his friend, Joel Youngblood who comes up from Arizona I believe to visit him once a year and speak at the senior center.  It is one of the highlights of the patient's year, he loves spending time with him and talking sports.  So he tells me that he is going to bring me something next time he comes in for his appointment, doesn't mention what.  Now as nurses we all have favorite patients and this guy has always been one of mine as he reminds me of my grandfather. War Veteran, little old man, cute as a button and likes telling jokes and talking with everyone.

I get back from the National, patient comes in and says did you get what I left you?  I said I think one of the other nurses has it.  He tell me he brought me a baseball card!  He went on to say, I promised I'd bring you something and I didn't forget.  It was even in a penny sleeve and top loader!

It's nice to be in an environment out of the chaos of the hospital now and able to enjoy getting to know (some) people on a more personal level.  I thought this was a pretty cool story of how I acquired the card and I never had heard of this player before this whole conversation.

August 18, 2019

The East Coast National has something for every type of collector

It's always funny to me the August White Plains card shows is dubbed the East Coast National. The word national kind of throws it off when it's just on the East Coast.

I always enjoy this show though -- along with the January one -- because it's one of the biggest ones on the calendar in the NY area. But it's difficult to get into it especially if you just came back from the actual National.

The difference for me was that I worked the National Sports Collections Convention and didn't have as much time as I would have liked to walk around. Thankfully, Marie did some scouting and found some tables with Derek Jeter cards for sale. I hopped over when I got a break.

Since coming back from the NSCC, I have a renewed sense of updating my Jeter Collection. I really don't know what I have anymore. When people ask how many I have, I say over 3,000 different because it's true, but I have no clue of the exact number.

I don't know what I need anymore and I certainly don't even know what I have.

So before heading out to the East Coast "National," I did my best in logging the cards I have. This way, to limit the amount of double I would buy.

While I have only gotten through roughly half -- I've sorted about 1,500 cards, so far -- I'm still no where near where I need to be. But it was still so helpful in having that list. Because one thing I also realized while logging the cards I have is that I'm missing so many inexpensive cards because I assumed I had them.

I managed to get 30 Jeter cards while at the White Plains Show. I know that at least one is double though because I couldn't find it in my shet while I was looking. The moment I got home -- boom! -- there it was.

Isn't that always the case.

As always, the show is filled with vintage cards. Beckett, PSA and SGC were all there. As well as auction houses looking for items.

It's a good show to go to every six months or so because the dealers don't rotate much. Generally, it's the same people every time and with a White Plains shows every 2-3 months, you're looking at the same cards over and over.

And it's not cheap to get in. The biggest sticking point is the convention parking lot is $15 (there are other places to park nearby), and $10 just to get inside. I know the convention center and the promoter need to make money, the promoter should be getting the biggest chunk out of the autograph tickets.

You're already down $25 before you've bought anything!

I don't have time to search for street parking because I have a 3-year-old in tow. We started bringing him to card shows in hopes he will enjoy cards too.

He does like Pokemon though. So he was catching Pokemon with his new ball while Mommy was looking through a box of Jeter cards. It's a good thing he's cute because the dealers were having fun with him and didn't mind the ball rolling into their area too much.

By the way, how awesome is this packaging? (It wasn't dented when we bought it)

All in all, it's a solid show. I wish the amenities were a bit cheaper and there were slightly more modern cards. But it's a good mix with a little something for everyone.

Even the Jeter collector.

August 6, 2018

The 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention

Welcome old friends.  I thought i would honor the poll I ran on Twitter asking how you guys wanted to see my haul revealed.  The people have spoken.

I had a ridiculous run of fun things happen at the National aside from buying cards and getting cards from fellow collectors and bloggers.  I will start with that since it's about doing cool things with the hobby aside from spending a paycheck.

Sometimes you meet the right people out at a bar on a Thursday night and end up getting snuck into the autograph pavilion to meet one of your all-time favorites.

Other times you pay $70 to meet your idol who turns out to be all you could have hoped for in a short conversation of which I told him he was always my favorite player as a kid even though all my friends gave me hell for liking a Red Sox guy.  Also told him that was one of my favorite trades as a kid and still is to this day.

I saw a new stadium, Progressive Field and love that so much.  We sat in row two behind the dugout, so close to Albert and the Angels.  Best seats I have had to a baseball game in years.  Twas awesome.

Crossed many things off the Bucket List, including on non-hobby related item, The Christmas Story House and museum.  Well worth $11.  Thanks to Suzy for coming along and being my photographer.

Now my time at the National was spent walking around, chatting with old friends, meeting some new ones and of course searching for things to add to my 401K, I mean PC.  Not pictured are 164 Wade Boggs cards I picked up from a dude selling them at 100 for $10, same dude also had Jeter cards 15 for $10 of which I bought 30 including 6 of the same card. We will go in no particular order, I am not going through and labeling everything because we all know what is what.

The next four are all Jumbo cards.

In terms of city, Cleveland is not my favorite host.  IX Center is in the middle of no where, only food choices while at the show are in the convention center, and the food is TERRIBLE.  You can either Uber to other places or take shuttle back to hotel unless you rent a car.  I'm excited to go back to Chicago next year.  Gibsons, pizza, and ability to leave the convention center and walk to hotel, shopping and food/bars.

Overall, this is one of my favorite trips and how could it not be?

Any cool stories from your trip this year?  Let us know.  Any cool cards?  Also interested.

February 3, 2018

Heading to Toys R Us for purple parallels

Once upon a time I had to make excuses to go to Toys R Us. These days, I'm hit up the combo Toys R Us/Babies R Us more often than I would like to admit. But having a baby is ever so convienant for "needing" a TRU run.

In this case, there was something we actually needed. So we took the long way around the store to pass the trading card kiosk. 2018 Topps Baseball Series 1 packs were in stock. Each of $3.49 blister packs comes with one pack and two exclusive Purple parallel cards - yep, that means the only place to get a Purple parallel is at Toys R Us (when not using an intermediary like EBay).

I generally like these parallels. Part of the appeal of the Purple parallels is knowing that you can't get them in any other type of packs. They are specific to the Toys R Us blister packs.

I picked up three (though only two are shown). The six purple cards were:

- Wil Myers
- Scott Feldman
- CC Sabathia
- Matt Barnes
- Texas Rangers team card (now in my hsband's possession)
- Houston Astros combo card

The Purple parallels do carry a small premium on the secondary market. Although there is no numbering on the cards, they tend to be a little tougher to get for some collectors since they are only found at TRU, which not everyone has access to.

Currently, the lower-end players are selling for $5-$6 while more popular players and rookies are closer to $20.

An Amed Rosario rookie sold for $28.

The asking price for Rhys Hoskins right now is pretty steep.

These prices will likely come down a bit as more of them enter the market, but these parallels always seem to do well in holding value.

December 9, 2017

Box break: 2017 Topps Gallery Baseball

I have cards from so many different products over the last 25 or so years because that’s how far back my Derek Jeter collection goes.

When Topps released Gallery in Walmart this year, after Gallery had a lengthy absence, I went back through my collection to see what previous Topps Gallery cards I owned. I had a few and not all of them actually drawn it seems. Some look as though they may have had an artistic effect on them.

2017 Topps Gallery Baseball

This’s year version of Topps Gallery is all drawn, and it includes two different Jeter cards.

His base card is one the short prints (cards 151-200 in the base cards are short prints). And it’s one of the better sketches I’ve seen of Jeter. Sometimes, he hasn’t been drawn very well.

 He also has a Masterpieces insert, which was an amazing piece of artwork.

While I bought a collector’s box and two loose fat packs of Topps Gallery, I still had to get my Jeter cards on eBay. I love the way these cards turned out. I have the base of both (the SP only has a base version), but I’m still on the hunt for the parallels for the Masterpieces cards.

My collector’s box of Topps Gallery gave me a good assortment of cards and parallels. Here’s a look at some of the cards that I pulled from 2017 Topps Gallery Baseball.

Base Cards of select rookies

Base parallels (blue is my favorite)

Canvas Parallels (Fat-Pack Only)

Inserts - Masterpiece and Hall of Fame

Insert - Heritage (my favorite insert)

Autographs (2 per collector box)

November 28, 2017

#CardChat: A discussion on trading card variations

Every week, I hold a Twitter chat on Mondays at 7 p.m. ET.

We have a new topic on trading cards. This week, we discussed variations on cards. It was a broad topic so it could mean photo variations, printing variations, even color parallels. Here's a look at some of the highlights from this week's #CardChat.