Friday, November 29, 2013

2013 Mike Schmidt cards - Part 2

As promised, here are the other 10 Mike Schmidt cards I acquired this year. There are some more higher end cards included here.

Topps Archives #28
I pulled this from a blaster box at $0.36 per card.

Topps Archives Mini Tall Boys #MT-MS
I pulled one of these from the blaster I bought but had to go out on eBay for the Schmidt, $3.65.

Topps Allen and Ginter #143
I decided not to buy a hobby box of Allen and Ginter this year and therefore didn't get many Phillies cards from the set. I managed to find the entire 15-card Phillies sub-set on eBay at $0.75 each.

Topps Allen and Ginter Across The Years
This was included with the purchase above. I like this insert.

Topps Allen & Ginter Mini A and G Back
I had a post about this the other day. I'm showing it again for completeness sake.  In case you missed that post, this was $1.01 on eBay.

Topps Gypsy Queen Mini #7
I only bought a few blasters of this product. The hobby boxes featured short-print variations of some of the cards. This is one of the short-prints. Still, only $1.45 on eBay.

Topps Tribute Commemorative Cuts Relics Blue
This is a high-end product I don't bother with, except to acquire a few Phillies from it. There are a number of color variations of this card. This is numbered 2 of 50. Mike Schmidt is about the only player I'm willing to spend $13.99 for a card. A dual relic with stripes, pretty sweet.

Topps Triple Threads Amethyst #77
Another product I generally avoid. The seller called this purple but calls it Amethyst, my wife's birth stone. Numbered 299/650. $4.75 on eBay.

Upper Deck Goodwin Champions #142
Goodwin Champions is sort of a guilty pleasure for me and I usually buy a couple of blasters each year. I pulled this from one of the blasters. At $0.79/card, these are not cheap.

Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Mini Green #142
$2.10 on eBay.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

2013 Mike Schmidt Cards - Part 1

It's well known that Mike Schmidt is my favorite baseball player of all time. So it should be no surprise that I chase Mike Schmidt cards every year. According to, there were 266 Mike Schmidt cards (including parallels) issued this year. That's a bit down from the 284 issued in 2012. I only got 20 of them this year so I'm falling further and further behind every year.

Here's ten of them. I'll post the other ten later in the week.

Hometown Heroes #145
I only bought a few packs of this product. I wish I had bought more. I got the Schmidt on eBay for $2.98. I like Panini's approach here, to just Photoshop out the logos instead of trying to find weird poses.

Panini Golden Age #135
I bought a pack of this product at a card show and liked it enough that I bought a hobby box on eBay. In fact I liked it so much I went and bought a hobby box of the 2012 product as well. This came from the 2013 box at $0.39 each.

Panini USA Baseball Champions #34
My least favorite of the Panini product this year. I had bought 6 packs of this. This one I got on eBay for $2.99

Topps Chasing History Silver #40
I essentially got this card for free. An eBay seller threw it in with an auction I won from him. Good deal.

Topps Chasing History Gold Holographic Foil #40
There are 4 versions of these Chasing History cards. I pulled this one from a rack pack for $0.15 each. You know just by looking at it that this card is begging for a relic.

Topps Chasing History Relics
And here it is. $6.75 on eBay.

Topps Cut to the Chase #19
I pulled a couple of these from packs but had to go out on eBay for this at $3.98. Nice looking die-cut card.

Topps The Greats #4
Another insert to the Topps base set. Another $3.99 on eBay. I didn't pull any cards from this insert set.

Topps Manufactured Patch Card #17
I'm not a big fan of Topps Manufactured Patch cards but I'm always happy to get one featuring a Phillie. These are generally available one per blaster box. I kind of like this idea, a patch of an actual player card, in this case, Schmidt's 1974 Topps card. I paid $8.06 in eBay for this one.

Topps Update 1971 Mini #29
The regular Topps set featured minis based on their 1972 set. For the Update set, they chose to go with the 1971 set. Only $1.00 on eBay for this.

That's enough for today.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Movie Review: Hunger Games - Catching Fire

But first, previews of future films.  Russell Crow is...NOAH!  Back to our movie review.

Considering that I gave up on the books mid-way through the first of the trilogy, the movies have been pretty satisfying.  I was a bit apprehensive about this sequel since I was afraid that it would just be a rehash of the first movie. Not so.

It's about a year since Katniss and Peeta were the victors in the Hunger Games. They are back in District 12 and, while her individual living circumstances are much improved, Distric 12 still looks like 1930's Appalachia. Then President Snow comes to call. By the way, Donald Sutherland is at his smarmiest best here. Things have been rather restless in the Districts since Katness somehow gave them hope.  Snow wants Katness and Peeta to go on a tour of the districts to show how much they love each other (which they don't really seem to) as a way to show the huddled masses that the system works. Under threat to her family she agrees.

Now we get to see how bad things are. In the first movie we saw the stark contrast between District 12 and the Capitol. Now we see that District 12 is very representative of Panem as a whole. People are desperate for hope. At one stop, an old man raises his hand in salute and many follow. The Peacekeepers wade into the crowd, drag the man to the front and shoot him in the head.

In the year since their victory, Katness and Peeta have matured and now have some sense of why Haymitch has turned to the bottle. At one point, Haymitch says "In the Hunger Games, there are no winners, only survivors". He may have been talking about life in general in Panem.

The first third of the movie is about the victory tour, concluding with the announcement of the 75th annual Hunger Games where past victors would be pitted against each other. The sole purpose of this is to kill Katness. President Snow wants her dead as he sees her as the leader of a revolution. Katness, meanwhile, sees herself as someone who as lived scared since her so called victory.

The middle act is about events in the Capitol. Katness and Peeta are reunited with their old team and begin preparations for the new game. Katness is not such an innocent now and can take Heymitch's suggestions and run with them.

The last act is the playing out of the new Game, this time in a stinking and hot jungle filled not only with other people who want to kill her but jungle menaces (giant baboons, tidal waves and poisonous fog) devised by the new Games Master. 

Although at 146 minutes the movie is long, it didn't seem that way. It also comes to a rather abrupt, but appropriate, ending.

If you liked the first movie, you're like this better. If you liked the books, you'll also like this movie (according to my daughter who loved the books). Her other observation is that she found Katness in the books to be annoying but loves her in the movie.

Monday, November 25, 2013

eBay Economics of Selling Baseball Cards - Speculation

I'll have a full post on the 2013 Mike Schmidt cards I've acquired this year, but this card started me speculating about eBay economics.

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini A and G Back #143 Mike Schmidt

The opening auction price on this card was $0.01, that's right, 1 cent. I was the only bidder so I won it for 1 cent plus a dollar for postage.

The seller sent it in a regular white envelope by first class postage. The actual postage was $0.66. So that leaves $0.35 for the seller. The card must have cost him something. I bought a hobby box of Allen and Ginter on eBay for $0.45/card, presumably he paid less than this. Lets say he was able to get the card somehow for 20 cents. That leaves 15 cents profit. eBay gets some of that.

The envelope cost something, although he didn't spend much on packaging. The card was in a penny sleeve with an old 1988 Leaf card for backing. He taped this to a piece of random cardboard, cut to fit the envelope.

The envelope has a postage sticker from a post office some 30 minutes away from where he lives. Hopefully he didn't make a special trip just for this card. The seller has 15 feedbacks on eBay so he's not a volume dealer.

I've sold some stuff on eBay but it's been years. One of the reasons I stopped was that it hardly seemed worth the effort.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

2013 Bowman Blue Sapphire Chrome Series

All the Bowman products this year have featured an insert set called "Bowman Blue Sapphire Best Players of All Time". I'd picked up a few in random packs. Looking up the set list on, I saw that there were two Phillies in the Bowman Chrome series. I managed to find the whole 9-card set on eBay for only $0.50/card.
The cards feature whatever original number they had. You have to look pretty carefully to see the tiny "REPRINT" below the Topps logo at the bottom of the back. This is actually a reprint of a Bowman Draft Pick card from 2003.

It's probably pointless to try to figure out Topps player selection for these cards. I mean, I like Jimmy Rollins just fine, but is he really one of the Greatest Players of All Time? I suppose the same could be said of almost any of the players in this set. The original is from 1998 Bowman.

Two Phillies and a former Phillie. From the 1991 Bowman set.

From the first Topps Bowman set from 1989. These cards were about a quarter inch longer than standard. The size wasn't very popular with collectors and Topps went to standard size in 1990.

Another from the 1989 set and an important card. There were only two Griffey cards in regular, as apposed to update sets, in 1989. This and, and even more important card, 1989 Upper Deck.

The big man from the 2013 World Series in another 1998 reprint.

From the 2002 Bowman set.

OK, he lead the league in home runs in 2010 and 2011, but those years look pretty different than the rest of his career. In my opinion, the least likely of this group to make it to the Hall of Fame.

Banks is already in the Hall of Fame, hit over 500 home runs, and the only guy in this bunch who could be called one of the greatest players of all time.