Product Highlight: 1995 Collector’s Edge Ball Park Franks

I love hot dogs.  They’re one of my favorite foods.  Mustard, ketchup, cheese, hot peppers, and salsa make great toppings.  There is nothing better than sitting at a ballgame or attending a nice card show while shoving a hot dog in your face.

Collector’s Edge may have died out years ago, but they were all over the place in the 90’s.  Today their old football sets receive more attention than anything.  This is due to them issuing numerous rookie cards of both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.  Basketball, baseball, and hockey would come next.

You don’t see it done as much today, but cards attached to food products at one time was a common thing.  Food premiums are an entire collecting niche.  In 1995, Collector’s Edge struck a deal with Ball Park Franks.  For (8) UPC codes, (4) UPC codes + $2.50, or (2) UPC codes + $5.00, you would receive exclusive autographed cards of Yogi Berra and Frank Robinson.  Both came with accompanying cards stating the authenticity of the signatures.  This promotion ended on May 31, 1995 or until they ran out.

If you’re in the market for a Frank Robinson or Yogi Berra autograph but don’t want to spend a lot of money, these might be for you.  They’re dirt cheap.  Lots were made.  You can easily pick them up for $10-$15 each.  The Yogi Berra tends to carry more weight.

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Top Moments From The National Sports Collectors Convention

I consider myself very lucky.  I’ve been able to attend six National Sports Collectors Conventions, with a seventh on the way.  There are lots of collectors who never get the opportunity to attend a single one.  The National Sports Collectors Convention is the largest gathering of collectors, dealers, and other various industry figures.  Its a time to see incredible artifacts, rare cards, and an opportunity to have your voice heard about any questions and/or concerns you may have about a certain topic.  You also get to meet some really great people.

Half of the NSCCs I’ve been to were held in Cleveland, OH.  Two were in Baltimore, MD and another in Atlantic City, NJ.  Although Chicago, IL seems to get the best turnout, I don’t plan on ever attending a show there.  My favorite location is Cleveland.  Its not in the city, and I don’t waste much power in my wheelchair going from the hotel/parking garage to the convention center.  We’ve always found a space near the entrance, and walked right in.

Cleveland seems to be my luckiest spot.  I think it has a lot to do with my lucky Burger King.  Each time I’ve attended the NSCC in Cleveland, I’ve stopped for lunch at Burger King on the way.  Every time I’ve done this, something really cool happens to me during the show.  I won’t say where this specific Burger King is located, but its one of their 15,000+ restaurants.

The 39th National returns to Cleveland Aug. 1-5 this year.  It will be held at the good old I-X Center.  Tickets go on sale next month.

My first trip to the National – 2007.  Four months before starting Sports Card Info.


During the ’07 National, I purchased a pack of 2007 Topps Triple Threads Baseball from D & A Card World.  I ended up pulling this Tom Seaver/Roger Clemens/Doc Gooden Triple Relic Auto #’ed 1/1.

A friend of a friend got me behind the autograph curtain in 2009.  I got to meet seven Heisman Trophy winners – Ron Dayne, Billy Sims, Eric Crouch, Gino Torretta, Jason White, Mike Rozier & Steve Owens.

While participating in the Upper Deck wrapper redemption program in 2014, I pulled this Jack Nicklaus ’14 UD SP Game-Used Edition Inked Fabrics Auto Shirt #’ed/10.

Jim Thome doesn’t attend many autograph signings.  In 2014 he was in town because the Indians were unveiling a statue of him, and he made his way over to the National.  Lots of media was around him while he signed autographs, making it a little difficult to get a quick picture.  I probably should’ve purchased a photo ticket too.  Nonetheless his autograph looks great on my bat.

Ran into legendary sports artist Monty Sheldon in Cleveland, 2014.  Famous for his Artballs and work on various Topps products.

Getting up close with museum quality relics like this Babe Ruth bat from the 1930’s is another great element of the show.  Memory Lane Auctions allows collectors to do this a lot – Atlantic City, 2016.

You’d be surprised what you can find – Atlantic City, 2016.

Product Highlight: 1993 Maxx Hot Wheels 25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition

When I was a kid, my go to toys to play with were action figures.  I had bins full of them.  Batman, X-Men, Star Wars, you name it.  Like most adults I look back and wish I would have kept them in their original packaging.  But where would have the fun been in that?  Keeping toys sealed wasn’t even a thought.

Outside of the action figures, Matchbox and Hot Wheels weren’t that far behind.  I had a bin full of these too.  Although I don’t live in the house I grew up in anymore, it wouldn’t surprise me if some of those toy cars are still lodged underneath a cabinet or something.  The house’s current owner is probably completely oblivious that they’re still there.  Long forgotten relics of a childhood race that perhaps got a little out of hand.

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Hot Wheels.  Twenty-five years ago Maxx Race Cards helped them celebrate their 25th anniversary with a commemorative set.  Issued only in factory set form, the set features what they call “the most memorable 25 cars from 1968-1992”.  The card fronts picture a Hot Wheels vehicle with a full-blown description on the back.  Collecting tips are even provided for each vehicle.

Here is the checklist:

  • 1968 Beatnik Bandit #1
  • 1969 TwinMill #2
  • 1970 Boss Hoss #3
  • 1971 Evil Weevil #4
  • 1972 Funny Money #5
  • 1973 Sweet 16 #6
  • 1974 Sir Rodney Roadster #7
  • 1975 Emergency Squad #8
  • 1976 Corvette Stingray #9
  • 1977 ’57 Chevy #10
  • 1978 Hot Bird #11
  • 1979 Bywayman #12
  • 1980 Hiway Hauler #13
  • 1981 Old Number 5 #14
  • 1982 Firebird Funny Car #15
  • 1983 Classic Cobra #16
  • 1984 ’65 Mustang Convertible #17
  • 1985 Thunderstreak #18
  • 1986 Poppa ‘Vette #19
  • 1987 Ferrari Testarossa #20
  • 1988 Talbolt Lago #21
  • 1989 GT Racer #22
  • 1990 Purple Passion #23
  • 1991 Street Beast #24
  • 1992 Goodyear Blimp #25

I don’t recall owning any of these specific vehicles.  I do remember picking up a few Hot Wheels cars at a yard sale when I was little, and later discovered they came from their famous Redline collection.

Maxx produced lots of racing cards during the classic junk-wax era.  Most of their sets carry little value today.  Cards of Dale Earnhardt are what they’re particularly known for.

This Hot Wheels set is one of Maxx’s oddball products.  Sealed examples are readily available, and can be found for nothing.

Doesn’t this Hot Wheels car look like a Superfractor?

Card of the Day: Mike Schmidt 1988 Chef Boyardee 1st Annual Collector’s Edition #14

2017 Topps Gallery Baseball Collector’s Box Break & Review

Twelve years.  That’s how long it has been since the Topps Gallery brand had a new set.  For as good looking as these cards have always been, that is way too long for it to have been gone.  The last Topps Gallery product was released in 2005.  I distinctly remember opening a mini-box and pulling a Don Mattingly bat relic with a picture of his ’84 Topps rookie on it.

Topps Gallery made it’s return this year, but with a twist.  This time its exclusively sold at Walmart.  Topps has seen tremendous success with their retail-exclusive line of products.  Collectors have been snatching them up.  Due to their popularity, its not uncommon for them to be sold out.  We’ve seen this with 2017 Topps Gallery.  Walmart’s website even has it listed as “Out of stock”.  If your local Walmart has any ’17 Topps Gallery, grab all of it ASAP.

You can experience 2017 Topps Gallery in three different ways – Collector’s Boxes, Value Boxes, and Fat Packs.  A Collector’s Box is the only format where you’re guaranteed (2) autographs.  This seems to be the most popular format, and costs $70.  Value Boxes and Fat Packs are more affordable options, but no autographs are guaranteed.

Artist Mayumi Seto and Dan Bergren are to thank for bringing this 200-card set to life.  No high-tech fancy Photoshop artistic filters here.  These cards are all based on original paintings which you can randomly find in boxes.  Card #151-#200 are short prints.  Parallels include: Artist Proof (Value Box), Private Issue #’ed/250 (Collector’s Box), Canvas (Fat Pack), Green #’ed/99, Blue #’ed/50, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/1, and Printing Plates #’ed/1.

Like I mentioned before, your best shot at pulling an autograph would come from a Collector’s Box.  All autographs are on stickers.  There are (20) short print autographs which are quite difficult to pull.  The short print autographs include: Gary Carter, Willson Contreras, Andrew Miller, Albert Pujols, Frank Thomas, Joey Votto, Tom Glavine, Bo Jackson, Chipper Jones, Jose Canseco, Fernando Valenzuela, Dee Gordon, Rickey Henderson, Cal Ripken, Jr., Mark McGwire, John Smoltz, Don Mattingly, Ken Griffey, Jr., Ryne Sandberg, and David Ortiz.

Gary Carter passed away in 2012, but Topps still has some of the stickers he signed.  They’re foil stickers compared to the clear ones used for everyone else, so they stick out a little more.  Unless you consult the Base Autograph SP list, there is no indication on the card whether or not its a short print.  Be sure to check!

Outside of the main base set and autographs there are some inserts.  The ExpressionistsHall of Fame GalleryHeritage, and Masterpiece all make up this group.  All have autographs and parallels except The Expressionists.  Those just have autographs, no parallels.  Heritage looks the best as it resembles 1951 Bowman.

’17 Gallery is one of the most artistic sets Topps has recently produced.  I might even say that it could be the nicest looking set of the year.  In addition to acetate autographs, I’m also a big fan of artistic products such as this.  I wonder if they’ve given any thought to combining the two?

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Magneuris Sierra RC
  • Tyler Austin RC

Short Print

  • John Smoltz Masters #188

Parallels

  • Nolan Arenado Heritage Green #’ed/250
  • Aaron Judge RC Private Issue #’ed/250
  • Mark Trumbo Private Issue #’ed/250
  • Greg Bird Private Issue #’ed/250

Inserts

  • Featured Artist Mayumi Seto
  • Randy Johnson Hall of Fame Gallery #20
  • Tim Raines Hall of Fame Gallery #9
  • Ken Griffey Jr. Hall of Fame Gallery #1
  • Reggie Jackson Hall of Fame Gallery #22
  • (2) Wil Myers Masterpiece #15
  • Nolan Ryan Masterpiece #21
  • Felix Hernandez Masterpiece #17

2017 Topps Fire Baseball Collector’s Box Break & Review

An artistic electric blaze is a perfect way to describe 2017 Topps Fire Baseball.  Artist Tyson Beck once again shows off his talents with this wildly designed Target-exclusive set.

Topps has had a lot of success with these retail only products.  Even if you have a Target nearby, there is no guarantee what you’re looking for will be there.  Keeping them in stock has been difficult.  Having a rookie class like 2017 has seen drives up the demand even more.  Especially when two of those rookies (Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger) continue to play further into the post season.

If you’re lucky enough to live near a Target store that still has some 2017 Fire on the shelves there are three possible formats that you can find this product in – Collector’s Box, Value Box, and Fat Pack.  To obtain the pinnacle Fire experience, a Collector’s Box would be the best way to go.  They retail for $70, but right now on the secondary market they seem to be going for around $80-$100.  People are willing to spend a little more online if their own Target is sold out or they don’t have one at all.

2017 Topps Fire has a base set that consists of (200) cards.  Parallels include Red Flame, Gold Minted (Value Only), Blue Chip (Fat Pack Only), Orange #’ed/299, Green #’ed/199, Purple #’ed/99, Magenta #’ed/25, Onyx (1 per Collector’s Box case), and Inferno #’ed/1.  The Onyx parallels aren’t serial numbered, but given that only (1) comes per Collector’s Box case I’d say that each one is limited to 5-10 copies.  Inserts are plentiful and all look fairly awesome.  You’ve got Flame Throwers, Fired Up, Golden Grabs, Monikers, and Walk It Off.

I’ve heard some collectors complain that the parallels are a little difficult to identify.  This certainly wasn’t the case with my box.  Each one of my inserts, parallels, and autographs came out of the pack backwards.  That made them very easy to spot.

A Collector’s Box guarantees at least (2) “hits”.  One of them should be an autograph.  For a retail-exclusive product, it shouldn’t be a surprise that all of the autographs are on stickers.  The checklist for the autographs is very strong.  Lots of top names.  Dual and Triple autographs can also be found.  Relics and Autographed Relics are in here too.

Overall, I believe Topps did a great job with this set.  Fire finally got it’s own standalone baseball product.  The designs are refreshing, checklist is deep, and the inserts really stand out.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Steven Matz #’ed/200
  • Noah Syndergaard Green #’ed/75

Parallels

  • Larry Doby Purple #’ed/99
  • Johnny Damon Green #’ed/199
  • Lorenzo Cain Green #’ed/199
  • Seung-Hwan Oh Orange #’ed/299
  • Ryne Sandberg Orange #’ed/299
  • Cal Ripken Jr. Red Flame
  • Dansby Swanson RC Red Flame
  • Billy Hamilton Red Flame
  • Bryce Harper Red Flame
  • Tyler Glasnow RC Red Flame

Inserts

  • Noah Syndergaard Fired Up
  • Noah Syndergaard Flame Throwers
  • Curtis Granderson Golden Grabs
  • Byron Buxton Golden Grabs
  • Mark Trumbo Walk It Off
  • Adrian Beltre Walk It Off
  • Brooks Robinson Monikers
  • Ryne Sandberg Monikers
  • Miguel Cabrera Monikers
  • Babe Ruth Monikers

Notable Rookies

  • Cody Bellinger
  • Ian Happ
  • Alex Bregman
  • Matt Olson

Card of the Day: Steve Sparks 1997 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice #371