Product Highlight: 2003 Topps Kanebo Baseball Series I & II

Kanebo sounds like the name of a character you would see on a Mortal Kombat player selection screen.  “Kanebo Wins!”, “Flawless Victory Kanebo!”, “Kanebo Finish Him!”.  In reality, its the name of a Japanese gum manufacturer.

Topps and Kanebo Foods came together in 2003 to bring collectors this crazy set.  It’s official title is 2003 Topps Kanebo Baseball, and is split between two different series.  Series I contains (55) cards.  The design is identical to that of the regular 2002 Topps Baseball flagship set.  On the back is the main difference where everything is written in Japanese.  Randomly inserted are Silver and Black parallels.

Don’t let the design fool you.  They look like 2002 cards, but all of the cards from Series I have a 2003 copyright date.  This can be extremely confusing when it comes to rookie cards.  Luckily, Topps and Kanebo only used two players in their Series I set that actually had real rookies in 2002 – So Taguchi and Kaz Ishii.  Neither of these players have much demand today, so their rookie cards from 2002 don’t hold much value.  But its still nice to know the difference between a 2002 and 2003 card.

Series II was issued a little later on is a bit easier to follow.  Not only was it issued in 2003, but it also utilizes the 2003 Topps Baseball flagship design.  The size is doubled compared to Series I, and comes in at (110) cards.  You’ll find Series II cards much more difficult to locate, and they have Copper and Silver parallels.

Hideki Matsui has very few Topps rookie cards from 2003.  Most of them come from Upper Deck, Fleer, and Donruss/Playoff.  His 2003 eTopps card is the main Topps card you see from that year.  Matsui didn’t have a rookie card in the 2003 Topps Baseball flagship brand, but he did get one in the Series II Kanebo set.

Q&A – How Can I Tell If A Topps Tiffany Baseball Set Has Been Searched?

Question: Could you please tell me which Topps Tiffany Baseball sets arrived from the factory sealed in cellophane?  Looking on eBay I see some that are and some that aren’t.  I don’t want to buy a set that’s been searched.

Answer: Between 1984 and 1991 Topps issued Tiffany sets to various dealers, hobby shops, and mail-in publications.  These cards look just like the normal flagship sets except they’re printed on high-quality stock.  For those same years Topps also issued Tiffany cards for their Traded sets.  Each set has a limited print run.

The sets issued between 1984 and 1988 did not come packaged in cellophane.  Just the seal on the lid.  Its the years 1989-1991 where things can get a little confusing.

  • 1989 Topps Tiffany – Clear cellophane & seal
  • 1989 Topps Traded Tiffany – No cellophane, just seal
  • 1990 Topps Tiffany – Just seal
  • 1990 Topps Traded Tiffany – Clear cellophane & seal
  • 1991 Topps Tiffany – Topps branded cellophane & seal
  • 1991 Topps Traded Tiffany – Topps branded cellophane & seal

If purchasing a set, there are some factors to consider.  Does the box show any signs of prior opening?  You want everything to be flat and flush.  Bent-up flaps are not a good signal.  The top part of the box where the lid tucks in should be completely straight and tight against the cards.  Cracking can easily take place on the lid’s hinge after it has been opened.  Inspect the hinge looking for any cracking, bending, and/or change in color.

How does the box feel from the outside?  If its truly never been opened before the box should feel full.  The cards are packed tightly inside.  You shouldn’t feel any movement.  Movement could indicate that cards might be missing.

Finally, inspect the label.  Resealed boxes can have double labeling.  Upon breaking the set’s original seal to remove the good cards, people have been known to print-up fake labels to place over the older broken ones.  Stay far away from them if you see any signs of two labels.  Others have figured out ways to remove the original label without damaging it.  Once they’ve searched the set they simply reapply the label.

Just because a set may have been shipped sealed in cellophane from the factory doesn’t mean it hasn’t been searched over the years.  Resealed Topps Tiffany sets have been making the rounds for a long time.  Its a major problem you have to watch out for.

This 1985 Topps Tiffany set did not originally come shipped in cellophane from Topps.  It was added later by a scammer once the Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, and Kirby Puckett cards were removed.

I Joined The Topps 582 Montgomery Club

On November 14th Sports Card Info became a member of the very exclusive Topps 582 Montgomery Club.  With this membership I will receive the following starting in December 2019 and throughout 2020:

  • Gift with Membership: 20-card Set + Autograph
  • (2) 20-Card Sets
  • (1) 20-Sticker Set
  • (1) 20-Card “Members Vote” MLB Set + Autograph
  • (1) “582 Montgomery” stamped Topps Baseball Complete Set
  • Exclusive access to purchase “2019 Topps Brooklyn Collection” featuring all-new configuration on Topps.com
  • NEW!  Collectible Pin
  • NEW!  Exclusive Access to Pre-Sale window for select Topps 2020 Online Exclusives including Sapphire, Ginter X, and Archives Snapshots.
  • First option for membership renewal

On 11/27 I received the following e-mail from Topps:

Next week will be the first pre-sale for 582 Montgomery Club Members; the online exclusive 2019 Bowman Heritage Baseball.  This product includes one guaranteed autograph per box.  You will receive an email on Tuesday notifying you when the pre-sale begins.

Your 582 Montgomery Club gift with membership is in production and will be shipped out in December.  It’s a 20-card set that features a lost design from the Topps Vault with a guaranteed autograph!

Have a happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Topps!

The communication Topps has going here is great.  Not only was I given an update to my membership, but I was made aware that on Tuesday 12/3 a new online exclusive product (2019 Bowman Heritage) will be available for pre-sale before the general public gets the chance to buy it.

I’m not sure how many pre-sale products I’m going to buy right now.  Personally, I think I’m going to wait until 2020 to start doing that.  I might try a couple of them.  Sometimes these online exclusive products can seriously jump in price once they hit the secondary market.  But I didn’t join this club just to try and flip cards.  I joined because it looks like a lot of fun.  I even bought a nice album to store them in.  It has a stitched baseball cover with a black felt liner.

I Traded A Jar Of Peanut Butter For A Pin – 2019 Little League World Series Pin Pickups

The 2019 Little League World Series is in full swing.  Baseball fans from all over the world have found their way to South Williamsport.  Pin trading is bigger than ever.  Corporate sponsors and local businesses have pins for everyone.  Some you need to buy, while others are freebies.

This is the first year that I did not visit the Little League campus.  Obtaining pins from the corporate booths has really become an activity for kids.  Years ago pins were easily handed out for filling out a survey or lining up at a booth at a certain time.  Over the course of a few years mobile apps and registering electronic bracelets for the Family Fun Zone has become a requirement.  That’s not something I’m interested in doing.  Personally, I think it adds a bunch of unnecessary steps.  I suppose it keeps the kids busy though.

Just because I skipped the Little League complex doesn’t mean I missed out on adding some new pins to my collection.  Between Dunkin’, Dairy Queen, various businesses on 4th street, and Williamsport’s Golden Strip, I came home with (22) pins.  Between the Chamber of Commerce and Dick’s Sporting Goods, I was able to pickup the pins I would’ve purchased over at Little League anyway.  Some places which traditionally have pins like Pennsylvania College of Technology and The Crazy Tomato don’t have them this year.

I’m not going to show off all (22) pins.  But I will show you some of the pins I got which I haven’t seen popup online yet and/or I find unique.

Woodlands Bank – in order to get this pin I had to trade-in a jar of peanut butter.  Woodlands Bank will donate the peanut butter to the Central PA Food Bank and Firetree Place.

Bullfrog Brewery & Restaurant

Kinley Jewelers

Dolly’s Diner

River Valley Transit

Q&A – How Do I Attend The Topps Q&A During The National Sports Collectors Convention?

Question:  How do I attend the Topps Q&A during the National Sports Collectors Convention?

Answer:  The Topps Q&A meeting is one of the best events that you can take part in while attending the National Sports Collectors Convention.  The NSCC usually starts on a Wednesday, and Topps typically holds their Q&A meeting that following Friday.  The Q&A takes place after the NSCC has closed for the day, and is held either at the convention center or a hotel near by.  It depends on where the NSCC is taking place, and what’s available.

In order to attend the Topps Q&A you must sign-up for it at the Topps booth.  The event is limited to about (150) spots.  Its a wise idea to get to the Topps booth ASAP, because those spots fill up very quickly.  Badges for the NSCC usually can start to be picked up at 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. that first day.  The VIP Party starts at 2:30 p.m.  At 3:30 p.m. the show opens for VIPs.  General Admission gets in at 4:00 p.m.  If you’re a VIP, as soon as the show opens at 3:30 p.m. I’d run to the Topps booth and get my name on that list.

During the Topps Q&A you are encouraged to ask Topps employees anything you want pertaining to the hobby.  In between questions they tend to giveaway lots of prizes.  Everyone who attends usually receives a special gift on the way out when its over.  This gift is specially made for the Topps Q&A, and can only be obtained there.  In 2018, everyone left with a Francisco Lindor autograph #’ed/50.

The 2019 National Sports Collectors Convention takes place 7/31-8/4 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago.  I think its safe to say Q&A attendees will leave with a special Chicago-related card.

Pin Highlight: Reggie Jackson – “I Must Kill… The Queen.”

Now this is an eye catcher.  Its a pin featuring baseball legend Reggie Jackson holding a handgun.  What on earth is going on here?

In 1988 a little comedy called The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! came out.  It stars comedy legend Leslie Nielsen, and became an instant hit.  Two sequels came to follow.

I don’t want to go into too much detail about the film for those who haven’t seen it yet.  But I will say this.  Leslie Nielsen plays Police Squad Lieutenant Frank Drebin.  Police Squad is put in charge of protecting Queen Elizabeth II while she visits Los Angeles.  During her visit, she attends a Seattle Mariners and California Angels game.  They learn an assassination attempt will take place during the seventh inning stretch, and one of the players will carry it out.  Using a beeper and hypnosis, the real assassin uses Reggie Jackson as an agent to fulfill his mission.  Things don’t go well for Mr. October though.  A large woman from the upper deck ends up falling on him before he gets his shot off.  Its a funny scene that you can watch here.  Lots of other sports stars are in this movie too – O.J. Simpson, Jay Johnstone, Jim Palmer, Dick Vitale, and Jesse Ventura.

Patti Lapel makes some really fun pins based on people, places, and things from pop culture.  One pin in particular is of Reggie Jackson under hypnosis, gun in hand, and preparing to take out the Queen.  Memorable scenes from movies is a big chunk of their pin business.

You don’t mess with Mr. October.

R.I.P. Frank Robinson – I Got Yelled At For Taking His Picture

Frank Robinson was one hell of a baseball player and manager.  He is the first player in history to be named MVP in both leagues, and the first African American manager in Major League Baseball.  For those looking for his rookie card, it can be found in the 1957 Topps set card #35.

For years Frank Robinson was on the autograph circuit.  He was a regular signer at the National Sports Collectors Convention, and various other shows throughout the country.  While I never got his autograph, I did run in to him during the March 2009 Philly Show and 2016 National in Atlantic City.

In March of 2009, the Philly Show recently moved from Reading to Valley Forge.  In my opinion, that wasn’t a great move.  I attended the show a few more times after that, but then decided to stop going.  I just didn’t enjoy the setup, and it became more focused on the autograph guests.  Lots of my favorite dealers began dropping out.  The attendance wasn’t there, and the price for booth space kept rising.  I’m not too sure what the state of the show is right now.  It still goes on in Valley Forge, but I haven’t been there since 2011.

Lets go back to that March 2009 show.  Former Phillies pitcher Marty Bystrom was one of the autograph guests.  He loved interacting with fans, and not once did he talk on his phone while signing autographs.  Yeah right!

Shortly before lunchtime, I remember buying a box and taking it over to the food court to open.  I think it was a box of 2009 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Football.  While sitting at the table, I saw Frank Robinson walk in.

As soon as Frank Robinson walked in, I quickly snapped a picture from across the room.  I then continued going through my box.  The next thing I know he’s sitting at the table with me eating a muffin.  It was just us at the table, and nobody else around.  He made it well known to me that he didn’t like that his picture was taken without asking permission.  No “Hi.  Nice to meet you.”, he went right to the fact that I took his picture.  He acted like I shoved the camera in his face.  I was way on the other side of the room.  My thinking is this, in a world where everyone has a camera in their pocket and you walk into a show to sign autographs, people are going to take pictures whether you want them to or not.

Perhaps he woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning.  I don’t know.  Once I was finished opening my box, I left.  While waiting to enter the National in Atlantic City, he walked by.  The second he was gone, other people in line began exchanging similar stories.  It made me chuckle to know I wasn’t alone.