You Know What’s Cool? Little League Pins That Look Like Packs Of 1954 Bowman Baseball Cards

With the cancellation of the 2020 Little League World Series, I’ve been looking around for some alternative sources to obtain new pins this year.  eBay has always been an option, but the Little League Pin Traders Club group on Facebook can be an equal or even better source.

Everyday collectors are posting pictures of their pins looking to trade.  Upon joining, I came to realize how many pins I didn’t know existed.  That’s the thing about Little League pins.  You can go many years without knowing that certain pins exist.  There is no official release date and/or checklist.  In addition to that, the quantities are all different.

Did you know there are some Little League pins that look just like packs of old baseball cards?  Organizing a trade using one of my Sports Card Info pins, I was able to obtain (2) pins that look like packs of 1954 Bowman Baseball.  One of them is green, and the other is red.

These pins aren’t small either.  They’re made of metal, and are about the size of a normal pack of cards.  High-quality and very heavy.  I had no clue they existed until I joined this group.  Other baseball card pack pins I’ve seen include 1952 Bowman Baseball and 1963 Topps Baseball.

Its interesting when the sports card hobby collides with the pin collecting world.

The Topps Foil Test Technology That Brought Us Desert Shield and Stadium Club

Upper Deck set a new standard for card quality after they released their first set in 1989.  Collectors got a taste of what “premium” cards were like, and they weren’t about to turn back.  Other card companies had to figure out ways to amp-up their cards.  If not, they could’ve easily lost their fan base.  Adapt or die!

Topps wasn’t completely out of the loop when it came to making “premium” cards.  Long before Upper Deck arrived, Topps made Tiffany factory sets.  These mimicked the overall design of that year’s Topps set, but were printed on higher quality card stock.  To this day it still amazes me what some collectors are willing to spend on a Tiffany base card of a star.  Even when its not a rookie.  But just switching to better stock for their normal sets wouldn’t be enough to compete.  It was time to bring on the foil.

1990 Topps Baseball is a poster child of the overproduction era.  Unless you’re talking about it’s Tiffany counterpart, Frank Thomas no-name rookie, or George Bush card, there isn’t much value to look for.  The base design is one of my all-time favorites though – lots of color!  While browsing through the grocery store in 1990, I bet many of you can remember spotting those 100-card bricks known as jumbo packs.  Inside each of those packs was a specially made Glossy Rookies card.  The set commemorates popular rookies from the previous season.  Most of the players have rookie cards in products from 1989.

In order to step-up their game, Topps tested some new printing techniques.  They took tons of regular Glossy Rookies and printed a foil stripe across the front.  You can find them in a variety of colors – blue, purple, green, red, silver, and gold.  The stripe can be in multiple locations as well.  One card may have it straight across the player’s face, while another could be near the bottom.  Multiple colors for each player can be found in many different positions.  Occasionally you’ll see cards with two stripes, but I’ve never seen one with two different colors.  Usually if there are two, the colors match.  If that isn’t enough, the asterisk variations carry over to these foil tests.  Every player in the Glossy Rookies set has a card with one and two asterisks on the back.  For those collectors who are obsessed with variations, this could be an endless battle.  Ken Griffey, Jr. is the most popular foil test.

Looking back at what companies tested in order to stay relevant and in the game can be interesting.  The lessons Topps learned from this foil test issue were implemented in their Desert Shield and Stadium Club sets.

Signs That Your Bobby Orr 1966-67 Topps #35 Rookie Card Is A Fake Or Reprint

To many hockey collectors, the Bobby Orr 1966-67 Topps #35 rookie card is the holy grail.  Adding one to your collection can cost a pretty penny.  Especially wanting an example that’s in decent condition.  Its a decision that can cost thousands.

Along with Wayne Gretzky’s 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee #18 RC, Bobby Orr’s 1966-67 Topps #35 rookie card is one of the most counterfeited pieces of cardboard in the hobby.  Some of these counterfeits and reprints are very convincing.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you’re thinking about purchasing a Bobby Orr 1966-67 Topps #35 rookie card:

  • Locate Bobby Orr’s name on the card’s front.  If you see small red dots within the yellow text that’s a sign its not authentic.
  • Take a look at the back of the card.  On a large number of counterfeits/reprints there is a small circle on the grid line right beneath the “1965-66” text.  Not every counterfeit/reprint contains this feature, but a good portion do.
  • Extremely dark/light colors on the front, with a much brighter (sometimes white) back are signs of a counterfeit/reprint.
  • Mint condition – this card is notorious for having major condition issues.  The centering is usually off, and chipping can be a big problem due to the wood-grain border.  Finding an authentic example in nice condition is incredibly difficult.  If its too good to be true, it probably is.
  • If possible, take a common Boston Bruins card from the 1966-67 Topps set and compare it to the Bobby Orr rookie you’re looking at.  The card stock and printing techniques should be very similar.  Special attention wasn’t paid to Bobby Orr’s rookie card during the printing process.  It was treated like all of the others.

Authentic front

Authentic back

Counterfeit/reprint front

Counterfeit/reprint back

Bryce Harper In A Phillies Uniform – Baseball Authenticated Masterpieces Has That Too!

Here we go Phillies fans!!!  Bryce Harper is officially coming to Philadelphia.  After months of speculation and countless rumors, its finally happening.  The deal is worth $330 million over 13 years.  I think he’s going to be an excellent addition to the Phillies roster.  Not only will the team benefit from him, but the local economy as well.  Its all about merchandising!!!

Bryce Harper is one of the key players on the checklist for Baseball Authenticated Masterpieces.  Knowing that he’d probably be with a new team this year, artist Monty Sheldon held off so at least one of Harper’s baseballs would feature him in his new uniform.  Just like he did with Manny Machado.

Baseball Authenticated Masterpieces is scheduled to be released this spring.  (150) game-used, hand-painted, and autographed baseballs.  (3) different baseballs per player within the main set.

Checkout my latest write-up on this product with an updated sales sheet.

What Are Your Collection Holes That Need Filling?

Picking up single cards for my collection is not something I get to do that often.  I’m very selective as to what I buy.  The main person I collect isn’t even a player.  As a die-hard Phillies fan, I settled on former broadcaster Harry Kalas.  He has a small number of cards, and they rarely popup.  I have a good number of them, but there are currently five I’m looking for.

  • Mike Schmidt/Harry Kalas 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game Announcing Greats Dual Auto #’ed/25
  • Harry Kalas 2012 Sportkings Series E Sketch Card Premium Back Redemption #’ed 1/1
  • Harry Kalas 2015 Topps Five Star Cut Signature #’ed 1/1
  • Harry Kalas 2018 Topps Diamond Icons Cut Signature #’ed/4
  • Harry Kalas 2018 Topps Diamond Icons Cut Signature Gold #’ed 1/1

I spotted one of the Harry Kalas 2018 Topps Diamond Icons Cut Signature #’ed/4 a few months ago, but got outbid.

Outside of those Harry Kalas cards, there is one Topps NOW card that I’d like to get my hands on.  It features Scott Kingery, Todd Frazier, and Michael Conforto, and commemorates the 2018 MLB Little League Classic that was played at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field.  I’d like to own one of the cards Topps made that contains a piece of game-used ball from that game.  Only sixteen total cards were made, and I wasn’t quick enough to land one when Topps listed them for sale.  I don’t live far from that ballpark, and always attend a few games each year for bobbleheads.  I’ve never seen one show up on the secondary market.

As of right now, those are the only singles I’m interested in.  What holes do you have in your collection that need filling?

Card of the Day: Willie Mays 2015 Bowman Chrome Superfractors That Never Were

 photo mays15bcsuper11_zpsipzubys8.jpg

Report Claims That Press Pass Is Shutting Down

 photo jeffgordon96pptire_zps04bf1892.jpg

According to ESPN Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell, Press Pass will be closing its doors.  Press Pass hasn’t released a statement yet.  I attempted to e-mail my contact at Press Pass, but the message came back saying it wasn’t able to be delivered.  I sent Press Pass a message through their contact form on their website, and I’ll see if I hear anything back from that.  I’m not going to hold my breath though.

 photo ppshuttingdown_zps440cef1c.jpg

This is a sad day for collectors.  We’re only a few days into 2015 and we already have our first casualty.  Its really bad for racing fans since Press Pass was literally the only company that made NASCAR cards.  Fans don’t have any other choice to turn to.  I wonder if anyone will pick up the NASCAR brand now?  Dealing with independent drivers, teams, and sponsors isn’t the easiest thing to do.  Panini is really the only manufacturer right now that gives the impression that they have the money to take on another brand.  Maybe Leaf could do it.  But I highly doubt Upper Deck or Topps would be in the running.  Unfortunately those would be the first two companies I’d like to see make racing products.  Upper Deck made some nice looking NASCAR products in the 90’s.  NASCAR collectors have yet to see some of the innovations that other sports have had for years.  I hope whoever gets the ok to make NASCAR cards next will see that.

Press Pass was the first manufacturer to send Sports Card Info free products to review and use for contests.  2009 Press Pass Wheels Element was the first box they sent over.  Over the next five years they almost always sent over new products.  By the looks of it, Sports Card Info’s days of free boxes may be over.  Press Pass looks to be shutting down, In The Game and Leaf work together on products, and Panini stopped sending boxes on a regular basis a year ago.  Beckett is the only place getting boxes because they sugar coat their reviews.  Things are changing in this hobby and not for the better.  I’m glad I’m in this for the fun and not the money.  I certainly wouldn’t want to be a manufacturer or shop owner right now.

I don’t think Press Pass would just up and leave without saying something to its loyal fans.  Hopefully they release something in the next few days.  Maybe they’ll restructure and make a comeback.  One thing is for certain, and that’s to hear directly from the source as to what is going on.  If they are shutting down for real, who knows what will happen to all those redemption cards still out there.

Update:

Press Pass has notified their agents about their plans, and an official statement will be given on Monday.