Card of the Day: Andrew “Rube” Foster 2001 Topps Chrome What Could Have Been Refractor #5

Q&A: What Is The First Baseball Card?

Question: What is the first baseball card?

Answer: The answer to this question can vary depending on how a person defines “the first baseball card”.  In my opinion, this 19th century game card is what I view as the first card depicting what looks to be some form of baseball.

Based on bat and ball drawings from the 18th and 19th century, baseball historians have dated this card to around the 1830s.  During that time, children’s educational card games were popular in both England and the United States.  The picture shows three boys – one at bat, another pitching, and in the background a boy looks as if he’s standing on what would be first base.  Several other cards came in this set, but none of them deal with sports.

I wish this card was talked about more often, but it just isn’t.  If it dealt with a specific player or team I believe it would be.  Rarely do they ever show-up for sale.  When they do, its usually with an auction house.  Not many examples are floating around.

Q&A: What Is A PSA Qualifier?

Question: Could you please tell me what a PSA qualifier is?  I see a lot of PSA graded cards with strange designations on them – OC, ST, PD, etc…

Answer: In short, a PSA qualifier allows for a card to receive a higher grade while having one major defect.  PSA qualifier designations include OC (Off-center), ST (stain), PD (Print Defect), OF (Out of Focus), and MK (Marks).  According to PSA “A “qualified” card is a card that meets all the criteria for a particular grade, but fails the standard in one area.”

For example, take a look at this Mickey Mantle 1961 Topps #300 graded by PSA a Mint 9 with an OC qualifier.  Other than being off-center its in really nice condition.  Without the qualifier it would probably be graded a 5.  As far as value goes, a normal PSA Mint 9 will always be better than that same card graded by PSA with a Mint 9 qualifier.  The qualifiers just allow people to own lower-quality cards while being able to retain that higher grade.

While we’re on the subject of graded cards I think its important to remind you of some things.  Grading in it’s current form is a complete sham.  Card grading has been corrupt since it all began with the world famous 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner graded by PSA a NM-MT 8.  Certain people have been outed as receiving higher grades on their cards just because they have friends at the grading companies.  Better grades have been given due to the volume of grading individuals do as well.  Cards that are counterfeit, altered, and doctored have made it through the grading process just because they know how much publicity and/or money that high graded card will receive.  Its a total joke.  Grading companies, cosigners, card doctors, and trimmers are all in bed together.

Despite so much proof of all of this wrongdoing, very few people care.  PSA continues to have record profits.  As long as people are willing to spend large amounts of money on high-graded cards nothing is going to change.  They will all continue to look the other way because its a ride that nobody wants to get off.

Its difficult to look at a card like this and not wonder what might have been done to it in order to obtain that grade.

Here’s What Your 2019 National VIP Badges Look Like

I wonder if they’ve ever given any thought to randomly including autographs, relics, or vintage cards in these badges?  Honestly, people would probably complain “certain” people were getting the special cards.  Less than two weeks to go until the greatest show in the world celebrates it’s 40th anniversary.

Topps, Leaf, Upper Deck, and Panini all have VIP sets.  Don’t forget to check out my tips on how to get your name on the list to attend the Topps Q&A.

Good luck to everyone going!

Q&A – What Can You Tell Me About This Danny DeVito Autograph?

Question:  I know this isn’t a sports card, but what can you tell me about this Danny DeVito autograph?

Answer:  Cool card!  In 1992, Danny DeVito portrayed the Penguin in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns.  As a child, this was one of the movies I watched all the time.  For a film that was marketed towards kids, its quite dark.  That scene near the end where Penguin slowly walks out of the water bleeding to death sparked the attention of many parents.  I thought it was awesome.  Things like that are one of the reasons why the studio decided to go in a different direction for the next two films.  Batman Forever and Batman & Robin were fun to watch as a kid, but I can’t watch them today.  In my opinion, Batman and Batman Returns still hold up for me now.

Topps created a few different sets to go along with Batman Returns.  One of them being a Stadium Club set.  The unsigned version of this card originated from the Stadium Club set, but not the card containing Danny DeVito’s signature.

In 1993, Topps issued two sets based on Batman: The Animated Series.  They were split up between Series 1 and Series 2.  Despite not having anything to do with the cartoon, Topps randomly inserted these Danny DeVito autographs into Series 2 packs.  2,000 copies of his Batman Returns base card were signed.

I wish this card had some type of notation, foil stamp, or serial number printed on it.  Even though Danny DeVito has a complex signature, an unsigned base card and silver pen are all a scammer would need to attempt at making a counterfeit.  I think they’re a hard sell because of that fact.  An asking price for an example deemed authentic can be up to $250.  Its a great example of an early buyback autograph.

Oswald Cobblepot!

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?

What Has TeenyMates Been Up To Lately?

The Party Animal, makers of Lil’ Teammates and TeenyMates, have been working hard to bring some new products to its fans.  After the successful launch of their NFL Series 1 TeenyMates set last year, they’ve decided to roll out a Series 2.

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The new Ice Blue chase figure reminds me of Iceman from the X-Men.

2013 NFL Series 2 Highlights:

  • Collect all 32 NFL teams + 6 rare figures
  • 2 Throwback figures, a Metallic Gold figure, an Ice Blue figure, a referee, and a Glow-in-the-Dark figure
  • Each foil bag includes 2 random NFL figures and 2 random puzzle pieces, adding mystery and excitement to each pack
  • Collect all 35 puzzle pieces and build a double-sided puzzle featuring a football field playset and collector mini-poster
  • Packs will cost around $3.99

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Hockey fans will be glad to know that TeenyMates decided to make an NHL set which is new for this year.

2013 NHL Highlights:

  • Collect all 30 NHL teams + 4 rare figures
  •  2 different Throwback figures, a Metallic Gold figure and a Glow-in-the-Dark figure
  • Each foil bag includes 2 random NHL figures and 2 random puzzle pieces, adding mystery and excitement to each pack
  • Collect all 35 puzzle pieces and build a double-sided puzzle featuring a hockey rink playset and collector mini-poster
  • Packs will cost around $3.99

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After the initial release of the Series 1 NFL set, collectors began turning their TeenyMates into keychains and earrings.  It looks like the folks at TeenyMates saw this and decided to create these new Tagalongs.

Tagalongs Highlights:

  • All 32 NFL teams available
  • Each Tagalong costs around $5.99

Judging by their website, it also looks like they will be making TeenyMates for the NBA too.

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If you’re looking for something a little bigger, Lil’ Teammates are now making NCAA and NFL wide receivers.  Plus they have all new team sets.  I would like to see variations made for the bigger figures like we see with the blind packaged TeenyMates.  I’ve got some new packs of the NFL Series 2 and NHL TeenyMates to bust.  I’ll also be holding some contests for a few sealed packs and a Tagalong.

What Is It? – Pete Rose “3000” Hits Commemorative Metal Object

I get e-mails all the time from people usually asking common questions about cards that can easily be answered.  The other day I received a question from a reader about an item I’ve never seen before.  I’m not too sure what it is or how it was distributed, so I thought it would make for an interesting post.  Does anyone have an idea of what this is?

Here is the e-mail that goes along with it:

My brother and I ran across this Pete Rose desk paper weight.  It has a coin that we cannot find any information on.  We think it may have belonged to the person who ran the Riverfront Stadium in 1978 and may have been custom made for him.  Judging by the aged color of the resin it’s enclosed in it maybe about that old.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  We have no idea what it is or what it may be worth.  I have attached two pictures of the item and feel free to forward the email to anyone who may be able to help.

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“Pin-Up” of the Week: 2001 Tiger Woods – What Famous Characters Might Say About Their McDonald’s Fries Promo Pin

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What we have here is a promotional pin made by McDonald’s back in 2001.  It features the likeness of Tiger Woods (but it also looks like Obama) accompanied by the phrase “McDonald’s Fries And Me… “Masterful””.  This pin is part of a set called What Famous Characters Might Say About Their McDonald’s Fries.  Other pins in the set feature Captain Kirk, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Elvis, Mr. T, and James Bond.  Its filled with quite the collection of real and fictional characters.  None of them are that rare, and can easily be bought for $5.00.  I think this is definitely one of McDonald’s coolest promos.

What Would You “Superfractor”?

The Superfractor.  It is the pinnacle of all chrome/prospect based products.  Started by Topps in 2005, these cards can demand extremely high prices, and many of the players haven’t stepped one foot onto a major league field.  Superfractors usually receive a lot of attention, but this year in particular they are feeling the heat from collectors.  I find it interesting that people will spend many thousands on a Superfractor of a prospect just because the card is serial numbered 1/1.

After watching the Stephen Strasburg 2010 Bowman Superfractor sell for over $16,000, it got me thinking.  Superfractors have only been around for 5 years.  I wonder what other Chrome cards that came before 2005 would be worth if they had a Superfractor?  Can you imagine what an Albert Pujols 2001 Bowman Chrome Autographed Superfractor would be worth?  It would be insane!

If you could “Superfractor” any card prior to 2005, what would it be?

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