The Faces Behind COMC #6 – Getting to Know our Identification Team

Welcome back to final installment of our series, “The Faces Behind COMC”. Over the course of this series, we’ve highlighted the faces and personalities of our hardworking team members who’s day-to-day efforts help ensure that our customers have the satisfactory experience they know and love in using COMC.  To close our 2018 we are featuring members of our Identification Team. Among other responsibilities, this team is primarily responsible for ensuring that all incoming items are properly cataloged into their correct set, that all attributes (such as RC, auto, etc) are applied, and that all items with incorrect data are correct. 


Rich Klein

What do you say about the man who’s been well known in the trading card industry for over 40 years? Rich was working with trading card databases and price guides long before COMC was even a concept, let alone a website! Rich is now a valuable resource and asset for the ID Team as COMC’s Catalog Maintenance Expert, having now been a member of the team for nearly two years.

Born in Hackensack, NJ, he currently resides in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He can be found regularly writing about the hobby in his own blog series on this very blog, as well as GoGTS, and previously for Sports Collectors Daily among others. He enjoys chatting with collectors and dealers all across the hobby on a regular basis.

When not on the clock, his hobbies include reading, listening to pop music (1955-1991 or so), and relaxing with his wife and a wonderful chihuahua named Tater Tot. He maintains a large personal collection, but prefers pre-1970’s cards. He also collects autographed books. He is passionate about a DFW-area card show put on to support his local Adat Chaverim Brotherhood (Men’s Club) that was intended to be a one-off show six years, but has since blossomed into a twice-a-year function. We’ll let him tell you more about that in 2019…

Favorite sport(s): Baseball
Favorite player(s): From my youth: Jim Wynn, Cesar Cedeno and Thurman Munson
Favorite Food: A Good Steak
Favorite Musical Artist(s): Harry Chapin, Jim Croce, Donna Summer
Favorite Movie / TV Show /etc: A League of Their Own, Mary Tyler Moore Show


Darren

Having previously worked at COMC in the past, Darren rejoined the COMC Team in 2014 as a member of our Processing Team, but has since transitioned to the Identification Team. Born relatively close to COMC in Everett, WA, he’s lived all around Washington State, and is a huge supporter of his Washington State University Alumni.

He collects both a mix of vintage and modern basketball and football cards, and has recently taken to up picking up vinyl records at local garage sales and flea markets. He stays busy away from COMC with biking, reading, and spending time with his wife checking out new cheap eats (there is no shortage in Washington!), watching movies, and spending time at the dog park with their 9-year-old Shiba Inu/Beagle Mix. They also have a SIXTEEN POUND long-haired Tabby named Georgi!

Prior to joining COMC, Darren was a freelance basketball and football writer who reported primarily on various levels (preps, college, & WNBA). His work was published in the likes of The Seattle Times, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Associated Press, and Lindy’s Sports Annuals.

Favorite sport(s): Basketball, Football
Favorite player(s): Klay Thompson, Russell Wilson, Steve Gleason
Favorite Food: Thai
Favorite Musical Artist(s): The Dave Matthews Band, Mumford & Sons, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Favorite Movie / TV Show /etc: The Shawshank Redemption, Good Will Hunting, Breaking Bad, SportsCenter With Scott Van Pelt
Favorite card in your collection: 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan RC


Charles (Ava3081 on COMC)

Our ID Team Manager Charles is one of the most well traveled members of the team, having previously lived in Northern California, South Dakota, Minnesota, Colorado, and even Germany. He joined our team nearly seven years ago, and is one of the team’s go-to sources for all things minor league and oddball.

Charles is our resident Will Clark collector and lover of all things related to the San Francisco Giants. When we say all things, we mean all things, as he has a substantial collection of minor league affiliate cards and Tokyo Yomiuri Giants as well. He also collects NFL Europe and World League American Football cards, as well as ex-USSR transit tokens, vinyl, minor league team photos, cat knick knacks, kitsch and folk art, and original artwork from friends (both good and bad!).

Away from COMC he enjoys drawing, music, and composing inappropriate limericks. He has one cat and some fish, and wanted everyone to know that he has webbed toes. He is currently singing in a band called Tolt, and he also wrote the ex-USSR section in the latest Smith’s Catalog of World Transportation Tokens (except North America).

Favorite sport(s): Baseball, curling
Favorite player(s): Will Clark, Buster Posey, Willie Mays, Lefty O’Doul, Sadaharu Oh, Shigeo Nagashima, Tetsuharu Kawakami, Satchel Paige, Ken Griffey Jr.
Favorite Food: Jägersnitzel, sushi, Persian chicken kebabs
Favorite Musical Artist(s): Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Secret Chiefs 3, Iceburn, Into Another, Einstürzende Neubauten, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, 16 Horsepower, Oingo Boingo, Neurosis, Nuclear Assault, Ævangelist, Mitochondrion
Favorite Movie / TV Show /etc: Mystery Science Theater 3000, Rifftrax, Cinematic Titanic
Favorite card in your collection: 1988 ProCards Iowa Cubs – Cubbie Bear


Dylan (DylanJenkins on COMC)

Dylan is one of the newest members of the ID Team, having joined the COMC Team last fall. He also does freelance work in live sports production (on-air graphics and overlays) for various teams throughout the Pacific Northwest, including the Seattle Mariners. Born in Washington, he spent five years in Queens, NY while attending St. John’s University.

When not working, Dylan enjoys shooting hoops, going to the beach, sport related PC and video games, and of course opening and sorting cards. He collects Topps Heritage Baseball on an annual basis, as well as Seattle Mariners and several other niche collections (such as St. John’s alumnus, and players born in Washington State). During his senior year of high school, he competed at the state level in twp non-sports competitions – We The People, and The Knowledge Bowl.

Dylan lives in Seattle with his wife, where they enjoy watching Jeopardy and attending sports events. He admits that it’s tough to figure out how to find time to have a social life with both of them working and commuting, but that doesn’t appear to be stopping them from potentially fostering a bulldog in the future!

Favorite sport(s): Baseball, basketball, soccer
Favorite player(s): Mark McLemore, Joey Cora, D’Angelo Harrison, Matisse Thybulle, Daniel Vogelbach
Favorite Food: Chicken Parmesan, Cinnamon Rolls, basically any sweets & treats or cakes & bakes
Favorite Musical Artist(s): Bob Dylan, Iron & Wine, Death Cab for Cutie, Bon Iver


Sam

Sam is our resident gaming card identification specialist, having spent many years (decades?) prior to working at COMC collecting and playing a variety of collectible trading card games such as Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, Magic, and VS System. He also collects Seattle sports swag, Mariners bobble head and pop culture memorabilia.

After over six years at COMC, he’s generally revered by his COMC colleagues as fierce competition in fantasy sports leagues year round, and is always a catalyst for striking up discussions and arguments over happenings around the landscapes of the MLB and NFL.

Away from the halls of COMC, he can be found enjoying the local music and festival scene, as well as watching sports in dive bars. You’ll never catch him with a cup or Starbucks or an umbrella in his hand. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, disc golf, chess and video games. Can you throw both a baseball and Frisbee at the same time? Sam can!

Favorite sport(s): Baseball
Favorite player(s): Felix Hernandez, Randy Johnson, and Edgar Martinez.
Favorite Food: Steak and Potatoes, Pho
Favorite Musical Artist(s): Gorillaz, Odesza, The Blue Scholars, Jimi Hendrix, & Led Zeppelin
Favorite Movie / TV Show /etc:  
Movies: The Hateful Eight, True Grit, City of God, The Departed, & Spirited Away 
TV: Breaking Bad, Daredevil, King of the Hill, One Piece, & 30 Rock.  
Books: Battle Royale, The Phantom Tollbooth, Ender’s Game/Shadow, The Hobbit, & The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Favorite card in your collection:
Legend of Blue Eyes: 1st Edition – Swords of Revealing Light


Angela (Burgandypug on COMC)

Born in Pocatello, ID (get out your map!), Angela has lived all around Washington before setting close to COMC. She enjoys collecting Ken Griffey Jr., John L. Sullivan, John Locke, and Impractical Jokers memorabilia cards. One of the most unique pieces of her collection is a newly acquired brick from the house that Babe Ruth grew up in. She also collects Funko Pops and baseball hats.

She admits that life away from COMC is very hectic and exhausting, as she’s an Adherent for the Salvation Army, leads a Girls Scout Troop and is a registered Girl Scout herself, and also volunteers with her Son’s high school golf team and marching band. All of that, and she also takes care of one obese cat, one infuriating dog, and as she put it, “an incredibly stupid and inept frog.”

February 2019 will mark seven years that Angela has been a member of the Identification Team. She currently also serves as a specialist on the COMC Weekly Review and as a member of our Family Friendly Committee. If you’ve been following our Faces Behind COMC series, you’ll know that she is also married to COMC Sorting Team Member Chad!

Favorite sport(s): Baseball, Soccer, Football, Combat Juggling and Chess Boxing
Favorite player(s): Ken Griffey Jr – no other players exist
Favorite Food: Butter Chicken, General Tso’s Chicken, Panang Curry, Gino’s Philly Steak Sandwiches, cheesecake from the Carnegie Deli in New York, and hamburgers from the Vanderbilt Hotel in Puerto Rico
Favorite Musical Artist(s): Queen, The Killers, Johnny Cash, Lionel Richie, Pearl Jam, Young the Giant, Soundgarden, and Boyz II Men
Favorite Movie / TV Show /etc: TV: 9-1-1, Grey’s Anatomy, Big Bang Theory, Impractical Jokers, and Jeopardy; Movies: MST3000, Mac and Me, Rear Window, All Tom Hanks Movies (Even Man with One Red Shoe, which understandably sucks, but it’s Tom so it gets a pass…we’ve all made mistakes).
Favorite card in your collection: Magic Unhinged: City of Ass #134 because it reminds me of Pocatello, Idaho

Brian

Brian has been a member of the COMC ID Team for coming up on five years. Although he was born in upstate New York, he has spent his time living all around Western Washington.

When not working, you can likely find Brian enjoying the nightlife, as he’s COMC’s king of karaoke. When he doesn’t have a microphone in hand, he enjoys a more mellow lifestyle of poker, video games and movies. Although he doesn’t have any pets of his own, his roommates two dogs are basically family to him at this point.

Brian had to part with a large portion of his baseball card collection several years ago, which included a Tools of the Trade Jumbo Babe Ruth Jersey among other high-end pieces. He still loves to build sets these days, especially ones that include tough short prints. He also collects movies, bobble heads and action figures.

Favorite sport(s):  Cross up between Baseball and Football but I also enjoy WWE
Favorite player(s):  Too many of them, but Ken Griffey Jr. is way up there
Favorite Food:  Chicken
Favorite Musical Artist(s):  Chris Cornell, Linkin Park and just about anything 80s/90s.  
Favorite Movie / TV Show /etc:  Star Wars series, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Seinfeld (and just about all sitcoms) 
Favorite card in your collection:  It will always be my 1989 Upper deck Griffey Rookie

Best of 2018: The First 100: Ranking Our Favorite Cards from Topps Living Set

As we enter 2019, we wanted to take the month of December to highlight some of our favorite blog posts of 2018. In this blog post, our two resident Topps Living Set experts weigh in on their favorite 10 cards from the first 100 in the set. This blog was originally published on 11/05/2018 and is presented in it’s entirety in this blog as well

This year Topps released a very unique and welcomed product named ‘The Living Set‘. Each week, three new cards are released into the set, which should theoretically never end. Each particular week’s cards are only available for that week and then never reprinted again. Current players can only have one card in the set unless they change teams. All cards are stylized after 1953 Topps, can feature current or retired players, and are created around the artwork of legendary sports card artist Mayumi Seto. Card #100-102 (week 34) were released last week, with #100 reserved for Babe Ruth. 

From the moment this set was unveiled, two of COMC’s employees were hooked on the concept, design, and the execution. Our Communications Manager James Good and Senior Business Analyst Grant Wescott each own a complete set up to this point in time and plan to continue to collecting the set as new cards are released each week. We asked them to choose their favorite 10 of the first 100 cards released in the set and give a reason why those cards resonated with them.

Grant Wescott:

“I’d wished for years Topps would produce an on-demand baseball set with the same, consistent design year after year, featuring only one player to a card, no parallels, and a checklist to eternity. The day Topps Living Set was announced was probably the best of my collecting life. Not only did they check all the boxes – that consistent design? None other than the most beautiful Topps set of all time: 1953. All meticulously hand painted by the talented Mayumi Seto. “

James Good

“In an industry that tries to consistently innovate by making cards flashier and more complex, the basic card stock and classic design of Living Set, as well as the focus on artwork, is a welcomed breath of fresh air. While I would prefer that Topps would let me pay for Living Set as yearly subscription service, as opposed to buying each week individually, there is a certain charm to the current format that plays well to my nostalgia for simpler times in the hobby. Just like opening a pack as a kid, there is that rush of excitement that comes with heading to Topps website each Wednesday to see who this week’s subjects are. I thought that sense of satisfaction was long gone in our day and age. Bravo Topps.”

What are some of your favorite cards in Topps Living Set so far? Who would you like to see featured in the next 100 cards? Do you have a set of your own? Let us know what you think about The Living Set in the comments below!

Sale Promotions and Port Sale Update

We hope that your Holiday Bonus Sale is off to a good start! As we talked about last month in our major announcement, we wanted to take this opportunity to tell you more in detail about the changes coming to Sale Promotions and Port Sales starting on January 1st, 2019.

Sale Promotions

On December 31st, we’ll be retiring the current Sale Promotions structure of $3 per day with a 3% transaction fee based on the sale price of an item at the time of sale.

On January 1st, COMC Sellers will be able to set up their sales under our new Sale Promotions structure, which has a $1 per 10,000 items insertion fee and a Promotional Transaction Fee of 1% of your original Asking Price, assessed at the time of sale. You can run a Sale Promotion for 1-11 days and pay only one insertion fee.

When you set up your sale, you can choose not only your Base Sale Discount (not editable once the sale is live), but also set custom percentage off rules for individual items in your inventory as well.

Sale Promotions are a great way to have your item stand out from others on the COMC Marketplace. Items on sale are seen by prospective buyers in green text with a sales tag icon. In addition, your sale is featured on the On Sale page and on the main COMC homepage.

Port Sales

Starting on January 1st, we’ll be reducing the cost of Port Sales from $10 to $5 per week, or until the port is sold. Port sales are a great way to sell a lot of inventory at once to one potential buyer.

Thank you for your consideration, and as always, if you have any questions, our Customer Service Team is here to help! Simply send an email to staff@comc.com and our team will get back with you shortly! Happy New Year!

COMC Bulk Price Editor Available for Download

The much requested COMC Bulk Price Editor is now available for our sellers to utilize! You can download it from here:

https://www.comc.com/BulkPriceEditor/BulkPriceEditor.accde

You will need Microsoft Access 2010 or later to run it. If you don’t have Microsoft Access, you can get the free Microsoft Office 365 Access Runtime. You must use the 32-bit version.

You will see a message like this the first time you open the Bulk Price Editor.

After opening it, there will be a new shortcut on your desktop.

For a full walk through tutorial on how to use the COMC Bulk Price Editor, please click here. 

The COMC Holiday Bonus Sale is Coming! (Dec 25th-31st)

Browse On-Sale Cards Now!

‘Yule’ love this! The COMC Holiday Bonus Sale is coming! We know that the Holiday season is the busiest time of the year, but we want you to join us from December 25th through 31st as we end 2018 in spectacular style! Millions of items from all of your favorite teams, players and sets will be marked down throughout our week-long sale. Now is the perfect time to treat yourself to the cards that you’ve wanted all year long!

It wouldn’t be a bonus sale without a bonus, now would it? ‘Tis the season for giving, so we’re giving you a 5% bonus on Store Credit purchases December 25-31! Simply deposit at least $100 of Store Credit throughout the duration of the Holiday Bonus Sale to qualify!

Purchase $100 in Store Credit – Receive $105 in your account!
Purchase $250 in
Store Credit – Receive $262.50 in your account!
Purchase $1000 in
Store Credit – Receive $1050 in your account!

COMC Members who make qualifying Store Credit purchases at any point throughout the sale will receive this bonus. Credit purchased must be spent on COMC.com. Bonus credit will be removed from accounts if you request a refund on any Store Credit purchased during the promotion.

With the giving spirit still in mind, we’re giving our sellers the opportunity to run a Sales Promotion throughout the Holiday Bonus Sale by waiving our usual $3/day promotion set-up fee. To get started, simply head on over to the Promotions Page and set up your Sales Promotion now! We want you to end 2018 with a bang, so be sure to offer buyers the best prices they’ve seen all year, so that they can enter 2019 with new additions to their collection!

One of the biggest advantages of shopping with COMC Credit using your COMC account is that you can INSTANTLY purchase items when you find them and ship everything all together at any time in the future! When you buy items with COMC Credit using your COMC account, they stay safe and secure in our warehouses until you’re ready to request shipment of them. You can buy items throughout the Holiday Bonus Sale and request a shipment for your items next week, next year (so, next week…), or even in 2020 and beyond! You pay shipping just once, regardless of how many items you buy.

Maybe you found an amazing deal on an item throughout the Holiday Bonus Sale, but you had a change of heart or don’t collect that particular player. Why not flip it for profit!? With a COMC account, you can purchase an item on sale and instantly give it a new asking price. When that item sells you receive COMC credit, without ever taking possession of the card! It’s that easy!

If you’re not already a COMC member, register your free account today! In addition to up to 15% off on ALL orders, COMC members also have exclusive access to additional shipping options, services, and features! All of this and more, but only if you have a COMC account!

Happy Holidays! Reduced Customer Service on December 25th and January 1st

Happy Holidays COMC Nation!

He’s making a list
He’s shaking off the catcher twice
Gonna strike you out with a curve ball that’s really pretty nice!

As 2018 comes to a close, all of us here at COMC just want to take a moment to wish you, your loved ones, and collectors all around the world a wonderful Holiday Season and a very Happy New Year!

In observance of the Holiday Season, we will have limited customer service support. On December 25th and January 1st, phone support will not be available, but our Customer Service Team will still be available via email. If you have any questions or need assistance, simply send an email to staff@comc.com and one of our friendly customer service agents will be glad to help!

We are very excited for all the new changes that we have planned in 2019. We fully intend to continue to serve all of your collecting needs like no one else can.

Rich Reminisces: Everything Old is New Again

How about that old axiom, everything old is new again? A few months a good friend of mine and head of the local SABR chapter here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area was giving a talk on his favorite childhood team, the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies and the Whiz Kids. During the conversation, he mentioned how Jim Konstanty, who pitched in 74 games that season, nearly half the team’s games, had an undertaker he knew back home working on ensuring the baseball spun enough.

Today we talk about spin rate for pitchers, but did you know that even back in 1950 they understood that how a ball spun was important? While there are no cards created of that hometown friend of his, we do have plenty of Konstanty cards. So yes, they were aware of spin rate way back when.

Recently, one of my friends posted on Facebook about Babe Ruth facing a shift back in 1919. We all may have thought the shift was created by Lou Boudreau to neutralize Ted Williams power, but instead they had tried shifts nearly 30 years prior.

In the same theme, I was reading in USA Today about how the 1963 Army-Navy game featured the birth of Instant Replay. Well, not so much because it might not have been called instant replay, but when Roger Maris hit this then record-breaking 61st homer in the 1961 season, the play was supposedly repeated almost immediately. While we’ll never know the true first time instant replay was used, the most famous usage of the term came in 1967 when Bart Starr scored on a quarterback sneak behind Ken Bowman and Jerry Kramer. Kramer kept a diary of his 1967 season and because that play was so famous, his tome would be titled Instant Replay. Kramer took his fame, and although his Hall of Fame induction was delayed way longer than it should have been, he is finally enshrined in Canton

Of course, it’s a shame that there is no card of this play, or any card at the time of the Hail Mary pass from Roger Staubach to Drew Pearson, or so many other great plays. Those seem like truly missed opportunities. My one suggestion to card companies is to be more alert for future great plays and get those saved on cards. Not just on sets such as Topps Now or Panini Instant, but in the base sets as well so we can always relive our memories. I’m still upset to this day that after the 1975 World Series Topps no longer did their game-by-game reviews, but instead gave the greatest series of my lifetime up to that point such short shrift.

Although it is nice to have the shot of Fisk coming to the dugout as part of this card, but geez, I was upset then and today about how little that Game 6 was honored.

And yes, even in the card world. everything old is new again and still not keeping up with history.

Rich Klein can be reached at Richklein@Comc.com

Best of 2018: 5 Great “It Sold for WHAT?!?” Cards in COMC History

As we wrap up 2018, we wanted to take the month of December to highlight some of our favorite blog posts of the year. This was one of our most popular new blog series this year, and generated buzz on social media. This story was originally published on 05/21/2018 and is presented in it’s entirety in this blog as well

Over the course of our 11 plus year existence, we’ve seen A LOT of cards. When we say a lot of cards, we mean somewhere in the neighborhood of 52 million and climbing at the time of writing. As you can imagine, we’ve seen our fair share of iconic cards, especially cards that didn’t gain notoriety until many years after we first saw them. This can lend itself to some pretty hilarious historical pricing data when some of these cards sell years or even a decade before they peak in value.

That being said, we’ve scoured some historical sales to find some of the best “It Sold for WHAT?!” examples in COMC’s history:

2009 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects – Prospects Chrome – Refractor Autograph #BDPP89 – Mike Trout /500

As the legend of Mike Trout continues to grow, so do the value of his 2009 Bowman cards. This particular card was listed for sale on February 19th, 2010 and sold almost two weeks later for a fraction of what it’s worth today. These cards are so desirable that we’ve never seen a copy of this card consigned since. BGS 9 versions of this same card have recently sold for $7000.00.

2000 Playoff Contenders – [Base] Rookie Autograph #144 – Tom Brady [BGS MINT 9]

We have seen our fair share of this coveted Tom Brady rookie card over the years. This BGS 9 version was sold back in June of 2013 for a paltry $1254.00. Recent sales of this card with an equal grade have recently sold in excess of $10,000.

2013-14 Panini Prizm – Autographs – Target Red Prizms #33 – Giannis Antetokounmpo /49 [BGS 9.5 GEM MINT] 

Before earning his nickname ‘The Greek Freak’ and becoming the NBA mega star that he is today, Giannis  Antetokounmpo’s rookie cards could be had for a fraction of what they’re worth now. This beautiful Red Prizm RC autograph sold for just $256 back in October of 2016. A Non-graded version of this card recently sold for over $1,700.

1986-87 Fleer – [Base] #57 – Michael Jordan [BGS 9.5 GEM MINT] 

We’ve seen just two BGS 9.5 graded copies of perhaps the most iconic basketball card ever printed sold on the COMC Marketplace. The most recent took place in 2016 and sold for over $11,000, but it is the first sale that makes this card earn a spot on our list.  In the summer of 2013, a BGS 9.5 Michael Jordan RC was had by a buyer for just over $4,000.00. Talk about a good return-on-investment!

2013 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects – Draft Picks Chrome – Gold Refractor #BDPP19 – Aaron Judge /50

In hindsight, a 6’7″ power-hitting Yankees prospect flying under the radar just seems silly, but it’s safe to say that Aaron Judge cards sold at pedestrian prices until #AllRise took baseball by storm last year.  Not one, but TWO of these gorgeous gold refractors sold for right around $30 in 2014. This card can’t be had for under $1,000 just four years later.

If you happen to have sold one of these cards, just remember time heals all wounds. It also increased the value of your card exponentially. If you’ve sold a card on COMC that you’ve regretted years later when a player’s stock rose significantly, we want to hear about it! Share your best “What was I thinking?” stories with us!

Retail Therapy – Topps Holiday & Panini NBA Hoops Holiday!

Welcome back to Retail Therapy, an ongoing blog series where we test our luck and try to beat the odds while showing you some new products that should be available at a retail store near you. We’ve had some fairly miserable retail breaks in the past that you can check out here, so we were hoping to end the year on a high note.

In the spirit of the Holiday season, this time around we decided to bust a blaster box of 2018 Topps Holiday Baseball, and one 2018-19 NBA Hoops Holiday Box blaster as well. A recent trend in the industry has seen both Topps and Panini producing winter-themed products over the last couple of years. Topps actually produces a Holiday version of Bowman baseball as well that is far more festive, featuring Holiday Sweater parallels and Turkey Stamped Autographs. Unfortunately, we were unable to find the 2018 edition locally, so we opted for Topps baseball instead.

2018 Topps Baseball was up first, offering 10 cards per pack, 10 packs per box, and one guaranteed relic, auto, or relic auto per box. More likely than not a relic is to be expected, with the stated odds favoring the swatch over the pen.

 

For $19.99, the 2018 Topps Holiday Baseball is a fun blaster filled with plenty of big name stars and it’s fair share of rookie cards as well. Overall, there are 200 names in the main checklist, with only two parallels: snowflake (1:2 packs) and 1:1 gold snowflakes that drop one every 5,799 packs.

Will the Shohei Ohtani RC with a snowflake design go down in history as one of his most coveted rookie cards? Probably not, but it’s a fun low-end card for younger collectors and completionist player collectors.  The snowflake border pattern is much more festive this year in comparison to last year’s edition, which saw the snowflakes primarily on the upper right of the card.

However, the metallic snowflake parallel returns this year and is substantially worse than last year’s parallel. Can you tell which is which in the two Whit Merrifield cards above? In the card on the left you can see slightly raised texture snowflakes, indicating the parallel. This is in contrast to the 2017 Metallic Snowflake which threw a little bit of silver glitter in the winter pattern on the card. We received five of these parallels and they’re very underwhelming. In their place, we would love to see short prints of our favorite players wearing Santa hats or beards in 2019 – make it happen, Topps!

Oh, what is this? It’s a Holiday Miracle! We beat the odds and pulled a sticker auto of St. Louis Cardinals  Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Luke Weaver numbered to 10! With stated odds of 1 per every 297 packs, we beat the odds pretty good here for our first ever auto in the Retail Therapy blog series. The auto checklist includes the likes of Bryce Harper, Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, and Ronald Acuna Jr, but we’re not complaining!

Onto NBA Hoops, which to our surprise have a very well gift wrapping designed wrapper. Offering 8 cards per pack, 11 packs per box, and one auto or memorabilia card (on average) for $19.99, this winterized version of a Panini staple set should be a hit among casual collectors and younger fans of the game. The checklist features current stars, rookies, and legends of the past.

 

Overall, the card design lacks the holiday flair of the Topps Baseball design, as snowflakes can be found within the photography of the base cards and not around the border. This year’s hoops design is somewhat plain, but the set can usually be counted on for above average photography and it does deliver in this year’s edition. Our 11 packs yielded six rookie cards, with some packs containing two and most containing none. While we did secure a DeAndre Ayton RC, and the Miles Bridge RC should be of interest to COMC CEO and resident Charlotte Hornets Fan Tim Getsch, Luka Doncic was absent from our blaster.

Also absent from our blaster box was an autograph or relic! The Grinch known as (on average) reared it’s ugly head and denied us, taking away from some of the luster of our premium hit in the previous blaster. Each pack did contain an insert, most of which were well designed. We’ll echo our same sentiments about the NBA Hoops Purple Parallel that we did about the Snowflake parallels in Topps – they just aren’t festive enough, Panini! Is a gift wrapping border with a bow in the corner too much to ask for? We think not!

That’s going to do it for this installment of Retail Therapy. As always, any cards featured in our Retail Therapy series will be available for sale on the Blog_BreakHits account! Will some of these items be in your stocking this Holiday Season?

Best of 2018: 2018 Topps Heritage Baseball is Here! Let’s Look at the Inspiration…

As we wrap up 2018, we wanted to take the month of December to highlight some of our favorite blog posts of the year. This one comes to us from blogger and collector Kin Kinsley, who’s work you can check out in the links below. This story was originally published on 02/26/2018 and is presented in it’s entirety in this blog as well

By Kin Kinsley

(Note – Please welcome guest blogger Kin Kinsley to the COMC Blog. Kin is a lifelong collector and accomplished writer who currently writes content for his two blogs – I Feel Like a Collector Again and Bean’s Ballcard Blog.)

It’s almost time for one of the most anticipated baseball sets of the season to hit hobby shops and retailers.  The 2018 Topps Heritage set is scheduled for a February 28th release.  This year’s set design mimics the popular 1969 set, so let’s take a look at the set kids were collecting in the summer of ’69.

Cream of the Crop: The Three Top Cards of 1969 Topps

1969 Topps #533 Nolan Ryan
Combining the career leader in strikeouts and a higher series release makes Nolan Ryan one of the most desired in the set. Even for the poorest condition of cards, you should expect to pay at least $30…if you’re lucky.

1969 Topps #260 Reggie Jackson
The card of “Mr. October” Reggie Jackson is the top rookie in the set. Best known for wearing glasses and as a Yankee, the image of a young Jackson sporting an Athletics vest provides a very different look. Picking up anything other than a poor condition cards will likely set you back more than $40.

1969 Topps #500 Mickey Mantle
Mickey Mantle’s sunset card may be the most popular card in the set because, well, Mickey Mantle. The card is in one of the most common series, but more cards haven’t hampered the price or collectability.


Who’s the New Guy?: Three Featured Rookie Cards of 1969 Topps

Reggie Jackson’s rookie card is the most well-known in the set.  However, there are some other quality rookies in the set:

1969 Topps #597 Bobby Floyd/Larry Burchart/Rollie Fingers
Rollie Fingers is the “other” Oakland Athletics rookie in the set that has been enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  In 1992, he was just the second reliever elected.  Twelve years after this card was released (1981) he won BOTH the American League MVP and Cy Young Awards.  You should be able to get lower condition copies of the card for $20 or less.

1969 Topps #630 Bobby Bonds
I’m sure that to many Bobby Bonds is best known as Barry’s dad.  The elder Bonds accomplished many of baseball’s “first” and held all-time records at the time of his retirement.  He was the first player to have two 30/30 seasons and ended his career accomplishing this a record five times (later matched by Barry).  He also held the career and season records for times leading off a game with a home run, but both records have been broken.

1969 Topps #516 Earl Weaver
Who’s to say that a manager’s rookie card can’t be desirable?  It can if it’s Earl Weaver.  The best example I can give of why is the sheer number of post-career sets that Weaver appears in.  They are all as a manager, as he never made it to the bigs as a player.  He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996 and you can easily find a copy of his rookie card for less than $10.


Shenanigans and Mishaps: Three errors and variations from 1969 Topps

1969 Topps #653 Aurelio Rodriguez
It’s not an error or variation, but the Aurelio Rodriguez is one of the better known cards in the hobby.  Why?  He’s not pictured on the card but instead, it’s an Angels batboy. The switcheroo wasn’t known for a few years so the error was never corrected.  You can easily find this card for less than a couple bucks.

1969 Topps #500 Mickey Mantle (VARIATION)
There aren’t many variations in the 1969 Topps set so I’m sure Mickey Mantle being one of them is pure happenstance.  Instead of Mantle’s last name appearing in yellow, it’s white on the variation.  If you want to acquire this one, be prepared to shell out some good money.

1969 Topps #47 Paul Popovich
The Paul Popovich variations are my favorites in the set for a couple of reasons.  Popovich attended West Virginia University (my alma mater), making it a favorite for that reason alone.  Also, it’s the only card in the set with three variations.  There are two airbrushed versions (thick and light) that the Cub “C” is not visible on.  There’s also a version where you can still see the “C” despite the airbrushing (pictured above).  The version with the “C” showing can command a premium, but nothing too significant.  I find it interesting and reflective of the innocent days passed in trading card collecting.

Best of the Rest: Three “Cooler” Cards From 1969 Topps

1969 Topps #650 Ted Williams
Let’s face it, not everyone that would like a Ted Williams card from his playing days can afford one.  I’ve been collecting for more than 30 years and have never really looked because the prices are out of my comfort zone.  However, most anyone should be able to lay down $10 or so to pick up a copy of this card.

1969 Topps #100 Hank Aaron
I feel that Hank Aaron was pretty decent with the lumber himself.  People think of him as a power hitter but either forget or don’t know that he also hit .305 during his career.  You can usually find low grade copies of the long time home run king for under $10.

1969 Topps #237 Bobby Cox
There are more than a handful of things iconic about the Topps brand.  One of them is the All-Star Rookie Trophy on the front of cards.  Bobby Cox didn’t make the Hall of Fame for his playing career, but he was one of the All-Star Rookies.  This is his only mainstream card from his playing days and you can find copies for around $10.

One of the best things about our hobby is the multitude of ways to acquire and collect. I always encourage that collectors get out there and support your local card shop, but if that is not an option, Topps Heritage should be available today at most retail locations on February 28th. For those collectors uninterested in the pack rippin’ experience, 2018 Topps Heritage should be appearing on the COMC marketplace in just a few weeks. Regardless of how you choose to collect, enjoying the experience is the most important aspect. Happy Collecting!