Rich Reminisces: Willie Mays

Willie Mays was the definition of a five-tool baseball player. Whatever he did on a baseball diamond he did well, and he did well until he was 40 years old. He outlasted all his contemporaries and made what might be the most famous catch in all baseball history. While those won’t be one of the cards we discuss today, that catch was honored on this 1959 Topps baseball card:

We’ll begin with his 1951 Bowman card. Just as with Mickey Mantle, who also was a 1951 rookie player and rookie card, this card is in the last and more difficult Bowman series. What most people do not realize in today’s world was when Dr. James Beckett published his first price guide book in 1979 there was only a $5 difference between the Mays and the Mantle card.

Yes, you would have done terrific with either card if you had put them away in 1979 and not have them seen the light of day for the following 40 years, but in those days Mantle was considered just a hair better than Mays in terms of pricing.

The next year we had his first Topps basball card. His first Topps card is in the second toughest series of the legendary 1952 Topps set and has never been an easy card for collectors to find. While not as difficult as the renowned last series, these are all pretty tough cards and the Mays is never readily available at shows or through the big auction houses

As you can see this also happens to be a very attractive card design and the attractiveness of the card works well with the expensive price tag. Another of my favorite Mays cards from his playing day is this 1962 Topps Superstars card with Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays.If you look carefully you will see Hank Aaron and Ernie Banks with their back to the camera. Pretty impressive with either group of players I would say. And if you had those two players on your team during the 1954-1965 time period you probably would have been able to, well in the words of famed sportswriter Red Smith, “serving strawberries in the wintertime just about every season.” You would not have needed a lot more help to make a great team.

If you were collecting cards in the 1960’s, you learned Topps used certain numbers to honor the superstars. Usually if a player had a card number ending with 00 or 50 they were not only beloved, but also considered the key cards in the set. That tradition continued for a long time, even famously in the 1985 Topps set when Oddibe McDowell was set up to be card #400, when Topps featured the 1984 Olympic gold-medal team and then Mark McGwire was #401. More than three decades later you wonder if Topps would like that numbering sequence back. 

Another one they would like back came in 1969 Topps when Mays was shockingly given card #190 after a long streak of being a key number.  There were a lot of things going on with Topps in 1969 in terms of their relationship with the MLB Players Union, and I wonder if they even thought they would be able to get all seven series they released out the door. The first two series were heavily front-loaded with stars and superstars, and we can look at that with modern conjecture. If you are really interested I would recommend reading Mark Armour‘s work on that card era, for he has done a yeoman job on the research and appreciates the time from both the kid he was at the time and the excellent researcher he is today.

But without further adieu here is card #190 in 1969:

Finally we end our tour with the last regular season card issued of Mays. Willie returned to New York during the 1972 season when the Giants were looking for a soft landing for his career’s end, and his presence helped the New York Mets get to the World Series the following year. Now he was pretty much through as a player in 1973, but in 1972 he still had one last dramatic flair to his career.

This clip of Mays’ first homer as a Met came against the Giants no less and turned out to be the game-winning hit.

That was on Mother’s day in 1972, and it seemed like Mother’s day was big in New York for baseball highlights. We had this one five years earlier; In fact, it was five years earlier to the day

But we digress, and here is Mays 1973 Topps card as a Met.

Now, I always wished Topps did more career retrospective cards but we were lucky in 1974 to have this “accidental” Mays card as part of the 1973 World Series highlights:

What do you want us to write about in future columns on the COMC Blog? We want to hear from members of the COM Nation! We want this to be as much YOUR column as it is mine.

6,000+ Fresh New Graded Trading Cards Coming to the COMC Marketplace on July 3rd!

Kick off your Independence Day Weekend with a bang!

We’re getting the fireworks started early this year courtesy of COMC seller HawkDynasty! Over 6,000 fresh new graded trading cards are coming to the COMC Marketplace and will all be going live for sale on July 3rd at 7:00 PM PST.

We’ve had a chance to preview this massive collection of graded cards that Hawkdynasty recently consigned and can assure there is something for every collector to be found here! Here are some of the highlights from this massive drop of graded trading cards:

  • Over 6,000 modern and vintage trading cards.
  • Baseball, football, basketball, hockey, golf, Pokemon & more!
  • Low-end to ultra-high end.
  • High-Grade vintage cards from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
  • Coveted Prospects, Young Guns, and Rookie Cards.
  • Autographed, memorabilia, and low serial numbered cards.
  • Pokemon Cards ranging from Base Set to Sun & Moon.
  • And so much more!

This is just a small taste of some of the cards you’ll be able to find as part of this massive card drop on July 3rd:

2019 COMC Baseball Card Fantasy Pack Team Update

Members of the COMC Team are always looking to find new and unique ways to enjoy opening packs of trading cards. Sure, we could just rip through hobby boxes and packs looking for our big hits, but where is the fun in that? Earlier this year we introduced you to our fantasy baseball meets trading cards concept , which consisted of opening packs of 2019 Topps Opening Day Baseball Cards and creating a team based on the players found within.

To make it fun, we’re playing using a salary cap and the player’s real-life salaries, and the scoring system is based on how many wins your team is worth, rather than the individual stats found in traditional fantasy baseball. We’re now two months into the 2019 MLB season, which has been full of twists and surprises. With 1/3rd of the season under our belt, we felt this was a good time to check in and see how our picks are doing.

If you didn’t catch our first blog at the start of the season, we recommend that you check it out to get caught up all of the rules of the game. That being said, let’s recap the scoring format that we outlined in the original rules of the game:

Hitting Scoring 
Every 40 runs = +1 win
Every 15 Home Runs = +1 win
Every 15 Stolen Bases = +1 win
Every 30 RBI’s = +1 win
Every 50 walks = +1 win

Pitching Scoring:
 Every 5 Wins = +3 Wins
Every 5 losses = -1 Win
Every 5 Saves = +1 Win
Every 75 Strikeouts = +1 Win

The 2019 COMC Fantasy Baseball Team

No Surprise Here: Mike Trout Leads our team in offense!

DH: Mark Trumbo (0 points)
C: J.T. Realmuto (1 Point)
1B: Anthony Rizzo (2 points)
2B: Gleyber Torres (1 point)
SS: Francisco Lindor (0 points)
3B: Rafael Devers (2 points)
OF: Ronald Acuna (1 point)
OF: Mike Trout (4 points)
OF: Mitch Haniger (3 points)

SP: Justin Verlander (4 points)
SP: Gerrit Cole (3 points)
SP: Trevor Bauer (0 points)
SP: Blake Snell (0 points)
SP: Jacob Degrom (0 points)
Closer: Edwin Diaz (2 points)

23 Total Team Points

Bench Reserves:
Hitter: Juan Soto (1 point)
Hitter: Max Muncy (1 points)
Hitter: Whit Merrifield (1 point)
Pitcher: Dereck Rodriguez (-1 points)
Pitcher: German Marquez (2 points)

Analysis: We’re on pace to finish the season in the 70-80 point range, which is well under the 100-point threshold we predicted our team would finish at.

Designated Hitter Mark Trumbo isn’t expected to play until late June at best, which likely means that we’ll be replacing him with Juan Soto or Max Muncy off the bench due to not appearing in at least 108 games this season. Rafael Devers has been a pleasant surprise all over the stat sheet, and despite having what appears to be a slump season for him, Mitch Haniger has filled the right statistical categories (runs, HR, RBi’s) to notch three points.

Texas Heat: The career revival of Justin Verlander continues in 2019!

On the pitching side, our Astros one-two punch of Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole have accumulated the wealth of our pitching points. Justin Verlander has nine wins and counting as of this writing. Trevor Bauer and reigning American League Cy Young Winner Blake Snell have regressed in 2019.

We know that some readers of the COMC Blog are also playing along at home. How is your team doing so far? We want to hear from you! Have you found a way to turn your trading card collecting experience into a game? We want to hear about it! Drop a comment below and let us know!

Guest Blog: They Come in Colors – Like a Rainbow

(Editor’s Note: Please welcome Bill Eckle to the COMC Blog. Bill started collecting trading cards in 1961 and renewed his interest in the 1990’s when the University of Arizona Wildcats made their run in the NCAA Tournament with their first Final Four appearance. His Arizona collection and custom cards creations was featured in the March 2002 and November 2004 of the Beckett Basketball magazines. Bill’s COMC username is beckle.)

In 1993 Topps debuted Chrome technology with their Finest brand, which included parallels of the base cards referred to as ‘refractors. When refractor parallels are turned in the light, they display a rainbow effect that ‘refracts’ the light to show many different colors. This new type of card became a favorite for many collectors; however, Topps lost their licensing rights to all but baseball, so basketball card collectors had to look elsewhere for that technologyPanini’s answer was to  introduce their “Prism” cards beginning in 2012 and because of copyright issues, Panini had to come up with a different name other than refractor; hence, the name Prizm. Many collectors still refer to Panini’s prisms as refractors, as they exhibit the same effect as Topps Chrome and Finest refractors.

 Another confusing aspect is that the product itself is known as Prizm and the parallel cards with the light refracting qualities are also known as ‘prizms’.  Therefore the name, Prism prisms accurately describes the parallel cards. The Prizm prism parallel will have the name ‘PRIZM’ on the back where the base card does not. Probably in response to this confusion, Panini has since started calling these “Silvers”, which to date, have not been numbered. Technically, all Prizm cards that are not base cards are considered ‘prisms’, whether numbered or not. 

Each year Panini’s basketball Prizms have added more and different parallels than the previous year for a total of 35 in 2018, and that’s not counting  two different one of ones (Black and Choice Nebula) for each of the 300 players in the set.  Often mistakes are made by eBay sellers concerning the various colors, or they are given incorrect names. I purchased a Fast Break silver card of one of the hotter rookies from a card shop on eBay, but was disappointed to receive the base card of that player a few days later. Another mistake I’ve seen is the ruby wave listed as a red pulsar (#/25), which was available in last year’s (2017-18) Prizm basketball but not in the 2018-19 product. Since there are so many parallels to sort out, an explanation of the 35 different parallels from the 2018-19 Prizm set is helpful.

These two screenshots from ebay show some of the common mislabeling that one can find.

This explanation only applies to the 300 base card set of basketball, not the subsets or autos available which do not follow the same pattern consistently. These names also do not apply across other sports. Panini Basketball Prizms are spread across several box and pack types and these aren’t limited to hobby or retail. Certain stores such as Wal-Mart and Target carry particular variations exclusively, and Choice Prizmsavailable in Australia and the Far East also have versions specific to those regions. 

It is not unusual to see this product for sale with varying names that may or may not be according to Panini’s naming guide lines. Using COMC.com is a great place to see what the actual names are. Even if you are searching for a particular card not found on COMC, looking at other cards of similar types will give you a description of what they are and the accurate names. If you don’t find the information on cards currently available, make sure to check the ‘Include’ button on the Sold Out option on the sidebar menu. This may give more examples not found on currently available cards. 

Designs for Fast Breaks, sometimes referred to as ‘bubbles’, or more commonly ‘discos’were the names for styles of Panini’s football product. Fast Breaks are completely overlaid on the card’s front with small disks or circles, as check with COMC card descriptions will confirm. There are 7 different Fast Break variations: base or silver – unnumbered; blue – numbered to 175; red  (125); purple  (75); pink – (50); bronze  (20); and neon green – numbered to 5.    

You would think color would be an easy way to separate one kind from another, but some see orange as gold or pink as purple.  (I’m not sure how color-blind collectors navigate this minefield). This is where card serial-numbering is helpful. Orange parallels for the last two years have been numbered to 49 and golds to 10. The parallel numbering is one way to tell one type of parallel from another and again COMC is helpful as they list all cards regular numbering as well as serial numbering. For instance, there are five purples: purple wave, purple ice, which are not serial-numbered; purple fast break, and purple prizm, both numbered to 75, and purple pulsar (35)You may see the purple pulsars referred to as ‘gravity packs’, as these were only available in retail drop down boxes. And though there are two purples numbered to 75, the Fast Break is easily distinguished from the plain prizm by the circular disks on the card’s front.

Left to right: Prizm, FastBreak, Wave, Pulsar, Ice

The ‘ice’ parallelor sometimes called ‘crystals’, ‘crystal ice’, or even ‘cracked ice’, are also not hard to distinguish from other types. Cracked ice is a good description, as that is what the card fronts looks like. Panini soccer cards used this design technology and called it ‘crystal’. Previous Panini Contender products were called ‘Cracked ice’ which also had the same look. These names are often used by collectors but may not necessarily be the same name that Panini has chosen to use for a particular sport. There are 4 variations for the ice parallels: pink and red ice, found in Wal-Mart and Target products respectively and both unnumbered; purple ice – numbered to 149, and blue ice – numbered to 99. These last two are found in hobby and 1st Off the Line boxes. 

There are six red-colored cards with the unnumbered ‘ruby’ wave being one of the most common. Waves come in red and purple and are fairly easy to identify as they appear to have wavy lines on the card’s front. Also in red are the previously mentioned red ice, also unnumbered, followed by the red Prism, numbered to 299, red Fast Break (125), red Choice (88), and red shimmers – numbered to a tough 7. The shimmers appear to be the same technology that was referred to as ‘rain’ in prior years with Panini Prestige. The other shimmers, also numbered to 7, are a light and a dark blue.  

Left to right: Wave, FastBreak, Shimmer, Choice, Ice, and Prizm

The Choice cards were released in Australia and the Far East, but boxes can be found from dealers in the U.S. All Choice cards have large circular designs reminiscent of your first days using a drawing compass where you make a circle and using that radius make half-circles within the circle to create a flower pattern. This design was previously in Panini Select products and known as ‘Scope’. 

Choice also has Tiger Stripe (black and orange) Blue, Yellow & Green striped cards, both non-numbered, red Choice prizm (88), Choice green (8) and Choice Nebula (1/1). 

In a class by itself is the popular mojo (25) that is returning for 2018-19. Also numbered to 25 are both the red and green pulsars with the pink pulsar being numbered to 42. There are three pinks; pink ice – non-numbered, fast break pink, numbered to 50, and pink pulsar (42). Pulsars have oblong disks in a tight regular pattern on the card’s front, distinguishing them from the Fast Break design where the circles are more random.

Returning again this year are the green, hyper, and red-white-blue prizms – all (non-numbered), as well as the blue prizm – numbered to 199. Also back from last year are the ‘White Sparkle’ prizms –unnumbered and available in redemption packs, but commonly thought to be a print run of 20. A newcomer in the 2018-19 Prizm is the black and gold striped prizm numbered to five. 

Putting a complete set of prizms together of a favorite player is truly a daunting taskSeveral single digit-numbered cards, as well as the two ‘one of ones’, make it almost an impossible endeavor, but that is what makes it a collector’s challenge. 

Guest Blog: Three Tips for the Returning Collector

(Editor’s Note: Please welcome Mike Sommers to the COMC Blog. He is a husband, father, baseball chaplain, sports card collector, fantasy sports writer at Rotogrinders.com and owner of WaxPackHero.com.  He has collected since 1986, and as a lifelong Cubs fan, he learned the meaning patience and disappointment.  But let’s be honest, mostly disappointment.  The World Series victory in 2016 made him cry, and he’s ok with that!  You can connect with him on his blog, on Twitter @themikesommer, and at various other social media platforms under the name WaxPackHero. )

Over the last few years there seems to be somewhat of a resurgence in the hobby. Sales by card manufacturers are up, attendance at the National Sports Collectors Convention is on the rise, and the volume of cards changing hands via a variety of online platforms has never been higher.

One driver of this trend seems to be individuals who collected as a kid and are now returning to the hobby after a lengthy cardboard hiatus. Many of these collectors are returning to a world which is very different than they left. It can be a bit overwhelming, and sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. That was my exact situation in late 2015.

When I stopped collecting, cards were available everywhere, $1 packs from a variety of manufacturers were the norm, and Reggie Jackson and Nolan Ryan autographs in Upper Deck were the only pack issued autos we dreamed of hitting.

I stumbled across a Dave and Adam’s banner ad in November 2015, and I ordered a couple boxes of cards. It didn’t take long before I had the itch to buy more, but I also realized I had a lot to learn. The idea of hits, dozens and dozens of sets, and boxes that ranged from $50-$500 had my brain spinning.

I found my local card shop (LCS) where I started my education. Eventually, I clicked my way onto the Blowout Cards Forums. That’s where my eyes were opened to a whole new spectrum of collecting possibilities including hundreds of pages of posts dedicated to the ins and outs of using COMC.

Over the next couple years, I eased my way back into the hobby. A box or two here and there allowed me to build some sets. Reselling cards I cherry picked out of the dollar boxes at my LCS and flipping cards on COMC provided the opportunity to pick up some “free” cards for my newly budding collection.

Eventually, in late 2017 I decided I wanted to provide a resource where collectors could go to read about the hobby and share some of the lessons I learned along the way. If it made the transition back into the hobby easier for others, then great! And so, WaxPackHero.com was born! Over the last year and a half, I’ve been documenting my journey, reviewing products and resources, and hopefully I’ve been providing a bit of entertainment along the way.

Here are a few of those lessons for the returning collector.

1) It’s All About ‘dat Base, ‘bout ‘dat Base, no Relics…….

The best and worst thing about the hobby is there are so many products to choose from. If you try to collect everything, there is a good chance you’ll become overwhelmed, and it would require a bigger portion of your paycheck than most people would be comfortable with. Well, at least a bigger portion than most collector’s significant others would be comfortable with. At the same time, all that variety creates an environment where there are as many different ways to collect as there are collectors. The key is to Narrow Your Focus.

For me that focus is on base and inserts. I realized I love set building and having a large variety of cards from my favorite players. I decided my focus would be on base cards and I’d forgo the allure of the auto and relic hits. Base are cheap at my LCS, and COMC is a great platform for filling in those set needs.

Others may decide autos are their thing, or maybe you only want to go after graded cards. Vintage? Junk Wax era? One particular team? Great! Regardless of what it is, find something you enjoy and narrow your focus.

2) #FlipLife

When I got back cards, I did not have an unlimited budget, but there was a lot that I wanted to buy. Maybe it’s how I’m wired, but it didn’t take me long to realize I could probably offset a good portion of my card purchases if I was willing to put in a little work. I started flipping cards on COMC, completing the COMC challenges for store credit, and eventually I started buying and selling collections across a variety of platforms. Personally, I was able to turn “trash into treasure” by taking the unwanted base off the hands of the hit chasers, and helping find new homes for it amongst other set builders like me. This hobby can pay for itself if you’re willing to put in a little work along the way.

3) It Takes a Village……

Or at least a shop full of collectors, or a forum full of posters. Collecting is better if we can share those experiences with others who have the same interest. Many of my current friends are people I’ve met through my local LCS or through on-line interactions via Facebook, Twitter, various podcasts, and blogs. I wouldn’t enjoy the hobby nearly as much if I wasn’t doing it with them. Take a second, reach out, and put some time into building some relationships with other collectors. I promise it will be worth it.

If you’re rejoining the hobby, welcome back! If you’re a seasoned vet, then go out of your way to help educate a new collector. At the end of the day, the more educated we all are, the stronger the hobby will be. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions, I’d love to help!

Social Media Roundup: Spring 2019

It’s been a little while since our last Social Media Roundup, so we wanted to take a moment to get you caught up on what you might have missed by not following our growing social media accounts. The COMC Blog will always be the #1 source for COMC updates, industry news and hobby focused editorials, but you’re missing a lot of other great weekly trading card and sports-related content if you’re not following our social media pages! Be sure to give our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts a follow if you haven’t already done so to stay up of what we’re up to all across the internet!

Facebook: 

Earlier this month we gave away over $2000 in COMC Credit during our annual Spring Cleaning Sale. We probably won’t be doing giveaways of that magnitude every month, so hopefully you had a chance to get in on the action and claim your piece of our giveaway prizes! If not, be on the lookout for future giveaways that are 100% FREE to enter and are as simple as telling us your favorite trading card, or how you would spend your prize if you won!

We listened to some of your feedback when creating our latest recurring original Facebook series, which is our ‘eBay Flip of the Week’. Once a week we’ll show you the most impressive flip of a trading card that was purchased by a COMC member on the COMC Marketplace that later sold through our eBay cross-listing feature for a significantly higher price. Why is this relevant? Not only does this give a glimpse into the flipping aspect of COMC, but it also hints at the types of trading card sets and players that have strong flipping potential. So far we’ve showcased flips of sports cards from NBA megastars, minor league baseball top prospects, and even UFC fighters!

Here is just a taste of some of our recent eBay Flips of the Week:

Twitter

Our Twitter account (@checkoutmycards) gives us the perfect social media platform to connect with COMC members and sports fans alike to talk everything sports and trading cards! You’ll regularly catch us tweeting the best daily sports highlights, historic ‘on this day’ memories, and routinely stirring up discussions about the trading card hobby.

We kick off every week with our Monday Morning Discussion, where we poll our some 12,000+ twitter followers with a question related to the world of sports or trading cards. You’ll catch quality discussions on a weekly basis such as this one from last week:

You’ll also catch the #DailyCheckout every single day, which is our mid-day ongoing series that shines a spotlight on athletes from a particular weekly theme. Recent themes have included MLB Catalysts Week, or players who often spark huge offensive outputs for their team, NBA Finals MVP’s Week, and NHL Legends Week!

Instagram

We can’t thank our Instagram followers enough for all of the love we’ve received in 2019! Our Instagram account (@checkoutmycards) remains our fastest growing social media platform to date! Our followers are very eager to share their COMC #Maildays and their flipping success stories with us, and we’re more than happy to give them a signal boost by reposting their COMC experiences to our growing base of followers.

Our instagram account is also home to our eBay Top Sale of the Week! You asked for it and we delivered! Each week we’ll show you the most expensive trading card sold on eBay via COMC from the previous week. Here’s a small taste of the last few weeks:

Hopefully this small glimpse into our weekly musings across social media will convince you to give us a follow and get involved! Most of our weekly recurring content was shaped specifically based on feedback from our followers, and we’re going to keep that ball rolling! Leave a comment below with any feedback or suggestions that you have for us on what sort of social media content you would like to see from COMC!

Last Chance to Save! Spring Cleaning Sales Ends May 12th!

All Orders of $99 or More Ship Free!

Whether you’re using COMC Credit to make offers on items with your COMC account, or you’re using our shopping cart to complete an order as a member or guest, spend at least $99 or more during our Spring Cleaning Sale and your order will qualify for free shipping!

(Terms: All shopping cart orders and COMC Member shipment requests must contain at least $99 worth of items purchased during the Spring Cleaning Sales to qualify for the free shipping promotion. Sales tax, per-item shipping fees, duties paid, and shipping add-ons such as supplies do not apply towards $99 threshold. All items purchased in advanced reseller mode are still subject to their per-item shipping fees) 

Social Media Giveaways ALL Week Long!
Over $3000 in COMC Credit  & Cards Will be Given Away to Our Followers!

Our goal is to get the internet trading card community buzzing about our Spring Cleaning Sale. So with that in mind we’re going to be holding daily COMC Credit Giveaways and chances to win some pretty spectacular cards! Here’s how you can get in on the action:

Facebook:  Want to win COMC Credit to spend during the Spring Cleaning Sale?  Every afternoon from May 5th-10th on our Facebook page be on the lookout for your chance to win COMC Credit!
Twitter:  Every day at Noon from May 5th-12th on Twitter we’re giving our followers a chance to win one of eight incredible cards including an incredible Mike Trout autograph!
Instagram: Be sure to stay tuned to our instagram account for your chance to win three very hot cards of Giannnis Antetokounmpo, Baker Mayfield, and Juan Soto. Did someone say autograph? 

Win a $250 COMC Shopping Spree! 

To show our appreciation to customers and blog readers, we’re giving back to you! If you’ve made an order or shipment request that qualifies for our FREE Spring Cleaning Shipping Special, be sure to come back to our blog and leave a comment with your order number or shipment request number! At the conclusion of our Spring Cleaning Sale, all qualifying comments will be entered to win a $250 COMC Shopping Spree! Winner will be announced via our Social Media pages and notified on May 14th. 

Sign Up and Save! The benefits of a COMC Account!

Did you know that by simply signing up for a FREE account that you unlock all of these perks and many more:

  • Always save 10% to 15% more than COMC guests.
  • Make offers to sellers on cards for sale on the COMC Marketplace.
  • Keep Items in your online inventory until you’re ready to ship them home.
  • Choose additional shipping services that are exclusive for COMC members.
  • Sell Cards by sending in your own cards for consignment.
  • Flip cards sent in by other sellers by instantly by relisting at a higher price.

COMC on the Road: Catch us in Toronto Next Weekend!

Our second Canadian stop this year is just a week away at this year’s Sports Card & Memorabilia Expo held at the International Centre (directions) in Mississauga, Ontario from May 3rd to 5th, 2019.  We will be located in the Corporate area at Booth #3300.  As always, we will be bringing out Prize Wheel back by popular demand, accepting drop-off consignments, answering any questions you may have about COMC, and much more!

Prize Wheel

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COMC members can spin our Prize Wheel for a chance to win one of twenty prizes including rookie cards of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, & Brock Boeser.  Limit one spin per show.  But remember, in order to spin, you must have a COMC account! If you’re new to COMC, or if you’ve been shopping with us as a guest, be sure to sign up for a FREE account to be able to win one of these great prizes!  All participants will receive additional gifts while supplies last.  Winners will be announced shortly after the Expo via our Blog and Facebook pages.

Games For the Kids

All kids can receive a free hand stamp featuring the COMC shield.  All kids accompanied by a COMC account-holding parent can spin-to-win instant prizes (while supplies last).

Free Giveaways

Something for everyone!  One per customer per day while supplies last.

Consignment Drop-Offs

We will be accepting drop-off submissions at the Expo to help consignors save on the cost of shipping.  Please carefully read the instructions below best practices for prepping your consignment for drop-off:
1) All submissions must have complete and accurate printed paperwork by using our Submission Wizard.  Use the “Sportscard & Memorabilia Expo drop off location” option on step 5 of the submission wizard to expedite processing.
2) Ensure your submission is packed securely.  We strongly recommend one row boxes instead of multi-row boxes (such as 1600 ct or 3200 boxes).  For large submissions, multiple single row boxes can be used and labelled 1 of X, 2 of X, etc.
3) The cut-off time for accepting submissions at The Expo will be Sunday, May 5th at 3:00 pm local time.
4) Please allow up to 7-10 days for consignments submitted at The Expo to reach our Burnaby, British Columbia facility , Your submissions at The Expo will be entered into your account and begin processing on the week of May 12th-18th.
As always, we are more than happy to answer any questions you have about COMC. Our Customer Service Team is available at staff@comc.com to answer any questions you may have leading up to the Toronto Spring Expo.
For general details on the Toronto Spring Expo, check out their website:  http://sportcardexpo.com

Guest Blog: Top 10 New Collections to Start on a Budget.

(Editors Note: This post comes to us thanks to the Call to Arms we put out earlier this month seeking guest writers. Please welcome COMC Member Tycrew to the COMC Blog! Tycrew is a University of Illinois alumni and is currently in graduate school working towards a career in dentistry. His areas of focus in the hobby are football and baseball, but as a lifelong collector, his collection is not just limited to those sports).

The perfect collection is what we all are striving for in this hobby. It is an ever elusive goal along with the oft insatiable drive to find the perfect combination of cards that allows you to take a step back and stare in awe. Most average collectors are not going to ever be able to afford to add the Graded 10 Mike Trout rookie autograph flight to our personal collections. Us mere mortals must abide by budgets and finical restriction. That said, financial restriction does not need to limit us. I put together a list of potential collections that can all be complied while being fiscally responsible. The goal is to to always be adding loads of intrinsic personal value while sending only a little cash. It doesn’t have to have a huge price tag to be the prefect collection.

Bonus) Jersey Cards NBA Starting Five

I’ll be honest, I don’t collect basketball cards and that is why this idea is a bonus. I open packs of them on occasions and then try to trade them away as soon as I get them because they just do not fit in my collection. If I did collect basketball, I would do this: I would find a jersey card for every player on the starting five on my favorite basketball team. It’s a small collection that is highly displayable. Even if you are a Warriors fan, and every player is an all-star, the jersey cards are affordable. You can always expand to the whole bench too with out running out of dough

10) Your fantasy teams

This idea could be a fun one especially if you can get the others in your fantasy league to buy into the concept too. The core set up would involve you drafting your team like normal but, once the season begins, you cannot start the player unless you have their card. There are all sorts of different rules you could add to make this work for you and your friends. To add a degree of difficulty you could make a requirement that all the cards have to be numbered or an insert. It would make the league more fun and add an exciting twist to free agency. Setting up a keep league where you can only keep the player if you have their autograph could also be an intriguing option.

9) The Regional Gems Collection

You would be surprised how many players from your area have a rookie card. Most likely they only ever got a rookie card, but that’s all it takes. This collection usually will stem around your high school. Go back and make a list of the schools from your area. Obviously start the list with your school. Then add the crosstown rivals and then make sure throw the rest of the conference in for fun. Use your favorite web search to find the guys who made it to the big,s and who you need to look out for going forward. Occasionally, you will be searching through a box at a show or opening a pack and find someone from your area to add to the collection too. People in the community will be impressed when you show them, and you will always be able to add to the collection as more guys work their way up the ranks.

8) Home Run Derby Bat Card

Some relic cards can almost seem disappointing when people are only on the hunt for autographs or high price cards. Not in this scenario. The whole goal of the collection is to get a bat card from every player in the most current year (or your personal favorite year’s) home run derby. Even though some of the top players are in the derby, most solo bat cards are reasonably priced, and there are only eight guys with the most recent rules.

7) Starting QB for every NFL Team

To be clear this is not going to be the cheapest collection when you start it. Among all of the ideas on the list this one will have the highest start up cost. This will be a long term investment though. Once you get the starters in the collection, you will only need to replace a few a season which makes it very affordable long term. This might have the best display options of any of the ideas on the list two. A big matted frame with the teams listed with window spaces for the card would look sharp in just about any man cave in the nations.

6) Old Players, New cards

Keep a look out for famous players on new cards. These usually come in the form of inserts or numbers, but can also be autos and relics too. There are many old timers that have tons of new cards that you can pick in in the quarter box at shows or on COMC. Pick a player, pick a team, pick an era – they all will work. Most of these cards are very affordable and look great. The hard part about this collection is it is limitless!

5) Player collection

If you don’t have a favorite bench player or back up or guy who didn’t ever make it quite as big then you need to find one. A player from your childhood who you really liked works too. The only two rules here is it cannot be the hot rookie, or a superstar, and you cannot arbitrarily pick someone for this collection. If you do just casually pick someone you will quickly begin to get buyer’s remorse. I found my player when I was young. Mark Prior was my favorite Cubs pitcher growing up. Not sure why, but he was. Even though he won’t make the Hall of Fame or get his number retired, I still really think of him as one of my favorite players. His autograph is reasonably priced, and I can’t get enough. Find yourself a Mark Prior.

4) In person autographs

I do not need to tell you too much about this kind of collection. This is simply a reminder that not every card has to be DNA carbon dated, graded and personally certified with a COA to be a real autograph. Most teams have opportunities to meet the players with autographs. Taking base cards to those opportunities can really add personal value to a collection without spending money.

3) MLB Team Top 30 Prospect Autographs

This has been my most recent focus as of late. I went and found a website that ranked the 30 best prospects for the Cubs and made a list. I’ve been collecting autographs, but could have chosen base rookie cards just as easily. Spring training has become a blast watching these guys play with the big boys, and having the hope that one day they may become the big names on the roster. It is an evolving list, but without too much turnover, so it gives you the opportunity to keep up without having to build something completely new. Most guys are very inexpensive except the few top guys. You will have a prospect get good and have to dish out some cash but they are most likely to became a valuable card. This collection has the added benefit of giving you a chance at finding gem that turns in to the next MVP and pays for the whole collection.

2) Your college football player

Think about how many players you see in the dollar box at the last show you went to or COMC of college football players who went undrafted. There’s a lot of them and no one seems to what them. Well I want them, or at least some of them. I went to a big ten school with a bad football team. That doesn’t stop me from loving my alma matter and watching every Saturday. To me a lot of the best players on the team give it their best to make the league, but most fall short. That doesn’t stop the printing plates, however. Like with the baseball products, I like to keep a look out for the autographs. This collection is always evolving, and can keep you engaged with the college players you watched and cheered for three to four years. The best part is, unless you are a fan a power house program, most of these players are very affordable. Who cares if they don’t go pro, they were and always will be your guys.

1) The base card set

That’s right. The best collection on a budget is still and always will be a complete base card set. It is accessible and overwhelming satisfying. You can make it easy on your self and buy a box or two of the new stuff and almost ensure you get all the cards (and guarantee yourself a good insert or two), do it the old fashion way one pack at a time, or finish off your set via COMC. If vintage is more your style, you will probably end up spending a bit more, but you do not need to be sucked into grading or only having cards in perfect condition. You can snag lower quality copies via COMC, or go to local show or store and add to your collection. There is probably no better feeling than completing the set yourself. In contrast to many of the other collections, this collection has a defined start and finish which can be a great drive and also a great way to prevent you from over spending. The complete set is the king of affordable collections and I don’t see that changing any time soon!

The Official COMC Fantasy Pack Baseball Team of 2019!

When we’re not processing the millions of trading cards that come through the doors of COMC on a yearly basis, we like to embrace the hobby and have a little fun. Many members of our team have been fantasy sports enthusiasts for decades, and over the last few years we’ve tried to develop innovative and fun ways to incorporate sports card pack and box breaks with fantasy sports. You may remember our Fantasy Baseball Pack Battle League from last year.

This year, we’ve come up with a fun concept to build a fantasy baseball team using packs of the 2019 Topps Opening Day Baseball Card product. Unlike other fantasy games, we’re not trying to score points,but rather trying to build a team that can ‘win’ the most games using a unique scoring system.

If you want to play along at home, it’s really simple! All you’ll need is to two $9.99 blaster boxes of Opening Day and a way to keep track of your team and stats!

How to play: 

  1. Open all of your packs. Separate your batters and pitchers into two piles, then separate your batters into piles sorted by player position.
  2. Build your offense. Your Offense should consist of 9 players (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 3 outfielders, and a Designated Hitter). Choose three reserve players (any position) as well for backups in case of injury. Duplicate players are allowed if a player is an outfielder or listed at multiple positions. (If you did not receive a position player from each position, you may play a player of any position to compensate)
  3. Build your pitching staff. Your pitching will consist of 5 Starting Pitchers, 1 Closer, and 2 reserve pitchers (SP or closer). Duplicate pitchers are allowed. (If you do not receive enough pitchers to field a full staff — each pitcher you received may be played up to two times to compensate.If you didn’t receive a closer, you may play a sixth SP.)
  4. (Optional) Hard Mode: Play with a salary cap and build your team using the league average of $132 million or less by utilizing salary information found on Sportstrac.
  5. (Optional) Ultra Hard Mode: Any player with an real life salary of under $1 million is automatically bumped to $3 million. Players on rookie contracts still provide tremendous value, but not nearly as much as they do under hard mode.

Scoring

The scoring system for this game involves converting your players on-field performance into ‘wins’, with a goal of building a team that can win as many games as possible. You can track your players performance throughout the year using Baseball-Reference.

Hitting Scoring 

Every 40 runs = +1 win
Every 15 Home Runs = +1 win
Every 15 Stolen Bases = +1 win
Every 30 RBI’s = +1 win
Every 50 walks = +1 win

Example: Mike Trout in 2018: 101 runs (2), 39 HR (2), 24 sb (1), 79 RBI (2), 122 walks (2) = 9 wins
A team with an offense comparable to nine 2018 Mike Trout would earn 81 wins.

Pitching Scoring

Every 5 Wins = +3 Wins
Every 5 losses = -1 Win
Every 5 Saves = +1 Win
Every 75 Strikeouts = +1 Win

Examples:
Justin Verlander (sp) in 2018: 16 wins (9), 9 losses (-1), 290 strikeouts(4),= 12 wins
Edwin Diaz (rp) in 2018: 0 wins (0), 4 losses (0), 57 saves (11), 124 strikeouts (1) = 12 wins

A team with a pitching staff comparable to five 2018 Justin Verlander and a 2018 Edwin Diaz would earn 72 wins. Combined with the hitting total, this team would win a total of 153 games.

Exception: Autographed cards pulled from your 2019 Topps Opening Day Blasters are worth 50% less points than their non-autographed counterparts. Why? Because you’re already a winner if you hit an auto out of an Opening Day Blaster, duh! Also, you should be submitting that card to COMC to sell ASAP!

Substitutions: If any of your hitters fail to appear in at least 108 games (2/3rds of the season) during the 2019 season, you may swap them for a reserve player from any position. If any of your starting pitchers fail to make 20 starts throughout the 2019 season, you may swap them for a reserve. If your closer fails to appear in at least 45 games in the 2019 season (save opportunity or not), you may swap them for another relief pitcher.

Our Team:

For this game, we’ll be using the hard mode of staying under the $132 million salary cap.Opening two blasters yielded enough position players and pitchers to field several teams, so you should have no trouble building a team or three to play along. A lot of good players got the snub due to our salary cap restriction. We passed on elite fantasy players like J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, Jose Altuve, Nolan Arenado, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber, and Stephen Strasburg simply because we could not make the numbers work. Our strategy was to divide the money in half as close as possible to balance out hitting with pitching.

Hitting:

Designated Hitter: Mark Trumbo ($13.5 Million)
Catcher: J.T. Realmuto ($5.9 Million)
First Base: Anthony Rizzo ($11.28 Million)
Second Base: Gleyber Torres ($605,000)
Short Stop: Francisco Lindor ($10.55 million)
Third Base: Rafael Devers ($614,500)
Outfield: Ronald Acuna ($560,000)
Outfield: Mike Trout ($17.6 million)
Outfield: Mitch Haniger ($590,000)

2019 Hitting Payroll = $61.19 million

We ran into a salary cap problem after our initial team configuration, which meant that J.D. Martinez and his $28 million contract had to be downgraded to Mark Trumbo’s more manageable $13.5 million deal. Our second and third year players provide insane value for their price tag, allowing us to pay for Trout, Rizzo, Lindor , and Trumbo. We went with the hometown favorite Mitch Haniger as a sentimental pick over a certain player riding our bench. More on that later.

Pitching:

SP: Justin Verlander ($28 million)
SP: Gerrit Cole ($13.5 million)
SP: Trevor Bauer ($13.0 million)
SP: Blake Snell ($1.6 million)
SP: Jacob Degrom ($9.0 million)
Closer: Edwin Diaz ($607,000)

2019 Pitching Payroll = $65.7 million

We had way too many good pitchers to choose from, so we had to make some extremely tough decisions. In the end, we decided that the Houston Astros 1-2 combo of Verlander and Cole simply provided too much value to overlook. Trevor Bauer has in insane K/9 ratio, and reigning AL CY Young Winner Blake Snell is the best deal in the Opening Day set. We round out our pitching staff with the NL Cy Young Winner Jacob Degrom and his new teammate Edwin Diaz, who should still be capable of closing 50+ games for what should be a competitive New York Mets team.

Reserves

Hitter: Juan Soto ($578,000)
Hitter: Max Muncy ($575,000)
Hitter: Whit Merrifield ($1.0 Million)
Pitcher: Dereck Rodriguez ($561,000)
Pitcher: German Marquez ($565,000)

Bench Reserves Payroll = $3.279 million

Admittedly, spending $126.89 million of our $132 million before considering a bench probably wasn’t the best idea. Our team finds itself extremely thin in the event of a pitching injury, with us not having the cap room to add a veteran or top backup pitcher. All in all, we spent  $130.1 million of our $132 million, and it was extremely difficult to pass on some of the game’s best. If we had played uncapped, our team would have looked substantially different!

What do you think about our fantasy game and scoring system? Have you come up with any good ways to turn your trading cards into an interactive ‘fantasy sport’? If you decide to play along at home with us, let us know how your draft goes and who’s on your team! We’ll be checking in with an update blogs along the way throughout the season to track our progress!