Ted Taylor's Collector's Corner
Ted Taylor has been a life-long baseball fan and collector of baseball cards and sports memorabilia. He began writing a hobby column back in the early 1970s and has been writing it someplace ever since. He was first president of The Eastern Pennsylvania Sports Collectors Club and co-promoter of the Philadelphia Baseball Card & Sports Memorabilia Shows. He served as VP of the Fleer Corporation (1991-97) and was co-founder and the first President of The Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society (1996-99). Ted can be heard playing big band and swing music from 8 a.m. to noon every Tuesday on WRDV-FM (89.3), and you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
for information on Ted's latest book . . .
“20th Century PHILLIES by the numbers”
Or . . . You can’t tell the players without a scorecard
March 16, 2015
This is our 40th Year of hobby columns
Ted Taylor’s Collector’s Corner
2015 Heritage Baseball Cards Clone 1966
I collected baseball cards in 1966 – I was a young father with two sons, under three years old. I used the “son” excuse to keep buying cards because, in those days, an adult who bought baseball cards was seen as, well, odd.
Now Topps has allowed me to, again buy cards looking like ’66 and to do so with my head held high. The 2015 Heritage set is, in fact, a clone of that iconic set. 2015 Topps Heritage Baseball is also bringing back some of those memories with special limited Gum Damage back cards (I bought a box, 24 nine-card-packs) and found no stains – and no gum. A Topps press release says “The cards, if you find one, mimics a stain left by a stick of gum and if you get close enough, you might even smell it.” Sure you can.
The box promises a relic or an autograph. I got the relic, a black swatch of cloth supposedly from Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox (not from any specific game, etc.). The set is five hundred cards and, with perfect collation (there are 75 short prints to muddy the waters) you are a box-and-a-half away from even getting the 425 cards that make up the basic (no short print added) set.
What I liked most was that most cards are actually of players (at least the 216 in my box). Manager cards (hooray), rookie cards (two-to-a-card, boo – some from the same team, some mixed), combo cards called “then and now” (oldtimer, current player), league leaders, something called Flashbacks (treating me to Willie Mays, Steve Carlton, Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock (keep an eye out for people trying to sell a signed “Spock” card) and, for reasons that make no sense in a baseball set a card of India Ghandi (her rookie card, I suppose).
A large product card (3 card pictures) is also packed in and, on the back, it tells me to watch for original 1966 “Rub-offs”. I watched, nothing happened. Oh yes I’m glad I’m not an Astros fan. My box of 216 cards had just one Astros player card (Jason Castro, a catcher).
I will, of course, get another box to try and finish the set. Heritage, to me, is a nostalgic breath of fresh air. Boxes go in the $70-$75 range.
TOPPS MUSEUM COLLECTION 2014 FOOTBALL
Topps Museum Collection football is a true high-end product and this four mini-box, five-cards-per-box, product will cost you around $150. Do the math, that’s 20 cards or $7.50-per-card. Whew. Every pack, or mini box, comes with a hit. Master boxes are highlighted by an autographed memorabilia card and a second autograph.
Here are the treasures I found in my box. A quad relic card of Paul Richardson – three of the four relics look the same (i.e., black fabric), the fourth has some green in it. It’s 139 of 150 and, as Topps points out, “not from any specific game, event or season. Next I got a Martavis Bryant (who?) dual relic wih a signature, same deal as above re. events, etc. Third goodie out of the box was a signed Matt Forte card and the final piece was a large piece of red fabric (the jumbo relic) of DeAnthony Thomas and numbered 25/50.
Not sure about the museum you’d find them in, but the other cards (quite thick stock) include a lot of big name stars – past and present. Even one of them (Peyton Mannng, Aaron Rogers, Lawrence Taylor, Steve Young, Troy Aikman) would have made the acquisition a tad more exciting.
TOPPS “FIRE” FOOTBALL CARDS FEATURE TYSON BECK ART
Topps Fire 2014 NFL Trading Cards was released last week with Tyson Beck’s stunning artwork throughout the set - including the 150-card base set. Beck, whose artwork has been featured at NBA games, on ESPN’s SportsCenter and now on Topps® trading cards. The artist has utilized his creativity and technique in graphic arts to create a unique, compelling football set. Boxes sell in the $70 range.
“Football cards are modern and progressive,” said Topps Football Brand Manager Kevin Eger. “We wanted something that captured that. When we saw Tyson Beck’s artwork on Instagram, we felt it was something we wanted to add to our product portfolio.”
Eger and football art director Jeff Zachowski reached out to Beck to see if he was interested in creating an insert or smaller set for Topps. They didn’t imagine at the time that he would spearhead an entire project. But they got it, and 1,000 working hours later, the results speak for themselves in 2014 Topps Fire Football.
“When I started designing purely for fun at the age of 14 I had two dream projects to work on, designing an NBA All-Star uniform and the other being designing an entire set of trading cards,” said Beck, a graphic artist. “Being located in Australia I always thought the chances to tick off that dream was slim to none.”
“The other challenge was, being my first trading card project I've ever worked on I wasn't familiar with best practice for parallel printing set-up, but Topps Art Director Jeff Zachowski was an amazing help and a wealth of knowledge throughout the whole project.
In the case of Topps Fire, Beck’s re-imagination of the NFL stars puts the athletes in other worlds with meteorites falling around them or running through wisps of smoke.
Topps Fire Football features four hits per box with two autographs and two relics.
TOPPS MINI CHROME FOOTBALL 2014
Slated for Christmas release I just got a box of 2014 Topps Chrome Mini Football. Each box has 24 packs with four cards in each pack. There is one mini Rookie Autograph card per hobby box. As the name suggests, these cards are smaller than usual.
The base set includes 220 cards (110 veterans and 110 rookies). The Rookie Cards will are limited to 25 image variations with the veterans limited to 30 image variations. The base set parallels include Refractors (three per hobby box), STS-Bordered Refractor (numbered to 99), BCA-Bordered Refractor (numbered to 25), Pulsar Refractor (one per box), Black-Bordered Refractor (numbered to 15), Gold-Bordered Refractor (numbered to 10), Red-Bordered Refractor (numbered to 5), SuperFractor (1-of-1) and Printing Plates.
The Rookie Autographs have on-card and sticker autographs. They will feature eight parallels: Refractors (numbered to 150), STS Refractor (numbered to 99), BCA Refractor (numbered to 75), Black Refractor (numbered to 25), Pulsar Refractor (numbered to 15), Gold Refractor (numbered to 10), Red Refractor (numbered to 5) and SuperFractor (1-of-1).
Hobby boxes are selling in the $65 range.
BOOK UPDATE – Biblio Publishing (Columbus Ohio) will release my latest (8th) book “The 20th Century Phillies by the Numbers – or, you can’t tell the players without a scorecard” (302 pages) around the beginning of April. It will be available from them (BiblioPublishing.com), amazon.com and other internet book sellers. By mail an autographed copy costs $24 ppd. From TTA LLC, Box 273, Abington PA 19001.
As usual - Thanks to Ted Silary for including this column in his web zine and to all of you for regularly reading it.