Ted Taylor's Collector's Corner

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    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 ted@tedtaylor.com.

Ted Taylor's previous three books . . .
  "The Ultimate Philadelphia Athletics Reference Book (1901-54)" available from www.amazon.com
  "The Duke of Milwaukee - The Life and Times of Al Simmons" available from www.EduPublisher.com or by mail from TTA Authentic LLC, PO Box 273, Abington PA 19001 ($15 ppd.).

  "The Glenside Kid” – a story about growing up in the mid-20th century - available from www.eduPublisher.com or by mail from TTA Authentic LLC, P. O. Box 273, Abington PA 19001 ($24 ppd).

Click here for information on Ted's latest book . . .
“20th Century PHILLIES by the numbers”
Or . . . You can’t tell the players without a scorecard

June 4, 2017

This continues our 42nd Year of hobby columns

Ted Taylor’s Collector’s Corner

2017 Bowman set hits a homerun…

  Selling for between $90 and $110-a-box 2017 Bowman Baseball is lovely (a collector homerun) and maintains its focus on the key prospects while still paying homage to the designs of the past (I got some, the best was a faux 1951 – my favorite set – of Kris Bryant). The cards are mostly great pictures and for team set collectors like me they are a key building block. Their press tells us that collectors can find standard Hobby and Jumbo formats, each with guaranteed autographs (I didn’t). Andrew Benintendi (Red Sox) and Nick Senzel (Reds) adorn the box and the packs. The hobby box contains 24 ten-card-packs.

  Topps (the parent company) says that they are Celebrating 70 years since the debut of Bowman Baseball cards (in Philadelphia, of all places) in 1948. Now I’m not a math major (I taught English for 40+ years) but when I add 70 to 1948 I get 2018. Maybe I’m nit picking but the numbers don’t add up.

  Led by their well advertised rookie cards (such stars as Alex Bregman, Dansby Swanson and Yoan Moncada, but also a lot of players not even in the club Top 10, many never to see the big leagues), the base set covers also top veterans (again more of the same cast of regulars) and rookie players including budding superstar Aaron Judge of the Yankees.

  Of course, for many the biggest draw in 2017 Bowman Baseball are the various Chrome autographs. I got one, it was Yankee pitcher Chance Adams and it was 35/499. Chance, by the way, was hot in 2016 going 5-0 for Tampa and 8-1 for AA Trenton. Down the road this could be a real goodie.

  I also got a chrome card of Warren Spahn, attired as a Boston Brave, and it was quite nice. Other Bowman cards were sprinkled throughout as well (a 1992 Chipper Jones was the best and a few players from the World Baseball Classic (yawn).

Another look at “Honus Bonus”

  I just finished breaking the packs – and sorting the cards – from a box of Honus Bonus Baseball, the new interactive baseball card set from Rittenhouse Archives and Honus Bonus Partners and it was, if nothing else, fun. Yankee long ball hitting wunderkind Aaron Judge is in there (#418).

  Last column I commented on how MLB is keeping them from telling us that the Philadelphia team is known as the Phillies (imagine that?) and that the team in the Bronx is called the Yankees. How dumb do they think we are?

  In sorting the cards, then, I had to be aware that New York (Bronx) was the Yankees, New York (Queens) was the Mets, Chicago – North was the Cubs and Chicago South was the White Sox. There is a team in Washington DC too – wonder what their name is?

  This card set is a Fantasy Baseball game product. It is based on statistics and outscoring your opponents with a roster you make up, to win cash prizes. Honus Bonus is a 500 card set of current players, each card has a scratch-off code on the back; you use the codes to fill your lineup.

  Geared to appeal to the large number of fantasy game participants nationwide, the 500-card-set also will become attractive to team set collectors because Steve has dealt in cards of players that have never had a big league card before. In sorting tbe box I found numerous players yet to have a card from Topps (but a couple that had Donruss cards) – despite their many offerings – this year.

  My nit to pick on the cards continues to be that they are black-and-white pictures and only the trim is in color. Also missing is any career info such as where the player came from, was he drafted? Traded for? What? I guess the MLB restrictions pretty much ruled that out – though Donruss does it and they have the same licensing issues.

  The hobby press (such as there is anymore) has been pretty mum about it too with a small story about it a few issues ago in Sports Collectors Digest. The story was buried deep and had no page one “herald” of it.

  While missing from the packs are none of the usual big hits out of the box – no autographs, no relics – collecting Honus Bonus cards will be all about the players themselves. One of the nuances of the cards, though, is that there are 1-of-1 cards that highlight a career milestone. I got two and they were CC Sabathia and this one was career win #117 and Curtis Granderson celebrating homerun 15 of his career.

  I like the idea and hopefully the hobby will support it.  For more details on how it plays go to www.honusbonus.com.

New stuff…

  2016-17 Topps UEFA Champions League Showcase hit the shelves in mid-May, with autographed cards, autographed relic cards, stunning base cards and low-numbered parallels for soccer fans to collect. This is also the first time relic cards will be featured in UEFA Champions League Showcase.

  Soccer fans can find cards of players from the Champion League finale participants, Real Madrid and Juventus.

  Unfortunately, autographed cards of Cristiano Ronaldo had to be removed from the product (they didn’t say why). But fans will still be able to collect his base cards, including a rare one-of-a-kind Champions Parallel. Ronaldo is also included in the Steadied Success and Road to Victory insert sets, which also include low-numbered parallels.

  There are a number of autographed cards from some of UEFA’s top stars included in 2016-17 Topps UEFA Champions League Showcase such as Neymar Jr., Harry Kane, Kevin De Bruyne, Dele Alli, Thomas Muller and Gareth Bale.

My latest vintage card project . . .

  centers now on the 1961 Fleer old-timers set. I just completed the 1960 set and now am about halfway to finishing ’61. Card backs were written by longtime sportswriter Art Wolfe with whom I worked many years ago at Montgomery Publishing Company. This project is especially motivating for me since I spent seven years of my career with Fleer as an exec. Anyone with those cards looking to get rid of them you have found a willing recipient. Also working on 1951 Berk Ross and 1951 Topps red backs.

Still seeking a 1950 Bowman Football reprint set (Card Collectors Company). Anyone who has one be advised I have a willing buyer ($100) for the set.

Letters, we get e-mails…

Hi Ted—so glad you’re still doing the column.  I have the ’60 Fleer but you can’t have it just yet…but I’ll keep you in mind… I just sold my ’59 Fleer Ted Williams set but I have more affection for the ’60 old timers. 

Keep on trucking’ and God bless,
Ron Atkinson
Long-time reader and collector

Contact me with comments – or the cards - at ted@tedtaylor.com Thanks for your feedback.

As usual - Thanks to Ted Silary for including this column in his web-zine and to all of you for regularly reading it.