1932-33 Sanella Margarine “Handbuch des Sports” – Curling

I’ve been meaning to share this for a while; It’s the latest addition and oldest card in my Curling card collection, a collection which has reached 11 cards.

This is from an early 1930’s German set called “Handbuch des Sports”, which literally translates to “Sports Handbook”. it was issued in 1932/33 and is printed on larger-than-standard, relatively thin stock. It’s similar to some of the “stamps” of the 1960’s in that it’s meant to be pasted into a book, but you provide your own adhesive. Interestingly enough, the “handbuch” is not just some soft-covered stamp album, it’s a hard-covered book with detailed writeups on many sports. I found this example from a Heritage Auctions lot.

From a North American standpoint, the highlight of the set is a card of Babe Ruth, but it also includes world famous athletes like boxer Max Schmeling and figure skater Sonja Henie, as well as a variety of sports like Polo, Cricket, Ice Hockey and most intriguing (to me, anyway), “Korbball”, which seems to be a sport similar to basketball or netball (on the off chance you’re familiar with netball).  Korbball is apparently specific to Germany.

I was excited to add to my small Curling collection, but unfortunately this card is about 2 3/4″ x 4 1/8″, which means it doesn’t go in the 9-pocket pages with the rest of the collection it now belongs to.  For the time being, it sits on my desk in an oversized toploader.

Here’s the back; Truth be told with this, it’s the old Germanic fonts which cause me more problems than the German language.

Aside from being able to add to my Curling collection, it’s fun to be able to add a collectible from another country.  Off the top of my head, I’ve got cards from seven different countries – eight if you count England and Scotland as separate countries, rather than being part of the UK.


Postcard Show!!! Part 3: The 1964 New York World’s Fair

When I was growing up my family lived in the suburbs of Long Island but all of my aunts, uncles and cousins lived in New York City… primarily in the borough of Queens. A couple of times a year we’d go into Queens for visits, and during all of the driving around I would see a lot of Queens landmarks from the back seat of our Pontiac Catalina. For the most part, the view was uninspiring, but there was one particular area, near where the Grand Central Parkway and Long Island Expressway meet, where the buidlings were noticeably different from anywhere else. I didn’t know what these odd structures were, but I mentally assigned them names like “The Capital T” and “the pies on stilts”. My parents said they were from The World’s Fair, but that didn’t really mean anything to me until I was older.

Much like “The City” refers to Manhattan in any part of metro New York, “The World’s Fair” refers specifically to the 1964 World’s Fair, which had been held in Queens on the same grounds as the 1939 World’s Fair. I attended the 1964 World’s Fair… technically speaking.  I was in a stroller and don’t remember any of it first-hand. Over the years, however, I’ve seen enough of the surviving bits of the fairgrounds to have developed a certain fascination with this international event.

For me, it goes beyond the actual physical remnants of that World’s Fair. I grew up fascinated by futuristic concepts, particularly that 1960’s idea of THE FUTURE… That Space Age-y “Tomorrowland” type of outlook which made us think that by the 21st century all of the buildings would be modular bubbles, and we’d be commuting in our flying cars and vacationing at orbiting space station resorts.

As much as the 1964 World’s Fair resonated with me, I’d never really collected anything connected to it.  It wasn’t until I was getting ready to leave my first postcard show (in 2017) that I I stumbled upon a postcard from the 1964 World’s Fair and made a mental note that when I came back next year I would make this something I’d look for the next time around (i.e. this most recent postcard show).  The postcard above, which shows the “Swiss Sky Ride”, was the first postcard I ran across.  Even though it didn’t represent anything that I personally remember or h ave a connection to, I decided to get it anyway just because it had that World’s Fair vibe and gave a good bird’s eye view.

The Unisphere, a stainless steel 140-foot globe, was used as the symbol of the World’s Fair, and has had more than it’s share of pop culture references, appearing in movies, music videos and on album covers.  Over the years it’s also become an unofficial but universal symbol of Queens.

Picking up these postcards has been something of an education for me. As a kid, I thought of the building in the next postcard as “The Capital Letter ‘T’” building because of it’s shape. When I got older I found out that it was a restaurant/catering hall called “Terrace On The Park”. However, it wasn’t until I saw this postcard that I found out…

…Holy crap, it was a HELIPORT?!?  As you can see in the photo, it’s labeled as the “Port Authority” building and was used to connect the World’s Fair to the airports.  I suppose it’s not surprising that I didn’t know its original purpose;  after the World’s Fair was over, there wasn’t a whole lot of need for people to fly their helicopter to this area.

This postcard features the New York State Pavilion from the World’s Fair. I find this the most interesting of the postcards.

The “Astro-View” observation towers on the left can easily be seen from the Grand Central Parkway are are what I thought of as the “pies on stilts”.  At nighttime there is (or was) a single red light on top of each, which made me think of a cherry on top of a pie.

The large colorful structure at the center of the card was called the “Tent Of Tomorrow”. I don’t remember ever seeing the colorful canopy shown here, I only remember cables suspended in a bicycle wheel pattern. The floor of the pavilion featured a giant road map of New York State.

The Pavilion was a key part of the movie “Men In Black”, appeared in the 1978 film “The Wiz” and was the location for They Might Be Giants’ “Don’t Let’s Start” video.

Sadly, the New York State Pavilion has fallen into disrepair and I’ve seen the word “ruins” used to describe it’s present state.

One last postcard features a landmark which was adjacent to the fairgrounds, used by the World’s Fair and shared the same kind of Space Age-y “1960’s Futuristic” visual design… Shea Stadium!

Shea was cutting-edge for the time;  the stands could be moved around into a football configuration (for the Jets) and the scoreboard was originally designed to allow for images to be projected on to a screen at the top.  The projected images ended up not working as hoped for, and the screen was replaced with Mets and Jets logos (anyone familiar with the Shea scoreboard should know what I mean).

The Mets did their share in promoting the World’s Fair;  they wore big patches on their left sleeves during the 1964 season.

That covers the World’s Fair postcards I got. I’d be satisfied leaving this collection as it is, given that I have at least one postcard of everything I would like to have a postcard of, but I’ll likely keep an eye out for others just to see if any caught my eye.

Does anybody else have memories of the 1964 World’s Fair or of what remains of it?

Striking Out In A New Direction

It all started on Twitter when Super 70s Sports made fun of this 1990 Kingpins card.

The Super 70’s Sports caption on this was “Amazingly, despite exciting stars such as this, pro bowling trading cards didn’t take off.”

I won’t deny that the card is worthwhile just for the awkwardness of it, but two thoughts popped in my head almost simultaneously:

1) I remember using scoring system consoles like the one in the photo.

2) I’ve been bowling in leagues for years, how is it that I don’t have any bowling cards?

I decided to go out to COMC to rectify the lack of bowling cards and found out that there aren’t a lot of options out there.

The 1990 Kingpins set, which featured members of the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA), seem to be the most common bowling cards available. I started out looking for interesting pictures and names I was familiar with… I don’t follow pro bowling, but my parents (also league bowlers in their day) used to watch the Pro Bowlers Tour on TV in the 1970’s, and I sure as heck remember Johnny Petraglia.

Petraglia is a member of the PBA Hall Of Fame, and as part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the PBA, was named one of the 50 greatest bowlers from 1958 to 2008.

Just to give you a look at the back of the Kingpins cards, here’s the back of Petraglia’s card

When I was thinking of bowlers to search on, I thought of Chris Hardwick, the host of  TV shows like “Talking Dead” and “The Wall”; I knew his father had been a top bowler, and Chris Hardwick is no slouch himself, having hosted a web series called “Chris Hardwick’s All-Star Celebrity Bowling”.

So I searched on “Hardwick” and found his dad, Billy Hardwick.

Billy Hardwick was another bowler ranked in that same “50 greatest” list, and was twice named PBA Player of the year.

…But my bowling quest did not end there…

I found out there was at least one other American bowling card set, the 1973 PBA set.

This is Ernie Schlegel, who is also a member of the PBA HOF.

The 50 card set is a bit smaller than standard size. The front is full bleed and features a facsimile autograph.

The back is very rudimentary

These two sets seem to be the main targets of any bowling collection, but there are some other sets out there.  There’s a Japanese set – 2014 BBM “Fairies On The Lane” – which features women bowlers.  In searching COMC I discovered, very much to my surprise, there was an APBA bowling game in 1979.
1979 APBA Bowling 1978 - [Base] #MARO - Mark Roth - Courtesy of COMC.com

I’m not sure how a bowling game like this would even work.  I can’t imagine what kind of decisions would need to be made in a statistically-based game like this, other than whether to try to pick up the spare after getting a split.

At any rate, I don’t know how hard I’m going to chase bowling cards at this point… I would like to get at least one or two of those BBM cards, but I don’t see my bowling card collection going past one 9-pocket sheet.

Does anybody else have any bowling cards in their collections?

How The Metropolitan Museum Of Art Convinced Me To Buy My First 1953 Bowman Card

I’d never been much of a collector of 1950’s cards for much of my life. I could probably write an entire post just on that alone, but it gets summarized down to there being very little overlap between my collecting targets (teams, players, etc.) and the early-to-mid 1950’s.  My interest in these cards has increased somewhat over the past 5 years or so, but there’s still not a lot of specific cards on my wantlists.


OK, so I’m sure many of you are familiar with Jefferson Burdick… He was one of the pioneers of the hobby and later in his life he donated his enormous card collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The Met has scanned many of the cards in the Burdick Collection and have put the images on their website.

A few months ago during my lunch hour at work, I spent some time poking through the images and, for the heck of it, saving a number of images to my laptop for use in my wallpaper slideshow that’s always going on in the background. As these cards would appear on my laptop, I slowly came to realize how nice of a set 1953 Bowman Color is… and while the 1953 Bowman Pee Wee Reese is in a class by itself, most of the card images which lured me in were common cards which featured some fantastic photography… as well as fantastic fake action poses, fantastic uniforms and fantastic ballparks.  In this way I came to realize that 1953 Bowman had an appeal to me which had nothing to do with the players depicted and everything to do with the set providing a snapshot of baseball in the early 1950’s.

When I was getting ready for the card show I went to this past summer, I decided to look for some of the eye-catching commons from that set. Being the first time looking for these cards, I thought I’d limit my purchases to cards which were $2 and under. This turned out to be largely unrealistic, but I did find one card which met my financial goals:

For my purposes, this is the perfect vintage card: this card is in good condition save for the handwritten player name. The writing doesn’t interfere with the photo, but bumps the condition way down so that it falls within my collecting budget.  To be honest, if I had been a kid in 1953, I could see myself writing the player name on the front.  The one complaint I’ve always had about 1953 Bowman set (and the TCMA/SSPC sets inspired by it) is that you have to flip the card over to see who you’re looking at.

Speaking of flipping the card over…

Steve “Bud” Souchock played 8 years in the Majors, mostly with the Tigers.  Bud also earned a Bronze Star while serving three years in the military during World War II.

1953 Bowman will never be anything resembling a top priority for me, but I look forward to adding a number of commons to my collection while becoming more familiar with guys like Hoot Evers, Mickey Grasso and Gerry Staley.

2018 TSR: Combo Cards And Throwbacks! Whoo!

Three days ago I had a different idea for this virtual pack of custom cards. Then I was looking at the checklist for 2018 Topps Heritage High Numbers (which gave me the idea of doing a special kind of combo card), and I also became aware of two throwback games happening this weekend… after that, things just fell into place.

Before I get to those, however, there are some other customs that I want to get in here.

First off, the Red Sox called up Brandon Phillips, who had spent the season so far in AAA. Phillips has appeared in one game, but hit the game-winning homer in that game.

If he got a Topps Now card from that, I couldn’t find it after a quick search… but I love the fact that Phillips is the first Red Sox player to wear #0, so he gets a custom for that alone.

Each week I feature a Met, an Oriole and a manager card. Recent buzz indicates that Blue Jays manager John Gibbons will be fired after the end of the season, so I figured I’d better get his custom posted now.

If you’re not a Mets fan or don’t collect 1980’s Donruss cards, you might not know that Gibbons was a catcher who played 18 games for the Mets in the mid 1980’s. It appears that Donruss was the only manufacturer to issue a card for him during his playing days.

As little as the Orioles have been involved in the international player market in recent years, they somehow have an Australian pitcher in their organization. Alex Wells represented the O’s in this year’s Futures Game.

Wells hasn’t made it out of A-ball yet, but he’s only 21 and had an impressive August to close out the 2018 minor league season… plus he’s Australian and wears glasses, so I’m already a fan.

I struggled to find a Met for the custom this week, as pretty much anyone of note has already been featured. I decided to go in a different direction… Jose Reyes used to be my favorite Met, but now Mets fans ask why he’s still on the roster, and I have to admit, I can’t answer that.

He’s batting below the Mendoza Line, he doesn’t play defense like he used to, I can only think that he’s a favorite of the Wilpons and they don’t want to just release him. Maybe they’ll have a nice tribute at the end of the season and that can be that.

OK, throwback time. The Tigers have been celebrating the 50th anniversary of their 1968 World Championship, and as it works out they’re playing the Cardinals in Detroit this weekend, the same team they beat in 1968. As part of the festivities, the Tigers and Cardinals wore 1968 throwback uniforms, but in an interesting twist, the Tigers wore road throwbacks.

I understand the significance of these throwbacks, but they’re not the most visually exciting unforms… I like this photo of Jeimar Candelario, though, so it was a no-brainer as a custom card. BTW, the Cardinals did wear home whites in Detroit.

The Tampa Bay Rays are celebrating their 20th anniversary this season, and as part of that they wore 1998 throwbacks last night, and kicked the O’s butts in the process (as if that’s some sort of achievement this season).

I’m also not a fan of these throwbacks, but it’s all about the significance not the appeal.

When looking at the Heritage High Number checklist, I had two thoughts about the Combo card inserts. First, they obviously wanted to get as many hot rookies involved as possible. Second, these combo cards would likely feature photos of two players who happened to be standing near each other, or perhaps photoshopped into the same image. Seemingly gone are the days when a photographer would ask two players to actually pose next to each other.

So that got me thinking I should beat Topps to the punch… not only feature hot rookies, but also have intentionally bad combo cards… and this was the most fun I’ve had with customs in a while, so you’ll be seeing more of these.

First up… who can resist teenage sensation Juan Soto with his teammate, former teenage sensation Bryce Harper?

And then you’ve got the young Atlanta Braves’ dynamic duo of Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna!

I’m telling you, that’s cardboard gold right there… or they would be if they were real.  Make 1/1 superfractor parallels of these, and look out eBay!



I Never Thought That Potentially Tampered Repacks Would Be A Concern, But…

Last Friday, I got woken up at 4am by a call from work (I’m in IT) and I proceed to put in a 13 hour workday.  Needless to say, when I got out at 5pm I needed to blow off some steam.

I went to the local Target to get one of those $5 repacks, but they didn’t have any left.  If I was going to do a repack – and it really was what i was in the mood for – I had a choice between an $8 repack of unopened packs, or a $10 repack of 250 cards plus 2 unopened packs.  I had pretty decent luck the last time I went with the 250-card variety, plus I can always reuse the plastic boxes these come in, so I picked one off the shelf.

I was checking it over and the wrapper looked uneven on the bottom, but I didn’t think much about it.  It’s a repack, who’s going to mess with it?  It’s not like someone is going to steal some of the 1989 Fleer out of it.

I opened it when I got back to the car, and started to wonder when the wrapper came off fairly easy.  The last time it didn’t come off in one piece, but this time it peeled more easily.  It also resealed itself fairly well… The picture I took up top is *after* I’d gone through all the cards and semi-carefully sealed it back up.

This picture of the bottom was also after I’d resealed it.

I don’t intend for everybody to get their torches and pitchforks and stage an agrarian revolt at your local Target, I just want to put it out there that it’s possible that these repacks have been sorted through and returned to the store… Even if I have no proof and I’m not even sure I was a “victim”.

“Why on Earth would anyone tamper with a repack?” I hear you ask.  The answer came in the last cube of these I bought:

Yep, there be Harper rookies in some of these repacks!  Also Jose Ramirez rookies from 2014, from what I hear.

Now to be fair, it could very well be that if this pack *had* been tampered with, it’s entirely possible that the tamperer found nothing and returned it… but one never knows.

At any rate, this repack wasn’t as much fun as the last one, but it wasn’t without a bit of value and a fair amount of fun.  Sure a large percentage of the cards went into the recycling bin, but as I don’t drink, I figure this is my equivalent of “knocking back a couple”.

This first card probably falls under some portion of Murphy’s Law… I’m not trying to complete the 1984 Donruss set, but I enjoy pulling cards out of repacks. I appreciate these cards a lot more now than I did in 1984 (although I haven’t changed my opinion that 1984 Topps and Fleer are better sets).

Here’s the Murphy’s Law part:  Even though I only have about 100 out of the 658 cards in 1984 Donruss, both of the cards I got in this repack were doubles.

Fortunately I did need this one 1982 Fleer card I got of Scotty McGregor.

Every so often I wonder what it would be like if there were a “Tiffany” version of 1982 Fleer where they got to sort out all of the production issues they had with the set. I probably still would’ve been the only person buying a set.

Another need with a 1983 Topps Reggie Smith…

At some point i’ll probably turn my sights on finishing this set (35 years after starting it), but for now I just enjoy getting random needs.

Short-term stop!  Gotta love a card of El Toro with the Phillies.

Fernando Valenzuela pitched just 8 games for the Phils, and that wasn’t even his shortest stint with a team;  he pitched 5 games with the Cardinals and just 2 with the Angels.

I love to pull cards like this, because without seeing this card I wouldn’t know that I needed it for my Orioles team collection.  To prove my point, it took me a few minutes to find this card on COMC because it’s not flagged with team or player names, just “Awesome Action”.

I’m pretty confident that the first baseman is David Segui… I’m less confident about the Angel trying to avoid getting picked off.  I’m going to say that it’s Luis Polonia.

1993 Pacific cards were not exactly the state of the art at the time, but they’re oddball-y enough that I like them… especially when it’s Ozzie Canseco, the less-annoying of the Canseco twins (or if not less annoying, at least less conspicuous).

I’m not entirely sure why I scanned this Pinnacle card of Jeff Innis, because the only people who will care are those who were Mets fans in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

The two unopened packs included were 2016 Topps Series 2 and 2017 Topps Series 1, which helped me fill in a few gaps in those sets.  The best card out of those two packs were this “Changing Of The Guard” insert of Kris Bryant.

I even got the advertised every-other-cube “hit”.

It’s a nice looking card, even if it’s a sticker autograph of a Twins middle reliever (even if he was quite good in a number of seasons).

That’s about all I have to say about this. I fully realize that repacks don’t have a very good value for the price, but I still enjoy them… But we all gotta be careful out there, even if we’re buying just a repack.

A Nickel Bag (No, Not THAT Kind)

At the card show I went to in July there was a dealer who had a large number of dime boxes with a special volume discount: If you filled one of his paper lunch bags up to the line he’d drawn on each one, you could have that bag for $10. I got about 200 cards into my bag before my eyes glazed over from thumbing through boxes and boxes of cards, so that works out to be a nickel a card.

The dealer pointed out to me and numerous other people that the boxes weren’t full of junk wax commons, and he was not kidding. There was a wide variety of cards from baseball, football, basketball and hockey, plus wrasslin’, Star Wars, Walking Dead and other cards.

I ran across this 1981 Coca-Cola Phillies card, and even though I already have it, I couldn’t pass it by… not for a nickel.

There were some small sections which seemed like they were taken directly from a box divided by player. I’m not a collector of Hank Aaron, but I couldn’t resist a couple of cheap Hammerin’ Hank cards… especially when one was from the Galasso Glossy Greats sets. No child of the 1970’s can resist the siren call of Galasso Glossy Greats.

These were featured in the ubiquitous magazine ads for Renata Galasso, Inc., the self proclaimed “World’s Largest Hobby Card Dealer”.

I bought pretty much every “Glossy Great” card I found, even though few of the players really fall into the scope of my collection… but even if the players featured aren’t from the 1970’s, the cards from the 1970’s – something which is always welcome in my house.

I also grabbed a Hygrade Hank Aaron. Even though I don’t like this set as well, I just couldn’t pass it up.

I’m not as huge of a fan of The Walking Dead as Mrs. Shlabotnik is, but we’ve watched every season. I’ve got a bit of a thing for Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie Greene, so when I ran across a bunch of Walking Dead cards I thumbed through the endless cards of “walkers” and grime-and-guts-covered people to find any any cards featuring Maggie.

This was the best I could do, but the card will get used as part of the “taxi squad” to fill empty pockets in my Current Rosters binders.

As I mentioned, this guy had a *lot* of Star Wars. I was just barely a teenager when the first movie came out, so while I thoroughly enjoyed the original trilogy, to me it’s just that – an enjoyable trilogy of movies.  I’m a bit too old for Star Wars to have been a childhood obsesson and I don’t collect Star Wars at all…. but I ran across this card of an X-wing fighter, and I have to admit, I couldn’t turn it down for 5 cents.

This, too, will be used as a filler card.

There were a fair number of newer cards in the boxes, including 2018 Donruss. I don’t care about the set in general, but the “Retro” subset is nicely done (for unlicensed cards) and something I enjoy, so I grabbed any I could find.

Two things I noticed about these cards when I got them home… First, I hadn’t noticed that the top of the photo is overlaid with a heavy shading which fades into the photos. That’s an interesting design feature.

Second, they incorrectly have Adrian Beltre listed as “Los Angeles”

I was excited to find hockey cards in these boxes… Not a lot, but they were from the 1980’s and I don’t run across older cards that often, not in this neck of the woods.

Anders Hedberg was among the first Europeans to play at the top level of North American hockey, teaming up with fellow Swede Ulf Nilsson and HOFer Bobby Hull to form a devistating front line for the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets.  Hedberg and Nilsson would later jump to the NHL and the New York Rangers.

This die-cut card is kind of POG-like, but it apparently came well after the POG craze. I had to look it up to find that it comes from something called 2003 Upper Deck Standing “O”.

I have a modest Sean Casey collection, so that’s all I really care about.

Last year I bought a few packs of 2017 Stadium Club Major League Soccer just because they were nice cards for the price point and a fun rip.  Thing is, I don’t follow MLS so the stack of Stadium Club MLS cards is still sitting around waiting for me to figure out what I’m doing with them.  So what did I do when I ran across a couple more of these cards in the dime box?

I bought them, of course.  Gotta make that stack bigger!  The 2018 set is coming out in a couple of weeks, but from the advance online prices for boxes , it doesn’t look like it will be the enticing buck-a-pack price point of 2017.  Probably just as well from my standpoint.

One more baseball card to wrap things up.  Cheap Pro Debut cards are always a no-brainer for me, even if they’re 4 years old.  The biggest name of the batch I got was that of Delino DeShields, Jr. shown with the Lancaster JetHawks of the high-A California League.

This card isn’t going to equate to a car payment down the road, but it’s always fun to have minor league cards of players who “made it” to some degree.

OK, well I’ve got to run off to work now… I’ve got more fun cheap cards to share and I’ll get to them before too long.