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

January 11, 2016

This begins our 41st Year of hobby columns

Ted Taylor’s Collector’s Corner

Happy New Year Everyone!

Bowman Draft 2015 Arrived near Christmas

  And okay so one of the two guys on the packaging, Dansby Swanson, is with the wrong team (see related story below) it’s a decent product and helps flesh out the last segments of the 2015 team sets. The other packaging poster boy is Brendan Rodgers of the Rockies.

  The product comes with 24 seven-card-packs (selling $55-$60 range) and suggests you’ll get one prospect autograph in every box (mine was Ashe Russell of the Royals who, last year, was playing high school ball).

  The set hones in on some of the game's latest picks so that makes it intruiging. You may not hear from some of these players – especially the high schoolers – for several years. But it displays a tighter focus on the draft itself rather than prospects that have MLB cards already.

  The base cards are done with both regular Bowman and Bowman Chrome. While 2015 draft picks make up the majority of the content, there are other prospects as well. Reviews of the set in the internet media are not wildly enthusiastic the feeling being that too many players portrayed have been seen before. (Oddly I cannot find a base card set total in any press releases – though each box contains 168 cards, a good many of them are Chrome versions of the base card.)

  Doing a breakdown of my box, I got 40 chrome that were duplicates of the base card. I got 26 player cards that first appeared in 2015 in Topps minor league heritage (so the advantage of the Bowman was that now I had cards of these players in big league uniforms). I got nine cards of players that appeared on 2015 Topps Pro Debut cards (as minor leaguers) and I got seven that were on earlier Bowman cards. Doing the math, out of the 168 cards I got only 86 that were actually first cards (at least in my collection). That’s okay, but 168 would have been better.

Note: Dansby Swanson in 2016 Bowman in Atlanta Braves uniform

  On the eve of the release of 2015 Bowman Draft, an unprecedented move was made in Major League Baseball – the Arizona Diamondbacks traded the 2015 top overall pick, sending shortstop Dansby Swanson to the Atlanta Braves.

  Swanson’s first Bowman card appears in 2015 Bowman Draft, and he is also depicted on the box cover. But every image of him on the box and in the product shows him with the Diamondbacks (he’s not in my box at all) – the team that drafted him. When the trade was announced, the Bowman team scrambled to get Swanson into an Atlanta Braves uniform for 2016 Bowman Baseball, which comes out in April. Now, 2016 Bowman Baseball will include a base and an autographed card of Swanson in an Atlanta Braves uniform.

Topps Archives Signatures 2015

  This box is the ultimate roll of the dice. Inside is one encased autographed (buy back) card. The cover shows a signed Sandy Koufax 1958 Topps. Boy that would be neat to find. But what did I get? A 2002 Topps John Olerud card (12/15). On the web the price of Olerud’s card approaches the cost of the box. But he’s not Sandy Koufax. Having said that, though, collectors are generally enthused about this product.

  In tiny type on the box it says “may contain redemption cards with expiration dates”. If I spent $55 on a one card box and all I got was a redemption card I would not be a happy camper. Simply not good customer relations guys.

TOPPS STRATA – Two cards-per-box

  Originally a popular insert for collectors, Topps Strata has become a set of its own. Selling in the $75-$85 range we’re talking about a box with two cards in it. Imagine. The deal is that Topps promises two acetate hits per box. All autographs are signed on the card.

  In my box are the advertised two cards. One a signed Mark Grace card – very cool, almost 3-D look. The other card is a signed relic of Paul Goldscmidt. The relic is a uniform swatch with an MLB hologram attached so that you can go on line to find out more about it. Interesting to the younger generation, not so much with veteran collectors.

  Among the signed cards, Strata Autographs are the closest thing to a base set and feature over 30 former and current players on an acetate design. Several colorful parallels are also available.

Bowman’s Best Baseball 2015 –Chrome cards

  The pack is two mini boxes with six (five card) packs per box. Only you really don’t get that many because one pack in each box has one (very thick) card in it. I must be missing something. The cards are thick but what’s the deal? One of mine is Hunter Harvey, the other is Giancarlo Stanton. Signed, I’d get it.

  You will find two signed cards per mini box – mine were, typical of Bowman, new guys with whom we aren’t familiar. They are Tyler Stephenson (Reds), Kolby Allard (Braves), Chase De Jong (Dodgers) and Kyle Tucker (Astros). The player cards are a mixed bag of prospects and veterans. Collation could have been better. I got three Gerritt Cole cards (two in the same pack) and duplicates of four others (this is out of 48 possibles). Also got four “Mirror Image” cards – that have two comparable players on each card. Why?

  2015 Bowman's Best Baseball marks the brand's return as a standalone set for the first time in a decade. The product mixes elements in a couple of different ways. The checklist features veterans, rookies, prospects and 2015 draft picks.

  The 2015 Bowman's Best Baseball base set is on on chrome-style card stock. Not surprisingly, there are a handful of Refractor parallels The two box lots (four autographs promised) go for $180. That’s “high end” for sure.

Other New Stuff…

  Topps Platinum 2015 NFL returns as one of those brands that isn't the most expensive on the block (selling in $80-a-box range), and does its best to offer hits at a reasonable price. The set takes a more premium approach given the price tag. Hobby boxes of the rookie-focused release come with a pair of autographs as well as an autographed patch card. The 2015 Topps Platinum Football base set has 150 cards. The 100 veterans are printed on rainbow foilboard while 50 rookies are done on chromium stock. Six rookie stars adorn the packaging.

  Topps Mini Chrome 2015 NFL… other than its dimensions, 2015 Topps Mini Chrome Football doesn't stray much from its regular-sized counterpart. And regular Chrome is largely a spinoff of the flagship set with the addition of Chrome stock. 2015 Topps Mini Chrome Football hobby boxes deliver one autograph, a rookie card in every pack and lots of inserts and Refractors. The base set has 200 cards. Half are veterans, half are rookies. There are the usual assortment of parallels. Boxes selling in the $60 range. Marcus Mariota is the cover boy.

  Topps Chrome 2015 NFL…Selling in the $60 range 2015 Topps Chrome Football is all about its cornerstone Refractors and the promise of one Rookie Autograph per hobby box. That doesn't change, but there's a decent amount of content surrounding it as well. The 2015 Topps Chrome Football base set has 200 cards. It's split evenly between rookies and veterans. All have more than a dozen Refractor parallels plus four different one-of-one Printing Plates. Jameis Winston decorates the packaging.

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