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), or you can email him at ted@tedtaylor.com.

Ted Taylor's latest 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).

October 8, 2014

This is our 39th Year of hobby columns

Ted Taylor’s Collector’s Corner

Bowman 2014 Chrome Baseball Delivers

  The 2014 Bowman Chrome Baseball issue is not only very attractive, but it delivers on a substantial number of “first and rookie” cards for the investment minded collector.

  With Pirates young star Gregory Polanco on the packaging the box brings you 18 (4 card) packs and promises two Chrome autographs in every box. In my case the signatures belonged to Jacob May of the White Sox and Nick Kingham of the Pirates. Will they ever be worth anything? Only time can tell you that. In the meantime collectors can enjoy their boxes for what they contain.

  While the concentration is mostly on rookies, there are, as usual cards of current big leaguers in the mix. The base set features 220 cards. This breaks down to 50 rookies and 170 veterans.

  Subsets include die-cuts (which are a bear to keep pristine because of so many sharp angles, a smaller version chrome card (sized like 1951 and 1952 Bowman) and a chrome flashback card in the 1989 format (mine was Jason Kipnis). The box is going in the $55-$60 range.

Topps Heritage Baseball explores the minor leagues

  The annual Topps Heritage minor league issue brings you a plethora of young stars – all in their minor league uniforms. Well almost of them are young stars because in a quirky (and fun) move Topps has issued a card of Manny Ramirez who, this season, played and coached in the Chicago Cubs farm system. This odd ball card may, one day, be a very tough item to find since some feel he’s Hall of Fame maternial (his .312 lifetime batting average is serious consideration material. Kids won’t care, grownups will chuckle, no one will keep it).

  As a Phillies fan the fact that I only found two cards of future players was a disappointment, on the other hand there are loads of cards of the Astros, Yankees and Cubs. The itty bitty type at the bottom of the card – not for those wearing glasses - tells you the player’s affiliation. The team names are a hoot, too and are almost worth the price of the purchase alone.

  The box heralds two autographed cards and I got two – Robert Hefflinger (Braves) and Wyatt Mathisen (Pirates). The down side is that both are those transparent tape autographs so the card was never actually signed. My memorabilia card was a swatch (you know the drill, not from any specific game, event or season) bearing the likeness of Kyle Crick (Richmond Flying Squirrels – and Giants). I also got a hat logo patch of the Lakewood Blue Claws with a picture of J. P. Crawford on it.

  The base set has a total of 500 cards, the final 75 of which are short prints – a turn-off to set builders, an incentive for collectors who seek out scarce cards (Note: I’m in the former group). The design is inspired by the attractive1965 Topps Baseball, which is recognizable for the team pennant at the bottom of the card. Base set variations fall under four categories. Sticking with tradition are "error" card variations that recreate mistakes and quirks that were originally made in the 1965 set. Others include Throwback Uniform Variations, Action Image Variations and Logo Variations. To be candid, even though I broke down the box I have no idea if I got uniform variations, action image variations or logo variations. While these would be instantly recognizable with major league cards these are minor league cards so who knows a variation?

  There are 24 packs in the box (9 cards each) so to complete even the base set sans variations would require the purchase of two boxes (assuming perfect, but different, collation). Packaged in the box were three cards that give me a shot at being signed by the Corpus Christi Hooks for a one-game experience (and a Topps card) next year. I’m better I won’t be going to Texas.

  My box cost me $76 (including shopping) and you have to understand it’s not so much about the investment value but the fun that comes in breaking the packs.

  2014 Topps Finest football sees the return of one of the hobby's longest running brands. It will cost in the mid-$50 range and in the mini box you get for that price are six packs), five cards. So, yes, this is a high end product. Blake Bortles of the Jacksonville Jaguars adorns the packaging. Chromium card stock, rookie autographs and Refractors once again take center stage.  Like recent years, 2014 Topps Finest Football boxes come in the form of two six-pack mini boxes. Each master box promises a Rookie Refractor Autograph Patch Card and an Autographed Jumbo Relic.The base set has 150 cards, 100 veterans and 50 rookies.

  Topps 2014 UFC Champions brings you twenty 10-card packs. It also treats you to five autograph, memorabilia or autographed relic cards per box. 2014 Topps UFC Champions appeals to collectors because they have a more reasonable price tag and a configuration suitable for set builders. The set focuses on more than 20 years of MMA history. It spotlights both current and past champions as well as some of the sport's rising stars. The base set comes with 200 cards. A hobby box sells in the $75 range.

  Topps 2014 complete football sets went on the market this month. For $49.99 you can buy the complete 440 card set of base and subset cards and, as a bonus, you get a five card assortment of rookie variation cards. A cool Christmas gift, I’d think.

  Good guy comment. I met former Eagles star and now radio personality Ike Reese at Lee’s Hoagie House in Horsham for their first annual “Hoagie Bowl” (eating contest) in mid September. Reese and I were judges of the event (which benefits Philabundance). Ike is a good guy, posed for endless photos, engaged spectators in conversation and signed countless autographs.

  BaseballPlayoffs is what we have left, the football season is hot - Always happy for your comments on collecting topics, write me at: ted@tedtaylor.com. Thanks to Ted Silary for including this in his web zine and to all of you for regularly reading this.