Friday, July 31, 2015


I hit a milestone this past Saturday...the 2,500th different person to appear in my NBA collection! This is a big deal, because...well, it's 2500 different people, but also because I have been actively trying to get every different person who appears on an NBA card into my collection.

It's hard work. There are a lot of obscure people who only get on one card. There are also a lot of pioneer era players who only got one card each, in 1948 Bowman, 1957-58 Topps and 1961-62 Fleer; each of those sets is fairly expensive for even the common players. Even with hitting the 2500 mark, I still have almost 500 people missing from my collection. Possibly more than that, considering I find out about new people with rare cards on a regular basis.

I doubt I will ever be able to get everybody who has a card into my collection. Aside from the expensive old timers, there are some people thrown into sets that only have one card extant. Luckily, it's a college only coach that they had sign a SN1 autograph for an NBA set, so it's peripheral at best.

It does include more than just NBA players. It also includes coaches, and ABA players, even those who did not play in the NBA or at least not get NBA cards.

It does not include college issues, multi-sport or unlicensed issues- those are NOT NBA cards.
It also does not count shared cards; there are a couple of people who did not get their own cards. Joe Crispin in 2001-02 Inspirations is the only one not on a League Leaders card I can think of off the top of my head. It DOES count the people who only got cards in 1980-81 Topps, as they are separate cards that happen to be stuck together.

There is also the possibility that I have not counted right, although that's doubtful as I let the computer count for's much more likely I've listed somebody more than once, or missed listing somebody, for example, when I wrote down all the people in my collection, which I then typed into an Excel chart...I somehow missed Larry Bird. If I could miss somebody that big of a deal, than I could easily miss somebody else. I am currently in a multi-year long process of fully figuring out my collection- I started in 2013, and I doubt I will finish this decade.

Anyway, here is the card of person #2500 in my collection. It's not a very good card. The Excalibur set is one of the worst designs Panini has used. Still, a card's a card.
If you would like to see a list of all the people in my NBA collection, just stay tuned for a few days, as it's something I plan to post up as a page up at the top, to go along with the list of people missing from my collection. (I better remove Mirotic off THAT list!) . I also plan to post a list of the NASCAR people IN my collection, I just need to find the time to type it up.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Trip to the Hudson Valley Comic Book Expo

Although I spend my time working with my card collection, comic books have always been in my life. My brother read me my first comic book when I was 5 days old, and 30 years later, I'm still reading them! I don't really get many new ones anymore, but I continue to reread old ones and there are some I've had for decades that I still haven't read yet- but I will, soon, although that's a topic for another day and perhaps even another blog.

Today they held the first Ultimate Comic Book Expo and Trade Show at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, NY. It was a small show, but it was a good one. I ended up finding some comics I've been looking for for nearly a decade (I didn't know about them when they came out, they are kind of an oddity- more below). I hope they do another because we had a lot of fun! And of course I managed to get some cards, too, because you never have comic shows without cards, naturally.

I got to meet Fred Hembeck, who I've been a fan of for years. His humorous art has been providing laughs for more than 20 years now, and he actually is from the same small town I am from. He had a binder full of sketch cards at very reasonable prices, and I had to bring home the Marvel Family. The original Captain Marvel is my all time favorite super hero.

I also brought along some of those white cards that are put into packs to prevent feeling for relic cards- they are sturdy, they are not glossy, and they are great for autographs.
This is the very first time in my life I've ever asked for an autograph of someone who is not a race car driver.

We also met Charles Barnett III, an artist/inker who I was not as familiar with but he does good work and is a very friendly guy. I got an autograph from him as well...
...and I got an art print...also the first in my collection. (he signed that as well). The character is Lady Blackhawk, who is most known for being one of the Birds of Prey. A character and title I enjoyed very much. This is not card sized, it's a full page sheet.
We also met Todd Dezago. He was the original artist on Young Justice, but I have not scanned my comic collection yet so I can't show any of his work. I also got an autograph from him.
All three creators that I spoke to were friendly and nice, definitely a plus.

I found some Star Wars cards, of course. I got this box...I didn't realize that they were so large. Each card is the same size as the box. They are now the physically largest cards in my collection.
The Jeff Burton card, which is a card I just happened to have handy as I recently scanned the back of it, is a standard sized card!
And yes, in case you are wondering, I really did tape my scanner back together after the lid broke still works!

And I also got the first series of Star Wars cards from Metallic Impressions. And they aren't rusty, which is a good thing, as the Metallic Impressions cards have a tendency to rust.

Here are some random comics I picked up. I am not sure if I needed them all- my wantlist got messed up as I forgot to remove some comics after hunting them down, and then mixed them up with the rest of my collection, so I basically have to recreate it. Smack myself upside the head for that one. I am sure I need the movie adaption on the left, and I'm pretty sure about the two in the middle. It's the Crimson Empire Handbook that I am not sure on. It's a fairly rare comic, so I figured for $5 I was going to take the chance and get it, and if it's a duplicate, maybe I can trade it away later.
This next set was the big find of the day. I have been hunting these books for years...I first found out they existed around 2006 or 07, when I found one of them at a comic shop in Toledo, Ohio, when I was out there for the big model car show I used to be able to go to. They are a bit unusual, in that they aren't standard comics, nor are they standard novels. They are mostly prose with some full page comic style art mixed in. I have only one of them, in soft cover, but I've never read it as it is part of a series and I didn't want to read only part of the story with no chance of reading the rest. So I've been on the lookout for however many years it's been since I found the first one- I don't even remember which one that was, but I think it's the one on the left- and I finally found them. It threw me also because I did not even know they were available as a hardcover. I was looking through a longbox of Star Wars comics- the four above were the only ones I pulled to bring home- and my brother says to me "What are those Star Wars hardcovers there?" and it was what I was looking for. Couldn't get any better than that! The same dealer that had the comics is also who I got the Master Visions cards from.

Here are some pictures from the show-
Batman with Batmobile
Captain America Mustang

Back to the Future DeLorean

Me and a Stormtrooper. I'm on the right.

 Girl dressed as Harley Quinn
Made entirely of Legos

Also made of Legos

And then, to top it all off, we go to Target, and I get the new Panini Excaliber set...where I pull my first card of Nikola Mirotic, making him the 2500th different person in my NBA card collection. I have not scanned it yet, it will probably lead to it's own post shortly.

Today was a VERY good day!

If you guys want to read more posts about comics, that could be arranged, by the way.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

No Computer? Time to sort some cards!

Back on July 4th, I went to turn on my computer...and I got the message that the fan had died and it was shutting off to protect itself unless I manually overwrote that response. I did, just long enough to back up my stuff, and then it was down, for more than a week. I wasn't even able to drop it off for repairs until a week after it had died. (the last two times I had my computers worked on, they died within a few months of the so-called repairs, so I may end up being offline again soon, although I hope not!)

With no computer, I decided it was time to do some sorting. I have been putting off this sorting project for some time- since 2012 to be exact- there was always something to scan that I hadn't scanned before that seemed like something more important to do.

To explain- between 2009-11 I scanned my entire NASCAR trading card and non-sports card collection, but fronts only. When I joined the Database in 2012, I decided shortly after that I would scan card backs. By time I decided to scan the backs I had already scanned the fronts of about 40,000 cards. I've been playing catch up ever since. I finished the NBA cards I had done the fronts of in June, and I have done the majority of the non-sports that has not been posted to the Database already by somebody else.

To make it easier to get the cards scanned and posted, I decided to sort by card brand. I've been collecting since 1988, and I've NEVER sorted by brand before. I've sorted by set, by season, by card subject, but never brand. It turned out to be a lot of fun.

I mostly photo-documented the process, which you can see below...

Due to space limitations, I had to combine some. For example, all Upper Deck sets are combined (the UD produced Maxx sets in with Maxx though), Racer's Choice was mixed with other Pinnacle products, etc. This first image was what I got sorted on the first night I started.

 Getting higher...

 VIP is already taking a lead...
 Maxx and Press Pass were both broken into two stacks.

 Now the stacks are really getting high. The VIP stack would eventually top out at over 2 FEET high!

 My entire NASCAR collection is housed in 5000 count boxes. I'm not sure how many, due to the fact that I have them split up into multiple boxes based on their scanning status (fronts only, or both). It's at least 6, which doesn't really add up as I "only" have 26,000 NASCAR cards, so it should not take that many. The box ratings don't take into account that there are different thicknesses of cards- look at the Club Maxx 3-D Acrylic card in the second column from the top- it's thickness is equal to 15 standard Maxx cards. This was the last box I needed to sort.

 This is the photo of them all out on the table. Look how small and far away the 1994 Power stack (Harry Melling on the top right) is compared to the VIP stack, which turned out to be the largest, since I split Maxx and Press Pass flagship. Putting the cards onto the stacks behind the tall ones was not always easy- I put the Press Pass brands in the front row but they should have been in the back row.

 If you are studying the photos (yeah, I know, not likely) you may notice that I moved the Others stack from the very bottom right to in the middle more. It got so high that moving to and from the table got difficult, and I also needed something to balance the Action Packed stack against.
So, there are the sorting photos. After this, I made a list of every NASCAR set completed on the Database- luckily, my mom's computer is still working- and then I sorted each brand or, more accurately, stack since several brands were combined. Legends, visible in this photo on the bottom right with Dale Jarrett on top, is smaller than it proportionately is in my collection because I've already pulled and scanned quite a few of these.

Keep in mind that all the cards in these photos are only the ones I need to scan the backs on- the ones I have done the backs already are not in these photos. (They take up 1 and a half of the 5000 count boxes shown above.)

I put the cards that were already posted to the Database back into the 5000 count boxes- they took up almost two of them, only one and a half columns in one box remained- and I put the ones I need to work on into other boxes, which I did not photograph.

I finished sorting the NASCAR cards and still had time before my computer would come back to me. I decided to prep some more cards for typing into my collection charts. I've mentioned a few times that I am way OCD about my collection. I don't just rely on the Database to know what I have- I have paper listings for my NBA, NASCAR and Non-sports collections, and someday I will probably write up listings for the hockey, baseball and football as well. In fact, if I was not going to get my computer back when I did, I was planning to start a paper listing for the hockey cards.

I have a complete listing of my NASCAR cards like this below, and I am working on recreating one for my NBA collection- I used to have something similar, with not as much detail, but I lost it to a floppy disk crash- yeah, I've been at this for a while!

These screencaps are of a random letter in my hockey listing, and below that is the page where I keep track of how many cards I have for each person. It's color coded, parallels are blue, inserts are red, etc.

They are a little hard to read due to being screencaps of my entire screen, but you can see them bigger by clicking on them.

Here are the hockey cards I had scanned since the last time I updated the Excel chart screencapped above- I ONLY type in cards after they have been scanned fully, for any subject. By being so strict it keeps me from getting mixed up on which cards I need to do or not.
Since I had some extra time to kill, without a computer, I put them fully in alphabetical order; I normally only sort them by letter, then sort each letter, and then just type them in the order that they come up in the stack. It's faster that way, but I had the time this time to prep them fully. Unlike when I do a large sorting, I didn't arrange the letters in any order. Normally I do it so that the large letters don't block off the smaller ones, but with so few cards here I didn't bother, they are just in whatever order they came out of the case I have them stored in; the football below and the final topic at the bottom are also just how ever they came out of the case.

I also did this for the football cards I had scanned since the last time I updated the NFL excel chart, but I forgot to take a photo. There are less of them than there are of hockey, and it went by so fast they were already put away by time I remembered I wanted to take a photo.

Then...I decided to sort my non-sports cards. That was something I have never done before. I only sorted the ones that have been scanned fully, so it's only about half of my collection. I decided for now to only sort "real" people- a significant portion of my collection is comic book and Star Wars based- they will get sorted at some point, but not now. (I got my computer back while I was doing this sort so naturally I decided to sort the rest later) I will be creating the Excel file as shown above from scratch, likely later today. I really don't have a lot of non-sports cards that show real people, although the cards here range in age from 1910-(I think) 2014. Most of the cards I have of US Presidents were already done by somebody else, like the 2004 Upper Deck History of the United States set which I bought a factory set of a few years ago.
I was surprised to find that letter H was actually the largest. Q, X and I are represented by only a single card. There are some others that were not sorted because they are oversize, and would not fit into the cases I have them in, they will be added as I type them in.

I do have a dilemma. There are several non-sports people included in the 2012 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions set that I have. I am unsure if I want to list them with my non-sports cards, or if I want to list them with the multi-sports cards only; when non-sports people appear in sports sets, I count them only with the sport they are in (for instance, Topps included celebrities in several NBA sets, and Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and both Bushes appear in NASCAR sets); yet, when athletes appear in non-sports sets I count them as separate listings under Non-Sports, with a notation in the Excel chart (which I have not created yet) to also see whichever sport they are in; every major and several minor sports has someone in my non-sports collection except hockey. I just can't decide how I want to handle the multi-sport sets, right now, they are counted as a whole, as Multi-Sport. I am open to input.

Eventually I will also create excel charts for my Indy, drag racing, Olympic, NCAA basketball, and whatever else I can come up with. I don't know if I should create one for Multi-Sports or integrate them into whichever sport they represent, with a listing for miscellaneous for the others included from time to time, especially in the Sports Illustrated for Kids sets.

Thanks for reading, and hopefully offering input!

Friday, July 3, 2015

A card set I thought I would never be able to add to my collection

There are some specific cards that I know I'll never be able to afford. There are very few Sets that I could say that about. Today, July 3rd, one that I thought I would never get, that I could never afford...arrived in the mail!

That is the 1972 STP set. The very first NASCAR set ever issued!

A promotional issue, issued by STP and handed out at tracks. They are rare. They normally sell for anywhere between $90 and $200 per card, and depending on driver. My limit is $20 on a specific card...and when I found one of these for that price, I jumped on it!

It arrived today, and features Elmo Langley, who drove his own cars, later owned cars for others - almost always #64 - and later became NASCAR's pace car driver until he was felled by a heart attack in 1996. He also won the famed Legends race in 1991 held at the Winston.

I know I will probably never complete this set - at least not without winning the lottery - even though it's only 11 cards. But I am thrilled to have this one, and to have this set, in my collection.

The card is pretty simple, but for a promotional issue, of that time in particular, it's got more production quality than many cards that came later.

I also got three NASCAR promo sets in the mail, and an NBA autograph, but those will (may) be covered at another time. This STP card deserves a post all it's own.

I have been feeling really bad lately...but I am on the proverbial cloud nine due to this one!

I need to do a little research on this's listed as 1972 everywhere...but I think it may actually be from 1971. Referencing the stats at the start of the 1971 season just adds to my feeling that it may be from 1971 instead of 1972.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Throwback Thursday: An Explosive return

I have not done a Throwback Thursday in a while. Follow through is not my strong suite.

Here's an explosive post- downright radioactive, in fact!

From 1954 comes Topps Scoop, a set of various historical subjects done up as newspaper clippings. All cards feature drawings on the front, a couple have actual photos on the back. Originally the card fronts had some sort of black covering over the top of them, but I am not real sure how that works/worked.

This copy of the card, that I added to my collection in June, is slightly misprinted on the back. You can see the black stripe from another card at the top and part of the black stripe from this card is missing.

By the way....those boats there are actually full size battleships! The test was to determine the effects a nuclear bomb would have on battleships. (it devastated them)

It also gave it's name to the Bikini. The outfit was named after the island the test was held at. This card comes from 2011's Topps American Pie, the most recent historical subject set Topps has produced, although some of their choices best. I actually pulled this card from my first retail pack. The Scoop card above is slightly smaller than standard size; in the mid 1950s a standard size hadn't been chosen yet.
Thanks for reading!