Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Yet more highlights from the collection I bought

It's been a while since I shared some of the good stuff from that collection I bought in September...I've been so busy with my mystery project that I have not really done a whole lot of scanning this month. Only what needed to get posted to the Database. Fighting a little burnout on the mystery project got me scanning again, so here's some more highlights....
This set, from 1994-95 Hoops, is one of the earliest parallels of an insert. I've been wanting an example of this set since I began collecting and heard about them, but it took me until this collection to get my first. I've now got two!

 The Ultra Power insert from 1994-95 Ultra is a good one. I'm close to completing it now. It has large metallic sparkles in the clearcoat on the card.
 This just scanned well. Was well received when I posted it on Twitter so here it is again.
 There were several cards from 1993-94 Panini Stickers. I find that it's very rare to find stickers in the wild- this is the first time I've ever gotten any mixed in with other cards. There were a handful of examples of this set. I wish they showed up in repacks.
 I added a bunch of the Z-Cling parallels from 1996-97 Z-Force. Unfortunately they were only in series 1. It sets off my OCD when a parallel is only in one series, and Fleer did that several times in this era.
 Another from the Z-Cling. My all time NBA jersey design.
Another super sparkly Kemp. The lightning bolts are embossed. This is a 10 card insert out of 1998-99 Fleer Tradition, but I believe this is my first from it.

 Genuine Article is a one-year only college release that was pretty much run out of the hobby. This is an autograph, but it's probably not DeJuan Wheat's autograph. They were known for having autographs with the player's name mis-spelled!
 This looks great in a scan, but it looks even better in person. My second of this insert, I pulled the Garnett when new.
A cool insert with a textured front. It's also SN, and my copy is SN444/1000!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Sets in my Collection #34: 1951 Berk Ross Hit Parade of Champions

Another set that's not in chronological order due to my missing it when I created my overall set collection Excel chart. This is a multi-sport set, and for some unknown reason, it mixes professional sports with college images of players who were by then pros. My only card, of the 72 card set, is of Bob Cousy, who in 1951 was already a member of the Boston Celtics, joining the team in 1950. He would go on to revolutionize the point guard position, so much so that players today are still compared to his legendary exploits. The majority of the set is of baseball, but it also includes basketball, hockey, football, track & field and boxing.

The cards are smaller than standard size, and were originally two card panels, most of which have since been separated. I got this one as a single in a toploader sometime in the 1990s, but I no longer know exactly when or where. You can barely see the perforations on the left side of the front scan.

Note: my computer died. Trying to get to ten posts for the month, I'm pulling from my drafts.

Monday, October 22, 2018

It's not all Greek to me

I don't really talk about it much, because there's not much presence in the card world...but ancient history is actually my favorite thing. Not cards, not sports, not even cars.

Yesterday, my brother took me on a trip that turned out to be one of the greatest days ever.

It's not really well known, but Fordham University in the Bronx has a small museum called the "Fordham Museum of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Artifacts", which I had no idea existed. Now I know...I hated to leave even though I saw literally everything in there at least twice. Nothing in the museum is newer than around 400 AD.

I can't really put into words what this all meant to me...I put it to my brother on the ride home, that if I had to choose between this museum and the Adirondack Nationals (my favorite day of the year), the Daytona 500, or the NNL East- THIS would win. THAT's how important to me this is. I would give up things I would never miss for this.

I've seen Roman and Greek artifacts before. Truth be told, I have some in my collection. (You can find Roman coins for under $10 if you are willing to accept pieces in extremely low grades. I am!) I've never seen Etruscan artifacts. When I found out the name of the museum I was already on a historical high. I knew it would be incredibly was more than I could have imagined. And it was more than just Roman, Greek and Etruscan, although they made up the vast majority. There was also Egyptian, Byzantine, and...what I think may have impressed me most...a Cuneiform tablet from ancient Babylon, dating to 2100-2000 BC, which is more than 4000 years ago! It's now the oldest object I've ever seen. Cuneiform is the earliest form of writing known. Everything we know...everything we do...even the concept of words in this very post...all of it begins with Cuneiform writing. It's funny too, because it's one of the smallest and least adorned items in the entire museum. It's just a small clay square that would easily fit in the palm of your hand!

Of course, while that was the most shocking...I can't say it was my favorite thing in there. There's just so many to choose from. The artistry of the ancients is mind-boggling. Every item in there was my favorite. 

Unfortunately for my posting them, the ancient Greeks really did not like pants. Most of them aren't wearing any. So I can't really show most of the work on Facebook or here. (Well, I COULD show it here, but...). I am, however, posting them to my website, which I will provide a link to at the bottom, so if you want to see them, you can. Almost all of it is male nudity, but not all, by the way.

I didn't even touch on the fact that this was my first time in NYC since 1995, and this was the first time my brother has ever driven to the City! It won't be the last. We will be attending this museum on a regular basis, and it's literally just across the street from the Bronx Zoo, which is where we went the last time my family was in the City, and will be the destination on a future adventure.

Although I still don't feel like I properly conveyed how amazing this all is, it's time for some photos! Remember, you can see them larger by clicking on them.
This is what you see when you first walk in. That's the head of Caracalla, Emperor of Rome from 188-217 AD. Note the cases in the background. I was so blown away but what I was seeing that I didn't really take any overview shots, which I am now slapping my head over.

Some of the coins on display. Marcus Aurelius is one of my favorite people in all of history. Commodus, his son, is really the cause of the fall of Rome, or at least the start of it. Each of the coins is photographed close up in the album, although some came out blurry. A good excuse to go back!

Imagine seeing that bracelet when it was new. In the 8th century BC. How it must have shined! The Urn is also 8th century, and both hale from pre-Roman Italy. Note the coin display on the right wall adjacent.

A gigantic example of mosaic. To us in today's time it's an amazing piece of artistry. To ancient Romans, this was their floor. The size of this is hard to describe, but it's taller and wider than our car. And it's only a fraction of a larger mosaic! It's Byzantine, presumably what is now Syria. (The Byzantines considered themselves Romans- the name Byzantine Empire is a later creation by antiquarians. Even though it's not correct, it's easier and more understood to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire as Byzantine)

An Etruscan kylix showing a Hippocamp. Supposedly ancient folks believed that these and other fantastical beasts actually existed, although I'm not so sure if I believe that, or if more modern scholars have just assumed that.

One of the things that really surprised me was the scale of things.
It's hard to judge scale when you only see them in photos, in books, magazines, the internet, etc. Seeing them in person for the first time, it surprised me. And It left me even more in awe that these items have survived for more than 2000 years. This is roughly 4 feet tall!  It's also one of my favorite items in the collection. The comedic masks, which are in the album, they are much smaller than I expected. I assumed that they were full human face sized, likely due to reading them described as being "held in front of the face during performances". Knowing, too, that they also had eye and mouth holes for the performers. Yet, they were smaller than I expected, being only about half the size of a normal adult's face.

One of the very few overview shots I took, unfortunately.

Hadrian, also a favorite of mine. This marble head was originally on a building. His eyes would have been painted on, as well.

A full size Roman Imperial era statue! Subject unknown, unfortunately.

Birds are a common theme in Roman mosaics, the Museum has nearly a half dozen on display. This one probably photographed the best.

One of the more disturbing artifacts on display, a casket for a two year old that lived during the time of Augustus.

Roman glass. Most are 3rd century AD. That these survived is incredible in and of itself.

Painted pottery with clothing! I'm taking my opportunity to show it even though in scale and design this is one of the lesser impressive artifacts.

Other than the coins there is not much in the way of metal artifacts in this museum. These, however, are solid gold and are necklace pendants, and are presented here on blue felt. The orange and white striping is a reflection of my shirt. The shields are Macedonian, and this dates to the 4th-3rd century BC. It's Greek. That puts these contemporary with or slightly before the most famous Macedonian in history, Alexander the Great.

A hand held mirror. When I turned the corner and saw this I knew instantly what it was, but I'm glad they have the drawing of the design as well, because it's quite hard to discern at this late date. In antiquity, this would have been polished to a mirror shine. It depicts Athena, Aphrodite and Hera. They are labeled in the Etruscan language!

Another overview shot.

The tablet I discussed above. I was so surprised by it's presence that this is the only photo of it I took!

Roman oil lamps are the third most common ancient artifact, behind only coinage and nails. That's because they made so many of them. I've heard estimates that the Romans made their coins in the billions, with as many as 30 different mints operating around the clock on a daily basis. (especially during the era of Constantine and his sons) Nails were used for everything, from building buildings and ships to the sandals they wore. Both are ubiquitous.  Oil lamps were not as highly produced, perhaps, but they were literally everywhere. Every home in the ancient Roman empire had multiple lamps, it's how they lit their homes, their temples, and everything that they wanted to see at night. Unfortunately they also caused more than a few fires, because of lit lamps tipping over and the oil catching fire. In antiquity, the tiny hole on the end held a wick, that was lighted. The larger holes in the middle or offset were for pouring in more oil. They may have been as abundant originally, but unlike coins and nails they are generally made of terra cotta, not metal, and thus are more easily damaged, leading to a lower survival rate.

The museum does not have much in the way of ancient weaponry, which is surprising because they aren't that uncommon. (They are usually not very artistic, though, which may be why they were barely present, and none were from Greece or Italy. You don't need to be pretty if you are going to be stabbing into somebody, just pointy). These spearheads are Persian, and they are the only Persian artifacts I saw in the museum. My pictures of them are terrible, and this is the better of the two. I didn't even get all of the sword from Mohenjo-Daro in a photo! As I said above, a good reason to go back.

They didn't always stick to standardized shapes when making things back then.

The amount of original painting that survives is rather astounding. This dates to 500-480 BC!

I now use this image as the wallpaper on my smart phone.

This may be the first ancient Egyptian artifact I've ever seen. I think it is, but my trip to the American Museum of Natural History in 1994 may have had Egyptian there. I don't recall.

This woman appears to be holding a flying birthday cake with flying candles in her right hand, while playing a tambourine in her left hand. They had a lot of talents back then that are lost to history today. Note that even though fully clothed, the artist all those years ago still felt the need to include her nipples. Some things truly never change!

Almost surely Alexander the Great's head. This sculpture is one of the three used in the official artistry/iconography of the museum.

The woman on this piece looks annoyed. I did not catch the provenance of this one on film.

Unfortunately more ancient artifacts are found in this condition than the perfect or near-perfect preservation the majority if items on exhibit in this museum display. This depicts a Thracian warrior, and is attributed to Makron. It dates to circa 490 BC.

Here's one last image from the Museum- taken by my brother, who brought his actual camera. I only took my smart phone, which, in retrospect, was a mistake, even though my smart phone takes higher quality photos than most of my cameras. This is me going on about the cuneiform tablet. You can see the small brown square on the glass shelf. It's so tiny...but it packs a big historical punch. And a correction to what I said earlier, above. The tall black vase (alabastron, technically) behind it- barely visible, almost looking ethereal, but not that different from a modern drinking glass, is actually older than the tablet is by about 100 years. My picture did not come out good enough to post, unfortunately, though it is in the album.

If you'd like to see all the pictures- I took more than 400- you can find them by clicking here: Fordham Museum of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Art. Remember that there is full frontal nudity, in painting and statue form, so only click on it if you don't mind seeing that. I don't have any qualms about seeing or photographing it, so there's no attempt to hide it.

I also took a video of the museum. I did upload it to YouTube but it's hidden, only available with this link. It's short, there's no talking, but you can see some of the amazing things I saw, and it does give you a bit of the scale of things as I mentioned above, as well. YouTube walkthrough

Now, beyond the museum, there are a couple of other pictures I want to show. Since it was our first time driving to NYC ever, I had to photodocument it...I am me, after all!
Here is the first place we saw that actually looked like the city! (Immediately after getting off the highway, you see the New York Botanical Garden on your right. I did photograph it, but it's just trees. This...this is city! If you look close, you can see that they have already begun decorating for Christmas.

After many years of watching NYC based TV programming, I had to get a shot of the P.C. Richard sign! Note that on the facing sign for Dr. Jay's, there is a pigeon on top of every single letter, and the apostrophe! I didn't notice that at the time.

Butt Boosting Jeans? OK...maybe the Greeks could have used them 2300 years ago? The tall building on the right that looks unfinished is where we're going.

A black squirrel on the Fordham campus! I've never seen a black one before. If you've been reading here a while you may remember that I love squirrels. My absolute favorite animals. I took more pictures of this squirrel than I did of the Fordham campus itself.

A bus that bends in the middle! Common in the city, but not to me.

A high point on the Taconic looking north towards the Hudson Valley, home again. The colors of the trees were a lot brighter to my eyes than they appear on camera, although it does seem like we may be past peak already,

I also have an album for the pictures of the trip and in the Bronx. It's not as impressive as the museum, but it's still cool. Bronx Trip #1

Before stopping for dinner, we stopped at my favorite vintage dealer. I picked up three hockey cards including my first from 1959-60, 62-63 and 64-65. I'm on such a high from this trip though that cards just aren't interesting me right now, so no scans. This may be a card based website, but today the History aspect of "Cardboard History" gets full focus. Next post will hopefully be the reveal of the mystery project I've been teasing for the last month, but getting that off the ground is proving to be a little more challenging than I thought it would be.

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Birthday Cards 2018

Today is my 34th birthday, and once again my family didn't disappoint, giving me cards!

I'm super busy right now trying to launch my secret project so I don't have time for more than this quick photo...stay tuned because I have a big announcement coming tomorrow or Saturday! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A very good question

Last night Sports Card Collectors asked a very good question- Is Collecting as much fun today as when you first started? I wrote up a huge reply but exceeded the character count, so instead of breaking it up into multiple comments, I'm getting a whole post out of it. 

Very good question. In some ways, it's more fun, but in a lot of ways, much less. I began in 1988- the start of the glory years- and most of my formative years, cards were everywhere. Seemingly ever shop had them, and there were card shows in one of the 4 local malls every week, it seems like. I REALLY miss those. I have not been to a card show of any sort since 2005, and I had to drive 4  hours one way to attend it, and I didn't find a single card for my collection, a sad ending.
I miss my first local card shop, which I went to many times. He was right across the street from the doctor- you could see his building from the doctor's office- and every doctor's visit resulted in a card shop visit. And since I was never really healthy- they never figured out what the problem was- I was going just about every week. I'm lucky in that I still have multiple local card shops, plus Target and rarely Wal-Mart. My main current card shop, I began shopping at in 1999. They bridge multiple eras for me. I never photographed my original shop, I do have a photo of my current shop but I can't find the image. I tend to put all my efforts into my cards and not anything else, something I'd like to change.

The cards themselves, that's not as fun now. Exclusive licenses are the worst thing that could have ever happened to the hobby, and now all 5 major sports have them...ugh. Non-sports cards are mostly all movie related now, with occasional comic sets. The fun and whimsy of the 1990s and earlier is gone. The ability to build sets now is mostly gone, with 95% of all releases just memorabilia delivery systems, at $200 a pack or more. That's not really card collecting, but since the licenses are exclusive....nobody cares, except the real collectors who continually get the short shrift.

But what's better is....myself. I appreciate them more now. Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, I was all about the acquisition. I didn't even read the card backs 99% of the time. Now, I appreciate them much more. I study each and every card.

The ability to scan my collection and being able to pull up and see everything with just a couple of clicks is a great thing for me. When you have as many cards as I do, I sometimes go years without seeing them, but the scans? I'm always looking at them. And when I finish scanning my collection sometime in the 2020s, I will sort them all back into sets for the first time since 2004. 
all of my scans, roughly 88 thousand cards, are contained in these folders! And growing nearly daily.
 I'm actually NOT looking forward to completing the scanning process. While it would be GREAT to have it all at my fingertips, I am worried about what I am going to do with my time when I finish. It is what I have spent most of my time doing since 2009. I already have another project lined up, but that won't take me anywhere near as long...even though that collection began before I began collecting cards, the size of my collection is much smaller.

My documentation is much improved upon the glory years. I began documenting my collection in 1998, and I'm still working on that, and forcing the evolution of it. I fear I may be attempting too much but that's something I will determine over time- and will eventually write about.
I have access to far more cards then I ever did in the 1990s. I remember thinking that I would never own a tobacco card. Now, I've not only gotten over 100 of them, I've completed a set from 1922, and my collection dates back to the 1800s now! I never thought that would ever happen. If the internet resources didn't exist, that wouldn't have happened. (The completed set from 1922, though...that I got locally!) 
1922 Lambert & Butler Motor Cars #13

My interactions with fellow collectors could only happen in the modern era. I got internet access at home in 2000 and by the end of that year I was already on message boards for cards. I don't know the exact number of trades I made, but I remember that I was over 200 on Trader Retreat. I'm pushing 100 on the Trading Card Database, and would be on NUTS if I could get my computer to log in there. That's all cards I would never have gotten if not for the internet. Without the internet, half the sets I've completed, or more, would still be incomplete. Heck, some of the sets I've completed- I didn't even know they existed until I found them on the Internet! 

If it wasn't for the internet, I would never have become a fan of the NHL. I tried to watch in 1995, but couldn't figure out what was going on, so I gave up. In 2016, I read a thread on the Golden Knights debuting their logo on the Trading Card Database, put on NHL Network, and got hooked on the sport within an hour. Now it's a big part of every day of my life. I'm watching hockey as I write this.

I also have an appreciation of cards that I wouldn't have had access to back then- IE, Benchwarmers and their less clothed friends. Although I did appreciate the female form by the end of the 1990s, during most of the time I was oblivious. 
this counts as a Basketball card
OK, I'm still mostly oblivious to anything that's not cards.

Blogs didn't exist in the 1990s, and that's a big part of my life- and the hobby- now, as well. 

I couldn't imagine my life without Cardboard History anymore. I've only been doing this since 2014 but it's become so integral to me; I will keep going for years, I suspect the rest of my life, however long that may be.

The Trading Card Database is my favorite website in the history of the internet, even more than my own. I built my life around it for the past 6 years. COMC is the best way to buy cards, and has opened a world of cards up to me that I wouldn't have ever gotten otherwise. 

There are definitely plusses to modern day collecting. Yet at the same time, I miss the 1990s...not just in cards, but in every day life, but that's part of a greater issue that cannot ever be solved. Things...and more importantly people...have been lost, that cannot be changed.

What I'd really like is a mixture of the two eras in the hobby. I want 90s style cards and card prevalence, but 2000s and 2010s documentation and interaction capacity.

Just to prove that it's actually a thing, and  I hit it- 
But that shouldn't be too much of a surprise, as I tend to go long-form in my posts here more often than not. And I did once write a message board post that when copy and pasted into Word, ran 11 pages...