After a three year hiatus from having been involved in the world of sports card collecting, I have found myself returning to the hobby in 2015. Consequently, I have decided to resurrect this website & blog.

Since I last posted, I have managed to get married and move from London to Amman in Jordan. Whilst this lifestyle change has left more time in my life for hobbies, it has also meant leaving the vast majority of my card collection in storage back in the United Kingdom. So, whilst I have not bought or sold and cards in the last few years, my collection is being missed!

The mechanics of living in Jordan are also going to determine how I interact with the hobby and build on my existing collection. First, there is no way to purchase cards within the country, so everything needs to be imported. Second, there is no door-to-door postal system here. It is possible for residents to to open and hold a mailbox at a local post office, but my residency is unlikely to be available for a couple of months. Even then, I am currently not that confident in the quality of the postal infrastructure shipping anything of value.  

Consequently, the only way I currently have of getting cards delivered is via couriers such as FedEX and DHL, which is not cost effective for  single cards in individual envelopes. In order to mitigate these shipping cost, I am using an international shipping and package forwarding company in the USA. Essentially, this means I can arrange for cards to be shipped by sellers to a mailbox in Florida and then have them all consolidated and sent to me every couple of weeks by courier. Finally, both the costs and mechanics of clearing customs can be a challenge.  

All of the above means that I am likely to be concentrating on purchasing reasonbly priced singles cards. Box breaks are going to be few and far between and trading with others potentially a bit of a challenge. 

Over the next few posts, I'll lay out my plans in terms of what I intend to collect as opposed to how I am going to manage it!

Old Ball Players...

Aside from the Olympics (which has this week interrupted the baseball season as far as my armchair sporting activities go),  I have been steadily working my way through the excellent Ken Burns documentary on history of baseball. Whilst I have owned the series on since it first landed on DVD, I have not watched it for a number of years and had forgotten how it did an excellent job at covering the early history of the game. So much so, that it had me trawling through eBay looking for affordable vintage cards featuring the starts for the first half of the 20th Century.

Fortunately, the same UK seller that listed the T206 cards that I posted about last week, also made available a partial set of the 1950 Callahan release. These cards were by B.E.Callahan of Chicago and distributed as a box set at both the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and ball parks nationwide. I was fortunate to pick up 56 cards for just over $16. Not bad when you consider that each card has a book value of at least $2 - $5.

In addition to cards from Grover, Alexander, Lefty Grove, Rogers Hornsby & John McGraw, the partial set included one of my favourite old school ball players; the great Walter Johnson.

Grover Alexander (Cardinals), Walter Johnson (Nationals) & Lefty Grove (Athletics)

Napoleon Lajoie (Naps), John McGraw (Giants) & Rogers Hornsby (Cardinals)

Joe Tinker (Cubs), Carl Hubbell (Giants) & Eddie Collins (Athletics)

This is the last 'new' set that I am likely to feature on the blog this year. I am going to make a conscious effort to try and complete as many of the unfinished sets I have on the go; before commencing any new chases. Consequently, I am not going to purchase cards form any releases that I do not already own. 

Over the coming posts, I will though look to showcase some of the sets in my collection, that I have not shown before. Thanks for reading!
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1909-11 T206 - Archie Persons & Ray Ryan

I have stated on his blog on more than one occasion, that collecting baseball and basketball cards from the United Kingdom comes with its challenges. There are no local card shops or shows to visit and importing boxes or valuable cards, brings with it expensive shipping, customs and handling fees.

But, being based in a country which has little interest not only in the hobby, but the game of baseball itself, can bring occasionally have its benefits. Every so often an item appears on the UK version of eBay, listed by a local seller which presents an opportunity to avoid some of the above challenges and make a hassle free purchase. When the seller also decides to make the auction open only to collectors based in his home country, then with less competition the possibility of bargain may also be on offer.

To my surprise, a seller listed recently listed some PSA graded T206 cards. Since my decision a few weeks ago to focus some of my attention on baseball, I have found myself revisiting the early history of the game, through the excellent Ken Burns 1994 documentary Baseball. This in turn had me researching the vintage cards that featured players from the early days of the game. Very quickly, this led me to the classic T206 issue. So there was little chance of me passing up on these particular cards when I came across them.

The cards I picked up (graded 3-VG by PSA), feature minor league players from the Southern & Virginia Leagues respectively:

Archie Persons (Montgomery Climbers)

Archie Persons career totalled four years in the Minor Leagues, the first three of which were spent plain for teams in Alabama, Arkanas and Texas. In 1912 he then is recorded as having played for a team (Bassano Boosters), 2,000 miles to the north in Western Canada. Despite a batting average of .378 which topped the Western Canada League that year and earned him a batting title, Persons is not recorded as featuring in semi-pro or pro baseball again.

Ray Ryan (Roanoke Tigers)

The career of Ray Ryan spanned over 60 years in minor leave baseball, during which time he featured as a player, manager, scout GM and owner. His playing days were spent as a catcher primarily in Virginia, but in 1910 was signed by the Chicago White Sox and attended Spring Training. It is quite possible he would have found himself catching for pitching legends such as Ed Walsh & Doc White. He did not feature for the White Sox and sixteen games into the season returned to the minor leagues. As far as I can gather, it was the closest he came to playing in the major leagues.

I admit I love reading about the careers of old ball-players that feature on baseball cards and there is little doubt that over time I will add some more from the T206 and other vintage issues to my collection.

My biggest struggle with these cards, are that they are slabbed. These are my first T206 cards and I am not able to physically have them in hand (albeit briefly before I put them in a top-loader!) which takes away some of the pleasure of collecting in my mind. Whilst removing them from the PSA holder will reduce their value, I have not bought them to sell them. But before I do, I need to make a decision in how I am going to collect cards from this set. Do I purchase graded or ungraded cards? Some further thought is required.
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Kevin Love and random additions

Regular readers of this blog, will by now have come to realise that I am not someone who collects a particular player or team. My preference has always been to focus on sets, which allows me to own cards from a wide cross-section of players, whilst avoiding having cards in my collection that I do not find aesthetically pleasing. This often results in me building up a small collection of cards of a particular player, more by accident than design.

The arrival today of the 2011-12 Panini Modern Marks card of Kevin Love is a case in point. This card was obtained solely as part of my attempt to own all ten cards in this insert set. Whilst an admirer of his steadily improving game; it is extremely unlikely that I would have purchased this card of Kevin Love, if it was not part of an a set chase. But its appearance had me flicking through my collection to remind myself of the other autograph cards of his that I currently own.

First up was a 2008-09 SP Authentic RC card, that I picked when putting together this at the time of its release. It was accompanied by a 2008-09 Radiance Writing Samples dual-autograph featuring fellow class of 2008 member, Russell Westbrook. When I consider that it would probably cost me four times as much to obtain these cards today, then adding seemingly 'random' players cards to my collection can  suddenly become an even more rewarding experience!


Box Break - 1998-99 Finest Series I

Earlier this week, I was rather surprised to see a few 1990s basketball boxes up for sale on eBay from a UK seller. I decided to grab hold of the 1998-99 Finest Basketball Series I box on offer and transport myself back in time 14 years, to a time when I was ripped open over half a dozen boxes of this particular release.  

I seem to have ended up with most of the rookie cards from this set in my personal collection, but little else. So this break is aimed to go some way towards redressing matters for this particular issue and set me in the right direction to complete the set.

Base & Hardwood Honors

The box provided 122 of the 125 base cards, with 11 doubles. So no complaints about the collation from the box. I also pulled out a Hardwood Honors (1:33) of Nick Anderson. I always felt that Anderson should have got more love doing his playing days. He provided strong support to Shaq & Penny, but will always be remembered for poor free throw shooting. 


I struck out on the two refractors (1:12), landing common cards of journeymen Shandon Anderson & Isaac Austin. Although featured in a Clippers unifier, Austin played the 98-99 season with the Magic, having signed with them as a free agent at the start of the season.

Mystery Finest & No Protector Refractor
Finally the highlights of the box were a No Protector Refractor (1:24) of Derek Fisher and a Double-Sided Mystery Finest (1:33) card featuring Tim Duncan & Keith Van Horn.

If anyone else reading the blog collects, this set give me a shout...I have a number of spare RCs, that I will happily trade.