Saturday, December 29, 2018

Operation Bullpen

In the late 90's the FBI ran an undercover operation in the sports memorabilia business to investigate the autograph industry.  Specifically, the forgeries. 

During the investigation the FBI focused on Greg Marino who became an unbelievable autograph forger.  I mean this guy was amazing.  He faked sports stars and entertainment stars by the thousands. 

He made a lot of money working with other scammers who even set up their own authentication company to give legitimacy to the autographs. 

They sold tons of Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire during their home run race to beat the single season record set by Babe Ruth.  Oh yeah, Marino even faked Babe Ruth autos.  Tons of them too. 

I'm sharing a video of the documentary "The Counterfeiter" which is a great watch.  Enjoy the video.

I was amazed at how accurate these fakes were and the amount of items pictured at the end of the video that were seized by the FBI. 

Kevin Nelson wrote a book about the scandal called "Operation Bullpen: The Inside Story of the Biggest Forgery Scam in American History".

Enjoy the hobby all...but be careful in it too.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Franken-Wagner Fetches $420K

A T206 Honus Wagner slabbed as a PSA Authentic "Restored" example has recently sold in a Memory Lane auction.

There is much debate in the hobby regarding this card between those who accept the card as it is and those who are not happy about the restoration of the card.  Regardless of what you think about the card's restoration, it is what it is.  It's a nice looking example of the most iconic and valuable baseball card in the hobby. 

True, the borders are all newly added and the back has been completely rebuilt, but it is also labeled as "Restored" and only graded Authentic so it's not being misrepresented as it is. 

Let's take a look at the card before the restoration.

Ok, so that's a rough looking card.  Three borders completely trimmed off.  A fairly large spot of paper loss at the top of the front.  The back is either missing or covered in lined paper that is glued to it.  Either way, it's bad.  At least the image of Honus is still pretty decent.
It took $14,000 of professional restoration to bring the card back to where it is today.  Let's take a look at the restored version now. 
Quite a transformation huh?  Seriously, how did it go from the before to this? 
The argument (or debate) is whether or not this has gone too far.  What is too much to add to a terrible condition card to restore it?  Is it ok to add some color here or there?  Or to remove paper that was glued to the back of a card?  Are those innocent enough to be acceptable or is no type of change acceptable? 
Some folks even argued that a person could take an expensive/rare card and cut it up into several pieces and then "restore" each of the pieces to make several new cards and sell them off for huge profits.  I think that's a bit of a stretch personally, but I understand the idea. 
So what do you think about this card?  Is it fair to consider it an authentic Wagner or no?  Would you mind owning this one knowing how much is not original or would you only want a completely unrestored example?  Would you rather have this card in the "before" state?  Let me know in the comments.  I'd love to hear from some of you.
Enjoy the hobby's a great one.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

W590 Jack Johnson

One of my collecting friends recently picked up this W590 Jack Johnson.

W590 is a strip card set featuring multiple sports with black and white photos instead of colorized drawings like many other strip sets from the 20's.  The set is dated between 1925 and 1931 with multiple printings between those years.  There are team change variations due to trades and some guys have a description change to their status in their sport. 

Various sports represented in the W590 set

Baseball is the most represented sport in the set with about 40 players represented.  There are also athletes from wrestling, boxing, football, horse racing, tennis, golf, swimming, cycling, a strongman and some non-sport personalities as well.

One of the most sought after cards in the set is the Red Grange football card considered his rookie card.  Also the rookie card of golfer Walter Hagen is in the set. Within the baseball checklist, there are super stars Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Lou Gehrig leading the way.

The complete checklist is not currently complete as just a couple years ago three new boxers were discovered from the set.  It stands to reason there may still be more uncatalogued cards to be found. 

Well, I wanted to highlight the boxing card of Jack Johnson in this post as that is the card my friend was able to pick up.  He ended up getting it for a steal to be honest.  A seller on eBay with zero feedback had it listed as a Buy It Now (BIN) for $25 but nobody pulled the trigger.  Likely due to the zero feedback.  He then relisted it in an auction format starting at $1.00 and my friend placed a little $7.00 snipe on it.  Well, that was enough to win it in the end. 


When he got the card in hand, he examined it with a loupe and has determined it to be the real deal.  Even in the low grade it's in, it was a great deal for this fairly hard to find HOF boxer Jack Johnson card. 

It was printed after he lost his championship and it used to say "Ex-Champion" where there is paper loss in front of "Heavyweight" and under where it should say "JACK". 

Well I hope you enjoy the card as much as I do.

Enjoy the hobby's a great one.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Graig Kreindler - Painter of our Pastime

My Favorite sports artist by far is Graig Kreindler.

If you have never seen his work you really need to check it out here

From his website:

Graig Kreindler, born in 1980, grew up in Rockland County, New York. In 2002, he graduated with Honors from the School of Visual Arts in New York City with a BFA in Illustration and received his Masters in Art Education from Lehman College.
His award-winning sports work has appeared in juried shows and museums nationwide, as well as having been featured in nationally distributed books, newspapers, magazines, and both Internet and television featurettes.
To Graig, no other sport embodies the relationship between generations and the sense of community like baseball. His goal is to portray the national pastime in an era when players were accessibly human, and the atmosphere of a cozy ballpark was just as important as what happened on the field. He is proud to act as a visual historian: recreating a history that he has never experienced, yet, like millions of fans, maintain a profound connection with.
Here is a time lapse video of Graig working on a painting of Ty Cobb. 

I also wanted to just feature a few of his paintings, so here you go.

Gotta have a Marquard...
How about a Teddy Ballgame.
I just love this one of Ken Williams.
So check out Graig's website if you like his work.  He has a bunch of great Negro League items for sale on his site as well; postcards, magnets, bobbleheads, shirts, etc. all featuring his artwork.
Enjoy the hobby's a colorful one.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

1800's Baseball Trade Cards

I have really grown to appreciate the baseball themed trade cards of the late 1800's.

Love of the Game Auctions last auction had several examples for sale and I wanted to post them all here for reference.

Trade cards were giveaways at general stores, cigar shops, etc.  They were advertising pieces about the size of a postcard and many of them were collected during the time.  The subject matter could be anything really.

With baseball gaining in popularity it was only natural that some of them featured baseball themed situations on them.  Mostly of a comic nature of course.  These are a great way to collect some very old baseball items without spending a ton of money.

Here are the examples from the auction for your viewing pleasure.

1878 H804-6 Baseball Comics

1889 H804-4 Capadura Cigars

1880s H804-1B Baby Talk

1880s H804-3 Buffords Trade Cards

1880s H804-7 Baseball Comics Merchants Gargling Oil

1880s H804-10 Corner Clefs

1880s H804-13 Old Style-New Style

1882 H804-11 Cosack & Company

1880s H804-19 Horizontal Brownies

1880s H804-16 Forbes Injury

1880s H804-15A Red Border

1880s H804-14 Big White Shoes

1887 H804-1 Tobin Lithogrphs Baby Talk

1887 H804-17 Blueish Green

1887 Tobin Lithographs Black & White

1888 H804-2 Brownies
As you can see there are several different types of these trade cards to collect.  I'm sure there are many more than the ones I've pictured here as well.  To think that these were giveaways like flyers of today and they survived all these years to still be collected now is amazing.  How many were just tossed in the trash?
Let me know what you think of these trade cards.  Do you like them, appreciate them for what they are, or do you not really care for them at all?
Enjoy the hobby all...its a great one.


Saturday, December 15, 2018

Recent Pick Ups

Got a couple recent pick ups to show off here.

First up in my newly acquired group is this sweet low grade 1960 Topps Carl Yastrzemski rookie.  I couldn't pass it up for just $15.

I've been wanting one of these for a while for my set, but didn't want to pony up the cash they usually sell for.  But this one was right in my wheelhouse. 

Next up is my latest auction win from Love of the Game auctions.  A sweet 1908 E102 Red Dooin.  This set is a lot tougher than quite of few of the other caramel sets of the period and I really wanted a type card.  I'm drawn to the full body poses with good colors and this one fits the bill.


Well, these two are my newest additions.  I hope you like them as much as I do.

Enjoy the hobby's a great one.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Brooklyn Mini Follow Up

Well, the Love of the Game Auction ended a little while back and I wanted to revisit the Brooklyn Mini that was sold.

I posted about the card below and wondered what it would sell for when the hammer fell.  It was at $600 when I wrote that post but I knew it would keep climbing before the auction closed.

Well, the final price with the BP came in at $1,560.00.  That's about right for one of these beauties. 
They don't show up that often and I really like these minis a lot. 
Let me know what you think.
Enjoy the hobby's a great one.

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Rifleman Played Baseball

TV star Chuck Connors, the star of the old western show The Rifleman, has a couple baseball cards!

I'm a big fan of the old western TV show The Rifleman.  When I get a chance (which is rare to be honest) and I get to watch whatever I want on the tv around here, I'll often put it on On Demand and enjoy several episodes back to back.  I don't care if I've seen them before, I just like watching this show. 

Chuck Connors plays the role of the Rifleman, Lucas McCain, a single father raising his young son, Mark, on a ranch outside of the fictional town of North Fork in the New Mexico territory in the 1880's.  The episodes usually revolve around visitors to the town and how Lucas and Mark get involved in various trouble one way or another.

Well, I had no idea that Chuck Connors was a baseball player before he was an actor.  He played in the minors out of college in the early 40's then joined the Army.  After he got out of the service he played in the NBA for the Boston Celtics for a short stint, then went back to baseball and played a few seasons in the Brooklyn Dodgers AAA system with the Montreal Royals.  He even got to play a game with the Dodgers in the middle there somewhere.

After playing with the Royals, he joined the Chicago Cubs and played 66 games at first base with them in 1951.  In 1952 he was back in the minors with the Cubs' Los Angeles Angels team.

While playing in the minors, there were two cards issued of Chuck.  The 1950 Big League Stars (V362) is an obscure typecard for most.  Here is Chuck's example.  He is pictured with the Montreal Royals on this card.

Two years later there was another great card issued of Chuck.  This was the 1952 Mother's Cookies issue.  Here is Chuck's example of this rare card.  He is pictured with the Los Angeles Angels on this card.

These two cards are now on my wantlist for sure but they sell for good money so I likely won't have either for some time.  Oh well. 

I hope you like these cards as much as I do.  I am still amazed at this hobby and learn new things all the time.

Enjoy the hobby's a great one.