Thursday, October 10, 2013

Neshek in 2013 Topps Update!

Pat Neshek will be #US306 in Topps' 2013 Update set. This makes me happy. Get your toploaders ready.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Finally Completed My First Set

I finally willed myself enough to complete an entire set...1999 Upper Deck MVP! (Main Set only)

Why were there no balloons and fireworks? Why does my wife not celebrate too?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Race to the Bottom - Hunter Pence's 2006 Bowman Draft Future's Game Prospects Gold #18

Hunter Pence just inked a nice deal with the SF Giants, so let's pick on him and look at one of his earlier cards: 2006 Bowman Draft Future's Game Prospects Gold #18.

Jumping over to, we find 32 of these cards available, with the lowest price of $2.85.

Over at, we find 35 of these cards available, with the lowest price of $0.70.

This a great example of arbitrage and how the baseball card market is inherently inefficient, and it is also a great example of a "race to the bottom" from the sellers.

On COMC, the five lowest-priced of these cards at $0.70, $0.71, $0.83, $0.84, $0.90 - a difference of only $0.20.

On, a similar pattern: $2.85, $2.89, $2.90, $2.99, $3.00 - a difference of $0.15!

The sellers have reason to collude and try to raise the price of the cards, but because the market is so open with an unlimited number of potential sellers who are obviously more than willing to undercut the prevailing lowest price the sellers will never be able to eradicate this downward pressure on the price.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Terms and Conditions of

Has anyone else noticed this discrepancy in the Terms and Conditions for

"The Zistle Website, including but not limited to all text, graphics, logos, icons, images, data, graphs, audio, videos, computer programs and other material and information contained on, or utilized in the provision of, the Zistle Website is the property of Zistle, its participants, suppliers and/or its licensors and is protected by copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, patents or other proprietary rights."

And later:

"All information, data, text, software, music, sound, photographs, graphics, video, messages, or any other materials whatsoever, whether posted or transmitted to Zistle or the Zistle Website, shall be collectively referred to as the “Content.” The submitting user retains ownership of Content."

Doesn't this mean that Zistle is both at once trying to claim they own everything on the site (so we should presume all information uploaded), but also claiming that they do not own information submitted by users?

And they can't claim ownership of most of the text on the site because that text isn't copyrightable because most is just data with no creative element. 

My favorite line of the Terms is this one: "Zistle respects the intellectual property rights of others, and requires that the people who use the Zistle Website do the same." To me, it seems that nobody in the hobby ever has or ever will respect the intellectual property rights of ball players' control of their likeness because if we did then we would be paying them royalties everytime we shared a picture of their face/likeness.

Just my thoughts...

Bastardization of the Rookie Card, A Year(ish) Later

About a year ago I posted "Bastardization of the Rookie Card," the gist of it was this:

"I present to you a basic analysis of four rookies that debuted in 2011: Eric Hosmer, Brandon Crawford, Jemile Weeks, and Mike Trout.

Hosmer debuted on May 6, 2011. Crawford debuted on May 27, 2011. Weeks debuted on June 7, 2011. Trout debuted on July 8, 2011. 

Which player had the most cards debuted in his RC-year? (RC-year is defined as the year a player's rookie card debuted even if different than the player's debut year).

Did you guess Weeks? You should have. Although Weeks debuted a month after Hosmer and a month before Trout, Weeks' Rookie Card wasn't released until 2012, and Topps included his Rookie Card in their Bowman, Series Two, Allen and Ginter, Archives, Chrome, Gypsy Queen, Heritage, and Mini sets, and there were at least 127 different Jemile Weeks baseball cards produced by Topps in 2012 (includes inserts, parallels, etc.).

Trout, who you might have heard about, had 33 cards produced in his RC-year, and was included in only three sets: Bowman, Finest, and Topps Update. I guess Topps thought the market for Weeks rookie cards would be a bit more lucrative than Trout rookie cards.
Hosmer and Crawford debuted exactly three weeks apart, yet Hosmer had 66 different cards in his RC-year while Crawford had only 14, the least of all four players."

How did those guys do this year - was Topps' RC print run prescient of future greatness? In order of least number of cards printed to most:

  • Crawford: .252 BA // .681 OPS // 2.5 WAR
  • Trout: .324 BA // .987 OPS // 9.1 WAR
  • Hosmer: .319 BA // .802 OPS // 3.6 WAR
  • Weeks:  .275 BA // .745 OPS //  WAR N/A*
Weeks had 4 at-bats for the A's in 2013. The stats shown are his 2013 AAA stats.

Good try, Topps. :-(

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Neshek Anomaly

One of these things is not like the other...

# Available# SoldLow (Current)High (Sold)
#64 - Brian Wilson184$0.50 $1.73
#376 - Steve Cishek144$0.48 $1.01
#344 - Andrew Bailey144$0.48 $0.87
#227 - Jason Motte133$0.48 $0.83
#393 - Pat Neshek019N/A $1.50

These are current sales stats from for five relief pitchers in the 2013 Topps Heritage Main Set. 

Neshek is only in this one 2013 Topps set (after being neglected in 2012). So, you say, there is unusually high demand because of this neglect. No, that doesn't hold, because look at these stats:

# Available# SoldLow (Current)High (Sold)
#US204 - Brian Wilson311$1.01 $1.55
#US135 - Grant Balfour1312$0.45 $1.55
#US113 - Chris Perez263$0.45 $0.64
#US208 - Javier Lopez1110$0.45 $1.78
#US212 - Pat Neshek117$1.00 $2.24
These are current sales stats from for five relief pitchers in the 2011 Topps Update Main Set, the last set Neshek was in before 2013 Topps Heritage. 

A popular player with high demand that isn't being addressed by the card manufacturers - this is the "Neshek Anomaly." Neshek has a huge draw because of his generous autograph policy, so his cards are much more valuable on the secondary market than are the cards of other relievers (even those with more publicity than Neshek).

His cards have a draw to a niche market that is attuned to the hobby. So why don't Topps (and Panini!) create more Neshek cards? 

I would guess that Topps/Panini don't see him as a strong 'value-added' player - but that is a terrible presumption because he is an incredibly strong value-added player to any given set. 

The Neshek Anomaly is alive and well. Expect more on it. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Yu Darvish RC #660 Gold Sparkle Graded

Finally got my Topps 2012 Yu Darvish RC #660 Gold Sparkle back from BGS: 9.5! It's up for sale on COMC - I put it up about 10 minutes ago and have already received an offer on it.

Although a 10 would have been great, I cannot argue with the evaluation, side-to-side centering is bad once it's noticed:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Arbitragin' the Hobby

ar·bi·trage  (ärb-träzh)
    The purchase of securities on one market for immediate resale on another market in order to profit from a price discrepancy.


Picked up a lot of four (4) 2012 Topps Gold Sparkle cards on eBay for $5:
  • #180 Mariano Rivera
  • #240 David Wright
  • #379 Sergio Romo (RC)
  • #660 Yu Darvish (RC)
I was looking for the Romo, but jumped at the auction when I saw the Darvish.

The #660 Yu Darvish (RC) Gold Sparkle, raw, starts at ~$11 on COMC.

The card came in and is pristine condition. Sent it off to get graded; I could find only one transaction for the graded version of the card, a Gem Mint, for $40!

So, I figured I've got ~$15 wrapped up in this card, plus I got the Sergio Romo RC, which is what I really wanted.

Hobby arbitrage! Or, as my wife constantly reminds me, "going broke saving money".

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

No Love for the Sergio Romo RC

Sergio Romo's MLB debut with the San Francisco Giants occurred on June 26, 2008.

Sergio Romo has pitched for the San Francisco Giants in every season since his debut.

Sergio Romo's first MLB baseball card was released in the 2008 Bowman set. But it was an insert card in the Prospect subset.

Sergio Romo had his next major issue baseball card in 2012 - four years after his debut - in Topps 2012 Series 2 as  #379.

And Topps didn't even give him one of those fancy 'RC' logos.

No love for Romo. :-(

Friday, July 12, 2013

Suprising 2013 Archives Bonus

The last post was about an amazing steal I found on eBay (6 jumbo packs of 2013 Topps Archives for $14), and the seller delivered in a BIG way.

I'm not sure why, but, in addition to the unopened packs, the seller stated they would included some singles as a 'bonus' to the packs. Ok, I figured some singles from the early 90's, no big deal, I'll throw them on Zistle as trade bait.

But the singles they included...omg...I don't know what this person was thinking, but I'm definitely buying from them again. The 'bonus' cards were all from  2013 Archives or Bowman and included a #/500 Adam Eaton RC and a 2013 Topps Archives Baseball Retail Chase Derek Jeter (RC-DJ).

That Jeter card is selling for ~$25 on eBay!!!

I'm not really sure what to do with the card...I feel like flipping it on COMC or maybe submitting it for grading. Grading doesn't make too much sense because the card is a tough pull to start with (1:136 retail packs) and I don't think it would add much value.

The six packs were good, too, nothing too special except for the Babe Ruth Gallery of Heroes insert. In terms of manufacturing, this is actually one of the most spectacular cards I've ever seen. The card looks and feels like a miniature stained-glass window and the 'glass' panels are transparent.

Thinking about selling it, too, but it has so much potential as a conversation starter, collection centerpiece, etc.

Until next time...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

2013 Topps Archives Steal?

I just nabbed six rack packs of Topps Archives on eBay for $14 ($11 for the packs and $3 for shipping).

This seems like ridiculously low price for the product, as the rack packs sell for ~$6/ea at Wal-Mart and Target.

Did I miss something - is this a terrible product that everybody is trying to move quickly? I like the design, and the low number of inserts make it easier to build the set.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Help! Need Checklist for Oakland Athletics Promo Card Set

So my Mom found a give-away pack of cards from an Oakland Athletics' game in 2006 and I am trying to find the checklist for the set.

The pack I have, pictured below, is shrink-wrapped and I really really really don't want to open it.

The first card in the pack is Eric Chavez (and I'm presuming it's card #1, but have no way of verifying):

And the last card, #12, is for Joe Blanton:

The giveaway was sponsored by the Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland and was limited to 10,000 sets.

Does anyone know anything more about this set? Other players, etc.?

I can't find anything anywhere.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter - More Fluff than Pillowcase of Cotton Candy

Ah, yes, Allen & Ginter, that good ol' old-timey baseball card set from Topps. Don't confuse it with the other good ol' old-timey baseball card sets from Topps, like Topps Heritage or Gypsy Queen.

No, my friends, what makes Allen & Ginter unique is all of the fluff that nobody likes. "Fluff?," you say, "My precious dollars are not wasted on this superb product, are they?" Yes, you are wasting your money.

Topps' 2013 Allen & Ginter is so full of fluff it makes a bloviating proselytizer look like he has no hot air.

The fluff in Topps 2013 Allen & Ginter comes in many different unnecessary insert sets (regular and mini size!):
  • One Little Corner (all about the Solar System)
  • Palaces and Strongholds (forts and homes to the world's royalty)
  • Martial Mastery (10 cards) 
  • Civilizations of Ages Past (20 cards)
  • The First Americans (15 cards, honoring Native American tribes)
  • Inquiring Minds (20 cards, honoring philosophers)
  • Heavy Hangs the Head (30 cards)
  • Codes, Ciphers and Cryptographs (10 cards, famous codes)
  • Peacemakers (10 cards)
  • Famous Finds (10 cards)
Hot dog! 10 different insert sets of crap.  And don't even get me started on the Nick Wallenda Topps Allen & Ginter card...
2013 Topps Allen and Ginter Nik Wallenda 216x300 Image

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Zistle Trading Update

I’ve been using Zistle for a couple of months now and have very much enjoyed the Wiki-like interface and the ease of trading with other collectors. As I emphasized before, it is very encouraging to find an online barter-based mechanism for collecting rather than cash- or credit-based mechanism (eBay, Listia, COMC, etc.), as those sites inevitably lead to huge economic loss.

So, a brief update, here are four trades that I have completed thus far using Zistle:

Trade #1

I received:
     1960 Topps Main Set #330 Harvey Kuenn

I traded:
     2012 Topps Update Main Set #US105 Mat Latos
     2012 Topps Update Main Set #US56 Matt Diaz
     2012 Topps Update Main Set #US155 Franklin Morales
     2012 Topps Update Main Set #US36 Juan Cruz
     2012 Topps Update Main Set #US35 Craig Breslow
     2012 Topps Update Main Set #US18 Tom Wilhelmsen


Trade #2

I received:
     1997 Donruss Signature Autographs #28 Todd Dunwoody #/3900    
     2011 Topps Update Main Set #US234 Brandon Crawford RC

I traded:
     2012 Topps Update Golden Moments #GM-U35 Eric Hosmer    
     2003 Topps Record Breakers #MS Mike Sweeney 1    
     1999 UD Choice Main Set #9 Carlos Beltran    
     2012 Topps Update Golden Moments #GM-U47 George Brett    
     2011 Bowman Main Set #53 David DeJesus    
     1999 Upper Deck MVP Silver Script #98 Carlos Beltran    
     2004 Upper Deck First Pitch Main Set #102 Jason Grimsley    
     2003 Topps Heritage Main Set #107 Joe Randa    
     2000 Upper Deck MVP Main Set #164 Johnny Damon    
     2000 Upper Deck MVP Main Set #165 Mike Sweeney    
     2000 Upper Deck MVP Main Set #166 Mark Quinn    
     2009 Topps Allen and Ginter Main Set #276 Michael Phelps    
     2001 Topps Main Set #534 Brett Laxton    
     2008 Topps Main Set #597 Kyle Davies    
     2001 Topps Main Set #748 Michael Matthews RC Jason Kaanoi


Trade #3

I received:
     2012 Topps Archives Main Set #223 Cecil Fielder SP    
     2012 Topps Archives Main Set #23 Chris Young    
     2012 Topps Archives Main Set #31 Joe Morgan    
     2012 Topps Archives Main Set #13 Mark Teixeira    
     2012 Topps Archives Main Set #4 Matt Garza
     1999 Upper Deck MVP Main Set #51 Carlos Lee

I traded:
    1995 Topps Bazooka Main Set #32 Will Clark    
     1998 Donruss Preferred Main Set #42 Will Clark GS    
     2012 Topps Update Main Set #US208 Tyler Moore RC    
     2012 Topps Update Main Set #US276 Matt Harvey    
     1999 Pacific Omega Main Set #32 Will Clark


Trade #4

I received:
     2012 Topps Archives Main Set #3 Jered Weaver    
     2012 Topps Archives Main Set #9 Brett Gardner    
     2012 Topps Archives Main Set #16 Yunel Escobar    
     2012 Topps Archives Main Set #88 Mike Schmidt    
     2012 Topps Archives Main Set #91 Ted Lily    
     2012 Topps Archives Main Set #103 Ricky Romero    
     2012 Topps Archives Main Set #116 Alex Avila    
     2012 Topps Archives Main Set #122 Dustin Pedroia    
     2012 Topps Archives Main Set #160 Prince Fielder    
     2012 Topps Archives Main Set #167 Michael Pineda    
     2012 Topps Archives Main Set #176 Eric Hosmer    
     2012 Topps Archives Main Set #188 Vance Worley
    1955 Topps Main Set #5 Jim Gilliam (SGC Graded 40)

I traded:
    1998 Sports Illustrated World Series Fever Autumn Excellence #2 Kirby Puckett

Thursday, May 9, 2013


I know this will sound like a cheap ad, but it's not. I've been using for the past few weeks now to catalog my collection and complete trades and have been very impressed with the user interface and the site's community. I like collecting cards, but I hate how much of the hobby is dedicated to monetary transactions (which is ridiculous for hobbyists, unless you hate your money). has been great for me because (1) I get a nice exportable list of my collection, and (2) now I have a great tool to facilitate trades. I traded a handful of 2012 Topps for a 1960 Topps I had been looking for. No other site provides such a useful function. Check it out. I dare you.