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When I was a child collecting sports cards (mostly baseball, back in those days), I always dreamed of opening my own card shop. The closest true shop to my house was a comic/card shop about 20 miles away in a much bigger city, which always seemed like the ultimate place to work (I was into comics for a while in that time period too).  There was a video rental store in my home town that sold cards, too--the owner was a collector, and that's where I got most of my collection.

Of course, this was in the days before hobby vs. retail, jersey patch cards, autograph inserts and serial numbered cards. In fact, when he started getting in the 1990 Upper Deck, and packs went up to $1 apiece, is when I started to lose interest in collecting (the first time).  I probably hung on a bit for a year or so after that, but it was never quite the same.

Fast forward about 20 years, and while I still think owning a card shop would be cool, I don't have the same passion for the industry I once did.  In fact, I don't believe I've bought a pack in at least two years, which goes a long way to explaining why I hardly ever post anything here anymore. I still stop into my local card shop somewhat frequently, but mostly because I've become friends with the owner, and I've done some business with him (selling cards and building websites).

While the concept of running a card shop still appeals to me, I also seriously doubt that the hobby could support many more stores in our market--there are at least four physical stores in the Twin Cities (although one focuses on vintage stuff), fairly spread out--even if I were to want to look at opening one, the best markets would be considerably out of the way for me.

However, being a bit of a web geek, the idea of starting an online shop has also always been in the back of my mind.  The main reasons for not doing so are that, while I am a web geek, I'm not really a technical web geek, so coding a shop (even starting with an open source platform) would have been a time consuming challenge, and the payment gateways that allow you to take credit cards typically charge fees that would discourage somebody from dabbling in running a store.

However, a couple months back, I came across an article in a magazine about a service called Goodsie, which was an online ecommerce platform designed to make it easy for not-so-technically savvy people to put up a ecommerce store. I filed it away, but then came across another article a few weeks ago talking about it, and took it to be a sign that I should at least check it out.

So I started playing around with it, and found it fairly interesting--setup was a breeze, design wasn't too hard (not that I've pushed the envelope there), and product entry was relatively painless.  It's not perfect, but I've had a positive enough experience that I thought I would open it up to the public and see what happens.

So, if you have a few minutes, please check out www.TheSportsCardMarket.com and let me know what you think.

A couple of things--there's only about 20-30 cards on there right now (all football right now), and I never expect to be a super high volume seller--more just selling off some of the stuff from my collection that I think people might be most interested in, at prices that I think are reasonable. If you'd like to find out if I have more cards of a player, or haggle on a price, in most cases I'll be open to it--think of it as an eBay store that is more open to communicating and with fewer fees for me as a seller.

So let me know what you think!

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While I don't post much these days, the news that Topps lost their NFL Players Inc. license to publish football cards was clearly big enough to warrant a post.

I first saw the news at Cardboard Junkie (although he apparently thinks that baseball is all that matters...I hope he's kidding), and then found the news at Wax Heaven and a couple of other sites.  I even noticed this morning that ProFootballTalk had the news on their site--albeit with his rather unsupported claim that "the trading-card industry has diminished over the past two decades, possibly due to the inherently low-tech nature of it."

My take on it?  Like most people blogging about the card industry, I do tend to think it's too bad that all sports appear to be heading down a more exclusive path.  While the NFL is still granting licenses to Upper Deck and Panini, rather than a single card company, I do tend to think that in all cases less competition amongst card companies ill simply mean that the card companies will have less incentive to put out product that is truly the best it could be.

While I don't share the level of angst some in the card blogging community have towards...seemingly all manufacturers, and in fact have largely gotten out of collecting (although I am taking part in mini-card show next month--was supposed to happen last spring, but never did...more on that in a later post), I do tend to agree that the card companies have not been putting out their best work in recent times.

Personally, if I was the NFL/MLB/NBA/etc, rather than restrict the licenses completely, I would spend some time coming up with better guidelines for the card companies in using their logos/names in products--more restrictions on the number of sets, better quality control, better controls around forgeries, and making sure that there is value in card collecting for everyone--from the companies to the leagues to the actual collecters.

But that's just me--what do I know.  What about everyone else?

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November 2nd, 2009 Random Thougts no Comments

I'm very fortunate in my current job, I occasionally have the chance to go on some interesting web surfing tangents, which often lead me to finding out random information about things that I never knew about things & people that interest me.

1982 Topps Pat McInally

1982 Topps Pat McInally

Today, my surfing led me to the Wikipedia page for Pat McInally, who played for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1975 to 1985.  The reason his name jumped out at me when I saw it on another Wiki page (I believe I was looking at the 1975 draft), was that when I was younger, McInally's cards would always fascinate me--I'd heard of guys playing multiple positions, but how often do you see a guy that split time between wide receiver and punter?  And later in his career, a punter wearing #87 on his jersey?

(And yes, I know Danny White was often listed as QB-P--but for some reason, that never seemed quite as unusual to me).

Beyond the oddity of his WR/P position, I had never looked much into McInally's career--what I found was actually kind of interesting:
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September 5th, 2009 Busting Boxes 2 Comments

A couple months back, I stopped in at my local card shop to see how the owner was doing since his new baby was born--especially since my first was born right around the same time.

While there, I noticed that some new football cards were in--including Bowman Draft Picks, which apparently replaced Topps Rookie Progression (which I didn't care for), which had replaced Topps Draft Picks & Prospects (which was actually a favorite of mine).

I asked how the reaction had been, and he said mostly positive in his shop--although he admitted he didn't think it was that great.  I decided, "What the heck, it's been almost a year--why not grab a box."

I wish I'd listened to him.

I got all the big base cards (Stafford, Sanchez, Harvin, etc), and I got my two hits--an auto of...someone (that's how impressive it was--I think it was a 7th round pick), and a letter auto of Aaron Kelly.

So how is it that I can remember Kelly (who was an undrafted free agent signed by the Falcons out of Clemson)?

Well, I figured I already had invested in a full box--why not invest a little more, and do something I'd always wanted--assemble a full players name of letter patches.  So, after a couple of weeks of playing around on eBay and assembling the best deals I could, this is what I put together:

Aaron Kelly Bowman Letter Patches

Aaron Kelly Bowman Letter Patches

I figured, what the heck--it's a short name, I got all the patches for $10 or less, and who knows--maybe the guy will turn into something.  He is a 6-5, 205 pound WR who apparently was impressive at Clemson, and apparently has some skills.

Of course, I did find out he was waived today--although speculation is pretty strong that he will be brought back to the Falcons practice squad, if he clears waivers...
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For some reason--most likely something to do with the fact that I was one in high school--offensive linemen are most often my favorite players.  When doing their jobs, they go unnoticed, and the good ones always seem to have the kind of attitude I like in a player--that is, they aren't the prima donnas on the team, screaming for attention after a 6-yard gain on 2nd and 10, or dancing around like an idiot after making a tackle 8 yards downfield.

And a lot of lineman seem to like to have fun while playing--from practical jokes, to contests to see who can go the furthest into the season without wearing long sleeves, to fining other linemen in Kangaroo Court just for talking to the media (both of the latter of which Hall of Fame Tackle and former Viking Gary Zimmerman was famous for).  Seems offensive linemen are often some of the smartest players on the field as well--which if you really knew the complexity of some of the blocking schemes, you'd understand why they need to be.

I think it's that reason that this comment, left by a regular on a local sports blog that I follow, drew my attention--granted, it was from two months ago, but it's getting to be the football time of year, and I just came across it again.

Tim Irwin wasn't the greatest offensive lineman in NFL history--in fact, he was probably the 3rd or 4th best lineman on most of the Viking teams he played for (granted, those were some high quality lines with Zimmerman, Hall of Famer Randall McDaniel, center Kirk Lowdermilk and the like), but Irwin was a solid right tackle who brought his lunch pail, did his job, and played for a long time.  In fact, although it probably won't stay this way much longer, he's currently in the Top 100 for career games started in the NFL, with 187.

Irwin was no dummy, either--he ended up getting his law degree, and started his own firm after his career was over.  I think he served as player agent for a couple of guys at one point, but more recently has served as a Judge of a Juvenile Court in Knox County, Tennessee.

So the fact that Irwin likely spent an entire preseason answering requests for autographs by requesting that the seeker write to Topps asking that they include him in the next years football card set is awesome--and exactly the kind of story that I get a kick out of.   The fact that Irwin was included the next year makes it even better.

Offensive lineman rarely get much love in today's sets, given that they lack the big name--but back when sets were a bit bigger, you'd regularly see a couple offensive linemen, a couple of defensive linemen, and even maybe the kicker and punter from each team get cards.

Irwin had a few cards over the years, several of which are available on Ebay today..
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December 31st, 2008 Ebay Auctions, Ebay Wins 2 Comments

So, as I prepare to participate in my first "Mini Card Show" next month, I've been going on eBay occassionally, and checking out cards of some local players that might be of interest to younger collectors and nostalgic adults who bring their kids in that I can get decent deals on.

One recent search led me to a seller who had recently opened a case of 2006 Bowman Chrome, and had several individual rookies, rookie autos, uncirculated rookies, etc that were of interest to me, and all at reasonable prices.  So I ended up bidding on a whole slew of them.

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