June 15, 2013

What Ben's Thinking About

It's no secret: my interest in collecting sports cards waxes and wanes like the cycles of the moon. But there are certain things about the hobby that pique my interest. Here they are for the week of June 15, 2013.

1. I'm still marveling at the profile page our own Travis Peterson got in June's Beckett Sports Cards Monthly. Hey Topps, how long before you wake up and give this guy some sketch cards in a new product? 

2. My excitement for Topps Heritage 2014 is palpable. Not too long ago I finally put the finishing touches on my 1965 set, and since its one of the more popular Topps years, I wonder if the company is also counting down the days till its release. I'm convinced that it will be a surefire hit, especially if they include a full 72-card Embossed all-stars insert set. The Heritage line has seemed like it's been phoning it in the past few years...

3. I bought some Topps Tiffany cards a few weeks ago. No wonder I lusted after these cards as unattainable in my youth—they still look great; glossy and bright as the day they were born. Too bad the last owner was definitely a smoker. I never it would matter much if a previous owner smoked, but you can tell just from one sniff. It's kind of gross.

4. One of the biggest steals of the last few years has to be sealed Topps buybacks on eBay. Head over to our Facebook page and watch my pack break if you don't believe me. I paid $2 for that sealed pack on eBay.

5. I'm debating which vintage set to collect next. The choices are 1953, 1954, or 1955 Topps, or 1988 or 1989 Topps. I know what you're thinking: Why would anyone willingly spend money on junk wax? Well, I must've put together at least three full sets from both years back in 1988 and 1989, but I didn't save any of them. And it turns out that as I put together the mega master sets for 1986 and 1987, I'm reminded how much I like the designs from 1988 and 1989. And it would be super-cheap to accomplish, even without plunking down the $7 for a factory set.

6. I'm not sure how others feel about 2013 Topps Archives, but I don't really like the idea of mixing sports designs. Topps Basketball had some great designs in the 1970s, but that doesn't mean I'll take a shine to seeing Ted Williams on a 1972–73 card. Is it that they feel they've tapped the well of baseball designs too many times?

7. I just re-read Ken Kaiser's autobiography Planet of the Umps. Definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a quick, lively read. Makes me sad that umpires never got into a major baseball card set after 1955 Bowman. Maybe that will be our next great custom set...

8. Can I consider my 1976–79 mega master Topps sets complete without custom cards from Bob Lemke?

9. Since Topps has included mini cards as an insert set the past few years now, what will be the throwback design for 2014? My money's either on 1965, as a tie-in to the Heritage set, or a set from the 1990s, like 1992 Bowman. Or they'll pull an Upper Deck and steal a classic design from a one-time competitor. Who wouldn't love mini 1984 Donruss?

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