Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I Sold Out

It's funny how money (or lack thereof) can really kill your passion for collecting. Money has been tight since my last dated post in June and my love for cards has depleted into oblivion.

But that's not entirely true.

For me, collecting is an easy thing to turn off. It's quite strange because at times, cardboard is all I can think about.

Then, for whatever reason (mostly money) I lock away my cards until there comes a call to cardboard.

Yes... A Call To Cardboard (Should rename my blog to this but it's probably already taken by some guy somewhere else)

I've done this so many times in my life but I always return...when there is a call...

The call this time was you guessed it...

Money.

I'm 29 years old and the cards I've collected since 1990-97 and 2010-2014 have lied dormant for months now. I probably should have started this post with the previous sentence but it appears my writing skills have depleted a bit as well. Also, my age is pretty irrelevant to the information in this paragraph.

Anyways, aside from my dry humor, I needed to make some money.

And let me tell you, Ebay is the worst and best place for card collectors and sellers alike. Actually, it's a terrible place for sellers.

And by terrible I also mean horrible. Either the financial state of the hobby is in shambles or I simply do not have the right cards to sell.

And I'm pretty much only selling Autographs and Jersey cards. I sold most of what I listed but for prices way WAY lower than I expected.

The value of new Topps baseball cards greatly depreciate in value only after a couple of years. I was not aware of this because I never really worried about monetary value or what things are worth.

And with everybody and their brother selling these things, most cards I've ever collected in those years aren't worth the cardboard they were printed on. (Or the foil and gloss they rode in on!)

See what I did there?

Plus the eBay final selling fees are outrageous. I could give examples but it's not worth the extra letters. A quick Google search will fill you in on all that mess.

That's why I never got into the whole selling game. The cards bring me joy and even more joy when they aren't associated with a price tag.

I must say though, I found it very rewarding to list and sell a few. I like the experience of selling and trying to make a buck and making sure the customer is completely satisfied.

If I could make a little money here and there buying and selling cards, I would do it way more often.

But that's the thing...profit margins are very slim and the time you put in can take a great deal out of your day.

Plus, how do you keep an inventory? That's the game real sellers have to figure out. I can try and sell my collection all day but in the end you need to keep up your inventory to keep in business.

Buying vintage is usually the best way but my knowledge of vintage is miniscule and I hold on to any vintage I acquire. Pack ripping and box busting is a no no for mostly everyone as it's more gambling than actual business (some will disagree).So that leaves Autos and Game Used which is what the bulk of sellers are trying to get rid of.

See, I'm not very good at this. Of course, nobody just starting out would have it all figured out in the beginning. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated though.

If and when I start collecting again my habits would be drastically different. I collected so many different kinds of things it got too overwhelming. I would narrow it down to a few players, my Mets and stuff from the 90's which is easier to acquire.

Making lists and tracking things in my collection is not for me. I tried my hand at set building and that required too much counting for my tastes. Plus I'm running out of space to put cards.

Trading is awesome but with a tight money situation, it's hard to find the postage money.

Pack ripping and box busting is an ultimate thrill but I seem to have lost interest in most current product. I blame purchasing way too many blasters of Topps baseball on that one.

So that leaves me here...

A sellout.

And I would like to continue selling because I don't mean that in a bad way. At least selling would still give me the opportunity to discover tons of new cardboard.

The call to write this blog post came from my selling and I feel could further spark my passion for the hobby that runs with the seasons.

Sometimes in full bloom and other times as dormant as a bear in a winter slumber.

So bring on the "You Sold Out" chants!

That was a wrestling reference for those who don't know.

This has been another "No Pictures" post brought to you by The Card Sellout...

I mean Raven : p

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Friday, June 20, 2014

1969 Topps Baseball: Mets Edition



A while back, I acquired some 1969 Mets in a Steal of a deal! This was probably one of the greatest purchases ever in my time here in the hobby. If not one of the best, then certainly in the top 10.

The set is also one of my all-time favorites with the simple yet iconic design. Plus 1969 was the year the Mets won their first World Series!

Check out my latest video as I quickly thumb through a few classic gems.


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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ultimate Super Jumbo Pack!



You can sell anything with the words "Super", "Ultimate" and "Jumbo" all on the packaging. Many of the cards that come in the packs aren't easy to sell, or give away for that matter (See 91 Donruss).

They do yield some gems from time to time and are only a dollar. Must be they keep selling because the company that packs them is still in business.

I enjoy them for the novelty effect. Plus, I don't have much "Junk Era" product, so it's all new to me!



I've seen cards with pitchers batting from time to time but this marks the first I've owned where the pitcher is bunting. Pitcher bunt cards are probably well documented around the blogosphere and if you know of any, please share a link in the comments. I would be interested to see them.



This is a card I probably would have liked if I came across it at release time. It's got a certified logo and it has something to peel off from it, signifying that it's "better" than some other cards. I wasn't much of a "Pinnacle Guy" back then but I can certainly appreciate it now.


I'm not sure what is going on with the Milligan. I can only suspect that eye-black is being applied, although I thought it was supposed to be a paint-like substance - At least is was when I played baseball. Maybe it's electrical tape. Hey, why not?



Sometimes, I wish I could have been an older, wiser collector in 1995. Anyone with any taste knows the 1995 Fleer design was bad. I just can't hate it though. My ten-year-old self would kick me in the shins if I tried to bash them. And my ten-year-old self scares me.


Vintage will pop up here and there. Not sure if 81 Topps counts as vintage though. I'm not complaining because I like 81. They remind me of the classic Peanuts comic strip. Come on, you can picture Charlie Brown underneath that Rangers hat logo right? Heck, Lucy could even go there!



And there is usually a big gun or two towards the end.  Alomar is the biggest name in this Super Hyper Mega Honkin Jumbo pack. An 89 Upper Decker at that. Not too shabby.

Of course, you would probably be more interested in all the other cards in the pack,  but the above are the few I chose for the purpose of displaying my pleasure in these highly affordable, over branded pieces of cardboard.

What about you? Have you found any gems in these repacks?






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Saturday, May 31, 2014

You Mean I Never Told You About This Pull Of A Lifetime?



I'm not one to usually brag or gloat about anything. In fact, I don't even collect for the mega pulls or hits. But gee heck, landing this one really got the ol' blood pumping!

The scan makes the card look pretty dull and lifeless compared to it's real life counter-part. Let me take it out of it's protection for a minute to see if we can scan a better quality version without the condom.

Hopefully, I don't scratch the crap out of it in the process.....

2014 Topps Upper Class Auto/Patch Yoenis Cespedes 13/25

There, a little clearer but still not the real McCoy. It feels like it should be in a laboratory or museum of some kind though.

That's how rare I unearth or acquire cards like this.

This is also one of those cards where I was interested in the monetary value, whereas most cards in my collection are probably worth anywhere between nothing and 5 dollars - this one might just be worth a tad more.

So I checked and found 2 sold for $50 http://goo.gl/dM1s2Q. Not too shabby, but still not quite enough to let go of.

The piece came from a jumbo pack of 2014 Topps Series 1. Jumbos just hit that sweet spot for me. That tasty euphoric adrenaline peaks whenever I open a pack. I just can't get enough of em' either.

I will probably hold on to it for a while, yet I would be willing to trade for a David Wright Auto of similar nature, but that's about it. 

Cespedes joined my player collection a while back and I don't have much desire to let it go, unless there a fellow collector out there who would appreciate it much more than me.

And I'm sure there is : )









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Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Cards of Naught - A Personal Reflection

Needless to say, I've been absent around these parts for a good while. I wonder what has changed in the carding blogosphere. I wonder what is still the same.

I have not acquired any new cardboard since 2014 Topps Heritage came out. I haven't pawed through my collection either.

No, this isn't a sob story or another "I'm back" announcement. I can only say that I hope to be more involved with the blog so many times before it loses it's effect.

Work has been slow on my other blog over at http://www.techrave.net. Effectively managing a Wordpress site is a much different beast than Blogger. As much as I love the technical features and plugins on WP, it's a huge pain in the ass, especially if you're just starting out.

The Card Raven will always remain on Blogger for as long as Blogger exists.

Some of you know that I dipped my toe into the YouTube world, producing a consistent VLog along with various other random videos. I've gone over the 100 subscriber mark - something I never imagined was going to happen.

If you would like to check that out you can subscribe to the channel by going here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4SMNDBkdB9SCMUccv0TEdg

I also created another channel for my carding adventures that sadly I have been unable to produce consistent content - which is a shame because it is tons of fun! I was all stoked and ready to start doing videos at least on a weekly basis but I just don't have the extra cash right now.

I'm going to have to do more budget conscious videos instead of the run-of-the-mill box breaks and pack rips. Doing so should allow me to explore many avenues of card collecting and discuss on video. In reality, you can only watch someone open packs so many times before it gets old.

The only online successes I seem to be experiencing is on my main Google+ account and my schooling through Penn State World Campus.

The hardest part of trying to build an online reputation and experience is the fact that many hours of hard work will go unpaid and or/unnoticed. The ones who emerge successful are the ones who keep plugging away despite the humble and meager beginnings.

The Card Raven has always been for fun. It's part of the hobby experience. I don't ever expect it to make any serious cash. It does have a couple of Adsense ads that have netted me some pocket change over the last couple years but that is mostly just to learn how Google's shared revenue platform works.

You literally need tens of thousands of visitors in order to earn anything significant.

That is probably a little far-fetched for a simple card blog that is not updated consistently.

Where do we go from here? Well, I find it difficult to remain passionate about the hobby without acquiring new cardboard. The only reason I don't do trades much anymore is simply because I can't afford the postage.

It seems silly but money is very tight.

And when money is tight you start to dream big.

And when you dream big you are destined to fail over and over again.

They key to success is accepting those failures and keep trudging on.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

2014 Topps Heritage : First Pack






I finally got the chance to rip open some new Heritage and I am very impressed by the overall design and feel of the cards. I knew I was missing out but I didn't realize how much I was going to like this years version of the old.

What I like about them is of course the classic design and the thick card stock. It feels like I have been getting my money's worth.

I also like the fact that these cards just work. I've often looked at past versions of Heritage and felt the modern players didn't mesh well with the old design. Sometimes it seems like they are trying to make the puzzle pieces fit that just don't go together.

This year they got it right. At least in my opinion. I would absolutely love a complete set of these.

I even landed a jersey relic in the bottom deck!





























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Monday, March 17, 2014

2014 Topps Baseball Blaster Break with BONUS Bowman Platinum Rip




I know Heritage is out and it is all the rage right now, but unfortunately the local Walmarts do not have any in stock yet. So, try to enjoy my blaster break with an added bonus of a rack pack of 2013 Bowman Platinum!


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Sunday, March 16, 2014

All That Glitters Is Gold


It's a great day over here at the nest when I start talking about GOLD! The only thing that brings it down a tad is the fact that the scanner doesn't make 1993 Topps Gold look the greatest.

You may have a much differing opinion on these particular parallels and set as a whole but for me, they create that uber nostalgia buzz. I don't mean that lightly either. Even the distinct smell of the cardboard and heavy foil bring me right back to when I was 8 years old.


Everyone's got those cards - the ones that mean the world to you no matter what the critics said about them in baseball card land. Some say the 90's were the worst time for baseball cards but I cannot help but assure you that they were the absolute best - for a kid anyways.


Before the big insert craze, you would find one of these shiny gold parallels per pack of 1993 Topps. They were so cool that they were the sole reason I would beg my parents for a pack or two of them. There was just something about them but it's just some silly foil right?


I remember wondering if there was actual gold inside the name stamps. They are unreadable enough for and 8 year old boy to make such a wild assumption. All I really knew was that I couldn't wait to find the next one. 


When you started to put a few of these gold members together, the rest of the set seem unusually unappealing, a trick Topps even brought back and remains in use to this day. The gold may be painted on the borders now, but I'm willing to bet that a reprint or two of 1993 Topps Gold will surface again one day. Can we say mini gold?


They even took the time to stamp the foil on the team cards and are much rarer than there single player counterparts. Cutting these in half would make for some pretty little minis in my estimation.


And of course, "Coming Attraction" - where almost none of them would live up to that moniker. Don't you remember the name Jeter? Shawn Jeter?


Then we get to our beloved Mets. They always look good with gold. This particular card would be near perfect if the borders weren't way out of whack and the cropping was just a smidge wider to the right. It could have been in the Baseball Card Hall of Fame if that exists. Hey, it's already got the gold!

So I'm doing this two part series that may extend into more because...well..um...gee heck, I just love the things!! I snagged 150 card lot from ebay and it's safe to say, I've got GOLD FEVER!!!

A complete set of these would be my crowning achievement in the hobby.








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Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Fantastic Catch!


Trades are fewer and further between these days. That is quite alright because I barely have time to do the laundry, let alone send out trade packages. That's not to say I don't enjoy the trading aspect, because I really do. It's one of the finer things in the life of a collector.

And you know this!

I love the enthusiastic "trade summon" from fellow collectors. You know, those emails that come in asking for a trade with the utmost excitement and optimism. Those are my favorite.




The high energy of Weston over at Fantastic Catch was the reason for this particular assortment of Mets goodies. Every package I receive like this makes me even more proud to be a Mets guy.



I didn't return to the hobby with the primary idea of being a team collector but there seems to be a natural allure of Mets cardboard that feeds my geeky appetite every time. I wasn't much of a team collector when I was little either. 



Collecting at my young age in the 90's had me yearning for big stars and pretty inserts. That's just the way it was. Or at least, that is how I saw it. I loved how there was so much variety. I loved how the cardboard world seemed like is was bigger and vaster than our entire planet.




It's easy to get lost reminiscing about those days. Those were my "golden days." Some say the 90's was not as good of time for collecting as other decades but I surely cannot agree with that. That is a biased way of thinking, but I don't believe I would have been as captivated by card collecting had the culture not been the way it was during that decade.




Of course, I could be wrong. I do love certain vintage now. There is a quality in vintage that I'm not sure we will ever see again. I'm just glad the scabillions of reprints don't tarnish their value - monetary and otherwise. 






Back to the trade package, I was pleasantly surprised as always. I would love to do another trade in the future with Weston. The 2001 Fleer Showcase cards really stood out to me being that from 2000-2010, a huge gap in my collecting exists and it's a thrill to finally be able to get hands on experience from that decade.




I'm not the keenest on Triple Play from Panini and no, it's not because there are no team logos or anything. It's simply because I'm not a fan of the particular type of character design. It's a digital art that you (or maybe it's just me) pretty much see everywhere these days.

I do realize that I'm not part of the product's target audience so that may be why they remind of me of something by Nickelodeon or Zynga.

That's not to say I don't enjoy this Santana. It's a Mets card. It's Johan. I like it.



This summer, I hope to do a little more trading. I will be on break from school and will have slightly more time to dedicate to the hobby. 

As for this particular package...

It was a Fantastic Catch indeed!

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About Me

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Michael Chase is a student at Penn State World Campus, enrolled at the College of Information Sciences & Technology. Through his studies and relentless digital pursuits, he strives to be the ultimate technologist with a passion for connecting people and things to our binary world. 

You can find him around the web as a VLogger, Social Media Warrior, Card Collector and Technology Advocate. Connect with Michael on Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, tumblr and YouTube.

He's a little weird but he probably thinks you are cool.


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Back Story



My oldest son is a cancer and stroke survivor. He was treated by Vermont's Children's Hosipital and we couldn't have asked for a better outcome. The nurses, doctor's and staff showed the utmost caliber of professionalism. Their dedicated team was crucial to our son's recovery and survival. He has remained cancer free for over two years now.

Stemming from a 10 year bout with alcoholism, I am proud to say that I am now alcohol free for 4 years running!

And back in school and enrolled at Penn State's College of Information Sciences & Technology through World Campus

PASSIONS

Information Technology...I love anything computers and am a full blooded Computer Geek. I am trying to break back into the IT world by getting my Bachelor Of Science in Information Sciences and Technology through Penn State. Besides my family, this is my main focus.

My website:  www.techrave.net 

Vlogging...The word is dumb but the activity is life-changing. Follow my Geekneck vlog here:



Music... I have a big passion for music and I listen to most types of metal, hard rock, techno, trance, folk and much more...

I play guitar on a Schecter and play both acoustic and metal styles.

I also produce electronic music in FL Studio under a project called Mushraven that can be found here:     

                        
Card Collecting... The hobby has grown and changed in so many ways...I'm glad to be apart of it once again. I am the proud author of the blog listed in the link below.

Card Blog: cardraven.blogspot.com  

Sports...  I am a huge METS fan!

Mycology... I enjoy growing Shiitake mushrooms and take photographs of fungi in the wild. Some of my pictures can be viewed here on G+ in the albums section.

Picture Taking...I don't call myself a photographer because that would be insulting to real photographers. Actually, I just like taking pictures of scenery and various other things.

Along with that I also enjoy being outside tinkering around, fishing, landscaping, and spending time with my wife and kids.

Please visit the links section for more ways to connect with me!


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