Thursday, December 13, 2018

An Oddball Batman item

Here's an off-the-wall Batman item I added a few weeks ago on a whim. This is a 1966 (or 1967) Topps novelty issue known as Comic Book Foldees. Pretty simple concept...three separate characters on a foldable 'card' that can be mixed into a an additional six 'hybrid' characters. The two outer panels are 'split' to allow this effect. Pretty entertaining ...for about five minutes I guess. Then again in the mid-Sixties, kids were more easily entertained by things like this. 

Topps licensed the DC characters for this and used other famous faces. Babe Ruth pops up in one. I was very pleased to find that my favorite President got to share this with my favorite crime fighter.  Does anyone reading this have any recollection of these things? I was in high school so I doubt they would have caught my eye at the local candy store or drug stores that were our main suppliers of cards and crap. 

The wonderful Topps Archive blog brought this to my attention with a post in October and I quickly found that my man, Batman, was on the checklist. There are several other Batman-related characters and the Batmobile is also included but I'm good with just the Dark Knight for now. The TA blog goes into detail on this goofy Topps set with the usual painstaking research he shows every Saturday. He explains why the set is actually a '67 item despite the 1966 date that is visible. 

If you are so inclined you can view the entire 44 piece collection online. Apparently, a second, larger (in physical size) version was also released.

I don't like putting stuff like this on my scanner but I sucked it up and made one 'fold' so you can see the hilarious Crime-Fighting  President.

And just for comparison's sake here is the Foldee alongside a standard Topps card:

As I said I won't go out and find any others in this set but if I did I might be tempted to track down the Jimmy Olsen/Grubby Beatnik/Graceful Dancer!

Monday, December 10, 2018

A Post About Nothing

I have no theme for these random scans that were sitting in my picture folder. But there is a short story for each:

The '71 Hoyt came from Night Owl. I picked it as my prize in his recent 10th anniversary giveaway contest. It was timely as I am in the process of (gulp) getting my 71s organized and putting together a want list. If and when I complete this thing it'll be my poorest complete set in terms of condition. It's a tough one to put together in nice shape due to the black borders but what I've seen in my box is a lot of pretty weak examples. Doesn't matter really. It's not like I'm going to try and turn the set for profit or anything.

I'm getting closer to knocking out the 1975 set. If you have dupes please check my linked list over on the right. I somehow have acquired four Dick Allen cards. One is for the binder, one for my unofficial and very casual Allen PC and one I keep on my desk because it makes me happy.

The 'Blue Bat' 1966 Batman set I bought needed two cards upgraded. This one came the other day. And this is a significant upgrade so you can imagine what my first one looked like.

The seller used this Close Encounters of the Third Kind set card as a filler to protect the Batman card. I loved that movie (along with everyone else in the world) but had no idea there was a 1978 Topps Close Encounters set made.

And this has to be the best card in the set!

That's all I have. Have a great week and remember to keep your kids away from Smocking Guns!! ::eyeroll emoji here::

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Best of 2018.....LOL

P-Town Tom (P-Town is Peoria, I was unaware) asked us to blog about what we considered our favourite card of 2018. Me picking a 2018 card is like a goat farmer trying to find a Kentucky Derby entrant in his barn. It doesn't take long to scan the possibilities and none of them are likely winners. But, oh well.

My problem is the fact that I haven't really bought much in the way of current cards in a long time. I snagged a pack of Heritage and a few of the other 'new cards in old designs' sets this year. I didn't get much of interest or anything cool. 90% of my 2018 cards came from other bloggers' generosity or in COMC purchases for my fantasy team collections. And with those, I usually get a cheap common.

There are a few exceptions and my entrant in the 'Favorite Card of 2018' contest is one of them. I'm choosing this 2018 Panini Elite Patrick Mahomes. I'm not sure whether it's the card or the player that inspired this but here we are. I have Mahomes in the one league I actually care about, and I sure thank the football gods for that. It's a dynasty league and I took Mahomes with my second round pick last year.

With injuries killing my runningbacks Mahomes has not only kept me afloat but he lifted me to a pretty good year, all by himself.

Anyway, it's a pretty sweet card. I bought it to replace the one I had in my binder that showed him in his college uni. Panini does a pretty nice job with football cards. (I think it's a shame that Topps has exclusive MLB rights). The red and gold of the card nicely coordinate with the spiffy Chiefs uniform. The 'action' is nothing to write home about but as I said, I have a small pool of contenders to choose from.

I actually considered a few others for the prestigious 'CommishBob's Best 2018 Card' award/contest entry. Here are the runners-up, in no particular order:

Topps base card of Altuve and Correra. It's easy to like both these guys even if you are not an Astros fan. I like that you can see the post-Hurricane Harvey 'Houston Strong' patch on Altuve's jersey.

This next one slid in from Night Owl a few weeks ago. I snatched a nice '71 Hoyt Wilhelm from his giveaway and he padded the card sleeve with a pink (PINK!!) chromafied Trey Mancini card. I had the regular chrome Mancini in my fantasy binder but this pink (PINK!!) one bumps that one to my regular Orioles collection. I like variety in my fantasy player binders and there isn't much more 'varied' than a pink chrome card. It certainly stands out on that page.

Pink cards are just plain fun.

And then there is the card I was going to choose until I was going thru my football binder and spotted the Mahomes. It's this Paul Pogba World Cup Panini Prizm card. I followed the WC this year like never before and it was a ton of fun. There are other countries I would have prefered to see win (I'm looking at you, Portugal) but France was undoubtedly the best in the tournament and earned the title.

Pogba, of course, plays his professional footie for my seriously underperforming Manchester United club. I love the sport but the drama of players vs coaches, in-season transfer window madness and the general crapload of foolishness that swirls around soccer is pretty stupid. I try to ignore it but some of it is unavoidable. I enjoy watching Man U matches at the Houston bar where their supporters gather but hearing the cussing and griping gets old after awhile.

Oh, I almost forgot...that's a really sweet card, right? Again Panini shows what they can do when they don't have to concentrate on removing logos and airbrushing pants stripes.

OK, I've managed to post a card for the contest and get some stuff off my chest. I feel better.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

My First IP Signature

A year ago I posted my story of meeting Elston Howard and his signing photos for my best friend and I. When I posted that I was still trying to locate the photo. I came across it last month along with some cards I had given up on. But that story will hold for now. I just wanted to post my Howard photo tonight.

I used my picture editor to crop out much of the very wide border this picture had.  It is actually about 11"x14" but the photo itself is maybe 7"x10".

You have to look really closely to see the inscription and signature. It's faded quite a bit over time. Yes, he signed it to 'Bobby Andrews' which is what I went by growing up.

Even cropping the inscription and blowing it up doesn't help much. but there it is. Looks like a pencil sig but it's actually done in black ink. And it is one of my few really meaningful autographs.

I'm very happy that I finally found it.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Project '61 Continues

I'm making steady progress in my quest to complete the 1961 Topps set. That'll slow to a crawl when I get to a certain point. That point being when I am down to the high numbers and especially those high number All-Star cards.

Meanwhile, I have knocked off some stars and semi-stars. I really wasn't planning to do updates here on my set build. That's why my Willie Mays card and Spahn All-Star are sitting in the binder unscanned.

But I snapped up a nice handful of cards off COMC a few weeks ago and when they showed up I was very impressed with the condition. These are beauties and my stupid scanner doesn't do them justice.  mostly it makes them look off-center by 'trimming' the borders. Oh, well, you will have to trust me on these.

Not much to say about them other than they are among the better cards in my binder now. The 61s I have are far nicer than my 71s. Oh, did I mention I'm working on that one? No want list just yet. I'll have a post coming soon though.

Good old underappreciated Richie Ashburn. 4-time NL hit leader, 4-time walk leader, 4-time OBP leader, and 5 times an All-Star. I'm guessing he'd have been a 'more time' All-Star if the NL hadn't been thigh deep in outfield superstars back then.

Whitey Ford. I posted his 1960 card over on that blog recently.

Two Braves, Mathews and Spahnnie. I'm trying to figure out what stadium that is on both cards. Wrigley?

I've said it a dozen times on this blog. Spahn cards are always fun. A series of oddly slanted elements, none at the same angle as any other. 

Clete Boyer. I have no recollection of him playing anywhere else besides third base.  But it looks like he played about a season's worth of shortstop early in his career.

Luis Aparicio. I absolutely love that Sox cap with the red bordered S-O-X logo. I have a couple. is the Cadillac of the '61 Topps cards. The highest dollar card I'll buy for the set. When I bust it out of the plastic prison I'll be extra careful not to ding it like I did my '62,Willie Mays. That was a hobby moment that nearly brought me to tears.

I figure that by the summer I'll be looking at tackling the last series of this thing. I've got quite a few other projects going in the meantime.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

One Bat, Two Bat, Red Bat, Blue Bat!

So who sez I don't post-baseball stuff? Check this out:

Yup, Robin has a nasty high, hard inside fastball. That's card #27A of the 1966 Topps Batman Puzzle-back series, aka, the 'red bat' set. I posted about my black bat set some time ago. Topps was all over the Batman mania that prevailed in the mid-1960s, in 1966 specifically. They released five Batman sets that year, six if you count the two different styles of 'blue bat' set card backs. More on that in a bit.

Batman collectors tend to migrate to the black bat set as the best of the cartoon-style bunch. I can't disagree. It has the sharpest artwork and the backs are really nice. But Topps piled on with these two similar sets. I recently completed them both. 

Before moving on I must address the condition of these. Like all the vintage non-sports sets I have, I am perfectly happy to pick them up in less than pristine condition. It would be neat to have gem mint Batman sets but that's not a priority with me. What I have come to learn as being 'collector grade' is just fine. Cards in one piece, creases not too obvious, decent corners, minimal extraneous marks....I'm good to go. 

Both the red and blue sets are made up of 44 cards. They also both come with backs that form puzzles of various characters involved in Batman's world. Both sets are also primarily made up of horizontal cards with a mix of vertical ones.  

Here's the back of the card up top:

If you can read the small print on that card back you can see that the puzzle was formed with six cards. The villains were all six-piece puzzles while out heroes got bigger, 10 piece puzzles.

Here are a few more of my favorite cards from the set. Hard to beat mixing in the Statue of Liberty!

I guess Gotham City has a 'Broadway', too.

Why would a ghost wear glasses, other than to better visualize him in a cartoon?

And a shapely damsel in distress.

And here is a look at the Joker puzzle when it's put together:

The blue bat set was the third of these cartoon art sets of 1966. It's also the weakest in terms of artwork. But no Batman art is bad Batman art. It was numbered as 1B thru 44B. 

Again with the puzzle backs.

Robin gets to work his arm again in this set.

Here is the variation mentioned above. This blue bat series was also issued with these backs:

They are called the blue cowl backs and I much prefer them to the puzzles. I picked up a couple of these cowl backs on COMC just as 'type cards' and I'm fighting the urge to chase the whole thing.

The two different back from the #9B card, side-by-side:

I mentioned that Topps had six Batman issues in 1966. Here are cards (not mine) from the other two. These used photos from the TV show and the movie. The Batman Laffs set had TV pics...

The Batman/Riddler set was based on the movie.

The three cartoon-style sets, black, red and blue, were re-issued in 1989 as a 'deluxe' set of 143 cards. I was unaware of that until recently and mine is now in route. I really haven't given much consideration to the two 'photo front' sets. I was a Batman comic guy and the show, while entertaining, wasn't something I really went out of my way to watch after the novelty wore off.

That doesn't mean those two sets don't appeal to my 'completist' side.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Eaton's Gordie Howe Postcard

This is one of my favorite pickups in recent months. It's a postcard-sized promotional piece of hockey legend Gordie Howe from the mid-60s. It was issued on behalf of Eaton Department Stores which I've come to find out was a big retail chain in Canada back then.

Gordie, who was a spokesman for Truline Sports Equipment, is pictured in his All-Star uniform. Just a great photo. I consider myself fortunate to have seen Mr. Hockey play many times. I witnessed a handful of his games with the Red Wings in New York against my Rangers. When he came to Houston to play for four seasons with the Aeros and his sons my friends and I (and frequently my father) were there as often as possible. For the first two years of Gordie's time here the Aeros played at the dearly departed  Sam Houston Coliseum. I'm not sure I've ever enjoyed sports more than I did then.

Doing my quick research for Eaton's I found that a book was written about the chain.

Note the photo of Gordie on the cover in his Eaton's red blazer. He must have been to Eaton's what Ted Williams was to Sears down here. I also found many magazine ads that he was showcased in and some other interesting items.

Truline hockey gloves endorsed by the GOAT.

There is at least one other Gordie/Eaton's postcard. I may have to go find one for myself.

 And Truline made baseball gloves that carried Gordie's seal of approval!