Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sometimes You Just Get Busy

Fantasy drafts, College and Pro football and some culture are all conspiring to make the next five days or so very busy for me. Since I don't like letting the blog slide I'll be putting up what amount to 'placeholder' entries over the next few days. Just cards and things without out much elaboration. I doubt any of the three people who read this will really care. ;-)


In my oddball binder I've found this 1966 Brooks Robinson 'Rub On' from Topps. We used to decorate our school binders with these things. There is one on eBay that was graded and given a '10' and has an asking price of well over $200. There is one graded as a '9' with an asking price of $23. Funny what a single point can do.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Billy Pierce 1952 Hawthorne Mellody pin



This item has been on my radar for a long time. I might as well call it a 'white whale' because while it really wasn't very expensive it sure didn't surface very often.

I didn't know the story of the Hawthorn-Mellody Dairy until I searched for the info and found that the company had folded in 1992 and the background of it's ending are pretty sad. The Chicago Trib laid it all out in this 1994 article.

Here is the info and a couple of interesting pictures I found on a six year old auction listing via Google:
1952 Hawthorne Mellody "Club of Champs" White Sox Players Pin Set With Beanie. In 1952 the Hawthorn-Mellody dairy company started a program for kids called the "Club of Champs." The club was known for charitably bringing inner city kids of the Midwest on field trips to the company's sports museum, their children's zoo and their dairy operations. A number of club premiums were issued, but none have proven to be as collectable as their PF7 set of 1-3/8" wide litho pins. This set included in its number ten different sepia photo pins of the top players of the Chicago White Sox, and all ten of the desirable player pins are included here, ranging in grade from VG/EX to NM, averaging EX/MT. All are still mounted to a rare example of the club's original brown beanie cap, complete with a painted imprint on the facing that reads, "Hawthorn-Mellody - Club of Champs" (EX). An 8-1/4" x 10-1/4". This is such a scarce issue you will be hard pressed to find it mentioned in any guide, indicating that these may have only been available at the museum itself, given out as souvenirs of the tour.






Tuesday, August 26, 2014

More Ann Dvorak Cigarette cards



I seems I had found the only Ann Dvorak cards available on eBay so I went searching in other places and found a guy with his own web store who specializes in all things vintage Hollywood. He had some issues with his checkout process but we worked through that and I picked up three cards and what turned out to be an 8x10 which I had though was a card when I bought it.

At the top is a 1934 Players Cigarette card from England. My scan just doesn't do this card justice. It's pretty much perfect and my favorite item in my little group of Ann Dvorak cards. It really shows those expressive eyes of hers.


Seems like a good point to throw in a bit of background on Ms. Dvorak. The paragraph below comes from her biography which is published by one of those university press companies and costs more than I will pay for a book:
Possessing a unique beauty and refined acting skills, Ann Dvorak (1911–1979) found success in Hollywood at a time when many actors were still struggling to adapt to the era of talkies. Seemingly destined for A-list fame, critics touted her as “Hollywood’s New Cinderella” after film mogul Howard Hughes cast her as Cesca in the gangster film Scarface (1932). Dvorak’s journey to superstardom was derailed when she walked out on her contractual obligations to Warner Bros. for an extended honeymoon. Later, she initiated a legal dispute over her contract, an action that was unprecedented at a time when studios exercised complete control over actors’ careers.




This is a 1938 issue from BAT (British American Tobacco). There is also a version in a more traditional 'cigarette card' size that has the same pick in a vertical format with the name at the bottom below her foot. This one is much nicer. You can tell she was a dancer before becoming a full time actress.



This one is also a bit different in that it shows her poolside(?). It was sponsored by the Carreras Tobacco Company of London and issued in 1936. I poked around on sites that sell or list British cards of that era and this set is on the expensive side compared to most others. 


Because it was so reasonable I picked up a dupe of the Godfrey Phillips card that I posted previously. This one has an intact reverse so it's an upgrade. 



Finally, what I thought was another more standard size card that turned out to be an 8x10 (reading is fundamental). But since it was priced like an inexpensive card I'm OK with having bought it. 


Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Morning Quarterback #26 Troy Aikman 1995 Fleer Ultra




In this ongoing series of posts I am going to feature cards from my fantasy football player collection, specifically the 117 quarterbacks I've had on my team's roster since 1980. I have one selected card for each player in my All-Time Flyers binder. Through the years I've tried to use as many different card varieties as possible while holding on to my preference which is: a card issued in a year I owned the player showing him in the proper team uni in a vertical format. Card availability and my whims have had a big impact on that standard as we will see. 
NFL Info: Troy Aikman played 12 seasons for the Cowboys after being the overall first pick in 1989 out of UCLA. He has a long list of NFL (and NCAA) accomplishments:


  • Consensus All-American (1988)
  • Davey O'Brien Award (1989)
  • 6× Pro Bowl (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996)
  • Sporting News First-Team All-Pro (1993)
  • 3× UPI Second-Team All-NFC (1994, 1995)
  • 3× Super Bowl champion (XXVII, XXVIII, XXX)
  • Super Bowl MVP (XXVII)
  • 3× NFC Champion (1992, 1993, 1995)
  • Walter Payton Man of the Year (1996)
  • Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor inductee (2005)
  • Dallas Cowboys All-time leader in Passing Yards (32,942 yards)
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee (2006)
  • College Football Hall of Fame inductee (2008)
  • NCAA Silver Anniversary Award (2014)


Of course among fans his biggest plus is three Super Bowl crowns. Currently he works as the lead color man for Fox NFL telecasts and I think he does a great job, especially considering he has to work with blowhard Joe Buck.

Fantasy Impact: Aikman wasn't much help in the 1997 season for me. He made two starts in place of Jeff Blake during the first ten weeks of the season and although he got me a touchdown in one game and two in the next I lost both games. I switched to Chris Chandler down the stretch and he led me to my second straight title and third overall. So Aikman has a Hughes League championship ring. I'm sure he's thrilled.

The Card: In my never ending quest to include as many different 'type' cards as possible in the good ol' fantasy binder I included this rather over-the-top Fleer card. I'm not a huge fan of the artsy 'double pic' effect but overall the card is OK. The stats are so scrawny I don't know why they bothered. That ornamental initial and the gaudy gold 'Extra Stars' logo take up too much space. On the plus side, it's got team logos front and back and I sort of like the one-off Cowboy jersey that Aikman has on.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

1999 Lemon Chill Billy Pierce



I haven't posted much from my Billy Pierce collection recently but here is my latest oddball addition. Lemon Chill sponsored a stadium giveaway set at New Comiskey each year from 1998 through 2000. the 1998 set featured Sox players from that season but the '99 set mixed in players from the Sox' 1959 A.L. Champion club.

I have no idea how these were given away, whether it was done throughout the season or all at once. The back of the Pierce lists his as "Card 2 of 5 1959 Series' but I've read that the set was unnumbered so make of that what you will. The other '59ers' that were included were Al Lopez, Al Smith, Jim Landis. The fifth card of the 1959 series group is a mystery to me. The checklist has only the above four names with the rest being '99 Sox players and coaches. But the 'Team card' may be of the '59 Sox. I wasn't able to spot it online anywhere.

The Pierce uses familiar photos on the front and has his 1959 stats over a vintage picture of old Comiskey on the back. It's signed but Pierce is a voracious signer so that's not surprising. Adding odd Pierce cards is fun but I came up with a great vintage item that has been more or less a 'White Whale'. I'll post that soon.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

1952 Bowman Abraham Lincoln



Looks like Abe is in a pretty good tussle in the drawing at the upper right of this card. I don't have much to add to this one. Presidential cards are pretty cool, especially this old Bowman set. I had hoped to find a Lincoln in that bargain bin at the card show a few weeks back but I was out of luck. So I turned to eBay. $4 to my door. More than the card show but worth it.

While you're here read these 50 Lincoln facts I found on the net:

1. He was the only president to have a patent: Lincoln invented a device to free steamboats that ran aground.
2. He practiced law without a degree. Lincoln had about 18 months of formal schooling.
3. He wanted women to have the vote in 1836. The future president was a suffragette before it became fashionable.
4. He was a big animal lover, but he wouldn’t hunt or fish. If he were alive today, Lincoln would be running an animal shelter.
5. He really was a wrestler. Lincoln was documented as taking part in wrestling bouts. We don’t think he wore a mask or had a manager.
6. He lost in his first bid for a presidential ticket. The unknown Lincoln was an unsuccessful vice presidential candidate in 1856 at the Republican convention.
7. He never belonged to an organized church. Lincoln read the Bible daily, but he never joined an organized church in his lifetime.
8. He didn’t drink, smoke, or chew. Lincoln was a simple man of tastes, and he never drank in the White House.
9. He didn’t have a middle name. Lincoln went through his life with two names.
10. He hated being called Abe. Apparently, he preferred being called by his last name.
11. Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday.
12. He was the first president born outside of the 13 original states.
13. Lincoln loved to eat oysters.
14. Lincoln’s cat ate at the White House dinner table.
15. His dog was named Fido.
16. His cat was named Tabby.
17. His favorite food was fruit.
18. He was also a big fan of chicken casserole.
19. Lincoln was the first president to use the telegraph.
20. He used the telegraph like email to communicate with generals.
21. Lincoln’s mother was killed by poisoned milk.
22. Lincoln’s life was saved twice when he was young.
23. Grave robbers were foiled in 1876 when they tried to steal Lincoln’s body.
24. He was the first president with a beard.
25. Lincoln argued a case before the Supreme Court in 1849 and lost.
26. Lincoln failed in his first business.
27. Lincoln’s shoe size was between 12 and 14.
28. His coffin has been opened five times.
29. Lincoln was estranged from his father and didn’t attend his funeral.
30. Lincoln didn’t play musical instruments.
31. Lincoln served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
32. He ran for the U.S. Senate twice and lost.
33. Lincoln won the popular vote in Senate campaign against Douglas but lost the election.
34. Lincoln was shot on Good Friday.
35. Lincoln was photographed with John Wilkes Booth at his second inauguration.
36. There are no direct living descendants of Abraham Lincoln.
37. Booth’s brother saved the life of Lincoln’s son on a New Jersey train platform.
38. Lincoln was part of séances after his son died in the White House.
39. Lincoln’s animals also died in a White House stable fire.
40. Someone shot at Lincoln in 1864 and put a hole in his stovepipe hat.
41. Lincoln was the first president to be assassinated.
42. He was a judge on the circuit court in Illinois.
43. Lincoln defended the son of his most famous wrestling opponent from murder charges.
44. Lincoln battled depression for much of his life.
45. Lincoln was seemingly obsessed with cats.
46. He was set to take part in a duel, but it was cancelled at the last second.
47. Lincoln kept his important documents inside his hat.
48. Lincoln’s dog Fido was killed by a drunken assailant a year after Lincoln died.
49. Lincoln’s suit was made by Brooks Brothers.
50. Lincoln’s guest at Ford’s Theater was Ulysses S. Grant, who cancelled at the last second.

The quiz is tomorrow.

Friday, August 22, 2014

It was Inevitable

Back in the 80s there was a time when the question hobby wonks asked wasn't 'When is the next card show?" but rather "Which of the four shows around here this weekend will I go to?"

And when you went to the show you had chosen you could always figure on one table down every aisle being loaded down with three (and only three) different items:

#1) Bammers!

These are the 'beanie baby' style teddy bears you still see around with player names and numbers on the back. Here's a peek at a few pics I found on the 'net:



I still see this junk on tables at shows from time to time. Usually one sad Bammer perched on a box of unopened 1984 Donruss.

#2) 'Perma Graphics' Credit Cards/Phone Cards

These are just what they sound like. Plastic 'credit card' type cards with player pix and such. Some were pretty high quality and many had uniforms showing and team logos as well. I guess that meant they were either an authorized/licensed product (I believe the Perma Graphics Company had an agreement with Topps) or they were skirting the rules. The ones that were 'phone cards' were just that, supposedly loaded with long distance call minutes you could use by keying in the serial number found on the back. The next person I find that used a phone card to make a phone call will be the first one I have found. Sing out if you ever used one.

I never saw the attraction to these but they were pretty popular so I guess someone was buying them. I have a Jim Palmer example someplace but I can't get my hands on it at the moment so I will post these from the 'net:




#3) Broders

Rob Broder and his father produced untold numbers of unlicensed cards in the 1980s and into the 1990s. They were cheap, attractive, and definitely 'grey' market items. Broder was the producer of many of them but the term was applied to many similar issues of the day. I remember dealers with stacks and stacks of them. They went for a buck or so apiece. There were different 'series' and 'sets', some dedicated to one players or one team. When you are using photos you take yourself from the stands and don't have to worry about paying fees to players or leagues the possibilities are endless.

I remember "dealers" calling them 'private' sets, and 'promo' cards. Unlike Bammers and phone/credit cards I actually have examples of these in my collection. I have one honest-to-God Broder Ripken:



And a couple of Broder-wannabes, a Ripken and a Murray:





And some other non-Broder Murray and Ripken Broders:





You'll see these referred to as 'Broder-type"...which is sort of like store brand cheese loaf being referred to as 'Velveeta-type' cheese. It's an imitation of a fraud.

When you found the Bammer-credit card/Broder "dealers" table you knew you had found a guy whose knowledge of the hobby was limited to how to make a buck selling crap and whose knowledge of baseball was limited to what player held the interest of all the 11-year-olds in the room.