Much junk comes with baseball card collecting.
Old and nasty sticks of gum are among the most common that collectors like me see. Don’t try them – it leaves a terrible taste in your mouth.
Some junk things you get with your cards MAY be collectible.
I have zero use for junk wax checklist cards, Topps wax pack advertisement cards, and other pieces of paper which are the same size as baseball cards but look like junk.
This includes those extremely-hard cardboard pieces placed in packs to prevent buyers from feeling their way around to game-used items. I have a couple of Upper Deck ones; I wonder if I can get those signed by their executives?
I was told early on to actually NOT take a pen and mark the checkboxes on these checklist cards – in the similar manner of someone scribbling on an actual baseball card. It turns out this philosophy was right when it was determined that the checklist cards from the 60s-through-80s were mostly beat up and vandalized. So the mint checklists commanded a higher premium.
One month, it was determined that checklists and team cards from 1979 and earlier were “generally thrown into the Unlisted Stars category,” according to Beckett. Soon, many collectors began finding such checklists and putting them in piles to let dust collect on them. Recently, the values of such checklists have slightly gone down.
When the junk wax boom started with the introduction of Donruss, the resurgence of Fleer, and the “playing defense” mindset of Topps, the checklist cards became more stored in boxes than actually being used – whether for actual checklisting or as bicycle noise-makers. By the late 1990s, card companies made fewer checklists due to the rise of the internet age – and the fact that a yearly Beckett catalog pretty much acts as a checklist.
So what do to with them?
I have noticed that people sometimes send them in to get autographed TTM. At first, I wasn’t quite sure exactly why. But then again, these cards can act as pieces of paper, as long as their name is printed on it. When I do TTM’s, 98 percent of the time I have better cards to send to these players than the checklists.
If I’m selling a specific team set from a make/year, I’ll usually toss in that set’s checklist cards if I have the complete set of it.
The next idea that is popping up in my mind is truly wasteful. Glue them together and make paperweights, book ends, and other bits of rectangular block art or knick-knack out of them – a gift for the card collector in mind.
I’m not going to test out sending POPs and some bucks for a 1986 Topps Glossy All-Star set, but I have plenty of cardboard that advertises such. At first glance, there is absolutely ZERO point in holding onto these cards.
Until I found out about the extra-special 1957 Topps baseball cards.
Religiously memorizing the monthly Beckett magazines, I caught notice of an extra addition to the listings of 1957 Topps. Not only were there checklists, but there were offer cards being listed for hundreds of dollars. So what does the 11-year-old in me say? “Hold on to these cards I have, and they’ll be worth THAT much!”
Stupid me. The worthless pieces of paper, included at the rate of 1-per-pack, are simply worthless. However, I held on to them in the off-possibility that these cards were scrapped by everyone else – except me, ha ha ha!
Remember “Topps of the Class” promotion? I have saved several of those flimsy pieces of paper with the hope that everyone else was going to throw theirs away. Well, many junk wax minds think alike. Same goes with other card promotion pieces of paper obtained from these packs.
UGH! I can’t think of ANY good use for these. Glue them together and make paperweights, book ends, and other bits of rectangular block art or knick-knack out of them – a gift for the card collector in mind.
DONRUSS PUZZLE PIECES
When Donruss came out in 1981, the company inserted sticks of gum in each pack. Then Topps got angry and thus Donruss switched to inserting perforated puzzle pieces, which, when put together, created a Perez-Steele painting of a baseball Hall of Famer. (Fleer then came out with its worthless “star stickers”).
When I was about 12, my nearby Big Lots in Sterling had loads of rack packs of 1990 Donruss. One card of three puzzle pieces of a Carl Yaztrzemski puzzle was inserted in each pack. I had plenty of 1988 pieces of Stan Musial as well.
I never completed the puzzles. Flash ahead 20 years, and my baseball cards were moved throughout the house. Recently, I discovered that someone (probably one of my brothers) was playing around in my cards, took the Musial puzzle pieces and put them together. I had six different completed puzzles of Stan Musial, valued at about $1 when put together. As many Yaztrzemski pieces as I had obtained, I am missing 9 or 12 pieces.
The Musial pieces were small enough to fit 15 to the shape of a standard-sized baseball card. Puzzles in other years were much larger. If I were to put the missing puzzle pieces on my Want List, who would be interested in a completed Carl Yaztrzemski puzzle?
My remaining Musial and Clemente pieces are junk.
FLEER STAR STICKERS (1989-on)
As mentioned in a previous entry, the Fleer Star Stickers which have the team logos on them can also be used as blank autograph cards. Since most of them show a single team, they are just as good as team cards.
However, Fleer also produced cards with four small logo stickers on them. They are not just as good as team cards. I’m actually taking some of my 1991 Fleer Ultra logo stickers and using them for my large card case. So They may as well be junk as well.
But hold that thought for a minute.
In many senses, multi-player cards do have value. If you’re trying to flip or sell them, they are of value. If you’re building a team set, they can be included in them. If one player is far greater than the other, they are perfect for an individual player collection.
Then there are those cards with 2 common players on them, or 2 players somewhere near the next pricing tier. They are hard to weigh to one side or another, unless you get a request for a specific player or team.
I’ve recently determined that having them will confuse me more than not – unless they are important stat leader cards of value, or are worth something special. So I’m parting with a lot of multi-player cards of which I have no use for. I’ve allotted the Cubs cards to my friend Beau for his One Million Cubs Collection. I’m thinking the rest may go one-per-pack in the T-ball kids collection – and this will include the aforementioned 4-way logo sticker cards.
FINDING USES FOR common player baseball cards doesn’t seem like all that hard work. The other cards mentioned in this entry, it seems like it’s 10-times tougher to make a practical use out of them. What are your ideas for re-purposing these TRULY junk cards?