Thursday, June 30, 2011

Something different, I think

Since I was tired of looking at Tiffany's face at the top of my other blog, I decided to grab a box from the garage to see if I could find anything interesting.  Of course, it's not hard considering the shear volume of boxes that are out there.  So today I wanted to share with you an odd find that I had never seen before.

Behold, a set of 1992 First Edition Baseball Hall of Fame Heroes Cards, err Official Baseball Card Stamps.  What in the world are baseball card stamps.  Well in 1992, the St. Vincent Philatelic Services, Ltd. decided to manufacture and release a 12 card set of standard size cards featuring some of baseballs well known HOFers.  Of course, being the Philatelic Service that they were, the cards doubled as peel-away stamps and are actually official legal postage in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The cards have an interesting design, featuring a head shot of the player in a black/white/sepia color over a faded gold two tone background.  The borders deckle edge to simulate a stamp design and there is a clean yellow boarder around it.  Each card has enough for $4.00 worth of postage. 

The backs feature a plain white background with all the pertinent text you would expect to find on the back.  Everything from when they were born, died, where they were from, and their position are printed on the top.  The states included most, if not all of their playing history including World Series stats. 

As you can see by the back of the box, the players include Ty Cobb, Whitey Ford, Lou Gehrig, and Babe Ruth.  The set also features Satchel Paige which is kind of cool since you don't see many cards of him out there other than from the last 10-15 years.  The sides of the box are also printed with the inscription "A Unique First In The Trading Card Industry" on one side, and "Baseball Card Stamp Set Is Legal For Postage" on the other side.  Here are a few scans of some of the cards, both front and back.

Here are 9 of the player stamps.  You can click on the image to zoom in and get a better look.


And here is what the backs look like.

I couldn't find much about these anywhere so I really don't know what the print run was.  Since it was in the early 90s I can only imagine it was quite large.  Plus, if people actually peeled them and used them, that could make the print run less.  I'm still not sure if they were actually printed in St. Vincent or the Grenadines or if they came out of some dusty warehouse in Miami.  I check around on Ebay for sales of these.  You can pick up sets anywhere from about $5 all the way up to $40 depending on where you look.  There are even FDC versions already on envelopes floating around out there.  

Definitely something a little different. But that is always expected when you pull a random box from the garage. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011


No, not that Tiffany.  Tiffany baseball cards.  You know those weird glossy cards that Topps put out between 1984 and 1991?  

Well, I found some mixed in with a pile of 1988 and 1989 Topps cards that I was prepping for the bonfire.  Upon initial review, there is really no difference between these cards and their regular counterparts.  But where they stand out is with the high gloss finish to the fronts and the brightly colored backs.  At first, you may think they are from the Traded sets as those generally have a shade or two brighter back than the base set.  But these don't have the "T" designation after the number and they are the same photos on the fronts.  

Topps released the Tiffany cards as a "super" premium set for the collector that was able to fork out an arm and a leg for a set.  They were only packaged for sale by hobby dealers in a full set, not as a wax box or rack pack like the regular cards.  The sets themselves were limited by over production era standards to anywhere from 5,000 to 25,000 sets, not serial numbered.  The 1991 set is believed to be the lowest print run set at the 5,000 mark.  

Since they seem to be scarce, you can generally find these selling for quite a bit more than their base set counterparts.  For example, a 1986 Topps Traded Will Clark rookie went for between $.50 and $5.00 on Ebay while the same card in the Tiffany version went for over $50.00.  

I'm not saying I pulled anything $50 worthy here, it's just interesting to get to see these in person.  As a childhood collector, neither myself or any of my friends could afford a Tiffany version of any of these cards.  I remember seeing singles at card shows back in the late 80s/early 90s with price tags on them upward of a few hundred dollars.  What kid can fork out that kind of cabbage?  None that I know, that's for sure. 

So here's a few from the garage that have been rescued from their eminent doom.

1989 Jose Canseco

1988 Jose Canseco

1989 Wade Boggs

1989 Paul Molitor

1989 Will Clark

1988 Will Clark

1988 Ryne Sandberg

1988 Don Mattingly

On the scans of a few of them you can notice that they look to be a little brighter than their regular release brethren.  Scanner doesn't pick up shiny very well so you don't get the gloss.  Instead of the gray cardboard like the base set, these are printed on a white card stock that is a little thinner, which makes the colors pop a little more.  Notice the backs where you can see the color of the cards is much brighter than what you would normally find on an 1989 or 1988 set, especially the 1989s.  If you believe everything they print on the internet like I do, apparently these were printed in Ireland instead of Pennsylvania. 

I didn't find any other years of these yet, but now that I know they are out there, I will be more careful before sending these late 80s nightmares off to Hades where they belong.

PS.  Did you click on that album cover up top?  Go ahead.  Try it.