Thursday, 2 January 2020

Collecting Goals for 2020

Here is my obligatory collecting resolutions for 2020.

1. Finish my 1980 Topps set. I'm sitting at 441 out of 726 for 60.7% completion. I bought graded copies of the Rickey Henderson rookie and the Nolan Ryan card, which are sitting in my COMC account. After that, it's just picking up common stars and the like. I started this set a year ago with the intention of doing a vintage baseball set, and 1980 is the most inexpensive.

2. After completing 1980, I want to move on to 1979 Topps. I don't know if I will complete that one, but I would like to at least pickup the Ozzie Smith rookie. This is a difficult set because of miscut cards and the Ozzie card is more expensive because of that.

3. Grab a Mario Lemieux OPC rookie. I want to keep this purchase under $100. I'm fine with a low grade copy. I have a Gretzky rookie and I would like a rookie of the other greatest player from when I was a kid.

4. Grab a Patrick Roy OPC rookie. I also want to keep this under $100.

5. Kawhi Leonard autographed card from 2018-19, featuring Kawhi pictured with the Raptors. This is an expensive card, I figure around $150. I'd like to get it cheaper than that, and if Kawhi doesn't have much success with the Clippers this year, then the value of his cards ought to decline a bit. I normally dislike sticker autos, but Panini does a million sticker autos and Kawhi hardsigned autos are way more expensive than this.

6. Add a Wayne Gretzky memorabilia card. He has to be pictured with the Oilers and it has to be game used, not a practice jersey or event worn or whatever. I figured about $50 or so here.

7. Add more to my Joe Carter collection. I have most of his major releases up to 1990, so I would like to collect up to 1995, or so. This is really inexpensive since he played through the junk wax era. I'd like to finish most of his worthless cards, and be able to start buying more expensive items after that, perhaps the following year.

8. Add more to my Raptors championship collection. No particular goal here, just keep adding cards from guys who were on last year's team.

9. Add more to my Jays World Series cards. Same deal as the Raptors cards, I'd like to add more to my collection of Jays players from 1992 and 93. I'm particularly interested in autographs.

10. Pickup a starter set or two for vintage hockey. 1979-80 OPC would be a good start since I already have the Gretzky rookie.

I've been curtailing my spending on cards during the past few months, and will keep it that way through the winter. I doubt I will accomplish many of these goals before May.

What are your collecting goals for 2020?

Monday, 16 December 2019

What do you do with a bunch of random low dollar pack pulls?

One thing that drives me nuts about collecting cards is ending up with a deluge of random low value cards that I'm not sure what to do with. I end up with most of these cards from opening random packs, although sometimes they are parts of projects I started and then abandoned when I found the project less fun than I hoped.

Case in point, I went to Walmart the other week and they were clearing out a bunch of their older retail packs. I picked up a mix of hockey, basketball, and baseball, but also bought a few packs of 2019-20 basketball and hockey. I think I bought a couple of rack packs of 17-18 Upper Deck Series 1, a couple rack packs of this year's Upper Deck Series 1, a couple 2019 Topps Update, and a couple of 2019-20 NBA Hoops. I also grabbed a bunch of O-Pee-Chee Coast to Coast from Canadian Tire.

I basically ended up with a pile of random stuff that doesn't fit into my collection in any shape. The biggest pull I got was out of the Canadian Tire packs, where I pulled an acetate Connor McDavid card that normally goes for about thirty bucks on Ebay. I don't collect McDavid, so it's something I'm looking to sell. Other than that, I did grab a few Raptors, Jays, and Leafs base cards, but I don't care that much about those. I pulled a Zion Williamson insert from Hoops that looks like it's worth about $5 or so. Everything else was just random inserts that could go for less than a $1.

I guess that's what I deserve for buying retail wax. The 17-18 Upper Deck packs were the worst. Each pack cost about $8 Canadian and had fifty bucks. However, only a single card from each pack wasn't a base card, and it was a Canvas base parallel each time. Those cards go for about thirty cents apiece on COMC. So, I spent $16 for about $0.60 worth of cards, ignoring the base cards.

I throw a lot of base cards in the garbage. I don't hold on to them unless they are part of some theme in my collection (like Raptors championship players, Joe Carter, Wayne Gretzky, some other stuff I like). Base cards aren't a problem because I don't feel bad tossing them since there are a million more out there. 

What drives me bonkers, though, are low dollar inserts and parallels. I would feel far more guilty about tossing those, but I don't exactly want to hold on to them either. The obvious solution seems to be to sell or trade them, but the problem is most other collectors don't want them either. I've mailed stacks of them into COMC before, but I find what happens is that I lose money because it costs so much to list on that site and most cards never sell. I end up doing a port sale at a steep discount to get rid of the cards, and would have ended up ahead if I had just tossed those cards out with the base.

I could trade the cards, but the effort of locating someone who wants them and also has something I want in return, and then packaging these cards and sending them out isn't even worth the time. Since I am in Canada, the cost of shipping frequently ends up being more than the value of the cards in the trade and the whole exercise is pointless.

I have a stack of about two hundred or so inserts and parallels that I'm not sure what to do with. I've packaged them with the intention of mailing them to COMC, but I feel like the amount of fees I will eat from sending to that site will be more than the actual money I'd earn from sales. So, I'm not sure what to do with them.

How many cards do you own that don't really fit into your collection? What do you do with your unwanted cards, the ones that are not common base, but are also not really worth much either?

Monday, 2 December 2019

What I Want from the Hobby in 2020

Here are ten things I'd like to see from the hobby in 2020. I'm not just limiting my grievances to the card manufacturers themselves, but basically any business involved with the hobby, as I see much room for improvements all over the place.

1. Less pointless game-used cards and sticker autographs. Seriously, I don't need sticker autos in my box of 19-20 Upper Deck Series 1. Most people who buy that product, for example, are doing so to collect Young Guns rookies, or looking to build the base set. Almost no one cares about sticker autos. Companies are including crappy sticker autos and "event worn" memorabilia in low-end products (and some higher end products, too) to pad the amount of hits so that they can produce even more boxes to increase sales. But it's just garbage. Not every product needs autographs or memorabilia cards, particularly when those cards are garbage like sticker autos and memorabilia cards that aren't even game worn. Stop it card manufacturers. You're simply watering down your products to make short term sales at the cost of long term damage to your brands.

2. Less parallels. I'm fine with certain products being parallel heavy (Topps Chrome, OPC Platinum, Donruss Optic, etc), because there are collectors that like them and companies ought to release a wide variety of products to suit different tastes. But like sticker autos and crappy memorabilia cards, not every product needs a million parallels. Again, this is another way for the card producers to pad their products with so-called hits, so that they can produce more boxes and generate more revenue. But it once again waters down the product to achieve short-term sales growth while sacrificing long-term brand loyalty. Plus, who wants a parallel serial numbered to 250 copies, when there are other parallels of that card numbered to 200, 150, 99, 75, 50, 25, 10, 5, and 1, not to mention parallels without serial numbering? It defeats the purpose of serial numbering when a company simply releases the same card with a slightly different design. That card serial numbered to 100 isn't really only 1 copy of 100. It's 1 copy of a slight variation of thousands.

3. Pro leagues and player associations need to stop with exclusive contracts with card manufacturers. Competition breeds creativity, and exclusivity breeds malaise. You don't need to give out contracts to everyone on the block. Just two companies for each league would be fine, allowing these companies to compete with one another to produce better cards. I'm sure the companies would cry that sharing a contract would mean less product releases and less revenue, but that sounds like an issue of streamlining your business model to meet market demands. If a company needs to release fifty sets each year to turn a profit (many sets of which are garbage), then that is a problem with how the company does business. The video game industry has done well with the "less is more" release schedule approach, and the card industry card do the same if they shared exclusives. I would like to see each sports have two companies. Of the four major sports, that would be eight contracts. Topps, Panini, and Upper Deck are the big three. That's two contracts for each company, and three for two more. By releasing fewer products for each sport, but releasing for additional sports, then that is going to help the bottom line. Topps and Panini can have MLB. Upper Deck and Topps can have NHL. Panini and Topps can have NFL. Panini and Upper Deck can have NBA. Only Upper Deck has two contracts, and we have a wide variety of creative products to collect.

4. The USPS and Ebay can both get stuffed, seriously. When I returned to the hobby a couple of years ago after a lengthy absence, I couldn't believe how expensive it had became to ship something from the US to Canada. It's not the fault of sellers, either. USPS and Ebay make it prohibitive for international buyers to purchase anything from the United States. Mailbox services have popped up (I use COMC), but they are expensive, and when you throw in the Canadian exchange rate, it makes collecting untenable. This isn't just for cards, but for buying anything on Ebay that is being sold in the United States. It makes being a collector outside of the US a frustrating experience. There has to be a better solution for international shipping.

5. Ebay needs better seller protection. As a seller, I have been the victim of fraud so many times it is at the point I no longer want to sell on Ebay again (see my previous post on this blog). It is virtually impossible to defend yourself against fraudulent buyers on Ebay. You can't even leave a buyer negative feedback anymore! I'm not sure why Ebay thinks all of this is a good idea, because if sellers stop using their service, then Ebay has nothing because the entire business model is based on selling other people's stuff. If other people stop using the service, then the service stops existing. 

6. COMC and their pricing for base cards is asinine. Who the hell purchases base cards on COMC? COMC generally is more expensive than other options, which is why I stick to only buying on COMC during sales. But their base card prices are ridiculous. Sellers on Sportlots usually list base at $0.18 a card. I will frequently see the same card on COMC at over $1. And this again isn't the fault of sellers. It is the model COMC is using to make money off sellers, making it impossible for people to list base cards at a low enough price to be able to make money and entice people to buy. Sellers, please, stop sending base cards to COMC and instead use Sportlots. In fact, Sportlots is better in nearly every way compared to COMC, with the exception of Sportlots outdated interface and search methods. If COMC can't lower prices on base cards, they should stop accepting them.

7. I want better memorabilia card tracking by card companies. Topps does something cool with the stickers they put on jersey cards in products like Topps Tribute, where you can actually look up info online about where that swatch originated from. But there are so many examples of errors in manufacturing where the wrong jersey has been put in a card (Panini, I'm looking at you) that this should be an industry standard for all game-used pieces. I would like to see a database of all game used materials owned by the trading card companies, and which materials are being used in which sets. The entire game-used process, from the company's acquisition of memorabilia to the manufacturing of game-used cards, ought to be transparent. Why bother owning memorabilia if you can't even be confident where it came from, or whether it is authentic?

8. Like better memorabilia card tracking, graded cards need to improve. There has been so much fraud over the years with grading companies (PSA, I'm looking at you) that I am surprised so many collectors still put their faith in these companies. I own a few graded cards, but the idea of paying a premium for a graded card in all but a few cases seems asinine when so many of these graders have proven they cannot be trusted. I mean, the famous Honus Wagner card that established PSA as the most popular grading company all those years ago was a sheet cut card. Bill Mastro, the man behind the popularity of the card, ended up going to prison. Prison! Yet the card continues to exist in a PSA slab. It should be seen as a massive embarrassment for the graded cards industry, but instead no one seems to care. This strikes me as the greater fools theory working at its finest.

9. There is a theme in this list about fraud. Ebay fraud, postal fraud, memorabilia fraud, grading fraud. I just want less fraud. If you can't do business honestly, then you shouldn't be in business at all. It isn't hard. Right now, there seems to be an increase in fraudsters and hypesters (Gary V, I'm looking at you) in a way that mirrors the early nineties boom. This should never happen again, but memories are short. Don't believe the hype and stay out of the investment craze, because the hobby is rife with fraud and you will only end up hurting yourself.

10. And the last thing I want to see for 2020 is for all of you to have fun in the hobby. In the end, the hobby is just that: a hobby. It's meant to be a fun diversion from the stress in your life. Don't worry about making money. That's why you have a job and investments. Enjoy the hobby, whether you like ripping wax or buying singles or whatever. Don't blow all your money on it, stick to a budget, and have fun.

What do you want to see from the hobby in 2020?

Monday, 25 November 2019

Thoughts on COMC's Ebay Auction Service

COMC has announced they will start holding auctions on Ebay for cards submitted or stored in your COMC account. This is a major change for COMC, as it adds another avenue for selling cards through their site besides their traditional storefront service. COMC will cover all Ebay fees, and will handle the shipping and customer service portions of the Ebay transaction.

There are a few obvious advantages to using the COMC's auction service. One of the reasons I don't sell on Ebay that often anymore is the difficulty of dealing with problem buyers, as well as the time commitment involved with listing an item and packaging it for shipment. Saving that time and hassle is important to me, as I'm sure it is for other Ebay sellers. My time and effort are both worth money, so I am willing to try a consignment service.

I've been selling on Ebay off and on for close to twenty years now. For sellers, Ebay is a huge pain and over the years it has gotten more painful. I've had so many instances of dealing with difficult buyers, and fraud is plentiful. 

For instance, I once sold a few 80's O-Pee-Chee Gretzky cards on Ebay. The buyer charged me for a refund, and shipped the cards back to me claiming my description was inaccurate. When I received the package, it was full of Pro Set junk cards. I contacted the seller, who told me he sent the Gretzky cards back. I contacted Paypal and Ebay, who both told me that since the buyer provided a tracking number for the return, there was nothing they could do and I should file a police report. I never bothered, and was simply out that money and those cards. 

That's not the only Ebay horror story I have. I'm sure many others have similar stories. Frankly, for sellers, Ebay sucks, as sellers have virtually no protection. Sellers can't even leave negative feedback anymore. Thus, using a consignment service to avoid this nonsense is a great idea, and I already use COMC regularly, so for me this makes sense.

The question is, are the fees COMC is charging to list on Ebay worth it?

COMC's Auction Fees Compared to Ebay Fees

Here are the COMC auction fees:

So, COMC charges a 3.5% transaction fee with a minimum of $3.50. There is also a 10% cashout surcharge with an additional $1 surcharge for a cashout value of less than $250.

Compared to Ebay, if you list on Ebay yourself, your first fifty listings are free. Ebay charges a 10% final value fee on the total sale (including shipping). Paypal in turn charges a 2.9% fee, plus an additional $0.30.

Let's compare selling through COMC to selling on Ebay directly for cards of different value. There is going to be a lot of math here, so bear with me.

COMC recommends that you sell cards that should fetch at least $25. If we start with a $25 card, if you sell through COMC, your fees will come to $3.50. If you transfer that $25 to your Paypal immediately, that $21.50 is charged 10% plus an additional $1, which breaks down to $18.35 remaining, for a total of $6.65 in fees.

If you sell through Ebay, you pay a $2.50 final value fee, plus $1.02 in Paypal fees. That totals to $3.52 in fees. So, if you use Ebay yourself, you are saving over $3 in fees. 

The question for you in this regard is if paying that additional $3 is worth the effort. Also, if you don't cash the COMC credit out and spend it back on COMC, your fee for using COMC is the flat $3.50. That compares more favourably to the $3.52 in Ebay/Paypal fees, so perhaps that's where COMC got that $25 minimum suggestion.

Selling Cards of Different Values Using COMC Auction

If you sell a $100 card on Ebay through COMC, you pay fees of $14.15. If you sold that card on Ebay directly, you pay $13.20 in fees. That is only $0.95 more to use COMC, which is fantastic because being able to sell on Ebay without the hassle is worth at least $0.95.

If you sell a $500 card on Ebay through COMC, you pay fees of $65.75. If you sold that card on Ebay directly, you pay $64.80. That's also only a difference of $0.95.

If you sell a $1,000 card on Ebay through COMC, you pay fees of $131.50. If you sold that card on Ebay directly, you pay $129.30, for a difference of $2.20. 

If you sell a $5,000 card on Ebay through COMC, you pay fees of $657.50. If you sold that card on Ebay directly, you pay $645.30, for a difference of $12.20. 

The difference between what COMC is charging you compared to Ebay is quite small. It seems how COMC profits from this is by listing a large number of auctions on Ebay and taking a small profit from each auction. COMC also allows buyers to transfer cards to their COMC accounts should they have one, bypassing a shipping fee. This also saves the hassle of shipping for COMC. It could also potentially encourage more signups to COMC via Ebay, as buyers who don't have a COMC account may decide to get one.

Thus, there are many advantages to using COMC to sell on Ebay, but there are also a few problems.

Criticisms of COMC's Auction Service - Misleading Cashout Values

First, in the COMC fees chart, they are being a bit misleading with the figures after the 10% cashout. For instance, for $50, COMC lists the fees after the 10% cashout at 16.30%. See the chart below:

The problem here is that this fee does not include the $1 surcharge if you cashout at less than $250. At $50, 16.30% is $8.15. You pay $3.50 for the 3.5% transaction fee, plus $4.65 for the 10% cashout fee (0.1 x $46.50, which is how much your COMC account gets credited after the $3.50 transaction fee). That totals to $8.15. That is 16.30% of $50, which is what COMC lists in the above chart. 

However, add another $1 for the surcharge, which amounts to $9.15. That is actually 18.30%. COMC assumes you will build your credit above $250 before cashing out, which is wise, but COMC is misleading with this chart by not including that additional $1 cashout surcharge for auctions sold for less than $250.

Selling Low Dollar Cards

Second, if your card sells for less than the minimum $3.50 transaction fee, the buyer gets the card and your COMC account gets debited the fee. So, if you sell a card for $1, you owe $2.50 to COMC. That means you need to be careful and avoid listing low value cards, which is why COMC suggests at least a $25 value for listing auctions.

Customer Service Problems

Third, I have no idea how COMC will handle customer service problems. For instance, if someone buys one of your cards through a COMC auction, but decides the card is not in the condition described and asks for a refund, then I am not sure how COMC will handle that. 

Apparently, if a buyer returns an item, the money is debited from your account and you get the item back. COMC claims this will be infrequent, but that remains to be seen. I don't like the idea of being on the hook for a card weeks after I received my COMC credit, although I suppose this is no different than being on the hook if you are selling through Ebay directly. 

The problem for me is that one of the big reasons I would use COMC's auction service is to avoid this sort of customer service problem, but COMC seems unable to avoid it altogether. That's a major black mark for me, and if this situation occurred for me while using COMC's service, I would probably stop using the service altogether since the customer service problem was created by COMC, not by me.

99 Cent Starting Auctions Leading to Lower Realized Prices

Fourth, COMC intends to list auctions starting at $0.99 for seven days. My experience in listing auctions at $0.99 opposed to a higher starting bid closer to the card's value is that the card ends up selling for less than it would otherwise. 

For instance, considering a card that frequently sells on Ebay for $50, in my experience listing that card starting at $0.99 rather than $40 or $45 means that the card may sell at a discount if there are not many bidders competing for the card. You actually be able to make more money on Ebay if you list directly with them by setting a higher opening bid for your card than the basic $0.99 opening bid COMC is using.

Testing the Waters

I have listed a small handful of cards on Ebay through COMC. The first auctions begin on December 29 and will end on January 5. COMC is offering an early bird discount of a $2.50 transaction fee compared to the usual $3.50. The early bird special has a due date for submissions of December 20.

After January 5 I will post the results of my auctions to see how well COMC's service works. Despite my above reservations, I think this is exciting, as one of the aspects of this hobby I hate the most is selling on Ebay, and outsourcing the ability to do that makes things so much easier assuming that COMC's service works as intended.

What are your thoughts on COMC's new Ebay auction service?

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Return After a Blogging Sabbatical

This is my first post in a long time. I haven't had a lot of time to blog lately, and money is tight, so I laid off collecting for awhile. I recently moved from Ontario to Quebec to start a new job, which has kept me busy lately. Things have started to settle down for me, though, so I expect to be back on here with more posts and new cards.

A lot has happened since my last post. The Leafs are terrible and Mike Babcock was fired today. The Raptors are doing great and I hope they keep it up, even though they have Lowry and Ibaka out with injuries. The former Montreal Expos won the World Series.

I intend to post more pickups, but I haven't had anything shipped to me recently. I have a bunch of cards sitting in my Sportlots and COMC accounts that I plan on having shipped soon. Also, since it is the end of the decade, I would like to do some posts reflecting on my favourite sets in each sport over the past ten years.

What have been your favourite sports card sets released this decade? What would you like to see more of (or less of, perhaps) during the coming ten years?

Sunday, 18 August 2019

One Panini National Pack

While at the Leaside card show last weekend, I had the gambler's urge and I picked up a pack of Panini cards that were exclusive the the National, which had taken place the week before. One of the dealers had been there and was selling small and large packs. This was $20.

I'm not sure what I was expecting. The packs contain hits, and they are from MLB, NFL, and NBA. Panini only has an MLBPA license, so I tend to avoid their cards when it comes to baseball. And I'm not a football guy, so I guess my hope here was to pull something basketball related.

Instead, I pulled this jersey card of Patrick Mahomes II, serial numbered to fifty. I don't know football at all. Apparently he plays for the Chiefs, and was last year's MVP. In this card he is pictured with Texas Tech. I guess if you are a football guy, this is a pretty good pull.

It's available for trade or sale if anyone is interested.

I also got this base card of Le'Veon Bell of the New York Jets. I'm not familiar with this player. This card is also available if anyone wants it.

I should probably try watching NFL for the first time, since it starts in a few weeks. I've been trying to keep up with the CFL this summer, but I live in Toronto and the Argonauts are abysmal, so it hasn't been much fun. When I was a kid, I used to like the Dallas Cowboys since they were constantly winning back then, although I had friends who liked the San Francisco 49ers. I'll have to pick a time and figure it out.

Are you an NFL fan? If you don't live in an NFL city, how did you end up picking your team?

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

79-80 O-Pee-Chee Hockey from the Weekend Card Show

On Sunday, I stopped by the Leaside Gardens for their new monthly card show. I live in downtown Toronto, and Leaside Gardens is in East York, which is just east of the downtown core. I don't head out that way often, but I went last month for the first card show that's been held at that arena in a long time. 

The first show wasn't very busy and dealers packed up early. The same thing happened this time, as I prefer to come later in the day (it was a Sunday, after all). But I felt the show was a bit busier this time.

I'm not generally a fan of card shows, as the selection is usually repetitive and the cards overpriced. If you've seen the recent documentary about baseball card collecting called Jack of all Trades, there is a scene where a group of people go to a card show for the first time since the early nineties and find a disappointing scene compared to what it used to be. I feel that way, too, as I think the hobby has long moved past cards shows, LCSs, Beckett Magazine, and these sort of things (the same thing has happened with stores that sell movies, CDs, and is now happening to video games). But it's still interesting to see that many trading cards in one place.

I also didn't want to leave empty handed, so I picked up a few things I wanted without spending too much. I'll spread these pickups out over a few posts.

 First, I grabbed a small stack of 79 OPC. I already have the Gretzky rookie, graded as a PSA 1. I've been wanting to build a vintage hockey set, as I have never completed one, and considering I already have by far the most expensive card from that set out of the way, I figured 79 OPC was a good place to start.

The cards I grabbed were only 25-cents apiece, but are not in the greatest condition. Honestly, sometimes I feel like someone who is condition sensitive about vintage, and sometimes I feel like I just don't care. I feel like the less you care, the less money you spend since you're willing to buy things other collectors pass on, and you end up having more fun that way. But, your collection isn't as sharp looking.

In the end, I think eye appeal is more important to me than standard condition. For example, I think this Bill Barber card was a good deal for only a quarter. Barber is a HOFer and the card is in nice shape. 79 OPC is a difficult one for conditioning because the blue borders make it easy to notice damage to the edges and corners. But this is a nice example and I think a good pickup for that cheap.

The back of the card notes that Bill does charity work during the summer. That's probably the case for a lot of players, so this wasn't the most notable cartoons. One of the things I love about vintage are the cartoon backs. They're like Bazooka Joe comics. It's one of the small touches that is missed among most modern cards, and reasons why I enjoy Topps sets like Ginter and Heritage.

 Another card I picked up was the game winning goals leader card, which featured Guy Lafleur, Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, Jean Pronovost, and Ted Bulley. That's three HOFers for a quarter. I don't think you can get a better deal than that. League Leaders cards in hockey and baseball always go for a better deal than cards featuring just one player alone, unless it's an exemplary player like Gretzky or Orr.

This one is in good shape, too, although the right edge and bottom right corner aren't great. I'm also not overly familiar with Ted Bulley. Looking at the card back, Lafleur was way ahead of everyone else in game winners that year, with Bossy coming in second, and the rest of the guys on this card tied at third. Many others were tied at fourth. I think game winners are a bit of a fluke stat, as it seems that guys who are going to lead in that category are going to be guys who score a lot of goals for teams that win consistently, or guys who are the only real goal scorer on a weaker team. I mean, Bulley, Don Luce, Pierre Mondou, and Peter Lee are not players who would otherwise be leading the NHL in any category. I've never even heard of Lee.

 The next card for a quarter was Denis Potvin, another HOFer and seventies hockey icon. Like the Barber card, the front of this card notes that Potvin made the first all-star team (the second team in Barber's case). These aren't separate all-star cards for these players, but just a design choice by OPC for the primary cards of players who made the all-star squads. This card is in decent shape, too, with good centering.

The back of the card notes that Potvin's nickname is Baby Bear. Well, everyone knows that, so I don't know if it's really trivia. He had a great year in 78-79, though, scoring 101 points in 73 games. Not too many defensemen that can accomplish that these days.

The next card I grabbed is another HOFer and first team all-star card in Clark Gillies. This is a nice photo of Gillies showing off the massive captain's "C" on the front of his Islanders jersey. I feel like Gillies is one of the weaker HOFers, kind of like Barber. I often feel like the standards for players getting into the HHOF is much lower than one would think. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I know people have criticized the HHOF as being moreso the "Hall of Very Good" based on many of the players they've admitted.

The back of the card notes that Gillies is an outstanding racquetball player. I like how all of these cartoons essentially have the same cartoon character representing each player. I wonder who drew these cartoons for Topps? Is it the same guy that did all of the baseball and hockey cards? Was it the same guy season after season, or did it change over time?

Those were the four OPC cards I picked up for $1. I'll likely end up buying a big stack of them off Sportlots at some point, which won't be too much more expensive, even including shipping and the exchange rate.

What's your all time favourite cartoon from a card back?