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Ramblings: More Women, Mailbag, Fun With Topps Million

by Rich Klein

A few updates on previous ramblings:

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about ladies in the sports card hobby as I opined about being the only male in a house with four females. Thanks to circumstances beyond our control, we ended up (at least for now) with another female dog named Jenny. I’m now outnumbered five to one.

Lud Denny:  In writing about Pro Set back in November, we wondered about the current whereabouts of the face of that old football card brand, one Ludwell Denny. While we there is no information online, we did receive this email from Jim Fouch:

“I have some information that you may find interesting in regard to your article posted on 11/8/11 entitled Rich’s Ramblings:  Remembering Lud Denny and Pro Set.  After finding your article online, I knew that I had a few 1990 Pro Set Santa cards.  After going through a few boxes to find them, I decided to send them to Mr. Denny to have them autographed (I thought that would be a neat touch being so close to the holidays).

After finding the cards, I did a little online detective work to find a mailing address for Mr. Denny.  I sent the cards along with a card and letter along with a SASE for sending the cards back.  After waiting a few weeks with no response, I figured that I wouldn’t hear anything back.  Finally on 12/24 I got my SASE back in the mail.  Inside the envelope were the unsigned cards that I had sent along with a handwritten note.  The note was written by someone named “Loni” stating that Mr. Denny had passed away, and that he would have really appreciated my interest in the cards.

This is kinda strange as my research after reading your article didn’t turn up any information or death notice for a Ludwell Denny in the Dallas, TX area.  Maybe some more detective work is needed for a true answer??  I don’t really know…

Sincerely,

Jim Fouch

Just before the holidays I wrote about the demise of my car on the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor day. I have purchased a new car and other than the return of car payments and some lingering issues. Now that the swelling is going down, we will check for cartilage damage in the knee. I also fought off an infection last week which laid me low for the whole weekend and cost me two free dinners. Anyone who knows me, knows that missing free dinners is not something I do regularly.

And the other topic I wanted to discuss in the Ramblings is the Topps Million Card Giveaway/Diamond Giveaway and the online trading that has come about with its buyback promotions.

Topps million contest cardThe concept to me was really cool. As Topps collectors know, starting with the 2010 baseball base brand and continuing this year, each hobby box contained six game cards with codes that one could use to unlock a card from the past. I am, frankly, addicted to this concept and either through hobby boxes or through “retail” boxes I have purchased Topps products with these cards in them almost every week since the promotion began.

In addition to unlocking cards, one could also trade for cards. Some offers were/are fair, others… not so much. Here are some typical trade offers waiting when I signed on this afternoon: The other person’s card will be listed first:

1986 Juan Beniquez for 1973 Dave Roberts

1987 Wade Boggs AS for 1973 Dave Roberts  (These offers were made by different people)

1996 Orlando Merced for 1985 Keith Hernandez

1992 Shawn Boskie for 1980 Ron LeFlore

And yes, that is a fair representation of the trade offers.

I’m a big fan of fair trades, in fact when I get offered cards of same values from same years I always accept without even thinking too much.  However, sadly, offers like this have sent many people to the sidelines.

A funny story about this from last year, a man named Jeff starting moaning on the Topps Facebook trading page about receiving offers like that. When I mentioned that he had sent me an offer of a $5 card for the Stephen Strasburg card which was booking at about $100 at the time and was a free shipping card, he immediately removed me from being able to see any of his posts. Pot, Kettle Black.

The next issue which changed between last year and this year were “contests”. While there was a while before it was realized that the more money you had the easier it would be to win these contests, there were several advantages. The first   was that if you did not care about these contests, you could trade to your advantage to other people who were going for wins. That really sparked some heavy trading and was fun for all concerned. This year, instead of contests, the focus changed to prizes.

The focus for prizes became based on how many virtual rings one accumulated. With the exception of the Mickey Mantle (1 in 5,000) all the rings were evenly distributed. There were prizes at several different levels plus prizes when you hit the correct dig. The main prizes at 45 digs was a commemorative set with a special Diamond Collection notation on the front. I don’t know if these sets were supposed to be sealed, mine came unsealed. I also wonder just how much money Topps ended up spending on shipping these sets.

Then at 60 rings, meaning you got the Mantle, the prize was a commemorative ring. I will tell you that the ring is absolutely gorgeous. I don’t know and don’t care about jewelry, but when I showed the ring to the missus, she thought it was stunning. As a “selfish” FYI, I do think Beckett should have priced the ring since it was a prize from the packs AND I do have the ring available in case anyone is interested.

Now some of the downsides recently.  In the past couple of months, Topps eliminated the support for the Facebook page of the Diamond Collection. We had a community of more than 3.000 people who read the page and if they were annoyed because of a couple of bad apples, I wish they had been more aggressive about removing those bad people instead of tearing down the page. Now, the biggest page has about 500 users which is a far cry from the 3000 of the past year or so.

In addition, there was a terrible systems issue in November where I think a full week went by without having any reasonable access to the trade page. I don’t know about you, but a system in which the servers are not working to capacity can cause havoc.

Listen, despite some of the hassles as well as some of the bad traders/obnoxious traders out there, I prefer to remember the better aspects of the Topps trading the past two years. I have made several nice contacts who look forward each week to my updates on what cards I now have for trade.

I also got a nice group of cards last year and will order a reasonable bunch this year as well. Getting the Mantle Ring made for a nice prize as well.

If you have participated in the Topps Trading in either of the past two years, please let me know what you have thought of this promotion. As an aside you must put your name and hometown in the email.

Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]

About Rich Klein

Rich Klein has spent almost his entire life collecting baseball cards having begun at the tender age of seven. He has spent more than three decades in the organized hobby including editing the first 12 editions of the Beckett Almanac of Baseball Card and Collectibles. He lives in Plano, TX along with his wife Dena and their two dogs. You can reach him at [email protected].

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