Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The internet is an amazing place...

Went down to Arlington today and got my apartment all set up.  Just need to get electric started, and internet, and a new cell phone and service and I'll be off and running.

Shit, I'm an adult all of a sudden.

Every so often I make some trades online.  I'm a member at a bunch of sites (most of them linked off to the right) dedicated mostly to card trading, some just to autographs, but even the mostly-card ones have several autograph collectors and traders.  What's great is that they all have ratings systems and a good degree of accountability so you're running less of a risk of getting ripped off than you would be by doing it elsewhere.

Back when I first started collecting and trading, these sites didn't exist.  You were really taking your luck into your own hands when making trades online and hoping the other person was as reliable as you were.  I was pretty lucky: I only had people try to rip me off a couple times and a couple USPS fraud reports got my items sent to me very quickly.

Back in 2003 or so, a great collector named Paul Buxton (who is still very active in hockey and soccer hounding and trading circles) set up the "Traders' Bazaar" on his old site, Paul's Hockey Autograph Mania.  I was added to the list and one day I got a message on AIM (wow, gotta love early-2000's internet flashbacks!) from Corey Mansfield.  Corey was a goalie collector mainly and was interested in making a few goalie autograph trades with me, including my first sort-of 50/50.  If I could get him Martin Brodeur, he had a couple extras for me.  It worked out as Marty is usually a pretty good one-per-person signer.

Ever since then, Corey and I have been big-time trading partners.  I helped him with 50/50'ing some baseball in Boston in the summer of 2004.  I bought a few goalies off of him a few years later as well when he was starting to get out of autographs for a while.

Around 2007 or so, we started a site with his brother Howie called Sports Fans Online.  We had several bloggers and podcasters and it was just a good group of blogs all linked together.  Unfortunately, the idea was a few years ahead of its time, and so eventually we all went our separate ways.  As you can see, Corey and I are still involved in blogging, with my re-entry into it coming far more recently.

Anyways, eventually Corey got back into card and autograph collecting, and sending out for fan packs, and suddenly I was back to trading with him again.  Our biggest trade actually took almost a year before we finally pulled it off back in September.  Each of us sent a box loaded with cards (Penguins, Bruins, and Indians for me, Mets, goalies, and Islanders for him), autographs, pocket schedules, and random memorabilia.  Got some great stuff in there, and I think he liked the bunch I shipped his way as well.

This week, our next biggest trade.  Corey told me he was going to cut the autographs and cards back significantly, just to that which he collects-- namely goalies, Mets, Jets, Islanders, and a few select players like Lemieux, Gretzky, Bourque, Yzerman, and a few others.

I'm kind of in the same boat.  I have over 100,000 cards here after moving my collection from Ohio to Texas last spring.  I'm almost done sorting them, but so many of these I have no use for.  Lemieux and Gretzky are all well and good, but as one who has become mainly an autograph guy, when am I ever going to get these guys to sign? News flash: not happening.  Besides, If I ever get any of them, it'll be on a puck or a photo.

And so, Corey sent me this week about 120 autographed cards and just told me to send him whatever I feel like in those goalies, Islanders, Mets, and others.  The autographs arrived yesterday and what a haul it is!  As a former Little League catcher, I try to get them whenever I can, so adding about 8 J.R. House cards, a Toby Hall, and a few others is always good.  He also sent me a boatload of Lew Ford, Jeremy Hill, and others.  Meanwhile, I've been searching my hockey boxes and with one more 5000-count Super Monster to go, I've got somewhere around 600 goalies, Islanders, Lemieuxs (Lesmeilleurs?), Gretzkys, and Yzermans (Yzermen?) pulled.

You've got to love what the internet has done for card and autograph trading.  Twenty years ago, such deals would have been nearly impossible.

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