Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Blogger Survey - A Sticky Situation

We trading card collectors are a pretty liberal bunch.  Now, I don't necessarily mean that in a political sense; so, let's no delve into politics.  No, I mean in what we accept into our respective collections.

We break up playing card sets for collection needs, coupons and ticket stubs with players faces on them go into binders and I've even seen professional business cards become part of a nine-pocket display.  I guess what I'm saying is that we are so gung-ho about adding new cards to our obsessive accumulations that we are ready and willing to liberally expand the definition of trading cards.  Or maybe I'm just projecting, I don't know.

Don't get me wrong, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that and lord knows that I am far from an exception.  In fact, the whole reason that I'm blogging about this topic is that I knocked off a recent CATRC need with a sticker.

When attempting to acquire a card of every player in franchise history for a team that extends back to before the Great Chicago Fire, one has to accept that there are some guys who just don't have any representative card board.  Even more frustrating is the guys who only have completely unattainable and rare, antique pieces that I'll never be able to realistically obtain.  That's how this guy ended up in my grubby hands:

I should have known that even though it was in really rough shape, ungraded and of a lesser known player, that an original Goodwin wouldn't stay in my price range.  However. I was still disappointed when it zoomed upwards in the waning minutes of the auction.  So, in order to cope, I went out and found this mini oddball of the same player.

George Gore was a star for the old White Stockings in his day; unfortunately, those days were in time of Goodwin and my wallet does indeed have a bottom.

*Sigh*... you were almost mine... sorta

The square is part of a full book published by Simon & Schuster in 1990 chronicling the stars of yesteryear.  It's called HOF because the previous year's release focused on Cooperstown enshrined players. Their follow up was more liberal in player selection, featuring players that reside in the "Hall of Very Good."

The price was right and I needed a pick me up, so I quickly pulled the trigger on the deal.  Another name crossed off the CATRC always makes me feel accomplished.  However, there was just one nagging detail.

Technically, it's not a trading card - it's a sticker.

I usually try to keep stickers from entering into any of my main collections. Sure, I never turn them away and I have them with my misc. Cubs and such.  That said, I don't necessarily seek them out, either.  However, sometimes I have to make exceptions in order to further my quest.

However, we all know that the line between cards and stickers has been toed and blurred for decades. Panini and Topps have been releasing mostly annual sticker checklists for many years and the early releases clearly feel like more sticker than card.  Thanks to Andre Dawson and then-future Cub Luis Salazar for modelling my point.

*Sidenote - Luis makes his second appearance on the blog just this week.  Maybe P-Town Tom was right about a Salazar fetish...

But then, as time has passed, their sets have evolved into more of a slightly smaller card that just so happens to have a tacky back, as demonstrated here by this new edition to my burgeoning Blackhawks collection:

I again relaxed my already relaxed "cards only" stance for Mr. Dumont, mostly because it was had for a quarter.  It's hard to build a base for a collection from scratch without wading the discount waters.

But it's not just Topps and Panini, Fleer was really throwing a monkey wrench into the gears before disco had even completely died:

Not only is that something that I could have peeled and stuck onto my school locker, had I been alive; but, it's got a full back, with stats and information and everything, just like a regular old piece of cardboard would.  WHAT ARE YOU?!

*Also, let's just take a moment to appreciate the irony that is picturing one of the first relief specialists (a HOF one, at that) with a bat on his shoulders.  That's a knee-slapper.

But then here are a couple of more releases that not only blur the line, but pretty much erase it:


Just a couple of run-of-the-mill cards we've all seen from OPC and Fleer, respectively, yes? Well, as you probably also already know, these are actually the backs of the "cards."  As we see on the fronts, they couldn't decide if they wanted to be cards or stickers...

...So they're both, because why not?

Anyway, the whole point of this rambling is that I'm curious how other people treat stickers in their collection.  Do you just consider them cards and move on with your life because there are infinitely more important things going on around you? Do they get an asterisk? Do you just say screw it and not even bother with them? Or, perhaps they're stuck all over your trapper-keeper?  Inquiring minds want to know.

For what it's worth, all of the baseball card price guides and databases list these sort of products; but, then they list coins, superballs and cloth pennants too... that's a whole different rabbit hole.

In the meantime, I will happily add this sticker/card/headache to my CATRC binder and check another name off of my list. It's rectangular and has a picture of a baseball player on it - that's good enough for me.

What say you?


  1. In my player collections, I break down the collection by "Major Release" and "Oddball/Parallel/Autographs/Inserts." In doing that, I pretty much follow the characterizations for sets followed by the Trading Card Database or Beckett online. So, stickers go in the major release sections.

    For my team collection, I put the stickers in the oddball category just because it's easier not to chase all those stickers. They are nice to have, of course. If I were a collector like you, I'd call the sticker good enough to be category 2.5 (assuming they show the player as a Cub) -- somewhere above non-Cubs cards and above cards not released during the player's career but below actual cards.

    1. That seems like a pretty good system you've got going. Also, I really appreciate the thought you put into what you'd do in my shoes. I think you pondered harder than I have... And I'm wearing my shoes!

  2. I like stickers, but they definitely occupy a spot somewhere below actual trading cards. Some stickers are iconic, though, like the old Star Wars and WWF stickers. Maybe I just really like stickers with dark backgrounds and brightly-colored borders.

    1. I'm not much for non sport releases, but those old Star Wars have always caught my eye too. Probably for the same reason you outlined; that sort of design really makes colors pop!

  3. You're right, I'm hard up for anything closely related to 2.5"x3.5" pieces of cardboard. Stickers aren't far off and I treat them just like minis: seek them out, but because most are undersized I curse having to store them. It's a love hate thing for sure.
    (I knew there was a Salazar fetish!)

  4. I've dug stickers since my days as a kid, so they're a natural part of the world for me.
    Gimme dem stickers! ( <-- is that a "liberal" statement?)

  5. If it's got a tomahawk or curly A on it I need it so yeah I'm on the liberal side.