What is your dream Cut Signature?

Collectors, it is time we face the truth about non-sports cards in your pack of baseball cards. You either love them, tolerate them, or flat out hate them but they are not going away anytime soon. Personally, being a huge movie & music buff—I absolutely love these cards! How awesome would it to pull a cut signature of one of the all-time greatest actors, Marlon Brando? Or how about one of legendary crooner, Frank Sinatra? Truth is, even if you don’t want to keep the card, odds are someone on eBay really wants it. It’s a no lose situation.

So, what is your dream Cut Signature? Oh, and please don’t go and say “Babe Ruth” as you know there are so many of those it’s hard to keep up with. Is there an entertainer, athlete, politician that you feel has been forgotten and would like to see in a 2009 product? Below is my top 3 most-wanted.

3. Carl Wilson – Musician

Carl, along with his two brothers, cousin, and friend formed the Beach Boys in the early 60’s as teenagers. The group went on to have the greatest music career next to the Beatles but Mr. Wilson lost his battle with Cancer in 1996. Still, even while being deathly ill many fans remember going to concerts in the mid-90’s where Carl was propped on a stool singing with the aid of an oxygen tank. He loved performing all the way up until the very end.

2. Steve Clark – Musician

An amazing guitar player who was very underrated in the 80’s and early 90’s for Def Leppard, before they began to suck severely. Steve died from an overdose of pain killers, anti-depressants, and alcohol in 1991 at the age of 30. The video below is from his guitar solo ‘Switch 625’ which Def Leppard still plays in his memory to this day.

1. Eazy-E – Hip Hop Artist

The legend goes that Eric Wright, who stood just 5 feet 3 inches began Ruthless Records with money he made selling drugs. Whatever the case, his company put out the infamous N.W.A of the early 90’s and chart-topping, Platinum-selling Bone Thugs N’ Harmony in the mid-90’s. Eazy passed away in 1995 at the age of 31. You can see a very rare photo of his signature by clicking HERE.

Dare you to ask Gary Coleman for a photo

Thanks to shows like VH1’s ‘I Love the 80’s and The Surreal Life, a has-been actor like Gary Coleman is once again getting a taste of fleeting fame. Also, people love celebrities…even if their biggest contribution to film & television is a show like ‘Diff’rent Strokes’. As bad as that show was, it was ‘Seinfeld’ compared to 99% of Reality TV.

Still, a photo of Gary (or an autograph) is not worth losing your life for so before Gary tries to run you over too, head over to eBay and pick up one of Gary’s many different cards. The Americana card below is selling for less than $15 but if you’d like the double whammy of Arnold and Willis, you will need to shell over $70 big ones.

You know, on second hand I think I’ll try my luck with an in-person autograph…

Goodbye Jeremy Bonderman

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. I completed my first ever trade some ten months ago with Steve of White Sox Cards and have added a good fifty others since then without a single incident. That is, until now.

If you guys recall, I found a really cheap set of Marvel Masterpieces at a book store and started a “Card of the Day” feature for a couple of weeks. It worked out well because when there wasn’t much to write about, I could always fall back on that. The thing is, after going through the cards I was interested in there was no way I was going to keep the feature going with dull superheroes I had no clue about so I began scouring for other cards to feature at Wax Heaven.

Back in 1988, a good year before my first pack of baseball cards I began collecting trading cards for the very first time in my life. The product was a line of WWF wrestling cards produced by Classic. They had all the superstars of “yesteryear” like Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, and Macho Man but also included many wrestlers that today are now deceased. I thought this would be an excellent set to feature and began looking on eBay for the set.

Here is where the problem arose. I had no interest in paying for the cards that I would eventually just throw in my closet and forget about once I was done with the feature so I went to the Beckett Media message board where I had completed a good fifteen trades or so and began asking around for them. My only response was from a user named “litaismyqueen” who said he had a complete set for sale. I told him that I had no interest in buying them but offered a trade. The user understood my dilemma and asked me to send over an autographed card as collateral and he would send me out the set. When I was done scanning them, I would send the set back and he would return my auto.

The card I sent over was a 2007 Upper Deck Jeremy Bonderman autograph I pulled from a box of Series 1 U.D. He was a stud in High School and was destined for stardom but for some reason never reached his full potential. He’s currently 3-4 and on the Disabled List at the moment. Anyways, that card was sent out almost three months ago and to this day I have yet to receive the WWF goodness that was promised to me.

Now, I am not going to cry over spilt milk considering it is just a Bonderman auto that I am out on but it is a reminder to me that when I do trade online, I should be a little more careful with who I trust.

I just hope Jeremy’s new home is better than his old one in my box of bad “hits”.

The Death of the Super Collector

Can you imagine investing thousands of your hard-earned dollars and decades of your life into your favorite baseball player? For collectors, being a lifelong fan is nothing out of the ordinary. I still run into old men at Marlins games that are picking up any and all Mickey Mantle baseball cards that come out of 2008 products. That folks, is what I call true dedication.

Of course, it’s one thing having guys like Mantle, Roberto Clemente, and Ernie Banks to admire and collect but what about the children of the 80’s who worshiped (and collected) guys like Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Jose Canseco? What is left when the glorious careers have come to an end and all that is left is vintage cardboard with a tattered and torn reputation?

Unfortunately, for many who have given up on their idols the only option left is eBay or settling for much less at a card shop or garage sale. It’s a sad reality that many in the hobby have been forced to face, including myself. Another option would be to ignore the allegations, avoid Internet forums and blogs, and ignore fans and fellow collectors who will say the worst when you walk into a card shop looking for the newest Barry Bonds from whatever company is lucky to use his rights.

Bryan Fitzgerald collected Jose Canseco for almost as long as I did but with better resources available to him he was able to obtain over 2,000 cards, close to 150 autographs and 200 game-used relics of the former ’88 M.V.P. His mug and amazing “super collection” even graced the pages of Beckett Magazine a few years back. He was about as dedicated and decorated as any collector can be but even he, the “Canseco King” has given up on his collection and accompanying website (The Canseco King). Rumor around the ‘Net is that he is looking to unload the entire collection as you read this.

Around the same time, another Super Collector of Jason Giambi, who had an unbelievable amount of “1 of 1’s” to his credit split up his collection and began selling off in the beginning of the season, long before Giambi’s Mustache Comeback. Sadly, I think this has less to do with the economical slump and more to do with the child that is inside all of us dying.

You have to admit, that it’s that kid inside us all that allows us to enjoy spending our money on baseball cards as grown adults. If I sit down and calculate how much money I spent in 2007 just on baseball cards and supplies alone, my poor old Mustang would have new tires, a paint job, and probably even some shiny, new rims. Instead, I am driving my beat-up ‘Stang to the card shop every two weeks on pay day in hopes of scoring that card “MOJO” that has eluded me since my return to the hobby in mid-’07.

The sad thing is I feel like that boy inside of me is in his final days.

The Ten Greatest Garbage Pail Kids Ever

Let’s face it, most of us adults collect baseball cards today because we did so as kids. There’s just something special about it that makes us want to go back and relive our childhood again and again. It’s not like we go back and watch the same shows we did when we were young or listen to the same music. It’s a special part of our lives that we just can’t do without.

That being said, it’s hard to find someone who collected baseball cards in the 80’s who didn’t have Garbage Pail Kids. You may not remember but the two actually had a couple of things in common. For one, they too came in wax wrappers like many of our favorite baseball brands. Second, they were produced by the Topps Company, an icon in the trading card industry.

Before we delve into the countdown there are two things you need to know. First, this list was put together by the expert of Garbage Pail Kids & the creator of Wayne’s Garbage Pail Kids References, Wayne. Second, all ten of these cards were drawn by John Pound. You can check out Wayne’s amazing site by clicking HERE and John’s by clicking here.

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10. All-New Series 7 – 32a Abandoned Andy / 32b Cast Away Jay – The concept for this character is not anything special, but the artwork is fantastic. The detail, texture, and color really grab me in. The character’s sun bleached hair and burnt skin were painted perfectly. It is also kind of funny to see the cruise ship going by off in the background.

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9. 15th Series – 593a Footloose Fred / 593b Lucky Lew – I like the bright yellow background, and combining that with the GPK character as a rabbit, it almost gives the the painting a storybook look. But, my favorite part about the painting is what happened to the character… his foot was cut off and made into a lucky rabbit’s foot, so the character hobbles on crutches over to the novelty store and buys it back… you see him leaving the novelty store dangling the lucky rabbit’s foot from a chain.

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8. 9th Series – 346a Peeled Paul / 346b Skin Les – I like the concept for this character… instead of removing his clothes, the character rips off his flesh (exposing all of his muscle tissue) as if it was a suit, and in his closet you can see he has other flesh suits just hanging there.

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7. All-New Series 3 – 20a Birdbrain Brian / 20b Cuckoo Chris – I like how the term “bird brain” has been taken to the next level with this painting. The character’s head has been hollowed out, and now a bird has taken control of him. The hypnotized/swirl eyes on the character are a great detail.

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6. All-New Series 6 – 20a Brady Back Ribs / 20b Spare Rob – I sent the idea for this concept to Topps, but they ignored it… and GPK artist coincidentally came up with the same concept. I really like all of the details, texture, and color that was put into this painting. The self-cannibalism is quite gruesome.

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5. 2nd Series – 53a Jolted Joel / 53b Live Mike – This is not only a classic GPK character, but it is also a very eye-catching painting. The character has a great 1980s heavy metal rocker look. The look of the GPK character always reminded me a lot of the Spider-Man villain Electro.

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4. 2nd Series – 62a Greaser Greg / 62b Chris Hiss – The plain orangish background really makes the character pop out at you for this painting. The character looks very cool and dangerous… a greaser with a slick pompadour hairdo, holding a switch blade and chain, wearing a leather jacket and smoking a cigarette… you cannot get much more rebellious than this.

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3. 1st Series – 4a Fryin’ Brian / 4b Electric Bill – This is another bright background painting where you really can focus on the character. The concept is somewhat morbid… a prisoner getting electrocuted. You can see that the switch for the electric chair is turned on, and the character is being shocked to death… his fingers point straight out, his teeth are clenched together, and his eyes are x-ed out.

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2. 4th Series – 137a Max Axe / 137b Deadly Dudley – The character has a slightly crazed and dopey look at the same time. The character’s chest hair is kind of a funny detail. This dangerous executioner has killed and dismembered his victim, and you can see the body parts in the basket and blood dripping off of his axe and down the stone steps.

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1. 2nd Series – 57a Tommy Gun / 57b Dead Fred – This is a very dramatic (and brutal) scene that was beautifully painted. The Al Capone-like character (Scarface) has a stitched scar on his face, and he is violently being gunned down. The bullet holes run across the wall and through the character. You can see by the bullet holes that a bullet went right through the character’s hat and his head. The character is killed, and he is falling back while shooting off a few rounds from his machine gun. His eyes are rolling back, which makes the scene even more dramatic. Even though the character was shot up, just a small blood spot is on the ground. This is a great concept, and the painting really captures everything.

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