Tuesday, February 18, 2014

1980 81 82 Tampa Rowdies Police Sets - How to Tell the Difference

The Tampa Rowdies soccer club was the subject of three police sets in the early 1980s. All three sets utilized a design format that was typical for safety sets of the time, with the fronts of all three being exactly the same. Here's a look at a card front from each:

I don't know about you, but I can't see much of a difference on the fronts. The key to discovering the year of issue lies on the backs of the cards, as there are subtle but unmistakeable differences. Each of the three years features a different set of sponsors listed on the back bottoms of the cards. Here they are:

You'll immediately notice that the 1980 set features two logos near the bottom, with the circular logo representing the Exchange Club of Tampa. This is the only year that the Exchange Club was a sponsor. In 1981, the two sponsors listed were the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and Law Enforcement Council. Luckily, between the printings of the 1981 and 1982 sets, the Law Enforcement Council changed their name to the Community Security Council, with the 1982 set reflecting the name change accordingly.

We will spend more time detailing these sets in the future. These really are some great oddball cards that feature cards for players, cheerleaders (Wowdies), the band (Loudies), the stadium, and even mascot "Krazy George."

Click here to find Rowdies stuff on eBay

Monday, February 17, 2014

sellhelper2012 on Ebay -- One of the Best?

It's no secret to collectors that Ebay is the online place to go to find stuff. The good, the bad, the ugly, the GREAT... All right there on Ebay, at any given time.

With my hours upon hours of weekly searching for oddball cards on the site, I have come across one particular seller repeatedly -- sellhelper2012. He always seems to have older oddball sets that are scarce, and many of his sets are the only ones to be found on the entire site. I have personally purchased more than a few sets from this seller, and every set has been in beautiful condition. They have always arrived quickly and positive feedback has always been left.

It was time to find out who this guy was, and where these incredible cards were coming from.

Well, the Ebay seller's real name is Neal Kublin. According to Neal, he is selling the cards for an elderly man who began collecting back in 1974. Diagnosed with cancer that year, the man's Oncologist recommended that he find a hobby. That he did, and having a true passion for baseball, began visiting Minor League ballparks across the United States. This was around the time that
Mike Aronstein (co-founder of TCMA) began producing Minor League baseball cards. The man met Aronstein, caught the oddball collecting bug, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Card collecting was still considered a juvenile pursuit in the mid-1970s, with few adult collectors taking the time, effort and money to build such a large and diverse oddball collection those many years ago. This gentleman, however, was an exception who collected anything and everything card-related he could find. He established relationships with teams and the card companies themselves, building a collecting network that was second to none in the era of stamped letters and long-distance phone calls (no collect calls, please!) Jefferson Burdick himself was probably smiling from the heavens.

So what does all of this mean to you?

Well, you'll have to visit Neal's store and find out for yourself. Don't hesitate to send him a message if you don't find what you're looking for, as Neal has told me that tons of sets are still unlisted. He responds very quickly and is a true pleasure to deal with.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

1982 Milwaukee Brewers Police Set

The endless sponsor variations of Milwaukee Brewers police sets released from 1982 to the present make it virtually impossible to collect the entire run. There's little to no chance of completing a master collection.

I'm not joking. You'd have a better shot at spending the weekend with Selena Gomez.

The promotion began in 1982, which is the year we will focus on in this post. This first year of 1982 saw the printing of five sponsor variations. But before we get into that, let me mention the basics...

Brewers police sets typically consisted of 30 cards (the first exception wasn't until 1995, when the set had 33). Even though there were several different sponsors listed on the cards each year, the player selection and photos were always the same among the sets. Because of this, only the most dedicated of collectors are interested in the different sponsor variations, with most of them being single-player specialists. 

I have personally never seen a complete checklist for this run of Brewers sets, and the couple of hardcore collectors I know who are working on this herculean task are in no danger of completing their collections anytime soon. The Milwaukee Police Department is always the easiest sponsor to find (sometimes having 100,000 sets or more printed), while some of the more obscure departments may have printed as few as 500. 

Needle in a haystack? At best.

Focusing in on 1982 again, I know of five departments that participated in the inaugural promotion: Milwaukee PD, New Berlin PD, Brookfield PD, Wauwatosa PD and the Wisconsin State Fair Park Police. As usual, the Milwaukee PD version is the easiest of the five to find, with New Berlin, Brookfield and Wauwatosa being somewhere in the middle. And finding the Wisconsin State Fair Park Police set, you ask?

You'd have a better shot at spending the weekend with the girl at your school (or office) who looks
like Selena Gomez.

The scans above show three Robin Yount cards, each with a different sponsor printed across the bottom. As noted before, the photo and player selection is the same in each of the sets. Also shown here is a New Berlin back, which is how most of the 1982 backs appear (the Milwaukee PD backs have an extra badge graphic on theirs, if anyone cares).

The 1982 Milwaukee PD set is valued in the $10 to $15 range. It's hard to put a price on the others, due to both the limited supply and limited collector demand. In this type of tricky scenario you might see a set appear with a $5 Buy It Now on Ebay, or the same set might appear (and be sold) with a $50 Buy It Now. All I know is that I like collecting these, and will continue hunting down Brewers Police Sets at prices I can live with on a case by case basis.

Click here to find Brewers Police Sets on eBay

(4) Paul Molitor
(5) Ned Yost
(7) Don Money
(9) Larry Hisle
(10) Bob McClure
(11) Ed Romero
(13) Roy Howell
(15) Cecil Cooper
(17) Jim Gantner
(19) Robin Yount
(20) Gorman Thomas
(22) Charlie Moore
(23) Ted Simmons
(24) Ben Oglivie
(26) Kevin Bass
(28) Jamie Easterly
(29) Mark Brouhard
(30) Moose Haas
(34) Rollie Fingers
(35) Randy Lerch
(37) Buck Rodgers
(41) Jim Slaton
(45) Doug Jones
(46) Jerry Augustine
(47) Dwight Bernard
(48) Mike Caldwell
(50) Pete Vukovich
Team Photo/Roster
Harry Dalton, General Manager
Coaches (Pat Dobson, Larry Haney, Ron Hansen, Cal McLish, Buck Rodgers, Harry Warner)