New box cards!

Every month or so it seems like Jason and the rest of the Chicago SABR guys get together for a junk wax rip party. The rest of us on Twitter get to look on jealously as they post the pile of boxes to be ripped as well as the resulting haul. Their most-recent party included a few boxes of 1994 Topps Stickers and, much to my surprise, I realized that there were box cards on them.

Yes, box cards have existed for decades before the 1980s with Hostess in the 1970s, Post in the 1960s, Bazooka in the 50s and 60s, and Wheaties in the 50s (to name but a few). But the idea of having box cards on baseball card boxes was something that I thought first happened in 1985.

To be clear there is something special about the 1985 Donruss cards in how the box cards are of the same design as the rest of the set. That doesn’t take away anything from the fact that there were Topps cards on the 1984 Topps Stickers boxes though. There they were, box cards a year before I realized they existed.

As a box card lover I was suitably impressed and Jason was generous enough to offer to send me a panel. No Giants or Stanford guys in the set but I was also not at all picky. I will take any and all box card panels I can get.

The panel I got has two fan favorites in Bill Madlock (ex-Giant!) and Eddie Murray. It’s kind of a wonderfully awkward design. Blank backs and just a photo with the yellow bat looming over the players’ heads. For some reason Topps included the team and batting information outside of the cut lines too. Add in the weird border around the cut lines and you have something that may actually look better as intact panels.

Jason included a bunch of other cards in the mailing. The two highlights are a 1980 Squirt cover card and a 2022 Buster Posey Home Run Challenge card.

The Squirt looks like a boring cover card: corporate logos, “get three cards free with  purchase,” and “good while supplies last.” The back though is not what I expected at all. Instead we have a list of the active players with lifetime .300 batting averages.  It doesn’t look like there are any others versions out there though but I like that Topps actually did something interesting with this card. Also, despite the decline in batting for average in the modern game, a card like this in 2022 would still have eight guys and the highest average would be .310.

The Posey card is just hilarious. The idea is that you scratch off the code on the back and pick in which game you think Posey will hit a home run. If you guess correctly you win a special card. Kind of a fun gimmick except that Topps had to go to press before Posey retired so now this card is a guaranteed loser. Is definitely a fun one for the album though.

Nine cards from the 1990s (well one from 1989) including a bunch of 1994 O-Pee-Chees which I didn’t have. Never saw these as a kid. Not the hugest fan of the knocked-out team name but the laying effect OPC did is pretty neat. Not easy to do without computers. Probably not that easy to do with computers in 1994 either. The black is not overprinting the image and is instead getting trapped with it. Also I need to remind myself to keep this player name treatment in mind moving forward.

The last batch of cards is from the 2020s. I’m not entirely sure why the Patino is here unless it’s Jason giving me a hard time about him winning his first career game against the Giants (okay it could be the ponle acento action with the tilde). The rest of the cards though are obvious.

I actually do need the “2002” Mays and “1955” Irvin since I don’t collect Archives. Though that Irvin is the kind of thing I hate. I don’t like but can tolerate Topps reusing all of its designs.* I really hate it though when Topps essentially remakes a card with apparently zero awareness that it’s doing so. Monte Irvin on a 1955 design? That had better be saying something interesting about his existing 1955 Topps card.

*Tolerate even though I don’t like it. It fits in with a lot of the way my generation in particular has approached nostalgia as something to be strip mined, repackaged, and drained of all meaning through constant reuse and an inability to grow up into new perspectives. So many things—especially movies and TV shows—from my youth are getting remade with zero desire to actually look at them with new eyes. And in the rare instance someone tries to update a property to today’s standards or values, my generation loses its shit and has a hissy fit about our childhood being “ruined.”

And I need to mention again that the Heritage Mays features the fantastic Hamm’s Beer advertisement only with the beer colored red. I’ve assumed it’s because Topps doesn’t want to feature a beer advertisement in the same way that they changed all the cigarette references in their T206 remakes.

Very cool stuff Jason. Thanks!

My first T218

About a week ago there was a bit of a tweet-around where people were posting random vintage cards, the older the better. I submitted one each from the 1880s, 1890s, 1900s, and 1910s since I’m now able to do so. I’m not sure what blows my mind more. That I have more than one card from the nineteenth century or that I have dozens that are older than 100 years old.

Anyway, a bunch of people posted cards from the 1910–1912 T218 Champions set and I did my usual thing where I admired the card and mentioned how I’ve not gotten around to acquiring one yet. There are many cards in this category and I don’t say things like that to try and get free cards. But sometimes people are in a generous mood and this time it was my co-chair Jason who offered to send me a beater.

I haven’t gotten any T218s yet because I’m incapable of spending money on a card just to get an example. I need something more, like a connection to the athlete or a particularly nice pice of artwork. In the case of the T218s, aside from obvious cases like Jack Johnson,* the cards I’ve been eyeing have been either Edward Weston** or Abe Attell.*** I’ve not encountered any of those at a price I want to pay and as a result I  haven’t gotten any.

*While I already have a Johnson card, getting one from his active fighting days would indeed be cool. 

**Aside from being a fun photography joke, the Weston card is simultaneously the best-looking in the set and also features a truly distinct athlete.

***Attell was a fixer for the Black Sox.

The thing is though that I’m also incapable of getting rid of any cards once I have them and can usually find something of interest no matter how random the card is. With this in mind Jason went ahead and mailed me a T218 that was so beat up that he didn’t have to waste any materials protecting it.

Yup. It’s mighty beat up. No real paper loss though so it’s basically the perfect grade for me.  There’s also a bit of misregistration but nothing that interferes with the artwork. Some of the cards in this set are solid-colored backgrounds* but this one has some nicely detailed and colored background art which results in a card  that still shines despite al the creases.

*Sadly, the Attell is one such card.

Frank Irons is also a great card to have if I’m going to have a random card. Yes he won the Long Jump Gold Medal in 1908 but he’s also one of the only baseball players in the T218 set. In the 1912 Olympics there was a baseball exhibition against a Swedish club. The US team was made up of track and field athletes and three of them have T218 cards.

Since the Wikipedia entry about the 1912 baseball is pretty barebones,  I went poking around the internet and found a PDF of the official report of the 1912 Stockholm games. Sure enough baseball was listed in the Table of Contents. Since the PDF page numbering is messed up due to bilingual pages sharing the same page number I had to dig a bit to get to the right page. Baseball starts on page 823 but I’ve gone ahead and screenshotted them as well.

I kind of love the commentary showing baseball from the Swedish point of view. Borrowing pitchers. Marveling at the ability to throw (and hit) curveballs. And bragging about being able to play ball in Sweden until 10pm in the summer. Frank Irons is listed on the box score as a left fielder who went 1 for 2 and made one putout.

The report also has a half-dozen photos of the game. The team photo of the Swedish side is great and the other photos showing Swedish action in the game are a lot of fun too.

Sadly nothing is mentioned about the other game played at the Olympics but these five pages were a great find nonetheless. Like I said up above, I can usually find something of interest no matter how random the card is. Thanks for the sample Jason and thanks for sending me into some unexpected corners of the internet.

A package from Jason

Yesterday I found a package from Jason in my mailbox. He’d given me a heads-up last week to expect some things but he only explicitly mentioned one of them. I’ll get to that last since it’s going to be a post of its own but aside from it and a couple piles of cards for my kids, this is the rest of what was inside.

A pair of vintage Giants—or Giantsish—cards. I have both of these already but I’m pretty sure my Antonelli is nowhere near as nice shape as this one. Marichal is also still in a Giants jersey so I’ve slipped this into my binder as well. In both of these cases my duplicates will go on the “for the kids” pile and their binders will get to add some more cards that are older that their dad.

A couple oddball minor league cards of guys who would end up on the Giants. These are from a set celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Carolina League. I’m pretty sure Jason got this set for the Dwight Gooden card and has been sending everything else out to various team collectors. I definitely appreciate the opportunity to add McCovey and Bonds to the Giants album.

A couple 1970s Hostess cards. I don’t really chase these outside of my various team/alumni goals but I will never turn random samples down either. One thing I am doing is trying to fill a page of candlestick photos for each set. Neither of these helps me there but the Mayberry is a nice shot of the Oakland Coliseum (Horton appears to be a the Tigers Spring Training facility Joker Marchant Stadium).

And a couple more random cards. The “3D” Action Packed cards are one of my favorite things from when I was a kid. I don’t have much more to say about them though aside from mentioning that I checked out the patent.

The Golden Age Bobby Thomson is a fun one. For whatever reason I don’t have any cards from this set and for all the retro-styled sets this has some of the better artwork I’ve seen. Unfortunately, none of the non-sport cards on the checklist really appeal to me.

On the topic of artwork, Jason also included a Blake Jamieson 1951 Topps card. I’ve avoided getting into all the art card stuff over the past couple years. Project 2020 and Project 70 are not my thing—too expensive and I hate the distribution method—even though I’ve enjoyed watching them from an intellectual/academic point of view. It’s been fun to see artists take a crack at cards and see what works and what resonates with collectors.

Blake’s been one of the more successful artists in the venture. He has a distinct look and point of view and respects the source material (in a good way) by recognizing how keeping these as cards is what allows his art to be accessible. He’s also been more than generous with his time in terms of interacting with fans/collectors and sharing his process.

I don’t find myself drawn to his work on a personal level—this isn’t a value judgement or anything just that my own tastes lie elsewhere—but his take on the 1951 set is one that I did enjoy and between that and the way that he’s one of the best faces of the whole endeavor I’m happy to have one of those cards standing in for the whole art card thing in my binder.

And the reason Jason sent me the package is because he wanted me to take an in-depth look at this T205 card. That will post over on sabrbaseballcards.blog so the only thing I have to add here is that this card shaves off 5 years from my previous oldest baseball card. Kind of wild to realize that his is 110 years old. One thing I love about the T205s is the way they have actual back information instead of just advertisements.

Very cool Jason. Thanks!

Christmas cards

Catching up on a few more PWEs which accompanied holiday wishes. It’s getting to the point where I’m considering making hobby-oriented holiday cards to send out to people I’ve traded with over the past year.

The first card came from Mark Armour and contained a 1977 Willie Mays exhibit. This is a nice reprint of the 1947–1966 era exhibit photo and even feels like it has better tonality than a lot of the vintage exhibits do. The border is kind of goofy though and the less said about the apostrophe catastrophe in the bio text the better. Still this is the kind of thing I enjoy adding to the album and it’ll slide in right next to a bunch of Jeff’s bycatch.

Mark also included a custom card of himself. This is also something I’ve thought about doing but have never gotten around to. A lot of traders have their own custom cards that they toss in like business cards and I enjoy keeping those around.

A few days later I found an envelope from Tim in my mailbox. Nothing big, just an insert from 2020 Opening Day which doubled the number of 2020 Opening Day cards in my collection. This is one of those products that I buy for my kids and stay out of for myself.

This isn’t a critique of the product. If anything it’s a critique of how flagship has effectively pushed my kids away. Neither of my kids wanted a complete set of flagship this year for Christmas. They’ve both realized it’s not the set for them. Too expensive and not really any fun.

A pack of flagship costs like $5 now and that’s a lot of money to pay for a bunch or guys they’ve never heard of. Opening Day at least is mostly players they know. And yes Major League Baseball does a lousy job marketing guys, but Topps also creates checklists that are dominated by rookie cards instead of guys who are actually playing.

So they’ve gravitated toward Opening Day and Big League and I let them enjoy those products. As a result, I don’t get much Opening Day so if it comes in via trade I’m happy to slide it into the binder.

A PWE from Lanny brought me a single 2002 Kenny Lofton card. This might not look like much (though it’s one of Lofton’s few Giants cards) but it’s actually part of Topps’s trainwreck of a Traded set where someone at Topps decided that intentionally shortprinting the first 100 cards was a smart idea.

It was not. I have heard of way too many people who swore off all Traded/Update sets for years just because the 2002 set was so bad. The shortprinted cards meanwhile are impossible to find yet no one actually wants to spend serious money for them.

A perfect storm of awfulness which I would avoid completely except that I wanted the complete 2002 team set for World Series reasons. This Lofton completes the set and I no longer have to think about 2002 Topps Traded ever again.

I also got an envelope from Jason with a couple Giants first basemen. A couple retired numbers even. No it’s not just two 1991 Will Clark cards, these were the packaging surrounding the card Jason intended to send me.

The two Will Clarks were sandwiching this beauty which is not only a great example of the National Chicle Diamond Stars artwork with its solid blocks of color and industrial backgrounds* but represents the first Giants retired number from before the modern era of baseball cards to enter my collection.

*It still doesn’t compare to the South African United Tobacco cards though. Also I remain confused by the scoreboard listing visitors underneath Giants.

One of my long-term collecting goals has been to try and get a card of each Giants retired number from their playing years. I have all the obvious ones who played during the years when Topps was the card of record. Irvin, Mays, Cepeda, McCovey, Marichal, Perry, Clark, and Bonds* all have multiple Topps cards as Giants to the point where I have multiple cards of all even players like Irvin who I never expected to own any cards of.

*Interesting to me to realize that all besides Bonds of those debuted in MLB with the Giants. And yes I’m going to be distinguishing between MLB and “major leagues” from now forward.

McGraw, Mathewson, Terry, Ott, and Hubbell though were always going to be tougher. Fewer cards in general, and the affordable ones are often super ugly in terms of design* or just through being well loved. The Diamond Stars cards of Terry, Ott, and Hubbell are some of the more-desirable options out there and I’m astounded at Jason’s generosity at sending me my first one form this set.

*/me waves at M. P & Company.

Thanks a lot guys. I hope you’ve enjoyed this holiday season and I hope next year brings better tidings all around.

Heavy J and Dub Team Up

So Jason has continued to make and offer his glittered-up junk wax cards in exchange for donations to various baseball-related non-profits. A week or so ago, he tweeted out a pair of Will Clark cards that he had available. Joey jumped right in and said that he’d make a donation if Jason sent one to me.

A few days later this showed up in my mailbox. Nice and sparkly and will pair well with my 1980 McCovey. Jason has upped his production values in the past couple months with more confident trimming and multiple colors of glitter on the borders.

He also included a pair of Josh Gibson cards. The Ted Williams Company card is a little disappointing with a main photo that’s all plugged shadow detail. The Upper Deck one meanwhile is nicely produced and looks even better in hand.

The Ted Williams back though has a lot of information and as such is a much better card for anyone who does not know about Gibson. These are fun. While I’ve mentioned a few times about learning about baseball from TCMA and other cards during my youth, there were no players in those sets who played exclusively in the Negro Leagues.

It’s a shame that these cards weren’t around earlier in my youth when I could have used the additional information and avoided the usual gaps in my baseball knowledge.

A couple small maildays

The last week or so I received a couple small mail days which I need to catch up on. The first is from my committee co-chair Jason who’s been busy blinging out junk wax cards and turning them into artcard fundraising exercises.

He decided to send one of his creations to me so now I have this glittery 1980 Willie McCovey highlight. It’s very glittery but thankfully the glitter is attached to the paper well enough that nothing else is glittery. One card like this is fun. Having it infect the rest of my cards. Less fun.

Any moment now Jason’s going to discover holographic film and things are going to get well and truly wild.

The second mailing came from Matt over at Bob Walk the Plank.* Two years ago he withdrew from blogging and commenced on a grand reorganization** project. It seems like the past three months of lockdown have been good for his productivity as he’s found a number of cards that had no business being in his collection and started sending them out to better places.

*Who I just realized was missing from my endorsements page listing everyone in the hobby that I can vouch for. Sorry Matt, you’re on there now even though you don’t need it since half of Card Twitter has traded with you.

**My understanding is that Matt would contest the “re” part of this statement.

This means that I got a small envelope of shiny Giants parallels. Nothing fancy but all the kind of thing I refuse to seek since I refuse to play Topps’s artificial scarcity game. As a Giants fan though I do have to admit that I enjoy a good black parallel and this Scutaro mini certainly fits the bill. Do I care that it’s numbered out of 5? Not really. But I love being reminded of the rain game and seeing a card in the Giants team colors is always good.

The Bumgarner is also a mini. Apparently the gold mini parallels are numbered to 62 instead of 2013. No idea why. Don’t really care. But the gold is also a look that I have fond memories of due to 1992 provoking some nostalgia feels.

Two more gold parallels. OR at least I think that Schmidt Bowman is gold. I don’t know it’s also numbered to something under 100 and has a bit more sheen to it so maybe it’s a refractor? Anyway it’s the kind of shiny card that my youngest loves and which is vastly underrepresented in my sets

The Crawford meanwhile is the traditional numbered to 2015 gold parallel. I like 2015’s design a lot with all the color but I also like what Topps did with the Golds this year. That the cards look good in both versions says a lot about the strength of the design.

And finally, two base cards to fill out the package. Fence Busters is a callback to the 1967 Mays/McCovey card. I really wish that it showed Pence and Posey since a Pence Buster Fencer Busters card is the kind of stupid thing I enjoy. Marco Luciano is technically an insert since it’s a chrome prospect. Hopefully I’ll get to see him come through Richmond at some point.

Thanks guys!

Vandal PWE

This week brought another plain white envelope in my mail from Jason. This one was both pretty stiff and mysteriously marked with a big “open carefully” on the side. I did my usual thing and snipped an end off as if this were a policy envelope and was immediately very glad I did so.

Inside I found two super-thin, almost bible-paper quality that sticks together with static electricity, sheets of paper that had been cut out of a book. They’re in great condition but still feel incredibly fragile. Jason claims to have purchased a batch of clippings and denies being a book vandal so I had to do some research based on the back side of these.

The fronts are obviously John McGraw. On the left, a younger-looking McGraw in a starched, probably-detachable collar. On the right, McGraw as I’m used to seeing him as the Giants manager. In both cases his competitive nature is clearly visible despite the early halftone printing (which is actually very well done in gterms of keeping detail in both his dark suit and whte collar).

The backs suggest that the photo on the left is from 1911 (though I suspect it’s older than that) and the one on the right, 1913. In any case the backs are enough to date the book as being around 1914 or so.

Go I googled around and discovered that these are actually from two books. Or, well the same book but two different editions. The book in question is the Reach Official American League Base Ball Guide. The left page is from the 1912–1913 edition and I have pages 89 and 90. McGraw is actually on page 90 and so is technically on the back side of the sheet. The right page is from the 1914–1915 edition. I have pages 73 and 74 from this book and, being the same format, McGraw is again on the back of the sheet, this time occupying page 74.

I did not read the entire books but in flipping through to confirm I’d found the right ones I couldn’t help but notice that in each book the sheet before the McGraw sheet features a photo of the Giants president. 1912–13 depicts John T Brush, whose name remains on the only remaining part of the Polo Grounds, which was dedicated to him after his death in 1912. 1914–15 depicts the new president H.N. Hempstead.

Jason also included two cards in the envelope. Two very similar poses and lots of color but the similarities mostly stop there. The Stanley Hack is a 1935 National Chicle Diamond Stars card. I’ve long admired this set with its carefully drawn portraits placed in front of colorfully abstract backgrounds. The three Giants legends in it (Terry, Ott, and Hubbell) are on the top of my list of cards I’d love to get but never will.

This Hack has a nasty crease across the middle but presents really nicely since the crease never actually breaks the surface of the paper. It’s now one of only a half dozen baseball cards I have from before 1940* and is the only one with super-vibrant color.

I thought at first that Jason had gotten the wrong end of the stick when I mentioned that I was looking for a 1955 Doubleheader of Hack and Jack Shepard but it turns out that he’d just noticed me expressing my admiration for Diamond Stars and rueing the fact that I’d probably never acquire one.*

*I’m pretty much incapable of buying a card of a player who’s not a specific collection or team interest of mine.

The other card is a 1975/1976 SSPC Frank Robinson card. This one is notable because it’s the first card of an African American manager. Topps at this time was not releasing manager-specific cards so it’s a very good thing TCMA/SSPC’s wildcat release was around to commemorate the historic first season in cardboard form.

Thanks Jason! A small envelope but a good one. Always fun to be forced to do a bit of research to figure out what something is too.

A couple PWEs

Not a lot of big trades going on but it’s been nice to receive random envelopes with just a couple of cards inside. I’ve also sent out a couple of these. I think we all like getting mail and maintaining some connection to the outside world.

The first envelope came from Jason who, after upgrading his 1957 Dodgers Team set found himself with an extra Carl Erskine card. Erskine is a legend in the TTM community and when I mentioned that I’ve been meaning to send to him Jason popped his extra Erskine into the ail for me. I sent it out before I could write this post so I had to wait for it to come back with ink.

Erskine, legend that he is, turned this around in 11 days and included a bunch more in his return. Those will be part of this month’s TTM round up since they has nothing to do with Jason’s mail.

Jason also included two Topps stickers. I don’t actively pursue these but they’re fun to add to the binder. The Dave Holland is particularly cool because his jacket is amazing with the Warriors Cable Car number graphic on the left sleeve.

Shane Katz has been making themed binder pages and is partially responsible for inspiring my colorwheels project. So it’s only fitting that he would be the first person to actively contribute to it. I was missing an orange 1967. Now I’m not.

The foil 2020 Brandon Belt is pretty nice. Scans badly but of all the shiny cards I think the foils are the only ones I like. Something about them still being printed on paper appeals to me.

Shane also included a couple Stanford guys. The Frank Duffy is his last pro card and it doesn’t surprise me that Shane, as a Red Sox collector would have duplicates here. The Mark Davis though is an obscure card of an obscure player who only has one MLB card that I’m aware of. Yes I have it (1992 Topps MLB Debut) but it’s very cool to add a second.

Thanks guys! Take care out there.

A few maildays

Catching up on a few maildays that came in over the past couple weeks. School being at home has meant we all have had to adjust and has left me with less time for other things. But it’s been too long now so it’s time to acknowledge a number of things that came in the mail.

We’ll start off with these two Carl Aldana Seals customs of the lesser-known DiMaggio brothers from Jason. These cards are in the 1950s Mother’s Cookies style but feature photos from the 1930s. Mixing the two eras works pretty well but for me draws the photos into looking more 1950s because of the colorization.

Two neat little objects. I’m apparently a sucker for rounded corners. And I enjoy seeing Vince in his Hollywood Stars uniform.

It’s also worth showing the backs of these cards. No stats but not blank either. The image used could be a bit higher-resolution but I appreciate making it a vintage dairy advertisement. Is a nice riff on something that should fit right in with cookies.

I also got a nice postcard from Mark Armour just wishing us safety and health in these strange times. Why bother with a PWE when you can just send a postcard by itself? Anyway this is making me think that I should start mailing small things out to people just as a way to say “take care.” It’s indeed a strange world out there but there’s also something wonderful about seeing 90% of us in agreement about what’s most important and trying to support each other in surviving.

Does this go in a Giants binder? Maybe it does. Maybe it does. It is after all the closest I ever expect to get to a T206 Christy Mathewson.

Another mailing that came in was a handful of cards from Shane Katz which included my first 1981 Topps Scratch Offs. This is one of those sets that never appealed to me with its small photos and perforated edges.

Seeing them in panels helps a lot as the different colors make things more interesting. I can’t imagine filling 9-pocket (or even 10-pocket) sheets with these but picturing a full 4-pocket page appeals to me

Meanwhile my printing side appreciates that each photo is framed in a different process color. One of these days I’ll write the Topps and process colors post I keep saying I’ll write and the colors of 1981 Topps will definitely be a big part of that.

The backs of these are are great because they explain how the game is supposed to work. It’s actually something I can see my kids enjoying although I can already tell that the game has little replay value since you’ll quickly learn where to scratch for maximum run scoring.

The advertisement panels are also a ton of fun. I don’t know anyone who sent in for these things but that cap just screams its age/era and I do know a lot of guys who stored their cards in baseball card lockers like that.

Shane also included a couple other cards including a 2020 Heritage Willie Mays insert which takes my accumulated total for this set to six. Am I actively chasing and trying to build it? No. Is it something that I enjoy slowly adding to? Absolutely.

Thanks guys and take care in this season unlike any other.

ɹǝpun uʍop ɯoɹɟ ʇuɐıƃ ɐ

Earlier this week I found a simple plain white envelope from Jason in my mailbox. He has a knack for sending me weird stuff and this did not disappoint.

Nothing big but he figured I’d get a kick out of this 1996 Adelaide Giants card.* Which I did even though it appears that Adelaide was loosely affiliated with the Dodgers. Kym Ashworth spent a handful of years in the minors, most of them in the Dodgers organization, never getting above AA.

*Copyright says 1995 but Trading Card DB says 1996.

The other two cards in the envelope are earmarked for the boys…assuming they want a card of Kraig Hawkins, a journeyman minor leaguer who reached AAA, or Brian Murphy, who topped out at high-A and apparently went abroad to play in Australia.

Heck I’m not sure what I’m doing with the Giant either. It’s interesting to get a look at cards from abroad and see how they’re still recognizably 1990s with gradients and primary-colored geometric elements. Nor does the design look like something any US manufacturer made; it’s close to Collectors Choice but not close enough to be confused for it.

Is it something that’s going to live in my collection? Probably not. Am I going to hold on to it for a while anyway? I think so. It’s different enough and interesting enough that I’ll give it the chance to change my mind.