WARNING WARNING WARNING:  This post could quite possibly have a high tl;dr possibility among internet viewers, and is highly cansecocentric.  Reader discretion is advised.  (Though, I do hope you stay until the end – I was able to put together some pretty epic pieces of some Hall of Famers!)

A few months back, my family and I were visiting my parents.  Mom came out with a stack of journals from school back when I was in elementary.  If you thought my being a baseball card nut is bad now, check out what I wrote in a journal entry back in 1990:

Neither my penmanship nor my obsession have gotten any better.  I don’t know what is stranger – that I wrote about it, or that it was the only thing I could think of writing about even though it was still a month away … especially when that cute girl Melissa was sitting in front of me, and Valentine’s Day was apparently upon us.

In light of March 12th being the 27th anniversary, I thought I would produce some 27th anniversary buybacks of my customs.  Only kidding!  🙂  I do, however, want to use this posting to chronicle some of the goings on in the Mouschi collection and laboratory.

Since I brought up buybacks, I guess I’ll start there.  As the entire collecting planet knows already, Topps decided to follow up their 2015 archives signature series buyback line with 2016 65th anniversary buybacks.  I can’t help myself.  I’m a buybackaholic!  Here are some I have picked up.  This is from a mixture of eBay listings, the generosity of some forum members who sent them to me, and others who had leads on cards that hadn’t yet hit eBay.

The best one is the 1993 Topps 1/1 65th buyback.  I have another 1/1 incoming as well.  If you have any buybacks that aren’t shown above, please let me know!

As you know though, the cards that the companies produced are never enough for my collection, so I decided to whip up a few extra “junk wax”

Here is a 1988 Topps Wax Box Bottom card posed with a regular 88 Topps copy.  Complete with a custom back.  (Sorry for rough pic – I just grabbed a screenshot from my twitter account @tanmanbbfan fyi!)

That one is ok, but the two I really am happy about having in my collection are these two fantasy cards:

1992 Topps Traded & 1993 Upper Deck Iooss.  I had wished these cards were really made, but now I’m glad they didn’t since now I have them and they are 1/1’s!  BWAHAHAHA.  They came out mega sharp…I love ’em!

I also was able to wrap up a deal from a “retiring” Canseco collector.  I had heard legends of what he had … printing plates, Topps Tek gold cards, some miscellaneous 90’s / 00’s cards I was missing, etc.  Welp…after several long months of radio silence, he wrote and we worked out a deal!  I was able to pick up 9 printing plates, a few stamped 1/1’s, some Tek Golds, and a few others.

I had one … now I have 3!  3 down … 17 to go.

He had the last non-numbered prism for my 2000 rainbow.  Soooo purty.  I think my camera just hit these all *just* right, because this is probably the best looking pic of a rainbow I have.

One of the plates I received is from my favorite Topps “Retired” sets:

With as cool as the 1/1 Archives Signature Series, and printing plate is, the refractor #’d to /25 is much more meaningful to me.  Why?  Because it is absolutely gorgeous.  I’ve been looking for it for quite a long time now.  One FINALLY popped up last year, and I was confident it was going to be mine.

Until someone bid it up to over $200.  🙁

Ever since then, I’ve kept my eyes peeled.  Last week, I woke up to satisfy my eBay fix before rolling out of bed, and lo and behold, there it was … in all of its refractory glory.  For $500.  URGHH!!!

To make matters worse, it was from a seller whom I had a beef with that didn’t fulfill a deal with me from a year before.  I decided to reach out anyway.  After a few days, we hashed out a deal.  In addition to this, he made things right and apologized.  Not only was I able to land one of my favorite cards and complete a rainbow, but I also got to clear the air with another fellow collector, which is fantastic!  That makes this card even more meaningful to me.

Anyway, back to the deal with the collector getting out of the game:  In this same collection, there were some other “odd ball” items, like a pepsi box, serial numbered fleer provision sheet and watch.  (The sealed ultra pro pages are from elsewhere.)  I have to admit, I was on the fence with the creepy puppet cooler.  I decided to have him throw that in the deal while were doing something.  The joy of owning such an unusual item has *almost* outweighed the shaming I have received from my wife for intentionally picking up something as creepy looking as it.

A special thank you to Razor-Z for connecting me with him!

Another couple odd-ball things I landed the other day were these:

Flattened boxes?  Nope!  Well, yes … but they are flat because they were never put into production, and are mint!  These are cool because I’ve had a long-time love affair with Cheese & Macaroni.  (Pssstt…if ANYONE out there calls this cheese & macaroni instead of macaroni & cheese, please speak up!  I get made fun of this like crazy … misery loves company.)

A non-standard rainbow also was added to over the past few months:  1997 Finest:

I have the regular, embossed, refractor and embossed refractor.  In addition to this now, I also have the embossed refractor that isn’t actually embossed (which I wrote about previously – was a roller coaster getting it!) and the color match prints that were used to make them.

Several weeks back, someone posted a complete set of 2005 Donruss Signature Series Silver for $2,500 obo.  Immediately, I asked him if he would split up and sell me the Canseco (it is numbered to 8).  He said not yet and to give him a little bit of time.  We went back and forth a bit, until he finally agreed.  As it turns out, he was in Beckett Magazine years ago as a supercollector because of this set!  He mentions in his feature that surprisingly, the Canseco was the most expensive to get.  I printed that article off and keep it in the sleeve that holds the card & one touch holder.  Stories like this really do make the card that much more desirable for me.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me ask about this card:

I had no idea what it was at first.  All I knew is that it was on a fellow collector’s site and I wanted it!  He told me it came out of a back issue of Beckett.  After researching, (ahem…telling an eBay seller I’d pay him double for an issue if he could find it in there for me) I was able to track it down.  When it came in, after cutting it down, there were a few things that were keeping me from being absolutely ecstatic about it.  1) It was magazine paper stock 2) it was smaller than normal and 3) the back showed an off-cut “card” of another player.

Still, that was ok because it is actually referenced in Beckett on the same page as being a part of their set.  I’m very happy it is now in my collection.

I immediately wondered what it would look like as a full sized glossy card … with a back … and with a blue border variation as some of the other cards are shown in the set.

So I made them:

See how shiny?

And the complete backs … describing what they are, along with a picture of the page from Beckett:

Definitely a massive improvement from the “real” one.  Hold the phone … this is like … some sort of a dichotomy or something, isn’t it?  <checks online dictionary>…

What I just did was I made a real fake card of a fake real card.  Whoa dude … Mind. Blown.

Anywho, moving forward, the most notable card that has been picked up in 2016 is from a set that is just absolutely drop dead gorgeous.

YES!!!  I got “THE” wood 1/1 silver signature 2015 Museum Collection.  It completes my rainbow of the /15, /10 and /5.  All of them are so gorgeous, but the wood is just so insanely awesome.  It is one of those cards that you don’t ever think will come to market, because you think that it has found its way into the collection of a Topps employee or in another collection of someone who thought it was awesome, and wouldn’t want to let it go.

A forum member Randy tipped me off to this being pulled in a break from Youtube and I was able to track down the guy, then make a deal.  Thanks so much Randy!

Hmmmm….I feel like I need some sort of an intermission here for both myself and you who is reading this.  BRB ….

Annnnddd we’re back.  Because everyone needs caffeine at midnight, right?

You may have seen one of these following customs before, but I made some changes and added to them.

Instead of completely redoing some cards, I ended up taking some of my duplicates and swapping out the boring plain swatches for some authentic player-worn patch pieces.  I mean heck … why not?  I have a closet full of his jerseys that he wore, after all!  I also modified the backs to talk about how the cards were customized, what they were customized with and showed a picture of Jose wearing the new patch pieces that are in the cards.

A boring Sweet Spot with an excited patch equipped Sweet Spot.  Abracadabra!

What about a bat / rawlings patch? Bam!

Last but not least (for now) a signed / patch UD Pros & Prospects.

A big thank you to ClarkZac for sending me a game used card for free to do this with!  I haven’t gotten to it yet, but I promise I will!

Last but not least for *my* collection (the big boppers are coming up after this) inspired by a heartbreaking story of a boy and a company who shall remain nameless that has yet to fulfill their obligation to send him his 2014 Strata Redemption Canseco.

2 years, peeps.  2 years.

So, what do you do while you wait?  You make your own!  The Stratas are a lot more complicated to make than regular cards, which made it all the more interesting to try out.

This piece is named “Proxy” in the upper left hand corner, as it is a card that is holding the place of the Strata whenever it gets here.  In the middle, you see a jumbo piece of a bat that Jose used in a game, and it is signed “88 WS Grand Slam 10/15/88”.

I think that is cool and all, but I LOVE patches with the Stratas, so here is an amped up version of the above card with different colors, rivets and wording (see: Player Worn Patch on the left and Athletics at the top).

It is currently on its way to get signed on the clear plastic section in the middle.  Before that happens, it will need to go from Canada to Vegas, back to Canada, to me in Texas (long story.)  My guess is that it will STILL make it back to me before the REAL card gets here from Topps.

A while back, I was contacted by a collector who told me about his great-great uncle that used to play baseball.  Leroy Hermmann.  As a minor league player, he had a 20 game winning season, pitched a 10 inning no-hitter and even played alongside some guy named Joe DiMaggio when he played for the  Seals.

(Remember this Seals DiMaggio booklet I did recently?)

Anyway, I was sent a signature and a 1935-37 George Burke Photo Stamp to create an oversized card with.

I was also sent some pretty great scans of pictures of Herrmann, which helped the project tremendously.  They were all black and white of course, but I was able to colorize some and really make them pop.  Here is an example:

Here is the end result:

I’m very happy to have been entrusted with such a personal project like this.  Thanks hittinaway – I hope you and your family enjoy it!

While you may not have heard of Leroy Hermmann, you may have heard of this next guy.  He went by the name of Mickey Mantle!  Last week, I received a package with several high end cards for future projects, but the the only one I have done so far is of the Mick.  Here were the pieces to be used:

After working up the design, I came up with this.  A jumbo patch sweet spot booklet.

The inside binding actually shows the missing strip of the baseball field right in the middle of the card.  I think it turns out great!

Last, but not least is the big daddy.  Every collector longs to hold one of these puppies in their hand at some point in their lifetime.  I was tasked to cut it up! … Errr…. build an art card out of it.

Here is what I tweeted out a few weeks back.


The Sultan of Swat
The Great Bambino.
The Caliph of Clout!

(Yeah, I had never heard that last one either.)

Needless to say, I was pretty stoked about being able to do this.  Since the signature was so big, I ended up doing a jumbo card which sits nicely in a one touch vertical booklet holder.

After doing the artwork, photoshopping and colorizing the previously black & white pictures, here is what I came up with:

Thinking back about 9 year-old Mouschi writing journals about being excited to go to the baseball card shop, I can’t help but wonder what he would have thought if he were told as a grown up, he’d not only still be collecting and writing about collecting, but also making his own cards and destroying others.  I’ve gotta say – I’m really having a lot of fun.  What a wild hobby we have!

Some of the most fun I have had in this hobby is just being able to hang out (albeit virtually) with you guys. I have learned a lot, and hopefully have been able to have reciprocated as well.  I’m still floored by the generosity of so many people going out of their way to tell me about a card I may need, or flat out just sending me cards for free.  Thank you once again, very much – I certainly do appreciate it more than you know!