Friday, April 16, 2010

Card Spotlight: 4-16-10

2008 Allen & Ginter mini #327 - A.J. Pierzynski

Isn't it cute? A mini card of a retro product, bringing all the feel of a true tobacco card into the 21st century. That may be a bit of a stretch, but not by much.

Allen & Ginter has always been an interesting product. It stays true to the original sets. It feels old and new at the same time. There's something about the feel of the cards that make the product almost irresistible when it is in your hands. It's not like old cardboard. It's not like newer glossy treated cards. It's just different and it feels good.

I've had a fascination with mini cards since I was a kid. I remember those consumer round up vendor shows that would come through the elementary school, trying to make us into good citizens who purchased immense amounts of anything. It wasn't the secret Santa workshop. It wasn't the Schoolastic order form, where my classmates and I would choose our Pick A Path books (my favorite was the Amazing Bubblegum Caper) and Dynamite magazines (was Michael J. Fox on every cover?). It was something else entirely.

Whatever school program it was, I can remember getting a baseball card kit with replicas of famous cards like the T206 Honus Wagner and a set of green bordered HyGrade cards. That's where I thought I had a goldmine in the Wagner card and I first learned about the Sherry Magie misspelling error. I also learned how cool it was to own a card that was not standard size. I also learned how difficult it was to keep those cards in mint condition. It was quite an education.

Of course nowadays, with the proliferation of greed in the hobby industry, I have access to supplies that can keep my oddball cards pack fresh for years to come. I never had that luxury twenty-five years ago. That loss of innocence at least came with cool 15 pocket pages and screw down holders to ensure that no slob drips his lunch on my cards.

I can't say that I have many cards that deserve that type of treatment. It's not like I'm housing a cache of autographed 19th century cards or 5,000 Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck rookie cards. I'm a firm believer in letting cards breathe. If that helps them deteriorate, so be it. I think I'll be alright. 19th century cards that aren't incarcerated in plastic have survived into the 21st century. I think my A.J. mini card will be just fine in the 23rd century, when my collection is somewhere other than in my possession.

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