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Monday, November 19, 2018

Avid Barry Bonds Collector Has Amassed 5,000 Examples Of The Same Card

To describe Greg Mirmelli as a diehard, fanatical, or a rabid Barry Bonds fan would be an understatement. Over the past five years, he has amassed 5,000—count ’em!—1986 Topps Traded Barry Bonds rookie cards.

“I’m pretty sure there is no other person in the world that has that many,” the 45-year-old, Miami Beach realtor and parking lot operator told me.

I think that is a fair assumption.

jmurph Posted: November 19, 2018 at 02:45 PM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: barry bonds, baseball cards, collecting

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   1. jmurph Posted: November 19, 2018 at 02:50 PM (#5789248)
The final two paragraphs are really something:
Mirnelli, who is single, truly loves his collection. “I’m thinking about building a sports bar theme game room in my house and displaying the cards like wall paper behind a protected plexi-glass,” he says.

And Mirmelli isn’t finished adding to his stash, either, because he believes the stars are aligned. “Barry and I share same birthday which I did not know till I had purchased over 10 cases,” he says. “This made me change my outlook on astrology. People used to ask me what was my sign, and I thought they were crazy because I didn’t think it mattered. Clearly I was wrong and I now believe in it 100%.”
   2. McCoy Posted: November 19, 2018 at 02:53 PM (#5789251)
Have no idea what that card is worth but I'm guessing he has helped keep the price far higher than it should be.
   3. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: November 19, 2018 at 02:55 PM (#5789254)
I've got about a dozen of the 86TT Bonds cards, and I am not single.

Astrology is for kooks.
   4. jmurph Posted: November 19, 2018 at 03:06 PM (#5789260)
By now you’re probably wondering what these cards are worth. The Beckett 10 averages $1,622; the equivalent PSAs, just $86, and SGCs, $57. The respective 9s both sell below $20.
   5. BrianBrianson Posted: November 19, 2018 at 03:12 PM (#5789265)
Have no idea what that card is worth but I'm guessing he has helped keep the price far higher than it should be.


They sell as low as $5 on Amazon - you can buy the whole Topps Traded set on ebay for ~$20 in a factory sealed box.

I can't seem to find info on how many were printed, but knowing Topps in the 1980s, I wouldn't be surprised if a guy owning 5000 Barry Bonds cards from a 1986 Topps set is like a Bedouin who owns a pocketful of sand.
   6. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 19, 2018 at 03:13 PM (#5789266)
Barry Bonds: July 24, 1964. Jeff Kent always said he was a clubhouse Cancer.
   7. Master of the Horse Posted: November 19, 2018 at 03:23 PM (#5789271)
With AIG coming out that they will at some point stop insuring 'areas at high risk to the impacts of climate change' I figure this Miami realtor is showing his killer business instinct by getting into a rock solid long term investment as a fall back when his current work goes under............literally
   8. DL from MN Posted: November 19, 2018 at 04:03 PM (#5789299)
An argument against the theory of diminishing returns (or is it marginal utility?)
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 19, 2018 at 04:39 PM (#5789317)
An argument against the theory of diminishing returns (or is it marginal utility?)

Marginal utility, since this is a "consumption" decision. Diminishing marginal returns is in a production function. If you increase your factory's work force from 100 to 200, the second 100 increase production by a lot less than the first hundred.
   10. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 19, 2018 at 04:47 PM (#5789326)
   11. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 19, 2018 at 05:10 PM (#5789332)
Mirnelli, who is single,
Shocking.
   12. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 19, 2018 at 05:13 PM (#5789334)
The Beckett 10 averages $1,622; the equivalent PSAs, just $86, and SGCs, $57.
Everything wrong with the baseball card market in a nutshell.
   13. Srul Itza Posted: November 19, 2018 at 05:55 PM (#5789346)
The Beckett 10 averages $1,622; the equivalent PSAs, just $86, and SGCs, $57.


I have no idea what any of the capitalized words/acronyms means.

I do not feel at all the lesser for this particular instance of ignorance.

I stopped being interested in baseball cards roughly a half-century ago, but still fondly remember putting them in the spokes of my bicycle, trading them, and "flipping" them with friends (closest to the wall was my favorite). I also liked the bubble gum
   14. bob gee Posted: November 19, 2018 at 06:13 PM (#5789353)
i used to have hundreds / thousands of the same rookie card when i was involved with cards, so that's not unusual. dealers in my area would call me when they were going to a card show but didn't have (whoever the latest rookie was), so that they could display them for sale. but i got OUT of most of them in the early 90s. can't imagine keeping any player's card for so long.
   15. asinwreck Posted: November 20, 2018 at 12:27 AM (#5789470)
Did Mirnelli suddenly look at the back of one of the ten cases worth of cards to discover the birthday?
   16. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: November 20, 2018 at 09:42 AM (#5789527)
I hope this poor guy doesn't live in Albuquerque.
   17. jmurph Posted: November 20, 2018 at 09:48 AM (#5789533)
I have no idea what any of the capitalized words/acronyms means.

Those are the various grading services (well I've never heard of SGC but the other two are, so I'm assuming that is, too). It's one of those things where you understand the logic behind an idea (how do we know we mean the same thing when we say "mint?") but the practice of it is utterly ridiculous and ruinous. Although as far as I can tell it's largely driving the card collecting hobby these days, so what do I know!
   18. DL from MN Posted: November 20, 2018 at 09:53 AM (#5789536)
the practice of it is utterly ridiculous and ruinous


If those items are actually worth that much money it would be fairly easy to print them on plastic so they were less prone to damage than cardboard. Of course it is the printing on flimsy cardboard that makes "mint" cards rare in the first place.
   19. McCoy Posted: November 20, 2018 at 09:54 AM (#5789537)
Yeah, it is crazy. Getting a 10 on grading skyrockets the value of a card and the real question should be "why?" I mean we don't need these cards to power our solar system, perform surgery, or split an atom. The quality of the card is basically just Jergen's lotion for nerd ego porn. I have a Ryne Sandberg Topps rookie card with a slight crease in it. The story behind me getting that card is unique to me. Back in the crazy height of its value I went to a shop to see how much they would give me for it. They said about $2. I value that card far more than I would a grade 10 Ryne Sandberg card that I buy online tomorrow. A few years back I bought an old Ernie Banks card from I think 1959. I have no idea what it would grade at but that card means less to me than the dogeared 1986 sweaty Roger Clemens card I have sitting in a box somewhere.
   20. Man o' Schwar Posted: November 20, 2018 at 10:24 AM (#5789555)
Yeah, it is crazy. Getting a 10 on grading skyrockets the value of a card and the real question should be "why?" I mean we don't need these cards to power our solar system, perform surgery, or split an atom.

Tell it to someone who pays $100 million for a Picasso painting, or $10 million for a silver dollar.

(Not that you're wrong, but collectibles are oddly valued in a lot of ways.)

And my biggest problem with Beckett/PSA is what they charge to do this. Paying $30/card to get them graded is just nuts, when the people charging that amount are also putting out the price guides that say what something is worth.

If those items are actually worth that much money it would be fairly easy to print them on plastic so they were less prone to damage than cardboard. Of course it is the printing on flimsy cardboard that makes "mint" cards rare in the first place.

Check out some of the newer "tek" cards - plastic or acetate of some kind. And they don't damage as easily, it's true.

   21. jmurph Posted: November 20, 2018 at 10:29 AM (#5789559)
And my biggest problem with Beckett/PSA is what they charge to do this. Paying $30/card to get them graded is just nuts, when the people charging that amount are also putting out the price guides that say what something is worth.

I've actually been curious about how this works: do you literally mail your, say, 86 Michael Jordan Fleer rookie worth thousands of dollars to PSA to get them to grade it? I know there is insurance and signature verification and all that, but I feel like I wouldn't be able to sleep the entire time it was en route/being processed.
   22. PreservedFish Posted: November 20, 2018 at 10:33 AM (#5789562)
Tell it to someone who pays $100 million for a Picasso painting

This price seems nuts, but at least the painting is not a reproduction. You know that Picasso actually touched it, painted with his own hand. It has its unique "presence in time and space."

In contrast, the idea that a 10/10 card is worth substantially more than a 9.5/10 is loony. I realize that this is capitalism at work, and value is just what people are willing to pay, but this baseball card grading system seems untethered from what people actually care about. It feels unreasonable and artificial.
   23. bob gee Posted: November 20, 2018 at 10:42 AM (#5789568)
i haven't been involved in cards in a long time, but i know years ago there were cards trimmed / altered that received top grades. the other games i heard of were 1) resending in same card until you got better grade and 2) people who spent lots of money on submissions would receive better grading on their cards. also, i believe (?) that some of the people grading were young and some didn't have extensive knowledge of the card field?

many of the best rookie cards have now been reissued (not forgeries) as part of inserts or separate issues, so you can get your rookie card in mint condition if you don't mind the embossing logo or something similar on the card.

back in the 80s (yeah, i know, so old) i had a card that i would grade as excellent or better - 10 years later, it would have been no better than very good because the grading environment had shifted, due to what was happening at the top end. and i've heard it only got much worse...

   24. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 20, 2018 at 10:45 AM (#5789573)
Interesting...I haven't really followed the baseball card market since I was in high school so I assumed that it was only cards like the 1952 Mantle that anyone cared about grading and selling for crazy prices.

I have a 1952 Warren Spahn that I received directly from Topps in a hard case about 25 years ago and that I've never removed. I haven't looked at it in a couple of years, so maybe the printing is off-center or something, but it's probably "worth" a lot more than I have assumed all of these years.
   25. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 20, 2018 at 12:15 PM (#5789653)
It could be worse. Once when I was playing around with my shop's money, I bought a brick of this rookie card. How many people here under 30 would even recognize the player?
   26. PreservedFish Posted: November 20, 2018 at 12:27 PM (#5789669)
People under 30 that recognize Greg Swindel probably need more productive hobbies.
   27. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 20, 2018 at 01:00 PM (#5789685)
People under 30 that recognize Greg Swindell probably need more productive hobbies.

Hell, I'd say that anyone under 100 who still remembers Greg Swindell has led an unproductive life.
   28. jmurph Posted: November 20, 2018 at 01:07 PM (#5789688)
Hell, I'd say that anyone under 100 who still remembers Greg Swindell has led an unproductive life.

I remember him and this seems like a fair point.
   29. McCoy Posted: November 20, 2018 at 01:11 PM (#5789696)
Tell it to someone who pays $100 million for a Picasso painting, or $10 million for a silver dollar.

I would if I ever run across them. I think the inflation of prices of art is outrageous. It pretty much shows that there is a lot of expendable cash out there. I would like to think that it is a bubble but the price of art has been escalating at an astounding rate for decades. The inflation of "high art" has also caused the common man's art prices to skyrocket as well. The prices for "handmade" stuff is insane. You want $100 for a piece of pop artwork that was basically copied from some viral etsy post? Why?
   30. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: November 20, 2018 at 04:05 PM (#5789797)
At least sports cards, stamps & coins are fully viewable when slabbed. The practice that irritates the hell out of me is slabbing graded comics. WTF? Unless he breaks open the slab, for all the owner knows his comic's interior consists of old newspaper.
   31. jmurph Posted: November 20, 2018 at 04:15 PM (#5789804)
At least sports cards, stamps & coins are fully viewable when slabbed.

This is a fair point.

Having (like most of you all) been away from collecting sports cards for decades, I dipped back in a bit a few years ago. Bought only old, essentially value-less unopened packs from the 80s, just for the blast from the past experience, and that quenched my thirst. But I also read a lot and caught up a bit on how things work now. One thing I can't get past is that ebay just makes everything easier in a way that doesn't seem all that much fun? Like take whoever your favorite player is, Rickey Henderson let's say, and you wanted to collect his cards specifically. With the right amount of money you can just take care of that with a couple clicks on ebay, or COMC.com. And that's fine, you own them now, but that doesn't seem like the point of collecting? Or at least, I should say that doesn't appeal to me. There's no hunt through card shops or opening a bunch of packs or trading with friends (although I know those things still exist to varying degrees). I don't know. I'm not anti-commodification, twas ever thus, but the part that's unappealing to me is "oooh, a 82 whoever in PSA 9, *click*. Mission accomplished."
   32. Biscuit_pants Posted: November 20, 2018 at 04:28 PM (#5789813)
I bought a brick of this rookie card. How many people here under 30 would even recognize the player?
He's no Mike Kingery, I'll say that much. For some reason I traded for a bunch of Kingery rookie cards that same year convinced he was going to be great. I mean look at him! That picture says HOF
   33. McCoy Posted: November 20, 2018 at 04:28 PM (#5789814)
When I got on a M:TG kick I settled on the strategy of buying two boxes and then buying what was missing online. Sure it misses out on some of the fun but I was never going to have that and I was mainly interested in opening some packages.
   34. Zach Posted: November 20, 2018 at 05:03 PM (#5789828)
I gave my entire collection to my nephew last Christmas. Late '80s / early '90s Topps, so probably worth less than the shoebox I kept them in (anyone remember British Knights?).

Honestly, I think the fact that it was a bunch of people he'd never heard of wearing funny uniforms made him appreciate it more. Makes it feel more like a time capsule.
   35. Leroy Kincaid Posted: November 20, 2018 at 05:35 PM (#5789835)
One thing I can't get past is that ebay just makes everything easier in a way that doesn't seem all that much fun?


I like the Drake's baseball cards. I've seen all the boxed sets (1981-1985) as a lot on Ebay. It'd be an easier and likely cheaper way, but where's the fun in that? I'd rather buy a "junk" lot of single cards and see what I find. 1982 Buddy Bell? Alright!
   36. jmurph Posted: November 21, 2018 at 04:12 PM (#5790200)
I like the Drake's baseball cards. I've seen all the boxed sets (1981-1985) as a lot on Ebay. It'd be an easier and likely cheaper way, but where's the fun in that? I'd rather buy a "junk" lot of single cards and see what I find. 1982 Buddy Bell? Alright!

Yep, exactly. I eyeballed a couple things like that myself, then realized what I actually wanted to do was open some packs and hope to find the cards I was looking for, not just go out and buy the ones I was looking for. Or I guess, stumble across them in a card shop or something.

But I guess if I were actually collecting and was a completest about something or other and needed something harder to find, the internet has certainly made that aspect much easier.

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