Klein’s Korner: New Year’s Resolutions – How many of you write down or state New Year’s Resolutions to see them fail real quick? Yeah. me too. So this is a column about a second chance and what my 2018 New Year’s Resolution is.

As some of you know, during the past year I was blessed with an opportunity to work remotely for COMC as a catalog maintenance expert. Basically, in simplest terms, as I would describe my position, I work on fixing some of the very few errors which pop up on a daily basis, doing some light card ID work. I stay in the vintage realm so not to step on my teammates who actually, you know, can tell the difference of the 16 or so varieties of a 2016 Topps base card. And yes, I’m not exaggerating. For fun, I pulled up 2016 Joe Mauer and found between those cards still on the site and those sold out, 14 different versions. I’m sure there are more or less versions of each player but my point remains, to know about these cards and the thousands others such as these, takes some real diligence and expertise. I can’t tell all those colors apart myself. Oh, and those numbers don’t even include printing plates or other such esoterica.

Klein's Korner: New Year's Resolutions

Now, we can rail at the card companies and rest assured each of them do some products with absolutely variation overkill. I just mentioned Topps because there should be nothing easier to complete than a master set of each version of a basic Topps baseball card. That number should be ONE. Instead, well, there are certainly more than one version of each card.

But the real point is, one of my new year’s resolutions needs to be to accept this brave new world and not rail constantly about how Topps Heritage was so much better when it began in 2001 with the Short Printed cards being a nice mix of stars and commons and maybe 1-2 varieties of each card. I need to accept that Topps feels they need to confuse us thoroughly in a product designed to make us remember the time when collecting was much easier.

Here is a 2001 Topps Heritage Chipper Jones:

Klein's Korner: New Year's Resolutions

There were all of two varieties of this card and a couple of chromes versions as well. Today, I wager at least 10 different versions of any card with a chrome parallel.  But I must try to honor the new year’s resolution that this is Topps’ business (as well as Upper Deck and Panini) and they have the right to thoroughly confuse us as much as possible.

So, new year’s hobby resolution number one is to not get frustrated at what the card companies do. I have to remember this is not 1978 any more and the hobby’s growth is partially because we can truly appeal to all people on all economic levels.

My second new year’s resolution, and this as well as the third one, are much easier to keep because they are in a positive tone. Back in my Beckett days I was the “E&V” guy. I kept track of all the Errors and Variations my first few years there and in my final few years wrote a monthly E&V column for the baseball magazine. One resolution, which I know will be easy to keep is to keep finding, researching and listening to our users who find various cards even from the junk wax error.

I’m probably the only person who was actually excited to hear about this 1991 Rick Aguilera variation. You see, there are a few copies produced with four lines of text on the back. Most of the cards on the COMC site have five line of text on the back. Sounds mundane and boring with those cards but to me a card such as that shows how the overproduced era can continue to provide surprises as to what was made during that time frame. Anytime I see those types of notes either through our system or through posts on message boards such as Net 54, I’m off to the races to add that fun information. Now that’s an easy resolution to keep.

The third and final new year’s hobby resolution, and again, one I’m excited to keep is when I’m able to add cards to an checklist on a subject I truly enjoy. One of the sets I’ve been able to add a ton of cards to is the 1934 Eckstein-Halpus Der Kunsterische Tanz set. We’re still filling in the set but it consists of 300 or so cards and has cards of the great dancers of the 1st half of the 20th century.  I don’t think adding any card from this set got me to smile as much as adding this card of Vaslav Nijinsky. If you want to spend some time researching him, I think you will find the stories of his talent and the legends absolutely amazing. Finding one of these cards to add to the data base and then seeing the really reasonable price makes me smile.

Klein's Korner: New Year's Resolutions

While I can never guarantee I will keep all three of these resolutions, I figure I do have a fighting chance on the last two fairly easily. The first one is the one I have to try to remember to bite my tongue more than I do on that subject.

And since we are on resolutions, I do want to a couple of very personal ones.

1) I need to always remind my wife how much I lover her and admire her for continuing to work while doing dialysis three days a week. While the dialysis has made her feel better and really assisted her on getting though each day, we are continuing to hope and pray for a transplant match to be made. In case you wish to read her story please follow this link:


2) Since we were never blessed with any children, I need to be the very best “uncle” and “great-uncle” I can to all my younger relatives. The oldest great-niece just went home from visiting us today and every time she visits I always think of this very schmaltzy song.


It’s going to be such a blessing to see my great-niece Logan and spend time with her. I was blessed in that she wanted to go to services on Friday Night and I got to spend some real quality time with her. I hope in 2018 to be able to spend more time with all my nieces and great nephews and nieces.

Oh, and on one very happy note from my last column, good hobby friend Mike Fruitman of Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora Colorado has promised me a 2018 Heritage box at a reasonable price no matter what occurs upon release. Thanks Mike!

Rich’s vast experience and knowledge of the hobby has been well documented through the years. GTS is happy to feature his thoughts on collecting in Klein’s Korner. The opinions expressed are his and do not necessarily reflect those of GTS Distribution.
Klein’s Korner: New Year’s Resolutions

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