Thursday, November 25, 2004

Is a Clean Staple Tear a Production Flaw?

Happy Thanksgiving to all! I hope you can enjoy a relaxing day with family and friends.

Here is a book that I've been seeking for quite a while. It is the Green Printing Error Variant of Fantastic Four #110. I recall Metropolis Comics had a VF-ish copy on their site for a long time for around $30. Of course, by the time I finally decided to pull the trigger it was gone. So, I searched eBay everyday for about 6 months before I found this copy to bid on. It was listed as a VF+ 8.5.

It is a really sharp book that appears to be a 8.5, but, there is always a "BUT"... at least where I am concerned.

There is a clean vertical staple tear running parallel to the back side of the bottom staple. It's like the staple actually cut through the paper when it was being stapled. Thankfully, the tear lies flat and is difficult to see when the book is closed and the cover is still firmly attached at the top and bottom staple.

Does anyone have experience with this type of flaw? I don't know if I would call it a "popped staple" because it still holds down the cover and has not completely popped free of the cover. Is it considered a production flaw? Given the great condition of the book, I don't think this happened through mishandling, more likely it happened when the book was stapled.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Steiner: What's Good For Us is Bad For Regular Fans

Steiner recently announce an exclusive deal with pitching ace Curt Schilling. I love how the spinmeisters at Steiner announce this like it's a good thing for the fans! Yup, now the loyal fans can be assured they'll have to bend over and pay nosebleed prices for signed items. Further, you can now be assured that Steiner will keep him on a tight leash, so need to worry that Schilling might do a local card show near you and sign for reasonable prices! Steiner also means that sanely priced items like signed 8x10s (e.g., items under $100 that regular folks can afford) are most likely out of the question. Not too worry however, a few dozen [well-connected kids] will get a free clinic at Fenway and they'll make some charitable donations... so that should make you feel better about skipping that mortgage payment to buy a signed bat.

Highly-paid executives, Stephen King, Hotel Heiresses and Robber Barons rejoice -- Steiner will have a wide selection of signed bats, game equipment and framed 16x20s starting at what regular folks pay for their monthly car payment!

Here is the release from eSCD.

Steiner Sports Marketing has signed an exclusive deal with Red Sox pitching ace Curt Schilling for autographed memorabilia. The contract also gives Steiner exclusive rights for Schilling's signature on trading cards, meaning the company will coordinate all of the Red Sox pitcher's autograph deals with the various baseball card manufacturers.

"This (deal) will help us to penetrate the New England markets," said Steiner Sports CEO Brandon Steiner. "When you think of Curt Schilling the word "superstar" comes to mind, and we are proud to be able to welcome Curt to the Steiner family.

Schilling has already signed individual and team-signed items for Steiner for products relating to the Red Sox World Series championship. In addition to the autograph element of the program, Schilling will host a skills clinic for youngsters at Fenway Park that will be sponsored by Steiner. Meanwhile, Steiner has agreed to make a donation for every win Schilling records in 2005 to the SHADE Foundation, a charitable organization run by Schilling and his wife to help prevent skin cancer in children.

"I look forward to working with the people at Steiner, who particularly impressed me with their willingness to work with me on my commitment to charity," said Schilling. Katie Leighton, Schilling's public relations and marketing director, said the pitcher has been concerned for some time with the number of non-authentic items in the marketplace. "We have been looking for an exclusive deal that would enable fans to know that they have a source through which they can acquire authentic Curt Schilling memorabilia," Leighton said.


Thanks to all those that wrote privately expressing sympathy because I lost my job. Your kindness is appreciated.

I've spent the last week regrouping and trying to get the ball rolling on a new start. I've updated my resume, bought a few new suits and have an appointment with an outsourcing consultant next Tuesday. I already have a plan of attack, but I'm sure the consultant can help me refine and focus my strategy. I have a good attitude, great experience and a terrific resume... so I'm looking forward to starting a new job energized and enthused. I have no doubt I will be successful, hopefully sooner rather than later!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Green River Pedigree Database

This is an interesting site being developed by Red Hook (Brad) of the CGC Message Boards. It's in the beginning stages, but looks very promising. I've sent Brad scans of my 2 Green River books -- Thor 149 and Superman Annual 7. I'd love to see this type of information available on more pedigrees.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

There's No Crying in Blogging!

I typically avoid personal information here, but I will share that I was laid-off from my job yesterday. I was one of the unlucky 3,000 that got axed in a "reduction in force."

It's not a good time in Corporate America.

It really makes me want to forget the Master's Degree in Marketing & Advertising and open a Bar-B-Que Restaurant. Standing behind a counter that I own in a sauce-stained apron doesn't sound so bad.

Friday, November 12, 2004

A CGC Undergrade?

Here's one that I still scratch my head over when I look at it. I picked this up earlier this year... it's a CGC 6.0. And I must say, this is about the nicest 6.0 I've ever seen.

A few very small spine creases, light edge and corner wear, and that's about it. There is a small area of color loss on the lower portion of Doctor Doom's cape. It looks as if a piece of tape may have caught it. Could this be what lowered the grade from what otherwise could be a 6.5 or 7.0? Frankly, I've seen worse looking 7.5s.

I dunno, but I will take Silver Age 6.0s that look like this all day long!

Who Is This Guy?

I'm the marketing manager for a small division in a very large international corporation. I develop marketing strategy, create collateral material, write and publish newsletters, websites... basically I do whatever it takes to increase awareness of our division and the services we offer to internal and external audiences.

I've been at this firm for four and a half years. In that time, we've come a long way. When I was hired, marketing manager was a new position and the firm had absolutely no organized marketing efforts or professional materials. Now, we look like a contender.

I worked in New York City for the first four years at this job, but transferred to an upstate New York office this past April. The vast majority of my communications are by telephone or Internet anyway... and if I'm needed for a meeting in New York, I can hop on a train and be in New York City within two and a half hours.

There is always the concern that being away from the home office I may isolate myself politically, but that's a chance I'm willing to take to be able to afford a nice home in upstate New York.

The house is coming along nicely and the wedding is set for next May.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

My Bargain of the Year

$9.99. It's a solid 9.2 with a shot at 9.4.

This made my day.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

A Dreamy 8.5

I picked this Conan 17 PGA (CGG) 8.5 VF+ on eBay recently for $7.14. It is absolutely stunning, and I have no doubt this would be a CGC 9.2 minimum -- maybe even 9.4.

This slab also has the new PGA inner well which features a tapered sealed edge. The sealed edge is about 1/8th of an inch from the edge of the comic. Slab damage is an impossibility in this well. I shook the book fairly hard and there was no movement or damage. The key is that the seals are close enough to the edge of the comic to prevent movement -- this prevents slab damage to the corners and it also prevents the interior from tearing loose from the cover.

I understand that restoration detection and the archival quality of their materials have been issues with PGA. I'm not going to worry about restoration on fairly inexpensive books and I will crack it out of the slab for long term storage. So, for now, I'll take PGA 8.5s all day long... especially at $7 each!

Friday, November 05, 2004

Anatomy of a Restoration

I'm going to do something most other comic collectors would not publicly admit -- I'm going to tell you about a comic book I had restored, and show you a pre- and post-restoration images.

It all started a few years ago when I bought a Fantastic Four #1 on eBay. The scan looked decent, the seller had good feedback and I placed a lowball bid and won. I anxiously awaited my prize. When it arrived and I gazed at it through the mylar and I was thrilled. It looked even better than the scan.

The excitement was short-lived however. When I opened the cover, I saw a few dreaded marker bleedthroughs. Yup, it had some amateur restoration.

What to do? The marker touches were small and couldn't be seen from the outside, and I did get it relatively inexpensively... it would be very difficult to get a comparable copy for even close to what I paid...

After thinking on it for a few days, the book grew on me and I decided to keep it. Sure, it had a few small marker touches, but it was my FF #1. The book was a very clean VG with nothing worse than general wear, some bends, small creases and a corner chip.

After a year or so I started thinking about having a bit of professional work done on it. Heck, technically it was already restored, why not make it a bit better with a professional touch-up? The book had no major flaws, and most of the bends didn't break color -- it might benefit greatly from some minor work. So, I sent it Matt Nelson and instructed him to evaluate it for what could be done to improve the book as much as possible, yet keep it within the "Slight" restoration designation. Matt suggested a cleaning, press, fill to replace a small corner chip and a tiny bit of color touch.

I got the book back today, and here it is:

The major difference is in whiteness and brightness. The cleaning made a huge difference and actually enhanced the glossiness as well. The pressing made a significant difference as well. The only downside is that the cleaning made some of the original marker touches bleed a bit, and the bleeding is actually more visible on the inside of the front cover. (It is not significant, but it is more apparent than before.)

Now, I would say the book is a Fine- (5.5).

Here Matt's breakdown of the work done.

And a side by side slice for comparison:

For a modest fee, slight restoration increased the condition of this book at least a full point in my opinion. Best of all, my book is still 99.5% original parts.

I tell my story not to try to convince anyone that restoration is the way to go for them, but rather hopefully this will educate some about the benefits of restoration and demonstrate that restored books are not necessarily cobbled together "Frankenbooks." "Restoration" may be a dirty word in today's collecting market, but I predict there will come a day when restored books -- especially those with slight restoration -- will lose the stigma and assume their rightful place in the hobby.

What a Waste of Time...

I can't believe I spend a good chunk of my lunch hour yesterday reading about the travails of CGC message board drama queens. That's 40 minutes I will never get back.

Message Boards can be informative, but they are addictive. You gotta know when to ignore threads and move on.

Interestingly, it's always the same small group of people that are involved in "controversies." I suspect a high number of controversies are manufactured by people with too much spare time on their hands.

BTW, the CPG Boards have really gone down the dumper. There are some good folks there, but content is sparse and the moderators seem to do more harm than good.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

My Pledge

God willing, by this time tomorrow there will be a decisive winner in the Presidential election.

Of course I am hoping my candidate will win, but if he doesn't, the republic will stand and life will go on. Neither man is perfect, and neither man is the devil incarnate.

If the other guy wins, he will be my president. I pledge to support him in the face of foreign evil, and I may not always agree with him, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

The United States of America needs to get past this era of bitter partisan division and rally behind the fact that we have much more in common than not. All Americans need to wake up to the fact that there is an enemy dedicated to destroying us, and we need to stand together, or we will fall individually. We need to stop giving credence to the propagandists and conspiracy mongers on the left and the right.

"Our Nation this generation will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause, by our efforts and by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail."

Monday, November 01, 2004

Two Sides of the Moon

CollectSpace is selling Dave Scott signed copies of this book for a very reasonable $25.95. I ordered my copy today.

Two Sides of the Moon

From CollectSpace:
In this unique dual autobiography, astronaut David Scott and cosmonaut Alexei Leonov recount their exceptional lives and careers spent on the cutting edge of science and space exploration.