|Base Upper Deck SGA Glossy SGA Non Glossy|
Yesterday I had a bit of a mystery on my hands, trying to track down the origin of two oddball cards I had found in a dime box. I posted on this blog and a couple online forums asking if anybody could identify the cards. I got a few suggestions from collectors, but nothing that looked like a correct match.
I spent some more time doing extra research myself, including checking the Pirates promotional schedule from 2006 to see if there had been some kind of card giveaway that I had overlooked.
But by the evening, it was nothing but crickets. I had pretty much resigned myself to accepting that I had two cool and somehow unique cards whose origins may have been lost to very, very recent history.
I came upstairs to check a couple ebay auctions during inning breaks last night, and voila - all my questions were suddenly answered in a couple quick sentences. One of my team collector buddies, a Mariners collector named Jeremy, had all the answers to my questions. He had been an usher for the Mariners in 2006, and recalls the set being given away as an SGA in late August or September, possibly coinciding with National Card Day (do they still do any promos for that?).
The cards were a nine card set that was distributed with a binder. Obviously the Mariners and Pirates participated, but I couldn't find any other info online. Jeremy also noted there is a glossy and non-glossy version for the SGA cards, which I assume to simply be a printing error. There does appear to be a slight difference in logo size between the two, and the UD logo has a black circle R on the glossy and a white circle R on the non glossy, so you could consider it a legitimate variation if you want to drive yourself insane.
I'm thrilled to have some answers from the great detectives in the collecting world. But this also brought up some really interesting points for me:
1) It's crazy how quickly information can be "lost to history." Much of my work involves digging up historical data and information from the past, and it's fascinating how much information we can piece together from a century ago. But at the same time, despite the fact that our world is becoming increasingly "saved" as digital bytes (I was just checking out the original website promoting the Space Jam movie yesterday), something as relatively recent as 2006 can be so difficult to find any traces of digitally or in people's memories.
2) The internet collecting community has changed. A lot. Night Owl wrote about this recently in terms of the blog community, but I think it applies to a much broader cross-section. I joined the Beckett forums in the spring of 2004. I was in 10th grade, and had just started to collect cards more seriously. There was such a wealth of knowledge on those forums (and when Beckett managed to piss off their entire customer base, that knowledge scattered across the interwebs), but I remember how anxious folks were to help identify cards and the insanely detailed conversations that would result. Luckily I know some fantastic collectors with some fantastic knowledge. But my posts on the major forums? Crickets.
The way we communicate about cards has changed a great deal. I don't talk about cards on twitter, and I'm not involved with any facebook groups in any way related to cards. For me those two parts of my life are separate. But I also don't know that I really care for the tone of the conversations that those media create. By design they create short, immediate input. It isn't a forum for knowledge-sharing or in depth conversations, in my opinion. It's a perfect venue to "pimp" your cards. An ideal spot for those looking to trade, or simply looking for a quick pat on the back from a dozen people liking their card. That isn't meant to be a dig at anyone who utilizes those venues, but it does seem to be a very different tone than message boards or blogs.
But I'll step off the soapbox. Mystery solved; now back into the Scooby Mobile.