Thursday, April 28, 2011


Being the proprietor of a monthly group break, I am familiar with the importance of keeping cards being sent through the mail in the very best condition possible. As such, I often employ the use of what I'd like to call "bookends." For the most part, these are blanks or decoys, sometimes a contest or ad insert of some sort, most often of supreme thickness, that anchor the top and/or bottom of a stack of cards, usually within a team bag. This practice helps with maintaining the integrity of a non-top-loader-worthy card's corners and works to avoid any possible bending of the cards as they make their journey to the eventual owners. Now this is just a guess, but I'm supposing that once these bookends have done their job, they either get tossed in the nearest trash can, or they get placed in a mailing supply box (like I have) to be reused on a later date.

However, every axiom has a corollary. Sometimes, these are not worthless decoy cards at all. Sometimes, actual cards, cards printed and sold, usually in a previous year, get saddled with the job of bookend. Just this past week, I received a small stack of cards that was given tensile strength by two different 1993 Upper Deck cards. Here are your heroes of transit.
#473 Red October

#711 Luis Aquino

The Aquino I understand. This card would be better off lining the bottom of a parakeet cage or insulating the walls of a house where no one lives. But "Red October?" Come on?!?! Look at the sleeveless jerseys. Look at the Sean Connery-inspired graphics. Look at Jose Rijo's devilish smile! This is not a card that's meant to supply mere backbone strength to a lot of superior cards. This is a card that deserves its own place in any respectable collector's stash. (Too bad, I already have both of these in my dormant, incomplete 1993 UD set that I'm not actively collecting.) I must say, though, that this one is a far cry from the 1991 Score "Reds' October" card featuring Barry Larkin doing a backflip.

So, have you ever received some bookends that you didn't think deserved such a fate? Share your stories below.

(Oh, and I'm now fearful of the web traffic I anticipate receiving because of the inclusion of the phrase "supreme thickness" in this post. I really ought to choose my words more discriminately.)


hiflew said...

I bought two 1960s Topps cards, nothing special but still good. I got 10 1990 Score cards as bookends (including 3 I needed for my set). Included in this was Ryne Sandberg and 2 other Dream Team cards along with a rookie of some guy named Sosa. That's right the rookie of Sammy Sosa, top 10 in homers of all time (roids or not the homers still counted as runs), was used as filler. Sure it's an overproduced card, but surely it is worth more than a David Wright Topps insert card or something like that.

SpastikMooss said...

Horsehead bookends?

Retrofan said...

I was sent along with a trade a nice stack of Don Mattingly cards as well as some semi-star and star cards from the last several years. One of the Mattingly's was an insert worth $10 (more any single card in the trade). Maybe i'm greedy, but if I can I don't bookend with cards. I have a great deal of the coardboard ones, and have plastic sleeves that have seen better cards that I use in place.

GCA said...

I will bookend if I'm using a snap box for a stack of cards so it's full enough that nothing moves. But if I'm using a team bag, I take two old top loaders (usually the ones with marks or tape residue that I won't ever use again) and put a rolled piece of masking tape in the middle of one, place the team bag on it, and then put the other t/l on top of that and wrap the whole thing (including the bag overlap) with a strip of masking tape all the way around. The cards stay protected, and it's easy to open by the recipient.