Alan Rosen, the well-heeled dealer known as "Mr. Mint," has written a book on baseball cards.
But be forewarned about "Mr. Mint's Insider's Guide to Investing in Baseball Cards and Collectibles" (with Doug Garr, Warner Books, 183 pages, $9.95). It's not quite what the title suggests.
First, intermediate and advanced collectors should not be put off by the title. He does not treat non-investing collectors patronizingly. And there is sound advice for collectors, even if they shudder at the idea of collections being considered investments.
Second, there are no extravagant, get-rich-quick claims about investing in baseball cards.
Readers who have collected stamps or coins will recognize some of the advice. Rosen suggests buying a few high-quality items (mint or near-mint condition) rather than several of lesser quality. He also recommends studying the sports pages and reading hobby publications.
The chapter on card grading is helpful, but note that he has a slightly different definition of "mint" than the big-price guides. Rosen views condition as referring only to a card's wear. So he labels a card mint if it is as it came out of the pack, even with printing flaws. He considers those flaws (off-center picture, extraneous lines, etc.) characteristics. Beckett and Sports Collectors Digest call a card mint if it is perfect -- in terms of wear and printing.
The book also touches on other baseball memorabilia (autographs, bats, score cards, etc.), strategies for bidding at an auction, selling a collection and his picks and pans in
Baltimore-based Sports View Inc. has captured baseball action its Sports Viewers. Each viewer has the player's team logo on the outside and a 35mm color slide inside. The Oakland Athletics are selling one showing Rickey Henderson's record stolen base. Cal and Bill Ripken and Memorial Stadium decked out for the 1969 World Series are Baltimore Orioles features. The viewers retail for between $2.49 and $2.99 and are being sold at convenience and variety stores. . . . Megacards, which, with The Sporting News, produced the 330-card Conlon Collection based on old sports photographs, is at work on a 1992 Conlon Collection series.
Cal Ripken of the Orioles is one of 24 players featured in cards enclosed in specially marked packages of Sargento MooTown Snackers. Card backs have player stats and a facsimile signature. The set can be assembled by eating a lot of cheese or through a mail-in offer. . . . Action Packed honors the 25 winners of the NFL's Justice Byron "Whizzer" White Humanitarian Award with a limited-edition set of cards featuring the winners. However, Action Packed is switching its normal gold striping and
lettering to silver, as in silver anniversary.
A bimonthly newsletter, Baseball Autograph News, is published a baseball autograph dealer. The first issue runs four pages and includes pen suggestions for signing dark objects such as black bats, source announcements and tips. For subscriptions (which include first-class postage), send a check for $17.95 (payable to John L. Raybin Inc.) to John L. Raybin's Baseball Autograph News, 527 Third Ave. #294-T, New York, N.Y. 10016. . . Also of interest to autograph collectors is the second edition of the Sports Collectors Digest Baseball Autograph Handbook. It is available at bookstores, hobby shops or by calling (800) 258-0929.
Saturday, , baseball card show, Carrolltowne Mall, Sykesville, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 549-6269.
Sunday, , baseball card show, Glen Burnie Elks Hall, Severn, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.
Sunday, , baseball card show, Towson Quality Inn, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
July 27, baseball card show, Cromwell Bridge Holiday Inn, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 893-0013.
Aug. 4, baseball card show, Towson Quality Inn, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.