Monday, December 17, 2012

1989 Bowman Tiffany #220 Rookie & #259

1989 Bowman Tiffany #220 Rookie & #259

[Note: we're going to try for a two-fer here.]

How many in my collection: 1 Tiffany Jr & 1 Tiffany Sr, 8 regular Jr, 3 regular Sr

Griffey looks: posed

Is this a good Griffey card?: Yes.  It’s Griffey’s “1st Bowman Card” which Bowman's marketing team has taught us is very significant.  Plus it’s the rarest of his Tiffany rookies with only 6,000 printed (per Beckett).

The set:  So, yeah.  I hate this set.  And if you were an OCD kid trying to keep everything orderly in boxes and stacks, top loaders, rigid plastic cases, etc., then you know how frustrating ‘89 Bowman is too.  I seriously want to give the guy whose idea it was to add that extra 0.25” to every card an atomic wedgie, then take his mother out for a nice meal and never call her again.

Yet, I must admit the photography in the set is alright, and the lack of name and information on the front makes for a very clean look.  Just a thin, one-color border, a printed signature, and the colorful Bowman logo. 

Another kinda-good thing about this set is that the signatures really did look genuine.  If you were dealing with a kid who thought the signature was real you could get all kinds of good stuff in trade and no one except another experienced collector would be the wiser. 

I never did this, but dammit, I thought about it.

This set has the same Tiffany situation as the Topps: limited run, high-gloss fronts, and printed on white paper for brighter backs.  And what a complicated back Bowman gave us.  The Tiffany is downright necessary to extract any enjoyment out of the backs of these cards at all.  Look at this:

I still don’t know what I’m looking at, but if I had the patience to try and figure it out, I’m glad I have the Tiffany.  In the mean time, thank God there's no numbers in any of those little boxes or my head would explode.

Also, see how the bottom curl of the "S" in Pennsylvania is missing?  That's on every one of these I've seen, even the Tiffanies.  I think it's a mass-scale printing defect.  Let me know if you have any information.

Here’s a bunch of cards from the ’89 Bowman set:

The only thing that kept any of these in good condition is the fact that top loaders are not a standard size.  Some are a little taller (millimeters) than others.  Those are the ones you slipped your Bowman cards into.

[Fun fact: Among baseball card collectors, “I slipped her the Bowman.” translates into “I’m packing an extra quarter-inch, and we had intercourse.  Plus, I am a pathetic loser and also lying.”  The joke?  You guessed it - baseball card collectors don't get laid.  Moving on....]

I have dispensed with countless common (and some not so common) cards from this set in all the worst ways just to keep from having to store the things.  I mean, I’ve wrapped gum in them.  Seriously.  Gum.  You know that kid Sid from Toy Story?  I was that guy with all the Bruce Hursts and Lee Smiths and Ron Kittles of this unfortunate set.  They weren’t just worthless – they were a hindrance.  The Griffey was the only one I cared about and took care of.  Don’t ask me how the rest of those pictured above survived.  I don’t know.

The real insult added to this injury is the fact that when it came time to reprint this card in the 2002 Bowman Chrome (13th anniversary?  Really?), guess what size they used?

It's standard 2.5 x 3.5, in case you couldn't tell.

Mm-hm.  Whattaya know?  Practicality wins out. 

Herp-a-derp derp, here come the Uncollectables of Bowman '89:

One cool tidbit about this set: The Bowman Company was having a contest that year, giving away a bunch of old Bowman cards from the 40's and 50's; and to advertise this they included a bunch of “reprints” of the old cards with sweepstakes entry forms on the backs.  These never seemed like they were worth anything, but I kept them because they're awesome.   Here’s all of them:

I’m not sure how those survived, either.  They spend their time sticking out of the tops of UltraPro hologram card pages.  Frickin’ ’89 Bowman, man.

Now, to the Griffey(s):

Griffey is intricately posed here.  I’m thinking the photographer put a lot of direction into this.  “Okay, Junior (he called everybody that), down on one knee.  Now, stretch your right hand over to your left knee.  Good, now right hand over left hand, you know, like people do.  Now, twist your torso counter-clockwise, but turn your head towards me.  Come on Junior, rigid and unnatural, let’s go.  I still gotta shoot Jay Buhner and we’re burning daylight…. Now, imagine you’re surrounded….by tiny seahorses……”

This is also Griffey’s 2nd sweatiest card, the first being the ’89 Fleer.  1989 was a banner year for Griffey sweat (eeeew).

Here’s Dad’s card:

This is a Ken Griffey, Sr. card, a novel way of pairing the father and son in Junior's rookie year.  First let's point out the obvious: this is a throwback to the 1955 Bowman set which looked like that Eddie Waitkus on the right. Now, despite my love for this card, I'm going to make fun of it a little: 
1955 Bowman Eddie Waitkus

While the 1955 Bowman card is all cool and historic, heralding the dawn of color television, the 1989 card dates the heck out of the set by showcasing awful late 80’s technology.  I can't look at it without thinking "How chunky was that remote control?"  

I do like how Griffey Sr. is coming out of the television like that kid from The Ring and eyeing his son as if to say, "Why are you so tiny, son?  Do not fear.  Someday you will be HUGE, like me.  Huge.....and squinty."

This card mentions a pretty cool fact: that April 3rd, 1989, the Griffeys became the first father-son pair to be simultaneously active in the Major Leagues.  This is nice because, like on American Chopper, Jr. and Sr. had had kind of a strained relationship.  Their situation came to a head when Griffey was 18, but thereafter things were decidely better between them.  The two would later hit back-to-back home runs which is pretty amazing and also freakin' adorable. 
Sandy Alomar, Sr. also got the Zenith TV treatment with his sons, rookie Sandy, Jr. and Roberto (the guy who spit in the ump’s face in 1996, but also got married 6 days ago as of this post.  Congratulations, Roberto!)

I thought I had this card, but it turns out I don't.  Here's a Google image for your eyes.

A side note about the Zenith cards: The really ironic thing about these is that regular-sized baseball cards are closer in aspect ratio to the old-style cathode-ray tube televisions (4:3), depicted here.  These Bowman cards are elongated and, therefore, closer in aspect ratio to the new flat panels (16:9) that are the standard now.  Yet, Bowman depicted the old style TVs, creating negative space on the left and right sides of the horizontally-held card.  In other words, Bowman could have been tech-forward and the crazy dimensions of their cards would have been perfectly appropriate.  Instead, while stepping forward in aspect ratio appropriateness, they depicted the older technology.  You know what?  Never mind.  This made sense in my head, but now I can feel it sucking the life out of my blog.

The regular set.
The regular Griffey Jr. card will run you less than $5, the regular Sr., less than $3.  The complete set shipped will run about $10-$15.  In a PSA 10, the regular card runs $100 or less.

The complete set in Tiffany will run you $200-$400, depending on whether you want it sealed.  The Griffey Sr. is pretty affordable in Tiffany, about $8 loose up to $25 in a PSA 10.  The Griffey Jr. is expensive.  In a PSA 10, expect to clear $1200 pretty quickly.  A 9.5 will easily cost more than a sealed set.  Below that or ungraded entirely, you’ll land between $90 & $200 for Junior's Tiffany rookie, depending on condish.

In closing, while this is the rarest of Griffey’s Tiffany rookies, it is not the rarest Bowman Tiffany.  That designation goes to the 1991 set with less than 5000 believed to have been printed.  That one is still on my want list if you’ve got the hookup…..

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