Saturday, August 10, 2013

18 Doug Stultz makes Armour Coins a Collectable

For several blogs now we have been catching up on the historical evolution of collecting Armour coins. As we all know you cannot really collect anything until you have a complete listing of what exists.

Armour certainly told their customers what coins were coming out in any given year but there was never any mention of variations like the Mantle miss-spelling etc. or any indication of the rainbow of different colors that were available.

The first to attempt to "catalog" Armour coins was Doug Stultz. His February 1987 article in Sports Collectors Digest was the first I'd ever seen on the coins. Certainly the first to talk about color  rarity and variations. The data in this article was the info SCD used in their price guide (see blog 17)

Although I have never personally met Doug, He and I first traded "food issues" back in the mid 1980s. We finally made contact when EBay started auctioning off Armour coins.

I still get a kick out of reading the article especially where Doug starts off " I don't claim to be the expert, but...." DOUG - you are the expert ! and this blog would not be possible without the info you provided me through the years.

For its historical significance I have scanned and include the article here.  Sorry about the quality of the scans, but these are very old pages. Remember to click on the figures to blow them up the size of your screen so you can read them !
The large influx of graded 1955's that happened this past week (~200) is the last of the Dreier collection coins to hit EBay. Armour coin EBay  seller "seaweed" won all of the common colors at the auction and just got them back from grading.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

17 Armour Coin Listings - 1987 SCD BB CArd Price Guide

1987 was the heyday of massive BB card releases and Krauss publications who had been publishing Sports Collectors Digest came out with the 1st Ed of the SCD BB Card Price guide  edited by Bob Lemke and Dan Albaugh. It was 55 ppg and covered both old and new materials.

The Armour coin sets were listed and from the acknowledgement section I would guess that Doug Stultz ( more on Doug in the next blog) provided the Armour Coin material.

SFLA Yank sent a copy of those early listing for me to load here and I found a cover shot on the internet.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

16 Chronological Changes in the 1955 Armour Coin Set

First of all the blog has now cleared 2500 hits....WOW

In the last Armour Coins blog I showed you the  1981 Gold book of BB Coins that listed 24 players in the 1955 Armour coins and only two variations, Mantle correct and incorrect spelling and Kuenn "regular" and condensed.

The question I get a lot is how can a set issued in 1955 and reported to have 2 variations in 1982 now have 13 (that's right 13) variations. To better understand this I thought I'd put down some chronology for you.

Like most Armour collectors I first got my coins in packs of hot dogs when I was a young kid . No one back then could really accumulate the full set since there were 24 players and they were only available for a few months in the summer and at best the average family was only buying a pack of dogs a week. For me, back in Hells Kitchen,  it was Wed night - Armour hot dogs and Campbell pork and beans.

Years later going to BB card shows in Framingham Mass and the surrounding areas I found folks were actually selling these coins and I could pick them up for a few bucks a piece.

My collection really started to grow when EBay hit the internet. I started bidding on these coins around 1999 and made my first contact with SFLA Yank in 2001 when I outbid him for the highly desired 1960 aqua Mantle.
Larry sent me an email saying something like " outbid me " and our 13 year competitive friendship started.

In 2002 I contacted "the Freasle" who was also bidding on these coins and we have also stayed in contact ever since.

In 2004 Laura Salzy contacted me to inform ArmourPhil about the coins she had available. (More about Laura later ).

In 2004 I also tracked down Doug Stultz who I had traded cards with back in the mid 1980's (by snail mail) . Doug had written the only article on Armour Coins up to that time "Armour Coins" which was published in 1987 in Sports Collectors Digest. For you youngsters this was a pulp newspaper like monthly (or maybe bimonthly...I forget) where the latest card info was published as well as adds offering to buy and sell and trade sports material. Doug listed the same (26) 1955 coins but had the only comprehensive (for the time) discussion on common and rare colors for 1955 and the other two years. Without question Doug had the largest and best collection of the day (and still does). I will try to reprint this article in a future blog.

So basically Larry and Doug and I began corresponding and comparing and came up with the fact that many variations had been missed over the years.

By the end of  2004 we had identified (2) Antonelli's, (3) Keunn's, (3) Mantle's, (2) Gilliam's, (2) Jensen's, (2) Jackson's and (2) Trucks or 7 new variations. By comparing all of our coins we were able to tell which were the rare variations and further refine Dougs knowledge about rare and common colors. We were also refining our knowledge abut bust tilts.

We informed Bob Lemke who at the time was editing the Std Catalog of BB Cards (the collectors bible) but he had already gone to press with the 2005 edition, so these new variations didn't make into press till the 2006 edition.

Spring of 2004 was also the first grading of Armour coins by PSA. Larry sent in the first batch and informed Doug and I that they had agreed to grade these coins.  In the summer of 2004 I sent in many of my own and bought a large batch of PSA 10s from Larry who was really just interested in collecting the Mantles.

When PSA first put up a 1955 Armour population report it was heavily skewed to high graded coins since these were the ones that we were sending in. They also only recognized the original 26 variations. I didn't think to keep a copy of those first population reports till May of 2006 when they were able to see that Lemke recognized the new variations and they added them to the composition of the set registry as I had requested.

By then others were sending in their coins and there were 260 graded. That listing is below. The circled coins were the ones I had sent in and/or bought from Larry.


If you compare to the population today ( 1487) you can see that 44 of the current 106 PSA10s were graded in that first year or so. Also, at first you could not tell the rare variations from the population (i.e. Antonelli, Jensen, Jackson, Trucks) since we were sending in the rarer variations since we felt they were worth more.

The next variation to be uncovered was the rare Gilliam thin lips tight variation which Doug had actually pictured in his 1987 article but not called a variation. It entered SCD and then the PSA composite in 2010. FYI ...They seem to be most prevalent in aqua and navy blue

In the spring of 2011 Laura Salzy sent a message asking me to get the gang to compare Snider, Haddix and Finigan coins. After close inspection she had found the Haddix tight variation, the Snider 341 vs .341 and the Finigan Quincy vs Ouincy. The woman has really good eyes  to pick up the Q vs O variation which I still need a mag glass to see clearly.  Haddix tight is the rarer variation. Not sure yet on the other two.

We reported these variations to Bob Lemke but he was no longer editing the Std Catalog.  The current Editors were no longer interested in being "the bible" they reportedly are now  milking the book for cash and didn't want to go changing typeset for some obscure coin set from the 50's.

After sending PSA pics of the diff variations a few months ago they finally agreed to grade them as separate entities and last week entered them into the composite.

So that's were we now stand 24 players with 13 variations ......for NOW !


Saturday, May 25, 2013

15 The Gold Book of BB Coins

One of the purposes of this blog is to accumulate all the history on Armour coins in one place.

The earliest listing that I have of the coins comes from "the little gold book of BB coins" that was an 11 page pamphlet put together by Jim Nicewander of Wisconsin.

His coin price guide showed a 1982 value of $150 for the 1955  "Mantle correct" and $25 for the "Mantle incorrect" The 1955 set showed only one mantle and one kuenn variation.

His 1959 info showed Aaron as a $12 coin.

His 1960 set showed only the Aaron Milwaukee Braves and Malzone Boston Red Sox variations. Mantle, Malzone Boston and Aaron Milwaukee were the highest priced coins and special note that Daley was listed as an 8$ coin. Obviously the scarcity of Daley had not been discovered yet.

No mention is made of what colors the coins were available in.

Does anyone out there have a copy of the 1st Ed of the Std catalog of BB Cards (1988 ?). If anyone can send a scan of the Armour listings from the 1st Ed I will load it here.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

14. Additions to the 1955 Armour composite coming soon

In July 012 (blog # 5) we dscussed the existence of several variations in the 1955 set wheich were not yet recognized by PSA and therefore not yet in the set composite.

Well things ae bout to change. I recently checked the population report to see if any of the Dreier colelction coins were beginning to show up and indeed 40 1955 coins have been added. In addition they are now listing the Finigan, Haddix and Snider variations as shown below. I'm OK with how they have been named.

So now the process to get them added to the set composition is for someone to  request a new slot addition. If your reading this and the above submissions were yours please go ahead and do this. 

If not ,I have my Sniders, Haddix's and Finigans all packaged up and they will be sent out tomorrow AM. When they come back (thats taking a few months now-a-days) "reholdered" I will then request the composite be changed.   

Just thought I would keep you filled in. .......

**Added note 4/27: Looks like the blue Dreiers were bought by McAvoy in Nebraska along with the opaque and translucent Berra golds because they are up for auction now on EBay.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

13 The Mastro 1960 Armour Hoard

 Last blog we detailed the 2013 Legendary auction of the Dreier Armour coin sets. I thought there would also be interest in another large lot sell off that happened exactly 6 years ago in April 2007 - the Mastro 1960 Armour coin hoard. This is the source of most of my statistical knowledge on the 1960 set.

Here was their ntro to the auction. "Armour began including plastic baseball coins as inserts with meat products in 1955. Because of the nature of the product the items accompanied, the plastic coins made a lot of sense; no stains and no elaborate packaging needed to protect them from the food. This group is from the firm's 1960 edition, which would also be the final Armour promotion of this nature. The 1960 offering included only 20 different players plus three variations. All of the issue's content variations are represented in the assembly, and each playing the set (except one, Bud Daley) is included in this giant assortment of 703 coins."
 The story was that a worker in the Armour plant filed up the "Armour popcorn tub" (below) with the coins and put them away in his home only to be found 45 years later. Thats the story anyway. [Obviously these tubs (see below) were not for pop corn, most likely for gizzards or something like that)]

Mastro actually listed every coin by color, condition and quantity helping collectors like me look at  what is claimed to be producton at a given point in time.

The Back Rim Problem

This is where we first saw real data on the rim problem. Bad back rims included:  

Mantle (67%)
Aaron   (29%)
Banks   (26%)

Variation ratios:

Aaron - Braves vs Milwaukee Braves = 62/11

Malzone  - Red Sox vs Boston Red Sox = 56/32 (this one seems very high on the variation)

Drysdale - condensed vs spaced = 10/5

Full team name variarions did not show up with rim problems and still never have !

General Rarity

There were 60 - 80 each of the "aaron group" i.e. none were SP or rare.

In the Allison group, Allison, Colovito, Kaline and Mays appear rarer than the others. (4 - 5 each) vs  14 - 23 for the others

From this we also see that Aaron group vs Allison group was 3-4X

Not to much info on color since these were obviously pulled during a run of yellow and green (Aaron group) and red/orange Allison group)

More questions than answers ?

Major questions that come up include:

1.  Were there really no Daleys ? or were these pulled and auctioned off seperately ??

2. If variations were done as corrections to mistakes on the mold, how could a random pull from production (like this supposedly is) result in both variations ??

3. Why 3-4X more Aaron group than Allison group ? Does this hold up on PSA grading population ?

In fact there are consistently 2-3X more Aaron vs Allison graded (removing HOF like Aaron, Mantle, Mays and Banks becaused of perceived value distortions) For instance Crandall, Fox, Triandos (504) vs Pinson, Stuart & Wynn (189).

4. The story is pure BS and we have no knowledge what-so-ever about how the contents of the bucket came about.

For what it is worth here is the complete Mastro listing from 6 years ago this week !.

Aaron/Braves (Yellow-43, Green-19) 29% grade VG due to missing or partial reverse rims; 
Aaron/Milwaukee Braves (Yellow-9, Green-2);
Allison (Orange-4);
Banks (Green-14, Yellow-59) 26% grade VG due to missing or partial reverse rims; 
Boyer (Orange-17);
Colavito (Orange-5);
Conley (Orange-16);
Crandall (Green-17, Yellow-72);
Drysdale/Condensed L.A. (Orange-10);
Drysdale/Spaced Out L.A. (Orange-5);
Ford (Orange-18);
Fox (Green-12, Yellow-55) 5% grade VG due to missing or partial reverse rims;
Kaline (Orange-4);
Malzone/Red Sox (Green-6, Orange-1, Yellow-49);
Malzone/Boston Red Sox (Green-8, Yellow-24);
Mantle (Green-24, Yellow-43) 67% grade VG due to missing or partial reverse rims;
Mathews (Orange-26);
Mays (Orange-5);
Pinson (Orange-23);
Stuart (Orange-14);
Triandos (Green-18, Yellow-64);
Wynn (Orange-17). 


Saturday, March 2, 2013

12. Auctioning of the Dreier collections

This past week was sensory overload for collectors of Armour coins. A fellow named Dreier had his colelction up at auction and quite a collection it was. Inside word was that there were over (700) 1955 coins included.

It was broken up into sets by color including complete ( 37 coins including the newer variations like Haddix tight, Snider and Finigan) set in blue. Near complete in aqua (36) and pale green (35) and less complete in red (27) and orange (26) and black (27). There was a lime partial set of 15 and a yellow (all 3 shades) set (28).

Then there was a giant "Basic master set" [the six common colors (red, orange, yellow, navy, pale green and aqua) of each of the non variation coins (24) ] missing one Mantle. 

A multi color complete set which included a GOLD Berra .

Auctioned seperately were:

-  a black Mantle trifecta error, correct ( L or R) and correct (L-R) although the L-R was damaged.
- a silver graded Berra PSA 7
- a tan graded Antonelli (N.Y.) PSA 9
- a Berra gold pair translucent and transparent

What have we learned from auction of this hoard ?

From lots this large we clearly get input into whether we are correct about our variation and color rarity conclusions.

Here are my conclusions:

1. Black may be popular but it is NOT one of the rare colors. Black is available for all the coins and variations (which I already knew having a near complete black set).

2. We are correct about which variations are rare. The sets missing coins were all missing the rare variations.

3. The rarer coins are even rarer in the red/orange/yellow end of the spectrum. No Mantle correct in these colors in 700 coins from someone obviously looking to aquire all the colors (but he had multiples of the blacks).

ADDED 3/15/2013

As of today there are 1412 1955 Armours graded at PSA. Lets see what happens after these Dreier coins settle into the system.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

11 Confetti in your coins anyone ?

As we have said previously the 1959 Armour set is not really known for its superstars or its variations but man oh man does it have color variations.

Last week an EBay auction was held containing more 1959 speckeled coins (colorful pieces of confetti loaded into the plastic) than I have seen auctioned in the last decade.

I picked up 2 of them for far too much money and now have a total of 8.

Previously we (ArmourPhil, SouthFlorida and Doug) concluded that there were two shades of these coins, i.e. aqua and navy, both highly transparent (which they would need to be to see the confetti.

It now looks like these coins, as the pinks before, them also have 3 shades with a middle blue shade popping up between the aqua and the navy . I know from the pics below it's hard to tell, but trust me if you hold them in your hand you could see right away. This all means that the set which is more than 50 years old continues to add colors and variations.

So there are 30 speckeled coins (3 shades each of 10 players) - Will anyone ever have all 30 ?

Friday, January 18, 2013

10 January 2013 Update 59 Pinks and 1960 Blues

This Armour coin site is approaching 1,100 page views which is nothing if your a porno site but pretty damn good for Armour hot dog coins.

I'll be adding pages as new material appears which is what is happening now.

Some new auctions and some correspondance with fellow Armour collector SFLAYANK has brought the following to light:

1959 Pinks:

Most think there are basically a dark pink and a light pink which I showed you in earlier blogs when we went over the 1959 colors. Well South Florida has brought to my attention that there are actually 3 shades. Sure enough last week I picked up the medium Turley in an auction and can confirm the existance of the 3 shades.
1960 Blues: 
We also began comparing 1960 light blues and we now can confirm anoher shade of blue between the known "grey blue " and the common "pale blue". I have  put all of them in the same image for your reference. Everything needs a name so we'll call this one South Florida Blue.
We could speculate on why so many colors and why some are rare, but we will never know, since we do not know how many sites the coins were manufactured at. If they were made at multiple sites (see conclusions about bust tilts coming from more than one mold) than the plastic mixers may simply  not have matched the colors. What we can say from looking at literally thousands of these is that within a shade the color matches are exact and reproducible.   Aqua is aqua, navy is navy. Just like when you buy paint from a Home Depot !
UPDATE added 2/1/2013
SFLA Yank, undoubtedly king of Armour Mantles, sent the following pic of all of the now known 1960 Mantle blues:

1959 Speckeled:
There was also a major auction of 1959 speckeled coins this past week. Have not seen more than a half dozen speckeled coins come up for auction in the last decade and this week there were 5.
Check back in a few days and I will load some pics to show that the colors of the speckeled coins  are more complex than we originally thought . ......ArmourPhil