I’m only a few scans in. It took some research to learn how to make high quality, web friendly scans on the first pass. I think I have it down. My goal is to keep all images below 100K. I’ve got thousands of images to go. I’m aiming for a project ETA of fall 2013. This could change.

While working in Photoshop, I noticed that using the Filter>Sharpen>Sharpen tool works wonders on the output quality of Save For Web images at a JPEG Medium (70%) setting. While I haven’t decided to go back and re-edit previously uploaded images, I am excited about the quality of my images from here forward.

I didn’t like the previous look of the site so I changed it. I think the new look is smoother and much more aesthetically appealing. I haven’t uploaded images in a few weeks but now that the base design of the website is setup, I will get back to it. I just ordered a new scanner, the Epson Perfection V330 Photo Scanner. This model produces incredibly beautiful scans of cards with refractor, hologram, and foil finishes. I’m really excited about working with this model and moving forward with the scanning project.

The new scanner arrived and cards are now looking incredible. I’m scanning at 600dpi with the Dust Removal option checked.

It’s very difficult to clean up scans of graded cards with hammered cases. Scratches are incredibly tedious to clear out. Take for example the 1999 Upper Deck Forte #F12 Quadruple /10. That card is in a BGS case that is thrashed. I bought it that way and have no intention of breaking the seal, so I make due.

For cards that depict manufacturing errors, I use the signifier, ‘ERR.’ ERR = Error. For cards that depict manufacturing variations, I use the signifier, ‘VAR.’ VAR = Variation

Optimistically, I aim to scan 10 cards per day. While this is difficult to do during the week, it’s more feasible on the weekends.

Maybe I’m wrong here but I feel like if I size the image down before I sharpen it, the end result is of higher quality than if I sharpen before I down size.

I seem to possess a favoritism towards cards of the portrait orientation. Although, never have I once minded looking at Precious Metal Gems.

Today marks a milestone in my collection. I received the final piece of the 16 card run that is the monster known as 1998 Leaf. This is one of my all-time favorite releases because of its wealth of chase possibilities, each with varying degrees of scarcity and confusion. This set is very difficult to identify in terms of figuring out what’s what. To date, the most significant pieces of the puzzle have been scanned and added to the 1998 portfolio. I will include the rest in time.

So I decided to implement something on this site that I’ve been considering for a while now. I have included a descriptive portfolio called, “Graded.” Scans will only be of the fronts of the slabs. Visitors can see the backs of the cards by viewing scans the same cards in the numerical-by-year portfolios. I haven’t decided if I will include all of my slabbed Thomas cards yet because some were purchased for the purpose of crossing them off the list, while others were purchased simply because they were high-end and I wanted a second copy. The later are those cards that are being featured in the Graded portfolio as of now. I want to keep this section as conservative as possible with a strong emphasis on quality. I’m not at all interested in re-buying all of my cards in graded form, or submitting them all for grading. There are two reasons for this: 1. it’s financially and space inefficient; 2. it’s hard enough just trying to track these cards down in raw form, much less in good shape. Just sayin’

Referencing the Graded portfolio, I have decided to keep it reserved specifically for high-quality graded cards. Quality is subjective, I know, but in this case each of these cards is significant (at least to me). I consider each card in this portfolio to be a feat, and each holds a story. There is a tireless number of raw cards that share the same notion but for right now, I’m talking specifically about my cherry picked Graded collection. This portfolio will grow steadily over time but in comparison to all other portfolios, this one will remain relatively small but vastly eminent.

Referencing the Graded portfolio, while I would prefer for all cards to be graded by the same company, I find this arrangement to be almost impossible without some degree of effort required on my part to crack and re-sub. That in itself is too much work and isn’t at all cost effective, which is entirely unnecessary. I have included a few PSA gems amongst the BGS collection. That said, variety really is a spice of life.

Alright, so I decided to make the home page a little more welcoming. The attention notice has been pushed down to the footer and an easily identifiable description is now clearly stated above the fold. The social widgets have been moved to the right side bar and the general layout is much more aesthetically appealing with the addition of a few info boxes. Quotes and colors are good too.

After sleeping on it, I decided to quote the home page description instead of using info boxes. I think this looks and feels better. The list of websites below my signature is still displayed in an info box, however, which helps make this content stand out.

Big accomplishment. The one and only complete run of 2010 Topps Sterling is now available for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

I thought I’d share my system of organization with you. I keep all cards to-be-scanned in super shoe boxes. All cards are penny sleeved only, which is done to save space. Everything is organized by year so it’s easy to find certain cards. I haven’t been scanning and uploading in any particular order; the cards I like the most have been taking priority. Next, I scan and upload the cards, then off to the archive. After the card has been scanned and uploaded, it gets a brand new penny sleeve, brand new top loader and a new team bag. From there, the card gets filed into a custom-made super shoe box specifically designed for rows to be wide enough for team bags to fit without any bunching. It’s actually a perfect fit. When cards reach this stage, they are organized by year and make. Each year is separated by a divider that states the specific year. This is the ultimate system for archiving. I look forward to the day when everything is scanned, uploaded, and archived. One card at a time…

To keep images below 100K in size, I have been saving images for web at a rate of 30% total quality. Well, I have upped it to 50% and it’s made a huge difference in appeal. I won’t be going back and re-doing any previously uploaded scans but I will use this quality percentage from here forward. I’m learning as I go.

Due to the significant volume of these releases, I have created proprietary portfolios for Topps Tek and Topps Moments & Milestones. Descriptive.

The 1996 Upper Deck Predictors run is a confusing one.

Happy New Year! Okay okay, so I originally stated that the Graded portfolio was for boutique examples only. So I fudged this limitation a bit by including a BGS 7 example of the 1999 Topps SuperChrome Refractor. This isn’t a tough card to acquire in comparison to the others shown in this portfolio but I think it’s gorgeous and looks great with the others.

Question: 1996 Leaf Signature Extended Autographs #199 – how many were signed with a blue marker? Submit answers here.

1994-1999 = arguably the best years to collect in terms of design.

The 1996 portfolio is the first to break 100 scans. It’s looking really nice. Also, I have added a place-holder cover image for the 1988 portfolio. I have the two cards that came out that year but they are both sitting in a closet at my mother’s house, which is in another state. Until my next visit, this place-holder will have to suffice.

The 1997 Leaf Leukemia set can be easily interpreted as a Donruss product. Leaf and Donruss were parts of a single entity. This particular release is stated as a Donruss product but listed as a Leaf product. While we’re on the topic of confusing listings, the 1997 Topps Inter-League Finest set is actually called, 1997 Topps Inter-League Match-Up.

Scanning tip: re-sleeve before scanning. This will significantly minimize the amount of dust particles and scratches to remove using Photoshop. In addition, this will save time.

The 1997 portfolio has surpassed the 100-image mark. Makin’ prog…

Today was a very special day that I will never forget. Today, I received in the mail the 1990 Topps NNOF. Welcome home…

I added a few scans yesterday for the first time in a few months. Status update: 468 scans, 13.18% complete. My original ETA as stated exactly one year ago on 7/21/12 was fall 2013. Based on the progress rate, I’m giving myself another year. Hopefully summer 2014. This could change.

2000 Revolution MLB Icons: Stated as MLB Icons in Beckett, but stated as Major League Icons on the card.

I made a slight edit to the home page. The ATTN statement is now in the infobox, which I think is more appropriate. I also included a percentage complete notice on the top of the right sidebar. This tells you how far along I am in scanning and uploading my total Frank Thomas collection.

To ensure brand consistency, I’ve renamed the site, Radimuseum.

All images have been removed. I will be re-uploading them with a new watermark to reflect the Radicards brand. Not a huge deal since I kept all cropped unwatermarked images. I also will no longer be using the ‘Save for Web’ function in Photoshop as that seems to really wash out the image. I will be saving straight to .jpg for an average file size of 250k. I am 25 images into the the re-work and so far this change hasn’t had any noticeable effect on user experience.

Auto Contrast + Sharpen = Most desirable Photoshop combination for producing vibrant images. I have completely nixed all use of the ‘Save for Web’ option in Photoshop because it reduces image size at the expense of image quality. I want to view this collection online as if it was being held in hand. The only way to do that is to keep the images the same size they are when they’re scanned. While I can edit the actual image dimensions in Photoshop, it doesn’t change the quality of the image as long as I’m sizing down. Once I re-size the image, I use the Auto Contrast and Sharpen tools. This makes the image look so much better, even it it makes them so much bigger. Average file size is between 350k and 750k. Although larger, doesn’t seem to have any noticeable impact on user experience.

I have almost finished the re-watermarking process. It’s been relatively painless given that I saved all images without watermarks. I also re-wrote the description on the home page to be more straightforward.

The re-watermark process is long finished. Things look way better now. I’ve also added a page called “Sets,” which will feature portfolios of some of the nicer sets that I collect.

While I’m still uploading scans, I’ve decided that as soon as I can finance it, I’m going to hire a VA to do all of the Photoshop work. This will greatly improve the efficiency of my project progress.

The 1997 portfolio has surpassed the 200-scan mark.

I’ve been uploading scans for almost 2 years now and I just got to the 25% completion mark. While I am proud of that milestone, this is taking a lot longer than expected. The upside, I love this project.

In its original state, this site was called, Then, in August of 2013, I decided to change it to to ensure an alignment with the “radi” brand. I just nixed that too and made this site a sub domain of Here we are, the final resting place…

Due to several states of varying degrees of depression associated with the amount of work that is required to build this site, I’ve gone ahead and hired a virtual assistant (VA) to help with the Photoshop cropping piece of the image preparation process. This has already saved me countless hours, and I feel a lot better about the progress I’m making. Instead of spending hours a day uploading 5-10 scans, I’m spending less time and uploading about 5-10x as many scans. I uploaded 49 scans just yesterday. Also, in an effort to ensure speedy image loading times, I’ve scanned a sizable number of images in at 300dpi instead of 600dpi. While I actually prefer 600dpi, the difference is so subtle that I really don’t need to lose sleep over it. Who knows, I may go back to 600dpi on the next batch I scan, which is roughly 1500 cards. I’ve accepted the fact that it’s not at all possible to keep my images below 500K and maintain high quality aesthetic appeal, which is completely fine with me. I tend to overthink these things anyway. New tentative ETA: Summer ’15.

My VA has been doing an incredible job. He’s blasting through the Photoshop cropping portion of the project. With his help, I’ve made considerable progress on the project. I’ve well surpassed the 1000 image upload mark, which means that I’m almost a fifth of the way done. As I write this, I have over 5400 unique Frank Thomas cards and I’ve uploaded 1140 scans of them. Things are looking up. I’m just gonna keep chipping away at this. Also, back on 10/13/12, I stated that I was including designations for error and variation cards; I’ve since nixed that concept and just went with labeling the cards exactly what they are i.e., no serial number, missing foil, etc. This makes for prettier descriptions anyway. Finally, I deleted and re-uploaded all images after a decision to completely restructure file name syntax. The rule: alphanumeric, all lowercase, and dashes in place of spaces. Software used: Automator.

I’m nearing the 1500 mark for number of scans uploaded, which hovers around 20-ish% project completion (or brought to current). I’m proud of the speed I’m going as it’s a considerable upgrade from when I was doing all of this on my own. More on this later…

I re-designed the website background, well actually just the left sidebar. It’s simple, clean, and to the point. It’s branded with the Radicards teal and has a clear call to action. I am, however, still trying to figure out how to make the whole image clickable with CSS code only. The “Sets” page has been consolidated into the page called, “Medley.”

The 1996 portfolio has over 300 images. Things are shaping up nicely.

With a project this extensive, I’ve really gotten to know my collection very well. Total # of scans uploaded to date: 1741. With regard to card numbers, Beckett isn’t the Bible.

So I’m probably going to source all work associated with image preparation to my VA. I just wanna focus on uploading the images, and that’s it. I’m pretty tired of doing the Photoshop thing. I’ll do it until I can finance the move to the VA.

Update on my entry from 9/30/15, I’ve decided not to move anything beyond cropping to my VA. I went ahead and built a batch automation process in Photoshop and applied the process to the remainder of files from Job 1, which is just over 2600 images. With that process in place, Photoshop can now make all images upload ready. The process included resizing, contrasting, sharpening, and watermarking. Done! What would have taken me years, Photoshop did in just under 2 hours. This entire batch has been uploaded to the site, all images have descriptions, and each portfolio has been organized. From here, I’ll make some minor tweaks to a small handful of images, which includes spelling corrections, and title revisions. After that, I’ll work through the process of preparing Job 2, which includes scanning in all cards acquired since the start of Job 1, which is somewhere in the ballpark of 1500 cards. Total number of scans uploaded so far: 4490, which is about 75% of total project completion. I’ve made massive progress on this site in 2015.

Today was somewhat of a banner day. I finished uploading the first set of scans, which basically completes the job that I noted back on 7/21/12, which was my first entry in this digi-diary. All of those date push backs led up to today. I have acquired about 1500, give or take, more cards since summer ’14 that all still need to be scanned, cropped and uploaded. My assistant and I still have a lot of work ahead of us but today marks a huge milestone in the project calendar. Present upload total is 4606, or 77% of total project completion, or at least brought to current.

Happy New Year! I’m almost done scanning in all of the files for Job 2, which includes everything else I own that wasn’t included in the first run. I still have a variety of graded rookie and minor league cards, and some memorabilia. I also need to retrieve some things from the P.O. as there are several items in transit that need to be included in the lot. I’m aiming to move the project to my VA by Friday, 1/15/16 if not sooner.

Job 2 is in progress and is scheduled to be done by month’s end. We’re looking at another 1700+ images. After this batch is uploaded, I’m gonna check what still needs to be uploaded. I know there were a few bogus scans from Job 1 but not many. We’re getting closer.

We’ve now reach 88% completion, or at least brought to current. The total number of scans uploaded to date is 5471.

We’ve arrived at the 90% completion mark. Things are progressing smoothly. Total count uploaded so far: 5591.

We’re closing in on the 95% completion mark. It looks like this project will finish this year. Total count of scans uploaded so far: 5987. It really has been a long time coming. My VA has made this project possible. I couldn’t have gotten this far without him.

Today we surpassed the 6k scan upload mark.

2002 Topps Cracker Jack All-Stars. That’s what I’m calling it. Between Beckett, Standard Catalog, COMC, and eBay, the titles for this release vary.

Man, what a long day. I spent a good several hours working through the mess that is replacement tracking. I combined a few lists of replacement lists and comments for cards in the master archive that possess various dings, bent corners, printer lines/blotches, and other imperfections. I went through the doubles archive to see what I could salvage and knocked out quite a few but I still have over 20 cards (a very small number) that need to be replaced. I pulled, resleeved, scanned, then replaced those in the master archive. I had a batch of finished files in this category from last year that I needed to comb through, which took another chunk of time. For that batch, I had to figure out what I needed, and make sure they corresponded with what was in the master archive, which is especially important for serial #’d cards. Then I proceeded to run a Photoshop batch process and an upload. Finally, I added descriptions and organized them on the museum accordingly. I found a few title errors while I was working so I fixed those. While this was arduous and time consuming, it was my plan to finish this today and I did it and before midnight no less. My work is done for now and until my VA completes the next batch of files, which is close to 300 more. This has been a massive project but one I’m quite proud of and we’re nearing the elusive Brought to Current status. Only took 4.5 years! Sheesh!

I revised the preview image for the 1992 portfolio. While I love the ’92 Fleer Rookie Sensations card, I’ve always thought it presents dimly on the web. I wanted something with a bit more charisma so I went with the ’92 Donruss Elite. Not only does this example have a more attractive design, it also features a classic headshot.

A friend, who has requested to remain anonymous, has designed a revision to the left sidebar. I think it adds a lot of pop to the website. Other updates have been made such as the home page pointing straight to the Frank Thomas gallery, the header page links have been reorganized for logical efficiency, and some of the portfolios in the Thomas gallery have been relocated to the bottom of the page.

We’re approaching the end of this project here pretty rapidly. With less than 100 scans to go, we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. In an odd way, I’m kinda melancholy over it. I think it has something to do with how much time I’ve put into it. While I know it’ll never be done as long as I’m collecting Frank Thomas, it’ll be really nice to know it’s brought to current and showcases everything in my collection. This has been a dream of mine since Q2 of 2012. Total number of Frank Thomas scans uploaded so far: 6417.


 The Finish Line 

The finish line. Today. Approximately 7:26p MST. After nearly 4.5 years, this dream is now a reality. The site is brought to current. My entire Frank Thomas collection is now online. Updates will be ongoing from here forward. This has been was one of the gnarliest projects I’ve ever completed!

The 2017 portfolio has been added. I’ve got another 100 or so new additions to add to the site this summer, which will be nice. With the help of some close contacts and my supportive mother, I’ve managed to knock out some pretty tough cards this year already. Also, I redesigned the left sidebar to replace that which was mentioned on the 10/12/2016 entry. It’s similar but this one’s 100% designed by me.

Just over 100 additional scans have been added, which brings the site to current at 6785 unique Frank Thomas scans. To ensure optimal logic and consistency, I’ve made a few minor tweaks to a small number of image file titles.

I’ve added a portfolio called, Latest Uploads to give visitors easy access to the newest uploads. This portfolio isn’t organized and nothing has descriptions. However, shown in this portfolio or not, every card can be found with a description organized in its respective portfolio.

I’ve moved the totals count to the home page and made it a subtitle. That said, this information has been removed from the About page.

7 more images have been uploaded. I’ve finally added 2003 Leaf Limited #49 Gold Spotlight. I’ve been after this card for years to complete the non-gu run of the card.

All the stuff that was acquired at the 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention has been added to the site.

While unrelated to my Frank Thomas collection, it’s certainly worth mentioning. I’m the final owner of the famous Stephen Strasburg 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects Superfractor.
Click here to see it.
Click here to learn about the card’s comprehensive history.

I’ve finally added a counterfeit example of the 1990 Topps NNOF. There appears to be several different styles of these. These are great for education.

As the year comes to a close, I reflect on what was added to the collection in 2017. My budget was small this year but I still managed to check off a few cards from the Most Wanted list. Most of my Frank Thomas acquisitions were modest in price but I did manage to add a couple high end pieces. All in all, it was a solid year in the collecting category.

As the first month of 2018 comes to a close, I’m excited to say the year is off to a nice start. Today, I won an auction for a card I’ve been after for many years, but more rigorously since I bought it the first time but it got lost in transit back in June 2013. Man, what a crappy month that was for me both personally and professionally. That month, I fired a number of professional contacts and the USPS Los Angeles branch delivered my mail to the wrong address and I never saw this card. I was devastated and they didn’t care to help me find the mail; it was a total nightmare. The mail they lost contained this card among others from a private deal. Anyway, I told the current seller about this little delight of a backstory and after I won it this time, he indicated he’d send it with signature delivery confirmation to ensure I got it this time. If it arrives, I’ll share what card it is in the next entry.

Today’s the day; it finally arrived – the 1995 Score Gold Rush Pinnacle Redemption. This is the card that eluded me back in June 2013. I’m so glad to finally have it in the collection.

You know how we just covered my excitement for finally acquiring that ultra pesky ’95 Score GRPR? Yea, since my buy, three more have surfaced and sold with the last one being a $40 BIN. Man, talk about not knowing what you don’t know. How was I supposed to know I’d pay way the heck less if I’d just waited? Good grief… All I can say is I have an extensive record of excellent buys over the years so when the rare instance of an unintentional overpayment occurs, it’s not too much of a sting. I’m still glad I finally have the card.

I just finished uploading the latest batch of cards, which brings my total count of unique Frank Thomas cards to over 7,000. That’s a nice milestone. I’ve slowed down a bit in 2018 as I decided this year to mostly retire my interest in post-career (modern) stuff, at least temporarily. Nothing is permanent with collecting. I’ve just made an active decision to pursue career-year stuff almost exclusively. I say this loosely because I do like some modern runs and am okay cherry picking stuff here and there. That said, modern pieces will continue to be added but the pickup volume of stuff from this era has thinned considerably.

This page has been retitled “Journal” since that’s what it is. The term “Progress” (former title) was initially selected because my original thought was that this was a progress log, which in fact was what it was called before “Log” was removed. I think Journal is more quickly identifiable. In other news, 21 more images have been added. I bought another collection and found a few commons I didn’t already have. In addition to the commons are a few higher end pieces I’ve cherry picked over the past few weeks. In the block is the 2001 Leaf Rookies and Stars Slideshow. I’d been putting this card off for a while so it’s nice to finally put it next to its View Masters brother. Finally, another card has been added to the 2014 Topps High Tek run. With the remaining four examples all being 1/1s, who knows if/when I’ll find another.

Late last year, I discovered something about my scanner – the Epson Perfection V330 – there’s an option that’s enabled by default and acts as a dust removal option. It’s a stock option. If you’re using this model, be sure to uncheck the stock options. The dust removal option will literally skip some text characters because it thinks they’re pieces of dust. This only happens on super high contrast stuff (black text on white background) where the text doesn’t have serifs. I had to go back and rescan about 50 images, which isn’t a lot but it’s a loss of productivity minutes, which are precious with a project like this.