2012 Panini Golden Age overview

21 02 2013

Like I said a few posts ago, I really should go back to posts on my Topps project.  I’m actually done opening up 1997 and 1998, so knocking out posts for 1997 would be a good way to pass the time on this blog until Heritage gets released.  Should-a, could-a, would-a.  I bought a box of Panini Golden Age in a couple of weeks ago, and had fun opening.  It has retro set inserts.  I’m a sucker for retro sets.  I particularly like when the basis is(are) set(s) I don’t know much about and thus can learn more about them.  So here’s a series of posts about Panini Golden Age.  Interestingly, the posts I’m going to use as a “template” for this product are 2011 Topps Lineage – a set that has its own design (for better or worse), but has insert sets based on older, oddball card sets.

2012 Panini Golden Age Bench and Pack146 cards in the set.  This product seems geared as Panini’s version of Allen & Ginter – mostly baseball, with some Americana and athletes from other sports included.  The difference is these are all retired players and older historical figures.

  • Subsets: None.
  • Set Design: The set itself has the look and feel of a Tobacco era design, but doesn’t have any lineage to a previous set.  There is a light cream color border surrounding an oval, black and white image.  The player name and position (or figure’s name and relevance) are in a gold-colored box at the bottom, with a red Panini Golden Age logo just above that.
  • Packs: Cards are available in 6-card hobby packs, running around $3 SRP per pack.
  • Rookies: N/A – it’s a retired players only set.
  • First & Last Active Player:  Ty Cobb and Ed Cicotte both made their debut for the Detroit Tigers in 1905.  Cobb’s debut (August 30) was two days earlier than Cicotte – they were minor league teammates.  It’s worth noting two things – first, Nap Lajoie isn’t in the base set, but he has an insert and a relic card, and he debuted in August, 1896.  Also, if you include athletes, not just baseball players, Battling Nelson is in the base set and made his professional boxing debut in 1896 at the age of 14.  The last active player in the set is Vida Blue, who finished his playing career on October 2, 1986 – just outlasting Tom Seaver (September 19) and Pete Rose (August 17) who finished up their playing careers the same season.  Similar asterisks go here – Gary Carter, who finished his career in 1992, has a memorabilia card but no base card.  Also, Richard Petty is in the base set; he competed in his final NASCAR Race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1992.
  • Variations: 25 of the cards have picture variations; the variants come about 2 per case and have an announced print run of 92.  There is also a white border parallel of those 25 variations that had an announced print run of 10.  I guess that means the white border variations come 1 every 4-5 cases.
  • Hall of Fame:There are 44 (or 46) baseball Hall of Famers in this set:
    • Ty Cobb, Sam Crawford, Eddie Collins, Burleigh Grimes, Dizzy Dean, Rogers Hornsby, Jimmy Fox, Arky Vaughn, Charlie Gehringer, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, Early Wynn, Buck Leonard, Ralph Kiner, Bill Dickey, Eddie Mathews, Hal Newhouser, Stan Musial, Phil Rizzuto, Bob Feller, Whitey Ford, Red Schoendienst, Al Kaline, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Bill Mazeroski, Willie McCovey, Warren Spahn, Jim Bunning, Frank Robinson, Carl Yastrzemski, Luis Aparicio, Earl Weaver, Harmon Killebrew, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Frankie Frisch, Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Nolan Ryan, Reggie Jackson
    • if you count Ford Frick winners, Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek give you two more.
    • Nellie Fox, Gary Carter, Brooks Robinson, Billy Williams, Yogi Berra, Harry Heilman, Honus Wagner and Nap Lajoie are included as inserts in the product.
    • Banned list guys Pete Rose, Joe Jackson and the rest of the 1919 Black Sox are included in the set.

2012 Panini Golden Age box

The hobby box black and red background with a big boxed “Panini Golden Age” logo in red with a gold border.  The logo for the National Baseball Hall of Fame is also featured on the box, along with a bit of advertising saying you’ll find stuff from athletes and newsmakers from the “Golden Age of America”, which apparently encompasses anything from the early 1900’s to 1979.

Parallel Sets

All but one of the full parallel sets issued in this product are mini cards.  There is one mini card per pack – with 6 different backs.  These back differences generally pay tribute to the different backs that tobacco era cards had.  The “common” insert is the Broad Leaf brown backs – the font and design in the same fashion as “Broad Leaf cigarettes” backs from the famous T206 set.  There is also a red Croft’s Candy back, which pays tribute to the E92 set issued to promote candy by Allen & Croft Co. from Philadelphia.  The Broad Leaf and Croft’s backs also come in versions with blue ink.  There is also a back that says “Ty Cobb King of the Smoking Tobacco World”, which pays tribute to the very rare Cobb/Cobb T206 card which was a promotion for a Ty Cobb brand of tobacco.  There are also two types of 1/1 parallels – a black border, Panini logo back mini, and a full size black parallel.

  • Broad Leaf Brown Minis – 146 cards.
  • Croft’s Candy Red Minis – 146 cards
  • Broadleaf Blue Minis – 146 cards
  • Croft’s Candy Blue Minis – 146 cards
  • Ty Cobb Minis – 146 cards.  The king of the Smoking Tobacco World!
  • Panini Black Mini – 146 cards (#/1)
  • Aqueous Black – 146 cards (#/1)

There is also a partial parallel set of cards #141-146.  As mentioned above, this same parallel is also available for the 25 picture variations, though there are only 10 of those in existence.

  • White Border – 46 cards (#/58)

Insert sets

The inserts of this set pay tribute to various oddball sets from the past.

  • Newark Evening World Supplement – 25 cards (1:24)
    • This set really reaches to find an old, oddball set.  It honors the 1907 Newark Evening World Supplement set, a large inset (7.5″ x 11″) included as a supplement to the Newark newspaper.  That set featured 15 cards from the Newark Sailors minor league team.
  • Batter-Up – 25 cards (1:12)
    • This pays homage to a much more famous set – the 1934-1936 Batter-Up cards.  These cards were issued by National Chicle and are Die-Cut around the top half of the player’s silhouette so that they fold over and you can prop up – the same way Topps Stand-ups cards do.
  • Headlines – 15 cards (1:12)
    • These aren’t based on anything – they are famous headlines from the “Golden Age” time period.
  • Honus Wagner T206 Reprint – 1 cards (1 per case)
    • A reprint of one of the 2 most famous baseball cards in existence.

Box Topper

Every box comes with a topper – but there are two types of potential box toppers.  One is in the theme of an old odd-ball set, the other is more of an Americana type set.

  • Ferguson Bakery Pennants – 48 cards
    • This carries the same design as a pennant set produced back around World War I that has been attributed to being included with a 5¢ loaf of Peerless Bread from Ferguson Bakery in Boston.  From what I’ve read, the Ferguson part is in dispute a bit, but that’s what any card catalogs have this set list as.  The original pennants were about 6 inches long, while these were made smaller to fit into the boxes.  Panini created both blue and yellow versions of each “card”.  From production numbers, these are much more common than the Movie poster box toppers.
  • Movie Poster (regular cards #/60, memorabilia cards #/99)
    • No card set throwback here – these 5 x 7 box toppers display an old school movie poster on one half and a “Now Showing” promotional wording on the other half.  There are memorabilia versions and cards without relics – the ones with memorabilia are actually more common.

Relics and Autographs

  • Historic Signatures – 50 cards (1:24)
  • Historic Cut Signatures – 10 cards (#/1 to #/3)
  • Triple Crown Winners Tribute Autograph – 1 card (#/20)
  • Museum Age Memorabilia – 40 cards (1:24)
  • The movie posters described above.
Promotion. Original Buyback cards from the 1930’s and 1940’s (Goudey and Play Ball, I believe) at a rate of one per case. They aren’t stamped or anything – just inserted directly into packs.  The biggest card pulled was a 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth.
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A look back at 1934-36 Batter Up

19 02 2013

1934 Batter Up Greenberg

Next up in the line of older sets that are re-done for Panini Golden Age is the 1934-36 Batter Up set.

192 cards in the set.

1934 Batter Up wrappers

  • Set Design: The cards measure 2-3/8″ x 3″.  They are die-cut and blank-backed with black and white photos that come in a number of different tints.  The cards can be folded over to stand and display.  The background can be seen on these (unlike the stand-up cards Topps did in 1964), but the background is tinted out.
  • Packs: National Chicle issued these cards in 1-card packs (1¢).  There were two series.  Cards #1-80 are the low series (pack on the right above), cards #81-192 (pack on the left) are the high series.  The high numbers are harder to find.
  • Hall of Fame: There are 36 Hall of Famers in this set.
    • Al Lopez, Carl Hubbell, Bill Terry, Jim Bottomley, Rick Ferrell, Pie Traynor, Lloyd Waner, Arky Vaughn, Lefty Gomez, Earl Averill, Mickey Cochrane, Mel Ott, Jimmie Foxx, Bill Dickey, Lefty Grove, Joe Cronin, Frankie Frisch, Al Simmons, Rogers Hornsby, Ted Lyons, Rabbit Maranville, Charlie Gehringer, Tony Lazzeri, Hank Greenberg, Dizzy Dean, Hack Wilson, Heinie Manush, Goose Goslin, Fred Lindstrom, Luke Appling, Ernie Lombardi, Gabby Hartnett, Billy Herman, Joe Medwick, Leo Durocher, Chuck Klein
  • Last Active player: I believe it’s Luke Appling, who finished his 20-year White Sox career in 1950.  He played both games of a double-header on October 1st of that year.
  • First Active player: Rabbit Maranville, who was the answer on the other side (last active player) in the Ferguson Bakery pennants I did yesterday.  Maranville is the only player in both sets.  Maranville started his career in 1912 for the Boston Braves
  • Variations: There are a number of different color tints.  Purple, black, blue, green, brown, and red in the low series, with similar colors in the high series (but no red or purple).




A look back at the 1916 BF2 Ferguson Bakery Pennants

18 02 2013

Ferguson Bakery BF2 Crawford

Yesterday I looked at the first set copied in the recent Panini Golden Age product.  Today we’ll go a few years forward to the set designated as BF2 in the baseball card catalogs – a set also known as the Ferguson Bakery Pennant set.

There are 2 pennant sets from this time period attributed to Ferguson Bakery, a bakery in the Boston area.  However the reading that I did on the Net54 Baseball Forum makes me think the more common set actually wasn’t a product of that bakery.

There was a promotion from that bakery where photo cards (called “coupons”) were included with a 5¢ bread loaf.  You could send in 50 of those cards and get either a pillow top or a premium pennant.  The Advertisement is below (thanks to Vintage Cubbies for the photo).

Ferguson Bakery Advertisement

Here’s an example of one of the pennants – thanks to the Net54 forum for this, too.  I just joined that and it’s a great place for info on stuff like this!

Ferguson Bakery Premium Pennant Eddie Collins

Those premium pennants are not the BF2 pennants – they are far more rare, with only 8 known to exist.  Also, at 9″ x 25″, are much bigger.  They clearly look similar though, and I think the leap has been that since the premium pennants must also be associated with Ferguson.  So no one knows for sure where the BF2 sets came from, but they’re noted as such, and that’s the set that Panini was copying with the box topper insert in the Golden Age product.

Ferguson Bakery BF2 LajoieThere are 97 pennants in the BF2 set.

  • Set Design: They measure just under 3″ x  6″.  The felt pennants can be found in multiple different colors, and feature a photo inset that’s 1-1/4″ x 1-3/4″.  The photo included is the same photo used for the Sporting News M101-4 set from that time period.
  • Packs: As mentioned above, it’s not really known how these pennants were obtained – though it’s currently listed as a Ferguson Bakery product.
  • Hall of Fame: There are 23 Hall of Famers in this set.
    • Harry Hooper, Eddie Collins, Charles Comiskey, Ed Walsh, Ty Cobb, Sam Crawford, Hughie Jennings, Home Run Baker, Nap Lajoie, Connie Mack, George Sisler, Walter Johnson, Johnny Evers, Rabbit Maranville, Rube Marquard, Mordecai Brown, Joe Tinker, John McGraw, Grover Alexander, Chief Bender, Max Carey, Honus Wagner, Miller Huggins
  • Last Active player: Hall of Famer Rabbit Maranville was the last active player from this set.  Near the end of his career in 1934, he broke a bone in his leg in an exhibition, and was forced to sit out the entire season.  He came back in 1935, playing in just 23 games for the Boston Braves.  His final game was September 29th of that year, against the New York Giants.  He was the only HOF-er that day, but the Giants were managed by future HOF-er Bill Terry.  Maranville beat out Joe Judge, who finished up the year before.
  • First Active player: Another HOF-er, Nap Lajoie, who played his first game for the Phillies in 1896.  1916 was his final season.
  • Other note: Oscar Stanage is in this set, and he was also included in the Newark Evening set I featured yesterday.  Quite an interesting coincidence – nearly 90 years later, who would know Panini would put out a product paying tribute to both sets, causing me to notice (and post about) this completely random, useless and awesome tidbit of info!
  • Variations: The pennants can be found in many different colors.




A look back at 1907 Newark Evening World Supplements

17 02 2013

OK, so the rub on this one is that I just bought a box of Panini Golden Age.  Well, not just bought, but I bought it in late January, opened half the box, then had to leave town for work.  Then Topps came out, and I finished some trades, and I’m just getting around to opening this product.  And I bought some of those Turkey Red boxes, too, so I’ll probably be posting on those in a little while.  But for the moment, I want to get started on posts for the Golden Age product.  See, as you know if you’ve followed this blog, I’m a sucker for retro sets.  If you tie a current set to some historic (no matter how oddball) set in some way, I’m hooked.  And Panini did that with three inserts and with the backs from their mini parallels in this product.  For each of those 4 sets, I’ll do a look back post (and eventually a comparison post).

SuplementsThe first one is the probably the least known – a newspaper supplement included with issues of the Newark Evening World.  The set featured players for the Newark Sailors, a minor league club playing in the Eastern League.  The Eastern League eventually went on to become the International League that is today composed of many of the East Coast’s triple-A affiliates.  This Newark club played from 1902-1916 (or thereabout) as the Sailors and later as the Indians.

  • Set Design: This 15-card set measures 7.5 x 11″ and showcases players from the 1907 Newark Sailors.  The large blank-back “cards” feature a black and white player photo with a white background inside a printed border design.  To be inserted in with a newspaper at this size, my guess is they must be pretty thin.
  • Packs: Topps issued the set in 2-card test packs (5¢) that came 12 to a box.  Each pack came with an easel that could be folded up to display the cards.  The picture below is from an auction last year – this may be the only known box of these remaining.
  • Hall of Fame: No Hall of Famers in this set – but what’s interesting about the 1907 Newark club is that it’s the only minor league team with any record of Hall of Famer Eddie Collins.  He wasn’t in the set, though, as he played only a handful of games.  Out of the 15 players in this set, though, 11 of them did get some form of Major League Experience.
  • Earliest & last active player: Out of those 11 players who reached the big timeJim Jones was the earliest.  By 1907 he’d already played his last game in the majors; he recorded 79 hits over three seasons in the National League for Louisville (1897) and the New York Giants (1901-1902).  “Doughnut Bill” Carrick was close – he played for the Giants from 1898-1900 and then was the “Ace” of the Washington Senators in 1901 and 1902 when the American League formed.  He actually led the NL in games, games started and losses in 1900, going 19-22. He won 63 games in his career, going 63-89 with a 4.14 ERA.  He lost 17 straight decisions in 1901, which I imagine was a record at the time.
  • Last active player: Catcher Oscar Stanage, who had 819 hits over 14 seasons for the Detroit Tigers – he had made his debut with the Cincinnati Reds the year before, then made it back to the majors in 1909 with Detroit.  He made the 1909 World Series with Detroit, playing in 2 games and getting a hit.  A great defensive catcher, he holds the American League record for assists in a single season (211 in 1911).  He was also notable for standing in as Ty Cobb’s “second” (a boxing term) in a fight between Cobb and Buck Herzog to settle an on-field matter (naturally Cobb had spiked Herzog).  Stanage was released by Detroit in 1920, but was hired on as a coach by player-manager Cobb in 1925, then wound up getting into 3 games as a player that year.  He played his last game on June 17, 1925.

Clyde Engle is the most famous player from this set.  He played from 1909-1916 for the Highlanders (now the Yankees) and the Red Sox, notching 748 hits with season highs of 75 runs and 71 RBI. He played both years of the rebel Federal League’s existence.  He is notable for hitting the famous ball that Fred Snodgrass missed in the Sox’ 1912 World Series victory.  In the 10th inning of the decisive game 8 (a tie forced an extra game), Engle pinch hit for Smokey Joe Wood and hit a ball to center that Snodgrass dropped. Engle wound up scoring the tying run and the Red Sox tacked on another to beat the great Christy Mathewson.

Between Engle, Stanage and 3 other players, players from this set were teammates at some point with Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner – representing the consensus greatest players of the decade in the 1900’s, 1910’s and 1920’s.

John “Nap” Shea was another player whose MLB career I found interesting.  His time in the big leagues consisted of 3 games in for the 1902 Phillies – he garnered one career hit.  Not quite Moonlight Graham, but close.  Here’s the checklist.  Players in italics were the 4 players who never made it to the majors.

  • William “Doughnut Bill” Carrick
  • James Cockman
  • Clyde Engle
  • James Jones
  • Paul Krichell
  • Henry LaBelle
  • William Mahling
  • Chas McCafferty
  • Thomas McCarthy
  • James Mullen
  • Al Pardee
  • Bayard “Bud” Sharpe
  • John “Nap” Shea
  • Oscar Stanage
  • Elmer Zacher




Saturdays Suds: Baseball & Beer #23 – Ommegang Abbey Ale

16 02 2013

My next the Ommegang Brewery beer is Ommegang Abbey Ale.

Brewery:  Ommegang Brewery, Cooperstown, NY

(Now owned by the Duvel Belgian Brewery, though still operated out of Cooperstown)

Beer:  Ommegang Abbey Ale

Description:  The bottle actually looks different from the bottle they show on the website, so they must have two versions.

“Ommegang Abbey Dubbel is inspired by the centuries old brewing traditions of Belgian Trappist monks.  Named after Belgium’s oldest medieval fest, every bottle of Ommegang is a cause for celebration.”

This is definitely a Trappist ale – it’s not for the faint of heart.  It’s relatively dark brown, and is very malty with some mild spice, and it packs a punch – 8.5% alcohol.  I was feeling pretty good after I drank this beer!

Medium:  A large bottle (1 pint, 9.4 oz).  The bottle comes with a cork.  These were sold in the beer/liquor store close to me in New Jersey, and I’ve also seen them in smaller (12 oz, I think) bottles in Chicago.  I actually transported this guy from NJ to Illinois along with a couple of other Ommegang beers.

How it’s related to baseball:  The beer itself isn’t really related at all.  The Ommegang Brewery is a Belgian-style brewery that has been around for 25 years.  But the bottom line?  It’s in Cooperstown – home of the baseball Hall of Fame.  I recently went to Cooperstown with my dad, and we didn’t stop here, but I’d had a couple of these beers a few years ago when I went to the Hall of Fame for Rickey Henderson’s induction.  The brewing tradition in Cooperstown actually goes back much further than the baseball tradition does – so I’ll feature a few more of these (and one other brewery) over the coming weeks!





A not so Rose-y Valentine’s Day for Topps

14 02 2013

2012 Heritage buyback Rose RC

I don’t know if it’s a big coincidence or what, today is Valentine’s Day, and yesterday there was quite the controversy in the card blog-o-sphere.  Basically, this dealt with responses to a blog post – which I refuse to call an “article” – was written on a Chicago Blog (one affiliated with the Sun-Times).  The blogger’s basic premise was to attack Topps and their exclusion of the name “Pete Rose” from the back of cards.  Whereas the card back for Alex Rodriguez says he’s 115 homers away from passing Barry Bonds, Derek Jeter’s card back says he’s 952 hits away from “the all-time record”.

2013 Topps Molina back

Jay Bee Anama, who so graciously runs the Sports Card Blogroll, has a good post summarizing the issue.  I posted on his and a few other sites, and just figured throwing my thoughts out there was worth a blog post today.  So here’s those said “thoughts” on this issue.

  • To say the blog post isn’t researched well would be like saying it’s cold and windy in Chicago in February.  I cringe saying the word researched, too.  It’s not really research, it’s more that it’s clear this guy doesn’t understand business.  At least not this business.  Topps paid MLB for the right to produce cards.  Not only that, they paid MLB for an exclusive right to produce cards with logos and in-game photos.  MLB is the only entity that can grant that right.  They have almost all the power in this relationship.  To assert that Topps is the one making this decision just doesn’t make common sense.  But it’s beyond that – both Topps and Major League Baseball  have said it was MLB’s decision to keep Rose’s name.  So, like it or not – it’s not something to blame Topps.  
  • So it’s clearly MLB’s decision (and if you want – “fault”) that Rose’s name isn’t on the back of the cards.  That’s their right, but I wish they wouldn’t have made that decision.  They are fine putting Rose’s name and statistics on their website, as I think they should be.  He played the game and got 4,256 hits – they acknowledge the record.  Associating his name to the record (that MLB acknowledges he holds) on the back of a card isn’t the same as printing cards of him.  I wish they had just let Topps do this as part of their plan.
  • All that said – I do think the way the chase thing is done on the back of the cards is kind of hokey.  There are really just 2 players who I think it’s even relevant for – Jeter for the hits record, and A-Rod for the home run record (a third could be Jim Thome).  Those are the only players who are close enough to the record holder for such a comparison to be meaningful.  It would seem to make more sense to say “Albert Pujols is 25 homers away from 500” or “Roy Halladay is 1 win away from 200” as opposed to comparing them to records they are either still far a way from (Pujols) or will never break (Halladay).
  • Topps could have avoided this negative publicity by just not putting hits on the back of the card as one of the records.  That wouldn’t have caused near the sh*t storm where CBS, Fox Sports and other media outlets are erroneously reporting that Topps “stripped Rose of the hit record”.
  • Finally, I find it very interesting that Topps inserted a buyback card of Pete Rose into Heritage last year.  See the card pic above (this was on eBay last year for a BIN of $2 grand).  Buybacks are different from printing a new card, but the MLB spokesman did say “Rose can’t be included in a licensed product” – yet he technically was in 2012 Heritage.  I wonder if that’s an oversight on Topps, or just semantics and MLB was OK with the idea.

The CEO of Topps also stepped down today – so it certainly wasn’t all “Rose-y” for Topps on Valentine’s Day 2013…





Sportlots purchases – February 2013

13 02 2013

Actually, these were probably purchased in late January, but I didn’t get around to opening the packages until recently.  I’ve been through opening 1999 Topps, so I figured I’d take a gander through Sportlots to see if I could continue to knock off some inserts from my wantlist for a good price.  Basically, I found some sellers who either had some 1994 Topps Black Gold cards, or some 1991 Topps Glossy cards for the minimum (18 cents).  Then I’d see what else they had for a good deal and go from there.

The first seller – I got some of those Black Gold cards and some others, including some of the reprint cards from the 1996 to 2000 Topps sets.

Sportlots purchases January 2012

Sportlots purchases January 2012_0001

From the next seller, I got some of those pesky 1991 Glossy All-Star cards.  Getting there on that set, which was the one Glossy set from the mid 80’s to early 90’s that I just never found a complete set available on eBay.

Sportlots purchases January 2012_0002

From the third seller, I got a boatload of insert cards from the mid 1990’s.  And I mean a lot.  Here’s some of the highlights, about half of the total cards from this seller.  I’m always happy to find some good deals on cards from this era – getting them in trades is pretty tough.  I finished one insert out of this purchase – Classic Confrontations from 1996.  Always a good thing!

Sportlots February seller 3 94-95-96

Sportlots February seller 3 97

Sportlots February seller 3 98-99

The next seller had quite a few Black Gold cards from 1994, and some pretty good deals on some more inserts from 1995 through 1999.  So I scooped those up.  Plus a few insert cards from 2010 and 2011.

Sportlots February seller 4 94-99

Sportlots February seller 4 10-11

The fifth seller was the last from this round of purchases.  I got a bunch of 2012 inserts here, and a few from 2010 and 2011 as well.

Sportlots February seller 5 10-11 Sportlots February seller 5 12

All told I spent about 100 bucks, and got about 250 cards.  A few $1-$2 cards that I thought were a fair price skew the average away from the 18 cents to a quarter I was going for, but that was mostly because the sellers had a good deal on those cards.  All told, my wantlist for inserts went down big time through this purchase!