Well, after about two solid months of reading everyone else's card collecting blogs, I finally decided that yes, I wanted in too. So here I am.
I'm sure the title needs some explaining.
Way back around the time my brother and I first started seriously getting into collecting cards, our mom was working at the post office and had a boss named Vinnie who also collected cards. He would occasionally give us tips on keeping our cards in good shape, what to buy ("Ya gotta get the wax!" was one of his favorites; he probably still has that cabinet in his basement full of 1988 Fleer wax boxes...), who the players worth saving were, etc.
I'll always remember the night Vinnie had us come over and numerically sort out two vending boxes of 1987 Topps baseball. My brother and I had started buying and saving baseball cards in 1988, so while we definitely remember having some cards from 1986 and 1987, they were not saved past the year they were issued and thus these vending boxes were like buried treasure to us. For the longest time, anything pre-1988 was referred to as an "old card" by us, and we both kept all our "old cards" separate from the rest of our collections. Anyway, I digress.
One night Vinnie was over to look through our cards and referred to a lot of them as "out of the mill", or so we thought. We also thought he was referring to their condition. In reality, he probably was calling our cards "run-of-the-mill" and referring not to condition, but to the outright average-ness of the players we collected. Remember, this was a time when something like a 1986 Donruss Dave Shipanoff rated rookie card was a big deal to us.
Long story short, my brother and I always refer to poor condition cards as "out of the mill" or "OTM" for short because of that mis-remembered conversation with Vinnie almost 20 years ago. Lately, it has become something of a joke between us. We take really poor conditioned commons and sign them "OTM- Vinnie" in Sharpie to officially brand them as a certified OTM card. Sort of like grading, but instead of preserving a card for all-time, we're pretty much assuring its next appearance will be in the recycling bin. Still, we often find ourselves seriously referring to cards as "OTM" just as often, and the term is now a part of our card-collecting lexicon.
Feel free to use it for yourself the next time you run across a card with more wrinkles than a dress shirt that's spent two weeks at the bottom of a laundry hamper.
And please do check back often. I plan on making this place as fun as possible. And I'll hang some stuff up on the walls as soon as I get a chance.