Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Box Break: 2009-10 Panini Basketball Hall of Fame

Call me glutton for punishment, but I opened another box of Panini Hall of Fame because I can’t afford things like $300 boxes of 2007-08 Upper Deck Chronology.  More of the same:

AdmiralPraiseBase cards (numbered to 599): Rick Barry, Moses Malone, Andy Phillip and Ed Diddle

Black borders (numbered to 199): Bob Knight and Clyde Lovellette

Inserts: Clyde Drexler Dream Team (065/349) and David Robinson High Praise (127/399)

Autos: Nancy Lieberman (174/496) and a redemption card for Cheryl Miller (/499)

Jersey: Scotty Pippen Dream Team jersey (819/875)

So, out of four boxes of this product here’s the breakdown of some of the stuff that I’ve gotten:

  • Scotty Pippen Dream Team jersey cards: 3 out of 4
  • Autograph redemption cards: one in 3 out of 4 boxes. 3 out of 8 total autographs
  • Male/Female ratio of autographs: 4/4
  • Duplicate autographs that I’ve received: Pat Summitt and Harry Gallatin
  • Base card duplicates: Dolph Schayes and Buddy Jeannette (black border)

Lieberman auto I’ve really beat the odds in a bad way with this product.  I purchased two more boxes (from Dave and Adam’s this time instead of Blowout) and those will make or break my opinion of this product.  I’m not looking for a Larry Bird auto patch card numbered to 5, just something other than the same cards that I keep pulling over and over again.  I hate the fact that Scotty Pippen seems to have sold Panini twice as many of his USA jerseys as the rest of the team.  I also think that I hate the fact that Panini has destroyed these historic jerseys.  I also hate the fact that a piece of these historic jerseys can sell for as low as $8 on eBay.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Box Breaks: 2010 Rittenhouse Justice League of America Archives

BaseI’m behind on box breaks so I’m going to do the new few a little more quickly than I normally would.  I didn’t pull anything significant or I would have rushed it right to the site.

I got a box of Justice League of America Archives when there was a big sale on them.  Wow, these base cards are terrible.  The front is an image from a Justice League comic.  All that’s on the back is the cover from that issue and the issue’s number and date of publication.  That’s it.  Nothing about the story or a character or anything of that sort.  Nowhere near as good as the Marvel sets that Rittenhouse has produced.








The insert sets are a lot of fun though.  If only you got more of them in a box.  I got three of the Super Friends insert cards including the pictured Apache Chief along with The Flash and Batman.  I have two of the Other Earths cards: the pictures Owlman and Johnny Quick.  You only get one JLA membership card and I got the Big Blue Boy Scout.


These days, non-sports sets are all about sketch cards.  I pulled a Green Arrow sketch card drawn by Dezi Sienty.  It’s an interesting sketch of a character that was brought to new heights of popularity when Kevin Smith took over writing his title for a year.  Smith is extremely popular, but Sienty… not so much.  That’s the chance you take when you buy these boxes just like any other boxes.  I just wish that I had seen the base cards before buying this box because I may have passed on this set.  It really seems like DC mailed it in on this one.


Dewey on eBay

One of the things that I like about collecting a player such as Dwight Evans is the lack of interest across the country.  People love him in Boston, but not as many people even know who he is as you travel further away from New England.  That being said, there are enough collectors out there that when really nice Dewey cards pop up on eBay, there can be some bidding battles on them.


Check out this auction for a 2001 Fleer card from the Red Sox 100th Anniversary set.  Many of the hits from this set go for a premium since they are tough to come by.  This simple, unnumbered, on-card autograph from Fleer recently sold for $58.95.  You don’t find them very often though.  There’s also a Dwight Evans autographed hat from this set that could be found randomly in the box sets that were also produced.

Seeing a card such as this one is kind of refreshing.  These days when jersey cards are commons and most autographs sell for a dollar on eBay, it’s nice to look back to when autographs were tough to pull out of packs and actually held some value.


This next card is a good example of modern cards that are worth something due mostly to manufactured scarcity.  This auction is for a Sweet Spot 1 of 1 that is signed with green ink on black leather.  This card sold for $247.55 which is way out of my price range.  It’ll make one Dwight Evans collector very happy though.

I am a fan of the various 2007 Dwight Evans Sweet Spot autos that are out there.  It’s just a shame that this card is from 2007 when Upper Deck used the wrong substance for the “baseball” cards and all of the signatures have faded.  All of the bat and leather cards look great though.

Speaking of cards that look great, I’m completely happy with this card that I added to my collection for $6.76 with shipping.  It’s one of the more beautiful relic cards that I’ve seen and it helps me understand why so many people miss Topps Archives.


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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What Do Card Companies Owe You?

My disastrous 2010 Topps Chrome box break got me thinking.  What are you actually buying when you slap your hard earned cash down on the counter to purchase a box of trading cards?

I’m not a prospector.  I don’t purchase cases of product to bust and then flip on eBay.  I’ve got a limited budget and therefore have to be selective when it comes to what I buy.  I have fun opening oddball sets just as much as I do anything else.  So, what happens when you open a box of cards and it becomes a chore instead of a pleasure?  Does the manufacturer owe you anything more than a replacement for all of the damaged cards?

Scan 4

No, the card companies don’t owe a collector anything more than the cards promised to come in the box.  That being said, it would be nice for them to acknowledge that this is a hobby, one that can be pretty expensive, and people collect cards as a way to relax and enjoy themselves.  If people give up on this hobby then that’s it for these companies, but often times it doesn’t seem like card manufacturers think that way.

When I sent back over half of a box of Topps Chrome to Topps for replacement, I included a note explaining that this is supposed to be a fun hobby for me, I was robbed of the fun of opening packs and asked if there was any way that they could make that up to me.  I didn’t care what it would have been.  It could have been half of a hobby box, a blaster, a handful of random Topps packs or a single redemption pack.  I just would have liked for them to do something.

What did I get back? Replacement cards for all of the damaged cards that I sent.  They’re all still as curved as the ones that I sent back so apparently Topps doesn’t deem that as a defect.  It must be a feature of 2010 Topps Chrome.  I also got the typical bullshit form letter from Topps explaining what the procedure is that I just went through to get these cards replaced.  No acknowledgement of the letter that I sent to them and nothing from them to say, “Sorry you had such a bad experience with a Topps product. Please let us make it up to you.”  So much for their renewed commitment to customer service.  It’s all just PR smoke screen to cover their asses on some cheaply made sets and burned collectors who paid way too much money on pre-sells amidst the Strasburg hype.

The only thing that made this whole process slightly better than just tossing all of the cards in dumpster was the fact that Topps is out of base versions of the Strasburg card that I sent back and so I got a refractor instead.  They also sent me a purple Tyler Colvin.  If I had gotten a purple Strasburg then this might have been worth my time, money and frustration.

Since this set is so ridiculously cheap these days, I purchased a complete set on eBay.  I now have a ton of extras for this set so if anyone is looking to complete it, drop me a line and I can help you out.  Also, if you won my last contest and don’t have this year’s Chrome cards of your favorite team/player then let me know and I’ll throw what I’ve got into your prize pile.


Why Sticker Autos Suck

Or: Sometimes Things Go Your Way

Last week, I made a trip to the local (to work) card shop during my lunch break to scratch a wax busting itch.  The only new thing there that caught my eye was the new Bowman Chrome Draft Picks and Prospects.  I was hesitant at first because of both the Bowman overkill and the Chrome Warp.  (Let’s do the Chrome Warp again!)  It looks like the warping of the Chrome cards is fixed for the most part in this release so that’s a relief.  The fact that there’s two Red Sox draft picks that I’m looking for in this set got me to purchase packs from yet another 2010 Bowman set.


I’m glad that I purchased those packs because I pulled this beauty.  Here’s my first Bryce Brentz card and it’s an autographed one to boot.  It’s always nice when you pull an autograph out of loose packs, but when it is of someone that you are going to add to your collection, it’s so much better.

Look at that big, beautiful signature.  Do you think that would fit on a tiny little sticker?  Hell no.  That’s the main reason that I’m a fan of on-card autographs.  It doesn’t matter that much to me if the athlete touched the card or the sticker as long as it really is his autograph.

I’ve seen Brentz’ autograph on Panini stickers and it doesn’t look anywhere near this nice.  It won’t look this nice when Topps slaps labels on next year’s Pro Debut sets.  It will only look this nice when there’s plenty of space for the signature.

This was the only Brentz card that I pulled, but I’m looking for more.  If anyone out there pulls any cards of Brentz or BoSox draft pick Kolbrin Vitek, I’d be more than willing to send some cool stuff your way for it.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Looking for Red Sox Draft Picks

If any of you come across cards of the 2010 Red Sox Draft Picks as you are busting packs, you know where you can send them.  Hopefully I can find something to make it worth your while.  I know that both Bryce Brentz and Kolbrin Vitek both have cards and autographs in the new Draft Picks and Prospects.  Send anything you don’t want on over to me.

Box Break: 2 Boxes of 2009-10 Panini Basketball Hall of Fame


I’m a big fan of this Panini release and fell it was really the only set this year that looked very good across the board.  I may sound like a broken record, but Panini’s sets won’t reach the level achieved by other major manufacturers such as Topps and Upper Deck until they stop designing their base and inserts cards with autograph and patch space in mind.  I liked Panini/Donruss a lot more when they were just the company with all of the numbered parallels.

When I saw that these boxes had dropped in price again, I had to jump on them with a little bit of extra cash that I had.  A couple of mouse clicks later and two boxes were on their way to me.  After opening them, my feeling are a little mixed about the contents of the boxes, but I still love the set.  How could I not love a set that has so many Celtics in it?

The first box was heavy on Celtics starting with Red Auerbach.  He was an innovator in the game and looked past race when many others in the sport still weren’t willing to do so.  Red was around for 16 of the team’s 17 NBA Championships; nine as head coach and seven more as a team executive.


Next up is the player that was most responsible for much of Auerbach’s success.  Russell won 11 titles during his career with an amazing 8 of those coming consecutively.  When it came time for Red Auerbach to retire as Celtics head coach, he named Russell player-coach, the first African-American coach in the NBA.  Things were tough for Russell during his playing days due to racism and he seemed to carry the hurt from that with him for a long time.  These days, he’s a lot more outgoing and can often be seen at NBA events and on NBA programming.


Next up is one of the inserts in this set and my favorite thing about this set.  This year, the 1960 and 1992 USA Basketball Teams was inducted into the Hopps Hall of Fame. Panini wisely jumped all over this and made that team a major focus of this Hall of Fame set.  This is one of the few cards that Panini did design with room for a swatch that doesn’t look bad in the base card style.  USA jersey numbers are pretty meaningless, but they’re showcased over a basketball in the space where you will sometimes find a jersey swatch.

PippenJerseyThese’s one jersey card per box and while most of these cards are going to be single color swatches, you’ve got a shot at some very cool swatches.  Panini has acquired USA Basketball jerseys to include in this product.  I would think that the cost of this would be huge and that these jerseys wouldn’t be readily available, but here they are.  “The enclosed swatch is guaranteed by Panini America, Inc.”  Of course, I don’t think it says anywhere that these are actually from Olympic game worn jerseys, so who knows where these cards actually came from, but I guess that’s the risk that you take with any relics cards these days.  This Scotty Pippen card is unfortunately one that I already have which is disappointing.

WorsleyAutoNow we’ll get to the reason that these boxes can possibly be such a great buy.  You get two on-card autographs from Hall of Fame players per box.  Yes, there are much larger print runs on the players who you may not have heard of unless you are a fan of the particular team that the athlete played for, but there is a chance at some really great autographs in this product.

Willie Worsley is pictured in his Texas Western uniform and the card back speaks of his part in winning the 1966 National Championship over the favorite Kentucky.  This is a good example of a card that may only appeal to alums of Texas Western.  There are 850 copies of this card available.


Next up is Joe Dumars who played with the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons.  He wasn’t a thug like Bill Laimbeer or a trash talker like Isiah Thomas, he just scored and paired up with Isiah to be one of the all-time great backcourts.  Dumars has also had a very successful career off of the court as President of Operations for the Detroit Pistons.  This is definitely a cool card to pull and since Dumars is a more popular player, this card is only numbered to 399 copies.  That’s the only downside to this product and the main reason that the price has dropped so much.  There are too many players whose cards aren’t going to draw much interest on the secondary market and you’re paying at least $20 for those autograph cards even at these discounted prices.  You could probably put together a pretty good collection of these autographs just from sticking to those selling for less than $10 on eBay.


Box two’s insert was a High Praise card of Phil Jackson.  Let me start off by saying that I can’t stand Phil Jackson.  He’s arrogant and has been lucky enough to coach the past two best players of their generation.  Yeah, Red Auerbach had a lot of talent playing for him as well, but he never went and took a new job where players the caliber of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were playing.  He’s got the record for all time NBA Championships as a head coach though and it is what it is.  Even if Red hadn’t handed over the reigns when he did, he’d most likely only have eleven championships and be tied with Jackson.  Mr. Triangle is the record holder though.


I’ll finish things off on a positive note with the Dream Team insert of Larry Legend.  Bird just might be the best pure shooter of all time.  Everyone always wants to compare him and Jordan, but it’s apples and oranges.  Jordan could finish at the hoop like no other and has a better defender, but if I needed someone to hit a long jumper then I’m picking Bird.  Overall, even as a diehard Celtics fan, you have to give the nod to Jordan.

Both of the signatures in the second box were ones that I had gotten in my first box that I opened a while back.  Very shitty collation on Panini’s behalf.  So, now I have duplicates of Harry Gallatin (numbered to 699) and Pat Summitt (numbered to 599).  The only saving grace is that the Summitt has been a pretty popular card due to her lack of licensed autographs out there.  This card here is one of the great reasons why this set exists.  Where else are you going to get a certified autograph of Summitt?  She’s a coaching legend and there’s nothing out there for her.  So, by selling this redemption card on eBay, I’ll have some funds to either pick up another box or some singles from the set.

StocktonJersey After these two boxes, I’m not sure where I stand on this set.  I’d love to bust a case of it, but I don’t think that I’ll ever have the funds for that.  I’m wary of purchasing single boxes again and getting more duplicates.  Along with my duplicates of the Pippen jersey card and the two autographs, I also have a duplicate in the base set and another in the black parallel set.  That’s too risky of a chance to take in my opinion.  I will take singles and boxes in trade for any cards I post here that you might be interested in though.  <grin>