Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Father’s Day Haul – Part 2 – Papi’s Day

You have to buy Big Papi cards on Father’s Day if you’re a fan. So, I figured that I would pick up a few since there were some nice cards at the table for good prices. I’m starting to forget which cards forget exactly how much, but I’ll try and figure it out again as I compose these posts.

OrtizSpectrumWow, this card scanned very well. It looks like it’s glowing.

The Spectrum sets produced by Upper Deck may have been panned by the majority of collectors, but in small doses you can appreciate it. Sorting through a full box of foil board like that can be hazardous to your health and eyesight. This Ortiz swatch is from 2009 Spectrum and it’s got a nice blue tint to it. I’m pretty sure that this card and the next three were in a box priced $3 each or 4-for-$10. I’ll grab Papi relics at $2.50 all day long.

OrtizIconsHere’s some more foil board from Upper Deck, but this time it’s the non-shiny variety. I like the fact that the picture of Ortiz pops off of this card in the scan, but it makes the rest of the card look terrible. The background isn’t quite so dark in person, but the Ortiz picture doesn’t pop as well either. This is a gray swatch which is a nice change from the usual white swatches that you see far too often.

I don’t think I’ve purchased a pack of 2009 Icons and this card doesn’t really do much to convince me to do more than pick up some singles from the set.

OrtizGinterA David Ortiz framed relic from 2006 Allen & Ginter? Yes, please. I was pretty surprised to see this card priced so cheaply, but it’s cards like this that get overlooked by people looking for the latest sick, mojo, autographed, one-of-one, relic, printing plate, rookie card of someone in A ball. I don’t have many cards from the 2006 Ginter set at all. I think I have the Piazza and Ortiz base cards and that’s about it. I didn’t get back into collecting until 2007 when I sold a bunch of my old Transformers, went to a huge card show and caught the bug again.

PiazzaGoldThis last card is the only non-Papi in this post and it’s not a card that I would normally pay $3 for, but I already had the three Ortiz cards picked out so this really only cost me a dollar. That I was fine with.

This card is from 1999 Fleer Ultra. It looks like Fleer took the Season Crowns, which had been an insert set in the past, and made them a subset within the main set. This is the Gold Medallion Edition and it’s nice looking, but one-per-pack gold parallels stopped being exciting back in the mid-90s.

OrtizArtifactsThese last two cards were in a box marked $2 with no discounts for quantities which was fine by me given what I pulled out of the box. This first card is just another plain white swatch card, but this is sporting a serial number of 084/150 so it’s got all kinds of mojo all over it.

2006 Artifacts is another Upper Deck set that I’ve never purchased a pack of. The line lasted for a few years, but never really appealed to me. Upper Deck seemed to release a lot of very similar sets that were overpriced, in my opinion, at release. So, I don’t have many of the cards other than a few singles I’ve picked up here and there.


I think this last card was the one that I was most excited about acquiring. The fact that it was costing me just $2 was even better. Even though the packs/boxes are way out of my price range, I’ve always enjoyed Sterling singles. A refractory, bat relic numbered to 199 copies is right up my alley. The Sterling cards have a classy design, nice big pictures of the player and a variety of relics. I’ll pick up the mostly neglected relic cards cheaply all day long.

Some amazing additions to the player collections here. I’m pretty sure that I got the prices right. I added everything up and it came out to be more than what I paid, so it looks like the dealer gave me a little bit bigger of a discount than I thought. There’s one more post of hits to come and then a huge pile of 74 cards from the nickel box. Thanks for reading!


Monday, June 27, 2011

A Tease


I want to go into detail about sections of the board, but here’s an overall snapshot of my pin collection. For Disney fans, there’s a ton to look at. For those only interested in sports, you’ll want to look mainly at the bottom right corner and all along the right side.

Hero Up!


When I placed my last order of wax boxes from Dave and Adam’s, I also added a box of Upper Deck’s Super Hero Squad trading cards. I watch the show with my daughter and thought it would be fun to open the packs with her. The packs have been a lot of fun to open. The cards are thick with rounded corners which are perfect for kids. You can find tattoos in every pack as well as randomly inserted stickers, foil die cut cards and pop-up cards. Forget all of those cards though, this card from the sports subset beats everything else. I think that the Villains might have the advantage if they’ve got Bullseye playing QB. Anyone want to see a picture of Iron Man posterizing Dr. Doom?


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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Father’s Day Haul – Part I

Two great things occurred on Father’s Day. First off, there’s a yearly card show on the day and dads get in for free. Second, my wife gave me some cash and sent me on my way to have some fun. This was great because cash for cards hasn’t been as plentiful since I had to miss time from work for my kidney stone surgery. I looked at a couple of the newer Topps baseball releases, but they didn’t really grab my attention. So, I decided to dig through the boxes there for singles which turned out to be a great decision. Twenty-eight dollars later, I had 99 new cards to add to my collection and to use in various trades.

PiazzaRelicThis is the first card that started me down the road of picking up singles. I’ve had my eye on this card since series one was released, but all of the auctions on eBay ended too high for my tastes once you factored in shipping costs. A dealer had it available for $5 at the show and while I almost passed it up, in the end I decided to pull the trigger and grab the card since it had part of a nice pinstripe. I figured that the chances of me winning this card for $2 - $2.50 on eBay were pretty slim. The weird thing is, if there’s a regular version of this card, I don’t have it yet. That happens to me a lot now that the majority of my Piazza cards come from online purchases.

PiazzaSPxWith the exception of that first card, the other 98 cards all came from the same dealer who had a bunch of great cards available cheaply. This Piazza is the first of the cards that I pulled from the .10¢ box. This is a 1998 SPx Power Explosion that’s numbered to 4,000 copies.

The back of this card is pretty cool. It lists HR and RBI hit at home and on the road by month. There’s also a chart that shows how many home runs were hit to each field both home and away. Piazza loved right field in Los Angeles hitting 10 of his home runs there. He also hit 8 home runs to center on the road. He only hit 4 home runs to right on the road. Piazza hit 40 home runs in 2007.

OrtizRedAdNext up from the dime box is a David Ortiz 2006 Turkey Red red bordered parallel with the ad back. Sure, he’s in a Twins jersey here and I don’t really collect cards of Ortiz with the Twins, but for the ad back parallel, I couldn’t pass it up for a dime.

While the Turkey Red insert sets were nice, I really liked the full sets for the the colored border parallels and ad back variants. I could have done without the chrome versions of the cards in a retro set, but Topps isn’t going to stop that any time soon. I would have liked for the colored parallels to have been numbered similar to what you’d see in Upper Deck’s Masterpieces sets. I’ve got some Turkey Red rainbows, but unless you do some research, there’s no telling which colors are rarer than others.

BarkleyI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, one of the best things about other card blogs is seeing cards that I never knew existed. Whether it’s a Fleer Diamond Cut Piazza, Fenway Favorites or some of the very cool Stadium Club Basketball inserts from when I wasn’t collecting.

Here’s a great example of that. I saw these Stadium Club Triumvirate cards on another blog and made a note that I wanted to pick at least one of them up. When I saw this Barkley for a dime, I knew that I was buying this card. There are two other Rockets players and the three cards fit together like a puzzle. The backgrounds of these cards are translucent which gives them a very cool look.

What I really need to do is track down the Celtics/Red Sox/Patriots pairings. There’s a complete set from one year listed on SportLots.com from two different sellers, but it’ll cost me $12 with shipping to get all three of them and that’s a little much for me.

MutomboRockNext up is another cool 90s insert set that I first saw on another blog (which was either Hoopography or Hupe Royalty, but I can’t remember at the moment). The die cut at the top of these cards is what makes that so great. The fact that it’s a refractor makes it even cooler. It’s listed as a refractor on the back, so I’m guessing that there are non-shiny versions of these cards as well. For a dime, I would have picked up any version of this card, they’re just that cool. This insert set is a great example of the crazy themed insert sets that companies came up with. You can find both old and new insert cards in the dime box, but I’d rather have cards that are visually appealing such as this one.

HardawayRockWhy pick up just one Rock Star when you can pick up two. Here’s a card of Timmy Hardaway in his later days with the Heat. Hardaway became a huge star while paired up with Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond in the exciting trio nicknamed Run TMC.

If you saw my jumbo shoeboxes, you’d see that they are filled with all kinds of oddball inserts from the 90s just like this. Most of them would probably go into dollar boxes today, but they’re worth a whole lot more than that to me.

I love how well these Rock Stars cards scanned. You can see the texture in the background and the shininess of the card.

BarbosaThis card was one that I picked up just for the novelty of it. I had seen these Authentix upgradable cards before, but never owned one before. This is a Leandro Barbosa rookie that is numbered to 1250 copies. It’s an interesting card and I think that I definitely need to track down the card and upgrade tickets for my Paul Pierce collection. Such a strange concept that isn’t nearly as cool as the inserts above. The whole ticket theme hasn’t gone over well whether done by Fleer or Topps.

AdenhartAfter the tragic death of Nick Adenhart at the hands of a drunk driver, I’m surprised that Miguel Cabrera didn’t get more crap after his DUI conviction. I don’t see how people could be stupid enough to drink and drive in the first place, but to do it after one of your peers had recently been killed that way is even stupider.

This card didn’t deserve to be in the dime box so I added it to my stack so that it could be rescued. Dump cards because players got injured, never made it to the majors or have dropped in popularity, but don’t dump cards due to a player dying. That just doesn’t seem right to me.

GlennRCThis is a 1996 Playoff Illusions Terry Glenn rookie card. This appears to be Playoff’s version of chrome. It’s embossed with patterns that look like a topography map. There are rainbow colors all over the place and a giant flying Elvis head Patriots logo. It’s by far one of the most gaudy cards that I’ve ever seen. There’s no way that I could pass this one up for a dime. Many times, the really bad inserts are just as fun as the really good ones. It’s like a cardboard train wreck.


Normally, I wouldn’t go anywhere near a Curtis Martin card where he was in a Jets uniform, but I had to make an exception for this card. I love the vintage Vegas look to this card. It’s a simple design, but it looks great. A refractor version of this card would look even sweeter.

I also picked up a Brett Tomko 1996 Best on-card autographed card that I’m assuming was in the dime box due to a dinged corner, a 1981 Topps Coke Carl Yastrzemski, a couple of Sandbergs for a friend and a 2008 SPx Jerod Mayo rookie numbered to 999.

15 cards down and 84 to go. I’m pretty sure that the deal gave me these 14 dime cards for one dollar so that’s $6 spent for these 15 cards.


The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I found it interesting that Fuji’s latest post talks about a favorite player leaving their team. Granted, his situation involves a trade, but whether by trade or free agency, it always sucks when one of your favorite players leaves your favorite team. This time there’s even more time to fret because the impending lockout could keep free agents from signing with new teams for a long time to come. Given how numerous and severe the current problems with the NBA are, I wouldn’t be surprised if we lost a whole season to the lockout.

The free agent thing I went through just two years ago. Glen Davis was a free agent after a great showing in the playoffs, tested the free agent waters, didn’t get a single offer and re-signed with the Celtics. This year, Davis started the season as a strong contended for the 6th Man Award, but as the season wore on he slowly disappeared, took fewer charges and had a much smaller impact on games when he came off of the bench. He was all but nonexistent in the playoffs and talked about not being mentally strong while Doc Rivers talked about Davis getting more selfish and not playing “his game.” It makes you think that Big Baby won’t be wearing Celtic Green the next time an NBA Season tips off unless they can get him for a huge discount. I don’t see that happening with plenty of teams out there having both salary cap room and the need for role players.

If Davis were to leave the Celtics, I’m not sure if I would continue collecting him or not. I’d have to say that his poor play late last season made him a lot less fun to watch. That was the main thing that drew me to him as a player. David would check into a game, take a charge, hit a big basket or two and bring some energy into the game. Once he started doing nothing but shoot jumpers at a below average rate, he wasn’t any fun to watch. He’s got to be that guy who cuts to the basket, rolls off of picks and fights for those tough rebounds.

If the Celtics were to let Davis walk, I would love to see Danny Ainge do whatever he could to bring Ryan Gomes back to Boston. Gomes is a player who I collected while he was here, but stopped collecting once he was traded away. Gomes is the veteran, mature version of Big Baby. He can score, but doesn’t look for his shot. He gets his points within the flow of the game. He’s got basketball smarts, always seems to be around the ball and is the type of player that you need coming off of the bench on championship teams.

Best case scenario would see Ainge bring back a different former Celtic, Al Jefferson. The Celtics don’t currently have a center, have a bunch of expiring contracts and need another star to play with Rondo once Pierce, Allen and Garnett decide to hang it up. Big Al would be the perfect choice. I wouldn’t mind shipping Garnett out to Utah in order to bring Jefferson back. I don’t think that a deal such as that one is very likely though.

Big Baby or no Big Baby in Boston what I really want is basketball in Boston. It would be a shame if a season were to be lost, but unlike the NFL where owners are trying to make sure that they get more money from a league that’s flourishing, NBA owners are trying to make changes to keep their franchises from losing money. It doesn’t look good for the NBA at the moment.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Panini Prize

A while back, I entered a Panini contest that they had posted on their blog. They post contests frequently and I’ve got to say that they are an extremely generous company. Tracy Hackler is all over Twitter and the blog interacting with fan at a level that you don’t see form any of the other card manufacturers out there. Topps can be close, but they go through some long stretches of silence. Upper Deck needs to hire someone more professional to man their social media accounts. That’s all beside the point though.

Panini asked their readers what they liked the most about one of their upcoming football products. I commented because it seems like Panini finally was releasing a set that mastered the autographed manufactured patch. The letters were thick and made of a material that the Sharpie didn’t bleed into. My comment was picked randomly and I was notified that I was a winner while I was laid up after my kidney stone surgery.

Today, while at work, my wife sent me a text to let me know that I had a large envelope from Panini waiting for me at home. I couldn’t wait to get home and open it up. The last time that I won something from Panini, it was a Kobe Bryant autographed card. What would arrive this time?


Panini sent this amazing autographed 8x10 of Heisman Trophy winner and #1 pick Cam Newton which I’m guessing was signed at the rookie premiere. To me, this goes above and beyond what I’d expect to receive as a prize from a contest where I just shared my thoughts on a product. I’ve got to run out and get a frame for it and find a place to hang it in the man cave.

Thanks Panini!


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Monday, June 20, 2011

A Loss and a Gain

One of the many insert sets that I’m slowly putting together at the moment is the Boston Celtics Dynasty set from 2008-09 Upper Deck Basketball. It hasn’t been a particularly easy set to put together just because the cards aren’t all that easy to find and many times when they are listed, the $3 shipping fee on eBay is enough to send me running for the hills. I’m only going to pick these cards up if I can do so for the right price.

I was up to 16 out of the 30 cards, but I backtracked a little while I was recovering from my kidney stone surgery. Now I only have 15 cards in the set.


Due to a last minute cancellation by Jose Canseco (due to health issues) the Memorial Day card show in Mansfield brought in Celtics Legend and 2011 Hall of Fame Inductee Tom “Satch” Sanders to the card show. Since this would be a perfect addition to my Celtics HOF/Retired Number autograph collection, I had to go.

There was just one problem. I was out of work due to the surgery, wasn’t feeling very well and wasn’t moving around very well either. I decided that this would be a good opportunity to test my body and see how I was doing. We could turn around at any point and the day wouldn’t be that taxing.

Well, that’s what I thought. Just walking from the house to the car, from the car to the hotel and then to the card show inside already had me hurting a little. I bought my ticket and got into line and that’s when things got rough.

The best thing about this show is that they bring in affordable players who are popular with fans. They give you time to interact with the athletes as long as they’re not against it and it makes it a better experience for everyone. Everyone, that is, except people standing in line with a tube sticking out of their back and a drainage bag strapped to their thigh. The waiting in line really wore me down.

Even though I was 10th or so in line, I had to wait around 20 minutes to arrive at the front due to people talking and having multiple items to be signed (at $11 an autograph, I can’t blame them). I got my autograph and spoke with Mr. Sanders for a couple of minutes. He liked the card, stating that he hadn’t ever seen it before, and wished that he had been a member of all of the teams listed on the front of the card.

I hobbled back to the rest of my family in the lobby and we made our way back to the car. Once I got home, I crashed on the couch for a couple of hours which was a regular occurrence during my recovery. When I woke up, I got to admire this brand new gem in my collection.

When it comes down to it, I’ll always enjoy an in-person autograph a heck of a lot more than any card company produced autograph. As far as this collection goes, I’ve gotten autographs of Robert Parrish, Bill Russell, Tom Sanders and future Hall of Famer Paul Pierce as well as Slam Dunk champ Dee Brown. This was probably the worst time that I’ve ever had acquiring an autograph for my collection, but it’s one of the better ones due to the unique story that goes along with it.


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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Box Break: 2011 Upper Deck Marvel Beginning

I couldn’t have planned the arrival of these boxes better. I came home from the hospital after my kidney stone surgery and about an hour later, the doorbell rang and the box from Dave & Adam’s Card World was delivered. I opened the boxes right away, but it’s taken a while to get the breaks posted due to the recovery process. I haven’t spent a heck of a lot of time at my computer. The majority of my Internet surfing was done on my wife’s iPad.


It’s been a while since Upper Deck release a Marvel set so they went all out with this release. The base cards have a simple design with a modern image of the character with an inset photo of the character as they appeared in their first comic. For someone such as the Invisible Woman you can see a big difference, but for someone such as the Red Hulk there really isn’t a point. The back of the card has some information about the character as well as information about their first comic appearance. The only information that is lacking is who the artist is for the newer image on the front of the card. That’s a pretty big omission in my book for a set such as this.

It’s great seeing some of the newer Marvel characters included in this set. You’ll find some of the Young Avengers and Runaways in the set. If these were the old Impel/Skybox sets then they’d definitely have rookie designations on them. You’ll also find some obscure and lesser known characters. While this makes for a thorough set, it also makes for a huge set. I don’t know if there’s ever been a 180 card set of comic book characters prior to this one. In some ways, I’m hoping it will be the last.

The main problem is that this is a large set with boxes that only contain 24 packs with 7 cards per pack (and two of those being inserts). When you’re trying to put together a 180 card set, 5*24 (120 cards minus one for the box hit) isn’t going to cut it. Honestly, I could have done without three different insert sets, but what are you going to do.


The one-per-pack insert is the Breakthrough Issue set. This 45 card set covers everything from first appearances of iconic characters such as Spider-Man and The Hulk to gimmicks such as hologram and chromium covers. This is a cool set, but I could have done without the gimmick milestones.


These cards are called Micromotion which really is a misnomer. Sure, the reflection from the etched foil moves as you tilt the card, but the name makes you think these would be a stereogram/Sportflix type of card or something of that sort. The card backs have a short blurb about the character.

Unfortunately, the top edge of every single card from this insert set was damaged in this box. I have already contacted Upper Deck and will be sending them in for replacement. This is one of the reasons why I’m always hesitant to buy Upper Deck products. When it’s not full of redemption cards, it’s full of cards with bad edges or soft corners. It’s a yearly occurrence.


This insert set is extremely cool. I’m not even a big X-Men fan, but I will be collecting this set.You can’t really tell from the scans, but the white sections in the X-Men logo are actually die cut holes. I scanned fronts and backs so that you could see that there are older images of the characters on the front (check out Cannonball) and never images on the back. Again, this is really cool for characters such as Cannonball and Angel, but it’s pointless for a character such as X-23.

I’m not completely sold on the three types of box hits that are available in this product. There’s no way that the holograms should have been a box hit. The old Impel/Skybox sets used to have 4 holograms per box so I don’t see what the big deal is. These cards from Upper Deck are regular artwork in front of a hologram background that’s the same for every single card. Boring. These should have been 1-2 per box and not counted as a box hit.

The other box hit is kind of questionable as well. While autographs of athletes are in high demand because of the difficulty in obtaining them, autographs of comic book artists and writers are a lot easier to obtain. Find a convention that they’ll be at, travel to it, wait in line (costume optional) and you’ve got an autograph. Now, I’d be absolutely thrilled to pull a Stan Lee autograph and some of the triple signed cards are amazing, but other than that, I’m not sure about these cards. The autographs are restricted to the creators on the issues in the Breakthrough insert set so that is a positive, but the majority of the autographed cards sell for $20 or less.

SketchThe main reason that people purchase boxes of non-sports cards are for the sketch cards that you can possibly pull. Pull a sketch card of someone such as Katie Cook and you’ve paid for your box and then some. You never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes it will be something that you like and sometimes it will be something you can’t believe got approved for the set.

I think that I did pretty well this time around with this sketch of Beast by Gilbert Monsanto. While I do like the card, I think that I will most likely have to throw it up on eBay so that I can grab another box of this so that I can try and finish off my sets. Non-sports singles can be impossible to find and I’m of the mindset that you should always get a full set out of a box. Even though that’s not the case here, I’ll make an exception and bust another box with the hopes that I pull either a Stan Lee autograph or Katie Cook sketch card.

In case anyone out there does have any extras that they are looking to trade away, here are my want lists: