Saturday, July 30, 2011

When Expired Redemption Cards Don’t Suck

I know that you’ve all had to put up with my redemption cards rants back when I opened my case of Masterpieces. It’s mostly due to the fact that one of those redemptions cards was for a $50 and once expired was just an ugly looking piece of paper with an area to be scratched off. What if that wasn’t the case?


Check out this beauty from 1994 Pinnacle Baseball. This card could have been redeemed for a Stan Javier Museum Collection card. I’m not sure if I forgot to send this in, pulled it after the expiration or liked the card and decided to keep it this way (this is so much cooler than a Dufexed Stan Javier and you know it). How cool would it be if all redemption cards looked this cool?

Card manufacturers seem to be just fine with collectors pulling worthless, expired redemption cards from packs so why not make them a little more pleasing to the eye so that it’s not just going to get pitched into the trash. How about a picture of the player that the redemption is for? It’ll never happen because it’s all about keeping the cost of production as low as possible, but it’s a nice idea.

As far as the conditions of the redemption card, check it out:

  • You had to write your name and address on the back of the card (which was glossy) and then physically mail it in.
  • The redemption card expired on December 31st, 1994. I’m not sure of the release date of the set, but that was less than a year. Imagine if card companies tried that these days?
  • You didn’t get this card returned to you. Pinnacle took the time to make the redemption card nice, applied Dufex to it and then you don’t get it back. They should have punched a hole in it or stamped it and returned it to the collector.

This card makes me wonder what the circumstances might have been that caused this card not to be included in the packout. It’s not the only card either. There are three or four other cards that were also redemptions. I’ve got to think that these would be pretty rare. Collectors didn’t participate in a lot of mail-in offers in the 90s even when it was for things like autographed Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez jumbo cards. I blame the 1992 Topps Gold Winners.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

There’s a Snake In My Boots


It’s always a great thing when two of my interests collide. Collecting Pixar trading cards is a no-brainer. I had already purchased a box of each of the earlier Upper Deck Disney releases, but I didn’t go as all out on any of them as I did this one.

The coolest part of these sets were the Reel Piece of History cards. These cards contained frames from copies of the film that were used in theaters. You can see the soundtrack and sprockets right there on the film strip. Most cards contained two frames from the film, but there were rarer versions that contained four frames.

I have a daily search set up for these things on eBay. Most of the time when they get listed, it’s for too much and they don’t sell. This card was listed for and sold for .99¢ plus $2.00 shipping. That’s a bargain that’s tough to beat.

I tried scanning this with the scanner open so that some light could get through the film, but it wasn’t quite bright enough. If you look closely, you can see the scene that is depicted though. These frames are from the scene where Woody first meets Buzz and Buzz responds by trying to shoot Woody with his laser. Can’t complain about a card with both Buzz and Woody pictured.




I saw this card pop up on another blog and thought that I had already posted it, but that turned out not to be the case. I was a big fan of Dino Radja when he played for the Celtics in 90s. The only problem is that he was drafted in 1989 and didn’t join the Celtics until 1993. Radja was named to the All-Rookie second team and had a decent career with the Celtics. After three and a half seasons, the Celtics attempted to trade Radja to the 76ers for Clarence Weatherspoon, but Radja failed his physical and decided to return to Europe.

This makes Radja just another on a list of Celtics “what if”s. What if Radja had come to the NBA right after getting drafted? Would the better conditioning programs here have led to a longer career? Would learning the NBA game earlier in his career have made him a better player? Would he not have been as good without those years in Europe before coming to the NBA? There’s no way of knowing for sure, but the questions will always be there.

I collected Radja’s cards while he was with the Celtics, but once he disappeared from the NBA, my interest disappeared as well. In recent years, I’ve picked up some Radja cards here and there as they pop up. I’ve picked up refractors and some rarer insert cards, but there’s a severe lack of what would be classified as “hits” these days. Radja still doesn’t have a jersey card, but Upper Deck did produce this autographed card in the 2007-08 Chronology set which just might be the best modern basketball card set. I watched this card for a while, waiting for my moment to pounce. A card was posted from the Philippines which tends to drive bidders away. I ended up winning the card for $2.25 plus $4.00 for shipping. The only problem was that the estimated delivery date was past the one month window that you’ve got to dispute an auction. I took a chance though because the price couldn’t be beat. By the time the card arrived, I had forgotten all about it. It turned out that it was worth the chance and the wait. Due to his short career, many basketball fans may not even know who he is, but this card quickly became one of my favorites.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Father’s Day Haul – Part 4 – Everything Else

The majority of the cards that I took home from the Father’s Day Card show came out of the nickel box and most of them were Piazza cards. I probably have most of them already, but for .05¢ a piece, I wasn’t racking my brain as to whether or not I had the card already. Since there are so many other Piazza collectors out there, I’ll have no problem trading any duplicates away. First off, some cards that don’t have Mike Piazza on them. Not pictured is a Greg Maddux 2000 Tek card. I’ll grab any Tek cards for a nickel all day long.


There wasn’t much in the box in terms of basketball, but I did grab some cool cards. There’s a Paul Pierce Showcase that I could possibly need, a Shaq clear acetate card, a cool Barkley die cut card from Upper Deck, a Bird/Magic Stadium insert, 1978-79 Topps Jo Jo White, 80-81 Dr. J All-Star and three cards that I have no clue about. Their foreign and look/feel like playing cards. The back has the NBA logo on it.


Here’s some miscellaneous Piazzas that didn’t fall into any of the other categories that I set up. There’s some Donruss and Leaf, one Playoff and some minis. Nothing too thrilling in this batch.


Fleer! It always seemed like there were so many Fleer sets because they didn’t really do much as far as high end sets went. Their sets mainly different in what you could pull out of them. There was the set with the patches and the set with the box scores and the set with both the pros and the prospects.

Of all of the Fleer sets, I think that I miss Ultra the most. The two inserts here are tame compared to a lot of them, but they did some extremely cool inserts back in the 90s. I was always a fan of the Platinum sets that had a retro look to them. I think I ended up needing 6 of these 9 cards which isn’t bad at all especially since I knew that I already had the Ultra base cards, but again, they were only a nickel.


Here’s some Upper Deck goodness from back when they could put logos on their cards.There was a time when that Platinum Power insert would have cost me more than what I paid for all 74 of these cards. I already have it, but it’ll be great trade bait. Same goes for the Ovation cards. Love the design on those. I needed everything else which adds some very cool cards to my collection.


Topps has been doing retro and following a very similar strategy with their releases for a long time now, so I don’t understand why everyone wants to call them lazy now that they have the exclusive MLB license. Were the Million Card and Diamond Giveaways not some of the best promotions ever done by any company in any sport? Yes, their quality control could be better, but I don’t know if I would call them lazy. They’re nowhere near as lazy as Panini who does the exact same thing in every set.

Ignore the Fleer Tradition card that snuck in masquerading as a Topps Heritage card and the SportFlix card that, well I have no clue why I put that in there. The Topps All-Stars card is a lot shinier than it appears here. I think I had most of these already, but I can’t pass up things like a 2006 Ginter card or a SportFlix insert. Even if I had paid .45¢ for the Topps All-Stars card, it would have been worth it. Everything else is just a bonus.


Last up, as far as the cards that I’m going to show, are the shiny cards. I forget the year already, but the card in the middle of the bottom row was a variation from the card that I already had. My card had a flat back, but this card had an etched back like you’d see on the front of a Chrome or Finest card. Strange. I had all of these already except for one, but you don’t pass up on shiny cards of a future Hall of Fame catcher when they’re just a nickel each.

So, there you go. This is what I chase when I’ve got the time to dig through boxes at a card show. It’s was a fun Father’s Day for sure.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

I Finally Got One!

While last year’s Million Card Giveaway was fun and had some good prizes available, there wasn’t all that much to chase. I was happy trading other teams for Sox cards and added some nice vintage cards to my collection. This year’s Diamond Giveaway is completely different though. There are die cut diamond and die cut black diamond parallels that are only available through the website and there aren’t a ton of either version available at the moment.

I’ve yet to purchase a box of either series of Topps that’s been released so far and due to that, I don’t have too many codes. From retail purchases, I think I’ve entered 12 or 13 codes. I’ve been lucky enough to redeem some big names in the 70s, but after trying unsuccessfully to make some trades for Red Sox cards from similar years, I started to get frustrated with the site. I was reading blog post after blog post about people who have redeemed multiple die cut cards wondering when my time would come.

Yesterday, I ran out to the card shop near my home because I needed some penny sleeves. While I was there, I grabbed some packs of series 2 and pulled one more code card. I brought up the website, entered my code and… redeemed a Davey Lopes 1974. I had been throwing offer after offer at a Big Papi die cut card with no luck. I decided to add the Lopes to OrtizDieCutthe mix and sent the offer out again. This time I got a taker.

So, in return for a 1973 Jeff Burroughs, 1974 Davey Lopes, 1975 Dave Concepcion, 1976 Jim Holt, 1978 Bert (or Bert if you believe the Topps website) Blyleven and 1979 Butch Wynegar I got a David Ortiz die cut of which there are only 250 copies at this point. I now only have 9 cards in my account with nothing older than 1980, but I’ve got a great card that will go into my player collection. I’ll eventually pick up a box of series 2 and the update series as well and hopefully I’ll either hit another die cut to trade or redeem some other good cards that I can flip more Red Sox die cut cards. I’d like to at least acquire the Lester and Buchholz cards.


Father’s Day Haul – Part 3 – Wanna Trade?

While digging through the boxes looking for cards for myself, I came across that looking like they would be decent trade bait. As always, if you see something on the blog that you’re interested in, make an offer.

BirdThreadsAs far as I’m concerned, I can never have too many cards of Larry Legend. Michael Jordan did some amazing things, but when it came to shooting the ball, no one was better than Bird. He walked into the first three point contest, told everyone he was going to win and then backed up his words.

I grew up watching the Bird led Celtics and still prefer that style of play to the current NBA game. With the current NBA lockout, I’ll just pop in my Larry Bird and Celtics DVDs and watch classic games.


When I saw this card sitting in the box, I had to grab it. Finley signed with the Celtics during last season, so it had that appeal to it. It might also be a card that other collectors might be interested in for trading purposes, so it’s a no-risk acquisition.

This is also a cool looking card. The blue borders and jersey swatch match and I love it. You don’t see that often on cards. I don’t know if the rest of this set looks this great, but if it does then I have to give kudos to Upper Deck.


Here’s another Finley card. This one isn’t nearly as good looking as the last card, but since it was in there with the previous two cards, I threw it into the stack.

Feel the Game has been a Fleer insert set for years. Yep, that’s about all I have to say about this card.


This card came home with me for a couple of reasons. The first being that it’s a card of Al Jefferson. I was a huge fan of Big Al when he played for the Celtics and it was sad to see him go even though the deal did bring Kevin Garnett and an NBA Championship to Boston. I still follow Big Al and even bought tickets last season to see the Celtics take on the Jazz so that I could watch Jefferson play in Boston. Once the NBA starts operating again, most likely after a complete lost season, I’d love to see the Celtics work out a deal that brings Big Al back to Boston.

I don’t collect Jefferson’s cards as aggressively as I did when he was here in Boston. If I get a card of his that isn’t going into a set, I’ll toss it into a toploader and put it into my collection. I went all out when Jefferson was a rookie. I’ve got a ton of rookie cards, relics and autographs. That was pre-baby, pre-wife and pre-many other financial responsibilities. I didn’t buy much unopened wax then either. I couldn’t stand the basketball sets with one or two rookies per box. So, I just bought the rookies that I wanted and saved a ton of cash.

The Studio set had a lot of potential and some cool looking insert sets, but it was ruined, as many Panini cards are, by the fact that they design the cards for relics and autographs ruining the base cards. Since this card has a jersey swatch, it looks good. Without the swatch there, it looks terrible.


Speaking of former Celtics, here’s a card of two-time former Celtic, Antoine Walker. ‘Toine never had the best attitude and ruined his career when he fell in love with the three point shot, but he had some flashes of brilliance while in Boston. Check out Pierce and Walker in the 2002 fourth quarter 21-point comeback playoff record performance against the Nets (it’s on YouTube). It was a season where Pierce led the league in fourth quarter points and had double digits in points in the final quarter alone 26 times. Walker did everything down low at the end of that game and he was a dominant player down there when he wanted to be. Once he started heaving up threes and wiggling, his career was done.

(Note: If Pierce were still that kind of closer, the Celtics would be celebrating a three-peat. At the very least, they wouldn’t have lost that game 7 to the Lakers.)

This card is ridiculously thick and contains a piece of a game used ball. It’s an unlicensed Collector’s Edge set so I have no clue if the ball is from an NBA game, college game or a pick-up game in the driveway. I’ll always associate Collector’s Edge with their early football sets where every single card was serial numbered and they were made of a strange, thin, plastic-like material. For a buck, this one was definitely coming home with me.


This is another card that I picked as potential trade bait, but I also wouldn’t be too upset if none of the many Orioles collectors out there wanted it. I haven’t jumped on the hating manufactured patches bandwagon. Plain swatches are tired and boring. I know that I won’t pay a premium for them, but at least these patch cards are nice looking. I’d much rather have a nice looking card than a card that contains a relic that was hopefully touched at one point by the player in question.

So, there you go. That’s it for the “pricey” cards from the break. All that’s left is 72 cards form the nickel box. I don’t think that I’m going to post all of those individually, but I will definitely post some highlights.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Collection Question

Here’s something that I’ve been thinking about lately that I wanted to get other people’s opinions on. If you are both a player collector and a set collector, do you need to have two copies of a card ir order for both collections to be complete? For example, I’ve been collecting Mike Piazza since 1992. I was lucky enough to pull one of his rookies out of the one box that I busted (for a whopping $54) and then I tracked down a single rookie for $3 (all of the dealers were hoarding them and not selling, citing that the Beckett price was too low.) So, I have a Piazza rookie in my 1992 Bowman set and one in my Piazza player collection, but is that necessary or just being extravagant?

I have a good number of insert sets that have a Piazza in them where I don’t have another copy of the card for my player collection. I know that if I were to enter everything into a database (HA!), then it wouldn’t really matter, but it’s also nice to have everything together and not have to open a plastic box to see my Upper Deck Next Generation Electric Diamond card or Mickey Mantle’s Long Shots card.

So, what say you? Do you always try to pick up two copies of the card, pick up a second if it is convenient (and affordable) or are you satisfied with just one copy?