Sunday, January 29, 2012

Check Out My Anticipation

Spurred on by an unexpected $25 sale of an auto card from the Upper Deck Draft Basketball case, I quickly piled up enough cards for another shipment of 35 cards ranging in "book" value from $40 to under a dollar. Knowing what I collect and what was in my last shipment, what do you think might be in this upcoming shipment? I'm not going so far as calling this an official contest, but I do have a ton of extra stuff to get rid of. For the best predictions, I can definitely find some stuff to send your way.

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Epic New York Adventure – Part 3

I’ve got to say, my family is getting better at including my hobby in Christmas. Last year, my mom put a box of Panini Basketball Hall of Fame under the tree. This year, my mom and wife partnered up to send me to New York so that I could add a Mike Piazza autograph to my collection.

The one thing that I hate about getting the autographs of big stars at card shows is that things are usually run like an assembly line. You hand the item that you are getting signed to someone, they hand it to the athlete and then hand it back to you. There’s no interaction with the athlete and it’s really not as much fun.

Of course, this is how the Piazza signing was being run. They announced that there would be no pictures with Mike and that he would not be signing home plates or seat backs. The last two things weren’t known to the promoter ahead of time which led to a lot of unhappy customers and arguing in line. Some of that arguing happened right before it was my turn to get my autograph. Never one to miss out on an opportunity, I figured that I would take it upon my self to hand my picture directly to Mike.


Here’s Mike getting ready to sign my picture. Over my backpack, you can see the guy with the red hair who was arguing with people about what could and couldn’t be signed.


Here’s Mike signing my picture. Screw PSA/DNA, James Spence, etc. This is all of the proof that I need right here. I won’t be selling this autograph anyway so it doesn’t matter. The guy right above Mike’s head had a home plate that he wanted to get signed. You can see it on the table.


I figured that since I was able to do the interaction thing, I may as well do it right. So, I thanked Mike and shook his hand. No one else got to do that as far as I knew. I was also lucky enough to end up with some great pictures thanks to my friend Stu who accompanied me to the show. The result?


I love it. Part of the autograph did end up on a dark part of the picture which isn’t the best, but I love the way that it turned out. While Piazza’s autograph is just a bunch of scribbly loops, it’s an autograph that really needs to be on something larger in order to appreciate it. I do love my Sweet Spot Piazza autograph, but the autograph doesn’t have enough room to breathe on that card.

I also picked up a series 8 Mike Piazza Retro Edition McFarlane figure for $8. Tough to beat that.

How did I end this great day? I went to the Knicks/Nuggets game with Mike Piazza. Well, I went to the game and Mike Piazza went to the game. I was up in the balcony and he was down in a courtside seat. That counts as going to the game with him, doesn’t it?

The game turned out to be a great one. It was a double overtime Nuggets victory that saw Carmelo Anthony take almost every shot from the middle of the 4th quarter on. He hit some big shots, but missed a lot more shots where he was double teamed and had teammates wide open. Poor Amare Stoudamire. I’d hate to play with someone like Melo.

I left the game and made my way to Port Authority for the trip home. Luckily the 12:15 bus wasn’t even half full so I got to switch to that earlier bus. I was back home and in my bed at 4:30 am, slept for around 9 hours and was up in time to see the Patriots beat the Ravens. All in all, a great weekend.

My Epic New York Adventure – Part 2

For me, I can’t stop by a card show without buying a box of something to break. I know that it barely pans out, but I love to do it and it’s too much fun. I actually didn’t go overboard and really enjoyed the two boxes that I purchased:

First up, this year’s Finest Baseball. Chrome and Finest both are bolstered by a really strong rookie auto crop. Since I had a lot of fun with Chrome, I decided to take a chance with Finest.


Everyone has seen the base cards over and over again, so I’m going to skip those. If you haven’t seen them or forget what they look like, just scroll down to the refractors for a refresher.

The Finest Foundation cards are refractors and the Finest Freshmen aren’t. I don’t really see the need for inserts in a set such as this one. At least make them limited and serial numbered so that you’re adding some value to the box.

I like the look for the Finest Foundation cards and could see myself searching out any Red Sox players that might be in the set. As for these two cards, they’re both up for trade.


Here’s the base card design again for those who may have forgotten it. These boxes have 10 packs and you end up getting an insert in each pack. It would have been nice to get a little more color in my parallels, but at least the regular parallels are serial numbered in Finest (/549). The Tulo is numbered to 299 and the Kimbrel is /199. All of these cards are up for trade as well and I’ll give preferential treatment to anyone who has any Red Sox refractors to offer in exchange.

There are two hits per box of Finest and that’s what is going to determine how good your box is. I had some good news and some bad news when it came to my hits:

  • Bad News: Both of my hits were redemption cards. There’s nothing worse than opening a box and having nothing cool to show for it once you are finished.
  • Good News: Both of the cards that I pulled redemption cards of are live so it shouldn’t be too long before I have them.
  • Good News: I pulled what is easily one of the top cards out of the entire print run of Finest.
  • FinestRedemptions






Right there is a redemption card for the dual relic gold refractor autographed card of Eric Hosmer. For some reason, these gold cards are numbered to 69 and not 50, but it’s still a very low print run. That card is currently selling for more than what I paid for the box which is always nice. I’ve already redeemed the card and am eagerly awaiting its arrival in my mailbox. The only negative aspect of the card is that it’s a sticker auto, but other than that it’s a great looking card. The second redemption, for the Brett Wallace X-Fractor autographed card, is up for trade.

Anyone out there have any Finest singles? I’ve got half of the set from my box and plan on attempting to finish it. If you’ve got any singles, let me know. I plan on getting a list posted within the next few days.

One thing that I’ve been struggling with lately is collecting basketball cards. I love the sport, but I can’t stand Panini. They follow the same game plan with each and every set with a different design and name. It’s pretty frustrating because I want to buy some hoops cards, but I’m not a big fan of throwing my money away on more of Panini’s 4 jersey card boxes. So, I thought that I would try some football instead and decided on Supreme.


This stuff can be very hit or miss, but the hits are pretty amazing. The base cards themselves are beautiful, but it would be painful to spend this much for a box if you’re getting a crap hit and three base cards. Luckily, that wasn’t the case for me.

I ended up opening this box right at the dealer’s table because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to wait until I got home to see what I got. Behind the Tony Romo and Ahmad Bradshaw base cards, I saw a beautiful A.J. Green autographed relic rookie card numbered to 50. This card is selling for a decent price on eBay, but all of those have black jersey swatches full of holes. I think that this card is much better looking that any of the copies that I’ve seen on eBay. That’s a great looking orange swatch.

These packs end with a base parallel numbered to 99 or fewer. I had enough luck with the Green card so my final card was a Jamie Harper rookie numbered to 99.

I’m pretty happy with what I pulled, getting one of the better rookie autographs. There is some amazing stuff coming out of this product including Cam Newton and Tim Tebow autographs and legends such as Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Joe Namath.

The only thing that I think Topps should have changed about this is that packs without autographs should have contained two jersey cards and no parallel. It sucks big time to plop down $80 - $90 for one of these boxes and only pull a jumbo jersey card or triple jersey card no matter how low the serial numbering.

So, I bought some great cards and pulled some great cards, but neither of these were the reasons why I went to the show in the first place. Stay tuned for the main event.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Epic New York Adventure – Part 1

I’ve been talking about it enough, but the weekend finally arrived and I made the trip out to New York and the White Plains card show. I hopped on a bus at 1 am to make the trip into New York City. Sleeping most of the way is the best way to make this trip. It took a little longer than scheduled due to snow along the way, but that actually worked in my favor. Upon arrival, I set up camp inside of the McDonald’s on 42nd Street for breakfast and to wait for my friend to get to the city.

It ended up being a good thing that I got to the city nice and early because the roads were a mess. Driving was slow and most of the roads were reduced to just one lane. We still got there in plenty of time though and got to browse through a fairly empty show for a couple of hours until the weather improved. I started off by finding tables that I’d want to return to after checking everything out. I didn’t notice any singles that caught my interest. I’ll start off this recap with some of the individual cards that I picked up.


I won’t post pictures of all of the cards that I picked up for a quarter, but here’s a sampling. The Chief Team MVP is printed on holofoil that can only be seen along the top and on the top right, a Chaunsey Billups stand-up card in the shape of the NBA Championship trophy is a nice addition to the Celtics collection, Piazza Pacific Vanguard High Voltage from 2000, Juan Gonzalez 1996 Fleer Ultra Power Plus followed by the 1997 version and finally a regular sized card made up for 4 Cracker Jack minis including Kent Hrbek.


When I saw these, I couldn’t pass them up. Most were in great shape and for a quarter, I couldn’t pass them up. This is such an iconic set and while I may never have a Bird rookie of my own, it’s nice to have most of the other Celtics. I like how you get a picture of Parish in a Warriors jersey for their scoring leader card and in a Celtics jersey on his regular card.


The same dealer with the quarter cards also had some dollar boxes, so I sorted through those for a little while. Here are a few of the Piazza’s that I pulled out of the box. 99 UD Encore Homer Odyssey, 94 Leaf Gamers, 00 UD Ionix Pyrotechnics (on nice holofoil), 00 UD Ionix Awesome Powers (Yeah baby!), 98 SP Authentic Sheer Dominance gold and 95 UC3 In Motion. I may have already had the In Motion card, but for a buck I’ll grab another one.


This last batch came form a table that had a bunch of dollar boxes. They were well picked through by the time that I got there, but this table was packed every time that I passed by. 07-08 Echelon KG, 07-08 Triple Threads Big Baby RC /99, Delonte West 05-06 Ultimate Collection /50, Chris Slade second year refractor (this is from when refractors were about one per box), 08-09 Topps Sam Jones vintage orange refractor /199 and Jim Edmonds Sportscaster /50.

There was more, but this is the cream of the crop.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Locke & Key Ghost Key

Ghost Key

Over the past few months, I’ve really gotten the comic book Locke & Key by Stephen King’s son Joe Hill. The story is phenomenal and the art is just beautiful. If you like comic books and love a great story then you need to check this out.

Skeleton Crew Studio has produced replicas of some of the keys found in the books. I had my eye on this Ghost Key ay my local comic shop for weeks and when I had a little bit of extra cash, I picked it up. This thing is incredibly cool and beautifully detailed. This is going to look very cool hanging up somewhere in the man cave. I hope to pick up another two or three keys to display with this one. The Head Key is extremely cool looking as is the Shadow Key. Also, who knows what new keys will be introduced in future issues of the comic book.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Check Out My Satch Sanders

COMCSandersWhile my pursuit of Celtics players with retired numbers is mainly to collect their autographs, I’ve also been picking up some other Celtics cards here and there to add to the collection. Here are a couple of Tom “Satch” Sanders cards that I picked up from CheckOutMyCards.

The first is a 1970-71 Topps Sanders card. I love the older Topps basketball cards. These taller cards make sense when you’re picturing seven foot tall athletes. The weird thing about these cards is that the team name is airbrushed out and there’s no mention of the Celtics anywhere on the card. It looks like they are licensed by the Players Association, but not the NBA itself. Still very cool cards. The card is a little rough with rounded corners, but the price was right.

The second card is from the Upper Deck Dynasty set that I’m collecting. I had this card already, but I pulled it from the set to get it autographed. Now I have one to put back into the set.

Monday, January 16, 2012


So, it's been almost a year since I "redeemed" my Cheryl Miller autograph from Panini Basketball Hall of Fame. This set was fun, but it failed miserably because the price point was too high for something that was dominated by redemption cards, loaded with lesser known Hall of Famers and didn't include Michael Jordan. I like that it got a lot of autographs out there for players who didn't yet have any, but it's no fun pulling a $5 auto out of a $100 pack.

I had tried through the Panini website, Tweeting PaniniAmerica and leaving messages on the support phone number, but didn't have any luck in getting a replacement processed. Finally, with the help of Tracy Hackler, I got a call from Panini Customer Support.

It was disappointing to find out that this card is only booking for $25. Who is going to buy a redemption card for something that's probably never going to exist unless they want to see what they can get for a replacement. So, I'll be getting a replacement card that's around $25, but it's what was said after that which caught my attention. I could have sworn that I heard, "and a couple of packs of Hall of Fame."If that turns out to be true then I'll more than happy since the packs still sell for around $60 and I've slowly been chasing the base and black border sets.

Can't wait to see what shows up in the mailbox.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Check Out My Piazzas

It wouldn’t be a delivery from CheckOutMyCards without some additions to my Piazza collection. There are a ton of sets from the late 90s and early 00s that I don’t have any cards from at all.


First up is the beautiful 1995 Leaf Gold Stars card which is numbered to 10,000 copies. This was a big deal in 1995. I traded away the Kirby Puckett that I had from this set and had to pick up the Piazza so that I’d have at least one of these great looking cards in my collection. That’s followed by a 2006 4-in-1 Bowman sticker card, 1995 Fleer/Panini sticker, Classic promotional phone card and 2005 Cracker Jack sticker.

Anyone else collecting back when card companies starting putting phone cards into packs? Classic/Score Board did it more than anyone else, but I think even Topps got into the act.

COMCPiazza 1

Since I’m not really impressed by the big “MOJO” hits that come out of higher end products, I’m perfectly happy just buying singles after other people pay way too much to bust open boxes. Topps Tribute is a good example of that. It’s a beautiful base card, but most people don’t even care about these base cards. Next up is a Sterling parallel that’s numbered to just 50 copies. 2007 Topps Hit Parade is a shiny foilboard insert.

The next row starts off with a couple of Triple Threads parallels. The first one is numbered to 559 and the second to 1350. The 2006 Trading Places insert commemorates Piazzas move from the Mets to the Padres as a free agent.

The bottom row contains a 2006 Fleer Ultra Midsummer Classic Kings card which celebrates his being named the MVP of the 1996 All-Star Game. Rounding things out is an Upper Deck 2006 World Baseball Classic card showing Piazza playing for Italy.

So far, 5 of the 29 cards that will be part of my next shipment are Mike Piazza cards. I picked up some cool stuff including one card that I grabbed as much for nostalgia purposes than anything else.

Piazza Poll

Now that I’ve decided that I’m going to get an 8x10 signed by Piazza at the White Plains show, I have to decide which 8x10 is going to end up with a place of honor on my wall. I found a seller on Amazon that had a good selection of pictures at a very good price. I chose three that I liked the best and placed my order. Now, I’m having a hard time trying to decide which of these three should be the one that I bring. Each one has it’s positives and negatives.


This first picture I got because it’s got Piazza’s face on it even if it looks pretty goofy in this image. Normally, I’d be concerned about the dark background, but these days they have all kinds of pens at autograph signings and some sort of metallic ink should be perfect.

The main thing bugging me about this show is that normally I love getting things personalized, but since time is money they have to charge you for the extra time that the athlete will spend scribbling on your item. There’s no way that I’m spending $50 for him to write my name (or his first name twice).


I picked this picture because I liked how you could read the name on the back of the jersey. You can see Piazza’s face a little bit, but nowhere as well as in the first picture.

The background of this picture isn’t as dark as the first one. A black Sharpie would show up well in the lower third of the picture. Anything higher would require metallic ink.

One thing that bugs me about this picture is the MLB hologram right over Piazza’s foot. Anal, I know, but this is something that I will end up constantly looking at. I’ll have to make sure that the Piazza McFarlane figure is blocking the sticker if I end up choosing this picture.


The final picture is of Mike Piazza decked out in the tools of ignorance. I figured that I would pick this one up since Piazza was so well known for his defensive skills behind the plate. I almost typed that with a straight face. Piazza’s rep definitely wasn’t made because of his defense or pitch calling abilities, but I thought that this was a cool picture of him. You can’t even really tell that it’s Piazza unless you peek through the facemask or read the number on the top of his chest protector.

So, I’m probably not getting this one signed, but it’ll make a nice addition to the collection.

What do all of you think though? Which picture do you think will look best autographed (and with what color ink) and hanging on my wall?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Check Out My Cowens


I always make a note in my head of the first card that I buy on CheckOutMyCards after requesting a batch of cards to be sent to me. The purchase is usually made a day or so after requesting delivery. I had been waiting a while for this card between purchasing it and having it in my possession.

This card adds another to my total for my Celtics Retired Number collection. I think I’ve got around 10 autos now. I think this chase is going to be more of a focus for me this year since there are still a decent number of inexpensive autos that I can add before I start chasing some of the tougher ones such as Bird, Cousy and Auerbach.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Check Out My Repetitive Cards

When CheckOutMyCards announced their shipping special right before Christmas, I decided to head on over to the site and shop around for some cheaper cards using the money that I had in my account there. Someone must have busted a case of this stuff because they had a ton of Piazzas listed at .50¢ a piece and so I grabbed them all.


I ended up with three copies of card 79 for home runs 2, 15 and 23 of the 35 that Piazza hit during his rookie season. I also grabbed 15 copies of card 80 for RBI 14, 17, 24, 27, 31, 35, 38, 40, 49, 54, 63, 75, 90, 92 and 112 of the 112 that Piazza hit in his rookie year. All of these cards are numbered to 150 which isn’t a lot, but it seems like a lot since there are so many versions of each card. I got a parallel with a lower print run in a trade with Community Gum a little while back. That one was numbered to 29. Why 29? Hell if I know.

I wouldn’t pay more than .50¢ a card for these things. It was a pretty terrible idea by Topps. It’s funny because I love Topps Tek, but I hate this. At least the different backgrounds on the Tek cards made things a little interesting from card to card. These Moments and Milestones are only good for teaching kids how to count.

Go Figure

It didn't take me long to realize that the selling value for cards at CheckOutMyCards is a lot different than it is over at eBay. Since shipping is lower, I'll pay a dollar or two more for a card at COMC than I will over on feeBay. Some things do baffle me though. I sold a limited autograph from the Basketball Draft case for $15 that didn't get a bid starting at .99¢ over on eBay. In fact, many of those autographed cards sold over on COMC that didn't get any interest at all over on eBay.

Another example of this showed up for me today. I had pulled a Ryan Howard Peak Performer sticker auto out of a jumbo box last year. Considering he was probably in the group of toughest people to pull, I was very happy with it. I sent it off to COMC with my latest batch of cards and had to figure out a price for it since There was no price listed for the card. I went to eBay and saw that the autographed relic version of this card, serial numbered to just 50 copies, just sold for $23.23. With that in mind, I listed my auto for $25 thinking that I would get offers just below that. Well, it didn't take long for someone to snatch up the card for $25 and re-list it at $75. Now I'm wondering if I missed out on something here. Is there any possibly way that this card could be worth more that the version numbered to 50 copies?

Given the sale of the numbered card on eBay, I'm very happy with what I sold the card for, but there is part of me that wonders how much this person would have paid for the card. What do all of you think?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Check Out My Brain Cards

I was a huge fan of WWF wrestling in the 80s and 90s and a big reason for that was Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. He had a quick wit and his jokes made any match where he was commentating ten times more entertaining. Many times, the segments with Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon during Prime Time Wrestling were better than any of the matches they would introduce.


I only bought a few packs of WWE Platinum so I picked up this Heenan individually along with a refractor from 2006 Heritage Chrome. I really need to add a Bobby Heenan autograph to my collection. I guess that will be one of my collecting goals for 2012.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Check Out My Dewey Cards

My favorite player when growing up, Dwight Evans will probably always be my favorite Red Sox player. Dewey was an amazing fielder with a cannon for an arm. He wasn’t a slouch with the bat either once Walt Hriniak revamped his swing in the early 80s. A few more better offensive years early in his career and he might have gotten a little more Hall of Fame consideration. Maybe if he did somersaults on the field he would have been elected.


Here are three serial numbered cards from an Upper Deck set and two Donruss sets. It’s nice to see that current day Panini is carrying on the tradition of laziness started by Donruss. You didn’t have any other pictures of Evans to use? The design on both of those cards is brutal with the giant spaces looking for relics to be inserted. The final card is perforated and has a logo on it from the final year of Memorial Stadium. None of these cards will be entering the list of my favorite Dwight Evans cards, but I got them cheaply so they’re not part of my collection.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Check Out My Colored Sox Cards

I’ve found that CheckOutMyCards is by far the best place to pick up retail exclusive cards. These cards are no good for purchasing on eBay because the shipping is usually twice the price of the card. So, every now and then I’ll try a search for the various purples and oranges that Topps tucks away inside of retail packs.


The first card here actually isn’t a retail exclusive. This is a purple parallel numbered to 1799 from 2006 Future Stars. Next is an orange refractor from 2010 Topps Curvy Chrome. Batting third is a purple refractor from 2009 Bowman Chrome. In the cleanup spot is an orange Jon Lester refractor that looks really red in this scan.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Check Out My Bowman Basketball Cards – Finishing Move

Nothing too exciting about these cards except that they finish off my 2009-10 Bowman ‘48 set. The two rookies, DeMar DeRozan and Jordan Hill are serial numbered on the back to 2009 copies (as are all of the rookies) and the Double Post is numbered to 1948 (as are all of the plays).


I was a fan of this set right from the release. The autographed cards were sticker autos, but the checklist was very strong and there were three autographs to a box. I ended up pulling Dwyane Wade, Derek Rose and O.J. Mayo out of my box. Selling the Rose towards the end of his MVP season almost paid for the box on its own. There were blue parallels one per pack (numbered to 1948) and rarer black parallels that fell one per box. Then there were some rarer cards such as red autos (1 of 1), black bordered autographs (numbered to 48), printing plates, auto relics numbered to 1 and 8 and auto dual patch autos there were 1 of 1.

This is one set that I think can retain some decent value. It’s got a limited Blake Griffin rookie and there can only be 1948 complete sets due to the short printed play cards. So, I might be able to put this away with my ‘92 Bowman, ‘93 SP Baseball and ‘94 SP Baseball as the only sets that I own that are actually worth something.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Additions To My Celtics Retired Number Collection


Here are a couple of recent additions to my Celtics Retired Number Collection:

I picked up the Bailey Howell at my local card shop towards the end of last year. The best thing about Panini’s Basketball Hall of Fame set was that it provided a lot of affordable autographs of Hall of Famers, many of which didn’t have any autograph available prior to this.

The Tommy Heinsohn I picked up on eBay for a great price due to the fact that it was a Hong Kong auction and that tends to scare many buyers away. The card is serial numbered to 50 and has a great looking on-card autograph. I’m not old enough to have seen Heinsohn play, but he’s all I know as far as Celtics television broadcasts go. He can be hilarious, many times unintentionally so. I was very happy to add this card to my collection.

Anyone out there have any nice Larry Bird or Bob Cousy on-card autographs that they’d be willing to trade? I would make it more than worth your while. Drop me a line.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

My New Favorite Card

CassArtMy daughter’s school is part of a program where they take some of their art that you can then get on all kinds of items. Think CafePress. We ordered a few things and our families jumped all over it. Once I saw that there were art trading cards, I jumped all over that.

So, forget all of the relics, vintage, autographs, rookies, etc. This is now and will forever be my favorite trading card.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Giving and Getting

AndruzziAutoThe New England Patriots held a blood drive sponsored by Bob’s Furniture at Gillette Stadium at the  beginning of December. It was right after I became eligible to donate blood again so I went to give up some blood. I have to say that they did things right. They had things for kids to do while parents donated, tons of giveaways and plenty of snacks to help you recover.

Right before the exit, former Patriot Joe Andruzzi was set up at a table signing autographs. Andruzzi played with the Patriots for five years and was a member of all three Super Bowl Championship teams. More impressive than that, Joe kicked the ass of non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt’s lymphoma.

Joe and his wife had already launched the C.J. Buckley Brain Cancer Research Fund at Children’s Hospital back in 2002. In 2008, they started the Joe Andruzzi Foundation that provides financial assistance for cencer patients and their families as well as fund pediatric brain cancer research.

While waiting in line, it was fun watching Andruzzi interact with the younger kids that were there. He let many wear the Super Bowl ring that he was wearing and was extremely friendly and personable with everyone. Getting the autograph of a three time Super Bowl champ is always a cool thing, but it’s his accomplishments off of the field that make this autographed picture a great part of my collection.

Looking Back/Ahead

2011 was an interesting year for me as far as collecting goes. I struggled a bit to find my footing due to the NBA exclusive with Panini. I used to buy a ton of basketball cards and I have almost no interest in what Panini produces. They just churn out the same thing over and over again under different names. I slipped a bit and bought a box of Totally Certified because the cards look cool and have been regretting it ever since. I can buy three boxes worth of singles that I want for what the boxes sell for.

While I’m still not thrilled about it, the MLB exclusive doesn’t bother me as much because I’ve always been a fan of Topps. I know that lots of people want to blame their every misstep on them having the exclusive and not trying hard enough, but things like the Diamond Giveaway show me that they aren’t just resting on their laurels. This year’s Chrome Baseball was one of my all-time favorite sets and I’m still kicking myself for not getting a case of Chrome Football.

Glen “Big Baby” Davis saw his antics last season get him traded from the Celtics to the Orlando Magic. So, there’s one less player collection that I’ll be actively pursuing. The shame of that is it’s one of my more impressive collections due to the prices on his cards being a little lower. In the past, I’ve held on to my collections of former Celtics Al Jefferson, Delonte West and Ryan Gomes, but I’m not sure if that’s what I’ll end up doing here. I think I may keep my eye on eBay auctions to see how Davis’ cards are selling since that might sway my decision if Orlando fans are looking to acquire his cards. From what I’ve seen, he really hasn’t done anything yet in Orlando to win fans over.

I busted three cases in 2011. 2011 Topps Chrome Baseball was a winner with some great autographs and colored refractors. 2007 Masterpieces Baseball wasn’t a huge win, but it was a fun break and I loved the fact that I was able to help out a lot of people with their collections. 2011 Topps Update Jumbos was a bit of a bust. I think a lot of this comes from the fact that I was shorted what was probably going to be the best hit of the case. This stuff is also a ton of work for a little reward. I ended up redeeming all of the Diamond Giveaway cards and in retrospect I definitely would have sold those. It would have been a lot cheaper just to buy the cards that I ended up having shipped to me. In the future, I think that I’ll probably just stick to one box for myself with this type of product.

My collection continues to be a disorganized mess. The good thing is that everything is finally out of the storage unit. The bad thing is that time always seems to be an issue. I always had everything organized when it was just me and I had plenty of free time, but these days I spend a lot of time with my family and enjoy it. Maybe I don’t need hobbies as much, but I do still enjoy them. I just have to find out a better way to juggle everything.

Looking ahead, 2012 is going to start off really well for me. Part of my Christmas present this year from my family is a trip to the January White Plains card show where I’ll be able to obtain a Mike Piazza autograph in person. I’m super excited about that. I was a few feet away from Piazza after a charity softball game in California years ago, but wasn’t able to get his autograph then. The Piazza auto will end up going up on the wall along with Jorge Garcia, Paul Pierce and Dwight Evans in the place of honor in my man cave.

Another thing that I’m excited about is this year’s Boston ComicCon. I’ve been a fan of Katie Cook’s art ever since my wife showed it to me on Livejournal. This was long before she did any Marvel sketch cards or Fraggle Rock comic book art. I’ve wanted to own some of her original art for a long time now, but her sketch cards always sell for big bucks on eBay. Now that she’s coming to Boston, I’ll be able to meet her and get some of her art. Also at the show will be Stephanie Buscema who is an amazingly talented artist as well. I really want to get some of her original art as well, but that might be a bit of a stretch. I’m going to have to do some fundraising for that one to happen. I also want to get some art from Bill Walko who does the webcomic The Hero Business. I already have one of his prints, but would love to get a sketch for my collection.

Other than that, I’m not sure what 2012 will have in store. I just want to have fun with the hobby and rising price tags make that difficult at times. I honestly have more fun busting cases where I may not end up keeping any of that cards than anything else. Now I just need to become independently wealthy so that my next case break doesn’t depend on selling everything from the previous one. I’m not going to set any goals because I have no clue right now what I’ll be interested in come next September.

Everything considered, it was a good year last year. I hope all of you had great years as well and that you’ll have an even better 2012.