Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Going on a short hiatus

Hey guys. Just to let you know, I won't be posting anything for the next two weeks nor will I be able to complete any trades. I will be leaving tomorrow to spend the next two weeks in Ukraine. By the time I get back it'll almost be time for Allen & Ginter to arrive!

Happy collecting!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Post break question

Quick question. After you do a box break where you are keeping the contents do you prefer to leave the cards in the wrappers and in the box? Or do you take them out to sort and store them in a different container?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Card Show report- 2011 Topps Lineage box break

My final goal at the card show was to buy a hobby box of...something..anything really. Something recent at least. I went in thinking maybe a box of Topps Chrome from 2007-2012 but really anything would do if it was the right price. Most of the dealers only had 2013 products and some 2012 products in stock, all of which I have acquired a lot of already, am not collecting or was out of my price range. However the same dealer who I purchased the two packs of '13 S2 from to get the vintage card did have a box of 2010 Topps Chrome on hand for $58. This was a little bit more expensive than it was going for online but only a few dollars. I thought about it...and thought about it some more. And decided to instead purchase the box of 2011 Topps Lineage he had for only $1 more. I could not have made a better choice!

I had not collected any of this set before so it was a completely new product for me. I really like the modern design that is coupled with an excellent checklist of current players and Hall of Famers. I don't know how much attention this set got back in 2011 so here is a sample of the base set.

And now most of the inserts contained in the box.

Topps Giants box topper 

Stand ups

Diamond Anniversary refractor parallels

Platinum Diamond Anniversary parallels

Topps Rookies

1975 minis

Topps 3D

Cloth Stickers

Each Topps Lineage Hobby Box contains one relic and two autos.

1975 mini relic

1952 Autograph (sticker)

Autographed reprint (on-card)

All in all this was an excellent box break. I really like this set. I'm not a big fan of the Topps Archives set and would much prefer that they bring back Lineage in it's place.

Well this wraps up my report on my first ever card show. The next one in Hickory is in October but I will not be able to go. I believe another is scheduled for January so I am looking forward to it with great anticipation!

Card Show report- The Chrome and the (Road) Gray

Continuing on my card show experience:

I found another dealer with a few packs of 2004 Topps Chrome and Bowman Chrome for $1 each. I found this right before I was intending to leave and I had $4 cash left in my wallet so I figured the price was right and grabbed two packs of each. None of the packs were all that spectacular but they did yield one refractor parallel from each set.

One of my goals going into the show was to find a Chipper Jones relic. Chipper's rookie year in 1995 was the same year that I developed my interest in baseball and subsequently baseball cards and he immediately became my favorite player. So as I had yet to acquire a relic of his I figured this would be a good opportunity to find one. The first dealer table I checked out was manned by an obvious die-hard Yankees fan by the name of Frank. He was decked out in Yanks garb and had a very pronounced Bronx accent. Frank had a large box jammed full of relics and autos. While I searched through the box he and I had a good conversation about the state of baseball as well as the hobby. He told me about growing up in the Bronx in the 70's and sitting out in the bleachers for a few games every summer at old Yankee Stadium. 

Near the back of the box I found two cards that really piqued my interest. The first was a dual auto of Brandon Beachy and Julio Teheran. The sticker was $30 and as much as I would have loved to have had it I decided to pass. But right behind it was a 2007 UD Masterpieces Captured on Canvas Chipper Jones jersey relic! Goal completed! The sticker price was $10 and when I handed it to him he looked at it for a second and said "five bucks." Thanks Frank!!

While I was there I bought cards from one other dealer, most of which I will show in another post. He had hobby boxes of 2013 Topps S1 and S2 open to sell loose packs for $2 apiece. On the boxes he had signs that said "Buy two or more packs and get a free gift". So I decided to take advantage and bought two packs of S2. Those were not all that interesting besides a Prince Fielder Cut to the Chase, but the free gift was interesting. He had a stack of plain silver foil packs that each contained one vintage Topps card from the 50s-70s. Here's what I got.

1961 Topps #134 Mickey Vernon

Not a particularly valuable card but seeing as I previously owned nothing produced before 1980 it was still a cool thing to get. And an interesting fact, Vernon is the MLB record holder for most double plays participated in by a first baseman.

One last post about the card show will be coming soon.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Card Show report- Reminiscing on the cheap

I have a particular fondness for sets from the mid 1990's as that is when I started collecting. Back when I was in late elementary and middle school I would save up my allowance money for a month or more then beg my mom to take me to my LCS where I would blow everything on packs and the occasional single card. The owner Raymond had a huge cardboard box full of junk wax packs for a quarter apiece. Naturally I thought this was awesome and would usually buy 8-10 packs. Raymond would also throw in a couple more for free if I spent more than $20. Being a young, naive collector I was all about quantity over quality. So when I had to decide between say four packs of UD Collector's Choice with ten cards in each pack and one pack of Topps Finest with six cards in the pack for the same price, I would of course choose the cheaper packs. As a result I feel like I probably missed out on a lot of the better sets of the mid to late 90s. But I really enjoyed my baseball card collecting hobby so I don't regret those decisions. Thanks to the advent of the internet age it is now very easy to acquire older sets if you so desire. Currently I'm working more on catching up on sets from the 2000's that I missed during my time away from the hobby that I have previously written about so I haven't given 90's wax much of a look.

Fast forward to yesterday where I was attending my first ever card show in Hickory, NC. I found one dealer who had a box completely full of baseball, football and basketball packs ranging from early 80's Topps, Score and Donruss to the mid 90s. The majority of the packs were 80's junk wax or 90's sets that I have already mostly completed. However after doing some digging around in the box I found a few packs each of 1995 Topps Finest, 1995 Emotion, 1996 Topps Finest and 1996 Donruss. The first three sold back in the day for $4-6 a pack, and he was selling these at 3 for $1! What a deal! The Donruss certainly wasn't a remarkable series but it was the last baseball set they made as an independant company as well as the last year that Dick Perez produced the Diamond Kings series. As I had not collected much of this set I decided to grab two packs of it as well as three each of both Finest sets and four of the Emotion set. So based on my research and calculations I got 12 packs for $4 when in 95/96 they would have cost me $58. That sounds like a Rickey Henderson quality steal to me!

Here is a sampling of the cards contained in the packs.

Emotion 95

Back in the day I bought a total of one pack from this set and it has ever since been one of my favorites. The photography and editing was well done for the mid-90's but the best part was the double-thick cardboard. The cards have a nicer feel than typical 90's set.

Finest 95

I was a little surprised at the thickness of these cards, or the lack thereof. They feel a little flimsy for what was at the time one of the higher end sets in the hobby. However the protective film on each card does help make up for it. One thing that surprised me was that there were two Albert Belle base cards in one pack. A the same pack!!! I don't think I had EVER had that happen to me before. Topps catches a lot of flack these days for a myriad of things but I can only imagine the hate they would get from collectors if they made a habit of doing that now.

Finest 96

Interesting that they decided to use multiple designs this year. Now you see that David Justice card in the middle? I got three of three packs...and one pack did not contain one. That's right folks! Another case of a duplicate in the same pack! I know these two sets came out 17-18 years ago but what gives, Topps? Duplicates are inevitable when you buy a lot of packs but in the exact same pack? That's no way to treat your customers. Maybe I'm glad I waited nearly two decades to spend money on this set. Ten year old me would have been mighty pissed off about that.

Donruss 96

One of the best things about buying the Donruss packs is that they did yield quite a few HoF/Future HoF players. Though they don't have much monetary value it is always nice for sentimental value to see cards for players that you grew up watching. As an added bonus, all of the inserts in this set were sequentially numbered. The Frank Thomas Round Trippers insert is numbered 2488/5000.

Despite the duplicate annoyance I am really happy I was able to make this purchase. It brought a lot of memories flooding back about standing in the LCS for what seemed like forever trying to decide what to spend my money on. Sadly the LCS closed many years ago and I have to do most of my in-person card shopping at Wal-Mart. At least I have my memories...

Further Card Show reports will be coming in the following days.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A first time for everything

So over the last few days I saw a handful of blog posts about going to card shows and it got me thinking, "Hey I've never been to one of those." No seriously. I hadn't.

Well last night I used the Great Google to see if there would be any shows in North Carolina coming up. And lo and behold there was going to be one today in Hickory, about a 45 minute drive from me! So I got up early and headed up to the Hickory Metro Convention Center and arrived shortly after the 9AM opening. I would say there were approximately 50-60 dealers in attendance with about half selling sports cards while the rest were selling comic books and toys. I'm not going to report on my purchases just yet as I have not had the chance to scan anything. Posts will be forthcoming in the next few days. But to say the least, I had an excellent and successful first time card show experience!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A little Bowman Queen

Ok weird title, I know. But anyways, a couple days ago I was in Wal-Mart #1, aka crappy card aisle store, and I hoped to pick up a 2013 Bowman rack pack. Unfortunately they were sold out so instead I picked up a 2013 Gypsy Queen rack pack and two loosey Bowman packs. I mean really, who among us can resist at least buying something from the card aisle even when they don't have what you wanted? Well maybe you can, but not me!

I have had excellent luck with avoiding duplicates this year in the non-flagship sets. Before this latest buy I had yet to pull a single duplicate from loose and rack packs from Heritage, Bowman or Gypsy Queen. My luck with both Bowman and Gypsy Queen stayed perfect! Well, in reality I did pull a Starlin Castro GQ base card that I previously had. But I had sent the other one out as part of a trade package so I don't think this one counts.

The two Bowman packs contained the usual smattering of current MLB players as well as prospects. But I did pull one insert. I had yet to pull a Bowman Top 100 Prospects card until now.

Hamilton is somewhat of an enigma to me. The guy has wheels. Incredible wheels. He's hands down the best base stealer since Rickey Henderson and may end up being even better. But I'm not sure he has the bat to stick around at the big league level. He was an exceptional .323 hitter at Class A+ last year and was still a pretty good .286 after being promoted to AA. But this year in AAA he's only hitting .243 and that is a big problem. He could definitely be a defensive asset though simply because of his speed. Hamilton originally came up as a SS and also played a little 2B but he was a total "iron glove". As of tonight in five seasons of professional baseball Hamilton has committed 93 errors, 89 of which came in the infield. But this season he has primarily been playing CF for the Louisville Bats and only has 4 errors coupled with 4 OF assists. So I would call that a big improvement.

I don't think Hamilton is going to be spending any meaningful time in the majors until he can get his hitting worked out. Perhaps sometime next year he could get the call from Cincinnati but I doubt the Reds want him to become another Willy Taveras.

And now for some GQ..

Mike Trout Short Print

One of the best Braves ever and one of the most over-hyped, disappointing Braves ever...

And of course the 3-pack of retail exclusive framed white parallels

Not too bad of a haul I suppose.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Braves and Archives

I recently completed a trade with Superduperman99 from Fantastic Catch. I sent him a nice collection of Cardinals cards that he needed and a couple of inserts I had recently pulled that he was interested in along with a few other base cards he needed to help complete a couple sets. In return he sent me a selection of Braves base set cards from different Topps sets that I was in need of.

Thanks for the trade!

Back almost a month ago I put in a Take My Cards request with Crackin Wax. After sending him my SASE he got the cards in the mail in a timely manner as he always does. However, the cards didn't arrive...and didn't arrive...and didn't arrive. About a week and a half after he put them in the mail I started getting worried. I sent Crackin Wax and email just to let him know what was going on and that I was worried that USPS had lost the cards. Well at this point almost a month after I put in the request I had pretty much given the cards up for lost. But this morning I stopped at the post office and lo and behold there was a large white envelope in my box. The envelope was from the USPS Mail Recovery Center in Atlanta and had something small but thick inside. I knew this had to be the cards and it was! My PWE inside was sliced open all the way across lengthwise but thankfully all of the cards were present and accounted for and none the worse for wear. On the outside of my envelope was stamped "Returned for additional postage". Now in the past I have found that two forever stamps was plenty enough postage to cover a PWE with 20 cards inside. I know the USPS does not recommend using multiple forever stamps on one parcel but they only say that because you end up overpaying that way. I just find it easier to throw two stamps on there and send it on it's way. So I'm not sure what was going on there. I'm just glad the cards arrived. 

I received from Crackin Wax a 2007 Topps Heritage Chipper Jones New Age Performers along with a selection of 2013 Topps Archives cards.

To be honest I don't have a lot of interest in Topps Archives. I started my collecting days in the mid 90s and my long since closed LCS had TONS of junk wax packs available for really cheap. So much like many of my fellow collectors, I'm sure, I was able to build near full sets of those WONDERFUL Topps, Donruss and Score sets from the late 80's just from buying two or three packs every time I went card shopping. Therefore, the current Topps Archives doesn't interest me all that much as its mostly just the same junk wax designs with current players. BUT, Crackin Wax had some up for claiming for almost free so why not?

By the way, when I say "almost free" I mean that you still have to pay for the postage and Crackin Wax also asks you to make a $1 donation via Paypal to Big Brothers Big Sisters in exchange for the cards. So almost free cards and your $1 goes to a great cause! He's got a lot of great cards available here so check it out!

Happy collecting!!


Anybody know why it seems that every pitcher from Japan or Korea has a long windup that starts with them stretching their arms over their head? I've never seen any other pitcher do this than guys from east Asia. Was this just popularized by Hideo Nomo when he became the first Japanese pitcher in MLB? Most of today's pitchers would have been growing up in the mid and late 90's when he was nearly unhittable in MLB. Or is this a phenomenon that stretches back further than Nomo's career?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy Independence Day!! Part 2

So I get cheap retail or blaster boxes every once in awhile and keep them around for a rainy day. And today was a rainy day! As today was July 4th I figured it was also a special occasion so I decided to break a 16 pack retail box of 2010 Topps Series 1.

Here are a few of the inserts I pulled.


These are both from the "Cards your mother threw out" insert set. The Juan Marichal card makes sense as the original was from 1965. But the Lincecum from 2008? A reprint insert that was only from two years prior to this set being released? If Topps really wanted a more authentic feeling "Cards your mom threw out" insert set they should have had nothing after the 1980's. But that's just my opinion.

Cards like this showing players as youngsters are always interesting.

I didn't realize they had inserted Turkey Red cards into the flagship set.

Great insert with a great photo of one of the most important athletes in American history.

Well this came as a big surprise! I had never once pulled a relic from a flagship set retail pack so I was quite surprised when I pulled this Rickie Weeks Game-Used bat relic. I didn't even realize it at first because I was watching news coverage of local flooding due to all the rain. I initially thought this was just a regular Peak Performance insert as I was distracted by the TV. But then my thumb slid over the wooden bat chip. Quite an unexpected pull but a great one!

So despite the rain my Independence Day turn out to be pretty great! I hope everyone else had a great day celebrating America!

Happy collecting! 

PS: This box was purchased from Dave and Adam's Card World. Check em out!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!! Part 1

What is the most American thing you can think of?

Baseball, right? Well that's what comes to my mind first. I knew I wasn't going to be attending a game today so I thought, "What's the next best thing?" Baseball cards of course! As it turns out I had to make a trip to Wal-Mart #2 this morning to pick up a few food items. Naturally I paid a visit to the card aisles first thing after entering the store. I picked up a 2012 Topps S1 rack pack that was marked down to $3, two packs of 2013 Topps Heritage, and two packs of 2013 Panini Prizm. Both of the Heritage packs were pretty boring so I won't be featuring anything from those. I've had very little luck with that set this year and I don't think I will be buying any more. It just isn't as interesting to me as it has been in the past. Here are a few highlights from '12 S1 and '13 Prizm.

I'm a sucker for inserts that feature HOF members.

Topps always has a few base set cards with photos that are out of the ordinary. Most cards seem to feature a photo of a player batting or throwing. But this one is definitely different. Especially in that you cannot see Arencibia's face. I found it interesting.

I found the photo in this Jayson Werth card to be particularly odd. Upon closer inspection I realized that the photo had been taken THROUGH the backstop! Modern camera technology allows for the photo to still be high quality with the focus on the players in the background rather than the backstop in the foreground. But honestly I don't think this photo should have been used. Surely they could have found a better option for Werth's card.

Prizm pack 1

Prizm pack 2

Honesty time...these were the first two packs of Panini cards I have EVER bought....and I love the cards! I generally don't care for cards that have the team logos etc. edited out. But despite that fact this set looks amazing! Just holding them they feel like cards worth the $3 per pack price tag. I will likely buy a few more of these this year. I particularly like the Blue Prizm Scott Diamond RC. It also happens to be a refractor but I'm guessing that all of the parallel Prizm cards are refractors due to there being nothing mentioned on the outside of the pack about it. I do wish Panini would print the odds on the pack like Topps does. The nerd in me likes to check the odds every time I rip. Instead the pack only mentions the number of cards in the set that have each type of parallel and how many of each type of insert there is. Not the insertion odds.

I also wish MLB didn't have the exclusive license deal with Topps as Panini definitely deserves a shot too. But perhaps having that deal in place has motivated Panini to put out excellent products like this to convince the consumers like me to purchase their product in spite of the heavily edited photos. Good job Panini! I will definitely be checking out some of their other products soon.

Part 2 coming shortly...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Why not?

So today I made a pit-stop at local Wally World #2 which is the one with the MUCH better card aisle. After loading up on some S2 last time I'm not really sure I want to spend any more cash on the flagship set this year. At least not until the Update set comes out. I would imagine that many of my fellow collectors feel the same way as I do in that S2 just lacks a lot of the excitement as S1. The base set now seems rather bland and repetitive and it's not really worth it to me to spend the money for the inserts and the handful of base set cards I would want. SO, long story short I quickly let my eyes drop from the top shelf of current products down to the older blaster and hanger boxes just to see what they had in stock. As it turns out they had one 2012 Topps Series 1 blaster and one 2011 Topps Series 2 hanger box in stock and they were both discounted! I didn't collect much of either of these sets so it was nice and fresh for me. Now I always like hanger boxes for their value as they are normally priced at $10 and it was marked down to $6! As far as the blaster goes I normally avoid the flagship blasters like the plague. $20 for 80 cards plus a manu-patch is not very attractive to me. Not to mention that they insert no autos or relics into the blasters as far as I'm aware. But in this case the blaster was marked down to $12 so I figured "Why not?" And I snapped it up before some other enterprising collector came along and beat me to it.

Now as these two sets are from previous years I'm sure you guys probably have no interest in the base set cards so I'm going to skip talking about them. You may not be interested in the inserts either but I am so read on or don't, your choice! =) I'm only going to show a few of the inserts from both as I don't feel like typing a lot right now nor do I think any of you wish to look through a bunch of cards you've probably already seen.

From the 2011 Series 2 hanger box

60 Years of Topps
60YOT-100 Wade Boggs

Kimball Champions
KC-63 Juan Marichal
KC-75 Bob Feller

Diamond Stars
DS-10 Albert Pujols

And from the 2012 Series 1 blaster

Golden Moments
GM-36 John Smoltz

Gold Futures
GF-24 Paul Goldschmidt 

Golden Greats
GG-32 Mickey Mantle
GG-37 Roberto Clemente

Gold Standard
GS-21 Chipper Jones

And the manu-patch card

RN-RM Roger Maris

I've never much cared for the manu-patch cards to be honest. I'd much rather have a game used relic than a piece of fabric that Topps made. But upon some research apparently this card is going for $13 plus on COMC so I guess some people do like them. 

Anywho, hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Happy collecting!