Sunday, December 10, 2017

Trading Anything

Recently I participated in Thorzul's 2017 "Trade My Anything" series.  He's been running this about a decade now and the concept is simple, he busts a box of Topps Update and you can claim any of his unwanted cards.  In return you simply send a SASE and...well...anything.

I claimed only two cards, both variations on base cards...

One for my Red Sox collection here, with Roger Clemens.  Maybe not my most fascinating card of The Rocket, but I needed to claim something to give me a reason to participate.

I'm not sure how they settled on that seemingly random 5-year run of statistics, but there you go.

Since I'm a sucker for variation cards in general, I also laid claim to this variation of Mike Trout's Series 1 card.  Hard to pass down a unique card of arguably the game's greatest player.  The Angels certainly helped get him some protection in the lineup this off-season as well!

Well, that was my haul.  Small and tidy, which is the beauty of it.  I look at this yearly promotion as a great opportunity to de-clutter.  In exchange for these two cards I sent Thorzul a bunch of cardboard, along with some movies, books, CDs and a bunch of other stuff that he seemed to appreciate.

I'd call that a win/win, and I certainly plan to participate again next year!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Buyback Franken-set - The Great Rick Wise

Well, it's been over five weeks since I added anything to my buyback franken-set.  It's not a sign that I'm less passionate about the project, it's just that the way I've been doing it is time-consuming and lately that's time I just don't have.  Scanning in ten buybacks, sorting them all into the binder and deciding who wins out, cropping, adding 20-30 scans to a post and typing everything up is not a quick process.

In the short term here you'll probably see a few smaller posts like tonight's single-card endeavor.  This is actually the newest buyback in my collection, having arrived in my mailbox just today...

1968 Topps #262 - Rick Wise

I've developed a minor obsession over the years with Rick Wise for a couple of reasons.  First of all, he was the winning pitcher of record in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series for the Red Sox, considered by many to be the most exciting post-season game ever played.  Secondly, and even more importantly in my mind, he was the author of one of the best individual games pitched in Major League history.  In June of 1971 he famously no-hit the Cincinnati Reds...and clubbed two home runs!

Wise has been a fun guy to collect because he doesn't have a ton of cardboard out there, and what he does have doesn't really command high prices either.  When an eBay seller recently listed this box-topper buyback from this past year's Heritage set for less than $2 with free shipping it was just irresistible to me.  I knew that even if it didn't make the franken-set it would be a card I'd be happy to own for my little Rick Wise PC.

Well, about that franken-set, does Rick here make the cut?

I've already got a #262 in the binder, but it's nothing all that exciting to me.  I knew when I picked up the Wise that it would take a special buyback to prevent it from a spot in the binder...

...and this Ed Kirkpatrick is not that special buyback (no offense Ed!).

So yeah, that's all for tonight.  Doesn't get me any closer to franken-set completion since it's a number I already had, but it certainly makes the set a bit more interesting overall.  I'll take that any day for a dollar and some change...

Franken-set Progress:  510/792 (63%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  368
Total Buybacks in Collection: 878

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Signature Sundays - Sweet Sweet Redemption!

Back in March, I did something that was very out of character for me in this hobby, and paid good money for a redemption card.  I normally stay away from these because there's never a 100% guarantee that you'll end up with the card you are redeeming for.  In this case I wanted the card so badly though that I went outside my comfort zone and took a shot.  When the dust had settled, I squared up with the seller and a few days later this arrived in my mailbox:

Name Has Been Redacted for  Suspense

I eagerly scratched to reveal my redemption code and then headed over to Upper Deck's website and plugged it in.  I was met with a status of...drum roll please..."waiting for athlete".  Crap.  I checked in a few more times as the summer rolled on, and was always met with the same.

After a while I pretty much stopped checking in, though this redemption was always on the back of my mind and I was almost reaching the point of kicking myself for rolling the dice on it.  Then one day, about a month ago, I found a bubble mailer from Upper Deck in the mailbox after work.  Bingo!

I could not be happier with the card, and this is certainly a case of patience paying off.  With this purchase I added an autograph of one of my all-time favorite hockey players to my collection.  Behold!

For my hockey card collection, this is about as good as it gets right here.  Jaromir Jagr is still playing in the NHL at age 45, the last holdout from the days of my childhood fandom.  It's been so much fun to watch him climb the all-time leader boards over the years, though it seems as though his career has to be close to winding down at this point.

I've wanted an autograph of Jagr for a long while, but pickings are slim when it comes to certified autos and what is out there tends to sell for decent coin.  Understandable given that Jagr has racked up more points in his career than anyone not named Gretzky!

When I learned of the existence of this '92-93 Fleer Ultra buyback auto in the 2016-17 Fleer Showcase set I knew it was the one I wanted.  This set came right in my heyday of childhood collecting, and I have fond memories of this exact card.  The Pens were coming off their back-to-back Stanley Cup championships when this card was issued, and Jagr was one of the hottest names in the hobby.  It turns out those would be the only two Stanley Cups Jaromir would win, at least to date.

The back gives you a great look at his illustrious and legendary mullet.  That is a hockey haircut if I've ever seen one.  Of course you have your authentication hologram from Upper Deck as well, just underneath the smaller action photo there.

Tying it together, here's the CoA for the card, tied by serial number to the authentication hologram on the back.

I am extremely pleased to own one of the 25 copies that exist of this beautiful, on-card autograph.  Jaromir Jagr is one of the most exciting and memorable players ever to take the ice, and this is a piece of sports memorabilia that I will certainly cherish for as long as I collect!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Douglas Sends the Best Soccer Player on Earth?

Got a few more trade packages to catch up on here, let's knock out a quick one that arrived a few weeks back from my longtime hobby buddy Douglas of Sportscards from the Dollar Store...

I got my very first taste of 2017-18 O-Pee-Chee in this particular envelope.  A very solid design, probably my favorite of the past few years.  Had I received this card a few years back I would have probably run over to Target and grabbed a couple blasters.  Nowadays I'm happy just to have the set represented in my collection with this single.

Douglas is constantly supplying me with new Hartford Whalers cards, which I truly appreciate.  The latest envelope contained a pair, both from Upper Deck.  First, a Robert Petrovicky from the 1992-93 Euro-Rookies insert set.  This is the only card from this set I've gotten my hands on to date, and as the lone Whaler on the checklist it's certainly the one I'd want most.

The other was this great Mark Janssens Electric Ice parallel.  I have some fond memories of collecting these Electric Ice parallels back in the day.  These came one-per-pack, and I think I'm probably almost halfway to a Whalers team set from this '95-96 release now.

Lastly, here's the prize of the package, a card which I shamelessly claimed when Douglas posted it on his own blog a while back.  If you check in here with any frequency then you know I'm a soccer fan, and I also love shiny cards.  So, this beauty from Panini of arguably the world's best player really had me drooling when Douglas posted it.  He ended up sending it my way because that's the kind of guy he is.

Not much to the back, which is about what I expect from Panini these days.

Since it seems like the perfect time to post it, here's a photograph I took while I was on vacation with my wife in Portugal this past summer:

This was at a bar in a medieval walled town called Evora, idea being you vote for the best soccer player in the world using the cork from your wine bottle.  Pretty much neck and neck here between Messi and Ronaldo, which is impressive for Messi given that Ronaldo is basically a God in Portugal.

Anyway, there you have it.  Thanks for another great trade package Douglas!

I'd be interested in hearing from any soccer fans in the comments about who they think the world's best current player is.  Ronaldo?  Messi?  Someone else entirely?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Busy, Busy, Busy

I know I'm not alone here, but it's been a struggle to find time for my hobby the past few weeks.  The holiday season is typically busy enough, and when you add to that a work promotion that has made my already hectic and stressful job even worse, some health issues for me (I'm fine now) and my dog (so is he), and about a dozen other things I won't get into here, it's just been tough.  I've even taken on a new hobby recently which I may or may not talk about here at some point.  I realize it makes no sense to do so given everything I just described above, but it happened.

Anyway, I don't say this to complain, but more to explain why there's been a bit less activity here, and why it's taken me an excessive amount of time to respond to some of your emails (weeks in some cases, yikes).  I think I've gotten back to just about everyone I needed to at this point, and I've even got a few minutes left over for a post!

Just a few minutes though, so how about a pair of recent hockey additions that reached my mailbox this past week?

Yes, they're buybacks.  Are you surprised?  Probably not.  Both are 20th Anniversary Buybacks from Upper Deck's inaugural hockey set that were included in their 2010-11 flagship release (the French version).  I've shown a few of these off before, in fact tonight's pair takes me up to a dozen in total now.

What I liked about this duo was that both cards feature HOFers, I won each for the opening bid of 99 cents, and they were from the same seller so I saved with combined shipping.  All in all it ended up being a solid deal considering these typically do fairly well on the secondary market.

Gotta show the backs, these were pretty much mind-blowing in 1990 and in fact they're still a notch above most of what's being released today in my humble opinion.

Joining the great Denis Savard is defenseman Larry Murphy.  While I'd gladly accept just about any card from this buyback set if the price is right, and certainly anyone who's enshrined in the HOF, I was particularly drawn to this one because of those fantastic Minnesota North Stars sweaters.  If I were in charge of the NHL I'd rename the Wild to the North Stars and make the Dallas Stars pick a new name.

Another awesome back here.

The older I get, and the less time I seem to have for collecting, the more I find that I'm becoming selective in my purchases.  When I got back into the hobby over a decade ago I considered myself a set collector, but I wouldn't say so anymore (with a couple of exceptions).  Then I had a long phase were I thought I'd collect as many Boston Red Sox and Hartford Whalers cards as I could get my hands on, but I think I'm tiring of that as well.

These days I'm gravitating towards being more selective and purchasing fewer cards that are more significant or valuable to me.  I think after being at it for so long I'm just a bit burned out and overwhelmed by the endless number of cards I've accumulated over the last ten years.  I've already begun the condensing process, and have mailed out hundreds of cards in the past few weeks.

I plan to continue that process in 2018.  I'm honestly hoping, and legitimately expecting, to cut my collection size in half by the end of next year.  Don't worry though, I'm still enjoying the hobby, and I have no plans to step away from the blog any time soon.  Hell, I have so many awesome cards lying around here that I haven't had the time to post about yet that I could stop picking up anything new today and probably have material for the next ten years.

Anyway, thank you for taking a few minutes of your day to read my ramblings.  It truly does mean a lot to me.  For now though, I'm just about out of time.

Busy, busy, busy...

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Signature Sundays - Lanny McDonald

The 1989-90 Topps and O-Pee-Chee hockey sets were my first introduction to sports cards way back in the day.  I still have fond memories of my dad surprising my brothers and I, who were playing ice hockey at the time, with some packs after work some nights.  We'd sit around the kitchen table trading, reading the stats, and organizing our makeshift binders.

I still have that original binder to this day, and here I am almost 30 years later still enjoying sports card collecting.  Since the '89-90 hockey sets haven't retained much value, I've picked up complete sets of both the Topps and O-Pee-Chee releases to supplement my original childhood cards.  Over the past couple of years though, I've started picking up some autographed cards as well to really put the cherry on top of this part of my collection.

Today I've got the latest HOFer that I've acquired to share with you, the great Lanny McDonald!

I always liked this card in particular, since Lanny actually hung up the skates after the 1988-89 season, making this a "sunset card".  The O-Pee-Chee version you see here is even a step better than its Topps counterpart, as it specifically lists his retirement date on the front in the lower left.

I was much too young when I first acquired this card to appreciate Lanny as a player, in fact his pro career came to an end just before I got into the sport.  I recall my brothers and I getting a kick out of him though simply because of his uncommon name, because he didn't wear a helmet, and because of his iconic red mustache!

Lanny did a fantastic job with the autograph here, he's got one of the more interesting autographs I've seen penmanship-wise, and this one is big, bold, and on-card.  Great stuff.

The most interesting thing to me about McDonald's career is that he hung it up after finally winning a Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1989.  Pretty cool to go out on top like that, but even cooler given that the 11 regular season goals he tallied in '88-89 left him with an even (and impressive) 500 in his career!  A Cup championship and an even 500 goals, that's certainly a neat and tidy way to make an exit from the game.

This copy actually came inserted as a buyback autograph in Upper Deck's 2008-09 OPC set, here's the authentication card with matching holographic sticker proving its legitimacy.

I couldn't be more pleased with this one, in fact I think this is my favorite '89-90 autograph of the handful I've been able to land so far.  If I had to pair my entire collection down to just 100 cards (an interesting idea for a post or series of posts, actually!), I'm fairly confident that this one would make the cut!

So there you have it, a nice dose of nostalgia for a Sunday morning.  Thanks for stopping by as always.  If you appreciate hockey autographs make sure to check in next Sunday, as I've got a real stud to show off!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

COMC Blaster - Thanksgiving Edition

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

With COMC's big Black Friday sale looming on the horizon, it seemed like an appropriate time to post a "virtual blaster" that I built on the site. I acquired these cards at different times, but none of them have seen the light of day on the blog until now.  Let's see what my $20 in credit brought home...

Starting off with a couple of Bogaerts minis from 2015 Gypsy Queen that I picked up right around Opening Day this past season.

Honestly, I wouldn't buy these today, but I was on a baseball kick coinciding with the start of the season and at $1.15 for the pair at least the damage to my wallet (or in this case store credit balance) was minimal.

I've been making some slow but steady progress of late on what will become my oldest hand-collated set if I ever complete it, 1971-72 Topps hockey.  I have a trio of them in today's post, beginning with Rosaire Paiement.  '71-72 was Paiement's final season in the NHL, he moved to the WHA the following year where he'd finish out his career later in the decade.  My cost for this one?  57 cents.

Next up, defenseman Jim Roberts of the Blues.  Jim was actually named team captain for St. Louis at the outset of the 1971-72 season, but was traded to the Canadiens shortly thereafter.

Rounding out the trio is winger Ernie Hicke of the Golden Seals.  I love, love, love getting any new vintage Golden Seals cards.  These were pretty dirt cheap additions to my set build here, as the trio set me back a grand total of $1.68.

Here's another that I'll file under "wouldn't buy it anymore".  Back in August of 2015 I picked it up, primarily because it was cheap (43 cents) and shiny.  Today I think I'd hang onto the 43 cents and keep browsing...

Speaking of shiny, here's a "camo prism" parallel of Olivier Giroud from the 2015-16 Select.  These are limited to /249 and can be had for cheap coin (I paid 60 cents), so I try to pick up some players I'm familiar with from the Premier League from time to time.

I grabbed this Joonas Kemppainen Young Guns card because he's a somewhat obscure name in the history of the Boston Bruins.  He played in 44 games with the team during the 2015-16 season, and it appears at this point as though that will be the entirety of his NHL career as he's been playing in the KHL over in Russia since.  65 cents for this one, though you can grab a copy for less than 50 cents these days.

I've gone on record numerous times stating that I'm a total sucker for Topps Chrome colored refractors.  As such, this pink Mookie Betts was simply irresistible to me at a buck twenty-five.

This '94-95 Finest Rod Brind-Amour refractor is definitely one of my favorites from today's post.  I'll grab any and all refractors from the two mid-'90s Finest hockey releases if the price is right, which it certainly was here at just 87 cents.  For whatever reason I've ended up with many more of the '95-96 versions, but this is still my sixth from the '94-95 set so far.

One of the more creative insert sets in recent years in my opinion were these "Tip Top Bread" die-cuts from Panini Golden Age.  Aside from the design, which I love, the selection of subjects is very broad for just a 10-card set.  Basketball legend Curly Neal set me back 94 cents...

...while I had to put up $1.25 for Kelly Leak from the Bad News Bears.

Rounding out today's trio is Man o' War, which cost me $1.74.  I told you the subject selection was random!  What's really great is that these were the final three cards I needed to complete this insert set, sweet!

Here's one towards my 1959 Topps baseball set.  It's a little beat up, no doubt about it, but I'm really just trying to complete a set in any condition at this point.  Besides, this is from the dreaded high-numbers portion of the set, and I only had to shell out 59 cents for it which is pretty unheard of.  I'll be pumped if I can grab a few more high numbers for that price over the weekend here.

I've shown off a couple of these lenticular 3-D Dinosaurs inserts from Upper Deck in previous posts, and today I've got my third.  I typically try to keep these to under a dollar, but in this case I paid $2.37 as this is one of the short-printed aquatic dinosaurs towards the end of the 42-card checklist.  Someday I'd love to track down the 39 I'm still missing and get them all in a binder...

I've been a fan of the "Traxx" parallels in OPC Platinum since I first encountered them a few years back.  Thanks to Upper Deck's ePack promotion the recent ones can be had for pocket change for the most part.  As an example, David Pastrnak here joined my collection for 55 cents.

Why would I shell out 67 cents for this Jarome Iginla card?  Well, I love the photograph and he's a lock for the HOF.  This is also from the high series portion of the set that you could only pull in boxes of Rookie Anthology in 2013-14.

Here's the second shiny Mookie Betts of the post, and the final baseball card.  I know Mookie dropped off a touch from his unbelievable 2016 season, but he still put up very solid numbers in 2017.  In fact, with three complete seasons now under his belt, here's his "162-game average" season stats....292/25/99 with an .839 OPS and 194 hits.

I got a steal on this Bowman's Best Green Refractor, #'d /99, when the seller accepted my offer of $2.75.  Cheapest copy on the site these days is north of $10.

We'll close it out here with a couple of hockey cards.  If you've read my blog at all over the past couple of years then you know I love buybacks.  That love isn't limited to the Topps baseball buybacks, I like the Upper Deck hockey ones as well.

I was excited to land this Eric Weinrich Star Rookie buyback from Upper Deck's inaugural hockey set for just $1.75.  These seem to fetch decent prices on the secondary market, in fact the cheapest one of any player currently on COMC is listed at $2.50.  Weinrich played an impressive 17 seasons as a defenseman in the NHL, including through the entire period of my childhood fandom so I'm really pleased with this one.

Here's the final card for today, which I spent 61 cents on simply because I enjoy the old-school subsets that chronicled the previous year's NHL playoffs, and because I have precious few OPC cards from the '70s.

Well, that brings the total for the cards in today's post up to $19.85, so we'll stop there.  I hope you all enjoy a nice holiday break with family and friends, and happy hunting to those of you who'll be shopping COMC's Black Friday sale tomorrow and over the weekend!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Signature Sundays - Vincent Trocheck

Just a quick autograph post this Sunday, featuring a player that I personally think is one of the bright young stars in today's NHL:

Vincent Trocheck was taken by the Florida Panthers in the 3rd round of the 2011 entry draft.  He finally debuted during the 2013-14 campaign, however his first full season wouldn't come until 2015-16.  In 76 games that year, he lit the lamp 25 times, and added 28 assists to cross the 50-point plateau.

Last year, in his second full season, Trocheck played in all 82 games, a feat in and of itself.  He again topped 20 goals (23), and increased his assist total to 31 for a career-high 54 points.  Still just 24 years old, he's on pace for his best season yet with 19 points in 19 games at the time of this post.

I already have Vincent's Young Guns rookie, which I got for a steal on COMC, so it's nice to add an autographed card to my collection to accompany it.  It also came from COMC, for the more than reasonable price of $3.75.  I'll take that any day of the week and twice on Sunday!

So there you have it, not as earth-shattering as some of the autographs I have stockpiled to share over the coming winter, but a nice card nonetheless.  I really think the 30-goal plateau is realistic for Vinny this season, and I'll certainly be watching with interest as his career unfolds...
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