Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The End of August

August comes to a close today, and after this coming holiday weekend it's back to the grind for many who have children in school, relaxed summer schedules, etc. On top of that, hundreds of thousands of people in this region are still without power after last weekend's storm. This is leaving a lot of people in New England feeling like old Gump here:

While I love the summer months, I'm not bummed to see August end. September and October are my favorite two months of the year, and my birthday is in September as well for an added bonus. My only complaint about Fall is that it doesn't last long enough.

I should have plenty of posts coming over the next month, including some favorite 70's and 80's baseball cards, some additions to my Red Sox collection, and the return of the 1953 Topps project! Don't worry, with the 2011-12 NHL season just around the corner I'll be featuring plenty of hockey cards as well. I hope everyone reading this had an enjoyable summer!

*Card courtesy of the dollar box at the local hobby shop.

Monday, August 29, 2011

COMC Hobby Box - The Finale!

At last, the final post of my Check Out My Cards hobby box. I lost power for about 9 hours yesterday but I'm back in action now, so despite Mother Nature's best efforts I've met my goal of finishing up this project in the month of August.

Here are packs 23 and 24, followed by a quick summary of the experience and an explanation as to why I will never do this again!

Pack 23:

2004 Upper Deck Legends Timeless Teams - #171 - Bert Blyleven 1979 ($.25)

I've gawked over these Timeless Teams cards whenever I've seen them on other blogs, but I never had any of my own until now. I couldn't resist adding this Hall of Famer (finally!) and his fantastic 1970's Pirates uniform for just a quarter. I like the backs of these cards almost as much as I do the front, as they feature nice stadium shots:

1990 Impel Marvel Comics - #81 - Red Skull ($.25)

I showed a Doctor Octopus card from this set earlier in these posts and commented that I had picked up one more, and here it is. I guess I must like the villains more than the heroes in this set. This one was appropriate given that the Captain America movie came out this summer.

2010 Upper Deck - #96 - Clay Buchholz ($.22)

Doesn't look like this guy's going to pitch another inning for Boston this year. What a bummer.

1973-74 Topps - #83 - Brian Spencer ($.30)

The nice in-game action photo is the reason I snagged this one. According to the back Spencer was the most popular player on the Islanders during this era?

2011 Gypsy Queen - #99 - Ozzie Smith (Framed Paper #'d/999) ($.75)

The last Gypsy Queen card in my box. I was able to make some nice additions to my GQ set with this project, all in all I picked up 3 inserts, 4 Framed Green retail and 6 Framed Paper parallels. The Framed Paper parallels are still amongst my favorite cards out of all the 2011 releases.


2004 Cracker Jack Mini - #120 - Pedro Martinez ($.43)

I thought this Cracker Jack mini of future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez was pretty cool. 2004 was the year the Red Sox finally ended their incredibly long World Series drought as well, which makes this one even nicer.


1993-94 Topps Stadium Club - Finest Insert #4 - Paul Coffey ($.50)

I was never fortunate enough to pull any of these Finest inserts from 1993-94 Stadium Club. Like most collectors I'm a sucker for early-90's shiny Finest goodness. I would love to pick up the other 11 cards from this set someday.

And now for the final pack, I saved 2 of my favorite cards from the entire haul for this one...

Pack 24:

1995 Topps Stadium Club - #131 - Will Clark (First Day Issue) ($.20)

I had Clark's '95 Stadium Club Virtual Reality insert already, and now I have his First Day Issue parallel as well. I still need the base card though...

1970 Topps - #252 - Lowell Palmer (Rookie) ($.50)

The first of two favorites that I saved for the last pack. Everything about this card is awesome. Lowell's sunglasses rule, and the back of the card is even better than the front:

This guy lettered in baseball, basketball, football, track and golf in high school, and his hobby is raising pigeons?!?!?! Now that's someone I'd make conversation with at a party!

2004 Upper Deck Legends Timeless Teams - #17 - Rico Petrocelli 1967 ($.25)

Of course I had to pick up a Red Sox Timeless Teams card as well, with an awesome shot of Fenway Park on the back:

2001 Topps - #787 - Rickey Henderson Golden Moments ($.21)

I don't collect 2001 Topps, Rickey Henderson, or Oakland Atheltics cards, but I couldn't pass this one up. A great shot of the stolen base king, just after breaking the career steals record.

1970-71 O-Pee-Chee - #254 - The Stanley Cup ($7.00)

The other card I saved for my final pack, and definitely my single favorite card from the entire lot. I have a few trophy cards like this from the early 70's O-Pee-Chee/Topps sets, but this one takes the cake. $7 is more than I'd generally pay for a single like this, but I've been searching for this card for a while and haven't been able to track it down elsewhere. Aside from that it's in incredibly good shape, with nice centering and 4 razor sharp corners. A welcome addition to the collection and a card I have no problem shelling out 7 bucks for...


2007 Allen & Ginter Mini A & G Back - #30 - Eiffel Tower ($.43)

The very last mini in my box is the Eiffel Tower, from the 2007 Allen & Ginter set. I've picked up a couple of Eiffel Tower cards since visiting France for the very first time earlier this summer. There aren't a ton of them out there.


2010 Topps - #TR69 - Brooks Robinson (Turkey Red) ($.25)

The very last card in my box is a Turkey Red Brooks Robinson from 2010 Topps.

Pack 23: $2.70
Pack 24: $8.84
Running Total: $86.48

Well, that's a wrap folks! There were some pros, and one gigantic con to this experiment. The pros are pretty obvious:
  • Finally got me to get off my butt and set up a COMC account, something I'd been delaying for years
  • Had an awesome time picking out 169 unique cards to add to my collection.
  • Made some good progress on various sets off my Want List, especially 1974-75 Topps hockey and 2011 Gypsy Queen baseball.
  • Couldn't have been more pleased with the process of using COMC. The ability to make offers is great. The site is very addicting, easy to spend hours just browsing around and checking out cards, pun intended.
  • The cards were packaged incredibly well for shipping. Great care was taken to ensure that the cards were not damaged in transit, in fact this might have been the most well-packaged bunch of cards I've received from anyone since getting back into collecting over 4 years ago.
  • The project gave me good posting material for the blog for basically the entire month of August
There was one major con though, big enough that I can assure you I will never attempt this again, and that is shipping cost. COMC offers two shipping options, standard and bulk. Bulk shipping costs $5 for the first 10 cards, then 15 cents per card thereafter. The cards are shipped securely but without sleeves or toploaders. Since I spent countless hours picking my cards out though I wanted better protection and opted for the Standard shipping. With Standard all cards come in penny sleeves to prevent damage. The problem is that standard shipping is $3 for the first card, 25 cents per additional card, and NO LIMIT! If you do the math, at 169 cards I was looking at $45 in shipping costs. Throw in a few top-loaders for some of the more valuable cards (which I think were 20 cents a piece) and it cost me close to $50 to ship $86 worth of cards. Even if I had gone the bulk route I still would've been looking at over $30 in shipping costs.

To COMC's credit, they clearly state that their pricing structure is basically set up so that it's cost-effective to purchase cards that are a little greater in value, like $1 or more. In fact, the site in general is really meant for cards like this, and not cheaper singles or commons. I was fully aware of this before making any purchases and decided that I would go against common sense in order to build my "hobby box". That being said, it would be nice if COMC had some kind of shipping limit. No matter what the value of your purchases is, at some point it becomes a bit ridiculous to ship without some type of cap. Regardless of the value of the cards, charging close to $50 to ship less than 200 cards just seems a bit crazy. I will continue to use COMC to purchase those hard-to-find singles that are worth a few bucks, but for set filler commons and bulk orders like this I'll be sticking to Sportlots.

Even though I "took one for the blog" in paying the over-the-top shipping costs, I still had a great time picking out and showcasing all of these cards, much more fun than I think I would've had ripping an A & G hobby box. I hope you enjoyed reading these posts as much as I did putting them together. I've got plenty of time to come up with something new for next summer's A & G release...

Friday, August 26, 2011

COMC Hobby Box - A Hall of Fame Auto and Cool is the Rule!

Complete and utter panic seems to be gripping the the Northeast as the impending hurricane looms somewhere out in the Atlantic. I've got my house to worry about, and as someone who works in the IT industry, the storm could mean a lot of work for me as well, if it causes significant power and network outages. Given that it's supposed to be the worst we've seen here in Rhode Island in decades, certainly since I've been living, I'm starting to think the likelihood for this is pretty good.

Anyway, I'm a pretty relaxed person by nature, and tend not to panic. So, while everyone around me is stockpiling water, flashlights and candles as if the apocalypse were approaching, I'm blogging about baseball cards. Here's the penultimate post from my COMC hobby box.

Pack 21:

1993 SP - #7 - Kirby Puckett ($.25)

I have a bunch of SP hockey from the early 90's, but this is actually my first 1993 SP baseball card. I guess I can add this to the list of sets I'd like to one day complete, there must be 100 or more by now. Health issues forced Puckett out of the game at a very young age, and legal issues marred his reputation a bit after his retirement, but to me he always seemed like an easy guy to like. He did enough damage in his 12 year career to be elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. As everyone knows, he tragically passed away at age 45 after suffering a heart attack.

2008-09 Upper Deck Champ's - #37 - Jari Kurri ($.25)

I would've liked this card a bit better had Kurri been depicted in an Oilers uni, but oh well. Actually he was featured in an Oilers sweater in the Champ's set that came out the year after this one.

2004 Topps Retired Signatures - #TA-RF - Rollie Fingers Auto ($7.50)

My fourth and final hit is probably my best, another hard signed Hall-of-Fame auto for my collection! As far as I can tell this set basically looks a lot like the regular 2004 Topps set design-wise. The autographs are on card and are sort of a black chrome version of what you get in the regular set. Here's Rollie after I freed him from his thick plastic holder, the card looks much better now:

I believe the backs are the same as the backs from the flagship 2004 Topps set, with career stats which is nice:

2002 Topps Traded - #T266 - Nolan Ryan (Who Would Have Thought) ($.23)

How refreshing, a Nolan Ryan card that wasn't produced by Mother's Cookies!

2009 Bowman Chrome - #20 - Josh Beckett (X-Fractor #'d/250) ($.50)

This is my very first X-Fractor, at least I'm pretty sure it is. I can see why people like them. This one's numbered to 250 and considering the season Beckett is having seemed like an absolute steal for $.50.


1975 Topps Mini - #385 - Dock Ellis ($.50)

The last '75 mini in my box. Not that I condone this in any way, but I found the attempt by Deadspin Editor in Chief A.J. Daulerio to recreate Ellis' LSD no-hitter on X-Box pretty funny.


1992-93 Upper Deck Gordie Howe Heroes - #19 ($.25)

The last Howe Heroes card in my box. I think I'm missing only one of these now...

Pack 22:

1995 Upper Deck Minors - #6 - Johnny Damon ($.17)

I think I'll always have a soft spot for Johnny Damon. He's provided some of my most memorable Fenway Park moments in games that I've attended, and was a member of the 2004 curse-breaking team. Unlike most Red Sox fans, I couldn't really hate him just because he left to play for the Yankees. Sorry, but that's just free-agent-era baseball. I mean, he was only with the Sox for four seasons, and he played four seasons in pinstripes as well. He played more seasons with Kansas City than with either of those two teams, so what does it really matter in the end?

2004 Topps Traded - #T100 - Kevin Youkilis ($.50)

Makes sense to post this card with the Damon, another very early card of a player who was a significant contributor to last decade's success. I know a lot of people dislike Youk, but I was excited to add this one to the Red Sox collection.

1974-75 Topps - #211 - 1973-74 Quarter-Finals Bruins vs. Maple Leafs ($.43)

Unlike the other playoff series cards from earlier in this box, this one depicts a series that the Bruins actually won! I'm now at 229 of 264 cards in the set, just 35 to go! I still have a couple of big names missing though, like Don Cherry, Scotty Bowman and Guy Lafleur...

1976 Happy Days - #15 - Cool is the Rule! ($.55)

How's that for an oddball card? I can honestly say I never thought I would have a card of the Fonz in my collection. Every time I see Ron Howard, I think of what a shame it is that Arrested Development didn't last. Am I alone?

1992 Mother's Cookies Nolan Ryan 7 No-Hitters - #1 ($.31)

The eighth and final Mother's Cookies 7 No-Hitters card. It was nice to be able to pick up this entire set as part of this "box break".


2009 Allen & Ginter Mini A & G Back - #246 - General Custer ($.20)

Not too sure why I chose this one, again I think I was just looking to get an odd mix of subjects in true Allen & Ginter fashion. Or, maybe it's because we share the same middle name.


2010 Bowman - #BT26 - Josh Beckett (1992 Bowman Throwback) ($.22)

Another set you won't be seeing any more of in the final two packs. I think I picked up every single Red Sox card from this insert set, except for Dustin Pedroia.

One more post to go, hopefully I'll have it up this weekend, but if this storm is as bad as they're saying you might be staring at this one for a bit. To everyone on the East Coast, good luck staying safe and dry!

Pack 21: $9.48
Pack 22: $2.38
Running Total: $74.94
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