Tuesday, June 16, 2020

COMC Blaster - The Anatomy of a COMC Blaster

I have probably explained this at some point in this blog's past, but based on a couple of comments on my last "COMC Blaster" post, I figure it makes sense to re-hash it quickly today.  What you see above is a cool, unique piece of furniture that I refer to as my "card chest".  Essentially, it's a four drawer sewing needle chest that I got at an antiques store for a bargain, sitting on top of a really cheap four-legged end table from one of the big box stores.

The reason I bought this thing is because I had a feeling it would be an awesome card storage unit for my hobby room.  Each of these four drawers conveniently holds a decent-sized stack of penny sleeved cards laid on their sides.

What I ended up using this for is to store "yet to be processed" cards from COMC.  Sort of like the "rainy day pack stash" equivalent, but with singles purchased on COMC.com.  Any time I get a new shipment in, typically when I reach 100 cards accumulated on the site, I split it up and drop the cards into these four drawers for scanning, inventorying, posting and adding to my formal collection at some point in the future.  When I want to do a "COMC Blaster" post, I just pull and scan randomly from this stash until I reach the $20 mark.

By using this method, I can end up with cards that arrived only recently and cards that are years and years old being featured in the same "COMC Blaster", and entering my "official collection" at the same time.

Anyway, with that out of the way I hit the card chest today and started pulling and scanning for another edition.  Let's see some of my past pickups that are finally joining my formal collection at last in today's blaster...

1954 Bowman Al Brazle - $1.25

Surprise, surprise, another 1954 Bowman.  I've really ended up pursuing this set with more vigor than I thought I would years back.  I'm a long way from ever completing it, and don't really have any of the major stars of HOFers yet.  I am past the 15% complete mark and well on my way to 20% now though, mainly due to cheap pick-ups of commons like this one.  Love it!

2014 Topps Finest X-Fractor Wilmer Flores - $.75

Another set that's appeared frequently in these posts are the blindingly-bright 2014 Finest X-Fractors.  With just 100 cards on the checklist for this colorful beauty of a set, I decided to try to complete it in X-Fractor format a year or two back, maybe longer.  Wilmer Flores...

2014 Topps Finest X-Fractor Jonathan Schoop - $.63

...and Jonathan Schoop RCs bring me up to 62 of these now, or 62% (gotta love the easy math of a 100-card set).  Some cards seem oddly hard to find.  I don't think I've ever seen an Anthony Rizzo, for example.  Like ever.  Even have a saved eBay search for '2014 Finest Rizzo' that's been running for better than 6 months now, and not a single copy has shown up.  What gives?  I'm still confident that I'll be able to call this one complete someday, but it has been more challenging than I anticipated.

2019 Allen & Ginter Hot Box Gold Rafael Devers - $.45

Picked this one up just because A) I really like Devers, he's my second favorite active member of the Red Sox, B) it's got a cool old-time feel to the design and backdrop, and C) it was dirt cheap.  Enough said!

2015-16 Upper Deck Young Guns Canvas Noah Hanifin - $3.00

Since I keep such a large backlog of "to be processed" COMC cards, it can result in some interesting reactions when I pull a card for scanning, inventorying and posting years after purchasing it.  Sometimes it's a pleasant surprise in terms of a great deal I got on a card that's now much more valuable in hindsight.  Other times it goes the opposite direction, and I say to myself "Wait, I paid how much?  For this?".

This Noah Hanifin Young Guns Canvas parallel is a case of the latter.  I bought it back in the winter of 2015 for $3 even, mostly because he was a local guy (having grown up in Norwood, MA and attended Boston College for a year before transitioning to the NHL) who was a highly touted draft pick.  Could still end up being a cool card if Hanifin, now locked up in a 6-year deal with the Calgary Flames, goes on to be an all-time great defenseman or something, but I can't say I'd drop $3 of credit on one today.

2013 Topps Gold Joel Hanrahan (#'d /2013) - $.57

Ditto for this Joel Hanrahan, purchased many years ago when I was on a streak of acquiring Gold flagship parallels of Red Sox players.  With many thousands of Red Sox cards now though, I find myself starting to ask how many cards is too many cards, and to be honest I don't seem to appreciate cards like this one as much anymore.  Oh well, not like I need to have much buyer's remorse at a 57-cent price point!

2002 Fleer Tradition Glossy Mike Lansing (#'d /200) - $.62

This one's kind of cool, only because it's a somewhat rare parallel from the period where baseball cards were the furthest thing from my mind, and was available for cheap coin.  I like this card slightly better than the Gold Hanrahan, but it's probably another that I wouldn't necessarily seek out these days if I'm being totally honest.

1982 Zellers Terry Francona - $.53

This one, on the other hand, is simply fantastic!  I am not a Terry Francona collector by any means, but I like to have at least a small grouping of his cards in my collection given how significant his stint as Red Sox manager was.  I could not pass up this oddball from Zellers, a former Canadian chain department store, at just 53 cents.  I'd have to look at my collection on TCDB to be sure, but this very well may be my favorite Francona card in my collection now.

2014 Panini Prizm World Cup Stars Blue & Red Wave Luis Suarez - $.99

This one's kind of cool, from the 2014 Prizm set commemorating that summer's World Cup.  The market on soccer cards has been out of control lately, so I probably won't find too many more of these at sub-$1 prices.  Glad I grabbed this Suarez back in the day.

1994 Topps Kevin Mitchell - $.50

This Kevin Mitchell was acquired with a specific purpose in mind, a future "Stat Kings" post that I have planned covering the shortened 1994 season.  I always love when a player is featured signing for the fans on his card, good stuff.

1959 Topps Jerry Staley - $.75

Let me just say that this common, had for three quarters, is in absolutely amazing shape.  I feel like I could send this in and have it graded and reasonably expect it to come back at least an 8.  Certainly one of the best cards condition-wise in my '59 set binder where it now resides.  I've got an impressive 358 cards and counting now from this set, by far the most of any set from the '50s in my collection.

Prior to today's post, this '58 George Susce called my collection home.  The amount of fading and the big creaase through George's head sort of bugged me on what is such a cheap card to acquire.

1958 Topps George Susce - $.91

I rectified that for 91 cents.  This one still has a little bit of white "snow" in the upper right, but presents so much more nicely than the previous copy.  If any of my frequent trading partners or commenters would like the prior copy just leave a comment and I'll gladly set it aside for you.

2012 Topps Jason Heyward (Photo Variation) - $2.00

Well, this seems to be a common theme today, but here's another one picked up long ago that I probably wouldn't shell out $2 in credit for nowadays.  Though I'm not a huge fan of a lot of the stuff Topps churns out the past few years, I am a sucker for the flagship "variations", be they retired legends or photo variations like this Jason Heyward from the 2012 set.

2008 Upper Deck Heroes Tom Morello - $.39

For 39 cents I now have my second Tom Morello card, if you can believe that.  The other one is from this same "Guitar Heroes" subset from the 2008 Upper Deck Heroes football release.  Saw Rage Against the Machine live in the late '90s, and it was one of the crazier concerts I've attended to this day.  And that's coming from someone who attends a lot of concerts.  Or at least did.  Damn you, COVID-19.

2016-17 O-Pee-Chee Update Retro Mathew Barzal - $1.05

A couple of years back I got on a Mathew Barzal kick for about a whole five minutes.  I'm still not convinced he's a great two-way forward at the NHL level yet, but he does have a knack for finding the score sheet.  Chalk this one up to "dollar box prospecting"?

1971-72 Topps Rod Gilbert - $1.12

I never noticed it I suppose until these two cards were pulled back-to-back by chance, but it's obvious now that the team name in that 2016-17 OPC Retro design from the last card was borrowed from the '71-72 Topps/OPC hockey release!

As a hockey card collector who loves vintage, I feel like a complete '71-72 set is sort of like a rite of passage almost.  I have not been giving this set build the attention it needs the past couple of years, but maybe adding this HOFer for just a shade over $1 will give me some newfound momentum?  I'm right at 70% done as far as this Topps set goes with this one added to my collection proper.  With 40 cards left to track down, I really should move this up the list pronto!

2018 Topps Chrome Sepia Refractor Andrew Benintendi - $.75

I love me some Sepia Refractors, simple as that.  In 2014 Topps Chrome and prior they were typically somewhat rare, serial-numbered cards that can be expensive to acquire as a result.  Beginning with the 2015 Topps Chrome release though they're much more prevalent, and much more affordable.  I may be mistaken but in 2018 I believe they came in 3-card Sepia-only packs that were included in certain retail purchases like blasters?

Anyway, in one fell swoop from the same seller I picked up Andrew Benintendi...

2018 Topps Chrome Sepia Refractor Craig Kimbrel - $.43

...Craig Kimbrel...

2018 Topps Chrome Sepia Refractor Chris Sale - $.62

...and Chris Sale, each for pretty much pocket change.  I really need to see where I'm at with these team sets; given my love for these and their cheap prices there's really no reason that I shouldn't have complete Red Sox team sets from 2015-2019 at least...

1963 Topps Veteran Masters (Stengel/Woodling) - $.70

Just an awesome vintage grab here, again for pocket change.  Casey Stengel is one of my favorite old-time ballplayers/managers, so I was pretty pumped to land this '63 Veteran Masters combo card for such a reasonable price.

2014 Topps Opening Day Blue Jon Lester (#'d /2014) - $.82

These Opening Day "Blue Holofoil" parallels are really sharp in person, and they look particularly good for Red Sox players.  Not sure why, maybe it's the bold red and blue/primary colors thing.  Anyway, after recently discovering the Xander Bogaerts RC from this set in my card chest, I've got the biggest hurdle to a team set cleared already as far as these parallels go.  Nice to add another one in quick succession here!

1994-95 Pinnacle Rink Collection Alexander Mogilny - $.75

How about a couple of cheap hockey pick-ups to wind down today's blaster? 

From possibly my favorite parallel set of the entire decade that was the '90s, '94-95 Pinnacle Rink Collection, we have Alexander Mogilny.  This guy is best remembered for his insane 76-goal campaign in '92-93, but was a solid player at the NHL level for many seasons.  In fact, by the time he hung up the skates he fell just short of 500 goals, but exceeded 1,000 points at better than a point-per-game pace.  Certainly a member of the Hall of Very Good, and someone whose cards went into my "stars binder" during childhood.

2017-18 Upper Deck Canvas Nikita Kucherov - $.32

Lastly, a guy who may very well be enshrined in the Hockey HOF someday, Tampa Bay Lightning star Nikita Kucherov.  Still just 26 years old, Kucherov has already won a Hart Trophy and an Art Ross Trophy, in addition to making multiple All-Star teams.  The knock on the Lightning though during his era has been their post-season play.  If the NHL returns this year, which I fear is unlikely despite their announced plans, maybe this will be the year for Tampa Bay?

Well, that brings our running total for today's pick-ups to $19.90, so we'll call it there as far as this "blaster" goes.  I hope you enjoyed the brief "behind the scenes" look at how I store my COMC backlog and create these posts, or if not at least saw a card or two that interested you.

Thanks as always for stopping by!


GCA said...

Which other Morello do you have? I probably have the third one in a big stack of the Heroes I got for about nothing...

Brett Alan said...

Always nice to see Wilmer Flores turn up! That looks great. I do have the base version of that card, gotta look out for parallels like that.

shoeboxlegends said...

Thanks guys! GCA, I've got #252 and #253 as far as Tom Morello goes...

Johnnys Trading Spot said...

I didn't even know that I need that Heyward variation until this post. Now I do, but like you today I probably wouldn't go $2.00 for it, most certainly would have a few years back though.

Nick said...

Another excellent COMC blaster! Love that Heyward since I, too, am a sucker for photo variations. Those Zeller's cards are terrific as well -- I picked up a Gary Carter from that set cheap in a COMC order a while back. Gotta love Canadian oddballs!

Fuji said...

As a Beastie Boys fan... it's hard not to enjoy Rage Against the Machine too. Shame their tour got canceled twenty years ago. Not sure if you've seen this, but here's a cool mashup featuring the two groups:


Bulldog said...

That Heyward card is great. The uni really makes it. A ton of other good cards too. The Kimbrel photo is always one I've liked. Good post.

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