Monday, January 30, 2017

I Like To Score

My best friend has always been a huge music fan, and when we were growing up his bedroom walls were covered with music posters - including a promotional poster for Moby's "I Like To Score". 


I thought it was a clever title, and I liked that Moby drew a little character on my friend's poster in lieu of an autograph. 

Anyway... I haven't collected Score hockey cards since that Moby album dropped about 20 years ago. When my wife and I merged collections after we got married, we found that we had each of the first eight Score hockey sets between us (though we're still missing a couple cards from 1993-94 Score Update). 

Panini rebooted the Score brand in 2010-11, and while that year's set was bland and uninspired, the "new" Score certainly stayed true to the original - white bordered sets with large checklists and quality action photography.

You're not going to get any "sick hits" in Score, but you'll get a lot a cards without spending a lot of money - especially if you're able to find a box on clearance sale, like this Retail box of 2013-14 Score:





The base set is comprised of 550 cards, followed by 30 Team Leader cards and 10 Season Highlight cards.



Then there are 60 Hot Rookie cards, for a total of 650 cards.*



*This does not count the 100 Score cards Panini added to the set as part of Rookie Anthology, which actually makes this set 750 cards. Yikes.

In addition to the base cards, there were seven inserts in the box:




Eight if you count the autograph, which was in the second pack of the box:



Gabriel Bourque (no relation to Ray) had a decent debut season with the Predators in 11-12, scoring 7 goals and adding 12 assists in 43 games. The following year he score 11 goals in 34 games, but failed to sustain that scoring rate in his next two full seasons with Nashville and was cut loose by the Preds this past offseason. He is now in the Colorado Avalanche organization, playing for their AHL affiliate in San Antonio.

In addition to the inserts, there were gold parallels in every pack. Some packs even had two gold cards, as I ended up with a total of 40. And when I sorted the singles I noticed something odd about the collation:


32 of the 36 gold cards  above come from five teams, which are alphabetically sequential: Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton. Followed by three from Florida and one from Los Angeles. Very strange.


The "bonus" gold cards were subset paralells.. and there was yet another Oiler included:


Nail Yakupov was the #1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, and the only one of the Oilers' three dozen #1 picks who has not panned out. He's now a member of the St. Louis Blues.


While there was nothing really spectacular in this box, it was a fun break that kept me busy for an entire afternoon - and it only cost $13.95. All of these cards are available for trade if anyone is interested. I'm planning to update my wantlist/tradelist and be more active in trading so I can add some variety to my blog posts (and my collection.)



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Friday, January 27, 2017

12 NBA CARDS!


Earlier this week I received my order from Dave And Adam's Card World: 5 packs of top loaders, a jumbo box of 2015 Topps Baseball (series 1) and a retail box of 2013-14 Score Hockey. side note: what the heck happened to the quality of top loaders? every pack i buy has at least ten that are significantly curved. has anyone else noticed this?

As with all D&A orders (over $75) I got to choose a free gift. There aren't many decent options at my price level so I often end up with retail packs of hockey sets like Artifacts or Victory. When there is no hockey available, I choose basketball because...well, I hardly have any basketball cards and I don't know enough about the current sets and players to spend money on them.

 

I used to be quite a big basketball fan in the early-mid 1990's - until I fell in love with hockey. Most of my basketball cards were sold or traded long ago for other collecting wants, but I do have one binder of base cards and a small stack of stars. Remember when I went through my 'star player box' and debated which baseball players should be promoted or demoted ? No such issue with my basketball base cards.

Here is a complete list of players in my star player box along with how many cards I have of that player (if it's more than 1) :

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Patrick Ewing  (3)
John Stockton (5)
Joe Dumars (4)
Michael Jordan (5)
Reggie Miller (2)
Karl Malone (3)
Kevin Johnson (2)
Clyde Drexler (4)
Charles Barkley (3)
Alex English (3)
Dominique Wilkins
Larry Bird (3)
Isiah Thomas (3)
Hakeem Olajuwon (3)
Robert Parish (3)
James Worthy (3)
Dennis Rodman
Chris Mullin (4)
Scottie Pippen (2)
Phil Jackson (as coach)
Magic Johnson (4)
Moses Malone (2)
David Robinson
(2)
Kevin McHale (4)
Mitch Richmond
Alonzo Mourning
Gary Payton (4)
Dikembe Mutombo
Tim Hardaway (2)
Kobe Bryant
(2)
Vince Carter (7)
Tim Duncan
Allen Iverson (2)
Pau Gasol (2)
Ray Allen (2)
Steve Nash(2)

Dirk Nowitzki (2)
Tony Parker (2)
Dwight Howard
Carmelo Anthony
Julius Erving
Paul Pierce
Marc Gasol*
Kevin Durant
Kevin Garnett (2)
Blake Griffin
Paul George


*i'm not certain Marc Gasol is a star


Notice anything about this list? Almost all of these players are retired, or soon to be - which is no surprise given that more than half of my 110 star player base cards are from 1988-1994.


 


It has been a long time since I've added any new basketball cards to my collection; this Hobby pack of 2015-16 NBA Hoops is probably my first pack since my last free gift at Dave & Adam's.

 They're really selling it with that exclamation point.. NBA cards! Inside! 12 of them!

I'm not sure who Dante Cunningham is, but he's my first Pelicans card. Another Tony Parker for the star box (I got a Parker in my last freebie pack, too) and a Paul Millsap retro uni from back when I was following basketball.


A pair of Chris Pauls - a base for my star player base box and a cool Courtside insert for my 'special cards' box (all of my inserts/parallels/RCs go in top loaders and a separate box). Kelly Oubre gets the top loader treatment as well.


If anyone reading this wants to offload some of their surplus basketball cards in exchange for baseball or hockey (Billy Kingsley, I'm looking in your general direction...) let me know. I'd be happy with any basketball cards - late 80's Fleer and early 90's Hoops/Skybox will bring back some great memories, while newer stuff would fill in the Grand Canyon-sized gaps in my collection. 


Next week I'll scan up the contents of the 2015 Topps Baseball and 2013-14 Score Hockey boxes. Hope you all have a great weekend. Enjoy the All-Star games!


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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Platinum Retail Therapy


Ever have one of those days where absolutely nothing goes right and you're in such a foul mood that the only thing that can cheer you up is a brand new box of cards? I'm having one of those days today. 

Work was particularly stressful - I got in an argument with a really nasty debtor, which only happens about once every six months or so.. which prompted me to follow up on the job I applied for last week even though I knew I didn't get the job. I called the place, and I spoke with the receptionist.. who had just been hired and started on Monday. So that's cool.

Then, shortly after I made that phone call I smelled something awful downstairs. My four year old (who has been toilet trained for at least six months) failed to reach the bathroom in time. I had to clean up after her not once but twice - because she made an even bigger mess not twenty minutes later.

The only good thing that happened today was the arrival of my order from Blowout Cards. I had some Paypal cash burning a hole in my pocket and after Friday came and went without getting the call back about that job, I placed an order with Blowout and an order with Dave and Adam's - which should arrive tomorrow.

My Blowout order was mostly supplies - various sized top loaders for all of my memorabilia cards, some one touch holders in various sizes... and this box of 2015-16 O-Pee-Chee Platinum hockey:



I've decided not to collect Upper Deck flagship this year, mostly because I'm out of room in my card closet, but also because I don't want to outbid all those crazy Maple Leafs collectors on Young Guns rookie cards of Matthews, Marner, Nylander, and co. when I still need YG's of Carey Price, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Taylor Hall, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to finish past years' UD sets. As a result, this is the first hockey box I've purchased in at least a year.

This box cost $58.51 for 80 cards (20 packs, 4 cards per pack) so it's a lot more of a gamble than the two boxes incoming from Dave and Adam's. Let's see what's inside...

46 base cards, including superstars:



All-Stars (yes, Zemgus Girgensons was an All-Star)


and goalies:


There was at least one card of every NHL team except the Blackhawks, which is pretty impressive given that there are 30 NHL teams and only 80 cards. Unfortunately there was only one Devils card - a base Adam Henrique. That was kind of a bummer. 

Every pack had one Marquee Rookies card or an insert or parallel card (some packs had a rookie and a parallel.) There were 14 Rookies in the box, and many of them were Vancouver Canucks:


Sooo many Canucks in this box:




There were three die-cut inserts, including the top two scorers in NHL history:
One of these things is not like the other...



The odds indicated one autograph per box, but the main draw for me was the retro parallels. Here's the autograph:

Meh...at least it's signed on-card.


And here are the parallels (sooo many parallels)


 Another Gretzky! And another Canuck. That's 10 now, or 1/8th of the box. There was also an Evgeni Malkin retro rainbow parallel that was waaay off-center.


 Here are the other rainbow (and traxx) parallels:


 Our boy Aaron Ekblad is back! Both of the Avs stars might be traded by season's end.



Now I know that some of you do a top three pulls whenever you post a box break, but I don't have any idea how to rank my best "hits" (the Petan might even be one of them.) So I'll just scan 'em up and if you'd like, you can tell me which card you think is the top pull. Here we go...


Chandler Stephenson Marquee Rookies Seismic Gold (#d/50)



Jake Virtanen Marquee Rookies Black Ice (#d/99) another Canuck?!?!?



Mario Lemieux Retro Gold Rainbow (#d/149)



I'm not sure if there was $58 worth of value in this box, but it was definitely a fun break - and it temporarily took my mind off the crappy day I had (pun intended.)


Tomorrow I'll have some Topps baseball and a value box of Score hockey to blog about. Not sure which one I'll share first, but I'm definitely more excited to crack open the Topps box.


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Monday, January 23, 2017

Packin' it in


Welp, Championship Sunday was a bust. Not even Fuji's pack magic could help the Steelers stop the Evil Empire in New England.


My favorite team, the Green Bay Packers, were red-hot heading into last night's game against Atlanta, but the Pack magic ran out right from the opening kickoff. Too many injuries and costly mistakes put the Packers in a deep hole - and Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and a punishing Falcons defense made it impossible to climb out.

Another year, another disappointing playoff loss. Selfishly, I didn't mind losing this game too much. I'm indifferent to the Falcons, but I frickin' hate the Cowboys and I frickin' hate the Patriots. I'd rather see the Packers lose this one (painful as it was) than be a footnote in Tom Brady's revenge on Roger Goodell.

If that makes me a "bad" Packers fan, so be it. I'll be the first to admit I'm not the dedicated Cheesehead I once was.


I started cheering for the green and gold when I was 12 years old, and used Reggie White's free agency as a way of choosing my new favorite team. I had followed the Dolphins, Eagles, and Redskins... but when Reggie chose the Packers, so did I. Sterling Sharpe was my favorite Packer at the time, but I quickly became a huge fan of their young quarterback. Perhaps you've heard of him?


I grew up watching Brett Favre lead the Packers to the playoffs nearly every season of his career. I spent my teen years gobbling up all the Green Bay merch I could get my hands on - jerseys, hats, posters, magazines, keychains, coats... and of course cards. I have three binders full of Packers cards, most of them from the Favre era. About 600 of them (an entire binder and then some) are Favre cards, the largest player PC in my card collection by far.

I always thought that one day I'd have a room big enough to display all of the Favre memorabilia I had accumulated: books, magazines, action figures, a snow globe, a cardbord stand-up, and my four autographs of #4: a football, mini-helmet, jersey, and my favorite item - this "Passing Through The Years" print my wife bought me when we were still dating.


 You can see my Packers posters reflected in the frame.



But by the end of his tenure as Green Bay's QB my fandom started to fade. I wasn't collecting nearly as much Packer memorabilia or emotionally investing as much in every game. When Favre left for the Jets and then the arch-rival Vikings, my loyalties were split. I wasn't like most Packers fans - I wanted Favre to win a Super Bowl even if the Packers couldn't. Nothing against Aaron Rodgers at all, it's just that Favre was my guy.

Around the time that Rodgers (finally) took over for Favre as the Packers' starting QB, I was getting married, buying a house, and starting a family. My collecting budget had to be cut drastically, to the point where I was buying flagship Upper Deck hockey... and almost nothing else. I have very little Packers memorabilia from the Aaron Rodgers era - nothing from Super Bowl XLV, no new hats or jackets or action figures or anything. I don't even have an Aaron Rodgers jersey. And it's not because I don't like Aaron as much (if anything I should like him more than the flawed Favre) it's just that I had other priorities.

Which is why I am able to scan my entire Aaron Rodgers card collection in this post.

Base cards:


Some inserts/special base:

Sometimes I buy Rodgers cards on COMC and try to flip them for a few bucks. That way, if they don't sell I'm happy to be "stuck" with them. (cue Huey Lewis song) The Panini Red Prizm above is one such card.


These are two cards I resold during the season. I would never even think of doing this with Brett Favre cards.


That said, I do have a few favorite Rodgers cards that I intend to keep in my collection. Here are my top three:

2016 Panini Prestige Team Logos


2015 Panini Prizm Helmets (Prizm parallel)


2014 Score Iconic Rookie Card Variations


Oh, and this one:
2005 Topps Chrome RC


At $55.20, this is still one of my most expensive single card purchases on COMC. I thought about including it in my next grading submission, but the top two corners are dinged (the scratches/smudges are from my scanner.) 


Here's hoping that Rodgers has more help in 2017, and that the Packers can make another Super Bowl run while he's still in his prime. 


As for this year's Super Bowl match-up, well... good luck, Atlanta. You're gonna need it. 





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Sunday, January 22, 2017

I'm not a Panthers fan, but I play one on COMC


It's been a while since I've been able to find time for blogging. Much of that time away was spent dealing with a nasty cough/sinus infection and applying for a job that I (apparently) didn't get. You can read about that on my other blog if you wish. 

I really wanted to write something about the Baseball Hall of Fame election results, but you guys had that covered pretty well, and I dont have any real interesting cards of the newest HOFers Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, or Ivan Rodriguez. I haven't bought any new cards in so long that I've actually had dreams about going to sports card stores and buying random packs of high-end products like Topps Strata and Exquisite. 

Since there's no LCS near me - and I don't have the disposable cash to gamble on shiny stuff - I placed a couple orders for low-end clearance boxes instead. Those should arrive by the end of the week. Meanwhile, I still have some cards from my latest COMC haul to discuss. 

The Florida Panthers are one of the least popular teams in hockey (which is one of the least popular major sports) and it's Championship Sunday in the NFL (I've got a post lined up about the Packers) so I doubt anyone will be interested in this... but here goes nothing anyway.

When I shop on COMC I usually look for Devils and Red Sox first, then 1956 Topps baseball (or any vintage baseball in decent shape), and then any interesting cards under $1. When my cards came in the mail, I realized that a few of these low-end goodies were Panthers.


Jaromir Jagr 2016-17 Upper Deck Compendium Blue ($0.30)

This Jaromir Jagr card is part of Upper Deck's e-Pack exclusive Compendium series. As with most e-Pack products, COMC is flooded with commons from this set. I picked up the entire Devils team set for under $5 when one seller added hundreds of singles to the site for $0.30 each. In the scramble to scoop up as many as possible I grabbed this Jagr, a Dylan Larkin, and a couple of rookies that I flipped for a tiny profit. The Jagr cards have been selling like crazy since (I think they might be short-printed?) and the few remaining singles on COMC are listed at ten times the price I paid.



Aaron Ekblad 2015-16 Upper Deck Full Force Draft Board ($0.63)

 I've picked up a few of these Draft Board inserts - Ovechkin, Brodeur, Tavares, Tarasenko - and now Ekblad, the #1 overall pick in 2014. He's having a down year this season, as most of the Panthers are, but he's the Cats' #1 defenseman and a potential superstar/franchise player.

This isn't the first time I've picked up an Ekblad insert on COMC...

 Aaron Ekblad 2015-16 Upper Deck Clear Cut Superstars ($5.00)

Clear cut inserts are usually out of my price range (I think they're one per case?) but ePack devalued these, too. Many of these cards can be had for under $5. Unfortunately for me, the two Devils in the set (Martin Brodeur and Adam Henrique) are still over $10.


Nathan Horton 2003-04 Topps Pristine Rare Rookie #d/199 ($4.25)
Gregory Campbell 2003-04 Topps Pristine Rare Rookie #d/199 ($0.75)

Topps Pristine was one of my all-time favorite sets, especially 2002 baseball/football. This is the only year of Pristine hockey, and I bought as many packs as I could at the small sports card store hidden in the corner of my local shopping mall. I'm still one Ed Belfour card short of completing the 100-card 'base' set so I don't usually mess around with the three-tiered rookies. I have a few of the base (#d/1199) and uncommon (#d/699) but these are my first rare RC's. At this price I couldn't pass them up. Now if only I could find the other 28 rare rookies this cheap :-)

Jaromir Jagr 2015-16 O-Pee-Chee Platinum Retro Rainbow ($0.65)

I've mentioned before that this retro design is one of my favorites in recent years, and Upper Deck produced plenty of parallels for these - including gold, orange, red, and blue rainbows. This is just the standard rainbow, but as with the Jagr Compendium, the prices have skyrocketed on COMC. The cheapest copy available is priced at $9.24.



I hope to add a few more retro parallels to my collection this week, as OPC Platinum was one of the three boxes I ordered. While I'm certain to open all three as soon as I get them, I'll probably blog about each box individually. 

Hope you're all enjoying the championship games more than I am (the Packers are sh*ting the bed as I type this...ugh :/)


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