Sunday, June 28, 2020

Nine In The Afternoon

I went to the card show in Milford today. The dime box guy was not there so I was in and out in less than an hour. I spent a total of $50 on nine cards:

I picked these three from a dealer who has some nice Red Sox cards. He had a Carlton Fisk Panini Immaculate Jersey & auto card #d/15 for $45 that I was tempted to buy, and an Ivan Rodriguez Clearly Authentic auto for $35 that was also intriguing. I decided not to spend that much on a single card. The Betts relic (#d/199) was priced at $18. The JDM/Papi dual (#d/150) was priced at $9. The Perez (#d/36) was priced at $5. 

I offered $25 for the three and he accepted.

The dealer wasn't pushy but he made it clear that he would be flexible on price. While I was searching through his boxes a kid stuck his hand in the row of cards I was looking at, plucked a Yankees card that the dealer valued at $3 and asked if his crumpled up dollar was enough. It was.

On the other side of the room was another dealer I'd seen before. He had a box of random loose packs from all sports and years. I had seen this box before but was too focused on dime box diving to pluck some packs. I've really been jonesing to rip open something (a box of 1993 Leaf S2 baseball is on its way to me) so I reached my hand in the box and pulled out a bunch of 2016 Donruss football and 2016-17 Upper Deck hockey. That's when I noticed these were four-card packs. I was hoping they'd be .50 but I was expecting $1. 

He informed me they were $2 each. I put them all back and bought singles from him instead:

The last time I attended a card show I'd picked up Panini Immaculate autos of Kevin Love and Horace Grant for $15 each. This might have been the same guy; his inventory was similar and there was a crowd around his table just like at the December show. Since there was no dime box (and I didn't see a Steve Young RC anywhere) finding more Immaculate cards was my last remaining goal. 

This dealer wanted $12 for Rick Barry and $6 each for Dan Majerle and Kenny Anderson.  Curry and Brodeur were 50 cents each. He didn't know what to charge me for the Cubs trio so he tossed it in as a freebie. 

On my way out I bought  a bunch of penny sleeve packs (5 for $4) and two packs of top loaders, so I spent about $70 total. I was satisfied with my purchases and the amount of time/money spent, but I don't think I need to go there again for a long time.

But! These are not the only nine cards I acquired this weekend...

There's a story behind these and a hundred other cards I brought home. And I'll tell you all about it in my next giveaway this Friday :)

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, June 24, 2020 Blaster #2

For the second time in as many months, I placed an order at There were some low-end cards sitting on my COMC watch list that were priced well over 50 cents apiece and since there's no way of knowing when I'll ever get my cards I thought I'd check my new favorite sports card site to see if they had any of these singles. 

I ended up ordering 180 cards for $22.99. Combined with my first order that's over 300 cards for under $40 shipped. I may have to take advantage of their new combined shipping offer next time.

Sometimes I search for local players like Jersey Jeff Hammonds here. My wife and father-in-law saw him play in high school; she said he was known as Jeff back then.  

Most of the baseball cards I picked up were either set fillers or All-Time Teams players. Langston and "El Presidente" go in the latter category, along with Barnstormer bench warmer Will Clark. I stumbled onto the Red Rodon parallel while searching for Opening Day set needs. He's on the verge of becoming a bust but a parallel or insert for a dime is too good to pass up - especially the "Planet Baseball" Guzman. As for Steve Finley.. I never knew he played for the Angels and I like Topps Chrome singles so I tossed it in the cart. 

More All-Time Teams stars, including a couple Chrome cards. Cromartie is an upgrade, the others are all new to my collection. Just about every Ed Delahanty card you'll find has a photo like this


Refractors for a dime? Yes, please. Especially when they're All-Time Team eligible. Frank Francisco leaves me one player (and one manager) shy of completing my first team set. The ballpark card is Marlins Park, not Pro Player Stadium. It was listed as "Ballpark Marlins" and I probably should have checked TCDB first. Oh well.

I only picked up two Red Sox cards in this order - a Chrome Kevin Millar and a 40-Man Brandon Lyon. Cam Newton is somehow still unemployed (why aren't the Chargers or Broncos going after this guy?) and I've always like NFL helmets and team logos. 

Of course I go right for the Green and Gold on I don't think this 1993 Topps Favre was available in my last order - unless I passed it over assuming I already had it. The Robert Brooks GameDay RC was a surprise freebie.

More Packers - and more than a pack's worth of 2015 Panini Prizm. Blowout cards has had 15-card Fat Packs of this set on clearance for well over a year. I bought a bunch for about $7 in at least two separate orders. They're still in stock but for some reason they doubled the price. Even though I have no intention to build this set, Blowout's price gouging enticed me to pick up all the singles I didn't have on Ten cents per card sure beats a dollar per card.

Some 1980s singles here, and a Swell Ray Nitschke from 1990. The site has been all but cleaned out of '80s stars, but you can still find some nice cards of well-known players like Jaworski and Clark.

We'll finish the football portion of this order with some 1991 Upper Deck high numbers and 1992 Collector's Edge. I remember buying a pack or two of these at the time but they weren't cheap, especially on a 12 year-old's budget. 

This order had a near-even amount of cards in each of the four major sports. I didn't scan up most of the Opening Day and Bunt baseball set fillers I bought, and I wont bother showing you the 1993-94 Fleer Ultra basketball singles I picked up since half of them are checklists and the other half are guys like Josh Grant and Eric Riley. I'm down to just 35 needs in the set - though I might crack open the graded Michael Jordan card I received unexpectedly in a TCDB trade.

Thanks to MJ, my 1988-89 Fleer set build is no more. That's okay, I like 1989-90 Fleer better anyway.

I was able to snag some superstars last time but Mo Cheeks is the only HOFer I found this time around.

The Kyle Lowry Prizm was an impulse buy. Prizm stars sell for well over a dime and I don't have a lot of Raptors. Unfortunately this is a pretty bland All-Star card (again, I should have consulted TCDB or COMC for a scan first.)

I don't have many Grizzlies either so I picked up a bunch from 1999-00 Hoops Decade, another set I'm passively collecting. 

The rest of my b-ball buys were from the early 1990s, including a handful of Finest.

Tom Chambers doesn't look so good. Luckily his was the only card that yellowed. Upon closer inspection the Wayman Tisdale is starting to turn :/ This is why I'm very reluctant to buy or trade for early Finest singles, but for ten cents a pop I took a shot. No regrets here, especially with names like Richmond, Horry, Grant, and 'Zo.

Upper Deck's All-Division Team was one of my favorite insert sets back in the day. I've never liked the Knicks but I couldn't pass up a John Starks Ultra insert. Any Hakeem card for a dime is a no-brainer for me, though this 1995-96 SP single was pretty much the only "Dream" card available.

How 'bout some hockey? These Allure singles were the main reason I revisited All eight of these cards cost as much as the Ovechkin alone set me back on COMC.

I doubt I'll be able to sell the COMC copy unless I take a 30-cent loss. Still, I couldn't pass up ten cent Ovechkin cards - or any of these great goalies. I tried finding a Taylor Hall card and settled for Phil Kessel. 

Found Hallsy in O-Pee-Chee Platinum though. I was thrilled to pick up some Vezina-winning goalies in '13-14 Prizm - especially Martin Brodeur, of course. 

Here's another Brodeur base card, and a bunch of Devils from 2019-20 Upper Deck (plus Charlie McAvoy.)

I shouldn't be surprised to find this much star power from a card shop/site in Canada - but I'm always impressed. Connor McDavid and Alex Ovechkin are automatic adds to the cart. Patrick Kane, Carey Price, and Jack Eichel aren't far behind. (The bottom three cards are not miscut, the scanner couldn't quite fit them all.)

Tim Hortons' singles including McDavid, goal-scoring co-champ David Pastrnak, and my first Carter Hart card. I've mentioned this before, but my nephew played against Cam Atkinson in high school. Braden Holtby is a free agent at the end of the year and I would love to see the Devils to throw a bunch of money his way. Then again it might be better to let Mackenzie Blackwood develop and get some help in front of him. 

I've got just about all the hockey cards I could ever want from 1990 to about 2016. It's still exciting for me to add 1980s issues like the Morrow, and 1988-89 Topps was the first hockey set I ever saw. On the newer side, I picked up a pair of O-Pee-Chee/Canadian Tire 'Coast To Coast' cards including a second helping of Pasta and noted Anna Kendrick fan Anthony Beauvillier.

We'll wrap this up with a gone but not forgotten franchise. 

No, I didn't get any Hartford Whalers cards (didn't see anything I needed this time.) For some reason I like the Atlanta Thrashers more now that they're gone than I did when they stunk up the Southeast divison. 

This team logo sticker from 2009-10 Panini was one of my favorite finds. Searching for Thrashers cards led me to a numbered relic of current Lightning blueliner Zach Bogosian. It's the second time I've found a relic card of a current NHL player on for a dime.

Some bloggers have mentioned that the site isn't very user friendly - most cards are not scanned, and the search makes finding specific cards difficult. Personally I find it easier to use than the Beckett Marketplace, cheaper than Beckett and COMC, and better than Cardbarrel because Baseballcardstore is much more than just a baseball card store. The extra time spent on the site is well worth it considering the selection of ten cent gems to be found.

I'm currently agonizing over whether to spend that Mike Trout money on one high-end vintage card or spread it around for a 'virtual card show' haul. And I still haven't decided what to do about those Pinnacle cans.

Also I'll be in Connecticut this weekend, and traditionally there is a card show nearby on the last Sunday of the month. I'm not sure if the Covid has cancelled the card shows indefinitely and even if they're back on I'm not certain I should attend. 

Hopefully I'll have answered at least one of these questions in time for next week's post.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Cashing Out With Trout

I've been absent from Blogger lately, keeping busy by binge-watching Dead To Me, hand-counting every card in my collection to see just how close I am to 100,000, and spending time with the family. My daughters' last day of "school" is tomorrow and it's been a tough three months for them. Both of them had the same second grade teacher (two years apart) and neither one had her for a full year - which is a bummer because everyone adores her. And they won't even get to see her next year because she's leaving our school district, which we're all kind of upset about but between you and me I'm a little bit relieved because this woman is so frickin cute that I sat out at least one parent/teacher meeting.

Also my wife and I will celebrate our 15th anniversary exactly one month from today. I've been selling some cards on eBay in order to scrape up some cash for a decent gift. 

This is the big-ticket item. I've never sold a single card for so much money. Heck, I had a Mike Trout prospect card - a blue refractor autograph BGS graded mint 9 - and didn't get nearly as much for that card. Because I was an idiot and sold it during the two-month period when he wasn't Mickey Mantle. 

In a way I'm redeeming myself for that major mistake. I pulled this card out of a $20 blaster. I had it graded and planned to keep it in my collection until he retired, likely as the greatest player in baseball history. It was a $500 card two years ago and I hardly gave selling it much thought. I knew it hadn't hit its peak. But with the baseball season in limbo and Trout's place in the hobby - and the game - pretty much set in stone I don't know how much higher a non-numbred, non-autographed card could go. So I accepted a best offer and cashed out. 

The buyer had a user name which indicated that he was a true fan of Trout and the Angels, so I'm happy to send it to someone who will appreciate the card rather than profit off it (he says while profiting off of said card...) Since we're dealing with feeBay I will have to cough up 10% of the sale price. In order to cover the cost of the listing I had to sell this:

And this, and this, and this:

And these:

Yep, I broke up my 1988-89 Fleer Basketball set. I kept some superstars like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Hakeem Olajuwon. However the spike in everything Bulls-related after The Last Dance made me throw in the towel: I still needed both Michael Jordan cards, the Scottie Pippen RC, the Dennis Rodman RC, and the Horace Grant RC (not to mention Reggie Miller's RC.) 

The good news is, even after paying these fees and saving for my wife's anniversary gift I still have room in the budget for a "big piece" or two. It won't be an epic Shoebox Legends-level flip but I plan to add some quality cards to my collection. There are still some legends I need to cross of my 1956 Topps need list. I'd like to add some high-end autographs from Panini Immaculate Collection. And I'm targeting a classic rookie card of a Hall of Famer. Guess I'll have to settle for a 'virtual' card show instead of attening the National this year. We'll see how it goes.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Pack Stash In a Can

Before I started blogging the term "pack stash" was foreign to me. I'd kind of seen it in action as my brother-in-law would often buy a box of hockey cards, open four packs, and then do something else for a while. Sometimes he would take an entire week to open all the packs in the box. I couldn't imagine having unopened packs in my house longer than a few hours.  

Funny thing is, I actually had a pack stash when I was much younger. Ever since I started going to card shops I wanted to recreate the layout in my own card room. In 1988, when Topps baseball cards were everywhere and magazines advertised bulk lots of star players, I displayed my star cards in piles on a brown bookshelf (which is still at my mom's house). Then I would place labels on the shelf in front of the stack: Bo Jackson 50c, Roger Clemens 35c, Jose Canseco $1, and so on. 

Some time in 1993 or early 1994 I got the idea to recreate that - and I now had some wax boxes to display in my "store." I held back as many packs of 1993 Flair baseball and 1993-94 Score hockey as I could, until reality set in. There were no customers coming to my attic room just to purchase packs from one of two half-empty boxes I had for "sale." And so after a few weeks (months?) I cracked them open, finally revealing a Pierre Turgeon Franchise insert and a Mike Piazza Wave of the Future insert. 

Fast forward to 2020. We're all quarantined with limited access to new sports cards. Those of us who venture into the sports card aisle at Target or Wal-Mart have been shamed for purchasing "non-essential" items. COMC and Burbank Sportscards are closed, as are hundreds of other hobby shops across the country. 

A pack stash would really come in handy at a time like this. But I haven't been disciplined enough to keep cards unopened in over 25 years. 

Or so I thought...

While rummaging through my closet for summer clothes (and things to sell on eBay) I uncovered this: 

A stash of twelve 1997-98 Pinnacle Inside cans. 

Most of them were opened years ago. The Marino and Nomar cans came from Dennis, while the hockey cans belong to my wife. 

The cans I purchased in 1997 and 1998 remain intact..

...which means I technically have a pack stash. 

I was never really tempted to open these because the sealed cans were more interesting to me than the cards. The players and teams depicted on the outside of these cans fit my PC at the time, and opening them would be akin to cracking open a Starting Lineup or McFarlane figure. 

That said, I've considered opening those figures for reasons I won't get into here. Perhaps it's time to consider taking a can opener to my "packs" and add a few cards to my collection. 

I did a quick eBay search and found that a sealed Brett Favre can such as this sold for over $20 on eBay. I won't add a link to the listing since no one clicks on those anyway :p

Sammy Sosa items are suddenly red-hot again thanks to the upcoming ESPN doc Long Gone Summer. This Limited Edition can includes an additional insert. That's got to boost the value a bit, no? I couldn't find any of these cans listed on eBay so there's only one way to find out. 

What would you do with these five sealed cans - Sell 'em, open 'em, or keep 'em as is?

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 6, 2020

A Pretty Good Wormhole

A few days ago I was reading a post from Night Owl in which he mentioned Lonnie Smith

I knew a little bit about Lonnie as a player, but N.O. made reference to some of Smith's bizarre behavior, which I did not know about. He provided a link to a YouTube video. 

Do any of you guys click on links and videos when they're included in a post? I use them often but I get very little - if any - feedback on them. I'm going to use both in this post.

I clicked on the link to the Lonnie Smith video, which led me to the wonderful world of Jon Bois.

For the past four days I've been binge-watching SB Nation content - particularly anything with the words "Pretty Good", "Chart Party" or "Jon Bois". Some of these videos are more than five years old. I'm ashamed I missed them at the time. Well, I didn't miss all of them.

A few months ago I did see a Dorktown video about the 2010 San Diego Chargers.


The charts, stats, and attention to detail were impressive. The presentation of important facts - set to dramatic, often chilling music - was unique. And yet I don't recall clicking on any other SB Nation content. Perhaps Jon Bois videos are better when he rides solo; there's less of a "two guys talking sports" vibe and more of a dramatic storytelling feel to them.

I've been a sports fan for most of my 39 and 5/6ths years on this planet. I can't even begin to estimate the amount of time I've spent absorbing sports facts, stories, and statistics. And yet, Jon and the SB Nation crew told me a dozen stories I did not know or notice. 

After watching a few of the videos that interested me I was left with stories about an impossibly high-scoring college basketball game (which was scored incorrectly until Jon corrected it), a lawn-chair balloonist named Larry Walters, and a Poker story? I gobbled up the first two. Tonight I'm watching the Poker one and the conclusion of The Bob Emergency

Oh, and Jon Bois has some sports card content, too. Holy sh*t this guy is my hero.

Thanks, Night Owl. Sincerely, thank you. You opened the door to a wormhole that has taken my mind off the terrible things that have happened in our country lately. Also, thank you for the cards.

I had claimed the Ichiro relic in Greg's giveaway, and he was kind enough to send some extras - including a Dan Marino rookie reprint, and some Dodgers legends. I have a bit of a Sandy Koufax PC (perhaps an on-card auto will make my Dream card shopping list?) Don Sutton was a need for my All-Time Team collection. 

And so were these. I'm sure N.O. was happy to offload a couple cards of NL West rivals and Marlins.  The '70s Padres in particular were a nice surprise.

Wait a sec, you may be thinking, Mike Olt didn't make the Rangers All-Time team.. did he?

Nah, he's from Connecticut. This one will go in my hometown binder - although I'm increasingly tempted to build the 2013 Topps set considering I've accumulated 23.5% of it without really trying.

I've received a few other card packages this week - some trades, a purchase, and a couple handfuls of All-Time Teams candidates. I'll have plenty of topics to discuss in the coming days.

But there's no way I can make them sound as interesting as this:

Thanks for reading (and watching?)