Monday, October 26, 2020

Big Mailday and a Big Announcement

I received five packages in the mail today. One of them was a TCDB trade that was meant for another user (I notified the sender so that we can all get the right cards in the right place.) One of them was damp from the gloomy drizzle of an early winter day, and one was a total surprise. The other two were purchases.

The latest addition to my 1956 Topps set build. This Gus Zernial card isn't as memorable as his 1952 Topps issue, but it's the 180th card in my '56 collection. Four more are on the way from COMC. My first - and largest - order is scheduled to be shipped today. I'll believe it when I see it.

These six Red Sox were a surprise from Bo. I needed an upgrade for the '73 Petro and a third Mo Vaughn Leaf for my Boston binder. Over the weekend I deleted my entire wantlist on TCDB and started over with only set fillers because my team PC binders are full (and I was tired of getting offers of OPE Sox commons for current stars.) I've got just enough room for these guys. Thanks, Bo!

A week or so after placing an order at I checked out Cardbarrel for more set fillers. Some 1993 Leaf singles are on their way to me via trade, so I only bought a small handful.

2003 Finest was a set I decided to build because it was small and shiny. I only need four cards to complete the 100-card base set, so I might try to add the ten autographs for a complete set. None of them are stars which should keep them affordable. The biggest name is Adam LaRoche, and I refuse to pay more than a buck or two for his signature. If I can't get it that cheap then I'll settle for the base set.

Bought a bunch of 2011 Topps Lineage, including some legends. Thanks to GCA I have most of the glossy rookies so I tossed a Jake McGee into my cart. Now I need just three of the 19 cards in the set (there's no card #15 for some reason?)

The stack of 2015 Opening Day in my order brought me to 87% completion of the 200-card set. I've updated my wantlist tab with the 26 remaining singles.

Bunch of Bunt here including the Wil Myers recently featured on Rod's blog and a Josh Reddick that I'd asked for in trade. My trade partner no longer had it so I had to purchase one from Cardbarrel.

Here's something I found interesting: I ordered 85 set fillers across three sets released in the 2010s, and five players were needs in multiple sets (not pictured: Evan Gattis) In fact I needed John Smoltz cards in three of the four sets in which he appeared.

This is the only card in my Cardbarrel order that wasn't a set filler. It's a Franken-set filler. I had such a blast building those All-Time Team rosters and researching each player that I've decided on a sequel.

It would be too cumbersome to start an NFL series, and there's not a lot of NBA interest on the blogs (as evidence by my latest post at the 1993.) The only other sport that makes sense for this format is hockey:

Here's my latest "big piece" purchase. I've always wanted a vintage Bobby Orr card and a confluence of good timing led me to pick up this beauty on eBay during a 5% bucks promotion. The back is off-center and the case is scratched, but nothing serious enough to spoil the joy of crossing this off my collecting "bucket list."

I know there's not a lot of NHL interest on the blogs, either (as evidence by my latest post here.) That's okay. I enjoy doing research and sharing what I've learned. Hopefully you will enjoy it, too.

My plan is to post an All-Time Team every day in January - though my past history of sticking to a posting schedule is mixed at best. I'm still deciding what to do about the 31st team: the Golden Knights "all-time" roster is pretty much their current roster. Will there be a "Best of the Rest" roster like the Barnstormers in baseball (the "Rovers" perhaps?) That's still to be decided. I'm sticking to the 'one player, one team rule' so don't expect to see Ray Bourque on the Avalance or Wayne Gretzky on the Kings. 

Thanks for reading!

p.s. I don't plan to post again until my COMC order arrives - or until January 1, whichever comes first.


Saturday, October 24, 2020

Collection Montreal Canadiens Collection

About a dozen years ago I worked in a cubicle behind a Packers fan named John. John was the only other Packer fan I encountered on a regular basis. He was a bit of a Boston Bruins fan back in the day, but had lost interest in hockey until he noticed that I was a hockey fan. Something about the Bruins' biggest rival had always bewildered him and so he asked me: why does the Montreal Canadiens logo have an 'H' in it?

I knew the answer to that, and I knew that Les Habitants had won more Stanley Cups than any other NHL team - and more championships than all but one team in North American pro sports.

However, because I didn't grow up in Canada I had hardly any knowledge of the players that continued this winning tradition year after year, decade after decade.

A few years ago my brother in law got us a hockey book as a Christmas gift. By "us" I mean my wife and by "hockey book" I mean the definitive book about hockey, Ken Dryden's The Game.

The Game didn't make me a Montreal Canadiens fan, but it made me appreciate the 1970s-era Habs. I'd never bothered to collect older hockey cards because the few big names that I knew were out of my price range and the "common" singles just weren't common where I grew up. This book inspired me to build a mini-collection of players who contributed to the six Stanley Cups won by the franchise from 1970-1979 (and ten cups in fifteen years going back to 1965.)

I've got about two dozen post-career cards of Canadiens from this era but for this post I'm only going to focus on cards issued in the 1970s.

Terry Harper won five Stanley Cups with Montreal (1965, '66, '68, 69, and '71). This was a gift from the crumudgeon who lived next door until he and his wife moved when I was about 12 years old. There's a small pen mark on the back.

Hall of Famer Frank Mahovlich won four Stanley Cups with the Maple Leafs in the 1960s, joined their arch-rivals in 1971 and helped the Habs win the Cup that spring. He won a sixth Stanley Cup with the 1973 Canadiens. I bought this ungraded for $3.15 on COMC in May 2015. I'm thrilled that it came back from PSA with a high grade - vintage OPC singles are notorious for centering and edge issues.

I somehow snagged this gem for just $5.09 on 4 Sharp Corners in March 2016. I know it's a Topps hockey card, but that seems low for a mint '70s single of an eight-time Stanley Cup champion (as a player.) 

Jacques Lemaire is well-known to my Devils-loving family as the head coach of the 1995 Stanley Cup Champs. The Canadian media critics who derided the Devils for employing the neutral zone trap and suffocating the sport fail to mention that Lemaire learned that strategy from his coach, Scotty Bowman.

Los Angeles Times June 22, 1995

Here's another Hall of Famer who coached a Stanley Cup-winning Devils team. Larry Robinson won six Stanley Cups as a player, three as a Devils coach, and a tenth Cup as an assistant for the Blues. He also won two Norris trophies and saved the sport of hockey from becoming wrestling on ice. This OPC single looks empty without a "1st Team All-Star" designation found on Robinson's Topps card. On the other hand, the ice and the boards are bare and I don't mind that at all. I bought this with a best offer of $6.60 on COMC in February 2017.

Some ungraded 1978-79 singles. Bob Gainey won four Stanley Cups with Montreal in the 1970s then captained the Canadiens to their 24th championship in 1986. I'm not sure where I got his O-Pee-Chee card. The Semi-Final single was picked out of a box at my LCS back in the day.

Pierre Bouchard wasn't a star, but he contributed to Canadiens Cup wins in 1971, '73, '76, '77, and '78. This 1977-78 Topps card cost me 64 cents on COMC four years ago.

I picked up this Ken Dryden for $9 on COMC last summer. I wrote about this purchase at the time since I wasn't expecting to receive my cards until December. Turns out I was a little impatient and had this order shipped to me in September. Good thing I did; the cards I purchased last Black Friday still haven't arrived :/

Dryden is a fascinating guy. He played seven full seasons in the NHL and won six titles. (Take that, Tom Brady!) In 1971 Dryden won the Cup and the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP before burning his rookie eligibility. Naturally he won the Calder trophy as Rookie of the Year in 1972. After winning his second Cup in 1973 Dryden sat out the 1973-74 season in a contract dispute, during which he worked at a Toronto law firm (hold that thought..)

This card is so seventies. It's glorious. I want it.

In September 1972 Ken Dryden and Tony Esposito split goaltending duties for the Canadian all-stars against the Soviet Union in the famed Summit series. Dryden was the winning goalie in the decisive game eight, besting his Russian counterpart Vladislav Tretiak (hold that thought...)

After winning his sixth Stanley cup and fourth in a row Dryden decided to hang up his skates. Years after his retirement, Dryden went into politics and sat in Canada's House of Commons. 

These cards are definitely not commons, haha.

Shortly after retiring as player Dryden joined Al Michaels in the broadcast booth for ABC's coverage of the 1980 Winter Olympic hockey tournament. Tretiak was on the ice for the Soviets in the first period of the "Miracle On Ice" game. Even non-hockey fans know Michaels' famous call "Do you believe in miracles?"; not everyone knows that Ken Dryden was alongside him at the time.

Last week I was shopping for some vintage hockey cards and searched vintage Ken Dryden singles on eBay. I prefer to buy graded vintage, mostly for the peace of mind that the cards haven't been counterfeited or trimmed. Most early Dryden cards are out of my price range in high grade, and since I already have some Topps singles I was hoping to pick up an O-Pee-Chee card.

I found one that looked sharp, and the price was right at just under $30. There was no scan of the back, and I was all but certain that there was a flaw I couldn't see on screen. Those old OPC edges terrify me.

Shortly after adding the card in question to my watch list  I got a notice that it was being discounted to interested parties. Now it was $25 shipped. With tax the card would cost $26.66. I was at work and didn't have much time to deliberate so I hit the "buy" button and paid for it when I got home.

The card arrived in today's mail. I looked at it from all angles and in three kinds of light. I don't see any flaws aside from one slight corner ding. 

For a second I thought that maybe it was a Topps card. But the seller (MainStreetSportscardsVT) knows their stuff. Notice the cartoon on the left? Ken didn't have to wait until his hockey days were through.

I took a bit of a gamble on this card and it paid off. As any skeptic of slabbed cards will tell you, paying a premium for high grades isn't always a good strategy. Take these Dryden singles, for example:

This card sold for $57+shipping (about $62 total.) The top edge is a mess, the bottom edge isn't much better, and there's a big dot on the right side of Dryden's head.

This one is even worse. The edges are a mess, the card appears to be at least slightly diamond cut, and that yellow blob by the 'A' should have been flagged as a print defect. I say this not to insult the card's owner but the card's appraiser - this is an ugly example of a fantastic card. How is this an 8?

I'm very happy with my purchase and I'm definitely going to consider ungraded examples for my Canadiens collection. I still need 1970's-era cards of Guy Lafleur, Steve Shutt, Yvan Cournoyer, Serge Savard, Guy Lapointe, and more. And I don't need to pay $40 for a PSA-slabbed copy of these cards.

On the other hand...this is a pretty good deal at $25....

Should I pull the trigger?

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, October 18, 2020

(the rest of) my New Order

My mystical prognostication powers have taken a new form: the reverse hex. It worked for the Rays when I commented to Bo that the Yankees should be confident going into Game 5 of the LDS with Gerrit Cole on the mound against Tampa. The big market teams always come out on top, I said. 

Unless I jinx them of course. Which is what I did this weekend when I switched allegiances and cheered for the Astros to beat the Rays in Game 7 of the ALCS. Of course I didn't want those can bangers to join the 2004 Red Sox as the only teams to complete an 0-3 comeback. I just had to say I did.. so they'd lose. (To be honest I'm not as mad at the Astros as most fans are, and I'm impressed that they've reached four straight LCSes. But still.)

With the "bad guys" vanquished I can now enjoy the World Series and root for the Rays against Atlanta... or the Dodgers if they win tonight. How cool would it be to see the champion city of the NHL square off against the champion city of the NBA for the championship of the MLB?

Since most of you will be watching Game 7 tonight I figured I should close out my order at the Baseball Card Store a little early. Let's start with my dime finds from the diamond:

Refractors are drying up, the only one I could find is Lewis Brinson. The Kevin Kiermaier is a Prizm parallel of some sort. He's one of the two Rays cards I ordered.

Blake Snell is the other. Ryan Madson and Byung-Hyun Kim were All-Time Teams Frankenset needs. (I've updated my wantlists btw.) Is that Derek Jeter sliding into second on Omar Vizquel's 1994 Topps card?

I sorted by "newest" and found that Steven had added some update and traded sets. I was happy to scoop up the Kenny Lofton in particular. Ryan Klesko has been shipped off to a fellow blogger.

Older Sox. The 1997 Zenith set is an underrated masterpiece. I was very excited to see that the only single available from this set was a Boston star.

Newer Sox. My scanner hates Donruss Optic cards. That Rick Porcello card isn't actually scratched.

That's all the baseball cards I picked up in this order. I have three monster boxes for my non-set, non-PC baseball cards and they're overflowing. Guess I'll have to clear some room somehow.

I made some room in my basketball monster box by moving out my 1989-90 Fleer set build. That freed up some space for these new additions:


I really wish I'd picked up an Hakeem Olajuwon rookie card. Too late now :/


I'm nearly finished with the 2003 Finest baseball set. No immediate plans to complete its basketball counterpart, but these are cool cards regardless. 

I've got almost 20% of the 1991-92 Upper Deck basketball set. This might be a set building project down the road, once I complete a couple current ones. Shawn Kemp had so many awesome cards.

So did Dominique Wilkins. Here's that trilogy of Drexler I mentioned. I'm really enjoying my return to basketball card collecting, but I seem to be stuck on late '80s-early '90s sets in particular.

Not that I completely ignore modern NBA cards, of course. There was only one Jamal Murray card left on the site, and I was lucky to find it. I was on the fence about buying the Boogie but decided that I didn't have enough Pelicans cards in my collection (and I won't be able to pick up a Zion any time soon.)

The football card selection at BBCS seemed a little slimmer than the other sports. Still, I found a dozen or so singles that I was happy to add to my cart:

I think this is my first Rashan Gary card. Dennis would be proud -- or disappointed that it's taken me this long to get one. Ryan Fitzpatrick is ageless and awesome. I might have to add him to my player PC list.

A little more star power here with the red Eli and the ODB. I already had that Boomer so it's now on my tradelist.

And we'll end this order with a pair of Packers, some lovely ladies, and some pop culture cards.

I'm probably going to take a few days off here, so that I can tend to my 1993 blog and put away my new purchases. 

Thanks for reading!


 p.s. ten points to anyone who can correctly identify what I'm referencing in the title of this post.



Friday, October 16, 2020

Friday Night Lightning

Whenever I order from I often start by browsing hockey cards. It would make sense to buy baseball cards from the Baseball Card Store (and I did) but I can get baseball cards from other websites, retailers, blogger friends, and TCDB traders. Football and basketball cards aren't difficult to acquire, either. Hockey on the other hand... there just aren't many bloggers who offer up hockey cards, and I have less than 100 duplicates for trade so I can rarely acquire them on TCDB.

Until this year my source for new NHL singles was COMC, where there are thousands of parallel and insert cards available for 30 cents or less. 30 cents is a decent price. But 10 cents is better. Much better!

The Lightning had just won the Stanley Cup when I began filling my cart. I suppose I felt some urgency to scoop up as many Bolts cards as I could find, especially singles of Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman.

Hedman was awarded the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP. The 6' 6" Swede has been one of my favorite defensemen over the past decade, and a finalist for the Norris trophy as the league's best blueliner in each of the last four seasons. In any other sport an autographed, serial numbered rookie card of the playoff MVP would triple in value over the duration of said postseason.

Hedman's SP Authentic RC sold for around $40-50 in recent years and hasn't moved much from that price lately. It has increased in value though. I've had it so long I'd forgotten how much I paid for this copy. Turns out I didn't pay much at all:

I picked up eleven Lightning cards in this order. They're probably my third favorite NHL team right now and I had hardly any cards of their top young stars Brayden Point and Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Here are some cards of the 2020 Stanley Cup Champions that weren't part of this order.

Many of these singles came from COMC. The Allure single was a Free Stuff Friday claim from Brian.

Blue parallels really pop on Lightning cards. The Vasilevskiy Allure arrived in a previous order. 

And here are some other cards I brought home in this order:

A handful of 2019-20 OPC Platinum including 43 year-old Zdeno Chara and 20 year-old Andrei Svechnikov. Braden Holtby signed with Vancouver recently so the Capitals will likely drop down the list of my favorite teams.

I really wanted the Blue Jackets to win that five-OT thriller to open the postseason (even though they were playing Tampa.) These singles were picked partly out of a new respect for the Jackets and partly to fill holes left by trading most of my newer BJ's to Nate of The Bucs Stop Here.

Some more Blue Jackets and other random stuff.

Trilogy here, including another Holtby and another Bobrovsky. I have a theory that the reason the Vegas Golden Knights didn't win the Stanley Cup is because they still haven't named a captain. Mark Stone would be a good choice.

More randos. I never liked the old Coyotes jersey but it's cool to see it make a comeback (and the Flames retro sweaters are even better!) Why did I buy so many Hurricanes cards?

Some Bruins and Canadiens here. It's tough to find Habs Hall of Famers for a dime apiece. I'll pick up pretty much any '80s hockey card on the BBCS site for a dime. There aren't many left there that I don't already have.

Of course I stocked up on current and former Devils. I'm not going to abandon my favorite team just because they've only won one playoff game in the last eight seasons.

In fact that one playoff appearance was a first round defeat at the hands of.. the Tampa Bay Lightning.

I couldn't root for Tampa then and I can't root for them this weekend. The Rays have failed to finish off Houston in the LCS since I started watching the games so.. go Astros! 😜

And I'm definitely not cheering for Tompa Bay this Sunday. Not that I'd want Brady to win anyway, ever.

Go Pack Go! Turn that Brady dial all the way to crud!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!