Sunday, November 29, 2020

Count 'Em Up (an NFL week preview)

Earlier this week our sports blogging lodestar Night Owl listed the players that appear most frequently in his collection. Not surprisingly, they were heavily weighted toward his beloved L. A. Dodgers. 

I have kept a catalog of my collection on TCDB and so I know that Red Sox players hold nine of the top ten spots in my collection, with David Ortiz leading the way at 265 unique cards. Furthermore, of the 28,281 keepers in my baseball card collection 4,638 of them are Red Sox cards. That's a team PC percentage of 16.4%. Hold that thought.

Of the 54,968 hockey cards my wife and I have collected 4,722 of them are New Jersey Devils. That's the most cards I have of any single team - though many belong to the Mrs. Because we have soooo many more hockey cards compared to other sports, the Devils account for just 8.6% of all cards in our collection.

There are less than 10,000 football cards in my collection. I'd love to double that number over the next 2-3 years but it's tough to find bloggers and traders who collect football cards, and it's even tougher to get my hands on new tradebait. The blogosphere doesn't swap NFL cards that often. Hopefully I can change that.

While it has been easy for me to collect a wide variety of players, teams, and brands in the other three sports (I don't have a favorite NBA team) my top priority for football has always been Packers cards. 

Of the 9,738 football cards in my collection as of today 2,993 of them are Packers cards. Once my COMC order arrives (They actually shipped it! Huzzah!) I'll have crossed the 3K marker. 

My personal top 20 list is loaded with Packers players, most of them from the 1990s when card collecting was at its peak. Of the 20 players whom I have the most cards only five never suited up for the green and gold. The one non-Packer in the top ten was my favorite NFL star before I became a Packers fan. He'll get his own post this week. 

It amazes me that over 30% of my football card collection is geared toward one team. That's awesome. But I feel like I'm missing out on so many other players and teams.That gave me an idea...

The first promotion I ran here at The Collector was a blind 50/50 swap - any 50 cards you want to send me for 50 cards of your favorite team. It was mostly a success. One or two lurkers screwed me over but that was a rookie mistake. Overall, it helped me build relationships with a lot of my readers and trade partners.

This December The Collector (in conjunction with The 1993) is hosting a PWE swap meet. If you're a regular reader you can send me any unwanted NFL cards (even 1990 Pro Set) of any NFL team between now and December 28th. If you're reading this from TCDB feel free to make me an offer of any football cards I don't have for a fair trade. If I agree, you'll be included in this promotion.

What will you receive in return?

A hand-picked PWE full of cards from a team or a short list of players that you collect. [Please note you can request any sport.] If possible, I'll send you some set fillers. You will also be entered in a drawing for a nice prize - which I will reveal later this week.

I'll have more details about this swap meet throughout NFL Week, which officially kicks off tomorrow night. Hope you'll join me for this celebration of football.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, November 27, 2020

The Allure of Black Friday sales

Have you done any Black Friday shopping? I purchased and received my order from Dave and Adam's in a total of four days (take that, COMC!) The football packs were fun, but the main attraction was the box of 2019-20 Upper Deck Allure hockey:

This is a set I've had my eye on since Brian offered up some singles for Free Stuff Friday way back in April. Only 48 cards in this box, which works out to about $1.50 per card. Let's see that shiny!

Pack #1:

A pair of Devils is a nice start, though most collectors would prefer the pair of Penguins. Max Domi is a white rainbow die-cut.

Pack #2:

Hell yeah! The lowest-numbered insert in this box happens to be a Green Quartz parallel of Devils star Nico Hischier. I've had some great luck with PC players so far in this order.

Pack #3:

A "Johnny Hockey" insert and a Connor Hellebuyck white rainbow die-cut. There appears to be one parallel and one insert in every pack. Let's see if that holds throughout the box.

Pack #4:

Indeed it does, and both are Red Wings. I really like the color-matching Filip Zadina rookie parallel. Hellebuyck is back, in base form. I came up with a little jeering toward him which would work a lot better if he hadn't just won the Vezina: "Hellebuyck, you hella-suck!"
Pack #5:

Another Devils parallel, though Nathan Bastian is kind of a fringe prospect at this point. Dobson and Vrana are already starting to curl so I had to order some emergency top loaders lol.

Pack #6:

Two more Red Wing hits including a Ryan Kuffner auto. I have no idea who Ryan Kuffner is. Notice the Zadina is slightly different from the others? That's a short-printed RC. No idea why Upper Deck gave the same players a base RC and a short-printed RC but it's not a large set so I don't mind.

Pack #7:

Only five cards in this pack due to the thickness of the Max Jones relic. Nice orange swatch for the Orange County team.

Pack #8:

And we close out the box with some future Hall of Famers, another short-printed RC, and an Orange Slice parallel of Connecticut Cam. This beauty is serial numbered to 199. Nice!

I also picked up a cheap box of 2018-19 Upper Deck MVP, for three reasons.

At $25 a box this works out to $1.05 per pack. It's increasingly rare to find decent cards at that price.

MVP is pretty basic stuff, the design doesn't change much and the top rookies are only attainable via redemption. But I really don't have too much hockey card tradebait so this will give me a little boost for TCDB. [I ended up posting about half of the cards FT.]

Also, the big draw is the 20th Anniversary stamped buybacks. I haven't even seen the Peter Worrell card anywhere so this purchase was like buying a lottery ticket for a huge PC need.

I won't scan every pack, but here's a look at the base card design:

Some short-term stops, my first cards of Kerfoot and Brown, and Joe Thornton's beard. I really hope he wins a Stanley Cup so he can finally remove that monster from his face. He signed with the Leafs though, so it doesn't look like that's happening :/

There are 50 short prints in the MVP set, and this box contained six veterans and six RCs. Notice the Connor McDavid SP has the same photo as the checklist (which is not an SP.) The Player Credentials cards are a neat concept, but I feel like they could be a little more realistic - and colorful.


Three types of Tyler Johnson - including the base, puzzle back, and silver script parallels. Mittelstadt is the only rookie SP in my keeper pile.


The rest of my rookies, including a Ryan Donato Credentials insert. I think the vertical orientation works better for these.

These 20th Anniversary silver script parallels inserts are really sharp. My wife and I both collected 1998-99 MVP and I have fond memories of hoarding packs at the Newbury Comics near Cape Cod. It's neat to see newer teams like the Golden Knights on this design. I'd love to add more of these to my collection.

Nikita Kucherov was the best of the four players I pulled. The Oliver Ekman-Larsson next to it is a Colors and Contours insert numbered to 198. I do not like the look of these, or the snipped-off edges.

I was not expecting to pull a 20th Anniversary buyback since there are only 20 copies of 220 cards. That means only 4,400 of these exist in total. The odds that I'd pull a Peter Worrell were very, very slim.

And yet...

I did pull a buyback!

Not the one I wanted, but that's okay. Andrei Zyuzin played for six different NHL teams including the Devils over his ten-year career. New Jersey has seen so many players with Z-names come through the Garden State, including Zach Parise, Danius Zubrus, Valeri Zelepukin, Peter Zezel, and current Devils Travis Zajac and Pavel Zacha.

I'm surprised that the lowest-numbered parallel came from the lowest-priced set (not counting that free 2015 Score football pack.) While I didn't pull any "sick hitz" from this D&A order it was a lot of fun to open packs again, something that I haven't done nearly enough this year.

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Pack Ripping Is In My D&A

The holidays are always difficult for me. I'm away from my family. Work is much more stressful. Free time is scarce. From Halloween to New Years' there are seven events that take up my weekends, and they are all at the in-laws. Most of them can't stop talking about politics, and I'm so done with all of it. I need a break. 

I need some time to rest, relax, watch a movie, watch some football, write a story (or a blog post), crack open some cards. Retail therapy in the year of the 'rona is so much more difficult. I tried going to Target this past weekend. The sports card aisle has been my LCS for the past 5-7 years. It's always there for me.

It's gone.

Oh, the card aisle was fully stocked with cards. Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon and MTG and other non-sports things. Not a single trading card depicting a human, much less a pro athlete. The last time I bought cards at Target was when 2019 Topps Update was released. They were on an end cap where the action figures were found. So I checked the toy aisle and... nothing. My LCS is gone. 

You all know about the problems at COMC. Black Friday on that site was my Christmas. I got excited about it every year. I made a shopping list, woke up early, and jumped to my computer to see what was waiting for me. Checking the list to see what sales 'popped' was like unwrapping presents. Pure joy.

That's gone, too. Oh, COMC is still going ahead with their sales this weekend. But I'm not participating. Well, I shouldn't say definitely not. There is one card on my watch list that I might be tempted to buy if the price drops. 

So what if it does though? Let's say I add $20 to the site and buy the card. I'll then have one card in my COMC inventory with no intention of buying more. I'd have to spend $5 to have it shipped to me, and lord only knows when it would arrive. I'd be better off buying it on eBay for full price. At least then I'd get the card in my hand sometime this decade.

I really thought that COMC would get me through the holidays this year. The timing of my order seemed to work out perfectly. I requested shipment on July 26. My estimated ship date was October 26. Obviously that was too optimistic. But! Even if they were one month behind and my cards shipped today there's a good chance I'd still get them this weekend. 

Nope. My cards still have not shipped. And you want me to spend more money at your site? 

I've been ordering singles and set fillers all year so it's not like I've been unable to acquire any cards. But it's Christmastime. I needed something to open

And so I checked the "big three" online retailers to see their Black Friday deals, knowing all too well that the price of everything has tripled. Another great gift in this godawful year. Those blasters you can't find at Target or Wal-Mart anymore? Blowout has 'em. For $50. 

Want to take a shot at some Panini Prizm? Hundred bucks. A pack. Ugh, this is gonna be tough.

Lucky for me I'm a hockey card collector, and no one on this side of the border is hoarding Upper Deck products and reselling at 3-4x the sticker price on the off chance that they might pull a hot rookie. Dave and Adam's had some decent deals so I filled my cart with two hobby boxes - which I'll open this weekend - and the cheapest football packs I could find. 

I was able to choose "random football pack" as my free gift. And here it is:

Not too bad. I can work with this. Let's see what's inside:

Jeremy Hill hot pack. No Packers but I did get a Beast Mode base card, a couple nice inserts, and a Scorecard parallel (not numbered) of Danny Amendola. Apparently Danny Shelton's nickname is "Feast Mode"

Now for the Score pack I paid for:

I like the 2019 Score design more than most years, and $15 wasn't a huge markup from the pre-Covid price. (I think they were $10 at Target last year?) Let's see if there are any purple parallel Packers - an admittedly odd combination but I'd still like to see it :)

Eight of the 23 base cards in the box. That's right - there are 37 rookies, inserts, and parallels.

Here are the purple parallels, along with some Signal-Callers that look a little purple but aren't.

A double dose of DeAndre Hopkins, along with two cards each of current and former Patriots QBs. Lots of trade bait, including the Nick Bosa which I already had and traded to someone on TCDB earlier this year.

I got one Packers card in the box, and it was a dupe. But that wasn't the only card of a Wisconsin team:

I wasn't expecting a relic, so that's cool. There are no odds posted on the box, and I didn't look before opening anyhow.

Part of the reason why I've been so reluctant to order packs and boxes this year is that the price per card works out to $1-2 or more. Doesn't seem like a worthwhile gamble when we can trade for half the cards or buy them for a dime each at the Baseball Card Store. And yet I had to roll the dice on something new:

This pretty pink pack cost $30, or $2 per card. Let's see if there are any keepers in here. 

Here's the first pack:

Three legends including a cool insert and a rookie card of a guy who just caught the Covid.

Pack #2. Any Packers in here?

Nope, but the Watt family is well represented. The Parker parallel is awesome. No rookies though.


Finally, here's the bonus pack of pink parallels:

Boom! That's what I'm talking about. A new Brett Favre for my thousand-card quest (I'll have some thoughts on him next week) and a RC parallel of Football Team stud Chase Young. Not bad at all.

I'll crack open the hockey boxes this weekend. Perhaps I'll scan up both boxes but I'm leaning towards leaving out 2018-19 Upper Deck MVP unless I pull something really special (a stamped buyback perhaps?)

Thanks for reading, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!




Thursday, November 19, 2020

Attacking the All-Time Teams list

How do you use Trading Card Database? Do you aggressively propose trades to users that have the cards you need? Do you offer up duplicate cards on someone's wantlist and browse for a decent return? Do you sit back and wait for offers, focusing on cataloging your own cards more than trading?

This is pretty much the order I follow. If I've exhausted all of my options for priority projects I'll see who needs all of my surplus 2017-2019 Topps baseball cards and see what I can get for them.

This Willie Stargell 2017 Topps Heritage insert arrived yesterday in a trade I proposed a month ago today. I've tried every which way to acquire the remaining inserts I need for my master set and some users just won't budge. Wayne (aka T206) accepted the trade and marked it as shipped a day later. 

A week after I offered him two Pete Alonso rookie cards and a couple Braves legends from my duplicates box I received a package.. full of Buffalo Bills cards. There had been a mixup and it took a lot of back-and-forth to get the cards to the traders that had requested them. I sent the Bills cards to their rightful owner and eventually received the cards I had been eagerly anticipating for four weeks.

Okay, I was mostly anxious about the Stargell and Derrick Gibson Ravens card. Yoan Moncada's RC isn't really a RC - but then again the Polar Bear RCs weren't really RCs, either. The bottom three guys are relievers for my All-Time Teams project - but by the time they arrived I only needed J. P. Howell. 

Wayne did make it right, by adding extra cards and including a $5 bill to cover my shipping of the Bills cards to the third trader. Four of them are all-time favorite quarterbacks that I'm saving for future football card posts. Here are the other three freebies:

I already have the Red Sox celebration card, the Rick Porcello mini is numbered to 100 (but it's bent) and I have no idea why Wayne included a CC Sabathia card but I'm not going to complain. 6 of the 7 cards he sent were PC teams/players so that's a good ratio - even if three were dupes.  

Also, he basically covered the Nationals/Expos slot I paid for in Nachos Grande's 2020 Heritage break.

The second type of TCDB deal was my second with Sheepboy. I was a little leery of this because I remebered receiving at least one damaged card from him in our first swap. Would it happen again?

This card of Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium was the reason I made the offer. A bunch of cards on my trade list matched Ben's want list so it was just a matter of seeing what else I could get for 15 Tigers and Michigan-adjacent players.

No new set fillers here but I tried upgrading and went 1-for-2. The Stump Mitchell is sharp. Ken Norman is creased. Joe Ingles was kind of an impulse add because the Status brand reminds me of old Skybox sets. Also I didn't have an Ingles card or, should I say, no tenia Ingles.

If I can't find set fillers I need or All-Time Team needs, my next priority is team favorites. Ben had a bunch of 1995-96 SP hockey and I was happy to find a few Whalers. The Chris Sale is my first card from the 2002 portion of Archives. I don't like it. The cardstock feels like a bad fit for anything 21st century.

This got me all caught up on old TCDB trades so I tossed a couple more offers out there. Then when I got home from work today I found an envelope from Julie which contained my Pick Pockets picks:

Ha, did not even notice all three of these greats played for the Dodgers at some point. I'm neutral on Chase Utley but I love the '93-style Platinum Power die-cut. I'm nearing 25% of the 2018 Topps Chrome set. Should I go for it? The Pee Wee Reese Vintage Legends insert will probably go in my All-Time Teams binder as an upgrade.

Another Dodgers-adjacent card and another Ohio-based stadium for my All-Time Teams project.

Finally a trio of recent hockey cards including an SP Limited red parallel of Stanley Cup Champion Steven Stamkos. I'm getting really excited for the All-Time Teams hockey edition. Hope you are, too.

Julie, thanks again for offering up so many great cards!

***Thursday Thought***


Apropos of absolutely nothing: have any of you ever known or met or seen someone who is your complete opposite in every meaningful way, but something about their physical appearance appeals to you. Like, your practical mind shouts at you that said person is just horrible for you but your eyes say...


Just wondering ;-)



Thanks for reading!




Sunday, November 15, 2020

Anyone got these Ginters?

I traded 15 stickers from my 1988 Panini Baseball duplicate pile to TCDB user NetScans for eight baseball cards and two football cards.

Two more for the 2011 Topps Lineage set build. I'm down to 15 needs for this set. My last TCDB trade had set fillers from both Chicago teams, too. How about that.

Two more relievers for my All-Time Teams project. My last TCDB trade had two All-Time needs, too. I'm down to 50 needs for this set - though I need to update the wantlist with Red Sox and Barnstormers. More All-Time Team cards are on the way from COMC, and I just ordered something on Friday that will add some pre-war players to the project. We'll see which box arrives first.

Two New Haven Ravens for my Connecticut Collection. This is from the one year when the St. Louis Cardinals were the parent club. I have a Layfield Cardinals card even though he never pitched above triple-A. Correa's time in AA New Haven was his highest level.

These cards are pairs, too. At first glance the top pair appears obvious - McCarthy and Favre are Packers cards. Reese and Tomlinson are Hall of Famers on teams that moved to L.A. That's it, right?

Sure, that works. But actually the left side duo are baseball cards while the guys on the right are football cards.

That's right - the McCarthy is a baseball card.

He's one of several non-baseball subjects in the 2013 Allen & Ginter set, including Chrissy Teigen, Mike Richter, Lindsey Vonn, Barry Melrose, and McKayla Maroney. 

2013 A & G also includes cards of the Bundys - Dylan and Al. This one is going on my wantlist:

This year's A & G checklist has a lot of names I don't recognize. Maybe that's a sign I'm getting old. I'm familiar with R. L. Stine and Ken Jeong and Ryan Nyquist. And this gentleman, of course:

Send me all your Doc Emrick cards plz. kthx.

There seem to be more comedian/entertainer/reality show personalities in this year's set. Anyone familiar with this lovely lady?

This is Kelsey Cook, who is listed on the back as a comedian and - I kid you not - professional foosball player. Well guys, it looks like I gotta add foosball to my sports card collection. Can anybody help me out?

Thanks for reading!