Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Art Gallery: 2005 Dynamic Forces Army Of Darkness Ash

This month’s Art Gallery display is from the 2005 Dynamic Forces Army of Darkness release. The card was done by the artist Filip Sablik and it is of Ash, the main character of the Evil Dead trilogy, played by cult actor Bruce Campbell.
I love this movie, this was actually the first time I saw Bruce Campbell in a film and I was pulled in to his humor immediately. I have since built a library of Bruce Campbell DVDs including Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, The Army of Darkness, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., Congo and Jack of All Trades. One of my favorite shows of all times remains The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. which premiered on Fox the same Friday night as another cult classic, The X Files. I am not sure why I remember that but it is still stuck in my brain 21 years later.
The Army of Dakrness release was rather quiet, appearing 13 years after the movie was in theaters. The set contains 72 base cards, 6 glow-in-the dark cards along with some autographs (though Campbell was not included) and sketch cards. I picked up this card for two reasons, a) it was Ash and b) it was around $5 shipped. There are actually some really nice Ash sketch cards available but I try to stick with paying no more than $10 on a sketch card if I can help it.
Filip Sablik is a comic book illustrator and does not often work with sketch cards, as a matter of fact the only sketch cards I can find of his are both from Dynamic Forces with Army of Darkness and 35 Years of Red Sonja.

Monday, July 21, 2014

What Am I Missing Here?

The other day I was reading a story about Andrew Bynum on ESPN describing how he plans on sitting out the 2014-15 season to have a procedure done on his knees. It surprises me how often his name shows up during the past couple of seasons during the trade and free agency periods.
He seems like a hot commodity but he is always hurt. He played 82 games in his second season but has never played more than 65 games in any other season (averaging 52 games a year). He was an All-Star in 2011-12 but in the 2 years since he has been on 4 teams (76ers, Cavs, Bulls and Pacers) playing in only 26 games (24 w/ Cavs & 2 w/ Pacers) and now he is going to sit out another season.
What surprises me even more is the prices that his cards are demanding. Many of his base cards and even his rookies and some relics are very reasonable in price but there are others that have his prices well off. Am I just blind to his value?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Pleasant WNBA Surprise

Today I was looking forward to the Seattle Sounders-Tottenham Hotspur game but during halftime I switched over to the WNBA All-Star game and got sucked in and ended up recording the second half of the Sounders game so I could watch the basketball game.
I rarely watch WNBA games, occasionally catching a Seattle Storm or Phoenix Mercury game from time to time, but this game was just captivating.  It went back and forth before going in to overtime and an East win 125-124. What made this game so interesting was the way that second-year star Skylar Diggins and rookie Shoni Schimmel took over when it came down to crunch time, something LeBron James should watch. Schimmel put on a shooting clinic and won the All-Star MVP Award.
Skylar Diggins has been a star since her Notre Dame years and is quite well known whereas Schimmel, who was the #8 pick in April’s 2014 WNBA Draft, doesn’t even start on her own team.
When it comes to WNBA cards collectors have one option, Rittenhouse. They have the WNBA license and they only release one set a year, which is very limited and sold as a complete set.
Skylar Diggins has plenty of options though, in addition to her 2013 Rittenhouse rookie card Upper Deck has included Diggins on a number of checklists include 2013-14 Fleer Retro, 2013-14 SP Authentic, 2013-14 UD Black and 2014 Goodwin Champions. Her 2013 Rittenhouse rookie will set you back $15 (or more) and her autographs range depending on availability with some in the $8-10 range while others are hitting the $100+ range.

If you are a Showtime Schimmel fan you are out of luck, at least for now, her rookie card will not be available until the 2014 Rittenhouse WNBA set is released in two weeks. This will be the first time she appears on cardboard and with her play at the All-Star game there is a good chance that prices will be in the same range as Diggin’s 2013 rookie card.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Knucklehead Move

Last week I was watching some cards that I need for my 2014 Prizm World Cup set and I ended up bidding on two of the same cards without realizing it and ended up winning both auctions. As absent minded as I am it is a surprise that I have not done this before.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

When Desire Can Not Overcome Cost

The other night after I posted the follow up of the release of the 2014 Goodwin Champions release the Art of the Ages “Starry Nights” painted card came up for auction with a $2999.99 BIN price. This is my favorite painting by far, even standing above my love of Munch’s “The Scream”.
My first thought was that if I had $3000 I would buy this in a second but then I sat back and thought what a waste of money that would be. As much as I love this painting and would be in heaven if I owned this card the money would be better spent (if it was disposable cash) on building my personal collection. What is even more surprising is that this is not even the most expensive Art of the Ages painted card, that would go to Jim Mar’s interpretation of Raphael’s St.George at $20,000 BIN price.

This just continues to support my idea that it is difficult to spend more than a hundred or so on a modern card. Possibly if it were in the $150-200 range I would consider but there is a difference between loving a card and adding it to your collection and loving a card and being realistic.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Jeter's Final Countdown

The MLB All-Star game is about the best in baseball but tonight’s game was all about Derek Jeter. He played quite well and topped it off going 2-2 in his four innings which ending in a standing ovation and a tip of the hat from the Yankee’s captain. Jeter has been a class act his entire 20 year career, he set records, won awards and is a five-time World Series champion and there is no doubt that in 2019 he will be inducted in to the Hall of Fame on his first ballot.
There are plenty of options when collecting Jeter cards, he came up during the junk wax era and has many cards worthy of any collection but I think the best place to start are his 1993 rookie cards. I have always been fond of the 1993 Topps #98 card, it just catches my eyes, but if you want to go iconic his 1993 SP #279 is the card to get.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Week Later With 2014 UD Goodwin Champions

Last week 2014 UD Goodwin Champions was released and we are seeing some cool cards hitting the secondary market now. One thing can be said about the checklist, Upper Deck does their best to include a variety down the line from checklists to autographs and relics.
My favorites are the 3D Monster Cards, WWI Museum Collection relics and the Art for the Ages painted cards. They have all come out of the gates running with the Art cards demanding prices in the hundreds.
The 3D Monster Cards are made up of 60 cards which are broken up over four monster types; Classic Creatures like Vampire, Minotaur and the Grim Reaper. Giants like Cthulhu and Frost. Bizarre Beasts like Cycloptopus and Renegade Robot. Alien Menaces like Maritan and Doppelganger
My favorite though, which I will be hunting down, are the Ghosts of WWI and the Headless Horseman. I would love to build this entire set eventually but these two are the first ones I plan on getting. The 60 card set was created by three different artists and they autographed 25 special versions of each of the 60 cards. With them being limited to #/25 I do not have a plan to hunt these down but if I do find some of the cards relatively priced I would be happy to add them to my collection. Many of the 3D Monster cards can be had for under $10 with the autographs running $15-20 with most cards. I am hoping that prices will drop as more product is broken.

I am a WWI fanatic and with this being the 100th Anniversary of the beginning of the Great War we have seen some nice additions to various checklists but the Goodwin Champions Museum Collection set is by far the most comprehensive WWI addition in many years even topping the 2011 Topps Heritage WWI relics. This set includes 41 different cards made up of various uniforms, helmet and hats relics but there are also dog tags, rank insignias, buckles, brooches and medals. I have had no luck procuring any of the Museum Collection relics from the past two releases (Civil War and Wild West) but I am intent on adding some of these beauties to my personal collection. Most of these are selling for $50 and up. Most of the uniform relics are probably going to settle in price to the $35-75 range as product is broken with the more unique items like the medal and broochs going for a signigicant amount more and possibly even closer to $750-1000 each.

Easily my favorite insert in the Goodwin sets, topping even the WWI Museum Collection this year, is the Art of the Ages painted cards. Each year talented artists reproduce some of the world’s most famous and beloved paintings on cards and they are amazing. This year’s 300 cards include famous artists such as Monet, Picasso, Cezanne, Da Vinci and Rembrandt. This year also includes my three favorite painters; Edvard Munch, Vincent Van Gogh and Umberto Boccioni. It was Boccioni’s work that drew me in to the Futurism movement and I would love to add any of his paintings to my collection, not that I can afford any of these Art cards.

Friday, July 11, 2014

LeBron + Cleveland = Collectors $$$?

Will LeBron’s move back to Cleveland make big waves in the hobby?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sellers Location, Does It Matter?

When looking to purchase a card there are a number of things that I review before I bid. Obviously the price is an important starting point but I check a collector’s feedback, shipping cost and the seller’s location. Normally I do not have a problem with a seller’s location as long as everything else seems right (feedback and shipping cost). In the last few months I have picked up items from England, Canada and Singapore but I have heard horror stories of cards never being received, seriously late, high shipping charges or mangled when received due to the long distance shipping.

So I throw out a question to the readers

Will you skip purchasing a card/item if it is a foreign dealer?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Vintage Card Of The Month: 1933 R136 National Chicle Sky Birds

This month’s VCoM comes from National Chicle’s Sky Birds set, which were inserted in to packs of National Chicle Gum, and is designated as R136 1933 National Chicle Sky Birds. The company went bankrupt before the end of the 1930s but between 1933 and 1936 (I know, not a long time) they produced some of the most desired cards of the decade both in sports and non-sports releases. The Sky Birds set was brought back to life by Goudey Gum in 1941 but that set was built around the planes only, no pilots were included.
The Sky Birds set was a multi-year continuous skip number set, the checklist states there are 144 cards in the release but there are actually only 108 cards. I am not sure if they did this intentionally or if they planned to release another year with the remaining 36 cards but canceled production once they started having money troubles. In 1933 cards 1-24 were released and in 1934 cards 25-108 were released.
The set was designed around famous pilots plus 25 planes. Some of the pilots on the checklist; Eddie Rickenbacker (America’s first Ace in WWI), Orville Wright and Roy Brown (The man “officially” credited with shooting down the Red Baron though often debated) Some of the planes on the checklist; Sopwith Camel (the plane made famous by Snoopy in his battle with the Red Baron) and the Spirit of Saint Louis.
I have been a World War I history buff for most of my life so I was drawn to the connection with this set. I picked up this Max Immelmann (It is misspelled on the card front but correctly on the card back) because of his historical significance. He is best known for the Immelmann Turn, a turning maneuver he designed so he could immediately change positions to attack another victim after shooting down an enemy aircraft. It is no longer used as a combat maneuver but it is still used by jet pilots today so they can make tactical turns at high speed.
Additionally, Immelmann was Germany’s first ace and was credited with 15 victories before his death in June 1916. He was the first German pilot to ever be awarded the Pour le Merite, Germany’s highest military honor. The award has since been known as the Blue Max Cross in his honor. He is actually shown wearing the Blue Max Cross in this illustration.
The card is seriously distressed, there are creases, bends and it is peeling around the edges. It actually looks like a small animal took a bite out of the top right corner. It is pure ugly, but a beautiful ugly. There is a personality to cards this damaged.