Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day, A Day To Honor True Heroes

Today we honor all of the men and women who have given their lives in the service of our country. Since 1775 over 1.34 million U.S. soldiers have died during war and another 1.5 million were wounded. They have given all to ensure that the rest of us have our freedom, for this we thank you and your families.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Maybe A Positive Ending Afterall

In a follow up to a story I wrote in March regarding my nephew.

A quick rundown of the original post. My nephew, who was 8-years old at the time, was living with us and was missing his father. His connection with his father was through Macklemore’s music so when Topps included Macklemore in their 2015 Topps First Pitch checklist I picked up a card for him to help put a smile on his face. When his father was able to afford a place we sent Dakota back up to Seattle to be with his dad. Shortly after they moved in to their new home it was robbed and someone took all of Dakota’s baseball cards including his Macklemore card, which broke his heart. I picked him up a replacement and sent it in his birthday card at the end of March but I wanted to get something special for him to make up for everything so I picked up a second Macklemore card and sent it to Macklemore with an autograph request and included a letter explaining everything.

I got the card back today, it took 39 days, and Macklemore signed the card “MACK” in gold pen. I think it is quite amazing that he would take the time to answer an autograph request for a young boy who has had a tough going in life.

I didn’t tell Dakota that I was doing this so he will be in for a huge surprise.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

What If? Ken Griffey Jr. Played During The 19th Century

In 1888 base ball was still in its infancy and in an attempt to draw sales tobacco companies began inserting cards with ball players on them in to their products. Lucky for Old Judge an outfielder named Ken Griffey Jr. from the Cincinnati Red Stockings has been tearing up the league and is the perfect player to include on the checklist for their 1888 N173 Old Judge Cabinet Cards. There has even been rumor that the hard hitting Griffey may someday over take Ned Williamson’s seemingly unbreakable 27 home runs in a single season.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Run Of Ryan Bader Cards

My scan folder is getting a tad full so I am going to lighten the load a bit with a post showing some of my recent pickups of my favorite MMA fighter Ryan Bader.

A couple of 2010 Topps UFC Main Event fighter worn relics, a base version and a gold parallel #/88
Some 2010 Topps UFC Knockout hits

 A collection of 2011 Topps UFC Finest Threads, one X-Fractor #/188 and Gold Refractor #/88

Straight from my “Most Wanted” list is the 2011 Topps Moment of Truth autograph
A double dose of 2011 Topps UFC Title Shot, one of my favorite UFC releases a fighter relic and Contender Autograph Onyx #/88

One of my favorite sets from last year, the 2014 UFC Champions release. This is the Blue parallel #/88.
The final cards are connected to one of my big pick-ups last year, the 2014 Topps UFC Bloodlines. At the end of December I picked up the Topps Vault 2014 Bloodlines Bader blank back card #1/1 and earlier this year I added the Base version and the Ruby version #/8 to my collection.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Vintage Card Of The Month: 1966 Topps Batman Bat Signal

In January 2014 I picked up a 1966 Batman Red Bat buyback card (still not sure why) that had been inserted in to a pack of Topps 75th Anniversary. The card is cool but I am not a fan of the gold foil “Topps 75th” stamp, I got caught up in the bidding and paid more than I should have.

This time I decided to go straight to the original, no more buybacks for me. I like the 1966 Batman sets, there are actually three different 1966 Batman sets each with their own checklist. There is the Black Bat, the Red Bat (or A Series) and the Blue Bat (or B Series). The difference being the color of the bat on the front of the card that contains the card name. The Black Bat set has 55 cards on the checklist, the Red and Blue Bat sets each have 44-card checklist.

This card is from the Black Bat set, card #3, and I picked it because of the iconic Bat Signal. I don’t plan on working on the set but this card is really cool because everyone know the Bat Signal. The card is showing its age, that corners are rounded and there is wear on both the front and the back. The perfect example of a vintage card.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Something Cool But Insanely Expensive

Do you have $7,250 burning a hole in your pocket and are willing to take a chance walking away sucking wind?

2015 Super Break Box Breakers Edition just went live and each box comes with 10 items and while a checklist has not been released by Super Break the sales materials show the product contains autographs from athletes, Presidents, inventors and other famous personalities.

Something to take in to consideration is that this is a typical high end repack product, there are buyback cards as well as redemptions for full sized autographed jerseys, balls, hats, gloves, bats, etc. The web site also lists odd descriptions like "Light Activated Talking Boxes" and "Custom Wrapped Items" so I am guessing there are plenty of surprises to be found.
What I find the coolest are "The Bar" pieces, they are oversized cards that are slabbed and graded with one of a kind original sketch card artwork with cut signatures. The back of the card includes an image of the original document from where the cut signature came from. The promo materials shows a Babe Ruth "Bar" card that contains a cut signature plus some of his hair and a Frank Sinatra "Bar" card piece that includes the center of a 45-rpm record with Sinatra's signature.
So far there are only 6 "The Bar" autograph pieces for auction from this release; 3 Presidents (Teddy Roosevelt, FDR & Nixon), a painter (Salvador Dali) and an actor (John Wayne) all with BIN prices at $3,000 or higher and there is a Kris Bryant autographed baseball redemption card sitting at $179 with no bids.
 Looking at what is available the cards don’t look too bad design-wise but when you consider the amount you are putting out to buy a box, even if you do not plan to sell any of the cards, the value just may not be there unless you pull one of the hot boxes. I would love to open a box because I do think it is very cool product but with my luck I would end up pulling 9 dummy blank cards, with EAS tags still attached, and a tissue that Babe Ruth used to pull gum off of his shoe.

At the price that the current individual cards are selling for there is no way that I would even consider hunting any down. The prices are so high because the sellers are trying to recoup their cost back and while the sketch art is unique and one of a kind the prices are artificially high.

Is it strange that whenever I see Salvador Dali my mind automatically cuts to Terry Jones' character (Bendy arm man) in Monty Python's Meaning of Life "Find The Fish" scene?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Some Relics Would Be Worth Chasing

Last football season Topps worked with the St Louis Rams to create a set of special Rams Kids Club cards with 10 Defend Our Turf cards and a Rampage fur card. The cards were given away at two games in December at a Rams Kids Club table. There were also some autographed versions that were given away through Topps Twitter and Rampage’s Twitter & Facebook pages.

There are already mascot cards as well as autographed mascot cards and collectors love them with some of the autographs topping $50, I think that mascot relics would be a natural transition. I can just imagine what a San Diego Chicken or Phillie Phanatic relic auction would look like, triple digits would probably be a realistic selling point. I would definitely chase down a Mariner Moose and Blitz relic.

Topps needs to get on this.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Some Autograph Pickups

A couple more autographs that I have added to my collection. I found a reputable autograph dealer who has some very nice IP autos and when you consider the price of some athletes/actors in some of the sets it is no wonder people look for alternatives for their collecting wants. Not to mention with the way that autographs are now coming out of packs you have to wonder who actually signed the card that Topps/Panini/Upper Deck is considering “authentic”. Just in the past few years we have seen cards from athletes like Cam Newton, Dez Bryant, Tajuan Walker and Ka’Deem Carey inserted in to packs that are highly questionable due to the vast differences in the signature. Let’s be honest, unless we actually see the personality sign the autograph there will always be questions and concerns.

 Another nice thing that I like about IP autographs on cards is that you can pick a card that you really like instead of just picking up a card that you didn’t care for only because it had the autograph that you wanted.

So a number of months ago I found this dealer and I picked up an autograph, dealing with him was so easy and quick I went back to pick up some additional signatures. He was having a promotion where he offered free shipping on any order over $25 and I had two autographs I definitely wanted so I picked out a third to hit $25.08 and free shipping.

The first card I picked up is Johnny Galecki autograph from the Cryptozoic Big Bang Theory Season 3 release. The card is from The Wheaton Recurrence episode where the group bowls against Stuart and Wil Wheaton’s team. Wheaton plays mind games and the group eventually loses and as punishment the guys are forced to dress like female superheroes. The Cryptozoic releases do include relic and autograph cards but the prices are a bit high for my liking.
The second card from my purchase is this Carrie Fisher autograph from the Topps 1977 Star Wars Green Border release. The front of the card shows Luke and Leia right before the Battle of Yavin 4 and the destruction of the Death Star. The back is part of the puzzle. Official Topps Carrie Fisher autographs can run over $100 so I got a nice deal here.
The third card from this purchase was a Wayne Pygram autograph but I covered that one in another post last month.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Damaged After Being Graded?

Don’t you love that you spend $35 ($17 cost plus $18 return shipping) minimum to get a card graded and encapsulated and the card ends up sliding within the case and potentially getting damage.

I have one of these 1972 Primrose Confection Superman cards and they are extremely thin, even thinner than a piece of notebook paper, so I can see how it could slide in between the pieces but this would really suck. You would think that the grading companies would take things like this in to consideration. The seller at least realizes this is an issue and is selling the card at $3.99, which is actually lower than even a raw copy price.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Happy Birthday Yogi

"Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical."
Yogi Berra, the man of a million quips, turns 90 today. The man is undeniably one of the best players to ever line up behind the plate and a Yankee legend to boot. After serving during WWII as a gunners mate he signed with the New York Yankees and never looked back. Playing 19 seasons (18 w/ Yankees & 1 w/ Mets) he played in 18 All-Star games, won 10 World Series Titles and was named AL MVP three times. Counting his time as a player, manager and coach for the Yankees, Mets and Astros and he made it to 21 World Series winning 13 times and since has had his number retired by the Yankees and was inducted in to the Hall of Fame in 1972.
"Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it was broken."

 Having played as long as he did and being a Yankee legend there are so many options for collecting his cards with his 1948 Bowman running $100+. A decent Yogi autograph can be picked up for $30-50 and relics for under $25.
"It ain't over till it's over."