Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Who Takes It All?


Tonight begins the 110th World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants. The underdog Royals are back to the Fall Classic after a 29 year absence while the Giants are looking to add another championship banner to the rafters, which would be their 3rd title in five years.

I have never been a collector of either team and the best card I have ever pulled between the two teams has been a 2007 Ultra Alex Gordon Lucky 13 autograph so I am not pulling either way but just watching for the entertainment of the top two teams clashing for the title.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Art Gallery: 2013 Island Dreams Batman


This month’s Art Gallery comes the 2013 Island Dreams release. I am a big fan of Island Dreams, besides the large variety of sketch cards the money raised from selling the sets goes to the Family Assistance Fund for the Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois. I do not have a connection with this hospital but I do know the hardships that families face when a child requires extended treatment. My son was very sick as an infant, nearly dying three times before the age of two. My wife and I spent many trying months at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, Washington while our son was hospitalized and we met parents who were having difficulty due to their child’s illness. We now make annual donations to local children's hospitals (I usually include sports and comic cards too) so any charity that donates to children’s hospitals will always get my attention as a collector.
 
When Island Dreams was created by Marty Kuklinski in 2011 his intent was for the sets to be island themed. The sets have includes a small base set in the past, 2012 had 15 cards and 2013 had 6 cards, though the focus is the sketch cards. Most sketches are island or water related but the artists are able to go with what interests them and that would be the case here.
 
Tom Kelly is a comic book artist so logically his interest is super heroes and that is what his cards reflect. The main focus is the Batman silhouette over a blacked out moon. The trailing cape and the bat logo on his chest stand out beautifully. What is not obvious is the Batman outline in the background. This was such a cool addition. Some of the other cards that Kelly submitted for the 2013 Island Dreams set include Catwoman, Punisher and Superman.
 
I don't remember what I paid but it was on the lower end in comparison to other Batman sketch cards, though not "officially" licensed it still is a wonderful addition to my superheroes sketch card collection.
 
 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Vintage Card Of The Month: 1948 Leaf Pirates Captain Augur


This month’s VCoM is my second card from the 1948 Leaf Pirates release. These cards are beautifully illustrated using extensive detailing and bright colors. Because Leaf used Ben-Day dot printing you can see the small colored dots that were used in the coloring process giving the cards a comic book like appearance.
 
When it comes to Captain Auger there is not a whole lot of information, he was a British pirate in the early 1700s. In 1718 the Bahamas Governor Woodes Rogers tried to clear the area of pirates so he offered a pardon to any pirates who “gave up their ways” and Captain Auger accepted the pardon and became a merchant/trader. Auger eventually returned to his evil ways and was captured in New Providence, Bahamas. He was tried and hung in December 1718.

The card is your typical “filler” card, there is a crease and some paper loss on the front of the card. The worst offender is some sort of substance on the front that looks like maybe glue or liquid was spilled, at least it isn’t sticky.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

It's Gotta Be The Shoes!


There have been shoe relics inserted in to cards before but they were far a few between, definitely not enough to change the market and because the relics were often smaller in size it is possible that some collectors may not have even realized they were included in sets.
 
Panini has caught the attention of the collector’s with the inclusion of Sneak Peek jumbo shoe relics in the 2013-14 Panini Immaculate Basketball release. Low end cards are selling for $500, if you can call that low end pricing, but most are selling for thousands. When Immaculate was first released there were some Sneak Peek cards topping $10,000 but that has seemed to level out as more hit the market. With each card being either 1/1 or #/2 every single card is unique and no two are the same.
 
Next month we will see 2013-14 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Basketball hitting shelves and with a similar price point and pack out as Immaculate there will be some competition for Panini. Upper Deck is kicking back at Panini (pun intended) with their version of a jumbo shoe relic called Signature Kicks.
 
To add some additional value to their cards UD will be adding an on-card autograph to each shoe card and with a checklist that includes Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Julius Erving you know that every card will be a winner.
 
I am not putting down Panini’s Sneak Peek cards, they are original and a well-designed card. The thing here is that the Panini shoe cards and Upper Deck shoe cards are similar but I wouldn’t say it is a straight apple to apple comparison but more of a Honeycrisp apple to a Gala apple, they are both great in their own ways.

 

Now on to today’s question;

Which shoe relic card do you choose?


A) Panini Immaculate Sneak Peek



B) Upper Deck Exquisite Signature Kicks

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rollin With Kid 'N Play


 
In 1988 the world was introduced to Kid ‘n Play when their 2 Hype album was released. This was time Rap was starting to hit mainstream and MTV actually played music. Groups like Kid ‘n Play were seen as producing fun and energetic music, even parents were getting down with the kick step (with horrible results). The next logical step was the ultimate of medium, the full-length movie. In March 1990 Christopher Reid and Christopher Martin showed up on the silver screen in House Party, a hilarious movie about some good kids trying to hold a party and having to deal with bullies, cops and their own parents. We met Robin Harris (who sadly died of a heart attack one week after the movie released at the age of 39), Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell and Full Force. The movie was rated highly and did very well eventually leading to 4 horrible sequels.
 
I was a Kid ‘n Play fan prior to the movie and when it came out I went the first day. One of my first dates with my now ex-wife was to the movie when we started dating. Between the initial release and Dollar Theaters I saw this movie 6-8 times before it finally came out on VHS. 
 
It seemed like a logical decision for me when Leaf released a Co-Stars dual autograph of Kid ‘n Play in this year’s Pop Century release. What is cool is that they actually signed “Kid” and “Play” but because they signed so large their signatures are off of the sticker (bummer). It seems to be a common problem with this version of the card so I ended up picking up the card for $9.56 shipped. After purchasing the Co-Stars autograph I looked to see if there are individual autograph cards and found a Christopher Reid autograph from the 2010 Razor Pop Century preview release. I like that he signed his name with “Kid” too. This card ran me $7.48 shipped. When you consider the dual signature normally runs well over $20 and the single signed card runs $12 or more I think I made out pretty well.
 




Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Annnd We're done...


A quick follow up to yesterday’s post. After I posted on the blog I sent him one last message letting him know that I had left negative feedback and why I left it. Surprisingly he responded rather quickly with his explanation

Every single one looked the same. I have been out of town a lot and have a ton of emails coming in. I was under the impression you were returning the card as you said you were and once it was received back you would get a refund.”
 
I had to respond to him regarding this. I pointed out that he had multiple Suzy Hotrod autographs for sale with each auction having a different autograph and the crappy autograph was cheaper. And asked how the picture was posted to his auction if he didn’t have that specific card. I also pointed out that I had cancelled the return on Saturday and had even emailed him after I cancelled the return explaining why I decided to keep the card (It would be stupid to pay to return the card to get my money back and just go and buy another card that looked exactly the same) and that I only wanted the card he posted.
 
I don’t expect him to respond, I caught him in a lit about them all looking the same, plus he obviously did read through his emails if he knew that I had requested a return/refund. I am done with this seller, nothing he can say will change the way that this unfolded and I definitely will not be purchasing anything from him in the future. Though I wouldn’t be surprised to see him posting the Suzy Hotrod autograph for sale at a higher price before to long.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Bad eBay Experience


On September 26th I came across one of those opportunity purchases, this was actually my first opportunity purchase this year, and even though I set a goal of cutting these types of purchase out completely I didn’t listen to my inner voice.
 
While searching through some Allen & Ginter’s autographs a recommendation for various Goodwin Champions autographs appeared so I decided to take a look. One of the suggestions was a 2013 Suzy Hotrod autograph and for some unknown reason I found myself interested. I used to watch roller derby all the time but it just doesn’t show up on television anymore but to be honest if it was on T.V. I would watch every chance I could. It is just the ultimate sport; roller skates, physical assaults and a scoring system that nobody seems to understand.
 
So I got caught up in finding out about Suzy Hotrod and once I was that deep I just had to buy an autograph and of course once you buy an autograph you have to add a relic too. I looked through the autographs and Suzy Hotrod has a rather messy autograph so when I came across this solid signature I hit the BIN for $4.99 plus $2.95 shipping. The price was about a dollar more than what most of her autographs were selling for at the time, the same seller had one of her regular signatures for $3.49 BIN but I wanted the better looking autograph.
 
Next up was the relic. There are base relics and multi-colored relic cards so I decided to go with a dual-colored piece from one of her red Gotham Girls traveling team jerseys. This one was $2.99 plus $2.95 shipping. At the time this was about average for her relic cards so I felt I got a good price.
 
After I purchased the cards I realized they were from the same seller so I emailed him to ask if he would be willing to combine shipping for both cards. His response to me was essentially “Tough” and that once items are paid for he cannot combine shipping, which is B.S. because I did it just a couple of weeks ago and it was a situation where he didn’t want to take the extra 30 seconds and it meant an additional $2.45 in his pocket. But, none-the-less I can accept this because I did pay for them separately and life goes on.
 
Days go by and the tracking number is not showing that it was even shipped and I was a bit concerned. It finally shipped on October 3rd, seven days after I paid. OK, I am now wondering if the seller was just being a jerk and making me wait because I asked for combined shipping.
 
I get the cards on October 6th and I open the relic card first and it looked good, I opened the autograph card envelope and notice the autograph is Hotrod’s regular crappy autograph and not the beautiful autograph that I purchased. I double checked the auction to make sure that the description didn’t say something like “You will not receive the card pictured” but nothing like that so I emailed the seller explaining the mistake. When you email a seller regarding an issue a case is automatically opened through eBay so I figured it would get the seller’s attention. I sent a follow up email with a picture of the card I received to show the difference between autographs. I waited and wasn’t surprised when he didn’t respond so three days later I expanded the claim to get eBay involved. They attempted to contact him and they didn’t get a response so they offered me the option to return the card and get a refund using the aBay Buyer Protection or keep the card. I emailed the seller one last time hoping it was just a mistake that he seriously missed, and waited until Sunday before cancelling the refund option and just leave negative feedback.
 
The card on the left is the card that was pictured in the auction and the card on the right is the card I actually received. What led me to purchase this card was because the signature lines were separated and she actually wrote "#55" where she normally signs "Hotrod#55" all together and the "55" usually looks like anything but "55"
 
 
In the end I decided to keep the card instead of accepting a refund and buying a new one because for some reason Suzy Hotrod’s autographs have doubled in price in just two weeks, even her relics have jumped 50% too.
 
I am really disappointed, the autograph on the card I purchased is very unique compared to her standard autograph. It got me thinking about what happened and I figured it was one of four reasons from the seller. When considering the options I am betting on is either #2 or #4.
 
 
1. He used an image he found on the internet for the auction not realizing there was a difference. But this one seems less likely because he was selling another Hotrod autograph with the crappy signature for less money so he obviously knew there was a difference.


2. He accidently switched the packaging and sent the nice autograph to the other buyer. This seems like a possibility and he wasn’t responding out of embarrassment knowing he couldn’t get the other card back from the other buyer to correct the mistake.

 
3. He didn’t send me the card to be a jerk because I asked for combined shipping. This is a possibility but most people are not this vindictive, especially when you consider this guy has over 17,000 feedback with 99.9% positive. If he got upset and jerked over everyone who had any sort of after sale request I am sure his feedback would be much lower.

 
4. He saw the rapid price increase in the week before he sent out the card and decided to hold the better looking autograph figuring he could get a significant premium over what I paid so he sent out the crappy autograph and is ignoring my/eBay’s messages expecting negative feedback anyway.



Friday, October 10, 2014

Tyson- Peck & Snyder Style


In 2012 Leaf filed for a trademark for two names “Peck & Snyder” and “Maxx”. Leading collectors in to the belief that Leaf would be producing baseball cards under the Peck & Snyder name and racing cards under the Maxx name.
 
Following the Civil War the Peck & Snyder Sporting Goods was founded (1866), at the time Base Ball was considered part of the country’s healing process and Peck & Snyder did what they could to ensure that the athletes were equipped properly.
 
In order to get the company name out to the public in 1869 they began producing advertisement cards with Base Ball team pictures on the back, teams like Cincinnati Red Stockings, New York Mutuals, Chicago White Stockings and Philadelphia Athletics. These became the first baseball cards as we know them today. Later tobacco companies like Old Judge and Allen & Ginter followed suit in the late 1800s. By 1895 the Peck & Snyder Sporting Goods company was purchased by their friend A.G. Spaulding and became a part of collecting lore.
 
This is what the original 1869 Peck & Snyder Cincinnati Red Stockings front and back looks like.

Now in 2014 Leaf is working on a modern Peck & Snyder set, which will be a multi-sport set. To get things going they have released a 45-card preview set which are being sent to dealers and there are only 250 preview sets being printed, though the cards are not numbered. The cards are based on the original 1869 advertisement cards, they are 3 5/16 x 2 3/8 in size, with an advertisement on the back (Seen below). The images are sepia in color and the images have been “antiqued” to appear old. Some of the athletes includes on the checklist; Johnny Manziel, Andrew Wiggins, Blake Bortles, Hulk Hogan, Shaq, Gordie Howe, Larry Bird, Frank Thomas and Kris Bryant.
 
I picked up the Mike Tyson card for $3.08, most cards run $2.50 to $5.00 each. The cards are really cool and I may eventually pick up the Hulk Hogan card but there are no other players that I collect. This is the back of the Tyson card.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Presidential Oddball Of Sorts


I came across a card that I was pretty excited to see, an American Heroes Gerald Ford relic from Tri City Sports Poland (or TCSP) . These cards are from TCSP’s Five Year Anniversary promotion and they were randomly inserted in to various boxes of TCSP product during 2013. I know that the company has had customer service problems and many of their cards are pretty poorly designed but I really like the American Heroes design.
 
The release is made up of three subsets; Relics (#/100), Autograph-Relics (#/2) and Autographs (#1/1). The checklist contains 4 Presidents (Nixon, Ford, Carter and Regan), 2 actors (DeNiro & Pacino) plus Bruce Springsteen and John Gotti.
 
The card is thick and a heavy plastic, almost feeling like a heavy duty credit card. The back has a write up about Ford during his 3 years as President along with the TCSP hologram and the card numbering to #/100, mine is #87/100.
 
Most of the cards from this set start at $19.99 and run up to $40 but when I came across this card it had a starting bid of only $1.99. I am wondering if the seller set the price incorrectly by accident and that they really intended to type in $19.99. I won the card for $3.25 plus another $2.50 for shipping.
 
I am looking to add the other three Presidents to my collection as well as Al Pacino as long as I can find them all for reasonable prices. I expect to pay more for Regan and the actors but hopefully I can pick up Tricky Dick and Carter for less than $10 each.
 
I have since added a Robert DeNiro relic for $3.22 shipped.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Touch Of Flag Class


One of the cards that had made my Most Wanted list was the 1956 Topps Flags of the World Tibet #52. As a Buddhist I feel a connection to Tibet and it’s nearly 1,400 years of Buddhism history.
 
I have been hunting for this card for a while, it isn’t that the price is too high (usually running around $6-10) I just am always looking for a better deal. The deal finally showed up in a 3-card lot. For $6.99 shipped I was able to pick up the Tibet flag but also the Burma flag and the Pakistan flag.
 
The cards are beautifully illustrated with the flag waving over locations or events that represent the country. For example the Burma card depicts an elephant being used for logging, which has been a tradition in Burma (now known as Myanmar). Some interesting illustrations include South Korea with a combat scene, the Philippines with Douglas McArthur and Cuba with cigar rolling. The back of the cards list some facts about the country along with pronunciations of common terms. There are also some noticeably missing cards of communist countries like East Germany, Romania and North Korea plus the Soviet Union is listed as Russia.

 
Back to the reason I purchased this lot, the Tibet flag. The Tibetan flag was designed in the early 1900s and includes quite a few components, which all have a unique meaning. While many of the flags in the set are accurate the Tibetan flag is more of a representation of the actual flag and I am willing to bet that this has to do with Tibet being an isolated nation and without access to the Google machine it was much more difficult for the artist to find complete and correct information. I have included an image of the Tibetan flag and you can see that the flag is not really orange with some blue bands, a white section and some squiggly lines.
I originally thought that the cards were minis where they are in fact larger than standard sports cards. Here is a 2013 Topps Update Mike Zunino card stacked on top of one of the 1956 Topps Flag cards. They don’t fit a binder so I have to figure the best way to display the card. Here are the backs of the cards too.