Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May The Fo(rce)urth Be With You VI

Today is the unofficial National Star Wars Day, May 4th.  As in previous May 4th posts I cover a Star Wars related subject, my cards this year are from the awesome 2015 Topps High Tek Star Wars release.

Because the set is massive I focused mainly on the Star Wars Rebels animated series characters (I love this show) and being the OCD person that I am they are all the same background pattern, Millennium Falcon.
The main rebel characters are:
Ezra Bridger

Kanan Jarrus

Hera Syndulla

Zeb Orrelios. I also have the Zeb Cloud Diffractor #/25
Sabine Wren

There are only two characters from the Galactic Empire side that made it on to the checklist (as far as Rebels characters go)
The Inquisitor

Agent Kallus

There are a couple of characters that have been on the show but they are not part of the Rebels checklist. This includes Captain Rex (Clone Wars checklist), Darth Vader (A New Hope checklist), Grand Moff Tarkin (Various characters’ checklist) and even Anakin Skywalker (Prequels checklists) and Bail Organa (Prequels checklist). I will pick up Captain Rex because the character on the card is the same character that appears in Rebels in the same form (animated) all the other characters are from the live action movies so I don’t want to toss them in with animated characters.

I have also started working on a “Bad guys” mini-collection, these built on the Emperor’s Throne Room background pattern. So far I only have the Jawas and Tusken Raider. I will eventually add the major bad guys like Darth Vader, Darth Maul and Jabba the Hutt plus monsters like Rancor and Wampa and of course bounty hunters.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Cool Topps Screen Plays Pack Break

I came across an oddball Topps set from the 1990s and was immediately interested. The set is the 1997 Topps Screen Plays, a small set that is made up of 20 base cards plus 6 premium cards and is distributed in tin film cans. The cards are made of dura clear and are motion cards, including 24 frames to complete the scene.

I came across a seller who was selling a 5 tin lot with an opening bid of $4.99 plus $6.95 shipping. I tossed up a small bid and won with the $4.99 opening bid. I figured that since there are only 20 cards on the list and me opening 5 cans I had a 1:4 chance of pulling the Griffey card. Really not bad when you consider it breaks down to $2.39/tin. The shipping alone cost the guy $10.35 so he basically lost money on the sale.

Alas Griffey was not among the tins I opened and I am left hunting down the two Griffey cards, he also is on the 6 card premium checklist, and 5 tins of players I do not collect.

I opened all of the tins to see who they were but I am only showing one because I will be using these tins in an upcoming contest. The packaging is unique and used for display. The tins do contain the player but they are covered by a large circular card of the same player (reverse side up so you do not know who it is) that once removed you see who you pulled. Inside the tin is a foam insert that is designed to hold both the card and the metal tin cover. The card has a peel away cling to both sides so you have to peel it off.  Sadly the first tin I opened, Mark McGwire, the foam insert had already begun to break down and the material was all over the inside of the tin and coated the card. The remaining 4 tins still have their foam insert intact and still usable as a display and the cards still have the peel away clings but the McGwire foam insert was destroyed and I only removed the peel clings off of the McGwire card to see what they looked like.
I am considering including the 5 Screen Play packs (tins and cards) as a prize for a competition around my 7th blogversary in June. Only then will I reveal who the other 4 tins contain.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Final Unpolitical Political Discussion With Box Break

The set was created and designed by Brian Wallos, who is probably better known as the man who created the Bench Warmers sets. Leaf is assisting with distributing the product but they have no other connection to the set.

The checklist is 110-card checklist plus an additional 24 High Number short prints. I was able to nearly complete the set with 105 cards plus one High Number card. I was disappointed considering that I pulled 25 duplicates, not very good collation.  The checklist is broken down in to subsets made up of Base cards, Influencers, Spouses, The Debates, Finalists, Campaign Moments and Future Stars 2020. The High Number short prints are actually considered inserts, not a subset. There is one parallel the “All American” foil cards, which are also different colors so there are parallels of parallels.

There are quite a few inserts and the more commons ones are Candidate Portraits, First Ladies Portraits (Retail only), Trump Under Fire, Road To The White House Letters (Hobby only) as well as a number of relic cards.

One thing that you will notice when you grab a box or pack is that there are no guarantee hits or even insert promises. On top of that there are no insert rates for anything and from what I have heard neither Leaf or Decision 2016 are releasing any info.

On the plus side I have watched a couple of case breaks, as well as my own box break, and it appears that you will pull one hit, 4 Trump Under Fire cards, 4 Candidate Portraits and 2 parallels. It should be noted that there are various parallels and since none are numbered it is difficult to figure out which are rare.

Here are the base cards, including all subsets.

High number short print:

The Candidate Portraits. I like these inserts, there is a First Ladies Portraits insert too but is a retail only insert.

What would the political world be without a daily Trumpism? Why not make an insert based on that? I got a couple of silver, a blue and a gold.

My hit wasn't too bad, a Ted Cruz God Bless America flag patch. It is one of the better ones to pull so I wasn't disappointed. Early versions sold for a pretty good price but I was away on vacation so I didn't get a chance to put mine up on eBay. I still plan to sell it but don't expect as mush as I could have gotten two weeks ago.

Box Topper with checklist


Friday, April 29, 2016

Better Decisions To Be Made

It was announced this morning that Miami Marlins Dee Gordon, the reigning NL batting champion, was suspended 80 games following a positive test for testosterone and clostebol. Gordon has responded like every other athlete that has been nabbed on ped tests with the standard "I don't know how this could have happened".

Gordon hasn't been a player that was highly collected but like Ryan Braun his card prices are now going to take a hit. Hopefully he takes this time, which he has accepted his punishment, to reconsider his choices.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Two Failures Failing

With the NFL Draft two days away two former First Round draft picks, who both wore #2, are in the news.

The failure that is JaMarcuss Russell, the 2007 #1 pick, has announced in a recent SI interview that he is willing to play one season in the NFL for free. He even sent a letter to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones saying that he will start from the bottom working with the practice team to learn the playbook. Jones is a big proponent of giving questionable players a second chance but Russell has not played a down since 2009 and has only had to one workout with a team since, in 2013 with the Bears.

Also in the news in Johnny Manziel who was indicted today in Texas on assault charges on his ex-girlfriend. Normally I wouldn't give Manziel and space on my blog but his life has been in free fall since January and he is flirting with jail time now, the assault charge is a misdemeanor with up to one year in jail and fines. America loves to watch a train wreck but when the person is destroying their body with drugs and alcohol he is beyond a train wreck and his family is fearing he may not live to his next birthday. In this case jail may be the best option to help Manziel. I am willing to bet that he won't see any jail time and a minimum fine because affluence seems to be a viable defense in Texas.

Personally I hope they both just move on and stop trying to add more of a media circus to the NFL.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Thrill Of The Chase

I was watching a recent episode of Comic Book Men, a television show based on Kevin Smith’s podcast and his comic book shop Jay And Silent Bob’s Secret Stash in Red Bank, New Jersey. During the cast Kevin talks with the staff about customers and anecdotes and one story that was brought up was about a customer looking for a specific book and how he talked about wanting to come in to the shop instead of buying it online because of the thrill of the chase and it got me thinking about how our hobby has changed greatly with the advent of the internet.

When I got back in to collecting in 1992 I was living in an area where there were 7 card shops within a 15-minute drive in Mesa alone. On top of that there was a monthly cards shows at the local community rec center along with the random card shows that would come around every couple of months at the malls or a church. We had our choice of where to go and who to buy from but nearly 25 years later and there is only one of those 7 shops that were in Mesa that is still open additionally, there is one more shop in Tempe and two in Scottsdale. This means there are a total of four shops in the East Valley, which has a population of 1,350,488 (this includes Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Chandler and Gilbert) or one shop per 337,622 people.

As a card collector many of us have lost the ability of chasing cards at brick and mortar shops. I am about halfway between the shop in Mesa and the shop in Tempe, each being about a 30-minute drive in good traffic. I would love to head to the LCS to pull singles from a dime box or pick up the newest release but that option is just not as viable any more outside of the occasional planned trip.
I have come to the acceptance that my chase will almost completely be limited to online.

Friday, April 22, 2016

And Now Back To Conor...

As expected Conor McGregor has rebounded from his retirement talk and is now saying he is not retired and still plans on fighting Diaz at UFC 200 in July. His explanation, posted on both his Facebook account and Twitter account, states that his issue was regarding the rigorous promotional appearances connected to the upcoming pay-per-view. He feels that the requirements for promotional events cuts in to his training time and that is frustrating him, he is asking that the UFC decrease the push for the fight, which they denied.

The UFC has not responded but Dana White is scheduled for a press conference today in Las Vegas and is expected to clear things up.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

R.I.P. Prince

This morning after I read about the passing of Chyna I was a bit bummed but before long that was replaced with pure sadness when I found out that Prince, real name Prince Rogers Nelson, had passed away this morning at the age of 57-years old in his home in Minneapolis. He has been sick recently and was in the hospital last week but nothing has been announced as to what illness he was dealing with and how it is connected to his passing.

I grew up when Prince was just making it big, when Purple Rain controlled the charts I was 12-years old and the music was basically my Junior High years. Every dance Let’s Go Crazy and When Doves Cry had to be played and I am pretty sure that MTV had these videos on 24-hour rotation. Out of respect for Prince and his music MTV is actually playing his videos non-stop currently.

When it comes to music Prince’s death sits along with the passing of Michael Jackson and Kurt Cobain as deaths that have affected me the most. His music wasn’t just something you listened to, you actually are able to tie it to a time in your life so I now feel like I have lost a portion of my childhood.

Prior to the past decade it was rather rare for a musician to appear on cardboard. Unlike now when Americana, Pop Century, Goodwin Champions and Allen & Ginter’s include music stars on the checklist you just didn’t collect cards of your favorites, you collected their discography on CDs, tapes, albums or 8-tracks. The only official set I could find where Prince made an appearance is the 1991 ProSet Super Stars MusiCards. I also found some very unique cards from Europe, like this one, on eBay (I don’t own this card).

R.I.P. Chyna (Joan Marie Laurer)

This morning the wrestling world was rocked with the announcement that former WWF/E star Chyna, real name Joan Marie Laurer, had passed away. The time of her death is still undetermined because she posted on Instagram on Sunday but nobody has heard from her since until a friend got worried and went to her apartment last night and found her already deceased, she was 45 years old.

In the late 1990s she made her way in to the WWF during the Attitude age and was one of the early WWF/E Divas. She is probably best known for her time with Degeneration X alongside Triple H and Shawn Michaels. She made an appearance in TNA in 2011 but that was short lived and she left wrestling for good.

After she left wrestling her personal life has been in an upheaval and included drugs and adult videos and it has been rumored that her death is due to an overdose.

For as big of a star as Chyna was in wrestling in the late 90s and early 2000s she has almost no base cards beyond some 1998 and 1999 Comic Images and 2001 Fleer. She does have two official autographs, one in 1998 Comic Images and one in 2011 TNA Signature Impact.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Art Gallery: 2010 Breygent Golden Age Of Comics Heroes & Villains Cosmo Cat

This month’s Art Gallery display comes from Breygent’s 2010 Golden Age Of Comics Heroes & Villains. The artist is Travis Walton, a comic book illustrator, who has sketch cards in many of the major sets from Cryptozoic, Breygent and Upper Deck.

The release was built around 40 base cards and covered Golden Age comic book heroes and villains that have long disappeared in to Pop Culture lore. You won’t find Superman, Batman or Captain America here. The sets selling point though was the sketch cards and with nearly 100 artists producing 20+ sketch cards each there are plenty from which to choose.

I went with this Cosmo Cat because the card is well drawn, the character himself was never a big “hero” and only appeared in 10 of his own comic books and then another 16 comic books under different titles like All Top Comics and Woatlife Comics. But he did live on the moon in his lab and saved Little Red Riding Hood so he has to be pretty cool.

The seller accepted my bid of $5.50 and tossed in free shipping so I am quite happy with this pick up. I do like some of the other sketch cards from this set and if I can get a deal I will pick up a couple more.