Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Happy 25th Anniversary Homer, Marge Bart, Lisa and Maggie

On December 17, 1989 FOX unleashed The Simpsons in their own 30 minute show when they showed “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire. The episode, which was initially scheduled as the #8 episode, was shown first because the show’s season was delayed so starting with a Christmas episode was the next best thing.
 
Since the episode hit the air it has become the longest running primetime series with 561 episodes not to mention a movie, comic books, action figures, books, CDs and multiple card sets.  As much as I have loved the Simpsons since day 1 I have only opened one box (in 1994) and a handful of packs. I was fortunate enough to pull a Mary Fleener Arty Art card from the box, which remains in my collection to this day.
 
Since then I have slowly added to my Simpsons collection with two big pick ups just a couple of months ago. In June I came across a very fair price for the entire 6-card neon set from the 2000 Inkworks Simpson’s 10th Anniversary release and then in August I grabbed up a 1994 Simpsons Series II Willy Dipkin B1 promo card.

I still have my sights on a 1994 Skybox Willy Dipkin P4 promo card (the one with stats on the back), the 1994 Skybox Shadowbart Arty Art (#A4) card, 2000 Artbox Homey Isle Style promo and any of the autographs from the 2000 Inkworks Anniversary release or the 2001 Inkworks Mania1 release.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Box Break Junk Wax Edition: 1990 Pacific Total Recall


This was one of those late night purchases that was purely fueled by nostalgia. These old movie sets were mass produced to coincide with a major blockbuster release and because they were often last minute addition money grabs the cards were usually just a fuzzy screen grab tossed on to poorly designed junk wax era cardboard with a corny (or basic) description with the back including a short write up about the character or scene.
 
When Total Recall came out in June 1990 I was stoked, it was freaken Arnold Schwarzenegger going to Mars. The movie came out a week after I graduated high school and I took my girlfriend to see it a couple of times while it was in theaters and bought a copy when it came out on VHS later. Easily one of my favorite movies of the era.

While I love the movie I never had any interest in the card set until I came across an Amazon ad which peeked my interest. It isn’t the cards that grabbed me but the swag that came with it. Each box contained a card set plus some movie related “collectibles” but you will have to wait until the end of the break to see what made me drop $7.50 on a junk wax era movie set.
 
When I got the box yesterday it is still wrapped in 1990 wrap that actually has become so brittle that it stuck to the box and tore off in pieces, the sign of a quality product.
 
 
What is that on the right side? You will have to wait… or just scroll down, either way works.
 
 
The set is exactly what you would expect from the time, weak cardboard showing it’s age with fuzzy pictures on a generic star-like background and the movie logo. You get an entire 110-card  set in each box and the set goes in chronological order with card #1 being the title card and each card after being a continuation of the storyline. The back of the cards include the scene description along with some quotes.  Here is a selection of the cards from the set.

 
#12 Rekall Rekall Rekall
Arnie at work talking to his buddy Harry about possibly going to Rekall

#15 First Class Memories
Arnie getting ready to have his Rekall implant, which leads to everything going wrong
 
#41 The Fat Lady
This is the scene where Arnie, who is wanted and traveled to Mars dressed as a fat lady to avoid being captured, is asked how long she plans to stay on Mars and he/she responds with “Two weeks…” before he gets recognized. He pulls the head off and it explodes like a bomb

#67 …At The Last Resort
Arnie and his posse escape Richter by going in to the Last Resort Bar/Brothel. The bad guys get in and a shootout occurs.
 
#84 Hauser Volunteered?
Uh oh… we find out Arnie is a double agent with a wiped out memory, he is a bad guy. Don’t worry, he does the right thing in the end.
#104 Pyramid Mountain Blows Up
The beginning of the end here when Arnie does good and turns on a machine built by ancient Martians to produce oxygen to be released in to the atmosphere.
Card Back
Here is the back of the final card of the storyline, as you can see it is continued from a previous card and the final words from the movie. Cards #109 and 110 contain scenes from commercials/ads for the movie.


Now on to the Total Recall swag that made me drop the cost of a movie ticket on the whole shebang

Rekall Receipt
1199 credits for a virtual trip to Mars? Wow, that seems like a lot but at least I have the receipt to show I did it (if I am still alive in April 2084). I wonder if I can get a refund on this?
 

$376 Martian Dollars
There are 14 bills total with two of each denomination; $1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 & 100

Sadly each bill looks exactly the same with only the numbers/denomination and serial number being different. They all include Cohaagen on the front and Mount Pyramid on the back.
 

First Class Ticket To Mars
That’s right, I have my First Class ticket to Mars already booked, again if I live to 2084, which includes a private cabin at the Mars Hilton when I get there. Odd how this also cost 1199 credits, the same as the Rekall virtual trip. Maybe I can use it to take my wife to Mars for our 85th Wedding Anniversary.

 

The icing on top
 Mars Rock from Cramer’s Variety Store in Venusville, Mars.

Not really a Martian rock, it appears to be a lava rock really, but still cool. There are meteors that have been found, the most recent in the Sahara in 2011, that is made up of Martian stone but I am betting Pacific found it cheaper to use lava rock instead of a real piece from a meteorite.


 

If you are like me you are probably wondering if every memorable scene was included in the card set? Sadly, No. Pacific went the P.C. route and did not insert a card depicting our favorite three-boobed prostitute Mary, played by actress Lycia Naff. I felt it was my duty to rectify the situation so here you go, what would be considered card #50b on the checklist. Here is my What If? version of Mary's card.

#50b Wish You Had 3 Hands


I recently read a 2012 interview with Lycia Naff, where she said she was embarrassed about the part and has felt shame ever since. She didn't realize that the part required her to open her shirt (she apparently was only told during the first take), she thought the three-boobed prosthetic was just going under her blouse and she was actually crying on set before the camera began rolling. Naff is very thankful that Kaitlyn Leeb, who played the three breasted Mary in the 2012 remake, has embraced the role taking the limelight off of Naff.
 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Putting A Close To My Immaculate Basketball Box


In September I was fortunate enough to win a box of 2013-14 Panini ImmaculateBasketball from contest on Panini’s blog. This was quite an amazing prize considering that boxes are still selling over $400 each months later.

This is the highest priced product I have ever opened and is one of the high risk/high reward type products if you can pull some of the better cards, including the Sneak Peek show cards. It was a unique experience opening the tin and I appreciate that Panini has connected to their collectors with their contests and given us the opportunity to win a product that we normally would never have opened otherwise.

Hopefully I don’t seem like a spoiled brat looking a gift horse in the mouth but my box was a bit of a disappointment. I did keep two cards from teams I collect but I sold the other 4 cards from my box. Here are the cards and their final selling prices not including my $2.50 shipping cost


Joakim Noah Gold base card #/10 
1 bid $4.99
 


Kendrick Perkins jumbo relic #/75
4 bids $2.04
 


Bill Sharman Ink autograph #/99
5 bids $15.50

 
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Sole of the Game shoe relic #/35
6 bids $26.52

 
I kept the Gary Payton Scorers Club autograph #/49 and the Alex Len Rookie Patch auto because I collect Suns and Sonics. I redeemed the Len rookie patch on October 7th and it is still in the queue waiting to be filled.
 

 I probably should have held on to the cards a little bit longer because the closer we get to Christmas the higher the prices get.
 
The Noah gold base was relisted 3 times without anyone biting, I eventually lowered the price by a dollar and finally sold it. There is currently one gold base version #/10 at $14.00 BIN but I can almost guarantee it won’t sell at that price.

The Perkins jumbo relic was also relisted 3 times without any interest, I lowered the starting to .99 cents and it sold the same day as the Noah base card.

The Sharman Ink auto was the last card to sell, Dec 9th, and was the surprise sell of the collection. It actually sold during the first listing at a higher price than expected. When I was pricing his cards his autographs seemed pretty common and his base Ink autos (like mine) were selling in the $2-5 range with the gold parallel #/10 version selling in around $7-10 range. A couple of last day bids jumped it to over $15 and my jaw dropped. Not a huge sale but considering that it was more than double of what I expected this was a win. Plus there was chipping on the card front I didn’t even expect to top $2-3 sale price.

The final card on the list, which was actually the first to sell, is the Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Sole of the Game shoe relic. When I listed it there were two already for auction with $29.99 and $35 BIN prices so I came in at $19.99 opening price and a $29.99 BIN option but I had no interest. When I relisted it after 5 days I dropped the starting price to $9.99 with a $24.99 BIN option. I ended up topping the BIN price by almost two bucks so I am not too upset.

In the end I was able to sell the four cards and make $49.05 plus shipping, which I have used to add some cool Griffey cards to my collection and one special card that has been on my Want List for 2 years (well, not the specific card but another version so I am happy). You will have to wait to see the "Want List" card on another day, it is being shipped right now and should be here by Thursday.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Pack War: 2014 Topps Chrome Football Vs. 2014 Topps Valor Football

For a blog named Pack War I have never had a pack war on my blog so I decided to rectify that today. I picked up a Topps Chrome Football blaster and Topps Valor Football blaster, each box contains 7 packs and a relic. Valor packs have 8 cards where the Topps Chrome packs have 4 cards per pack, Chrome better bring it on strong in order to win.
 
Since this isn’t a standard pack war I will just base pack versus pack and pick a winner for each round. The blaster with the most selections is the winner, now let’s get down to it…


Pack 1:
 
Topps Chrome
107 Arian Foster
123 Cody Hoffman (RC)
207 Zack Martin (RC)

 
INSERT/PARALLEL: 125 Jeremy Hill (RC) Blue Wave Refractor
 
 
 
Topps Valor
1 Jadeveon Clowney (RC)
14 Tajh Boyd (RC)
48 Khalil Mack (RC)
73 Philip Rivers
100 Adrian Peterson
132 Alex Smith
174 Anthony Barr (RC)
177 Nick Foles
 
 
WINNER: Chrome
Valor did bring it with two Top 5 picks and former Arizona Wildcat Nick Foles but pulling a Blue Wave refractor of a rookie having a good season gave the edge to Chrome.



Pack 2:

Topps Chrome
77 Tony Romo
191 Charles Sims (RC)
 
INSERT/PARALLEL: 167 Stephen Morris (RC) X-Fractor
INSERT/PARALLEL: 168 David Fales (RC) Pink Refractor #/399

 
Topps Valor
12 Derek Carr (RC)
61 Davante Adams (RC)
64 Jason Witten
91 Terry Bradshaw
92 Bruce Ellington (RC)
147 Jordan Reed
179 Tony Romo
193 John Elway
 
 
WINNER: Valor
Valor had two HOF QBs and that alone is worthy of the win. It was an easy win too because while Chrome had a Pink and X-Fractor neither rookie has any playing time.
 


Pack 3:
 
Topps Chrome
16 Pierre Thomas
195 Jason Verrett (RC)
202 Terrance West (RC) Refractor

INSERT/PARALLEL: 12 Mike Evans 1985 Topps
 

Topps Valor
13 Patrick Peterson
79 Darelle Revis
94 Ndamukong Suh
104 Navorro Bowman
109 C.J. Spiller
154 Kam Chancellor
172 Alshon Jeffery
195 Sheldon Richardson
 

WINNER: Valor
This one was a toughie because I pulled the very cool looking Mike Evans 1985 Topps insert from Chrome but Valor delivered my first Seahawk player, Chancellor, and first Cardinal player, Peterson. The edge goes to the teams I collect and Valor takes the win.
 


Pack 4:

Topps Chrome
68 Mike Wallace
109 Nick Foles
117 Odell Beckham (RC)
 
INSERT/PARALLEL: 22 Teddy Bridgewater (RC) mini

 
Topps Valor
6 Dri Archer (RC)
28 Cecil Shorts
31 Logan Thomas (RC)
80 Tom Brady
99 Arian Foster
148 Jared Abbrederis (RC)
152 AJ McCarron (RC)

1INSERT/PARALLEL: 99 Brandon Marshall Courage parallel #/399


WINNER: Chrome
This was another toughie because Valor finally gave me a parallel with the Marshall Courage parallel plus a Cardinal player but Chrome included former Arizona Wildcat Nick Foles, the one-handed magician Odell Beckham Jr. and a neat Bridgewater mini.



Pack 5

Topps Chrome
100 Jordy Nelson
152 Justin Gilbert (RC)
187 Blake Bortles (RC)
 
INSERT/PARALLEL: 157 Calvin Pryor X-Fractor
 
 
Topps Valor
22 Donte Moncrief (RC)
39 Jarvis Landry (RC)
63 Connor Shaw (RC)
74 Bradley Roby (RC)
77 DeSean Jackson
83 Keenan Allen
150 Sammy Watkins (RC)

INSERT/PARALLEL: 187 Robert Mathis Discipline parallel #/299

WINNER: Valor
Neither pack was a clear-cut winner but Valor won out with 5 rookies, including stud Watkins, plus the Discipline parallel
 
 
 
Pack 6
 
Topps Chrome
82 Rob Gronkowski
124 Kelvin Benjamin (RC)
194 Silas Reed (RC)
 
INSERT/PARALLEL: 130 Jared Abbrederis Refractor
 
 
Topps Valor
15 Percy Harvin
24 Alfred Morris
57 Matt Forte
58 Torrey Smith
106 DeMarco Murray
126 John Riggins
162 Steve Ridley

INSERT/PARALLEL: 175 Eddie Lacy Glory parallel #/199
 
WINNER: Chrome
Another series that could have went either direction. The Eddie Lacy Glory parallel really pulled me towards Valor but the former Wildcat Gronk and the Kelvin Benjamin RC swayed me to Chrome. Had Harvin still been with the Seahawks Valor would have won in a slamdunk and taken the Pack War win but now it is down to the final pack.
 
 
 
Pack 7
 
Topps Chrome
24 Greg Hardy
83 Aaron Rodgers
128 Yawin Smallwood (RC)
 
INSERT/PARALLEL: 167 Stephen Morris (RC) Green Refractor parallel
 

Topps Valor
60 Jamaal Charles
68 Jimmy Garoppolo (RC)
107 Robert Herron (RC)
110 Frank Gore
146 Jimmy Graham
149 LeSean McCoy
168 Troy Niklas (RC)
185 Kelvin Benjamin (RC)
 
WINNER: Valor
There was no question about this pack with studs Charles, Gore, Graham, McCoy and rookie Kelvin Benjamin

 
OVERALL WINNER: 2014 Topps Valor Football

It went down to the final pack, which Valor won hands down. Chrome was at a slight disadvantage with only 4 cards per pack compared to Valor’s 8 cards per pack but Chrome really put on a show with a nice selection of “hits” with 7 refractors and 2 inserts while Valor only had 3 parallels inserted and no inserts.


Here are the relics that were included in each blaster

Chrome:
Khalil Mack

 

Valor:
Jace Amaro Courage parallel #/50

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gooooaaalll!!!


One of my favorite U.S. soccer stars is Alexi Lalas, he played with the U.S. National team from 1991-1998 making 96 appearances including the 1992 & 1996 Olympics and the 1994 World Cup. He was on the 1998 World Cup roster but did not appear in a game. He wasn’t a scoring machine like Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey, he scored 9 goals total for the USMNT, but he was a shutdown defender.

In addition to his time with the U.S. National Team his career took him around the world including time with Arsenal's reserve team, 2 seasons with Italy Serie A club Padova, 6 seasons with four teams in the MLS and a season on loan to Ecuador First Division club Emelec. During that time he won the CONCACAF Cup, the U.S. Open Cup and the MLS Cup plus for his personal display case he won the FĂștbol de Primera Player of the Year and the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year in 1995 and selected to the MLS Best XI in 2002.

During his playing days he was known for his full mane of red hair and his long goatee, he is much more reserved now working as an analyst and commentator for ESPN and ABC. He has an autograph in the 2014 Panini Prizm World Cup set but the price is still above my comfort zone so I went with this card from the 1994 Upper Deck World Cup release. The seller tossed in an autographed 8x10 picture from the 1994 World Cup too so this was definitely a win for my soccer collection.
 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Is It Time To Use The Word "Bust"?


Currently Robert Griffin III is living a nightmare, he is in his third year with the Redskins and while he hasn’t been as awful as JaMarcus Russell or Ryan Leaf he has been getting progressively worse. It doesn’t help that his coach has openly criticized him and rumor is that he has lost his teammates support in the locker room.
 
While RG3 is definitely not awful is a starting QB position still in his future (Redskins or other)? With Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston coming up in the 2015 NFL Draft you have to consider the unexpected from Redskins owner Dan Snyder. Could RG3 be packaged in a Draft Day trade to get a top draft pick?
 
While he definitely does not have the success of 2012 NFL Draftmates like Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson is it time to consider RG3 a bust?

 

Is it time to start selling your Robert Griffin III cards?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Vintage Card Of The Month: 1934 R136 National Chicle Sky Birds Amelia Earhart


Recently I included a 1933 National Chicle Sky Birds Immelmann card as the VCoM, this month I am covering the Sky Birds set once again. This month’s VCoM comes from the 1934 National Chicle Sky Birds set, Amelia Earhart.
 
The Sky Birds set was a skip numbered continuous set inserted in to packs of National Chicle Gum over multiple years. In 1933 cards #1-24 cards were released and in 1934 cards #25-108 were released. It is possible that the company planned on inserting the remaining cards, #109-144, in to packs of gum in 1935 but the company was beginning to have money problems around this time so they probably cut production of the cards to save money, the company eventually went bankrupt in 1937.
 
There are three cards on the checklist that are targeted by collectors of the set; Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart and Manfred von Richthofen (The Red Baron). All three cards are pretty rare though Charles Lindbergh seems to show up more than the other two plus he has cards in other vintage and modern sets.
 
Earhart has been in the news recently when investigators and archeologists have come to the almost certainty that Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan did not crash in to the Pacific Ocean as originally thought during her attempt to fly around the world in 1937 but instead landed near an atoll named Nikumaroro in the Phoenix Islands where they eventually died as castaways. This had been a theory for years after human bones and tools were found but an aluminum piece found in 1991 on the island was finally connected to her plane earlier this year. The piece matches a piece of aluminum used to patch her plane while she was in Miami in May of 1937.
 
When it comes to vintage cards you have to make the decision when you have a card in your sights, you either buy a card of any grade to add it to your collection or you pay big money to own a better condition/graded card.  When it comes to cards like this I would rather have a specific card in my collection and not worry about its condition. I can always add a better graded version later. This card cost me a whopping $6.05 shipped, so I am not going to complain. This card looks like it may have seen some time in the spokes of someone’s bike.
 

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Unique Piece Of History


 
In 2013 Cult Stuff released the Civil War Chronicles, a set based set based on the U.S. Civil War. As a history buff I am drawn to the set because of the connection. Cult Stuff releases their products in a different format than most non-sports card products, they are not in packs or boxes by sealed envelopes like padded mailers. Each Civil War Chronicles pack comes with a complete 36-card base set, a collection of chase cards and one hit. The hits were made up of sketch cards, fabric cards, relic cards or redemption card.
 
The fabric cards contained one of four wool uniform patches. There were the common dark blue wool patches and the rare (numbered) light sky blue wool patches and each had both small and large fabric swatches.
 
I was able to pick up a small dark blue and large dark blue wool patch from a dealer in Ohio for $15 shipped. These usually sell on eBay for $15-25 each so I got a great deal. I am still looking to add the sky blue wool patches but I believe they are numbered to #/40 each so I have a hunt on my hand to find one for a reasonable price. I have seen some very cool Civil War sketch cards but they seem to come around in cycles so picking one up is going to take time.
 
The card design is quite bland but in this case it is not about the design and more about the relic included. These cards go nicely with my Famous Fabrics Horrors Of War relics.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Come To Me My Pretties


 
In 1992 when I came back to collecting I got caught up in the Shaq phenomenon, my cards of choice? 1992-93 Stadium Club basketball, I loved the full-bleed photograph.

I opened pack after pack looking for Beam Team inserts. Everyone wanted the Jordan or Shaq Beam Team cards but in all honesty I would have been happy to pull any Beam Team card. I just loved the design so much. It wasn’t until the 1993-94 Stadium Club release when I would finally pull a Beam Team insert (Calbert Cheaney), but these just weren’t as cool as the 1992-93 release.
 
Over the years I have considered picking up a Jordan, Barkley or KJ 92-93 Beam Team but always ended up putting them on the back burner. I have since decided that I can survive without adding the Jordan Beam Team to my collection but I fully intended on adding two of my favorite Phoenix Suns eventually.

This past week I finally was able to come across a nice deal that got both Charles Barkley and Kevin Johnson 1992-93 Stadium Club Beam Teams cards shipped for $5.49 total. I consider this one of my more exciting pickups for the year. It isn’t that the cards are anything major but just that I connect these cards to my return to collecting so I have a sentimental connection with the cards.