Friday, September 27, 2013

Random Blaster Box: 2013 Topps Platinum Football

I am a fan of Topps’ Platinum releases, I am not sure what it is about the cards that peeks my interest but whenever a Platinum set comes out I have to pick up some packs. 2013 Platinum Football has been out for a couple of weeks and in that time I have picked two blaster boxes and a 3-pack rack pack, I opened up another rack pack tonight. Out of those 22 packs I have been pretty satisfied, a couple of Seahawks, a couple Cardinals, a handful of parallels, two rookie autographs and a Camo die-cut card.
I begin with the Seahawks, Beast Mode and the injured Percy Harvin. The interesting thing about the veteran cards is that the back of the cards are not glossy like the rookie cards in the set.
I pulled 15 rookies with these guys leading the way.
I pulled a handful of X-Fractors, nobody special so I am going with a Cardinals rookie. I actually opened three more packs this evening and I pulled another Taylor X-Fractor.
The rack packs include Orange Flame Refractors, they are the same design as the other Refractors (except for the X-Fractors). I pulled the Lacy Flame Refractor tonight.

A Steven Jackson Sapphire Refractor. These cards are thicker than the other cards, I am not sure why it is different. These refractors are one per pack in Hobby boxes but they do not have the same odds for retail packs. I pulled the Richardson Sapphire Refractor from a pack tonight.
The Black Refractors are one per hobby box, I am guessing they are the same 1:24 packs odds. With the way that the Steelers are playing, it is possible that Landry Jones may actually see playing time depending on Gradkowski’s ability.
I pulled two autographs, one from a blaster box and one from the rack pack. At 1:44 packs I was quite surprised to see one out of my original 19 packs let alone 2 autographs. Neither player will see much field time, Brown should at least get in the games though.
I close out with a Montee Bell Camouflage Die-cut ribbon card. Another card I was surprised to pull, Montee Ball is sitting behind Hillman on the depth chart but with his numbers from college he has shown that he has the ability.

My wife did the worst thing possible tonight, she sent me out for eggs at 9pm so she could finish making cupcakes. So I swing by the card aisle... for the second time today... and pick up another rack pack of Platinum Football. Three packs later and I add a Manti Te'o BCA die-cut  and a Geno Smith Orange Flame refractor. So far I have opened 25 packs and I seem to be defying the pack out odds. Not huge hits but still some nice cards to add to my binder.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Vintage Card Of The Month: 1938 Churchman's Boxing Personalities Max Baer

 This month’s card is from the 1938 Churchman's Boxing Personalities set, a tobacco era product that was included in packages of Churchman Tobacco products in England. The cards are standard for the time period, 1 ½ x 2 ¾ in size with the typical white border. The set consisted of 50 boxers including a number of champions and Hall of Famers like Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis and Gene Tunney.
Baer began his boxing career in 1929 and by 1930 he was fighting for the title of Pacific Coast Champion, a fight he won. Sadly his opponent, Frankie Campbell, died the next day from injuries he sustained during the fight, an event that greatly affected Baer for the rest of his life.
In 1934 he defeated Primo Carnera for the Heavyweight Championship, which he held for one year. In 1941 he won the White Heavyweight Championship, a title that was created after Joe Louis’ promoter refused to give Baer a rematch for the Heavyweight Championship. He eventually retired in early 1941 with a career record of 71-13-0 with 53 KOs. He has been inducted in to various Boxing Hall of Fames as well as the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. In 1998 he was ranked among the “50 Greatest Heavyweights of All Time” by Ring Magazine.
His son Max Baer Jr. went on to have a successful acting career and is probably best known for playing Jethro Bodine on the TV show The Beverly Hillbillies.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Topps Mini Football Is Going Online

Topps will be releasing 2013 Topps Mini Football within the week, it will be an online-only product available through their online store. Each box will run $52.99 and will contain 24 packs, 10 cards per pack. You will pull one autograph or one memorabilia card per box. There will be Black and Gold Parallels as well as randomly inserted Printing Plates.
The base set contains a 440-card checklist and the design is identical to the regular sized 2013 Football release, though the autographs and memorabilia cards will have a different design

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Limited Edition Topps Star Wars Illustrated Card

Last week I posted a preview of the upcoming Topps Star Wars: Illustrated set that is scheduled to be released in November. The other day I received an email from Josh Brown, who works for the HighBridge Company, the official publishers of the Star Wars radio drama trilogy. He let me know that HighBridge is working in conjunction with Topps to re-release the original Star Wars: A New Hope radio drama to coincide with Topps’ release.
There will actually be two broadcast releases, “Light Side” and “Dark Side”, each with the original 13-episode radio broadcast plus additional bonus audio including interviews, music, promos, etc. Additionally each side will include a limited edition Light Side or Dark Side Topps card created specifically for the broadcast release. The cards are limited to 7,500 for each side.
The Light Side card uses a design created by the artist Matt Busch and the Dark Side card uses a design created by the artist Randy Martinez. Josh was able to send me images of the limited edition cards that will be included with the broadcast re-release. I have to admit, I am drawn to the Dark Side card.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Superman Kicks Some Alien Asses

I have not read comics book regularly in probably a good 30+ years but every so often when book draws my interest I will pick it up to read.
Superman: War of the Worlds is one of those books that got my attention. It was released in 1999, I am not sure how it alluded my attention for so long. I have actually had it on my list for a year or so but just never grabbed a copy until the other day.
I am a fan of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, if you have a chance I suggest reading it, you can actually get a free Kindle version on Amazon. If you are not the reading type, listen to Orson Welles’ 1938 radio broadcast, you can listen to it on Youtube. I would say skip the 2005 Tom Cruise movie and run from the 2005 C. Thomas Howell movie.
I love the idea of mixing Superman with a Martian invasion and the cool thing about the book is that Superman does not have the super powers of his modern day counterpart. His being partially mortal plays a role in the storyline.

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Recent Pick Up... Wildcat Style

When Upper Deck released the checklist for the College Mascot patches included in the 2013Upper Deck Football release I set my sights on the Wilbur the Wildcat patch. Since the release went live I have missed out a handful of times, loosing on last minute bids or insane prices, so when this one showed up with a couple of minutes left and at a very reasonable bid I tossed my hat in the ringer and waited. No last minute snipers this time, it ended up at $6.05 plus another $2 for shipping and I am now a proud owner of this kick ass University of Arizona Wilbur the Wildcat College Mascot patch.

This one is actually a win for the old memories, it brings me back to when I was a kid and my dad would take me to U. of A. football games. I think I was 7 or 8 when I went to my first game and I have been an Arizona fan ever since.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Possibilities For Trent Richardson

 Now that Trent Richardson has left the minor leagues and moved on to an NFL team the question is will he take the opportunity to step up?
The trade seemed to come out of nowhere, I think this came as a surprise to many in the football world. How many teams trade a #3 pick after only one season with the team? He was healthy (more or less) and productive (as well as one can expect playing for the Browns), Ryan Leaf and Jamarcus Russell both got 3 seasons with the team that drafted them and they both were flops before they ever played a down in the NFL. Some applaud the trade, pointing at Richardson’s 3.4 yards-per-carry and state that he is expendable with the expectations that the team management will use the additional pick to nab a top flight Quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft. I suggest that Brandon Weeden should start planning his post-NFL career now.
Now the high octane Colt’s offense will center on a trio of young stars with Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton and Trent Richardson so we may end up seeing some fireworks and if Richardson leads the charge expect to see his card prices jump dramatically. Even without playing a game for the Colts his cards are already starting to show plenty of activity with close to 250 new auctions added to eBay in the past 24 hours and plenty of bids.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

RIP Ken Norton Sr.

 For the second time in less than a month we lose a boxing legend, Ken Norton Sr. passed away today at the age of 70 years old. Over the past few years Norton has had some serious health issues including multiple strokes, cancer, heart attack and major surgeries and was actually residing in a hospice following a stroke last year.
Norton, who had a 42-7-1 (33 knockouts) career record, is known for his battles with Muhammad Ali in the early 1970s including when Norton broke Ali’s jaw on the way to a split decision win in their first bout in 1973. Ali won the next two fights but Norton earned Ali’s respect to the point where Ali said he never wanted to fight Norton again. In 1978 Norton won the vacated WBC title after beating Jimmy Young in an eliminator match, he lost the title a couple of months later to Larry Holmes. Following his loss to Holmes he only fought a couple of more times before retiring in 1981.
There are not many options for his cards, Norton was included in some early 1990s-era sets like Kayo and All World, which can be found for a couple of dollars each, but then nothing until the Ringside sets of the past few years. He has a couple of autographs in the 2011 Ringside Boxing Round Two release as well as the Lead Muhammad Ali release, prices don’t seem to be very set though with only a couple of cards showing activity.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Early Preview Of 2013 Topps Supreme Football

Now that the NFL season has begun, with some strange results over the first two weeks, we are seeing the football sets hitting the shelves with plenty to come over the next few months including the upper end sets like Panini Playbook, Bowman Sterling and the ultra-high end Topps Five Star.
 In the weeks leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII in February Topps will be unleashing 2013 Supreme Football. With the same pack out as last year, four cards including one hit, I would expect to see a similar pricing around $100-115 a box.
I think that Topps has made some great strides in the Supreme line over the last few years; 2010 Supreme, 2011 Supreme and 2012 Supreme all have their merits in design and layout and this year is no different. Honestly, the 2013 design is easily my favorite out of the four years. The gold and silver/gray and gold colors work so well together and even though the autographs are sticker autos, the gold stickers sync up well in the overall design. The gold foiling flows well throughout the cards and makes the entire set cohesive.

Some boxes will include an Autographed QB Playbook Booklet or Nickname Autograph Booklet box toppers.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Preview: Star Wars Illustrated: A New Hope

During the height of the original Star Wars trilogy NPR ran a series of radio dramas based on the trilogy. There were actually 3 different series that they ran between 1981 and 1996, each series was based on a movie and was roughly 3-6 hours long. The Episode IV: A New Hope series ran in 1981 and was thirteen half-hour episodes.  Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back ran in 1983 and was ten half-hour episodes. Episode VI: Return Of the Jedi ran in 1996 and was six half-hour episodes long. The radio dramas built on to the movies, adding characters and detailed backgrounds for the main stars. Only Anthony Davis, as C3PO, lent his voice to all three series. Mark Hamill was in the first two but replaced for the third and Billy Dee Williams was in the second series but the other characters were re-cast to voice-over actors.

Topps will be releasing Star Wars Illustrated: A New Hope in November, the release will be based on the 1981 radio drama. The base set will contain a 100-card checklist with artist’s renditions of the radio show with 4 different inserts that fill in back story and connects everything together. The box price has not been announced but each box will include 24 six-card packs, the box break should include 3 parallel cards, 25 inserts and 1 hit.
There are three base card parallels; Black parallels (1:12 packs), Bronze (1:24 packs) and Gold (#/10). The Gold parallels are hobby only
The inserts are:
One Year Earlier (1:2 packs)- 18 card checklist; shows what was happening one year before A New Hope was released or 1BBY in the Star Wars timeline.
Movie poster Artist Reinterpretations (1:3) - Nine artists show their interpretations of the 1977 Star Wars movie poster

Etched Foil Radio Drama Puzzle (1:8) - Six foil cards that create a scene from the radio drama
 The Mission: Destroy The Death Star (1:12) - 12 card checklist that shows the Rebel plan to destroy the Death Star
 As a bonus, anyone who registers all 12 of the Mission: Death Star cards with Topps will receive an exclusive Death Star bonus card.
The hits are one per box
Panorama Sketch Card- An original art sketch booklet card
Film Cel Relics- 35mm film cels taken from a print of the original Star Wars Episode IV film
Printing Plate- Printing plates from a base card
Sketchographs- A sketch card signed by the voice actors from the radio drama
I figure that Topps will wait to see how this set is received; if it sells out I would expect to see an Empire Strikes Back Illustrated and Return of the Jedi Illustrated sets eventually released. I am sure that this set will appeal to fans of the Expanded Universe.
I recently downloaded the three part series of the original NPR broadcasts, I have gotten through the 13 episodes of Star Wars a New Hope and I will begin listening to the 10 episode Empire Strikes Back soon. It is really a good storyline, there are a couple of things that stand out like different actors voicing some of the main characters but you get used to it. There are also some awkward scenes but it really fills in the back story to the movie and well worth your time if you are a Star Wars fan.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Employee Cards Hit eBay

The other day Upper Deck surprised their employees with an exclusive 9 card set consisting of 8 Pink/Purple Precious Metal Gems (Oscar De la Hoya, Mike Tyson, Hulk Hogan, Michael Phelps, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy) and a Quad Spokesman Fabrics card (Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, LeBron James and Wayne Gretzky).

A total of 125 sets were given out and so far around 40 cards have shown up for auction, some individually and some as a set. To say prices have gone insane would be an understatement, a couple of the cards have been posted up with BIN prices of $300 or more while a number of individual auctions have already topped $100 with time to go. It seems like the most wanted cards are the Woods and McIlroy cards while the Tyson, De La Hoya and Hogan cards are more reasonable in price.
These cards are not the rarest current Precious Metal Gems, the Blue Precious Metal Gems (#/50) and Green Precious Metal Gems (#/10) from the Fleer Retro releases are rarer but the additional draw here is that they are only available through Upper Deck employees. I am hoping to nab a Tyson or Hogan Precious Metal Gem.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Manufactured Patches Taking Over...

Now that 2013 Panini Prominence Football is live we are getting a closer look at what appears to be a miss-mash of old dead Panini products like Threads, Prestige, Epix and Gridiron Gear thrust together in to one release. Which in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you take the best of these products and make an all-encompassing “Best of” type release but in this case what was taken from the old releases were all the manufactured relics. The set may as well be called Panini Prominence Manufactured Football.
There are no game-worn relics in this set, heck… there are not even “event-worn” relics in this set. I guess I am just at a loss over the decision to manufacture patches and relics when they should have just used that time to create one or two solid autograph (non-manufactured relics) designs to build the set on.
I have a couple of manufactured patches pulled from blaster boxes and even a couple of the autographed Team Patches that I pulled from Panini’s Rookie & Stars but as many people have pointed out, some of the autographs on the manufactured patches (or any fabric really) tend to run or dissolve over time. How bad would it suck to drop some cash on one of these autographed patches only to have the ink run or bleed in a couple of years?
On the flip side, I do Rookie Field Plates. I know that I am probably in a minority here but there is something appealing about these cards. I have a Golden Tate autograph from the 2010 Epix release and a couple of hockey autographs from the 2010 Crown Royale release. I just love them.

What is your take on the autographed manufactured patches?

Would you feel differently if you pulled an autographed manufactured patch versus purchasing one?