Friday, July 31, 2015

R.I.P. Rowdy Roddy Piper

I was extremely saddened to find out that Rowdy Roddy Piper passed away over night from a heart attack.

As a kid when I first started watching WWF regularly Piper was one of the ultimate bad guys. His Piper’s Pits rants were hilarious and usually someone ended up getting attacked. He was inflammatory, offensive and just a plain ass and you loved to hate him for it.

It is funny how time, and an understanding that wrestling is fake, changes a person’s feelings about these athletes. Over the last couple of month’s I have picked up a number of autographs from 1980s wrestlers and Piper was the next on my list but now with his passing the prices are already shooting up in to the stratosphere. Fortunately he was such a popular figure in the wrestling world that he has quite a few options for official autographs ranging from Pacific TNA releases through this year’s 2015 Topps WWE release.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

125 Years From Death To Master

Artists will always have favorites and influences, it could be another artist, a style, an artistic movement or even something as simple as nature or a color. As a sketch artist and painter my influences vary and include cartoonist Johnny Heart and Norwegian painter Edvard Munch. During college I became enamored with the early 20th Century Futurism movement and Italian painter Umberto Boccioni but the one artist that has remained my favorite since I was a child has been Vincent van Gogh.

It was 125 years ago today that van Gogh passed away from a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest.

His life is not something of celebration, he was actually quite melancholy from an early age. He was surrounded by art early in life including his mother and uncle, who owned an art dealership. He worked at his uncle’s dealership in his teens, eventually moving to the Groupil Gallery in London when he was 20 years old.
During his life he lived a catastrophic love life, often falling in love with troubled woman and prostitutes. While in London he fell in love with a woman who rejected him and he turned to religion hoping to become a minister, which he failed at due to his stubbornness. It was around this time he turned to art. It was 1880 and he spent his final 10 years as an artist in France and the Netherlands.

His final two years he was in a downward mental illness spiral. In 1888 Vincent’s brother Theo offered French painter Paul Gauguin money to watch over Vincent and they moved in together to paint. It was December 23, 1888 when van Gogh and Gauguin got in a fight and Gauguin left only to be followed out of the house by van Gogh who was holding a razor. Vincent turned back and returned home, this is when he cut off his left ear lobe (not his entire ear like most people think), which later that evening he gave to a prostitute and asked her to care for it carefully. These last two years he was in and out of hospitals and sanitariums.

On July 27, 1890 he went out to paint in the morning but brought along a pistol. He shot himself in the chest but was able to return to his room before being found and brought to the hospital. He actually seemed to be in good spirits talking to people and smoking his pipe but on July 29th he asked Theo to take him home where he died in Theo’s arms.
During his time only one of his paintings sold. In January 1890 Theo sold “The Red Vineyards” for 400 francs. It wasn’t until 1901 when Theo’s widow Johanna collected his paintings and put them on display in Paris. Sadly his mother had destroyed and trashed a number of crates containing many of his early pieces but Johanna was able to gather roughly 2,100 pieces of his work including 860 oil paintings and 1,300 watercolors, drawings and sketches.
Since his death many of his paintings have sold for well over the 400 francs that he made during his lifetime including six of his paintings are listed in the Top 50 Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold list. When I consider my favorite paintings there are two van Gogh’s paintings in my Top 5; #1 The Starry Night (1889) and #3 Starry Night Over The Rhone (1888). For the record the other paintings rounding out my Top 5 are #2 The Scream by Edvard Munch (There are actually 4 versions of The Scream), #4 The Great Wave Off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai and #5 Dynamism of a Cyclist by Umberto Boccioni

Over the years I have added a couple of van Gogh cards and I am on the look out for others, Topps and Upper Deck have included various cards in sets like SP Legendary Cuts, Goodwin Champions and Allen & Ginters.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Time For A "Would You?"

Last week a 1993 SP Derek Jeter rookie card went up for auction starting with a $1 opening bid. The card had been submitted to PSA and was returned “Ungradable” due to recoloring. The seller was honest and included the PSA insert in the photo. The auction ended last night at $50 after 20 bids.

This was a deal for the purchaser because when you consider that even raw copies, or low graded versions, usually start around $80 or more they got a nice discount.

My question,
Would you consider purchasing this card at $50 knowing it is recolored?  



I was watching the card with the idea that if the card stayed around $20-25 I might bid but I definitely would not pay $50 for it.

Friday, July 24, 2015

A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned

Sometime last year I finally realized that when hunting down Griffey cards from a specific set or insert I like to watch the price of the complete set compared to the individual cards. You wouldn’t think about it but sometimes it is cheaper to get an entire set just for a single card. It may not be a ton of money saved but when you consider you are getting more cards for the same or similar price it kind of makes sense.

In just the last two weeks I have picked up 42 cards for close to what it would have cost me to purchase just the two cards that I wanted from these specific sets.
First card I was hunting is the 2000 Topps Tek Dramatek Performers Griffey #DP3 card. The lowest current price for the Griffey card is $3 BIN plus $3 shipping but I was able to pick up the entire 9-card insert set for $3.58 plus $2.22 shipping for a $0.20 savings plus 8 additional cards.

The second card I was looking for is the 1989 Topps Toys R Us Rookies Jay Buhner #5 card. The lowest price is a $2.50 BIN with free shipping. I was able to pick up the entire 33-card set for $3.00 with free shipping. I paid $0.50 more but I also got 32 additional cards.

OK, it isn’t “Extreme Couponing” but for an additional $0.30 I ended up with a lot more cards with the ability to sell or trade the additional cards to possibly end up making back all of my purchase price. I am a collector on a budget so really every penny saved is a penny that can later be used to pick up another card for my collection.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Another Dinosaur Attack

As if on cue to further illustrate that 2015 is for the dinosaurs Breygent handed out promo cards for their 2015 Breygent Jurassic Domination release during the San Diego Comic Con. The set is scheduled for an October release. The difference from Upper Decks Dinosaurs and Monsterwax’s Dinosaur Galazy is this is an art set so like their Kris Kringle release the it will focus mainly on original art and sketch cards.

Dinosaur Galaxy should be shipping soon while Upper Deck’s Dinosaurs has been delayed once again, the third time for this sets delay, and pushed back to August 28th.

So far I have seen four different SDCC promo cards from Jurassic Domination. There are two 3-cards sets that are limited to #/100 and two single card promos that are unnumbered. The artists previewed are Tim Shay and Gary Kezele, two very accomplished illustrators. The single cards are running around $5-10 while the 3-card promos, which are printed on linen board, are in the $20-25 range.

I don’t know of any other dinosaur releases that may be on the horizon and I love dinosaurs but you have to wonder if there will be a point of saturation. Currently there are three sets based on dinosaurs (Upper Deck Dinosaurs, Monsterwax Dinosaur Galaxy and Breygent’s Jurassic Domination) plus Topps is reintroduction the old Dinosaur Attacks line in with the upcoming Mars Attacks: Occupation release. I understand this is the summer of Jurassic World but people are going to stop buying at some point. I am going to stick with cherry picking the cards that I like, most likely sketch cards and Tim Shay’s 3-card promo from Jurassic Domination. I also hope to get my hands on a ROAR card and Predators of the Sea shadow box card from Upper Deck’s Dinosaurs.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Kris Bryant First Superfractor Makes An Appearance

Without getting in to the argument of who is the better player there is no question that Kris Bryant is one of the top 5 rookies this year in baseball so that makes him the perfect target for prospecting collectors.

His 2015 Topps Finest Autographed Superfractor showed up last week, the first Bryant Superfractor to be listed, and after 89 bids endedup selling for $6,299.

What is a surprise is that this card is not the highest price paid for a Bryant card this year, that designation goes to a 2013 Bowman Chrome red refractor with a BGS 9.5 grade which sold for $15,100 on July 5th.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Contest On The Raz Card Blog

Time for a contest pimp for a fellow blogger:

Raz is running a contest on his blog The Raz Card Blog through July 25th. The prize will be a complete base set of 2015 BBM True Heart cards, a set based on female wrestlers in Japan. Entry is as simple as posting in his contest thread.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Chicken Scratch Does Not Equal An Autograph

Occasionally you come across a personality that has no interest in acknowledging their fans whatever the reason may be. They don’t want to talk or have a photo taken with anyone, which I can understand in certain situations, but then there are cases where they are contracted to meet fans or sign autographs and they still show their disdain for the public.

Chris Johnson is a perfect example with his barely legible “CJ” autographs that appeared on cards. Every year it seems like someone new is added to the list of “troublesome” signers and I think I found a perfect example.

Shia LaBeouf is that man. Over the years LaBeouf has bounced around from good guy to pain in the ass. He started with Disney but really blew up with Transformers in 2007 and then again in the following sequels but then came his “I am not famous anymore” and his antics were irritating people, though personally I think he was excellent in Fury.

As I was going through my eBay feed I saw what appeared to be an “*” on a baseball and my first thought was that it was someone playing on the 2007 Upper Deck Sweet Spot asterisk autograph card (Which is currently up for auction), but I was wrong. It is actually the scribbling of LaBeouf. After spending some time looking through other LaBeouf autographs as well as autograph websites it does appear that this is in fact his chicken scratch

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Champion Surfer-1 Great White Shark- 0

Earlier today during the final heat of the J-Bay Open surfing tournament the three-time World Surfing Champion Mick Fanning was attacked by a Great White sharks while wating for a wave. There were actually two Great White sharks near him but one attacked and ended up getting tangled in Fanning’s life-line and pulled the surfer in to the water.

Fanning was able to fight the shark off with punches and kicks until the rescue craft were able to get to him as well as Julian Wilson, the other surfer in the finals who was also in the water at the time of the attack and was attempting to rescue Fanning.

As a surfer through my formidable years I was blessed to experience the zen of being out on the water and was fortunate enough to have never had an encounter of this sorts, I actually never knew anyone who has had a run in with a shark, but it does happen more often than people would expect. As of July 1st there have been 23 shark attacks in the U.S. (1 fatal) this year and this is including 7 attacks since June in North Carolina alone.

The coast of South Africa is well known for their sharks and the WSL does have a “Shark Rule” but this is the first time that a contestant has ever been attacked during a tournament and it was being televised live.

Fortunately Fanning escaped physically unharmed, though quite shaken. The J-Bay Open was cancelled after officials made the decision that they didn’t want to put the surfers in any further danger, even an unseen shark can attack, so based on the rule both finalists split the cash prize and both were awarded 2nd Place points because it was considered a tie. Currently Fanning is #2 and Wilson is #3 on the Men’s Rankings board.

Neither competitor has appeared on cardboard but Topps and Upper Deck both have given some love to the surfing community with Kelly Slater getting most of the attention, that will happen when you win 11 World Sufing Championships. Each year they do get a couple of new surfers in to sets like Upper Deck Goodwin Champions and Topps Allen & Ginters plus there are releases from the 1980s and 1990s where you can find some of the old schoolers like the Futurea, Beach Force and Generation Extreme sets.
Here are some of the shots taken during and immediately after the attack, these images were released by the WSL:


Friday, July 17, 2015

Bring On Opus!

I was so excited the other day when I heard that Brekeley Breathed has decided to bring back Bloom County after 25 years in hibernation. When Breathed “retired” Bloom County he did carry on Outland and then later Opus, which used characters from the original Bloom County. These was among my favorite comic strips of the 1980s and 1990s along with Calvin and Hobbes.

Bloom County 2.0 will be released through Facebook, do they still print newspapers? (Kidding) and so far his first three covering Opus’ coming to grips over the modern world and the changes in the past 25 years.
After Outland was ended in 1995 Krome Productions released a 100-card 1995 Bloom County Chromium set based on Bloom County. The set had a sticker parallel of each base cards plus a 5-card Holochrome cards and there are also some promo cards and case topper cards. The set was made up of various characters and scenes from the comic and included all of the main characters like Opus, Bill the Cat (Ack!), Steve and Cutter John.

I picked up a pack in 1995 at one of the Tacoma Dome card shows where I met some of the Krome Production employees. They were selling the packs that were not exactly promo packs, because the cards were from the set, but on the back included the blurb “Coming Soon!” that is not on the regular packs. My guess is they were probably supposed to give them away but kept the money. In the end I am guessing that sales did not go over very well (or Krome Productions went out of business) because 1995 was the only set that was released.
The base cards can be found for a reasonable price, though it is kind of a niche set, while the Holochrome cards (1:18 packs) will cost you close to $10 and a sealed box is in the $40-50 range.

Packs contained 8 cards (7 base and 1 sticker) and here are some of what I pulled with the last image being one of the card backs:


Here is the sticker and back

I realized that I did post this pack in 2012 but I felt it was acceptable considering the rebirth of Bloom County.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Some Sea-Town Pickups

My day has been a long one and I planned on posting earlier but my Prism tv service went down and I ended up on the phone with a rep for nearly an hour. Sadly I told him it was an issue with the router and that it needed to be replaced when I first talked to him but we had to go through the steps anyway. So now a tech is set to be here tomorrow morning and before long I got sidetracked doing some research and I realized I forgot to post.

Here are a couple of recent pickups of Seattle athletes just for fun

1995 SP Legendary Cuts Jay Buhner Legendary Lineage Patch #50

Any time I can add a bad ass Bone patch to my collection for under $7 shipped I am cool with it. The card would be ideal for his signature under the patch but there is no way I am sending this for a TTM request. I have sent a number of requests to Buhner and he has never responded so if anything it would be one to bring to a show to get him to sign if he ever does a show in the Phoenix area.

2013 Bowman Inception Mike Zunino Blue parallel #/75
I love the Inception releases and this one has been on my list for a number of years so I am happy to add this to my Zunino collection.

1997-98 Metal Univese Gary Payton Silver Slams
Gary Payton is one of those athletes that I am considering adding as a PC but I don’t want to have to many player collections, not to mention Payton’s cards can be high dollar. I love this card because it has a pinkish/purplish hue and it really stands out.

This was a TTM/IP autograph that I picked up. I am really picky about what signatures I get just because they can be easily faked so I check every swoop, loop and twist before I consider buying something like this which I did and felt comfortable.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pull Tab Awareness Week

This week we celebrate Pull Tab Awareness Week!
 This is the week, started by Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown, where we remind those in the hobby who sell and trade cards to use tape responsibly by using a tab to make for easier removal from the rigid top loader.

Many of us have received a card where the sender put a piece of Scotch tape across the top and it is difficult to remove the tape or even worse, the card inside slid and is now caught under the tape with no easy way to open it.
I like to add a small piece of cardboard across the top, wider than the tape, so when I place the tape across the top loader it is placed over the cardboard in the opening so even if the card does slide it will not touch the tape and get stuck. If I am sending multiple cards I will put them in top loaders and then inside a team bag to keep the cards all together.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Art Gallery: 2008 Celebration Japan Star Wars Convention Stormtrooper Sketch Cards

This month’s Art Gallery display comes from the Celebration Japan Star Wars convention in July 2008. The artist is the amazing Matt Busch. The cards were pre-printed with the Rising Sun with an opening in the center and that is where Matt sketched out the Stormtrooper helmet using ink and Copic Markers.

What is cool is that the back of the card includes an illustration that Matt created using various Star Wars characters with himself in the center holding a paint brush instead of a light saber.

 This is one of the more expensive sketch cards that I have purchased with a final price of $12.01 with free shipping. The only reason I stuck in on the bidding was because my daughter “loved” the card so I had to get it.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Rise Of Conor McGregor

This past Saturday at UFC 189 at the MGM Grand something amazing happened, an Irishmen became interim Featherweight Champion when Conor McGregor TKO’d Chad Mendes at the end of the second round. Being of Irish decent I am excited to see McGregor taking the UFC by storm.

McGregor was actually set to fight the Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo at UFC 189 for the title but Aldo broke his ribs at the end of June and was forced to withdraw so Mendes was slotted in to fight for the interim title and the fight against Aldo is attentively set for January 2016.
Currently McGregor is 18-2 overall (6-0 in UFC) and if he beats Aldo in January he will unite the belt but I am admittedly quite concerned about that fight, Aldo is one of the best fighters in the UFC at 25-1 overall and he has not lost a fight in 10 years, not to mention he is ranked #2 by ESPN as the “Best pound-for-pound fighter” behind Jon Jones so McGregor is definitely in for a tough fight.

McGregor has been appearing in UFC sets since 2013 and he does have a couple of official autograph cards but about 6-8 months ago I stopped chasing his stuff because prices were beginning to jump quickly. With his win over Mendes the prices jumped in to the “insane” range and as long as he keeps winning those prices will just keep moving up.