Thursday, November 23, 2017

COMC Blaster - Thanksgiving Edition

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

With COMC's big Black Friday sale looming on the horizon, it seemed like an appropriate time to post a "virtual blaster" that I built on the site. I acquired these cards at different times, but none of them have seen the light of day on the blog until now.  Let's see what my $20 in credit brought home...

Starting off with a couple of Bogaerts minis from 2015 Gypsy Queen that I picked up right around Opening Day this past season.

Honestly, I wouldn't buy these today, but I was on a baseball kick coinciding with the start of the season and at $1.15 for the pair at least the damage to my wallet (or in this case store credit balance) was minimal.

I've been making some slow but steady progress of late on what will become my oldest hand-collated set if I ever complete it, 1971-72 Topps hockey.  I have a trio of them in today's post, beginning with Rosaire Paiement.  '71-72 was Paiement's final season in the NHL, he moved to the WHA the following year where he'd finish out his career later in the decade.  My cost for this one?  57 cents.

Next up, defenseman Jim Roberts of the Blues.  Jim was actually named team captain for St. Louis at the outset of the 1971-72 season, but was traded to the Canadiens shortly thereafter.

Rounding out the trio is winger Ernie Hicke of the Golden Seals.  I love, love, love getting any new vintage Golden Seals cards.  These were pretty dirt cheap additions to my set build here, as the trio set me back a grand total of $1.68.

Here's another that I'll file under "wouldn't buy it anymore".  Back in August of 2015 I picked it up, primarily because it was cheap (43 cents) and shiny.  Today I think I'd hang onto the 43 cents and keep browsing...

Speaking of shiny, here's a "camo prism" parallel of Olivier Giroud from the 2015-16 Select.  These are limited to /249 and can be had for cheap coin (I paid 60 cents), so I try to pick up some players I'm familiar with from the Premier League from time to time.

I grabbed this Joonas Kemppainen Young Guns card because he's a somewhat obscure name in the history of the Boston Bruins.  He played in 44 games with the team during the 2015-16 season, and it appears at this point as though that will be the entirety of his NHL career as he's been playing in the KHL over in Russia since.  65 cents for this one, though you can grab a copy for less than 50 cents these days.

I've gone on record numerous times stating that I'm a total sucker for Topps Chrome colored refractors.  As such, this pink Mookie Betts was simply irresistible to me at a buck twenty-five.

This '94-95 Finest Rod Brind-Amour refractor is definitely one of my favorites from today's post.  I'll grab any and all refractors from the two mid-'90s Finest hockey releases if the price is right, which it certainly was here at just 87 cents.  For whatever reason I've ended up with many more of the '95-96 versions, but this is still my sixth from the '94-95 set so far.

One of the more creative insert sets in recent years in my opinion were these "Tip Top Bread" die-cuts from Panini Golden Age.  Aside from the design, which I love, the selection of subjects is very broad for just a 10-card set.  Basketball legend Curly Neal set me back 94 cents...

...while I had to put up $1.25 for Kelly Leak from the Bad News Bears.

Rounding out today's trio is Man o' War, which cost me $1.74.  I told you the subject selection was random!  What's really great is that these were the final three cards I needed to complete this insert set, sweet!

Here's one towards my 1959 Topps baseball set.  It's a little beat up, no doubt about it, but I'm really just trying to complete a set in any condition at this point.  Besides, this is from the dreaded high-numbers portion of the set, and I only had to shell out 59 cents for it which is pretty unheard of.  I'll be pumped if I can grab a few more high numbers for that price over the weekend here.

I've shown off a couple of these lenticular 3-D Dinosaurs inserts from Upper Deck in previous posts, and today I've got my third.  I typically try to keep these to under a dollar, but in this case I paid $2.37 as this is one of the short-printed aquatic dinosaurs towards the end of the 42-card checklist.  Someday I'd love to track down the 39 I'm still missing and get them all in a binder...

I've been a fan of the "Traxx" parallels in OPC Platinum since I first encountered them a few years back.  Thanks to Upper Deck's ePack promotion the recent ones can be had for pocket change for the most part.  As an example, David Pastrnak here joined my collection for 55 cents.

Why would I shell out 67 cents for this Jarome Iginla card?  Well, I love the photograph and he's a lock for the HOF.  This is also from the high series portion of the set that you could only pull in boxes of Rookie Anthology in 2013-14.

Here's the second shiny Mookie Betts of the post, and the final baseball card.  I know Mookie dropped off a touch from his unbelievable 2016 season, but he still put up very solid numbers in 2017.  In fact, with three complete seasons now under his belt, here's his "162-game average" season stats....292/25/99 with an .839 OPS and 194 hits.

I got a steal on this Bowman's Best Green Refractor, #'d /99, when the seller accepted my offer of $2.75.  Cheapest copy on the site these days is north of $10.

We'll close it out here with a couple of hockey cards.  If you've read my blog at all over the past couple of years then you know I love buybacks.  That love isn't limited to the Topps baseball buybacks, I like the Upper Deck hockey ones as well.

I was excited to land this Eric Weinrich Star Rookie buyback from Upper Deck's inaugural hockey set for just $1.75.  These seem to fetch decent prices on the secondary market, in fact the cheapest one of any player currently on COMC is listed at $2.50.  Weinrich played an impressive 17 seasons as a defenseman in the NHL, including through the entire period of my childhood fandom so I'm really pleased with this one.

Here's the final card for today, which I spent 61 cents on simply because I enjoy the old-school subsets that chronicled the previous year's NHL playoffs, and because I have precious few OPC cards from the '70s.

Well, that brings the total for the cards in today's post up to $19.85, so we'll stop there.  I hope you all enjoy a nice holiday break with family and friends, and happy hunting to those of you who'll be shopping COMC's Black Friday sale tomorrow and over the weekend!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Signature Sundays - Vincent Trocheck

Just a quick autograph post this Sunday, featuring a player that I personally think is one of the bright young stars in today's NHL:

Vincent Trocheck was taken by the Florida Panthers in the 3rd round of the 2011 entry draft.  He finally debuted during the 2013-14 campaign, however his first full season wouldn't come until 2015-16.  In 76 games that year, he lit the lamp 25 times, and added 28 assists to cross the 50-point plateau.

Last year, in his second full season, Trocheck played in all 82 games, a feat in and of itself.  He again topped 20 goals (23), and increased his assist total to 31 for a career-high 54 points.  Still just 24 years old, he's on pace for his best season yet with 19 points in 19 games at the time of this post.

I already have Vincent's Young Guns rookie, which I got for a steal on COMC, so it's nice to add an autographed card to my collection to accompany it.  It also came from COMC, for the more than reasonable price of $3.75.  I'll take that any day of the week and twice on Sunday!

So there you have it, not as earth-shattering as some of the autographs I have stockpiled to share over the coming winter, but a nice card nonetheless.  I really think the 30-goal plateau is realistic for Vinny this season, and I'll certainly be watching with interest as his career unfolds...

Saturday, November 18, 2017

An MVP Bargain

Well, that was the longest break I've taken from the blog here in years.  A perfect storm of events all converged to take me away from the hobby completely for a couple of weeks there.  I'll spare you the details though, after all you stopped by for a dose of sports cards, right?

Today seems like the perfect day to show off a card I've been sitting on for well over a year now, and one that is turning out to be one of my better bargain buys in recent years.  Here it is:

Your 2017 AL MVP, and one of the game's top players for a few years running here, Jose Altuve.  I was happy to see Jose and the Astros win it all this year, they've been one of my favorite non-Red Sox franchises since moving into the AL a few years back.

I like Altuve enough that I tend to pick up a handful of his cards from time to time.  One that I'd always wanted to seek out but just never stumbled upon at a price I was happy with was this very Cognac Diamond Anniversary parallel of his Topps rookie card proper.  Like many collectors I just think these are some of the more visually attractive parallels that Topps has produced in the past ten years or so.  The scan doesn't really do it justice here, but at this point I'm sure you've almost all held one of these in hand and know what I mean.

One thing my scanner really struggles with is PSA-graded backs.  Oh well.

Here's a better look at the front.  Just a great card all around.  I finally nabbed it back in early April of 2016.  What has Jose done in the time since I picked up this copy alone?  Well, in 2016 he led the American League in both hits and batting average, was named an All-Star and a Silver Slugger, and finished 3rd in AL MVP voting behind Mike Trout and Mookie Betts.

This year he again topped the league in hits, again won a batting title, was again named an All-Star and Silver Slugger, and deservedly won his first AL MVP.  Oh, and brought a World Series title to Houston for the first time ever.  Next year will be Jose's age 28 season, and with 1,250 career hits already in the bag it's going to be fun to follow his career and see where he ends up if he remains healthy and even a fraction as productive as he has been his last few seasons.

So, how much did my PSA 9 copy of this card set me back?

How about an even $19 shipped!  Even at the time it seemed too good to be true, and now a couple of years in the rear view mirror it looks like one of my better buys since returning to the hobby.  There's another PSA 9 on eBay right now with a little over a day to go, that's going to get well up into the triple figures by the time it's wrapped up here.  I'll be watching that one to see where it finishes just out of curiosity, though I have no plans at all to part with mine.

How could I when it pairs so nicely with the base version of the card that I got in trade from Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown this past year?

For that matter, it goes even better with my Trout rookie from the same set!

I'm not in the hobby to make money, I don't care much about book value (I don't even have a recent Beckett), and I don't buy cards to flip for a profit or anything like that.  I sure am glad that I landed a copy of this one when when I did though!

Can you think of any instances like this where you picked up a card for a good price and then it immediately skyrocketed?  I'd love to hear about your examples in the comments if so.  Thanks for stopping by and hopefully it won't be another two weeks plus before you hear from me again!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Now THAT's a Relic Card!

Generally speaking, you can group me in with the collectors who are only mildly excited at best at the prospect of acquiring a new relic or game-used card.  While they may have been interesting ten or twenty years ago, the whole concept seems to have been watered down by "event worn" relics and other such gimmicks, and in some cases even questionable authenticity.

Last month though, my buddy Dave H of Wax Stain Rookie posted a relic card that had me absolutely drooling.  Check out this image that I borrowed from his post:

Holy crap!  I had no idea until reading Dave's post that In The Game had released these "Super-Sized Pads" cards as part of their 'Between the Pipes' set in 2008-09, but I was immediately floored by the concept.  Not only was Dave's Tretiak relic here one of the bigger pieces of material that I'd ever seen on a game-used card, but I just fell in love with the concept of a big ol' swatch of the classic brown goalie pads that are so adored by fans of the old school era of the NHL.

I knew right away that I just had to make an attempt to land one of these for my own hockey card collection.  They're not the easiest cards to find I found out; I believe they were limited to just 30 copies each.  Understandable I guess given the size of the pad "chunk" used in the making of each card.

I quickly zeroed in on the card I wanted most from this set, and within a couple of days had tracked one down.  Check this baby out!

I've had this card in hand for a few days now and I'm still just fascinated by it.  Cheevers is the player I wanted most from the short, 12-card checklist.  The selection for this relic set spans a few eras, and since the goalie pad has evolved quite a bit over the years there's a range of different types of pad to be found among these inserts.  For example I just watched a Patrick Roy end on eBay (without any bids) that featured bright blue pad presumably from his time with the Canadiens.  Cheevers' card features the glorious old school brown leather pad though, which is what I thought was so cool about Dave's card to begin with, and is certainly what drew me to this one.

I don't mind sharing that I shelled out close to $40 for this card, which is more than a quarter of my monthly allocated hobby budget in one shot.  I wouldn't say I got a "steal" on it, but I do think I paid about fair market price given what I've seen a couple of others go for.  Besides, this is the type of card that's rare enough that you could go many months or years without seeing another copy of it.  This is easily the most I've ever spent on a relic or game-used card, and probably always will be, but I don't have any buyer's remorse here at all.

Here's the back, citing the pad as game-used.  These cards are fairly thick but not outrageous.  I've got mine in a 75pt one-touch magnetic holder for those of you that that means anything to.

Here's one last look, just beyond awesome.  I'm really enamored with this one, looking back on it this has to be in my top three hockey acquisitions of 2017.  It's just cool to think about how many pucks may have bounced off that square of pad, and of whose sticks those shots may have come off of.  I've been collecting again for over ten years now and I haven't found too many hockey cards in all that time that are more unique or interesting than this one is.

Seemed like today was the perfect day to show it off too, with Cheevers' classic mask making a prominent appearance here.  Dave, thanks for the inspiration to track down this beauty, and Happy Halloween everyone!

Do you have a favorite relic or game-used card that stands out above all others within your collection?  If so I'd love to hear about it in the comments...

Monday, October 30, 2017

Buyback Franken-set: 1990 Topps

Today's buyback post consists of ten that I hand-picked off of COMC, and all ten of them just happen to be 1990 Topps buybacks.  Will they make my franken-set, or perhaps be relegated to my secondary 1990 Topps buyback set project?  Let's take a look!

1990 Topps #663 - Fred Lynn Turn Back the Clock

A pretty cool one to start off today's post for a Red Sox fan like myself.  Lynn was included on a four-player rookie card in the '75 Topps set, so the card shown here is a "card that never was".  I was happy to find that I was lacking a #663 buyback, as this is certainly a solid addition to the franken-set binder.

1990 Topps #586 - Ed Nunez

Ed Nunez had what was probably the best year in his MLB career in 1990, making 42 appearances out of the bullpen and finishing with a minuscule 2.24 ERA in over 80 innings pitched.  A nice look at the old Tiger Stadium in the background here too.

Nunez bumps up against this extremely odd Ben Oglivie card when it comes to the franken-set though.  This one is just so bizarre, easily one of the strangest faces I've seen a subject make on a baseball card.

For now Oglivie retains his spot, and Ed Nunez is relegated to the 1990 Topps buyback franken-set.

1990 Topps #347 - Junior Felix

This Junior Felix is a rarer "blue foil" buyback, which I guess is appropriate for a very blue Blue Jays card.  Junior hit a career-high 15 home runs in 1990, which I guess is something.  He was shipped out of town before the franchise got really good a couple of years later though.

A tough draw for Felix here, as I have some unexplained love for this '73 KC Royals team card.  It's already ousted quite a few competitors...

...and does so again today.

1990 Topps #188 - Mike Smithson

Alright, a new '90 Topps buyback and a new Red Sox card in one fell swoop.  No complaints here.  This is actually a sunset cart too, as Smithson called it a career after a 7-14 year in 1989.

In what's going to become a recurring theme for this post, I already had a nice 1967 buyback in slot 188 of the binder.  I love this photograph of Ken Harrelson, and I'm also partial to extinct teams, so this one scores some big points with me.

Enough to best Smithson for sure, so Mike moves to the '90 buyback binder.

1990 Topps #595 - Greg Swindell

Greg Swindell was actually very solid in 28 starts for the Tribe in 1989, going 13-6 with a respectable 3.37 ERA in what would be his lone All-Star campaign.  His ERA would balloon by more than a full run in 1990, but he'd still win more games than he'd lose for a mediocre Indians team that year.  As far as the franken-set goes, Greg's in by default!

1990 Topps #740 - Jesse Barfield

Here's Yankees outfielder Jesse Barfield on a nice high number buyback.  Jesse was a few years removed here from his 1986 All-Star, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger season, but he still managed to crack 25 round-trippers for New York in 1990.  Hard to believe he'd be out of baseball just two short years later.  Barfield makes the franken-set as well.

1990 Topps #206 - Nick Esasky

Another Red Sox buyback, seems like I'm well on my way to a team set here with this being the third one in just this post.  Nick's time with Boston was over by the time this card hit shelves, as he signed with the Braves in the 1989 off-season.  He'd play just 9 games with Atlanta before eventually being released, ending his professional baseball career.

Another '67 buyback stands in the way here.  Though Dennis Bennett was traded to the Mets before the post-season run, he did contribute four wins to the 1967 "Impossible Dream" Red Sox team before being dealt away.

Easy choice there.

1990 Topps #717 - Ron Karkovice

Ron Karkovice played in 939 Major League Baseball games in a 12-season career, and wore a White Sox jersey for every one of them.  I don't remember much about the guy to be perfectly honest, but it seems like he was a serviceable hitter with some decent pop.  In any event, this is the first buyback I've acquired with #717 on the back, so into the franken-set Ron goes...

1990 Topps #334 - Johnny Ray

Johnny Ray got into 100 games at second base for the Angels in 1990, and they'd turn out to be the final 100 of his MLB career.  The best thing I can say about this buyback I guess is that it's a new number for the franken-set.  Johnny makes the cut.

1990 Topps #393 - Bret Saberhagen All-Star

Last card for today, pitcher Bret Saberhagen from the All-Star subset.  Saberhagen was a world beater in '89, leading the league in a good deal of categories including wins, ERA, complete games, innings pitched, WHIP, etc.  He won a well-deserved Cy Young, the second of his career.  Bret dealt with some injuries and fell off quite a bit though in 1990, and besides he's got a rough match-up here:

Yet another '67 buyback, and one of the most famous authors in baseball history to boot!  I know just how to settle this one...

Bouton stays in the franken-set, and Saberhagen becomes a valued addition to the 1990 project.

That was a perfect mix, half the cards joined the buyback franken-set as new numbers, and the other half gave some weight to my up-and-coming 1990 buyback set.  All in all, a nice round!

Franken-set Progress:  510/792 (63%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  367
Total Buybacks in Collection: 877
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