Friday, January 30, 2015

2014 Gypsy Queen Framed Mini Relic Black Derek Holland # 04 / 10

I've got a quick post here, since I am a bit short on time. I saw this card pop up on my feed and couldn't help putting in a small bid to see if I would get lucky. For the price of a couple packs of cards I got this Derek Holland 2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Framed Mini Relic Black card, numbered # 04 / 10 and featuring a nice four-color patch. That's some good stuff right there.

I do have one issue with it, and that is that the seller didn't secure the end of the top loader, so when it arrived the card was hanging halfway out of the holder. There is a little ding on one of the corners, but it is hard to tell from the auction scans whether it was already present or caused by the card flying around in the envelope during shipping. I am still pretty happy with the card, so I left positive feedback with a remark about the packaging and relatively low star ratings for the condition of the item.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Just the Commons, Ma'am 6: Jon Singleton and the Case of the Folded Refractors

I made an order from Just Commons in order to grab a couple trade cards I needed, and I filled it out past the Free Shipping threshold by grabbing a bunch of Jon Singleton cards for my Singleton player collection. There's a variety of stuff in this lot, included a timeline of minor league Topps cards from his time down on the farm. Here we've got his 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 Topps Pro Debut cards.

I don't have a lot of experience with these minor league cards, but I think they're pretty cool. It's crazy that these guys are under such a huge microscope at a young age. 

And here is a similar timeline for Topps Heritage Minors 2012-2014 and also his big league 2014 Heritage High Numbers card. The 2013 Heritage card shares a picture with the 2013 Pro Debut card, although I guess at least Topps took the time to crop it differently. That still doesn't make it a different picture.

The card backs on this group is definitely more interesting, with cartoon pictures, stats, and plenty of informative text.

At the time this package arrived I had all of my card boxes out on a table in the living room. I was trying to get everything in my collection sorted out and arranged before school started up again. I didn't quite get the project finished, so I had to pack it all back downstairs partially sorted. I set these cards on the table at some point, and when I got back I noticed that a few of them were scattered around on the floor. A couple of the ones from the floor had been picked up and folded neatly into quarters. No one admitted to having anything to do with it, but I am guessing that when my dog jumped up to bark out the window at someone passing by he knocked the cards off the table with his tail. Then one of my kids found the cards and folded a couple of them in half, then in half again.

So I hope no one out there wanted Singleton's 2014 Bowman Chrome Refractor # 418 / 500, because it's been folded a couple of times and scraped up a bit.

This Bowman Platinum card was also lost in the incident. This is becoming more bloody than one of Zippy Zappy's Clone Breaks. Some of the less shiny cards were knocked down and scattered about, but they weren't scraped up or folded.

I thought this was kind of a cool-looking insert, all die-cut and trophy-looking. I'm told that it's a 2011 Bowman Chrome Futures Refractor. It's got a bit of the Chrome-y curl to it, but that doesn't matter too much.

In addition to all the Singleton cards and tradebait, I also picked up this Members Only card of Christian Yelich from the 2014 Stadium Club set.

Just Commons is a nice cheap way to get cards for sets or player collections. My only real complaint is that sometimes cards show up a little more damaged than I'd like and often some of the cards I order are out of stock. This particular batch of cards was in pretty good shape (until my dog and kids caught up with them), but there was one card I ordered for a trade package that was out of stock. The refund for the card was issued quickly, but when ordering from Just Commons don't update your want list until the cards actually arrive.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mambas, Saints, and Fish: Another Munnatawket Mini Post

I completed the base set of the Munnatawket Allen & Ginter custom mini set, but that doesn't mean I am done collecting the cards. There is an insert set out there called What Could've Been Had They Gone Another Way, featuring famous athletes in uniforms they could have worn if they had chosen another sport/not been traded/not retired. I grabbed this Kobe Bryant mini off of eBay fairly recently. I actually really really don't like Kobe, but what are you going to do when you've got to complete the set? I had been tracking the Tom Brady card, but it sold before I hit the Buy It Now so I went with the Bryant. This one is serially-numbered # 21 / 25.

There were a couple of extra cards in the package when it arrived, including something I hadn't seen before. This set apparently includes Framed Mini Autographs! Through some sorcery roddster has repurposed frames and inserted his own customs into them. This first one features the signature of Father Christmas himself.

Also included was this Billy the Marlin autograph. His penmanship is surprisingly good for a critter with flippers. There were also a couple of the regular-style mini autographs included in the package.

 Here's what I have from the insert set so far, so I've only got two more cards to go.

Here are the backs of the cards, showing off the checklist and the serial number stickers. This is a really neat custom set and it's full of little surprises, just like the Allen & Ginter sets put out by Topps.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2014 Leaf Pop Century Perfectly Cast Carrie Fisher Autograph

This weekend the Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience will be going on in Utah, a few hours down the road from me. We thought about attending, but it's hard to justify the cost based on the guest list and the ridiculous prices they want for the opportunity to meet celebrities. There also isn't a lot of information about the Artist Alley or other vendors who will be attending. Okay, they must have posted information about the Artist Alley sometime this past week, because there's a list of artists on the convention page now. But a week out doesn't give me time to look at the list and decide if it's worth going. I need time to research artists, pre-commission sketches, and also to build up enough positive anticipation that it will overcome my dread of crowds and social interactions.

The main draws for the Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience would be Carrie Fisher and Felicia Day, but the prices for autographs and photo opportunities (no asking for an autograph during a photo op) are pretty high, and they come in addition to the cost of passes to get into the event itself. From what I hear you might have enough time to say, "Hi," while your item is signed/photo is taken before the handlers whisk you away. So you're basically dropping a few hundred dollars to stand in the general area of a celebrity. I couldn't bring myself to do it, especially with the artist list not being released in a timely manner.

After ruling out the Salt Lake event, we debated the merits of the Emerald City Comic Con, which is an event I think we've been to 3 times. It's hard for me to keep the years straight. Maybe we went in 2004, 2006, and 2012. That 2012 might have been 2013. I am pretty sure we went once before we got married, once before we had kids, and once after we'd had all three of our kids. Anyway, the Emerald City Comic Con starts working on the guest list for the next show as soon as the current show ends, so there is plenty of time to get ready. The 2015 guest list is pretty stacked, and as far as I can tell it is a more traditional comic book convention. We ultimately decided against going this year, but we will probably make a smaller-scale trip down to Utah or something this year instead and plan to go to the ECCC in another year or two.

With the Salt Lake event on my mind I took a look at what Carrie Fisher had available on eBay. I found this 2014 Leaf Pop Century Perfectly Cast autograph up for auction and I put in a bid to see what it might go for. Her Topps Star Wars autographs go for huge money all the time, so I didn't have extremely high hopes for this one, especially given that it is numbered # 18 / 25. But there wasn't a whole lot of bidding activity and I got it for about 25% of what I paid for my other Carrie Fisher autograph, and the price I paid for that card was one of the lowest I saw on Carrie Fisher's Topps autographs all year. Looking at some of the closed listings tells me that my ending price was right in the ballpark for this card, but after watching her Topps listings for the last year or so it seems like a shame that these go for so little.

This one is not from an officially-licensed Star Wars product and the ink runs off of the sticker quite a bit in places, but she is depicted on the card as her Star Wars character and the role is mentioned in the text on the back, so I don't really have a problem with the lack of licensing. I guess the design is a little hokey, too, but the illustration and autograph do a good job of pulling the eye away from the clip art in the background. All in all I am very happy with the card and I feel like I got a pretty nice deal on it.

Monday, January 26, 2015

At the Trade Deadline 29: Completing the Set Thanks to Nachos Grande

After collating the big box of cards I received from roddster I found that my Munnatawket Allen & Ginter custom set had two holes in it. I didn't want to bother him about it, but I thought maybe I could work out a trade with Nachos Grande to complete the base set. I inquired as to whether he had the two cards, and he responded that he did have spares of the cards I was looking for. I hadn't seen the checklist for the set, so he also let me know that the cards featured David Ortiz and Evan Longoria. I was able to pick up a couple of things from his want list to send back, and soon I got an envelope in the mail containing Ortiz and Longoria, allowing me to fill their slots in the binder pages.

He also included a bonus autograph card from the set and a nice Upper Deck card of Homer Bailey showing off his grip. I thought for sure that I had that autograph card from one of his group breaks in the past, but I couldn't find one in my usual hiding spots and this one found a place in the 'inserts and variations' section of the binder pages.

Thanks for helping me to finish off the set!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Box of Munnatawket Mini Awesomeness

Around the time I got that Christmas card from the creator of the fabled Munnatawket mini card set, I won a couple of his auctions for cards in the set, Freddie Freeman and Torii Hunter. There was an e-mail exchange in which I apologized for being a cheapass and winning his cards with lowball bids while some of the other cards sold for a bit more and also telling him that I planned to buy more cards from him soon, so he could save on shipping and just hold Hunter and Freeman until that happened, and he asked me if I was serious about putting together the whole thing. I said something along the lines of, "Heck yeah!" and he told me that the package with the two cards in it might be a little bigger than expected. There was more to it, but those were the highlights.

It was definitely a little bit bigger than a two-card envelope. It was a whole box of these things, featuring various quantities of most of the cards in the set. I sorted them out by number and put them all into pages row by row, gaining an immense feeling of satisfaction as the little pockets filled up. The photo above shows the current state of the box, so you can see that there were plenty left over after I took the ones I needed.

He encouraged me to share them with other people, so I have been including a few in each trade package I send out, trying to match subjects in the set to the interests of other collectors. There are some good baseball photos in the set, but some of my favorites include the oddballs like Dirk Nowitzki dressed in a Rangers uniform and holding a basketball.

In true Ginter fashion, the checklist includes figures from outside the world of sports, like Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling. I guess you could call her the founder of a sport, as there is an official U.S. Quidditch league with their own logo, World Cup tournament, and even a concussion policy. It looks like the Lone Star Quidditch Club currently is ranked #1, but their perfect record is held down by a weak Strength of Schedule. It could be argued that #5 Maryland Quidditch and #6 Ohio State Quidditch have the more impressive resumes. My preferred school's team, The Moscow Manticores at the University of Idaho, aren't ranked dead last, but they have a 1-2 record and they are rated last in Strength of Schedule. Interesting stuff.

I don't have a lot to say about this row of cards, but it was on one of the pages I scanned and I had to include it. Also, it's not very often that Justin Verlander gets outdone in a baseball card set, but in this case...

...his girlfriend Kate Upton outdoes him by about 6500%, with the highly sought-after #0 card in the set. I did not receive any duplicates of that one, so you'll have to track it down using your own wiles. I sent a copy of the Spider-Man card to the UK recently as a throw-in with a comic book sketch card I sold to someone there.

This row is full of big names, and also Wil Myers. The rest of these guys should be pretty familiar to baseball fans. It's a little jarring to see Morneau in a Pirates uniform, as he only spent 25 games with that organization. 

I'll close this up with Michael Morse, the current last card in the base set, one of the autographs, and a couple of the photo variations from the set. Actually, I am not sure which versions of Giancarlo Stanton and Manny Machado are the regular cards and which are the variations, but there are (at least) two different cards for them. Cespedes has an Athletics card and a Red Sox card, so the order those go in is more obvious. I have since discovered that there are even more interesting things in this set, but they were part of different transactions and they will get their own posts.

This was among the coolest packages I got last year, and I will be trying to pay this one forward for a long time. So if you get a package from me this year and you're like, "What? I don't remember setting up a trade with this guy," you can thank folks like roddster, Too Many Verlanders/Manninghams, Zippy Zappy, The Prowling Cat, Cards on Cards and Nachos Grande for being so generous and inspiring me to try to do the same. Sometimes I fail, but I have found myself picking things up with other collectors in mind a bit more often lately and looking for one more thing to add to an outbound package.

Thanks for the cards!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Jon Singleton Gold Diffractor

I don't have time for a giant post, so this is going to be a relatively quick one-card post. I have been working on gathering Jon Singleton variants from the 2014 Topps High Tek release, and this is one of them. Sources tell me that this is the Gold Diffractor, distinguished by the gold color of the background pattern and serially numbered # 02 / 99. I wish I had a little more to say about it, but I am pretty well burnt out on this week already, and I've still got the bulk of my schoolwork to finish by Saturday night.