17 February 2018

Danica Patrick's Last Ride

Danica Patrick is getting ready to race her final stock car race, the Daytona 500. She is slated to start in 28th place when the race kicks off. The #10 car was taken over by Aric Almirola after she retired last year, so she is back in a familiar number with a familiar sponsor for her final race. She'll be driving the #7 car with GoDaddy as her primary sponsor. I wonder if she will race hard and try for a good finish, or if she'll race conservatively and try to run the entirety of her last hurrah? I also wonder if there will be any on-track drama between her and former boyfriend, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.?

This is a pretty bland-looking card, but it pictures Patrick in her familiar green GoDaddy suit. The card come from 2012 Press Pass Total Memorabilia, and features three different relic swatches, a bit of tire, a piece of firesuit, and a chunk of sheet metal. It is numbered # 68 / 99. The black color of the tire is pretty much expected, but it would be hard to find two swatches of the other materials that blend into the card design so well. It's too bad they couldn't find a piece of green fabric and maybe some sheet metal that wasn't the same silver as the card's background.

13 February 2018

Contested Shots 31: A Twitter Prize from Topps

At the beginning of January I won a contest that Topps was running on Twitter. The prize was a box of 2017 Topps Inception Baseball cards. I sent Topps my mailing info, and nothing happened. Last week I sent them a message, asking about the status of the prize. They told me that it was sent out a while ago, but that they would check on it. Then they told me that they don't know what happened, but they will send another one out. Translating that from customer service-speak: "Oh shit, we forgot all about that contest!" A little bit later I got a shipping notification from FedEx and today I got the package.

Here's the front of the box. It promises 7 cards inside. The side of the box tells me that there is one autograph included among the 7 cards, and that some autographs may be redemption cards.

Here are the odds from the back of the box. There are plenty of parallels and autograph subsets available.

A single thick foil pack was nestled inside the box.

Here are the base cards and parallels. The Kyle Seager and A.J. Reed cards are Green parallels, which seem to be the most basic parallel. They are not numbered. The base cards look nice enough, and they are plenty thick.

The autograph is an Orange parallel of Matt Strahm, a former Royal who was traded to the Padres. It is numbered # 08 / 50. He's had a couple of major injuries in his career, and doesn't seem to be on the radar as a big up-and-comer.

I hate to be too critical of a free box of cards, but I am so glad I didn't spend the current $95 - $100 asking price on this box. It was fun to win a prize, but in this case the anticipation was much more exciting than the actual break. Thanks to Topps for holding the contest and providing the prize!

12 February 2018

Two Wrestling Box Breaks from Puro Central Shop

I opened these boxes of cards a long time ago, so long ago that the shop I bought them from, Puro Central Shop, has closed down. The guy who ran it still has a smaller shop on another site, though. You can find his inventory at the Joshi City store. It looks like this was a break of one box of 2016 BBM True Heart Japanese Women's Wrestling cards and one box of 2017 BBM True Heart Japanese Women's Wrestling cards.

These are just the hits from the box of 2016 cards. If you want to see more from this set, you can look at all of my posts about it by clicking here. In the upper left is an autograph from KAZUKI. KAZUKI wrestles for Pure-J, which was formerly known as JWP. In the upper right is an autograph of Hikaru Shida ( 志田 光 ), who I believe currently splits her time between wrestling and some form of theater which includes singing, acting, and wrestling.

In the lower left is the signature of Maya Yukihi ( 雪妃真矢 ), who wrestles mostly for Ice Ribbon. She also recently re-Tweeted a post from BBM previewing some of her kiss cards from the 2018 BBM True Heart set. It's only about two more weeks until that set releases. I have three boxes on order, but they'll take a while to get here from Japan. Here's the picture from the Tweet:

The autograph card in the lower right is Ryo Mizunami ( 水波 綾 ), who wrestles for Pro Wrestling WAVE, but also makes appearances with other promotions.

The last autograph in the box was a cheki photograph card of Yuki Miyazaki, who retired in 2010, but came back in 2014 and has been wrestling pretty regularly ever since. She is listed as a freelancer, but the vast majority of her matches are in the Pro Wrestling WAVE promotion. This photo is numbered # 2 /7. In most years the photos are the most limited cards in the set, but in 2016 there were special ink variations of the base autographs, numbered out of # / 5.

There were six autographs in the 2017 box. For more pictures and words about this set, you can click here to see more of my posts with 2017 cards in them. The first card in the upper left of the scan features Dump Matsumoto ( ダンプ松本 ), one of the bigger names in Japanese women's wrestling. She would be considered a Legend in a WWE set. I think she is semi-retired, but still makes plenty of appearances at various events. In the upper right is Tsukushi ( つくし ), who is 20 years old but has been wrestling since she was 12. She most recently made the news for getting arrested after an altercation with another wrestler.

The next row starts with Misaki Ohata ( 大畠美咲 ) on the left. She is a fairly popular wrestler with a lot of matches under her belt. On the right is Police Woman ( ポリスウ~メン ), an alter ego of Yuki Miyazaki, who appeared in the 2016 cards posted above.

On the left of the third row is Yuina ( 結奈 ), a wrestler for REINA who is either retired or recovering from injury. I'm not sure exactly which. Next to her autograph is the signature of Konami ( 小波 ), a freelance wrestler who is mostly affiliated with Stardom these days. Stardom has their own card set that is pretty difficult to get, so it is nice whenever a Stardom wrestler's autograph can be found in True Heart.

That does it for these boxes. There were some pretty good cards in this batch. These posts are pretty time-consuming to research and write, but the research is fun and the autographs are a lot more inventive than the ones we generally get on our baseball cards.

10 February 2018

Neil Magny from Topps Vault

I've been in a bit of a funk the last couple of days. I don't really feel like writing about the older stuff in my draft queue, and I don't really feel like blogging about new stuff that's come in more recently. I think it probably has more to do with me than it does the material I have on tap.

Here's an eBay pickup from a while back. I think I got it directly from the Topps Vault page, as they ran a discount on a bunch of stuff. This is the blank-back 1 / 1 of Neil Magny's 2017 Topps UFC Knockout card. I know the blank-backs are kind of a gimmicky thing, but I can't help picking one up every now and then.

08 February 2018

Fred Hembeck Vampirella

My posts about Fred Hembeck sketches seem to be pretty popular, so here's another one. He sells his artwork on eBay, and the sketches cover a huge range of pop culture characters. I was able to get this Vampirella sketch card from his eBay store for a little over the starting bid.

It's done in his signature swirly-kneed Hembeck style, and he's got all of the elements that make up Vampirella's iconic look. I think my favorite parts of this sketch are the prominent fangs and Vampirella's huge collar.

06 February 2018

It Was Time to Pay (for) the Piper

I'm not much of a Dr. Who fan, to be honest. I have a hard time sitting down to watch movies or television shows. I named my kids after comic book characters, and I haven't even watched all of the Marvel films, let alone the DC ones and all the affiliated television shows for each universe. I was on the market for a Billie Piper autograph, though. I've seen a few episodes of Dr. Who with her in them, but I honestly blame The Rubberbandits, an irreverent comedy and music group out of Ireland, for my Billie Piper fandom. In their song "Horse Outside," they sing that the horse in question "looks like Billie Piper after half an ounce of coke." I guess that's not exactly complimentary, but I have a slight fixation on the song, and by extension a fandom of Billie Piper. She does have a rather large mouth, but I would hardly call her horse-like. Maybe those Rubberbandits lads have tied their grocery bags a little tight?

Anyway, after a long time I have finally snagged a Billie Piper autograph. This one comes from 2017 Topps Dr. Who Signature Series. This is the Yellow parallel, numbered # 18 / 25. This was a fun card to track down, and I am pretty excited about adding it to my collection.

Right now she's apparently got a charity fundraiser going, where purchasing tickets gets you a chance to win a trip to Broadway to see her show, "Yerma," and meet the cast. Pretty cool stuff, and nice that she's donating the proceeds to a good cause.

05 February 2018

Pack of the Day 184: 2018 Topps Silver Packs

Topps often offers some kind of bonus to collectors who purchase boxes or packs at participating hobby shops, usually in the form of a certain number of packs for purchases of a given size. For 2018 Topps Series 1, these bonus packs contain Chromed-out cards in the 1983 Topps design. There are randomly-packed parallels and autographs in these packs, too. I think the offer was that you could get one pack for the purchase of a Hobby box and three packs for the purchase of a Jumbo box.

I didn't buy a Hobby box or a Jumbo box, as for the last couple of years I've just been buying a factory set each year. I picked up three packs on eBay. Topps did away with my favorite flagship insert set, First Pitch, so I really have no incentive to buy packs or boxes of Series 1. Each of these bonus packs has 4 cards inside.

This first pack has some of the biggest names in the hobby from the last couple of years, outfielder Aaron Judge and third baseman Kris Bryant. That's a pretty good start.

This pack also has a famous outfielder and a famous third baseman, although Hank Aaron and Wade Boggs probably aren't nearly as popular currently as Bryant and Judge, at least not on pieces of cardboard. Judge and Bryant only need 34 All-Star appearances and 206.3 WAR between them to catch up to Aaron and Boggs in those numbers.

I pulled Mike Trout in this group of packs, too, which is pretty good. I also was happy to see that my only parallel was an Astro, second baseman Jose Altuve. It's a shiny green parallel of some sort.

The Altuve card is numbered # 79 / 99. Every card in the packs had the same paragraph on the back, talking about the 1983 Topps set.

I was hoping that I'd pull an autograph from these packs, but I was pretty happy with the player selection in these three packs. It was also nice to get an Altuve parallel.