Thursday, August 21, 2014

Seeking Redemption 8: 2014 Topps Power Players Gold Parallel Prizes

With the Power Players code set complete I figured I wasn't going to be entering any more codes on the Power Players website, so I went ahead and ordered the three random Gold parallels I won while entering codes in on the website. Topps uses FedEx's slowest service for redemption fulfillment and prizes, so about two weeks after I made the order they shipped it, and about two weeks after that I got the package in my mailbox.

The Gold parallel cards have a shiny rainbow finish that looks about the same as the Gold parallels in this year's Archives set. They are numbered out of # / 75, which is pretty decent for a 'free' (postage was a couple of dollars) prize. My first card was a C.J. Wilson, numbered # 02 / 75. It's decent enough I suppose. Not a PC guy or a team I really follow, and he's got a case of UPF (Ugly Pitching Face) going on.

Jon Lester's UPF is a little more understated, with just a bit of lip-chewing going on. He is numbered # 39 / 75. Again, he is not really a guy I collect, although he is now a member of the A's, which are a team I follow a little bit. I own him in one fantasy baseball league, a card blogging league I joined this year. He has put up a pretty good stat line for them so far.

Finally, I got a Michael Brantley card, numbered # 33 / 75. I haven't heard many people talking about fielders making faces on baseball cards, but Brantley is certainly focused on catching that ball. I nominate this card as a case of UFF (Ugly Fielding Face). He's another guy on that same fantasy baseball roster, where he has been tearing it up. Through this point in the season he is the 3rd-ranked outfielder in the game, and the 7th-ranked player overall. This is mostly due to his dual-threat nature (18 HR, 15 SB), good counting stats (78 R, 80 RBI) and a .316 batting average.

I logged in to my account on the Power Players site and saw that they had awarded me another Gold parallel for some reason, so I will have to order that at some point. Maybe I will wait until later in the season to make sure I don't get dinged for shipping again on some other prize.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

At the Trade Deadline 25: Cards from Nachos Grande

After failing to win several auctions for various custom Allen & Ginter minis on eBay, I reached out to Chris from the Nachos Grande blog to see if he had any copies available for trade. I offered some of my spare 2014 Allen & Ginter cards in exchange, as he is trying to put the set together. He sent one of my coveted cards, Spider-Man, as well as a few other baseball-types. He also included a card from my 2012 Topps Archives want list, a Willie Stargell cloth sticker. I need those cloth stickers in order to have a complete Archives set, but I can't stand to actually touch them. I have a weird thing about textures, and those cards set it off something fierce. I can't reach into a bag of cotton balls, and I can't handle 2012 Archives Cloth Stickers. I was well into adulthood before I could wear fleece jackets or cover up with a fleece blanket. Anyway, enough about my hangups.

Spider-Man was up near the top of my wish list. I got a laptop recently and hadn't set up my scanner software properly, so some of my recent posts feature subpar images due to the low-quality default settings on the scanner. At least that's my excuse. Wil Myers looks a little sleepy in his card. Tulowitzki is rocking a pretty sweet mullet on his emotion-packed card, and Cliff Lee looks a little derpy (Ugly Pitching Face strikes again!) and actually reminds me a bit of one of my former Company Commanders. Manny Machado gets a pretty good photo, although it feels like that pose has already been overused on his cards. I was trying to figure out where I'd seen it recently and then I looked at the pile of cards next to my keyboard and saw his 2014 Archives card sitting there, with Machado wearing an orange jersey but striking the same pose.

This was a nice pile of cards to get in the mail. There are relatively few sources for those custom A & G cards, so it is good to lay hands on them any way I can get them. Thanks, Chris!

Monday, August 18, 2014

What eBay Hath Wrought 103a: A Rip Card Deconstructed

P-town Tom mentioned in a comment on my previous post that he hadn't seen a Rip Card post-rip, and I got to thinking that all I was showing in that post was the really sanitized, watered-down version of the Rip Card. So I pulled it out of the top loader and opened it back up to show what it really looks like. On the left there you can see the two pieces of paper that are used to block people from cheating and looking at what's inside using a light. The other sides of those papers (the sides that touch the mini card) are glossy and white. On a side note, I saw an auction today for a Rip Card that had a picture of the card with a magnet sticking to it, showing that the mini inside was a 1 / 1 Metal Mini Parallel. The Buy It Now price seemed relatively low on the card, but chances are the mini inside is that Texting Champion guy or something, and not even worth the price tag. Then again, it could be some Hall of Famer and be worth many times the seller's asking price. Who knows?

Anyway, after that little tangent, back to the Rip Card autopsy. You can see the pull strip arching off toward the bottom of the photo, and the flap I cut to the right side. I did a little cutting on the left side, but just enough that I could maneuver the mini card out. And that's really all there is to it. To put it back together I just put the two bits of paper back inside, fold the flap back down, hold the pull strip in place, and slide the assembly into a card sleeve and a top loader to keep everything in place.

What eBay Hath Wrought 103: The Rip Card Replacement

One of my goals for the proceeds from the Derek Jeter Rip Card I pulled and sold on eBay was to get a lower-priced Rip Card that I would feel okay tearing open. I didn't necessarily care who the player featured on the card was, so I searched eBay for 2014 Unripped Rip Card and sorted the listings by the auction ending times. Then I put in the same maximum bid (adjusted for shipping costs) for each listing until I was either outbid or won the auction. I was kind of hoping to get a Jose Altuve, but the one that fell to me was a Craig Kimbrel card numbered # 11 / 50. Then I had to wait basically forever for the card to arrive in the mail. I scanned the front and the back of the card pre-rip, and then I tore into it.

Inside the card, sandwiched between two pieces of black plastic film (to prevent unscrupulous individuals from holding the card up to the light and seeing what was inside without ripping it) was an extended-set mini card of Mets pitcher Matt Harvey. Not the most exciting thing to pull from a Rip Card, but that's okay. It was still pretty exciting to spend a week anticipating what I might find inside. I'll probably turn around and sell the ripped Kimbrel card and the Harvey mini on eBay again and see if I can get enough out of them to try another rip.

 And here are some scans of the Kimbrel card post-rip. The front was pretty much untouched, but the back got pretty torn up by the process. After pulling the tear strip down the center and seeing where the mini card was positioned, I used an X-Acto blade to open up the side flaps and access the card without completely destroying things. I saw a guy open a Rip Card during an online break, and he absolutely tore the thing apart. They still retain a little residual value if you keep them as intact as possible, so I wanted to avoid that with my own rip.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What eBay Hath Wrought 102: 2014 Press Pass Redline Head to Head Danica Patrick / Kasey Kahne

I got this card with some of the money I got by selling the Derek Jeter Rip Card from 2014 Allen & Ginter that I pulled a couple of weeks ago. It's a Head to Head insert from 2014 Press Pass Redline Racing, and features hat swatches from Danica Patrick and Kasey Kahne. This particular concept has been around for quite a while, as evidenced by my Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Danica Patrick Head to Head card from 2010. The two sets even use a similar font for the insert name. I would have liked to get some different-colored swatches on the hat pieces, but the price was right on the double black swatches. This Red variation card is numbered # 02 / 75. This is the most common variation of this card. There are Gold, Blue, and Melting (probably holofoil?) parallels with print runs of 25, 10, and 1. I won't be chasing the rainbow on this one. I have accepted that I will never be able to collect all the different cards out there for my favorite players, so I try to focus on getting a representative sample of the cards available.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

N20 Allen & Ginter Prize & Game Chickens 9: Silver-Spangled Hamburgh

This is the last of the lot of N20 Allen & GInter Prize & Game Chickens cards I picked up from a seller on a vintage non-sports card forum. I haven't added any more cards to my set since then as I have been caught up in other things, like Gint-a-Cuffs. This card features the Silver-Spangled Hamburgh, which is apparently just one of a great many color variations of the Hamburgh. The various internet references tell me that they are a smaller bird that doesn't tolerate confinement well and has a tendency to fly over fences. They do lay a lot of eggs, which are rather on the small side and white in color. This particular card is PSA-graded at 4.5 and is my 9th card from the 50-card set, which was released in cigarette packs in the late 1880s-early 1890s. I have seen a variety of dates listed for the set, but they range from about 1888 to about 1892. Either way, these cards are quite old and have really held onto their color quite well.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Breaking it Down 13: I won! Now what?

The online breaker whose breaks I watch the most, Bomber Breaks, attended The National card show and hosted a few breaks while they were there. I bought into one of their breaks for Topps Five Star Football, hoping that I might get lucky and pull something good. I should probably have done a little more research into the product, because it turns out that a case of Five Star only has fifteen cards in it, meaning that at most half of the slots will come away with anything from the case, and even fewer if any team gets more than one card. Going into it, I thought a case probably had five boxes and 25 total hits. Why did I think that? Who knows?

My random team was the 49ers, and in a break dominated by Steelers, Vikings, and Packers cards I came away without any cards from the case and a general feeling that football breaks aren't worth the trouble of participation. I guess that is really true for most hit-driven breaks, no matter the sport. The business model seems to be that these big-dollar products are clogged up with hits of a whole pile of guys no one really cares about in order to offer a certain number of 'hits' per box. The stuff people really want is seeded so rarely that usually only one or two slots out of the 30 teams come away ahead of the game money-wise.

Luckily for me, this particular break came along with some other giveaways due to the fact that they were breaking on the main stage at the show. In this particular break the big giveaway was a Jadeveon Clowney autographed jersey, and the randomizer fell on the 49ers slot as the winner, so I came away with a pretty good prize. The jersey seems to be a generic knockoff rather than anything licensed by the NFL, but the autograph is PSA/DNA certified and has the little sticker and everything. Similar stuff seems to be selling on eBay in the $60-$70 range, so I will hopefully be able to get back about double what I paid to get into the break. I don't have any interest in Clowney or the Texans, so there is no real incentive for me to hold onto the jersey.