Monday, July 28, 2014

N20 Allen & Ginter Prize & Game Chickens 8: Wyandotte Cock (Silver Laced) with a Guest Appearance by Mike the Headless Chicken

I am just about through all of the 1891 Allen & Ginter N20 Prize & Game Chickens cards that I've collected so far. Today I am showing off the Wyandotte Cock (Silver Laced). These chickens are white with black edging around their feathers, although the Silver-Laced are just one of many different color variations that the Wyandotte can be found in. I'd say the illustration is a fairly accurate representation based on the photographs I found.

Linked from

The most famous Wyandotte was Mike the Headless Chicken, who lived on for 18 months after being beheaded by his owner in 1945. The ax missed Mike's major veins, as well as part of the rooster's brain stem and ear. Enough of the brain stem was left intact that Mike's basic bodily functions were able to continue. The farmer was able to feed him milk and water through an eyedropper and also small grains of corn, presumably by shoving them down his neck. He was apparently quite a moneymaker, but eventually choked to death in a motel room, kind of a fitting end for a wild-living rock star celebrity. He looked about like you would expect a headless chicken to look...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

What eBay Hath Wrought 97: Danica Patrick Metal of Honor

I picked this card up after it showed up on my eBay saved searches list with a fairly reasonable opening bid. It's a 2011 Press Pass Stealth Metal of Honor card featuring Danica Patrick. It contains a little swatch of race-used sheet metal and is numbered # 35 / 50.

Based on about 5 minutes of research, it looks like the Stealth brand ran from 2004 to 2011, and carried a patriotic military theme in the design and name of the subsets and inserts. That theme came back in 2014 in the form of the American Thunder product. That can lead to some pretty cool cards and some that are a little bit silly. Last year I opened a box of the 2011 set and found that while Press Pass featured real Air Force ribbons on the front of the Joey Logano memorabilia card I pulled, the ribbons were out of order when compared with how they would actually be worn. It's kind of like watching an action or war movie and getting hung up on the specifics of uniforms and weapon functions that they get wrong.

The Medal of Honor is such a huge deal in the military, with many of them awarded posthumously, that I feel a little weird about calling an insert card set featuring NASCAR drivers something very similar. Especially since it appears that the back of the card might feature a civilian awarding a medal to a soldier, something that again would be pretty rare unless it were the President of the United States awarding a Medal of Honor to a service-member.

In the end I think you have to realize that civilians are trying to honor the military, and the little details they miss out on or get wrong are not an attempt to dishonor veterans. This is a pretty cool card with a limited print run that features a nice memorabilia swatch presented in a creative way, photos of both car and driver, and a few little patriotic touches that are pretty cool.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

What eBay Hath Wrought 96: Dickey Tier One Autograph

I snagged this nice-looking, low-numbered silver ink signature of R.A. Dickey from eBay for a pretty low price compared to what I figured it would go for. I like to put in low-ball bids on stuff like this from my favorite players, as every month or two something slips through the cracks and falls to me. Looking at the Sold listings on eBay, I got this one at the low end of the range for his 2014 Tier One autographs. Dickey's 2013 wasn't that great, especially coming off of the year he had in 2012, and so far his 2014 has been about the same, so prices on his cards seem a little soft. That's good for me, as it means I can get decent deals like this. This card is numbered # 05 / 10, and I think it looks pretty good with the black background, color accents, and silver signature. Dickey made sure to fill the whole signature panel with his name, so it isn't one of those tiny little signatures placed awkwardly in the corner of the box.

The back of the card acknowledges Dickey's struggles in 2013, but also makes note of a few of his highlights from the year. I think the team logo may have made more sense if placed up in the corner next to the player name and position or something, but who looks at the back of these hit cards anyway, right? I'm surprised that Topps took the time to even put a snippet back here. I'm happy they did, though.

The card arrived in a nice one-touch magnetic holder, which made me feel a little bit bad for the seller. I would imagine that if they have spent any time at all collecting cards they probably shouldn't have expected this card to go for over $20, but those magnetic cases cost a couple of bucks and once you account for shipping, a nice magnetic case, eBay and Paypal fees, and whatever they paid for the card there wasn't a whole lot left over from my bidding price. I like to think that it all evens out eventually. I know I've overpaid for my share of stuff on eBay at times, and I've lost money on things I've sold plenty, too, so the bargains that slip through are just the universe's way of maintaining balance.

Friday, July 25, 2014

What eBay Hath Wrought 95: A Warning Against Drowsy Bidding

There are usually a couple of pop culture or non-baseball sports figures in each year's Allen & Ginter set whose autographs and relics wind up on my must-have list. My 2014 list is made up of WWF wrestler The Iron Sheik and internet web series star/geek icon Felicia Day.

I won this Felicia Day relic card from 2014 Allen & Ginter after bidding on it accidentally while going through my saved searches on eBay before bed. I was convinced that I had bid on an autograph and not a relic card, so imagine my surprise when I got notification that I had won this card! Thankfully bidding on this card was my only eBay activity on the evening, so there aren't any Hangover-style surprises showing up on my doorstep courtesy of a wild night on the eBay app.

On the bad side, I slightly overpaid for this card. I also was hoping to snag one of the multi-colored relics that are out there and instead got this plain gray one.

On the good side, at least I didn't wind up paying autograph prices for a relic card. This card's starting bid was probably high enough that most people passed on it anyway, and I didn't get bid up at all. I also knocked a card off of my want list, even though it was an error. Since this experience I have been careful to avoid the eBay app once I get past a certain threshold of drowsiness.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

N20 Allen & Ginter Prize & Game Chickens 7: White-Faced Black Spanish Hen

I've gone a few days without a livestock-themed post, so here is an old Allen & Ginter card from the N20 Prize & Game Chickens set. I don't know a lot about these chickens. The White-faced Black Spanish breed originated in Spain (surprise!) and the white face of the chicken apparently comes from selectively breeding chickens for larger earlobes, until the earlobes took over the whole face. I guess we do some odd things in the name of beauty.

There are 7 copies of this card in the PSA registry, ranging from 1.5 to 6.0. There are 4 cards graded higher than my copy and 2 cards graded lower, so my card falls on the lower end of the graded population. I am not too worried, though, as the 4.0 cards I have are all quite presentable and retain the artwork and color.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What eBay Hath Wrought 94: R.A. Dickey Prizm Blue Jackie Robinson Parallel

I wasn't necessarily seeking this card out, but it sort of fell to me as a cheap low-numbered auction bid. I still have a hard time with the fact that Panini doesn't have a license to use the MLB logos and team names on their cards, so players wind up looking like they're playing in prison uniforms or something. I guess that restriction doesn't apply to the logos that appear on player gear, as you can see logos on R.A. Dickey's glove, especially in the zoomed-in photo on the back of the card.

The lack of logos cause me to like this card a lot less than similar cards for leagues which Panini carries licenses for, like the Hakeem Olajuwon Crusade cards from a couple of posts ago. Even then, it is kind of weird for me to have Panini as the only source of NBA-licensed cards.

When I was buying cards in the late 90's, the big players were companies like Upper Deck, Topps, Fleer, and their sub-brands. To come back in 2013 and find the landscape changed so much was a pretty big shock to the system. I wanted to buy basketball cards, but all I could find were cards made by some sticker company. I am a little more used to it, but I do wish there was a little more competition in the market. Panini has like 47 brands of basketball card out there each year and even though they are different, I think it would feel different if half of those brands were being produced by someone else.

The same thing goes for Topps and baseball. If one or more other companies got a license to make cards with logos, even if the market still had 47 brands it would feel like there was more choice out there, and perception probably has more to do with selling a product to customers than reality.

This blue parallel is intended to honor Jackie Robinson by utilizing his jersey number and limiting the print run of the cards to just 42 copies. I guess it works okay as a tribute, but I would think an insert set of four or five cards detailing the barriers that he broke and the hardships he endured would do more to honor him and act as less of a gimmick. But I went out and bought this card, didn't I? So I guess the gimmick was somewhat effective in separating me from my dollars, which is what Panini probably really cares about.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

At the Trade Deadline 24: Trade Package from The Lost Collector

A while ago The Lost Collector left a comment on my blog to inquire about trading for a Bowman die-cut I had pulled. I sent it to him along with a couple of other things I hoped he would like. Then he e-mailed me and asked me for my address. You would think it wouldn't take much to send a quick reply to someone with an address, but it sat on my to-do list for a long time. In fact, it took me so long that he must have sourced my address from somewhere else, because a package arrived in my mailbox without me ever getting back to him. Sorry about that. I am horrible about my e-mail, especially when I am in the throes of trying not to fail one of my classes. I don't even know what I will do with my life if I am fortunate enough to complete all of my courses and get my degree. Where will the perpetual sense of impending doom that drives my life come from? I'll probably have to take up a risky hobby or borrow some money from a gangster or something.

Anyway, there was a lot of good stuff in this trade package. I'll kick it right off with a hobby heavy hitter in the form of Ken Griffey Jr. There are a couple of good inserts from this year's Topps set, a Spring Fever card which I believe is from 2013, and a Topps Gallery card from several years ago. The Spring Fever card is probably my favorite out of the four, but that 50 Years of the Draft card is pretty good, too.

Also included were nine loose Houston Rockets basketball cards from various sets in the 90's. These are all guys who I was very familiar with during Phase I of my card collecting life, as for me it was nearly all Rockets all the time. I need to go through my Rockets team box at some point and see what all I still have.

Up next are a couple of star pitchers in the form of Felix Hernandez and Nolan Ryan. The Nolan Ryan card appears to be an oddball issue involving Coca-Cola, which is pretty cool. My Nolan Ryan collection is not that expansive, so these cards are definitely new additions to my card boxes.

The Lost Collector also added to my Manute Bol collection, my Jose Bautista PC, and sent a Sport-Flix card featuring an old-school Denver Broncos uniform on it. I still like the Broncos, but those old uniforms were light years better than the current ones. Also, SPORT-FLIX!

Finally, there was this bagged group of Rockets cards from '93-'94 Upper Deck. I don't know much about how Upper Deck packaged their cards back then, so I am not sure if this is a standard team set or if it was a special distribution or oddball issue of some kind.

That was quite a group of cards, probably more than I deserved for ignoring e-mails and sending just a couple of cards the other way. Thanks for the trade!