14 December 2017

Cyber Week Breaks: Day 7 - Seeing Green

Today's break is kind of boring, at least for me. Maybe I should have scanned a recent mail day or something to go along with it. It's too late for that now, as I am tired and don't feel like doing anything extra now. I opened a box of 2016 Topps High Impact and 2 packs of 2015 Topps UFC Chronicles.

The Femme Fighters insert from High Impact was Liz Carmouche, whose card I already had. I collect her cards, so I guess I now have one for the PC and one for the set. The autograph is Al Iaquinta. I don't know much about Iaquinta. He's only had one fight since I started watching UFC events, and I don't remember if I watched it or not. A bunch of Green parallels came out of the Chronicles packs. They are numbered # / 288. Royce Gracie is a legend in MMA, but his heyday was well before I started watching. I saw his Bellator 'fight' with Ken Shamrock last year that was pretty sad. Julianna Pena is another fighter I collect, and I probably have a few copies of her Green parallel now.

Jessica Penne and Khabib Nurmagomedov are the other two Green parallels I pulled. I also pulled another of the hits from the Chronicles box, a base relic of Michael Bisping.

That's about all for today. Tomorrow's break is a box of 2017 Topps High Tek Baseball, so that should be a pretty exciting post.

13 December 2017

Cyber Week Breaks: Day 6 - Some Racing Parallels and More UFC Chrome

Today I opened a couple packs of 2016 Panini Certified Racing and 8 more packs of 2017 Topps UFC Chrome.

Among the racing cards I found a Dale Earnhardt Jr. base card, a Mirror Red parallel of Junior Johnson's Gold Team insert card, and a Mirror Blue parallel of Rico Abreu's base card. The Johnson card is numbered # 09 / 75 and the Abreu card is numbered # 27 / 50.

The 8 packs of Topps Chrome yielded a couple of inserts, a Topps Fire card of Georges St-Pierre and a Tier One insert of Paige VanZant. There were also two parallels of note in the packs, a one-per-box X-Fractor of Nick Diaz and a Gold Refractor of Daniel Cormier. The X-Fractors aren't numbered, but they are seeded at the same rate as the # / 75 Blue Wave Refractors. The Cormier Gold Refractor is numbered # 29 / 50. I also got a couple of regular Refractors, which fall at a rate of 8 per box.

Tomorrow there will be more UFC, followed on Day 8 by a box of 2017 Topps High Tek Baseball. Right now I am locked in an eBay dispute that isn't going to be resolved through communication with the seller, but I have to wait until the 16th to escalate the case for further resolution. I don't want the seller to take a loss, but I am not willing to take a loss either, especially when they charged $10 for shipping and used inadequate packaging methods. You can have hundreds or thousands of eBay transactions go right, but the ones you remember are the ones that go wrong.

12 December 2017

Cyber Week Breaks: Day 5 - Uncle Creepy Makes an Appearance

I know that my UFC posts don't always get a lot of site visits, but I got a lot of UFC cards in my Cyber Week orders and there are going to be a fair number of posts with just fighting cards in them. These days the only sporting events I set time aside to watch are fights and baseball, so that's where my head is at when it comes to collecting. I'll try to mix in some other stuff from mail days when a break is slow. Today's breaks are 8 packs of 2017 Topps UFC Chrome and a box of 2016 Topps UFC High Impact.

The first 8 packs from the 2nd box of 2017 Topps UFC Chrome held quite a bit of good stuff. That Jose Aldo Museum Collection insert is the Refractor version, numbered # 94 / 99. The Green Refractor of Mickey Gall is numbered # 48 / 99. I almost flipped right past the Tyron Woodley card, but something about it looked a little different. You can see Refractors in this product from the side of a card stack, because they have white edges while the base cards have colored edges.

Those thick white lines are all Refractors. The Tyron Woodley card is a Black Refractor, numbered # 08 / 10. Black refractors fall only once per 7.5 boxes, so that's a pretty good pull. It will probably be the lowest-numbered Refractor I pull from this break. I also got another Demetrious Johnson autograph. This one is just a base autograph, though, unlike the insert autograph I pulled the other day.

The High Impact box had an autograph of Ian McCall and a Femme Fighters insert of Joanne Calderwood. You might notice that Ian McCall's signature doesn't say his name. His nickname is 'Uncle Creepy,' and it sure looks like that's the name he signed on his sticker. He hasn't fought since 2015, although he's been scheduled for several fights over the last couple of years. One fighter has always pulled out of all his scheduled bouts. He's now signed to the Rizin promotion out of Japan.

I needed the Femme Fighters insert of Calderwood for my set, too, so that's another one off the need list. I'm down to needing just two cards for that set. Hopefully the cards I need are somewhere in the stack of unopened High Impact boxes sitting on my desk.

11 December 2017

Cyber Week Breaks: Day 4 - Star Wars, UFC Chronicles, and Retail Baseball

Today's scheduled breaks from the big order didn't generate a whole lot of excitement for me, so I'm including scans of some retail baseball I busted last week to make things a little more interesting.

First up is the highlights from 8 packs of Topps Star Wars: Jedi Legacy. This box promises 2 hits, with one of them being a film cel relic. We got that hit out of these first packs, with a Darth Vader film cel. The Green parallel at the top left is a variation that falls one per box, and the Magenta parallel below it is either 3 or 4 per box. I can't remember. I don't find this product all that exciting, outside of the autographs and movie prop relics, so hopefully the second hit in the box is something enjoyable.

I also opened two packs of 2015 Topps UFC Chronicles. These come in a jumbo pack format, with 10 packs per box. Each box promises 2 autographs and 3 relics. That Frankie Edgar relic is the first hit of the box. The Gold Ben Rothwell card is numbered # / 88, the Black & White Jordan Mein is # / 188, and the Silver Ronda Rousey isn't numbered, but is probably still the best parallel of the bunch.

I also got a couple of decent inserts from these packs, with a Paige VanZant Climbing the Ranks card and a Ronda Rousey Victorious Debut insert. I also got the first autograph of the box, a base auto of Scott Jorgensen. It was probably about this point where I began to regret buying this box instead of another box of 2017 Topps UFC Chrome.

I picked up some retail cards on a shopping trip. These were my reward for catching and disposing of 5 mice in our basement, so my wife didn't have to look at or deal with them. I grabbed one of those value packs of 2016 Topps Chrome from the clearance bin. The highlights were a Kris Bryant Pink Refractor and a Byron Buxton Future Stars insert. Not the greatest break, but the Bryant is nice. 

I also picked up another box of 2017 Topps Holiday Baseball. I got a couple of nice Dodgers among the Metallic Snowflake parallels, Yasiel Puig and Cody Bellinger. I also got the same George Springer relic I pulled from my last box of this stuff. The relic on this one also does not quite fill the window. Maybe this card design just has an awkwardly-shaped window.

There was a blaster of 2017 Bowman Platinum hiding in the back of the shelf, and I grabbed it. I got an Aaron Judge insert, a Clint Frazier insert, and a couple of Astros among the base cards. I also finally pulled an autograph out of this product, a base auto of Will Benson of the Indians. Maybe even better, I pulled a Black parallel of Pirates prospect Kecin Newman, numbered # 06 / 10. That's a pretty good break when it comes to retail.

That does it for today's cards. The Cyber Week stuff for today wasn't great, but that's to be expected at times when busting a large amount of stuff over time.

10 December 2017

Cyber Week Breaks: Day 3 - Chrome, High Impact, and Little Baseball Cards

Wow, today kind of got away from me. I guess that's mostly good, as I taught a lesson in church and spent some time with my wife and kids. All of that isn't great for blogging, though. Today's breaks are the last 8 packs in my first box of 2017 Topps UFC Chrome, 1 box of 2016 Topps UFC High Impact, and a pack of the On-Demand 2017 Topps Mini Baseball. In order for me to make it through all the scanning and posting, I'll just be hitting the highlights throughout this series of breaks.

I got one numbered parallel in these 8 packs of UFC Chrome, a Green Refractor of Cat Zingano numbered # 09 / 99. I collect Zingano's cards, so this was a good pull for me. To this point in the box I haven't pulled either of the two promised autographs, so they both came out of this batch.

First up is this base autograph of Henry Cejudo. I don't think I had a Cejudo autograph yet, so this was better than pulling a duplicate. I can't say much for his penmanship, but he made use of all the space available to him, and then some.

The other autograph was this Tier One autograph of Demetrious Johnson. The odds on these are 1:1,755 packs, or about one in 6 cases. This one is numbered # 4 / 5. It's a pretty cool card, but Johnson is one of the less popular names on the checklist.

From the box of UFC High Impact, this Rose Namajunas insert was one I needed for my set, so I count this as a win already. Some of the cards on this checklist have been hard to track down. Hopefully I'll be able to get the other ones I need.

I also got a Red parallel of Khabib Nurmagomedov. These Red parallels only fall 1:11 boxes, so I may only get one or two of these in the break. This one is numbered # 5 / 8.

The promised autograph features the signature of Luke Rockhold. I think he's another new addition for my collection, so that's a bonus for me. Overall, this was a pretty good box.

The pack of 2017 Topps Mini Baseball cards contained 35 cards, with 30 base, 1 insert, and 4 parallels. The base cards didn't have a lot of star power in them, but these are the highlights I picked out. It seemed like my pack was fairly heavy on the Update portion of the checklist.

My insert featured Joey Gallo on the 1987 Topps design. He hit the 3rd-most home runs in the AL for 2017 and had the 2nd-most strikeouts.

The parallels have print runs of 25 or less. Taijuan Walker was my first parallel, numbered # 07 / 25. You can see there is some color beneath the nameplate and on the spikes coming in from the edges to differentiate this as an Orange parallel.

I was happy to get some Astros content among my parallels, with the orange on this card going well with Yulieski Gurriel's jersey. You'll notice a pattern, as this card is also numbered # 07 / 25.

Staying with the AL West and the number # 07 / 25, I also got this Nomar Mazara Orange parallel.

I also got a Blue parallel of Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood, numbered # 01 / 10. Not a bad pull. I really should have ordered a couple more packs of this stuff. I would be interested to see how much of the print run they sold through, and I imagine it would be difficult if not impossible to put a set together. Player collectors and team collectors should be on the lookout for these.

Overall, this wasn't too bad of a break for the day. I got some PC cards, an insert I needed, a 1:6 case hit, and several low-numbered parallels.

09 December 2017

Cyber Week Breaks: Day 2

So it's Day 2 of breaking stuff from my Cyber Week purchases. Today's breaks include a box of 2016 Panini National Treasures Racing, another 8 packs of 2017 Topps UFC Chrome, and a box of 2017 Topps UFC Fire that came in the mail yesterday. The box of UFC Fire also had an unexpected bonus card packed with it, so I'll show that as well.

National Treasures is a pretty high-end brand, so there's a lot of fancy packaging surrounding 7 fancy cards. The wooden chest has a cardboard liner around it.

Once you remove the plastic and the cardboard liner, you get to the sealed case. It's kind of like a cigar box, I suppose.

Inside the cigar box, there's some fancy foam padding, some branding in the lid, and the cardboard box that makes up the pack.

The ends of the pack also have seals on them. Once you cut into those, the lid lifts up to reveal the stack of cards. We're expecting a total of 7 cards: 1 base card or parallel, 2 memorabilia cards, 3 autograph or autograph/memorabilia cards, and 1 booklet card.

The top card in the box is a Century Silver parallel of Rusty Wallace. This card comes from the Legends subset and is numbered # 18 / 20. Base cards are numbered # / 25, and the Century Silver parallel is the most common parallel.

 The second card in the stack is a Dual Materials card of Ryan Newman and Paul Menard. This is the Gold parallel, and this copy is numbered # 02 / 10. Newman's relic looks like a piece of glove, while Menard's swatch is a bit of tire. I especially like the glove swatch.

The next card in the stack is a # 1 / 1 Yellow Printing Plate of Austin Dillon's Timelines insert card. It's got a nice thick patch of what appears to be his last name, maybe taken from the belt of his firesuit. It's kind of hard to see what the card should look like on this Yellow parallel, so I pulled an image of the base card from eBay for comparison:

It's still pretty cool to pull a # 1 / 1  from a high-end box, though. And Dillon seems to be a pretty popular driver. I guess that completes the expected base/parallel card and the 2 relic cards. Next up should be 3 autographs of some kind and a booklet.

The first autograph is a Cahmpionship Signatures card of drag racing legend John Force. This is the Silver parallel of the card, numbered # 40 / 45. I was pretty happy to pull this card, even though it's one of the more common cards in the box. I follow most of the Force racing family on social media, and you may recall that earlier this year I picked up a booklet card featuring the signatures of two of Force's daughters, Courtney and Brittany. It's nice to add another signature from the Force family to my collection.

The next card is a Rookie Signature Materials card of Brian Scott. This is the base version of the card, and it is numbered # 08 / 25. The 2016 season was his first full season, and his last full season. He announced his retirement after the year was up, with a final placing of 31st in the standings. It looks like he did a partial season in the Xfinity series in 2017.

Ryan Newman hot box! This is the Silver parallel of Newman's Jumbo Firesuit Signatures card. It's numbered # 13 / 15. I wish the fabric piece had a little more color to it, but it's still a pretty cool card. I like that this card shows his car on it, as this is the first time we've actually seen a race car in this box. That does it for the promised autographs, so the final thing remaining is a booklet card.

And here it is. This is a Jumbo Sheet Metal Signature booklet of Joey Logano. This card also shows his race car on it, and carries a big piece of sheet metal in the right side of the booklet. The left side has Logano's signature on it.

This is the base version of the booklet, and it is numbered # 15 / 50. I'm not a huge Logano fan, but I'm not yet jaded to the point where I'll turn up my nose at a booklet card with a signature and a big piece of memorabilia in it.

That was a pretty fun box to break. I wouldn't say I got my money back out of it, but I pulled some nice cards and I enjoyed the experience of opening it and revealing the cards one by one like a group breaker. I don't have the stomach to open high-end boxes all the time, but this one was fun.

There wasn't a lot of excitement in the next 8 packs of Topps UFC Chrome, so I scanned some of the inserts. I pulled 2 Top of the Class inserts, a Museum Collection card, 2 Tier One cards, and a Fire insert.

Here is what the card backs on the inserts look like. Each of these inserts is a replication of another Topps UFC product, with the Chrome treatment added.

Like the Blue Wave Refractors which are numbered # / 75, the X-Fractors fall one per box, but these do not have serial numbers.

This is an Orange Refractor of Luke Rockhold. These fall 1:3 boxes, and this one is numbered # 14 / 25. I am 2/3 of the way through the box and still haven't hit either of the promised autographs, so I should be showing off two UFC Chrome autographs tomorrow when I open another 8 packs.

I also had a box of UFC Fire come in from Topps. They had these on sale for 50% off over the weekend, so I grabbed one of them along with a pack of the Topps Mini Baseball cards they had available. I am kind of wishing I'd bought more packs of Mini Baseball, but they are off the market now. I wonder if Topps will sell the remainder of the stock off to people like Blowout and Dave & Adam's?

The cards of note from this box were a couple of Red parallels of Chuck Liddell and Frankie Edgar. They are numbered # / 142. The one Fired Up insert in the box shows Dominick Cruz, and the promised autograph is a base autograph of Eddie Alvarez, numbered # 065 / 199. This was an okay box, but it didn't blow me away. I don't think I had an Eddie Alvarez autograph yet, so that was cool. I also like that Topps numbered all of the parallels in this set. I think that adds some perceived value over the High Impact cards, where only some of the parallels are numbered.

The bonus card was this '17 Cyber Weekend card of Carlos Correa. I saw that Topps was offering these on orders, but I didn't know if my order qualified for the bonus. Apparently it did, and I am happy to add another Astro card to my collection.

Have I mentioned lately that the Astros won the World Series this year? I fear I'm becoming as obnoxious as a 2016 Cubs fan. I'll be back with more breaks tomorrow, unless I skip out for some reason.