27 June 2017

A Makoto Autograph Single Bought through Buyee

I try not to buy single cards from Japan through the Buyee purchasing service because the cost of shipping just one item is prohibitive, but sometimes you just have to have one particular card. That has been the case for my last two purchases through the service. Today's wrestling card is one of those. The other was a baseball card that I'll show off here eventually.

This is Makoto's autograph card from the 2011 BBM True Heart wrestling card set. I've got a small collection of Makoto cards, so when I saw this one up for sale I had to bid on it. I'd say she is one of the more popular wrestlers, so any of her cards that are more than a year or two old don't seem to pop up for sale much. This one's got a nice bold autograph on it.

The card is numbered # 06 / 96. Most of the base autographs have had print runs of 90-100 cards since 2011, but some are harder to locate than others. I was happy to add this one to my collection, even if Buyee fees and international shipping made it a little more expensive than I'd like to spend on a single card.

25 June 2017

Danica Patrick Rubber Relics

I kinda disappeared for a while there, and now I'm returning with a NASCAR post that will get like six views. There's not really one reason for my absence. I'm still adjusting to my new medication, and I have been doing a lot of sleeping. I feel better in general, but I can't really handle sleeping this much. I took my kids camping for a few days last week, and so I was away from the internet for a while. I also just haven't really had the motivation to blog when I've had free time, either due to lack of interest in my queued posts or lack of desire to process newly-scanned cards. I've got plenty of exciting cardboard to talk about, but I haven't been able to get any posts knocked out.

This card comes from last year's Torque product from Panini. It's a Rubber Relics card featuring Danica Patrick and a piece of tire from her car. This is the base version of the card, numbered # 355 / 399.

Danica qualified 6th for the road course race today, the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. I didn't watch it, but I saw a couple of headlines saying that she was involved in wrecks with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on her way to a good but not great 17th-place finish. It's still a better result than her season average to this point, and she is lucky in that none of the contact knocked her out of the race. Hopefully she can build on some pretty good recent finishes and close out the season in a strong way.

I'll be trying to post more frequently, but we'll see how it goes. It's been hard to get in the blogging mindset lately.

15 June 2017

Pack of the Day 164: Repack or Blaster?

I was at Target a month or so ago, and I was trying to decide what cards to buy. I heavily considered a few of the blasters on the shelf, but couldn't bring myself to spend the $20 it would take to get one. Instead, I grabbed one of those 10-pack repack boxes that costs $12. I think the one I chose had a pack of Bowman and a pack of Allen & Ginter on the front.

I kind of expected to find several packs of Triple Play in the middle of the box, but there was just one. I didn't scan it, because I have too much of that stuff. Portions of the other 9 packs are shown above.

The main feature of the Allen & Ginter pack was that all of the cards were heavily dinged on one corner. I scanned the Golovkin card because last year I opened a box of the stuff and pulled his autograph. I sold it for a pretty penny, enough to cover the cost of the box a couple of times over. There were a few cool Bowman base cards in the pack. I thought the 1990 Upper Deck pack was pretty cool. I got some pretty good photos out of that one, with plenty of mustaches on display. The 2016 Topps packs were full of Ichiro cards, with that 3000 Hits Club insert being the first.

There were three more Ichiro cards in the packs, with a base card and a couple of Chasing 3K inserts. I also pulled a relic card, featuring the injured Matt Harvey, one of the many banged-up Mets players. There's a little bit of a pinstripe along the right side of the swatch.

I scanned a couple of big sluggers from the 2016 Topps Bunt pack in Evan Gattis and Prince Fielder. Another Met made the cut from the Topps Chrome pack, with a David Wright Prism Refractor. I probably could have scanned the whole Stadium Club pack, but I stuck with one vertical and four horizontal cards. I've posted that Mariano Rivera card before, but that's a good photo.

Here are a few other standouts from that Stadium Club pack. The Teixeira card is a Gold parallel. Overall, I think the repack probably delivered more fun per dollar than most blasters do, even with the Triple Play pack and the dinged-up Allen & Ginter cards. Pulling a relic card was pretty cool, even if it featured a kinda dysfunctional player from a very dysfunctional team.

14 June 2017

A Sterling Singleton

I've got another short post tonight, as my wife has been out of town and I've been busy trying to keep things running here at home. I go to work pretty early in the morning, so the kids had to get up with me to get ready to go to the babysitter's, and by the time we got home each evening we were all wiped out. Yesterday we all crashed for a couple of hours after we got home. By the time I got dinner and laundry and bedtime done, there wasn't much time for anything else. I know some people manage to do the single parent thing for many years, but it's not the life for me.

This card is a 2014 Bowman Sterling Japan-Fractor, a parallel that was packed only in boxes of Bowman Sterling destined for Japan. The player is Jon Singleton, the one-time hot prospect who never really took off during his 2014 and 2015 stints with the Astros. He's spent this season down at AA, and probably doesn't have much future with the team. His batting average is low, but he gets on base at a pretty good clip due to a favorable walk rate. Maybe another team will be willing to give him a whirl, but it is probably more likely that he spends a few years in the minors and then washes out of the system. The 2014 Bowman Sterling set has a bit of a 1995 Fleer vibe to it, if the colors in 1995 were toned down a bit. This card is numbered # 06 / 25.

12 June 2017

Hakeem Olajuwon Court Relic

There was a pretty big NBA game tonight, with the Golden State Warriors taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers in an elimination game for the NBA Championship. From what my Facebook feed says, the Warriors were able to finish the job, handing LeBron James and the Cavs a 4-1 series defeat. I lost much of my interest in the playoffs after my Houston Rockets got eliminated in embarrassing fashion by a Spurs team that was missing their superstar, Kawhi Leonard, but I still kept an eye on the headlines.

As I often do when the Rockets are eliminated from postseason play, I turned my eyes to the Rockets of the past, specifically Hakeem Olajuwon, who led the team to two Championships in 1994 and 1995. He's not wearing a Rockets uniform on this card, though. He spent the last season of his career playing for the Toronto Raptors, as pictured in this 2001-02 Topps Heritage Basketball Articles of the Arena relic card. I think this is my first floor relic, and I always like getting a new relic type.

The back of the card certifies that it contains an authentic piece of the Boston Garden floor on which Hakeem Olajuwon played an NBA game. I guess it's something. It's not quite on the level of UFC mat relics, which can sometimes be matched to a specific sponsor logo at a specific UFC event. Then you can watch the fight in question and see if the fighter stepped on that logo or had their face dragged across it or something.

Anyway, I'm glad I was able to add a new relic type to my collection, and especially glad that the card features my favorite basketball player of all time, even though he's wearing the wrong uniform on this card.

11 June 2017

Danica Red Flag Prizm - Pocono 400

I've got a pretty quick one-card post today, because I am just not feeling it this evening. I've been on a new medication for the last week, and it makes me feel pretty tired. I've been taking a lot of naps as I wait for my system to balance out.

Today's NASCAR race was the Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway. Danica Patrick continued a pretty good stretch, finishing in 16th place after her 10th place finish last week. Pocono has traditionally been one of her worst tracks, but she was able to get a Top 20 this time around. It wasn't without controversy, though, as she got some headlines for confronting some fans who booed her on Friday.

Today's card comes from 2016 Panini Prizm Racing, and shows off her car in Nature's Bakery colors. This is a Red Flag Prizm parallel, numbered # 19 / 75. I'm pretty sure I picked this one up from eBay, but it's been in my post queue since April and I'm not entirely sure.

10 June 2017

N20 Allen & Ginter Prize & Game Chickens 27: White Dorking Hen

It's been a while since I added to my N20 Allen & Ginter Fifty Prize & Game Chickens set build. These tobacco cards are over 125 years old, and it's not often that examples show up that are in good shape and also in my price range. July 2016 was the last time I picked up a card from this set.

This most recent addition features the White Dorking Hen. It is the 27th Prize & Game Chickens card in my collection, so my set is now 54% complete. I may have to relax my condition standards and/or open up my wallet a little if I ever want to collect the whole checklist.

Picture borrowed from FeatherSite's Dorking info page.
According to the internet, Dorkings are named after a town in England. They were developed by the Romans and brought to England, and they are the basis for a lot of other chicken breeds. They come in several colors, like Silver-Grey, Colored, Red, and White.

09 June 2017

Comic Book Sketch Cards by Anastasia Catris

I picked up a few sketches from the latest waves of March of Dimes sketches on eBay. The Princess Leia sketch I showed off a couple of days ago came second-hand from a person who'd originally picked it up from the March of Dimes charity auctions run by steve4mod. The ones I'm posting today came from bidding on the actual auction listings. There were quite a few nice cards in the last couple of waves from Year 6, but a lot of them went well outside of my price range. I was still able to land two very nice sketches by artist Anastasia Catris, though.

This first one features Captain Marvel, a character I'm a fan of, but one that I don't have much of a sketch collection for outside of one I purchased last year by an unknown artist. Now I've got two Captain Marvel sketches, and I am pretty happy with this one. I tend to be drawn in by bright colors and interesting backgrounds, and this sketch definitely has those qualities. It's a great depiction of the character.

I also won this sketch of Black Cat, one of Spider-Man's frenemies. I especially like the spiderweb in the background and the way Catris stylized her hair. I have to imagine that Black Cat is one of the harder characters to draw, as her suit is all black and her hair is white, which are respectively hard to highlight and shade convincingly. Those are two colors I really struggle with in my miniature painting.

These are two high-quality sketches that I really stole for a song. You can find links to Catris' store and social media profiles on her website, where she has original art for sale as well as commission information.

08 June 2017

Just the Hits from Another WWE Divas Revolution Blaster Box

I picked up a blaster box of 2016 Topps WWE Divas Revolution back in April, and it's high time I clear out the rest of the April stuff from my draft queue. For a more complete rundown on the product, you can look up my 2-blaster break from January. Today I am just posting the hits.

I pulled this Silver parallel of Stephanie McMahon's base card, which is a pretty decent card to get. The Silver parallels are the most common in the product, but even they are only seeded 1:6 blasters. This one is numbered # 13 / 50.

More exciting for me was this event-used mat relic from Bayley's appearance at NXT Live in Belfast, where Bayley and Carmella defeated Peyton Royce and Nikki Glencross. Pretty fun stuff. I collect Bayley cards, so it was nice to pull one of her cards from this box. This one is numbered # 182 / 199. If you are a wrestling fan, I would recommend picking up a blaster of this product if you can find it. It's a pretty fun set, and the guaranteed hit per box is usually decent.

07 June 2017

Contested Shots 26: A Game at Johnny's Trading Spot

There was a game recently over at Johnny's Trading Spot, a game whose origins predate my time in the trading card blogger community. But these games have made a comeback recently, with a couple already finished and one currently running over at All Trade Bait, All the Time. The main idea of the game is that there are a number of hidden prizes equal to the number of participants. The participants take turns selecting a prize number, revealing the prizes one at a time. After the prizes start being revealed, later people can pick a new number or steal a previous prize. Most of the time there is a limit to the number of times a particular prize can be stolen.

Pick stealing came into play for me in the Johnny's Trading Spot game, as my original selection was a 1964 Topps Buyback of Dean Chance. Bo came next and stole a different pick from Tom, then Tom stole my pick, and I stole this 2013 Topps Kyle Kendrick error card from Bo. It was the 2nd time this card had been stolen in the game, so I was able to lock it up as my prize. This is apparently a fairly hard-to-find item, as they were only released in early printings of the 2013 Topps factory sets. I plan on keeping this one, as it is just the kind of oddball error that appeals to me. You can't even see his face! I felt moderately bad about stealing such a plum prize, but the game is designed to encourage those shenanigans, and with one more steal available on it, someone else probably would have locked it up eventually.

Also included in the prize package was this Kyle Hendricks Programs insert from 2017 Topps Bunt. Kyle Kendrick and Kyle Hendricks have similar names, and might even be the same person. We'll never know, as we don't actually know what Kyle Kendricks' face looks like. We're pretty familiar with his beltline, though.

Thanks for the game, John! It was pretty fun!

06 June 2017

Comic Art Sketch Cards by Jeff Oleson

A couple of months ago I had a backlog of Star Wars sketches to get through, and now I'm in the same position with comic book-related artwork. Although I am still gathering cards from my other collecting interests, I've had a renewed interest in original artwork lately. There is a novelty there that you can't get with the endless parallels and rehashed photos found on traditional cards. I think that might also be the reason I am drawn to Topps Now products. The photo selections for those aren't pictures that you will find on 25 other pieces of cardboard.

Today's sketches were done by artist Jeff Oleson. I bought them from his eBay listings, where he's generally got a few things up for sale. He has a website, but it looks like it isn't updated frequently. He doesn't appear to have a business or art Facebook page or other social media presence, but there is a Facebook group dedicated to fans of his artwork.

This first sketch is a Star Wars / Marvel mash-up. It looks like the Stormtrooper has characteristically missed his target, and now the Punisher is going to make him pay. I like these parody sketches. There are a few artists out there who do them, with some being more off-color than others. Oleson leans toward the cleaner end of things, at least based on the art I've seen from him. Others, like Joe Gravel and Doug Riggsby, are a little naughtier with their work.

This second sketch features Scarlet Witch from Marvel in a rather improbable version of her costume. I can't quite put my finger on why I like this sketch. The character is not depicted in a particularly sexy way, and really her face kinda creeps me out. The style reminds me of underground comix from the likes of Robert Crumb or the undergound-lite stuff like MAD or Cracked.

I've been watching his listings, but haven't yet picked up any more of Oleson's work. He's got some pretty neat sketches he's been doing lately, with art in the style of the corner boxes from comic book covers. His listings also mention that he's got official sketches in the 2017 Fleer Ultra Spider-Man Trading Cards from Upper Deck. 

05 June 2017

Leia Kills Jabba by Peng Peng

Back in March/April I posted a handful of sketch cards I'd picked up featuring Princess Leia from Star Wars during her time spent as a slave in Jabba the Hutt's palace. There's an eBay seller out there who must have had a huge collection based around that theme, because they listed a ton of Leia sketches from all kinds of artists. The slave costume isn't usually the one I seek when buying sketches or commissioning artwork, but at the prices these were offered at, I couldn't stay away from all of them.

This sketch card comes from a March of Dimes charity set that I believe is an annual thing. The website hasn't been updated in a long time, but the guy who runs it still posts sketch auctions sometimes with the proceeds going to charity.

The artist is PengPeng, who also goes by the name of Penelope Gaylord. She has a website with an attached shop and a Facebook page. It looks like she only has prints in her shop right now, but as recently as Mother's Day she had sketches up on there. Her website also has a tab with pricing for commissions. I don't know much else about her. I just liked the sketch enough to buy it.

The thing I really liked about this one was the dead Jabba in the background, complete with 'X' eyes. I think it's pretty funny. 'X' eyes always remind me of this scene from 'A Christmas Story:'

It was nice to add another sketch to my Leia collection. One of these days I need to make individual blog pages for my sketch collections, as they would probably look pretty good together. Today is not that day, though. I had a doctor appointment in the morning and we went to the shelter to meet dogs in the afternoon. We checked out three different dogs. They were all nice, but not exactly good matches for our family.

04 June 2017

Don't I Already Have These Cards? - AAA 400 Drive for Autism

Sometimes after I buy cards, I look at them and think, "That card looks awfully familiar," only to find out that I've purchased a duplicate. Sometimes it turns out that the card isn't a duplicate, though, as perhaps I have mis-remembered or merely purchases a similar card. Both of today's Danica Patrick cards were cards that looked vaguely familiar to me after I purchased them, so I hopped into the wayback machine to see what was going on with them,

This card comes from 2014 Press Pass Redline. It's a Black and White parallel, and it is numbered # 32 / 75. It turns out that this was a false alarm. While I did already have a Black and White parallel of Danica Patrick from this set, it was the parallel of card # 44, while this one is card # 43. The other one has a different pose on the front and features her blue Aspen Dental car on the back. The firesuits on each would be different colors, but that doesn't show through on a black and white card.

My eyes weren't fooling me on this card, though. I purchased another copy of this Red parallel from 2013 Press Pass Legends back in early 2016, so now I've got two. This one is numbered # 78 / 99, while the one I picked up previously is # 20 / 99.

I think duplicate purchases happen to all of us, and in some cases there are people who make a hobby out of collecting multiples of the same cards, like stack22 over at the Tim Wallach blog or that guy who is trying to collect every copy of one particular vintage card (I wish I could remember the set, but I just spent 10 minutes trying to search it out and I am quitting), leading to a tough search for anyone else trying to collect that one set. For my collection, though, duplicates are usually kind of a waste. At least on this particular purchase I wound up with only a 50% duplication rate.

As I write this, Danica Patrick is currently running in 26th place in the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway, with about half the race completed. There is plenty of time to move up, so we'll see where she ends up.

03 June 2017

Some Old Pick-Ups that are Surprisingly Relevant Today - UFC 212

I am compounding a bad decision by writing this post after I stayed up too late to watch UFC 212. I have to work in the morning, and I should not still be up. I just couldn't bring myself to miss out on Claudia Gadelha vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Jose Aldo vs. Max Holloway. Those fights didn't disappoint, and neither did the ones earlier on the card. I was pulling for both winners of the two biggest fights on the card, although I missed on a lot of my earlier picks in the UFC Pick'em game.

I picked up these cards months ago, but most of them feature guys who were on tonight's fight card. I must have picked them up in late January, when Nate Marquardt last fought on the Valentina Shevchenko vs. Julianna Peña card. Marquardt lost his fight tonight via a decision that went to Vitor Belfort. I didn't see much of that fight, but the reaction on Twitter told me that there may have been some homer judges in Brazil voting with their hearts instead of their eyes. I guess that's why you don't let the decision go to the scorecards. This autograph comes from 2010 Topps UFC.

This relic card comes from the same set, and features a bit of the mat from UFN 8 in January 2007, where Marquardt defeated Dean Lewis by a unanimous decision. Judging by the scores (30–27, 30–25, 30–25), it was a pretty convincing victory.

Raphael Assuncao won his fight tonight, a decision victory over Marlon Moraes. Cardboard Connection says that this is a Blue parallel out of 2014 Topps UFC Champions, but it sure looks Purple to me. It's numbered # 56 / 88.

Andrei Arlovski didn't fight tonight, but he is scheduled to fight in a couple of weeks at UFC Fight Night 111. He's lost four fights in a row after a six-fight win streak (4 of those were in the UFC), so he really needs to put a victory up against Marcin Tybura to remain as a contender. This is a Gold parallel from 2016 Topps UFC Knockout. I think this one is numbered # 80 / 99.

02 June 2017

Pack of the Day 163: 2017 Topps Archives Rack Pack

This is going to be a pretty quick post, as I have a pretty big test tomorrow and I need to get to bed very soon. I had to make a Wal-Mart run this evening, and I happened to stop by the card aisle to see if they had any 2017 Topps Archives. They only had rack packs, so I grabbed one. I feel like rack packs cost too much for what you get, but that's what I had available to me.

Here's the front of the pack. There are 18 cards inside, plus a little security tag on a blank card. These packs didn't even appear to have been felt up by the local pack searcher, so that was nice. Usually he gets to everything first and damages it and leaves the shelves a mess.

Here are the pack odds. Remember, these are for rack packs, so the odds on other packaging will be different. There is also the NPN info, for people who are into that. I keep meaning to give it a try, but I never do. I guess Topps is probably counting on that.

Here are the vertical cards from the pack. There are some 1992-patterned cards at the top, and beneath them are the 1982-design cards. Tom Seaver's got some good UPF (Ugly Pitching Face) going on up there. It was very pleasant to see that the cards this year are printed on thicker stock. It doesn't feel quite as thick as Heritage, but it's thicker. The 1960 and 1982 designs also have a rough texture to the backs, while the backs of the 1992 design are smoother. But the thick stock is nice, and I am glad that Topps listened to the collectors on that.

That Rollie Fingers 1960-design card was the first one out of the pack. I was pretty happy to get it. I am also a big fan of the Randy Johnson card up there. I scanned a couple of card backs, but Julio Teheran's card apparently took a ride on the scanner glass. You'll just have to imagine what the missing edge looks like. The Dansby Swanson card at the bottom right is the promised 1960 Topps Rookie Star insert mentioned on the front of the pack. I also pulled his base card. I guess it's a Dansby Swanson hot pack.

Tucked into the middle of the pack was this Al Kaline tallboy insert, a 1959 Bazooka insert. I scanned the back because I think it looks better than having a single card photo centered in the post, not because it is particularly exciting. It would have been nice to pull a parallel in the pack, but it wasn't to be.

Overall I like the design and execution of this year's Archives product based on this small sample. Topps listened to the complaints about the card stock, which is a nice move on their part. I don't know how much more of this I will pick up, but if the prices don't go crazy I could see myself trying out a Hobby box of Archives this year.