13 May 2024

Recent Meanderings

I mentioned in my last post that I was going out of town for a bit. The short version is that my dad and I went to Russia to hunt bears. We were successful in that regard, shooting some very large bears.

We also wound up staying in Russia for 12 extra days, with 2 days of questioning by the police and 10 days spent in jail. Our hunting outfitter didn't have all of the paperwork in order, so we were found guilty of an Administrative Violation and the judge threw the book at us, so instead of a $50-$100 fine we got 10 days in jail. It wasn't too bad outside of the boredom. All of the police and guards we interacted with were polite and professional.

Here we are celebrating our freedom after our flight out of Moscow landed in Istanbul. It was a pretty crazy adventure, not one I'm likely to replicate in the near future.

I got a handful of cards in the mail while I was gone, mostly Pokémon I purchased for my Pokémon GO project, where I am trying to get one card for each type of Pokémon I catch in the mobile game. I am well behind the curve on that project, and it will likely take me several years to catch up, if I ever in fact do catch up.

As is typical for me, I've been struggling with whether or not to continue my card collecting, and if so, what form that collecting should take. I find that when I'm into it heavily, I spend more money than I can really afford. When I'm not into it, I have a lot of negative feelings about not being able to dabble in everything that I'm interested in.

All of that waffling has led me into a bit of a slump. I've stopped several ongoing projects, and find myself passing over cards at my usual venues. I did stand in Walmart the other day and mull over buying some Heritage baseball and some WWE Chronicles, but ultimately walked away without buying anything. This year's Heritage set is arguably one of the coolest ones to be released, but I just can't bring myself to get into it halfway, and I don't feel like I can afford to get into it all the way.

07 April 2024

Four More Mega Boxes of 2024 Topps UFC Chrome

A couple of days ago I showed off the results from 4 Mega Boxes of 2024 Topps UFC Chrome. In a bid to make progress on the base set, I ordered 4 more of them. I didn't make as much progress as I'd like toward that goal, but I closed the gap enough to where I decided to pick up the rest of the set as singles. This time around I'm just showing off highlights. 

I pulled 2 /299 Speckle Refractors. Both are relatively big names, in Georges St-Pierre and Colby Covington. Nothing I collect specifically, but nice to pull some numbered stuff from Mega Boxes.

I also pulled an /199 Aqua Refractor of Vicente Luque. I don't know why my pictures are so blurry for this post. I guess I needed to clean my phone's camera lens before I take pictures.

Here is a selection of inserts from the boxes. Nothing too crazy, but I got a few inserts I didn't have yet. That's always nice, even though I'm not chasing complete sets on the insert cards. I can't help enjoying the Allen & Ginter inserts, even though it's just a shiny gimmick.

Lastly, here are the 4 autographs I pulled. Luckily they are all names I recognize, although there aren't any big sellers in the bunch, not that I'm much of a card seller anyway. All are of the base variety aside from the Anthony Smith, which is a Gold /50 signature card.

Overall I was pretty happy with my 2024 Topps UFC Chrome breaks. I wish I'd had a little less duplication among the base cards, but it's nice to have a watered-down product that's affordable and has guaranteed autographs for those of us who can't bring ourselves to splash for the full Hobby version. I'll be going dark for at least a couple of weeks here on the blog, as I'm headed out of town on a trip. Hopefully I'll be back on here soon after I return home.

31 March 2024

2017 Topps Then Now Forever Ember Moon Kiss Card

For a few years at the end of the 2010's, Topps regularly included kiss cards as inserts in their WWE products. For the uninitiated, kiss cards are pretty much what they sound like, a lipstick print on a trading card. I've got a couple of them in my collection.

This Ember Moon kiss card from 2017 Topps WWE Then Now Forever is the latest one to show up in my collection. Prices on most kiss cards these days are pretty high, so I was lucky to find this one from a wrestler I collect at a reasonable price. It's an interesting collectible and a concept we may not see on cards again in the near future. 

This example is /99. Ember Moon now wrestles for WWE rival AEW under the name Athena.

30 March 2024

4 Mega Boxes of 2024 Topps UFC Chrome

I hadn't planned on getting any UFC Chrome from Topps this year, as the $250+ price on hobby boxes was a little off-putting. Then they released these Mega Boxes at $60 apiece, and I couldn't help myself. With one autograph per box and a variety of exclusive inserts I figured I couldn't pass up the chance to chase the base set and some hits.

As I mentioned, each box offered up 1 autograph and 10 XFractors, as well as an assortment of inserts that were different from the offerings found in other configurations. I ordered 4 boxes. I wound up getting 110 base cards, 40 XFractors, 24 inserts, 14 various Refractors, and 4 autographs.

Here are a handful of the vertically-oriented base cards. The 200-card checklist features a good cross-section of current and former fighters on the UFC roster. I kind of wish there were fewer XFractors and more base cards, as half a base set from these 4 boxes was somewhat underwhelming for a set collector. I imagine if I buy more boxes I will run into more duplicates and eventually I'll have to fill out the set with singles.

The checklist also includes plenty of horizontal shots, including one of the headliners for tonight's fight, Manon Fiorot. I pulled a few doubles in my base cards, so I've got roughly 100 out of 200 cards in the base set from these 4 boxes.

As mentioned before, each box contains 10 XFractors, for a total of 40 in my break. I think these are exclusive to the Mega Box format. I would rather have base cards, but at 10 per box you could have a reasonable shot at building a whole set of XFractors if that is something you wanted to chase.

Of the 14 various Refractors I pulled, most were of the regular and Prism variety. I pulled a decent variety of them, with a small selection pictured here.

I got 2 numbered Refractors, an /199 Aqua of Cory Sandhagen and a /299 Speckle of Brunno Ferreira.

Here are some of the different inserts I got in my boxes. Apparently the inserts in the Mega boxes and blasters are entirely different from those found in Hobby configurations. Inserts shown here are Allen & Ginter, Brick by Brick, Fired Up, Embedded, and Pathblazers. I like the inserts in this product. They all look pretty good.

Finally, I picked up four autograph cards. No huge names, but a couple of names I recognize in Marvin Vettori and Andrei Arlovski. The Jack Jenkins rookie autograph is a Gold /50, and 3 of the 4 autographs I pulled are numbered autos.

Overall this is a fun product to break. I am looking to complete the base set, so I'd imagine a few more boxes are in my future, although I don't think I'll dabble in the Hobby side of things.

24 March 2024

Various Recent Racing Card Pickups

In addition to busting various packs of racing products recently, I've picked up a handful of singles that I figured I'd show off today. I don't watch a lot of racing, but I sure do enjoy collecting the cards and following things online.

First up is a Hailie Deegan Blank Slate insert out of 2023 Panini Donruss Racing. These cards are tough pulls from the product, rumored to be case hits. I got this one for a relative steal on eBay compared to other copies of the card that were listed, so I was happy to add it to my Hailie Deegan collection.

I picked up these Brittney Zamora cards from 2023 Panini Chronicles Racing as a lot, again on eBay. I actually bought another copy of the Newly Minted triple relic, but it arrived packed in tape which peeled off the foil along the top edge, so I had to replace it. Luckily the seller was understanding and issued a refund without too much hassle. I hate eBay returns. They feel very confrontational at times. Zamora has replaced Danica Patrick as my current primary driver collection in racing cards, although I'm not sure how much racing Zamora has done recently.

I'll close things out with a couple of cards for my longest-running driver collection, Danica Patrick. She retired a while back, but Panini luckily still puts her into most sets that get released. The tire relic is #/50 and comes from 2021 Panini Donruss Racing, while the Clear Vision insert is #/99 and comes from an older set, 2016 Panini Torque Racing.

23 March 2024

Jim Bouton PSA Basic Set

I mentioned a few posts ago that I started collecting the Jim Bouton PSA Basic Set after reading his book Ball Four, a classic baseball memoir. It didn't take me too long to gather the full 7-card run, Topps releases from 1962-1968.


The 1962 rookie card was the most expensive card in the bunch, even though I picked up a miscut example. Other than the centering the card looks pretty good, and the discount for the condition made the card attainable for my collection.

The 1963 and 1964 Topps Jim Bouton cards came in relatively low condition, because that's where they were cheap. I don't feel like I missed out on anything by getting them in a PSA 4 grade. I got the 1965 card in a 6.5 grade, and it's a pretty nice-looking card. Never thought I'd be chasing a full run of a Yankee, but that's how the collecting winds blow sometimes.

Here are the final three cards in the set, 1966-1968 Topps. The best value for the 1966 card came in a 5 grade, but I was able to get a 7 for 1967 and an 8 for 1968. All of that adds up to the worst complete Jim Bouton Basic Set in the PSA Set Registry. I don't really care about that, as I achieved my goal, a complete run of Jim Bouton's career Topps issues. This was a fun set to put together.

20 March 2024

1962 Topps Stamp Panels Wally Moon/Brooks Robinson

A quick one-card post today, just to keep the blogging juices flowing. I've been lagging a bit lately in my effort to resurrect my card blog. It's hard to gather the mental bandwidth to post sometimes, especially when I don't feel like I've got much of value to say to anyone.

In pursuit of the Wally Moon PSA Master Set I've picked up most of the mainstream stuff. That leaves me with oddball issues that can be hard to find. This Wally Moon/Brooks Robinson stamp panel is the latest one I've marked off my list. It is one of two two-stamp panels that Wally Moon appears on. The other features Wally Moon and Frank Malzone, and is a lot harder to find than this one, at least in PSA-graded form. I may end up having to purchase a raw example to send in and grade. I currently have the #1-ranked Wally Moon Master Set on the PSA Set Registry, but that's because no one else has bothered to register their cards. I'm sure there are some hardcore vintage collectors out there who could blow me out of the water if they bothered to register their cards. Anyway, I'll keep plugging away at it until I'm done.