21 February 2024

C-3PO Golden Rod Error Sketch by John Soukup

Today's card is an art "card" paying homage to an infamous Star Wars card, the C-3PO Golden Rod error. Back when the original Star Wars sets were being produced, the C-3PO photo chosen had a bit of costume out of place, leading it to look like C-3PO was rather excited. This was scandalous, and Topps put out a corrected version of the card that removed the offending appendage. The uncorrected version is rather popular and probably one of the more expensive cards from the Star Wars sets now.

Recently, artist John Soukup, whose work I've featured on this blog before, has been posting Star Wars sketches done on wood to his eBay page. One of those sketches called back to the C-3PO Golden Rod error card, and I had to have it for my collection. I've got at least one copy of the error card in my collection, and in fact it makes up part of the background collage for my blog.

Here is the back of the artwork, for the sake of completeness. Not sure what SSW stands for, but it is appropriately labeled as a 1/1.

14 February 2024

2023 Panini Select WWE Nikkita Lyons Autograph

Today's card is an autograph I've been waiting to get for a while. I'm a fan of wrestling in general, and of women's wrestling specifically, so I try to have as comprehensive a collection as possible. One wrestler who's only had a couple of autographs so far is Nikkita Lyons. I've been watching WWE card releases to see when she might get a couple of autographs on the market.

Well, she's finally got a couple of autograph cards on the market and I eventually sniped this one from 2023 Panini Select WWE for a lower price than they generally go for at the moment. It's even Valentine's Day-themed, as she included a little heart as part of her signature.

13 February 2024

2023 Panini Prizm UFC Undercard Box

I'm returning to the recent order I made from Blowout Cards, with a box of 2023 Panini Prizm UFC Undercard. This is a watered-down Hobby product, bypassing most of the exciting stuff but also adding a few Undercard-exclusive parallels. The draw for me here is that you're guaranteed an autograph and a large portion of the base set at a pretty significant discount from the regular Hobby boxes. Although I am kind of a scattershot singles collector, I do value being able to complete base sets, and I'm trying to collect on a limited budget. I just can't afford most Hobby wax these days. The value isn't there for me.

The last card in the set is a famous UFC fan, Hasbulla Magomedov. He's a social media personality with dwarfism who hangs out with the Dagestani contingent of UFC fighters.

Most of the non-base cards in the box are these Undercard Prizms, which have a disco-style background that is exclusive to Undercard boxes. Similar to the 2022 set I showed a couple of days ago, there are 100 horizontal and 100 vertical cards in the set. The Valentina "Bullet" Shevchenko card shown here is a special nickname variation that is again exclusive to Undercard boxes. 

Here are a couple of the vertically-oriented Undercard Prizms. The set is pretty comprehensive, with 200 cards featuring current and retired fighters.

This Silver Prizm of Saidyokub Kakhramonov was the only regular Prizm in the box. They are more common in other packaging configurations, but here they apparently take a back seat to the Undercard Prizms.

I was moderately surprised to find 2 numbered parallels in my box. The Alatengheili Red Undercard Prizm is #/99 and the Francis Ngannou Blue Undercard Prizm card is #/25. Ngannou is the more recognizable name for me here. He famously left the UFC during his time as Heavyweight champion when the two sides couldn't agree on the terms of a new contract. He is currently signed with the PFL and participated in an exhibition boxing match with Tyson Fury.

All of the insert cards in the box featured Undercard Prizm backgrounds, so someone trying to complete the inserts would have to choose between regular packs and Undercard packs. I guess you could try to build mixed sets, but what kind of collector mixes sets?

The Dominance insert set appears to feature champions, with Stipe Miocic and Henry Cejudo being the pulls from my box. Cejudo is mildly irritating, but he embraces being a villain and is undoubtedly good at fighting. I've mentioned before that I collect Miocic cards, so I was happy to pull an insert of him here.

The Fearless insert is a nice-looking colorful insert that I'd consider collecting if I had the bandwidth to pursue such a thing. Holly Holm is another fighter I collect, so it's nice to get another PC pull from the inserts. Brock Lesnar is a fearsome person, but over in the WWE world he's been tied to some pretty disgusting allegations along with Vince McMahon, who has been ousted from the company (again). Of course everyone is innocent until proven guilty legally, but in the court of public opinion there is certainly enough smoke for me to suspect some of the fire is real.

Hall Monitors showcases Hall of Fame-level fighters, and I pulled one of the best in Khabib Nurmagomedov, Dagestani friend of the previously-featured Hasbulla.

Finally, the autograph in the box was Damon Jackson, who I am unfamiliar with. He had a stint in the UFC prior to the period when I was watching events heavily, and again after I stopped watching the UFC on a regular basis. He's fought a lot of fights, but they happen to coincide with times I wasn't paying attention.

This was a decent box break for the price. I could see myself buying a couple more boxes to chase the base set in this format. Although a lot of the big hits are off the table in this configuration, there is enough interesting and exclusive stuff to hold a little bit of value.

12 February 2024

Panini Chronicles UFC Obsidian Holly Holm Autograph

Apparently I'm on a bit of a Holly Holm kick lately, as I've been gathering a handful of her cards recently. My hobby journey is kind of like that, wandering from interest to interest without much consideration for continuity or reason. I go where the wind takes me, and just try to enjoy the moment. Sometimes it all feels kind of pointless, but I must get something out of it because I keep doing it. Collecting is embedded in my brain as something I have to do. Sometimes it overwhelms me and makes the hobby feel like another job. Sometimes it is fun and exciting. I couldn't imagine my life if I weren't collecting something. The good thing about cards is they take up a relatively small amount of space on an individual basis. The entirety of my collection, even after all of these years, fits into a 4-foot square of 5000-count boxes in the shed. Other collections, like LEGO sets for example, have a much larger footprint per dollar spent. That's likely one reason why I will always default to card collecting as my main hobby.

This is a Holly Holm Obsidian autograph from 2023 Panini Chronicles UFC. It's a striking card, with lightning bolts all around and a clear autograph right in the middle of it all. It's some kind of parallel, numbered /49 copies, but I don't pay much attention to that because I don't have the attention span for it. I've given up on collecting everything for everyone I collect, instead focusing on cards I like and deals I can't pass up. This is another eBay purchase that I added to my watch list and got a discounted offer from the seller.

11 February 2024

2022 Panini Prizm UFC Retail Box

Some of my pickups from my latest Blowout Cards order were UFC cards. I was heavily into UFC cards during the Topps years, but then Panini got the license and prices were too high to be reasonable. Topps recently took the license back and followed suit with a $250 asking price on a box of Chrome UFC. That's just too high for me. I got some cheaper boxes by going with retail and watered-down Hobby releases, including this 2022 Prizm UFC Retail box. Most of the Hobby Prizms are out of play here, and you're lucky if you pull a hit, but I'm hoping to get a good chunk of the base set and maybe some interesting retail-only parallels.

I believe the Green Prizms are retail-exclusive parallels. The Derrick Lewis card is a Prizm Flashbacks insert, and Jorge Masvidal and Marvin Vettori are other guys I've heard of before. Not too bad of a start to the parallels.

Yair Rodriguez is another name I'm aware of, so 4/4 on the Green Prizms as far as name recognition goes. The base set is 200 cards, with 100 horizontal and 100 vertical cards. I didn't bother to photograph any actual base cards, as the parallels look the same outside of the colored border.

I didn't photograph all of the inserts I pulled, but I tried to get one of each kind for this post. The Rafael Dos Anjos card is a Bonus Machines insert, highlighting fighters who have won Fight of the Night bonuses for their performances in the Octagon. Rose Namajunas is a non-parallel Prizm Flashbacks card. Most of the Prizm Flashbacks cards seem to feature fighters wearing belts, so I thought maybe it was a champion-centric insert. I had to go to Cardboard Connections' checklist to find out it was a flashback-themed insert.

Fearless and Fireworks feature fighters who are fearless and explosive. Khabib Nurmagomedov and Valentina Shevchenko are both pretty good pulls here.

According to the packaging, these Pink Pulsar /42 Prizms are the big chase in retail. I've never heard of Movsar Evloev before, but I haven't been following UFC very closely the last few years. It seems I'm never around for the Fight Nights on ESPN+, and I can't justify the expense of the PPV events. I almost logged in last night for the fights ,but the ESPN page wouldn't load and I took that as a sign that it wasn't meant to happen for me.

I did get lucky and pulled an autograph from this box. This is a Green Prizm autograph of Stipe Miocic. I have a small collection of his cards, so I was pretty happy to get this one.

09 February 2024

1955 Topps Doubleheaders Wally Moon

Another one-card post today, although this one is a little less modern and shiny than the Ticha Penicheiro Prizm I showed off yesterday. I continue to make progress on my Wally Moon master set, gathering the cards that are a little more off-the-wall than his basic releases.

This card came from eBay, which is where 99% of my singles are sourced. It's a 1955 Topps Doubleheaders card of Wally Moon and Joe Cunningham. The card is designed so that the player on back can be folded down and the legs will match up with the front of the card. This one graded out as a 5, likely due to some centering issues and a couple of marks on the back. It still presents pretty well, and most importantly, fills a spot in my graded master set of Wally Moon cards. I'm a little glad that Wally Moon got front billing on this card rather than being relegated to the little half-photo on the back of the card. 

08 February 2024

Color Match Ticha Penicheiro

Just a one-card post today because that's probably all I've got in me at the moment. Some weeks seem longer than others, and this has been quite a week. Nothing really crazy has happened, but it's just one of those weeks that seems to drag on and on for a lot of little reasons.

I've mentioned at times that Ticha Penicheiro is my longest-standing WNBA player collection, something I started way back with the first WNBA cards in the 90's. I recently did a sweep of eBay and found this Purple Prizm from 2022 Panini WNBA Prizm listed for a couple of bucks, and the purple goes so well with the Sacramento uniform colors that I decided to buy it. The card is # /99, but I probably would have bought it anyway if it weren't numbered because of the color match.