30 November 2015

Pack of the Day 113: 2015 Topps WWE Undisputed

When Topps announced that they would be releasing a new high-end wrestling product called WWE Undisputed I knew I wanted to try some of it out, but I couldn't stomach the $200+ price tag on a box of the stuff. I found an online breaker who was selling the product by the pack and decided to give it a try. The pack promises 5 total cards, with one being an autograph or autograph relic card.

First up are the base cards and parallels I pulled. The cards are quite thick and remind me of the Star Wars Masterwork cards that were released earlier this year. The design is a bit different, but the thickness and texturing on the cards feels similar. The photos of the wrestlers are glossy cutouts and the backgrounds have a matte finish. That Edge card is a Silver parallel and is numbered # 17 / 25. It doesn't have a special finish or anything, just a slightly different pattern on the background. None of these are really wrestlers I collect, but the cards are cool enough. I guess the Bret "The Hit Man" Hart card is my favorite from this batch. I'm not sure which Hogwarts House that uniform on Cameron is supposed to represent. Slytherin, maybe? I remember watching Edge wrestle in my late teen years when my sisters and I would gather around the TV in my room and watch wrestling every week. My wife and I also saw him and Lita beat Kane when WWE RAW came to Idaho in 2005.  WWE is a great event to attend live, even if you're not that into wrestling. The best part of that event for me, though, was getting to see Roddy Piper and Sgt. Slaughter wrestle live. There was a several year period where the WWE came to Boise, but I don't think they've been back since 2010. I wish they would because going is a lot of fun, but we seem to get passed over for a lot of that kind of stuff since we're stuck in a black hole between Denver, Salt Lake City, Portland, and Seattle.

The card backs feature a few demographic tidbits like height, weight, and hometown. This is followed up by a few bullet points with highlights from the wrestler's career. It's a nice, clean design.

There are a couple of inserts in the product. I pulled a Famous Finishers card of Undertaker's Tombstone move. It's a decent insert, although the idea has been used a few times before. I guess it's hard to find a lot of things that haven't been done yet on cardboard, though, and a wrestler's signature closing move is a pretty big part of their persona. The Tombstone isn't the most photogenic move out there.

I pulled a decent hit card, with an Autograph Relic Card of Dolph Ziggler. I'm not too familiar with him, as he came around after I'd moved away from following the WWE very closely. A brief look at his Wikipedia entry tells me he's probably a decent guy. I would get back into watching the WWE, but I've got so many hobbies that it's hard to make time for it. Based on the box breaks I've watched of this product, this Dolph Ziggler relic auto is a pretty common pull. I guess they had a lot of his stickers.

The back of the Famous Finishers card features a write-up about the move, as well as a particular highlight of a time when the wrestler used the move in a particularly memorable way. It would be cool if the picture on the front matched the highlight on the back, but it doesn't. The back of the autograph relic features the standard congratulatory message.

Overall this is a pretty nice product, in my opinion. Like any hit-driven product, you are going to miss far more often than you hit. There are some pretty good names on the checklist, as well as the usual array of filler hits. I would really have liked to get a hit featuring The Iron Sheik, John Cena, or maybe Randy Orton or The Big Show. The Diva hits appear to be pretty popular. Notable names that are missing include Hulk Hogan and Paige, but Pete Rose makes a surprise appearance for Topps in a non-baseball product with an autograph in the checklist. I don't know that I'd pony up for a whole box of this stuff, but it would be a nice product for the occasional pack or single hit purchased from eBay.

29 November 2015

Princess Leia Topps Star Wars 5x7 Sticker Print

Topps continues to put out wall art and prints to sell on their website, and apparently people keep buying them. I am one of the suckers, although usually I buy singles from someone who has purchased a set to break down and resell. This is a 5"x7" Sticker Print of Princess Leia that I got from eBay. Unfortunately it is just a print in the design of the trading card-sized stickers and not actually a giant sticker. From what I've been able to gather, the print run on the Blue version is 49 copies of each print, while there is a Green version limited to 199 copies and a Red version limited to 10 copies each. My example of this card / print is # 17 / 49.

The holiday weekend was all right. We stayed home for the most part, venturing out once to see some family for a few hours. My wife made some really good food for Thanksgiving, and we've been eating the leftover turkey, pie, and rolls for the whole extended weekend. Outside of that, my kids put together a big LEGO kit to play with and I worked on some online classes for work.

We have been making progress on paying off the various financial mistakes of our 20's and early 30's, which unfortunately means that I've had to sit out this year's Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals. I've been watching the Dave & Adam's Card World sales, and there is some really good stuff available from them. I know a lot of people hit up the COMC sale at this time of year, but for me the big draw is the Dave & Adam's Card World and Blowout! Cards sales. I need to set aside some money this year so I can be ready for the sales next year.

28 November 2015

1995 Topps Stadium Club Master Photos Houston Rockets

After a surprise package from The Prowling Cat showed up with the 1994 Houston Rockets version of the Topps Stadium Club Basketball Master Photo set, I got to wondering if there was a 1995 version. They were available by way of a redemption program. Each team had an insert card in the set, and you got certain prizes based on how far they progressed in the playoffs that year. If I remember right, the Master Photo set was the prize for a team that won the Conference Championship series. I found out that they existed for the 1995 set and set off in search of one. As it turned out, the cheapest available option was an auction for three sets. I won the bidding without competition and wound up with three Master Photo sets. Since I had three of them I busted one out of the cellophane wrapping to get a look at all ten cards. They are 5"x7" photos with the regular base card in the middle and a patterned, foiled border around the edges. I wondered how Clyde Drexler would be incorporated into the set, and it turned out that Topps used a Stadium Club College Teammates insert to fit him into the checklist, as the card featured Hakeem Olajuwon and Drexler from their time as college teammates.

I scanned a couple more important members of the Rockets team of that era, Kenny Smith and Sam Cassell. During my basketball-collecting heyday I mostly collected Hakeem Olajuwon cards, but I also collected Houston Rockets in general and built up a decent little collection of cards featuring these guys and all the other players on the roster. It probably amounted to several hundred different Houston Rockets cards by the time it was all said and done.

27 November 2015

Wonder Woman Sketch Card by Bianca Thompson

One artist I've had on my wish list for a long time is Bianca Thompson, who has a very distinctive airbrushed art style. I've chased quite a few of her cards on eBay, but it took a while for me to actually win one that matched my collecting interests. I was kicking myself a bit for missing out on a really cool Princess Leia sketch she listed a while back. I think I forgot it was ending and took a nap or something, and by the time I got back on the computer it had ended. A little while later this Wonder Woman sketch popped up and I won it. She takes commissions so I guess I could have asked her to get on the commission list for a Leia, but to be honest I didn't think of that until now.

She's got a decent inventory in her eBay store that covers a wide variety of comic book, movie, and other pop culture subjects. She has also worked on a few licensed sketch card sets, so other sellers occasionally list pack-pulled stuff she's done. I like her art because it's distinctive. No one else in the sketch card world really does what she does. I am drawn toward artists whose work stands out, so when I am scrolling through the sketch card listings I can recognize their work at a glance. You can see some of her other artwork on the back of the sketch card as well as on the business card she included in the envelope:

You can see that she also does sketches on blank comic book covers, and I think the Rosie the Riveter-inspired Wonder Woman there is available as a poster or a print. Her website has got galleries of quite a bit of her stuff, and like I mentioned before her eBay shop is usually pretty well-stocked.

26 November 2015

Breaking it Down 23: Cards from the Nachos Grande Group Break

The last time I posted cards from a Nachos Grande group break, it took me a whole year to write the post. I didn't want that to happen again, so I made sure to get the scans cropped and ready to go (relatively) soon after receiving the cards. My notes tell me I got the cards on November 16th, so this really is a pretty quick turnaround from receipt to posting. This break ran for a while in October and November and featured several boxes of product from 2015, 2014, and 2012, along with some miscellaneous other bonus items. Per his usual, Nachos Grande added some extras to each package to go along with the group break stuff. I was a little slow on getting into the break, but I was still able to get one of my top teams, the Toronto Blue Jays.

I guess I could have saved it for last, but I am leading off with the hit that got pulled for my team, a Dalton Pompey autograph from 2015 Topps Heritage High Numbers. I don't know much about him, to be honest, but pre-2015 he was ranked by various organizations as being in the Top 50 or so prospects in baseball. He has spent some time with the Major League club during the last two seasons, although his numbers while there haven't been awesome. It looks like he's done some pretty good things in the minors, though, so maybe he just needs a little more seasoning.

These cards from 1982 Topps Baseball were some of the cooler bonus items in the package, especially the Danny Ainge card. He is most well-known for his basketball career, but he started out as a professional baseball player with special considerations made for him to play college basketball on the side. He wound up being drafted by the Boston Celtics and after some legal wrangling retired from baseball to go play basketball.

These are some of the Heritage High Number base cards I got. I had already purchased a full set of these, so I didn't really need them. Kevin Pillar had quite a season defensively, although he didn't get the Gold Glove award due to Kevin Kiermaier's even better year.

I've always liked the Collector's Choice brand, although that Joe Carter card kind of has some overkill going with three Blue Jays logos visible on the card front. I like that Jose Bautista game card, too, although it's not quite on the SEGA Card-Gen level.

That Roberto Osuna card comes from the 2015 Topps High Tek set, which has a staggering array of background patterns and parallels. This is the Pipes background, which is not particularly rare, but is also not the most common pattern. Again Collector's Choice pops up with a cool card. It's a shame that catchers are prevented from painting their masks now due to licensing agreements with the equipment manufacturers. I tend to like it when players like hockey goalies and baseball catchers can personalize their gear a little bit. The other cards in the scan are a cool look at some sets I wasn't familiar with.

I got a couple of Gold parallels from the 2015 Topps Stadium Club box. One is Daniel Norris, who got traded to the Tigers shortly after I made a half-hearted attempt to start a player collection of his cards. The other features the bat-flipping maestro, Jose Bautista, who is a favorite player of mine. I can't afford his cards, though. I wound up with a couple of cards from 2015 Topps Chrome. I can't remember for sure if any of them are Refractors, but I am pretty certain I didn't get anything bigger than a basic Refractor anyhow.

I think that Colby Rasmus came from the box of 2012 Panini Prizm. He is now with the Astros and just recently became the first player in history to accept a qualifying offer. My eyes still reject the idea of Frank Thomas as a member of any team other than the White Sox. That must be a different Frank Thomas.

I scanned the horizontal cards together, so this scan covers some ground I've already been over. I think I like 2014 Topps Stadium Club more than I like the 2015 version. Maybe it's just because I bought several boxes of 2014 and have been gathering Members Only parallels from that set. I don't think I've purchased more than a retail pack or two of the 2015 set. That Devon Travis card jogs my memory a little bit. I think the two previous 2015 Topps Chrome scans were base cards and this one is a Refractor.

I don't sign up for group breaks as often as I used to, but I still get drawn into one from time to time. I didn't scan all the cards that Nachos Grande sent me, but I hit most of the highlights. It was a fun break and I was lucky enough to choose a team that pulled a hit, so I am pretty happy overall. It probably worked out better for me than buying an equivalent dollar amount of unopened wax, which would really only be a blaster and a couple of loose retail packs or 3-5 Hobby packs of low-end product.

25 November 2015

Blast from My Past 2: 1993 Post Collector Series

I have always loved getting stuff in the mail. It is one of the things that drives me through each day. One of my enduring memories from childhood comes from the time my dad was stationed in Alaska for a couple of years. We had one of those communal mailboxes with the little keyed compartments and I would retrieve our key and make the trek down the road to get the mail almost every day. In the summer I could wear regular clothes, in the winter I had to bundle up, and during the spring thaw I'd wear rubber boots or wear regular shoes and get my feet wet from stepping in slush, mud, or puddles.

Being a kid I didn't have a lot of money, so much of my mail came from sending in cereal box Proofs of Purchase for items like card sets and Matchbox cars. I also made ample use of the offers in the back of magazines and comic books, mostly to order lots of postage stamps, sample catalogs, and anything else that could be had cheaply. Those 4-6 week shipping times were killers. Today we get agitated if an eBay purchase takes more than a week to arrive, but some of the stuff I ordered as a kid could take a whole summer vacation to hit the mailbox! I still check the mailbox every day, even though I know my wife gets the mail before I get home. It's part of my routine. This 1993 Post Collector's Series set was available in 3-card packs from Post cereals, but you could also order a set direct from Post. That's probably what I did, as I have a full set plus 3 cards. I must have pulled the pack of cards from a cereal box and liked them so much I ordered a set.

There are 30 cards in the set, and it is pretty well packed with star power from the early 90's. All of the big names make appearances, dressed in their airbrushed prison ball uniforms. I wasn't always hooked into any avenues for traditional sports cards from Topps, Fleer, and Upper Deck, so these food issues played a key role in my awareness of the stars of the day.

In fact, when I really got into card collecting as a teenager in the mid-90's I was mostly into basketball and non-sports cards, so these cereal cards made up the bulk of my baseball collection. I was too busy chasing NBA players and Independence Day Widevision sets to bother with baseball much beyond checking the standings every so often to see how the Astros were doing. I'd read the sports page in the paper, too, so I'd get whatever the big baseball headlines were.

I don't remember exactly when I started playing fantasy baseball, but Yahoo! has records showing that I've had teams all the way back to 2003. Maybe I played before then, but I can't remember for sure. For many years that was my main connection to baseball. I didn't watch many games, but I did keep up with the stats of individual guys, especially the guys who ended up on my roster. My 3rd-place team from 2003 included such luminaries as Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Aramis Ramirez, Juan Pierre, Edgar Martinez, Raul Mondesi, Marquis Grissom, Jim Edmonds, Bret Boone, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, and Mike Mussina. Not a bad lineup, really.

I have to wonder a little bit if this kind of card issue would bring more young folks into the hobby of collecting today? I didn't have access to any sort of regular card shop when I was a kid, but food issue sets kept me generally aware of the sports world during my formative years. Maybe I never would have fallen into card collecting without them.

24 November 2015

Another NASCAR Season Ends: 2014 Press Pass Total Memorabilia Danica Patrick Quad Relic

I took a day off from blogging yesterday. It was my birthday, but that didn't really keep me from blogging. I got a big lot of M.U.S.C.L.E. figures in the mail and it took me a couple of hours to get them cleaned up. For the most part they weren't too dirty, but I like to give them a quick bath in some Simple Green and give them a scrub with a toothbrush. That also allows me to check for missing / broken parts and other damage that might get overlooked. Tonight I will probably sort them into the collection, marking off my checklist and setting aside any doubles for distribution to my kids.

I was able to watch this week's NASCAR race, the Ford Ecoboost 400, which ended with Kyle Busch as the winner of the race and the overall season champion. My kids were happy to see the M&M's car on the TV so much. The other cars they liked were the McDonald's car and the Target car, but the M&M's vehicle is definitely their top choice in any race. I was pulling for Jeff Gordon to win it all in his last race, but he wasn't running well enough to catch the leaders and finished in 6th place after spending most of the race in the 10th-12th spots. Some of the other drivers I follow, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Josh Wise, had altercations with cars and walls and fell to the bottom of the pack, although both were still running when the race ended. Josh Wise's accident at least served to get some screen time for him and his sponsors, as the cars at the back of the pack don't often get on the screen at all during a broadcast.

Danica Patrick, the subject of this post, started in 35th and ran a lot of the race in the mid-teens before falling back through the field and finishing in her usual mid-twenties finish at 24th. That's not a bad finish, really, but I wonder if she'll ever move into the next tier of drivers with an average finish somewhere better than 20th place? The card in this post is a pretty nifty one, although it didn't scan all that well due to the fact that it is rolling in holofoil. It comes from the 2014 Press Pass Total Memorabilia set and features four relic swatches, all of them multi-colored. Clockwise from the upper left are a firesuit piece, a bit of sheet metal, a swatch of shirt, and a fragment from a glove. This is the Melting parallel and it is numbered # 15 / 25. The card popped up on my feed as a Buy It Now for about $10 less than I would expect the bidding to reach on something like this, so I hit the button and made it mine.

And that marks the end of the NASCAR season. I've still got one or two NASCAR cards to post about. I may save them for the start of the 2016 season or I may get impatient and post them sooner. I'm nowhere near a hardcore fan, but I do like to follow a few drivers and watch a handful of races during the year.

22 November 2015

Junior Junkie's Best Page Challenge


The Junior Junkie recently posted a challenge to create the best binder page possible from your collection and share it with the world (or at least the sports card blog-reading world). Coming up with my page was pretty easy to come up with, but it was a little bit harder than I thought it would be to fill out all nine slots. I started thinking that I could probably do a complete page for many of my mini-collections, like sketch cards, Star Wars, wrestling, baseball, basketball, maybe football, and some of my player collections. There are some notable (to me) cards that didn't make the cut. Some of the cards that did make the cut aren't 100% secure in their spots. But if I tried to make a definitive best page it would get posted 15 years from now and no one would know what I was talking about when I linked back to The Junior Junkie's post from 2015. This is the best page from my collection that I could come up with after a couple days of thinking about it and about 35 minutes sorting through boxes to find cards. I also didn't scan them into a binder page because the relic cards wouldn't fit and I was nervous in general about putting these cards in and out of pages, sleeves, and top loaders. These are the best 9 cards in my collection, after all.

  • I considered putting Hakeem Olajuwon's rookie card on the page, but I think his second-year 1987-88 Fleer card is probably more important to me. When I was a teenager and heavily into basketball card collecting, his 1986-87 Fleer Rookie card booked for between $100 and $200. It was unattainable. The local shop had his 1987-88 card in the display case for $30 + tax, and I eventually saved up enough money to buy it. After bringing it home I realized that it had soft corners and a light crease and probably wasn't worth a quarter of what I paid for it, but it was still a second-year Hakeem Olajuwon card and the centerpiece of my collection. Now you can get them for a buck or two all day long, and you can even get a PSA 9 copy for less than $20 shipped. But this card will always be special just because I saved up for so long and felt so much excitement leading up to the purchase of the card. I may or may not track down a 'better' copy some day.
  • This Hakeem Olajuwon relic / auto comes from a set so high-end it gets delivered in a briefcase instead of a cardboard box, 2012-13 Panini Flawless. It is easily the most valuable Olajuwon card in my collection and also my only Olajuwon autograph. He actually signed these cards twice, once on the card and once on the relic swatch. I doubt this will be surpassed in the near future as the centerpiece of my Olajuwon collection.
  • Card # 3 in my binder page is the only Superfractor in my collection. More importantly, it is the jewel in my Josh Reddick 2013 Topps Super Rainbow. The same photo was used for his cards across several different products in 2013, so I decided to build a multi-product rainbow of parallels. You can see the current rainbow in it's entirety here. I am still missing some cards, but I've got 38 different variations so far. Most of what I'm missing is 1 / 1 's, printing plates, and a few # / 5 and maybe some # / 10 cards. I overpaid for this card, but I 'needed' it.

  • This was my first Carrie Fisher autograph, and it is still the best one I've got. It's a sticker autograph from the 2013 Topps Star Wars: Jedi Legacy set. I would love to get one of the on-card ones like the ones she signed for Masterwork or Chrome, but I don't have $250-350 just sitting around right now for that. If I were to add one of those to my collection they would bump this one from the page.
  • The infamous C-3PO # 207 error card from 1977 Topps Star Wars was one of the borderline cards for this page, but I needed something with a bit of a laugh factor on my page. These aren't particularly rare, but they sell pretty consistently at a premium. If you haven't noticed it yet, the error is that C-3PO happens to be sporting an extra-long golden probe at his waistline. There are various stories that attempt to explain the origins of the error. Some say that a piece fell off the costume just as the photographer took the picture. Some assert that it was a trick of the light. Some even think a mischievous or vindictive Topps employee painted the wang onto the photo prior to sending the set to print. C-3PO's golden member caused an uproar and the error was corrected in later print runs. No matter how the error was caused, this card makes me laugh every time I see it and that propels it to a spot on the page. Other candidates for this spot were a 2013 Topps Star Wars: Jedi Legacy relic piece from Jabba the Hutt's Sail Barge and a Shield Bunker relic from 2015 Star Wars Masterwork.
  • The final card on this row is a card that I sought out for a very long time before Zippy Zappy found a copy and directed me to the seller who had it. It's a Foil Rare card of R.A. Dickey from 2013 SEGA Card-Gen, a card set dispensed in Japan by an arcade game that used the cards as playing pieces. I had obtained quite a few SEGA Card-Gen cards, but this one was a bear to track down. For that reason it is probably my most-loved R.A. Dickey card and my most favorite SEGA Card-Gen card. That's good enough to put it on this page as a representative of both collections.

  • Putting two NASCAR cards on this page seems a little like overkill, especially since I don't have any football cards on here and the other sports are a bit short, too. In the end I couldn't decide on a football or baseball card that would definitively bump either of these cards off the list, so I kept them both here. The first one is an auto / relic of Danica patrick from 2014 Press Pass Five Star. It's got a nice clean autograph and a big piece of firesuit with part of the GoDaddy logo on it. I'm thinking the relic could be part of the collar of the firesuit, but it may come from the sleeve or the chest or really just about anywhere, as there seem to be 7 or 8 different GoDaddy patches on her firesuits. That will change soon as GoDaddy dropped from her list of primary sponsors and got replaced by Nature's Bakery. I'll miss the bright green color scheme but it will at least be something different to collect as soon as someone picks up the NASCAR trading card license.
  • The second card is nearly a Holy Grail of NASCAR for me. It's got sheet metal relic pieces from the cars arguably my four favorite drivers embedded in it. The reason I call it nearly a Holy Grail card is that there is an autograph version featuring signatures from all these drivers. That card would be an awesome addition to my collection, but I think the cheapest I've ever seen it on the market was over $800. The card has Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick, Jeff Gordon, and Tony Stewart on it. That's some pretty good star power. This memorabilia version is a very good place holder against the day when I get that other card. This card comes from the 2010 Press Pass Showcase set. I actually have another version of this card, but this one made the cut because it's a parallel with a lower print run.
  • The last card on the page is a nod to an iconic wrestling figure on an iconic card design, Hulk Hogan on a Precious Metal Gems card. This card was only issued to Upper Deck employees as a special incentive card and was limited to a print run of 125 copies. There were some other sports figures in the set, like Tiger Woods, Mike Tyson, and Michael Phelps, but the Hulkster was the one I wanted. I actually wound up buying a lot of four of these because it was much cheaper per unit than singles were at the time. I have since sold two of them, but haven't got around to selling the third one. I think I made my money back on the two sales, so there isn't a lot of pressure to get that one out the door. Recently one of the ones I'd sold popped up on eBay with a BGS 9.0 slab on it. I don't think the guy made any money off of it after accounting for grading fees, eBay fees, and shipping. The Hulkster's star has lost some shine over the last year or two, but he is the one guy who really represents the totality of professional wrestling during my youth. This Precious Metal Gems card is one of my favorite cards and is easily the centerpiece of my WWF/WWE collection. I thought about putting a Japanese wrestling card in this spot, but I don't have one single card that represents my collection as an extension of myself as well as this one does.
And that's it for my own best 9-card page of cards in my collection. There were a couple of notable snubs, a couple of gut calls, and plenty of nostalgia and fun as I sorted through my cards trying to pick the 'best' ones from my collection. In the end I think I am pretty comfortable with my choice. One big category of card that I left out was sketches. I have quite a few sketches and I have favorites among them, but I would have difficulty putting one of them above the others. I thought it would be better just to leave them out. I felt bad that some of my favorite players got excluded, like Gheorghe Muresan, Munenori Kawasaki, Jon Singleton, and Manute Bol, but I didn't have cards from them that could bump these other cards from the list. That was in large part due to some of the cards on my page filling roles in several categories, like R.A. Dickey's card being a key card in that player collection as well as representing SEGA Card-Gen on the page.

21 November 2015

Just the Commons, Ma'am 9: Rich 'Goose' Gossage Instant Player Collection

One thing I like to do to get a nice player collection started is go onto the Just Commons website, search for the player's name, and add everything that's reasonably priced to my cart. I did that with Mario Mendoza and a couple of times with Jon Singleton. They split out some of their sets by condition, and because I'm not a details guy I will wind up with duplicates like those 1980 Topps cards on the lower right of the scan. I basically just go down the search list and add anything under $0.50 or so. Anything higher than that will get a short glance and a decision one way or the other. This time I built a quick Rich 'Goose' Gossage collection. I even picked up his 1973 Topps rookie card, although it is not in great shape. It must have been cheap! Filling out this scan are a couple different sizes of 1975 Topps and what I think is a 1976 SSPC issue.

I'm not sure how that Nolan Ryan / J.R. Richard card got in there, but there it is. Like I said, I'm not a details guy when it comes to this process, so I got three different Rich Gossage / Rollie Fingers Leading Firemen cards from the 1979 Topps set. A contributor to the duplication problem is that the shopping cart on the site is a visual mess, so it is hard to see what exactly you've got in your cart and make adjustments. I'd rather order a couple extra cards and be out a dollar or two than sort through that mess.

Apparently duplication was a problem for me with the 1979 Topps set. Oh well. One of them might be a Burger King variation; maybe the one with the red banner. We still haven't reached the mustache years, but they are coming. I was going to say that 1981 Donruss card marks the first non-Topps card in this post, but the SSPC up above would make that a lie. It does mark the first year I was alive, though, but in all likelihood the set was released a few months before I actually entered the scene.

This is a colorful bunch of cards, with a couple of O-Pee-Chee cards sneaking into the mix. I do like that Super Veteran card in the bottom row.

I think these were all from an early-80's sticker set. They were a different size, so they got their own scan in this post. At first glance the one in the middle and the foil one look like they could be duplicate photos, but the pose is different.

This scan features a nice variety of cards with Gossage in a Padres uniform. He is probably most famous as a Yankee, but he had some pretty long stints with a couple of other teams. I especially like that 1986 Sportflics card, although it is the one that scans most poorly. The 1985 Donruss in the upper left is probably my second choice out of this batch. I never like the Classic brand cards. The ones I got for my basketball collection always seemed cheap and second-rate. They were usually damaged right out of the pack, with poorly-cut edges and bad corners, along with poor photo selection and design. Maybe other people had different experiences with them, but I didn't like Classic.

We're now approaching the cards I might have been aware of in my youth, as I really got my start with 1989 and 1990 Topps, but accumulated some cards from the surrounding years as well. The woodgrain 1987 Topps cards stand out as ones I definitely had a few of in my youth.

Posts like this usually sit in my queue for months because I have a hard time getting through so many paragraphs. I've been working most of the day on getting this post done, and I am making very slow progress without even really saying much. My kids have been off the wall all day and I've been running back and forth dealing with their issues. I love my kids, but they sure know how to make my Saturday disappear without anything to show for it but a bad attitude.

For whatever reason the set I most associate with the smell of baseball card gum is 1989 Topps. Something about that set just brings that smell and taste to mind right away. I don't have a particular memory to tie that sensation to, but it must be locked in there somewhere in my subconsciousness.

That card in the upper left commemorates 24 JUL 1991, when Nolan Ryan recorded his 308th win and Gossage his 308th save in the same game. That's a pretty cool moment, although it looks like Gossage had a pretty rough season overall. Ryan was still dealing pretty well in 1991, though. I also like that leaf card, with the baseball hanging out there in the foreground. 

The Leaf card in the previous scan started the rush of parallels, and there will be quite a few of them over the next couple of scans. This one features a Topps Gold Winners parallel and a Score Gold Rush parallel. It looks like the Gold Winners cards were part of some kind of redemption program. I don't know. I wasn't really aware of 1992 Topps at the time.

One set I really liked during the heyday of my collecting in the mid-90's was Upper Deck's Collector's Choice brand. The packs were pretty cheap and the photography was great, with a lot of fun shots. I wasn't really into baseball cards at that time, though. I was buying basketball cards. I always liked getting the Silver Signature cards, even though I never pulled anyone that was any good. I'd say that Collector's Choice is the brand from my youth that I miss the most. Probably the closest thing to it these days is Topps Opening Day, but that is too much of a reprint (pre-print?) of the base Topps set to really compare to the niche that Collector's Choice filled.

That card in the middle seems a lot like Upper Deck was trying to be Stadium Club. I guess you can't blame them. Stadium Club was a nice-looking set a lot of the time.

Here's all the newer stuff. That 1973 Topps in the middle row must be a reprint of some kind, maybe a Cards Your Mom Threw Out card? I still don't really know where the Obak cards came from. I'm sure they are a reprint of an earlier set, but I am not familiar with the early set or which company printed the new ones. I guess it'll remain a mystery until I go out and research it. There are a couple of Archives and Gypsy Queen cards in here, too.

And that's it for this batch. Outside of a break between ~1998 and ~2008 (I'm going by memory here, so the estimate might be off by a couple of years in either direction) this player collection runs from 1973 to 2015, or over 40 years of cardboard history. I'm sure there are Gossage cards from the missing time period, but I didn't collect during that time frame and Just Commons didn't have any cards available from that time. It makes sense that he would start getting cards printed again in the 2008 range, as he got inducted into the Hall of Fame and collector interest probably picked up a bit. This lot was a pretty good addition to the Gossage autograph I picked up earlier this year.

20 November 2015

Wonder Woman Personal Sketch Card by Stacey Kardash

Recently a post popped up, possibly on one of the sketch card groups I follow on Facebook, announcing that artist Stacey Kardash was holding a sale in her Storenvy shop. I went and dug around and found this Wonder Woman sketch card. It's a pretty nice sketch. I like the colors, but unfortunately my scanner really wants to wash out huge sections of color and replace them with blank space. You should check out her Facebook and page and her shop to see some more artwork she's done.

Wonder Woman is one of my favorite comic book characters, but I don't add a lot of sketch cards featuring her because they just aren't available. There are at least one or two very dedicated Wonder Woman collectors out there, and they seem to snatch up most of the available stuff, often even before it hits the open market. Other people grab up the few cards that make it onto the market, so I consider myself pretty lucky when I can land a good one like this card here.