31 January 2017

Museum Collection Mania

I think I've mentioned once or twice that I went a little overboard on 2016 Topps UFC Museum Collection. It just appealed to me, and I picked up quite a bit of it. This is going to be a picture dump, because I scanned a lot of stuff, but I don't have a lot to say about it at the moment because I want to get this written and posted so I can go to bed.

I kind of wanted to bust a box of the product, but I never could bring myself to pull the trigger on that. I did pick up a fair number of group break slots, though, which brought me a fair number of cards for certain fighters, like Rafael Dos Anjos here. Those are his base and Gold parallels. The Gold is # 05 / 75.

Cris 'Cyborg' Justino has finally been brought into the UFC, and I am pretty sure the new Featherweight division for women was created to give her a place to play, although Germaine de Randamie and Holly Holm are going to kick the division off in a couple of weeks, with the winner presumable getting Cyborg's next fight. I got her base and Bronze card here. The Bronze is numbered # 108 / 135.

I also got Cyborg's Gold parallel ( # 45 / 75 ) and this Rashad Evans Bronze parallel ( # 084 / 135 ), probably from the same group break.

I think these single-swatch Meaningful Material cards came from a mixture of group break slots and eBay purchases. I guess the foil color is different on these, which is pretty much the only difference I can see between parallels. It's pretty subtle. The Justino card is # 06 / 50, the Rafael Dos Anjos is # 01 / 10, and the Daniel Cormier is numbered # 12 / 35.

I think most of these Primary Pieces quad relics came from a single eBay lot. I got a good deal on it, maybe because it came from overseas. I think there are many bidders who have qualms about bidding on stuff from across the ocean. There are a couple that I purchased separate from that lot, though, probably the higher-numbered of the Stipe Miocic cards and the Carla Esparza. I can't read all of the serial numbers, but I'll give a go at saying what I've got here. The first Miocic is # xx / 99, the second one is # 10 / 10, the Chris Weidman looks to be # 04 / 25, the Carlos Condit is # xx / 99, and the Carla Esparza is # 69 / 99.

These Archival Autographs are all base versions. I am pretty sure the Antonio Silva card came from the previously-mentioned overseas lot. It is numbered # 40 / 99. The others were probably separate purchases, although at least one of them might have come from a group break. Anyway, the Jim Miller is # 02 / 99, the Julianna Pena is # 11 / 99, and Cat Zingano is # 13 / 99. Miller, Pena, and Zingano are all PC fighters for me.

These are all single-relic Signature Swatches cards of varying rarity. As opposed to the on-card Archival Autographs, these are all sticker autographs. Again, the parallels seem to be mostly denoted by small shifts in foil color. The Julianna Pena is # 107 / 149, which I believe is the highest of the print runs on these. The two Cat Zingano cards are # 07 / 25 and # 09 / 25, and the TJ Dillashaw card is # 02 / 25.

This Ovince Saint Preux card came from a group break. It is one of the dual-relic Signature Swatches cards, and is numbered # 04 / 25.

Closing things out, I've got a few triple-relic Signature Swatches cards. The Julianna Pena cards are numbered # 25 / 25 and # 23 / 50. The Anthony Johnson card probably came from the overseas lot, and is numbered # 134 / 149.

I would still like to open a box of this someday, but I just know the box I get will have three scrubs for hits and I will feel bad because I could buy three really nice hits I actually want for the price of the box. With new baseball cards coming out now, I imagine the urge to break a box of this will subside as it is pushed off my radar by newer releases.

30 January 2017

A Rare Tribute to Jon Singleton

2015 Topps Tribute was a high-end product that boasted all on-card autographs. Unfortunately, the UV coating on the cards caused the on-card autographs to run, streak, and bubble. It was so bad that Topps wound up issuing a recall on the product, offering a refund on unopened boxes and replacement cards in exchange for opened product. As I understand it, the recall period ended on 30 JUN 2015, so any remaining cards out there are not eligible for exchange.

A player I collect, Jon Singleton of the Astros, was on the Tribute checklist that year, but you don't see his cards from this set pop up as often as his cards from similar sets like Triple Threads or Supreme. This Gold parallel of his autograph card from the set exhibits the ink problems that got the product recalled, but it's numbered # 14 / 25 and I got it for a couple bucks. I'm not going to be too picky at that price point.

There's not much Singleton news these days. The Astros dropped him from the 40-man roster in November, after he went through all of 2016 without a call-up. He only played in 19 games for the team in 2015, and the backlog at his position 1B/DH means that if he gets a chance again, it will probably be for another team. He's still only 25 years old, but he's running out of time to make good on his power potential. He did get a Spring Training invite, though, so maybe all hope is not lost. I really should be focusing my cardboard collection on some other Astro, like Jose Altuve or Evan Gattis, but I don't take to change very well and I'll probably still chase the odd Singleton here and there. Eventually the card companies will force me to quit, as Singleton doesn't project to show up in many future sets, unless he starts hitting or finds a role on another club.

29 January 2017

Redline Relics Signature Edition

I've been adding some nice cards to my Danica Patrick collection lately. The glut of Panini racing releases has really boosted the amount of stuff out there on the market, and that has brought a lot of older stuff out of the woodwork, too. My impression is that sale prices have dropped a tad, too, although there are still a great many overpriced listings out there to sort through.

This card from 2014 Press Pass Redline Racing comes out of the Redline Relics Signature Edition insert. It appears to be some kind of parallel, as there are other examples out there without serial numbering. This one is numbered # 01 / 10 and features a nice chunk of firesuit to go along with the red ink signature. The red ink is one of my favorite features from the Redline product. Not all of the autographs in Redline are red, but they are pretty common in comparison with other products that were much more blue- or black-ink heavy. This card has a very nice design, and I was happy to grab it back in November.

Speaking of racing, I just bought Forza Motorsports 6 for the XBox One we got for Christmas. So far it's a pretty fun game. The early stages have you use regular street cars for racing, so I was able to race using both of the cars I have sitting in my driveway. I probably haven't played a racing game seriously in ten years, so I can't say how this one stacks up against other offerings in the genre. There is a NASCAR pack for the game, but I haven't purchased it yet. I probably will in the future if I keep playing and enjoying the regular game.

28 January 2017

A Couple of UFC PSA's

Nope, not a Public Service Announcement, just a couple of Professional Sports Authenticator-graded cards. I didn't really care one way or the other about the grading and the holders, but these were a couple of cards I wanted. The grades on these two cards probably wound up hurting their sales prices, as they aren't those Gem Mint 10's that everyone wants. They are, however, listed as each fighter's 1st Autograph, which is a big thing among MMA collectors.

First up is this 2015 Topps UFC Knockout autograph of Julianna Pena. She is fighting Valentina Shevchenko tonight in the headliner for a UFC Fight Night event, with the winner probably getting a title shot against Amanda Nunes. I started a Pena collection recently, as the main fighters I've been collecting (Neil Magny and Randa Markos) haven't been showing up in many sets lately. Pena has been in most sets lately, so it gives me something to chase. She's a pretty decent fighter, too, and she is also relatively local. I went to school in Moscow, Idaho, for a while, which is just down the road from her hometown of Spokane, Washington. I now live a few hours south of there, but it's still considered pretty close in Western U.S. terms.

The second card I picked up in this lot is this 2013 Topps UFC Finest autograph of Liz Carmouche. She's a veteran, and that puts her on my list of folks who I will chase cards for. She also has a pretty cool signature, with the first part of it being "Liz" written in Kanji followed by her last initial. It was pretty nice to add her 1st Autograph to my collection.

I missed the first few fights in tonight's event, but I was able to start watching around the time the Main Card kicked off. I am hoping for a Julianna Pena victory, but my endorsement of her has probably guaranteed a loss. I guess I should have kept quiet. Hopefully she can overcome my unintentional hex and get the victory.

27 January 2017

Another Addition to the Members Only Collection - Also Reaching Out to cynicalbuddha

Before I get to my post, I need to ask cynicalbuddha to get in touch with me about your prize from my contest. I e-mailed the address listed on your Blogger profile, but I didn't ever hear back from you. I'd love to send it to you, but I need an address.

I am not feeling particularly inspired to post tonight, but I do want to get through my draft queue, so I am going to post anyway. It feels like it's been a long week. The new supervisor at work seems like a pretty good guy, but change is always hard for me. He has a lot of knowledge, so it's been good to get his take on a few of the things we've been struggling with over the last couple of months.

Probably the most exciting event of the day was that I managed to get a spot for a Stan Lee photo op at the Salt Lake Comic Con FanX in March. We named our three sons after Marvel comic book characters, with two of those characters being creations of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, so Stan Lee is a pretty big deal in our family. Supposedly this will be his last appearance in Salt Lake, so I was glad to get a spot. They sold out within one day. Now I just have to hope that my kids can manage to look at the camera for a few seconds without blinking or scowling or something.

I've been steadily adding cards to my collection of Members Only parallels from 2014 Topps Stadium Club. This Wilmer Flores card is another one. It sat on eBay for a very long time without anyone buying it, and eventually I got around to buying it. The Mr. Met patch on Flores' shoulder is pretty cool, and I like how blue the card front is in general. I don't have a lot more to say about this. When you're chasing a parallel set, there are some cards that are going to be more important than others.

25 January 2017

This Sketch Card is Loco(duck)!

I've mentioned about a million times that I have a long list of artists whose work I want to add to my sketch card collection. Lately I've been focusing on my two main sketch collections, DC's Power Girl and Princess Leia from Star Wars, but I leave wiggle room for other work that interests me. I don't want to put unnecessary constraints on my art collection.

One of the artists I've been tracking is Michael 'Locoduck' Duron. He's got a pretty distinctive art style that I like, and his sketches seem to be pretty popular. Art is kind of a weird animal, with prices all over the place, and his licensed Marvel and Star Wars work tends to sell a little (or a lot) out of my usual price range. Luckily, there are deals to be had out there, and when this Yoda / Chewbacca sketch from 2015 Topps Star Wars 3D Widevision: Revenge of the Sith popped up with a very low Buy It Now price I jumped on it quickly. It's a big full-color sketch of two popular characters, and I am glad I was able to grab it. I'd have to say that Leia and C-3PO are probably my favorite Star Wars characters, but these two aren't very far down on my list. I like the linework and coloring on this one, and in Duron's work in general. I saw that he does caricatures at one of the Disney parks, and I think that influence comes through in his art.

Here is the back of the card, with the artist's signature and Darth Vader. I like it when artists sign the back of sketch cards. It really helps a collector to seek out more art by that artist when the artist's name is somewhere on the card.

24 January 2017

Munenori Kawasaki Bowman

I don't have a lot of cards in my Munenori Kawasaki player collection, but I think I've got a couple of good ones. One set that wasn't represented in my Kawasaki collection, though, was any version of his 2009 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects World Baseball Classic insert.

I've fixed that problem by grabbing this Gold Chrome parallel of the card, numbered # 46 / 50. I've been following various versions of this card for a long time, but this one finally popped up at a price I was willing to pay for it.

I don't have a lot else to say tonight. It's only Tuesday and I already feel like it's been a hell of a week. The new supervisor at work doesn't seem to be too bad, but even neutral and good changes stress me out.

23 January 2017

Combined Shipping Leads to Buying Stuff 10: Combined Shipping is a Powerful Drug

The first card in this post is the only card I meant to purchase, but things got a little out of hand when I saw that the seller offered free shipping with the purchase of  items. I am usually able to pass up on these offers because sellers often don't have enough cards I want. This time I did track down 10 items from the seller's inventory to purchase.

Here is the card that started me down this path. It popped up in my feed at a very low price for a low-numbered UFC card. It is the Gold parallel of Jessica Penne's 2015 Topps UFC Champions card, and it is numbered # 16 / 25. As a bonus, it features a cameo by one of my PC fighters, Randa Markos. Penne would win that fight by decision. I will pick up nearly any UFC parallel card that is # / 25 or less if the price is right.

The problem with my Randa Markos collection is that, to my knowledge, she doesn't have any relics or autographs out there. I am lucky if she gets into lower-tier products with a base card and some parallels or maybe an insert. She is absent from the checklists of most hit-driven products, so I have expanded my player collections to officially include Julianna Pena. As part of the combined shipping lot, I picked up this Fight Mat Relic Card from 2016 Topps UFC Knockout. It is numbered # 076 / 188, and you can see in tiny print under the disclaimer that this relic piece comes from the TUF 18 Finale, a tournament that Pena won.

Randa Markos' next opponent is Carla Esparza. They will fight at UFC Fight Night: Browne vs. Lewis in February. This card is Esparza's Gold parallel from 2016 Topps UFC Knockout, numbered # 44 / 99.

I also picked up this Green parallel of Leslie Smith from 2015 Topps UFC Chronicles. It is numbered # 088 / 288. Smith has had an up-and-down career in the UFC so far, last defeating Irene Aldana in December.

The last UFC card in this lot is this Silver parallel of Tecia Torres from 2016 Topps UFC Knockout. It is numbered # 022 / 227. Torres lost a fight to Rose Namajunas in April 2016, and has an upcoming fight against Bec Rawlings in February.

I closed out the order with a couple of Hakeem Olajuwon and Shannon Sharpe cards for those particular player collections. I think the top left Olajuwon is from 1999-00 Skybox E-X, and the top right Olajuwon is from 1997-98 Flair Showcase. On the bottom are a 1999 Topps Gold Label and a 1998 Flair Showcase card for Sharpe.

There are apparently only nine cards in this post. There is a 1997 Pinnacle Shannon Sharpe card that should be here, but I don't see the scan for it, and the Leslie Smith Green parallel was from another order and ought to be replaced by a Cat Zingano card that also isn't in the scans for this post. I was twisting my brain around trying to match the cards in that order to the cards in this post. That's what happens when you let cards pile up before you scan them. Either way, I originally went to buy the card at the top of the post and wound up ordering 9 more to go with it, including some of the cards pictured here.