26 February 2018

Just the Parallels, Inserts, and Hits from a Hobby Box of 2017 Panini Donruss Racing

A couple of days ago I got my three-box order of 2018 BBM True Heart Japanese Woman's Wrestling cards in the mail. That is one of my most-anticipated acquisitions of the year, and usually makes for one of the longest posts of the year. I am still working on processing all of the photos for that one, so it will probably be another few days until the post is ready. In the meantime, I am working through some of the posts in my wayback queue.

Today I decided to do this box of 2017 Panini Donruss Racing that I opened last year at some point. I opened this box of cards so long ago that I don't even remember how it came into my possession. I obviously purchased it somewhere, but I don't recall where or when. 

As with most of Panini's Donruss offerings, this product has plenty of inserts, variations, regular parallels, parallels of variations, and parallels of inserts. It makes for a fun break, but it can also kind of be overload when you're sorting all of the cards out (or writing a post about them). I think most of the Cracked Ice parallels in this set, like the Austin Dillon Phenoms card, have print runs of # / 999. The Call to the Hall and Top Tier cards are not numbered, but the blue border on the Hamlin makes me feel like it should be numbered. The Ryan Newman Rocket Man nickname Gold parallel is # / 499, while the Terry Labonte Iceman is the basic version. I don't know why the Greg Biffle Race Kings card is numbered # / 499 and the Ryan Blaney isn't, but there's probably some foil color variation that I can't see in the scan right now. I think the Danica Patrick and Michael Waltrip Classics inserts are both regular versions.

I believe there was a Cut to the Chase card made for each race winner of 2016, and I pulled two of Jimmie Johnson's victories. One is a Cracked Ice parallel. The Daniel Hemric card is a parallel of some sort, numbered # / 499, while the Matt Kenseth retro design card is some other kind of parallel, numbered # / 199. I know this is ground-breaking accuracy here, but I don't want to do research tonight.

Here are all the horizontal cards. I pulled a couple of Speed inserts, a regular Kevin Harvick and a Cracked Ice # / 999 of Martin Truex Jr. I did the same with the Pole Position cards, getting a regular Martin Truex Jr. and a Cracked Ice # / 999 Carl Edwards. I just got the one Track Masters insert, with another Jimmie Johnson insert from this box. Lastly, there are some parallels, with the Clint Bowyer featuring two different liveries being # / 499, the Blue foil Kyle Busch being # / 299, and the holofoil Press Proof of Martin Truex Jr. and his pit crew being # / 49.

Each box of cards contains three hits, which I think consist of two relics and one autograph. Most of the relics are these Rubber Relics tire cards. They aren't numbered, and feature swatches of race-used tires. My first of the box is Kevin Harvick.

My next Rubber Relics card features Brad Keselowski. I don't really collect Harvick or Keselowski, but they are at least some of the bigger names in the sport. I am currently looking for an active driver to cheer for, as all of my favorite drivers have retired. I am leaning toward Darrell 'Bubba' Wallace Jr. and Kyle Busch, but I haven't decided yet.

The last hit of the box is my promised autograph, a Signature Series card of Dakoda Armstrong. He raced in the Xfinity series for most of 2017, but got released for lack of sponsorship.

Those hit cards didn't exactly blow my doors off, so the card of the break has to be this Black printing plate of Kyle Busch's Pit Crew card. It's a pretty nice-looking plate, and if you're going to get a printing plate, the Black one is usually one of the better options.

25 February 2018

Upper Deck Marvel Beginnings III Ant-Man and Miss Thing Sketch by Chris Foreman

It's been a little while since I posted some art, so here's a sketch card post. I haven't done much blogging or blog reading over the last few days, as there has been a lot going on at work and at home. I'm hoping for things to settle back down after another week or two, but we'll see how it goes.

This sketch card comes from a licensed set, Upper Deck Marvel Beginnings III. The characters on the front are Ant-Man and the shoulder of Miss Thing. This particular iteration of the characters comes from a Fantastic Four storyline. Reed Richards planned a trip through space and time for the original Fantastic Four members, and asked each member of the team to find a replacement on the roster, just in case something went wrong. He asked Ant-Man to be his replacement. Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, was distracted and forgot to ask someone to replace him, so at the last minute he had to ask his pop-star girlfriend, Darla Deering, to stand in his place. She was fitted with a Thing exoskeleton, and became Miss Thing.

The artist on this sketch card is Chris Foreman. He's a rather prolific sketch card artist, or at least he was when this set was released. I am not sure if he's been on more recent sets. I've shown off a couple of Power Girl sketches by him in the past. On this card I especially like the cross-hatching around Ant-Man and the shading effects on Miss Thing's rocky suit. The card is numbered # 31 / 99 on the back, which probably means that Foreman did 99 sketches for the product.

21 February 2018

Dickey Prime Cuts

I don't know if I have allergies or a persistent cold right now, but I am leaning toward it being allergies. Either way, I have been pretty miserable for the last few days, especially when I've been cleaning up around the house and in the yard. Benadryl doesn't seem to do much for me, so I've been on a relatively steady dosage of DayQuil. It stinks to be the snuffly, sneezy guy in the office, but after a lifetime with horrible allergies I am kinda used to it.

I picked up this R.A. Dickey autograph on eBay a while back. It comes from 2016 Panini Prime Cuts Baseball. Prime Cuts is one of those products where every player has different print runs, so you have to look at a spreadsheet to figure out which parallel you've got. The spreadsheet tells me that this is the Holo Gold parallel of Dickey's autograph, and my card is # 10 / 10. As far as I know, Dickey hasn't signed anywhere yet for 2018, but I'm sure that if he wants to keep playing some team will pick him up. He did okay for Atlanta last season, and the knuckleball doesn't regress with age as much as other pitches.

20 February 2018

N20 Allen & Ginter Prize & Game Chickens 28: White Cochin Cock

It's been a little while since I posted a chicken card, and I've got a couple in the queue, so here we go! I've been working on a vintage set of Allen & Ginter cards, the N20 Fifty Prize & Game Chickens set from 1891. I am approaching the 3/5 mark on the set, with today's card being my 28th from the 50-card checklist. Because the cards are over 125 years old, I don't have a lot of requirements for condition, but I do try to get cards that have both front and back intact, especially the pictures on the front.

Card 28 in my set build is the White Cochin Cock. Cochins come in a variety of colors, and are a heavy bird with feathered feet.

Here's a picture of one from FeatherSite's Cochin page. According to what passes for research around here (looking at Wikipedia and FeatherSite for a minute or two), Cochins have been bred for show at the expense of egg-laying and meat-producing qualities. They still lay eggs and you can eat them, but they aren't as good for either purpose as birds bred specifically bred for eggs or meat.

19 February 2018

Half a Case of The Guild

I've been busting boxes of Cryptozoic's The Guild trading cards whenever I can, chasing the short-printed autograph of Felicia Day as her character, Codex, from the video game in the web series. Several months ago I tried to buy a case of the set from Dave & Adam's Card World, but they only had half a case in stock, or six boxes. So I bought 6 boxes.

Here are the relics from the box. I did all right, although these boxes really overdid it with Vincent Caso. I was happy to pull a Jeff Lewis, though, and the Amy Okuda and Robin Thorsen are nice gets.

The autographs from the boxes were all right, although I think I've got copies of most of these already. Doubles are expected when you've opened as much of this stuff as I have. It was cool to get another Wil Wheaton signature.

Finally! This Felicia Day as Codex autograph card came out of the last box I opened. I don't think Dave & Adam's have gotten any more of this in stock, so it was pretty nice to actually get the card I was chasing out of this batch of boxes.

I spent the long weekend doing some work around the house. We are trying to refinance our mortgage, and that means an appraisal, so we are trying to get everything done that we can. I got a chainsaw on Saturday, and that allowed me to lay waste to some dead trees and a couple of stumps that were bothering me. Today I put some new gutters up on the front of the house. The old ones were destroyed by ice in the big snowstorm last year, and I finally got around to replacing them. I hope these ones hold up better.

17 February 2018

Danica Patrick's Last Ride

Danica Patrick is getting ready to race her final stock car race, the Daytona 500. She is slated to start in 28th place when the race kicks off. The #10 car was taken over by Aric Almirola after she retired last year, so she is back in a familiar number with a familiar sponsor for her final race. She'll be driving the #7 car with GoDaddy as her primary sponsor. I wonder if she will race hard and try for a good finish, or if she'll race conservatively and try to run the entirety of her last hurrah? I also wonder if there will be any on-track drama between her and former boyfriend, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.?

This is a pretty bland-looking card, but it pictures Patrick in her familiar green GoDaddy suit. The card come from 2012 Press Pass Total Memorabilia, and features three different relic swatches, a bit of tire, a piece of firesuit, and a chunk of sheet metal. It is numbered # 68 / 99. The black color of the tire is pretty much expected, but it would be hard to find two swatches of the other materials that blend into the card design so well. It's too bad they couldn't find a piece of green fabric and maybe some sheet metal that wasn't the same silver as the card's background.

13 February 2018

Contested Shots 31: A Twitter Prize from Topps

At the beginning of January I won a contest that Topps was running on Twitter. The prize was a box of 2017 Topps Inception Baseball cards. I sent Topps my mailing info, and nothing happened. Last week I sent them a message, asking about the status of the prize. They told me that it was sent out a while ago, but that they would check on it. Then they told me that they don't know what happened, but they will send another one out. Translating that from customer service-speak: "Oh shit, we forgot all about that contest!" A little bit later I got a shipping notification from FedEx and today I got the package.

Here's the front of the box. It promises 7 cards inside. The side of the box tells me that there is one autograph included among the 7 cards, and that some autographs may be redemption cards.

Here are the odds from the back of the box. There are plenty of parallels and autograph subsets available.

A single thick foil pack was nestled inside the box.

Here are the base cards and parallels. The Kyle Seager and A.J. Reed cards are Green parallels, which seem to be the most basic parallel. They are not numbered. The base cards look nice enough, and they are plenty thick.

The autograph is an Orange parallel of Matt Strahm, a former Royal who was traded to the Padres. It is numbered # 08 / 50. He's had a couple of major injuries in his career, and doesn't seem to be on the radar as a big up-and-comer.

I hate to be too critical of a free box of cards, but I am so glad I didn't spend the current $95 - $100 asking price on this box. It was fun to win a prize, but in this case the anticipation was much more exciting than the actual break. Thanks to Topps for holding the contest and providing the prize!

12 February 2018

Two Wrestling Box Breaks from Puro Central Shop

I opened these boxes of cards a long time ago, so long ago that the shop I bought them from, Puro Central Shop, has closed down. The guy who ran it still has a smaller shop on another site, though. You can find his inventory at the Joshi City store. It looks like this was a break of one box of 2016 BBM True Heart Japanese Women's Wrestling cards and one box of 2017 BBM True Heart Japanese Women's Wrestling cards.

These are just the hits from the box of 2016 cards. If you want to see more from this set, you can look at all of my posts about it by clicking here. In the upper left is an autograph from KAZUKI. KAZUKI wrestles for Pure-J, which was formerly known as JWP. In the upper right is an autograph of Hikaru Shida ( 志田 光 ), who I believe currently splits her time between wrestling and some form of theater which includes singing, acting, and wrestling.

In the lower left is the signature of Maya Yukihi ( 雪妃真矢 ), who wrestles mostly for Ice Ribbon. She also recently re-Tweeted a post from BBM previewing some of her kiss cards from the 2018 BBM True Heart set. It's only about two more weeks until that set releases. I have three boxes on order, but they'll take a while to get here from Japan. Here's the picture from the Tweet:

The autograph card in the lower right is Ryo Mizunami ( 水波 綾 ), who wrestles for Pro Wrestling WAVE, but also makes appearances with other promotions.

The last autograph in the box was a cheki photograph card of Yuki Miyazaki, who retired in 2010, but came back in 2014 and has been wrestling pretty regularly ever since. She is listed as a freelancer, but the vast majority of her matches are in the Pro Wrestling WAVE promotion. This photo is numbered # 2 /7. In most years the photos are the most limited cards in the set, but in 2016 there were special ink variations of the base autographs, numbered out of # / 5.

There were six autographs in the 2017 box. For more pictures and words about this set, you can click here to see more of my posts with 2017 cards in them. The first card in the upper left of the scan features Dump Matsumoto ( ダンプ松本 ), one of the bigger names in Japanese women's wrestling. She would be considered a Legend in a WWE set. I think she is semi-retired, but still makes plenty of appearances at various events. In the upper right is Tsukushi ( つくし ), who is 20 years old but has been wrestling since she was 12. She most recently made the news for getting arrested after an altercation with another wrestler.

The next row starts with Misaki Ohata ( 大畠美咲 ) on the left. She is a fairly popular wrestler with a lot of matches under her belt. On the right is Police Woman ( ポリスウ~メン ), an alter ego of Yuki Miyazaki, who appeared in the 2016 cards posted above.

On the left of the third row is Yuina ( 結奈 ), a wrestler for REINA who is either retired or recovering from injury. I'm not sure exactly which. Next to her autograph is the signature of Konami ( 小波 ), a freelance wrestler who is mostly affiliated with Stardom these days. Stardom has their own card set that is pretty difficult to get, so it is nice whenever a Stardom wrestler's autograph can be found in True Heart.

That does it for these boxes. There were some pretty good cards in this batch. These posts are pretty time-consuming to research and write, but the research is fun and the autographs are a lot more inventive than the ones we generally get on our baseball cards.

10 February 2018

Neil Magny from Topps Vault

I've been in a bit of a funk the last couple of days. I don't really feel like writing about the older stuff in my draft queue, and I don't really feel like blogging about new stuff that's come in more recently. I think it probably has more to do with me than it does the material I have on tap.

Here's an eBay pickup from a while back. I think I got it directly from the Topps Vault page, as they ran a discount on a bunch of stuff. This is the blank-back 1 / 1 of Neil Magny's 2017 Topps UFC Knockout card. I know the blank-backs are kind of a gimmicky thing, but I can't help picking one up every now and then.

08 February 2018

Fred Hembeck Vampirella

My posts about Fred Hembeck sketches seem to be pretty popular, so here's another one. He sells his artwork on eBay, and the sketches cover a huge range of pop culture characters. I was able to get this Vampirella sketch card from his eBay store for a little over the starting bid.

It's done in his signature swirly-kneed Hembeck style, and he's got all of the elements that make up Vampirella's iconic look. I think my favorite parts of this sketch are the prominent fangs and Vampirella's huge collar.

06 February 2018

It Was Time to Pay (for) the Piper

I'm not much of a Dr. Who fan, to be honest. I have a hard time sitting down to watch movies or television shows. I named my kids after comic book characters, and I haven't even watched all of the Marvel films, let alone the DC ones and all the affiliated television shows for each universe. I was on the market for a Billie Piper autograph, though. I've seen a few episodes of Dr. Who with her in them, but I honestly blame The Rubberbandits, an irreverent comedy and music group out of Ireland, for my Billie Piper fandom. In their song "Horse Outside," they sing that the horse in question "looks like Billie Piper after half an ounce of coke." I guess that's not exactly complimentary, but I have a slight fixation on the song, and by extension a fandom of Billie Piper. She does have a rather large mouth, but I would hardly call her horse-like. Maybe those Rubberbandits lads have tied their grocery bags a little tight?

Anyway, after a long time I have finally snagged a Billie Piper autograph. This one comes from 2017 Topps Dr. Who Signature Series. This is the Yellow parallel, numbered # 18 / 25. This was a fun card to track down, and I am pretty excited about adding it to my collection.

Right now she's apparently got a charity fundraiser going, where purchasing tickets gets you a chance to win a trip to Broadway to see her show, "Yerma," and meet the cast. Pretty cool stuff, and nice that she's donating the proceeds to a good cause.

05 February 2018

Pack of the Day 184: 2018 Topps Silver Packs

Topps often offers some kind of bonus to collectors who purchase boxes or packs at participating hobby shops, usually in the form of a certain number of packs for purchases of a given size. For 2018 Topps Series 1, these bonus packs contain Chromed-out cards in the 1983 Topps design. There are randomly-packed parallels and autographs in these packs, too. I think the offer was that you could get one pack for the purchase of a Hobby box and three packs for the purchase of a Jumbo box.

I didn't buy a Hobby box or a Jumbo box, as for the last couple of years I've just been buying a factory set each year. I picked up three packs on eBay. Topps did away with my favorite flagship insert set, First Pitch, so I really have no incentive to buy packs or boxes of Series 1. Each of these bonus packs has 4 cards inside.

This first pack has some of the biggest names in the hobby from the last couple of years, outfielder Aaron Judge and third baseman Kris Bryant. That's a pretty good start.

This pack also has a famous outfielder and a famous third baseman, although Hank Aaron and Wade Boggs probably aren't nearly as popular currently as Bryant and Judge, at least not on pieces of cardboard. Judge and Bryant only need 34 All-Star appearances and 206.3 WAR between them to catch up to Aaron and Boggs in those numbers.

I pulled Mike Trout in this group of packs, too, which is pretty good. I also was happy to see that my only parallel was an Astro, second baseman Jose Altuve. It's a shiny green parallel of some sort.

The Altuve card is numbered # 79 / 99. Every card in the packs had the same paragraph on the back, talking about the 1983 Topps set.

I was hoping that I'd pull an autograph from these packs, but I was pretty happy with the player selection in these three packs. It was also nice to get an Altuve parallel.

04 February 2018

January 2018 Loot Locker

I ordered a Loot Locker in January, and it arrived in the mail a day or two ago. The Loot Locker is a monthly or one-shot service that sends you some Hobby packs and a few card supplies. It's a decent alternative for building up trade bait, or for getting your hands on a few Hobby packs. The basic Locker comes in two levels, a $20 and a $30 (plus shipping) box, with the difference being that the more expensive box holds a couple more packs. There are also high-end boxes, which I think are $50. They have premium brands packed into them. Each month, you can vote on that month's packs on The Loot Locker's Twitter feed. I think February voting closes tonight. The current leaders for February are 2017 Panini Optic, 2017 Topps Chrome, and 2017 Topps Archives.

I ordered the $30 option. The products inside included two packs of 2017 Topps Chrome, two packs of 2017 Panini Optic, and three packs of 2017 Topps Heritage High Numbers. There were also some top loaders and penny sleeves, as well a couple pieces of candy. The cards ship in a 400-count card storage box.

At first I kind of felt like there wasn't a lot here for the money, but instead of whining about it I went and did some research. I went out to a major card retailer's site and pulled down their box prices for these products. Then I divided them by the number of packs per box and multiplied that number by the number of packs in the Loot Locker.

For two packs of Optic, I came up with $8.80. For two packs of Topps Chrome, I got $11.91. The three packs of Heritage High Numbers would have cost $7.49. That gives me a total of about $28.20 for the packs. Throw in a couple of dollars for the card supplies and candy, a few more for shipping and Paypal fees, and a couple dollars of profit for the company, and you're right about at the $35 mark.

Not much came out of the Heritage packs. I got a couple of short prints, including a Houston and PC player, Josh Reddick. I also got a Rookie Performers insert of Hunter Renfroe.

Here are a couple of the shinier Optic cards. It was kind of hard to find any base cards among all of the Prizms, Diamond Kings, and Rated Rookies.

The Kluber and Moncada cards are both numbered parallels. The Kluber is numbered # 12 / 99 and the Moncada is # 79 / 99.

These are the highlights from the Chrome packs. I got a nice Blue Refractor of Yasiel Puig, and one of the 1987-design inserts of Addison Russell.

The Puig is # 075 / 150. I didn't pull any hits out of this Loot Locker, but I got a handful of nice parallel cards and a taste of a few products that I didn't buy a whole lot of this year. For personal reasons I don't visit my local card shop, and this is a nice alternative to making that trek.