Monday, August 7, 2017

BEHIND THE MASKS - Leaf Masked Men

Well.....two in two days.  I'm pretty sure this trend won't continue.  But let's enjoy it.

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been scanning some of the stuff on my desk, doing a little spring summer cleanup.  These cards come from one of the very few eBay pickups I've made this summer.

A couple weeks back I saw a tweet from a well respected hobby board member who mentioned he had a nice lot of cards up for grabs on eBay.  Included were a few of the latest Leaf Masked Men set.  I hadn't started building that particular set yet so I decided to pick up the auction.  After all, it was a very reasonable price and it had a nice bonus card to end things with.

So with that, let's take a look at what might be the least exciting Masked Men product I've seen in a mighty long time.  (For those who might not have seen some of my comments on the product from earlier....here you go).

OK....first off, this is not a mask.  It's a helmet-cage combo.  And really, out of all the incredible goalie masks that have been worn in the almost 60 years of its existence, this is the best you could come up with?

Please, no need for Tretiak, Osgood, Dan Cloudier and Arturs Irbe.  Their "masks" just don't cut it in my opinion.

No....this scan is not in black & white because I forgot to hit the "add color" button.  It's black & white because this is the best Grant Fuhr pic Leaf could muster up.

No doubt that if it were in color it would be a terrific card.

But....it's not.

This Gilles Villemure offering is pretty solid.  Maybe a little grainy and thus oddly cut out....but I like that it pays homage to one of the all-time great masks.

A set that can offer a full checklist like this would be a start.

Beezer is another one of those "can't go wrong if you add him" players to a mask set.  I even like the angle of the photo.  It really showcases the mask effectively.

So it's official....I'm building the set.  These won't be something I aggressively hunt down - I'll only grab them when the price is right....real right.

But I do like my goalie mask sets so it'll be a fun build nonetheless.


Now, in addition to these four mask cards, there were some other inserts and rookie cards (nothing to really wow anyone with) but there was one card that had me think that this lot was a must-have.

A nice Carey Price Fire On Ice insert.  It's shiny and sparkly (good qualities for a card)

Oh....and it's numbered to just 25.

That'll do just fine.

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - My Recent Additions

Holy cow!!!  It's been forever since I last posted.  It's been a combination of a number of things.  First, I've been busy - really busy at work.  Busiest summer I've had there.  Second, I've taken a bit of an unplanned card hiatus.  Finances just aren't jiving with collecting right now (and that's ok).  Third, I just haven't been too excited about collecting right now.  I still enjoy it, but it's not at the forefront of my mind these days.  Lastly.......well there is no lastly.  I just haven't been posting.

Sue me.  :)

Anyways, I had some time tonight to try and get a few things sorted off my desk and I decided to pull the scanner out and share some of the Linden cards I've picked up this year (yeah....that's how long it feels).  A couple generous gifts, a few nice bargains and really that's about it.  Nothing jaw dropping.

THIS ONE IS NOT MINE....but I thought I'd share it as it's from Dr. Price's (of In The Game fame) newest venture - President's Choice Trading Cards.  These are not distributed in boxes or packs, but rather made available through his website.  Lots of nice stuff on there but I'd love it if there was some sort of database so I knew what Linden cards have been made available (once it's bought....it's gone from the site).

I was lucky enough to snag a screen grab of this before it sold.  Not sure who bought it (I didn't) but it's definitely a nice addition to his/her collection.

This was a generous gift from a fellow player collector.  Dave knew that I was a diehard Linden guy and simply asked if I needed it.  He fired it off immediately.

Much thanks Dave.  I like the red jersey piece as you don't see too many Linden cards with that jersey colour.

Solid looking card, but Leaf has really done it with the parallels.  One of the few reasons why I'm just not attacking them like I used to.

Another gift from a longtime Linden collector.  Kevin sent this off to me and I really didn't know what to make of it at first.  Looks like a simple ruby parallel of an almost 20 year old card.

But....when you take a look at the back of the card you will notice the lack of a serial number.

No "show card" designation so we are left to assume it's an error of sorts or a backdoored item that just sat in inventory.  Regardless, I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff.  Kevin even mentioned he has a gold and green version as well (would love to see those one day).

Thanks very much Kevin.  You've always been a great part of my collecting world.

Here's an eBay pickup I decided to snag after learning that the seller was local and would even go so far as to drop the card off at my house personally.  Normally I'm not a fan of that but he said he didn't mind.  Turns out I used to play hockey as a kid with him.  Not sure he recognized me, but I certainly did - especially after I read the name.

I remember him because he would always take obscene shift lengths - to the point where all of the coaches and players would scream his last name over and over to get him off the ice.  I laughed at that memory.

This "limited" parallel auto is a nice one to scratch off the list.  Should've been an easy one to snag but took longer than I thought.

Love the hard signed sigs.  They are the best.

Leaf Stickwork.  Nothing to write home about and this dual memorabilia card /8 can attest to that.  I did't pay much for it (and wouldn't have).  Nice to grab it....but doesn't do much for me.

I remember when I first saw these Trilogy Tryptichs cards.  I thought they looked pretty good.  A decent print run of 60 made them a bit of a challenge but not overwhelming.

And I like this type of signature way more than sticker autos.  Looks clean (when the signature fits in the die cut).

Same can be said of this Black Diamond Placard.  A really nice design and a solid looking card.  The silver on black really works here.

But I think if UD just made the area for the auto to come through a little bigger....it's be a complete winner.

I jumped the gun on this one and bought it not looking completely at the auction description.  There was a bit of paper in the upper right that peeled away and left the corner white.

I took a pencil to it to cover it up a bit.  (I know....for shame).

I'll be looking for an upgrade one day.  These are after all manufactured patches.

This one is not however...and I got it for real cheap.

I had my eye on one for months that had what looked to be part of the NHL crest as a piece of Linden's patch.  I made a fair offer on it but was declined.  I got this one for about a quarter of the price.

Funny thing is the other card is still for sale and I've seen it numerous times listed for less than what I offered on it.  Should've taken it while he had the chance.

Lastly, this simple.....SIMPLE jersey/auto numbered to just 9 is the replacement I got from one I bought that was lost in the mail.

I was sad to not see it come as I bought it for a good price.  While I did get my money refunded, I wasn't sure I'd get that kind of a deal again.

Lucky me....I did.  Pretty much the same price.


Well, that's about it for my Linden adds.  I've got a couple other things to share over the next couple weeks (if my work schedule doesn't kill me).  Might get me back in the groove of posting as I do miss blogging.

Hope everyone is having a good summer.

(There....no more Messier as the lead photo on my blog)!!!!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

RAISE THE CUP - I Got A Gift......Hoo Boy

Last week at the monthly trade night I was the "fortunate" receiver of a "generous" gift.

There are a number of collectors, vendors, shops and just general hobbyists who know I collect Linden.  I do a pretty good job of subtly plastering that info wherever I go.  Be it me donning my Linden jersey or Canucks hat or maybe they just see my username on a number of online sites - bamlinden.

But there is a smaller group of people who know much about some of my other projects.  Be it my #WalletCard pc, Parkie Project, hard signed Hall Of Famers or my simple Raise The Cup chase.

"Thankfully" there are a few people who know how to really make a guy feel good about his collections....and is "willing" to "help a guy out" anytime he can.

(facepalm)

The look on my face when this card slowly glided over the countertop and into my view must have been spectacular.  In fact, the guy who gave it to me (let's call him "Captain Canuck") went out of his way not to text me a photo of it or share the info ahead of time.  Instead, wanting to get a front row seat at the tirade.

And a glorious tirade I shared.

I have really enjoyed collecting cards of guys enjoying that pinnacle moment in their career - hoisting the Stanley Cup.......but the cards with this guy on it - oh man.  It's hard to crack a smile on these ones (but I'll do my best since it was a "gift").

The worst part about it - and I am reliving it right now as I look at it - this is a really nice card (I just threw up in my mouth).  It's a great photo and the silver foil really makes the design pop (scan again does no justice....in fact I think it makes Messier's teeth more white).

So......I guess a "thank you" is in order.  Or something.

Now into the binder where you can be forgotten.


Current Collection - 157 cards

Friday, April 14, 2017

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - 97/98 Zenith

The long weekend is here - and it couldn't come at a better time.

My first three months of work this year have been unlike any other season for me and the long days (and nights) spent editing have got my brain pretty fried right now.  Some relaxation and time to rejuvinate are most definitely in order.

So I decided to spend some time today......sitting in front of my computer - ha ha.  Yeah, I enjoy spending time sifting though my cards trying to organize them better.  I've also done some scanning so I can share some of my latest pickups (for my next thread).  But a good amount of time this afternoon was spent pondering about a certain card in my collection.

Indulge me if you will as I show off a trio of cards that have sat in a box for a good 15 years.  A couple stories will weave their way in too.

1997/98 Pinnacle Zenith
#73 (base card)

I remember these cards were pretty high end back in the day.  A little thicker card stock, shiny surface and some gold foil always impress (or at least it did 20 years ago).  Love the All-Star Game patch on the shoulder.

I also noticed when I flipped the card over that it was one of the last Linden would show in a Canucks uniform before his trade to New York.  In fact, the transaction had already been completed and was noted by the ever popular (in the 80's) "Traded to Islanders 2/6/98".  Hard to believe it's been almost two decades since that happened.

So why am I showing this card?  Stick with me....you'll see.

In the meantime, let me share a couple Linden stories (as I received a nice request to share my Linden background).

I've been a fan of Trev's even before he was drafted by the Canucks in the late 80's.  I was a Vancouver fan...enjoying their run to the Finals in '82 and LOVING those "Flying V" jerseys.  I lived in Medicine Hat when I was really young and my parents knew the Linden family.  I think my dad worked a bit with his dad.  We would go over to their house every once in a while to visit, have dinners, BBQ outings and such.

I was younger than Trevor and was closer in age to his younger brother Jamie.  But I remember hanging out with Trev a few times.  Following along while he delivered papers in the afternoon (and making a quarter or two every once in a while) and even watching him play pee-wee hockey.

We moved back to Calgary a couple years later but our families still stayed in touch....for a few years.

BTW....there were some great features on Hometown Hockey this year when the crew went to Medicine Hat.  These are great features...

Hometown Hockey Feature 1

Hometown Hockey Feature 2

By the time Linden was playing junior hockey and winning Memorial Cups, I was more of an admirer.  And when he was drafted by the Canucks, I was an excited fan.

In the late-80's I wasn't really collecting hockey cards but found myself getting back into them not too long after.  It took a few years to discover player collecting and I still remember the day I became a Linden collector.

This is the Zenith Z-Silver parallel of the above base card.  Silver foil (doesn't scan well) Pretty easy to track down to this day and doesn't demand much coin.

Anyways, back to my story.

I was at the local, monthly card show probably about 20 years ago (this is the same show I still go to these days).  Linden was maybe not a "superstar" in the world of collecting, but he had some value.  I would go table to table and see guys with monster boxes and dividers with names like Gretzky, Lemieux, Hull, Selanne, Yzerman.......and in some cases - Linden.

I had seen them a few times but never really thought about it.  I was concentrating on my current chases - cheap sets.  Yes, it was the junk wax era and I couldn't get enough of it.  Looking back, I can only cringe at the amount of money I invested into cardboard that wasn't worth the paper the photos were printed on.

I dabbled into vintage for a while but nothing really quenched my thirst.  Nothing was really doing ti for me.

Until one show when I was at a table I regularly checked out (I can still envision it now).  Super long-haired guy.  Lots of boxes.  In one of those boxes were a stack of Linden cards.  Sign on the box said ".10 cents a piece".  I grabbed all the Linden cards to check them out.

There were dozens of them - and they were all different....no doubles.  There were probably 50-60 cards in there so I grabbed them all.  Five, six bucks for all that?  Sounds like a great deal.

And it was.  By the time I got home and looked through them all they had completely motivated me.  Unlike any high dollar card I have ever owned before or since.

I thought to myself "I must have every Linden card ever made"!!  Ha ha.  Not quite.  I looked into it (using a Charlton and Beckett yearly guide) and determined that I had maybe a tenth of his cards.  Yeah, he was already into the 400-500 card range.

But a player collector was born......and I've been enjoying it ever since.


Now....if you've lasted this long - are you crazy????!!!!!!  Ha ha.

Seriously though.  I wanted to share this next card as I received a very hefty offer to sell it today.  It had me thinking long and hard about whether or not I should sell it.

This is the Zenith Z Gold parallel.  Limited to just 100 copies, it was a huge hit 20 years ago and is near impossible to find these days.

Gold foil (again...scans like garbage) and boy does it pop.  This copy hasn't seen the light of day in a long time....but boy does it still impress.

Here's the back (since I was asked to share a scan of it).  I see a little chipping on the bottom edge....which I instantly remembered as soon as I flipped the card over.  You can see the Islanders logo which sticks out like a sore thumb and how about those stats.  Clever or clumsy?

Funny thing about this card is I can't for the life of me remember when or where I got it or how much I paid for it.  Usually I have a good story to share about my cards but not in this case.

In all likelihood I picked it up on eBay and paid a decent amount.....but not nearly the price I was offered to sell it for.

Made me think about where the line is and how comfortable I might be about selling pc items.  I've rarely done it before (in the few instances I've moved a pc item, it's been in a trade for something huge).

I had to decline the offer respectfully and he understood.  I collect because I enjoy collecting and not to make a few dollars - especially when it comes to personal items.

And I know I would feel guilty knowing that I got way more than the card is worth.  With 100 copies, I know one will eventually pop up.

So Mika, I hope you enjoyed this post.  And I hope you enjoy collecting Linden as much as I do.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

WALLET CARD - A Nice Surprise Gift

Hoo boy....a couple weeks just flew by now.  I've been a busy guy at work and have had a couple plans throughout the weeks to get me to thinking that I need a vacation or something.

Actually, I've come to realize that I've just got a ton of stuff on my plate and need to shuffle some of it off.  But some of that is hard to do when you're in a bit of a design funk.

Power through....that's the best way to quell "writer's block".

In addition to a few new Linden pickups (which I'll show off in an upcoming post), I was the recipient recently of a very cool gift.  And seeing as today was opening day in the world of baseball....I figured it suited the vibe.

This Oscar Gamble signature came from an autograph collector who follows my #WalletCard twitter feed.  He commented on a couple posts of mine and we had a nice back and forth.  He then indicated that he had a Gamble auto from back in the day and asked me for my address.

Wha?????

Yeah, he just sent it off.....and he lives in the States.  And it arrived in a toploader to boot.  Pretty cool if you ask me.

This auto looks like it came from an autograph book as it has that kind of paper feel to it.  My immediate thought was to create a custom cut card from it (after I do the bazillion other things on my list) but it's a little large for a regular sized card.

But how about an oversized cut auto?

How about an oversized #WalletCard cut auto?

That's right....I'm thinking of creating a custom oversized cut auto using this signature and the iconic '76 Topps Traded card.  I can see it now.........frotastic!!!

This great gift is a reinforcement that doing good things means good things happen.  And to Frank, if you do read this.....thank you very much.  I will think of your kind gesture every time I look at this auto.

Now........back to work.

Monday, March 20, 2017

OPINION - Older Ultra-Pro One Touch Magnetic Holders (UPDATE)

During my holiday break back in December/January I did some closet cleaning.....card closet that is.  But during my tidying up I discovered something that was a bit of a surprise to me.  Many of my older one touch magnetic holders were showing signs of disintegrating magnets.

I was pretty bummed - but more concerned as I have a number of my cards in these holders.  I knew that keeping them in these ticking time bombs might prove detrimental to their condition in the future (I'd hate to see what happens when the magnets completely fall apart and seep into where the card is).

So me being me I decided to contact Ultra-Pro and let them know about the situation.  I asked if they had seen anything like this before.  They asked if I could send a couple samples - which I promptly did, and once they received those, quickly came to the conclusion that replacements would be sent.

They asked for specific numbers (sizes and amounts) as well as what kind of storage conditions I kept the cards in.  After a bit of back and forth with the e-mails I learned that a package had been sent.

It arrived today....

This is what 121 new Ultra-Pro Magnetic One Touches looks like.  And I don't have much to say other than I am completely impressed.  Impressed with the customer service I received and impressed with the promptness of their response and action.  In less than 3 months my concerns of damaged card holders is gone.

I would implore you all to check your one touches (especially if they are the older ones with silver magnets) and to contact Ultra-Pro should you see the same kind of damage I did.  I would hope that they deal with all future concerns the same way they did with me.

Massively impressed!!!!!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - 2016/17 Artifacts Autofacts

While the local card show yesterday might not have been as exciting as one would hope, the mailbox at my house is starting to heat up.

I've taken a few more stabs at cards on eBay and have actually managed to reel in a few bites.  Always nice to add to the main pc, bet even more exciting when those cards come at a reasonable price.

I've been way more patient with my purchasing over the past while and this new habit is resting on me just fine.  I'm really not stressing it when I see a new product release with 20...30...40 new Linden cards to chase.  Most I've come to accept as ones that will never join my collection - just too many cards that are so low numbered.  The math just doesn't add up.

I've seen a few collectors succumb to the demands of being a player completionist and in some instances given up collecting altogether.  I think that's a shame.  Yes, the economy isn't what is used to be and yes, there are many things more important than cards....but to leave the key on the counter as you exit the building just seems like a drastic decision.

For me, I'm keeping my completionist attitude.....just altering the pace at which I chase.  I find a lot of enjoyment in just keeping my master checklist up to date (I know.......boring right?) and landing the odd card here or there just fulfills the collector's urge in me.  I hope it never dies (I don't think it will....I'm too far into this now to bail on it).

Speaking of landing a new card....here's what arrived on Friday.

2016/17 Upper Deck Artifacts
#A-TL Autofacts

I remember back in the day when the Artifacts "parallel hell" wasn't just limited to the base card varieties but the autographed cards too.  I still vividly remember finally finding a tough sig /10 to quell any thoughts of never finding the tough chase.

Now, the signature cards are unnumbered and are categorized by their insertion numbers.  Some are regular issued, some are short printed and some....the dreaded SSP.  This Linden falls into that category (actually....to be completely accurate, it's an SSSP).

Four different categories of autos in the Autofacts set.  Group D is the most commonly inserted (1:111 packs), while the Linden is a Group A (1:1,548 packs).  And that doesn't mean a Linden in every 1,500+ packs....that's just Group A signature cards.

So when I saw the first few copies pop up on the secondary market, I knew I'd be sitting back.  People can sometimes go crazy on the first wave of new cards.  I'm more than happy to sit back and wait for a price that I'm comfortable with.

That chance occurred a couple weeks ago and I was happy with the price.

After opening up the envelope, I can confidently say that I'm happy with the card too.

Now, speaking of cards that can sometimes go crazy during that first wave....

Fleer Showcase has just been released and part of their inserts include buybacks from the "iconic" 92/93 season....some of which get the autograph treatment (like the Linden....which I stole the scan of off eBay).

I must say that for a card you couldn't give away, Upper Deck certainly has got me excited about chasing this one down.  Slap a serial number on it and a hard signed autograph and all of the sudden this piece of cardboard starts to look pretty good.

Buybacks seem to be a hot insert concept of late.  Upper Deck had some buybacks a couple years ago from their iconic 90/91 set and Score had their Recollection Collection autos.  In The Game purged all of their remaining stock in Final Vault and I've noticed my Oscar Gamble collection has more buybacks out over the past 2-3 years than actual newly released cards.

So what gives?  Why the popularity?  Is it the harkening back to "the good ol' days"?  I can't see cards like these giving a sense of "added value" to a product......it was kindling up until a few weeks ago when the signature got slapped on it.

For me, I like these cards in small doses (this single insertion of Linden into the Fleer Showcase product is fantastic).  A simple, yet attainable, chase.

Not like the parallel hell of Vault and Artifacts.  Irk.