Saturday, January 7, 2017

OPINION - Older Ultra-Pro One Touch Magnetic Holders

I was spending a nice relaxing evening watching some hockey and going through some of my stockpiled hobby supplies that I've built up over the years.  I've got way too much crap....and so a good purge was in order.  It was nice to see my closet slowly looking more organized and less like my nephew's "place for everything".

Gone are some taped top loaders that were going to be used for future mailings (I've only got a bazillion of them now) as well as some bent binder pages and tarnished one touches....they're all going bye-bye.

But as I was going through the one touches....I noticed something very interesting - and disturbing.

No....that furry little pet in there is not something I'd like to add to the family portrait.  It appears to be a dissolving magnet and the filings are starting to burst out.

I've had some of my older one touches for at least a good decade or so (they had been used...but not in bad enough shape to throw out) and they've just been sitting on a shelf in my closet waiting for a day when I might put them back into service.  After seeing this though I don't know if I'm comfortable doing so.

This side view should give you a better idea of what I'm up against.  My first thought was "How many of these old (silver...not the gold magnets) one touches hold cards that are sitting in my pc?"  Ugh....the thought of that just churns my stomach.  Definitely don't want any of this stuff falling onto my card surfaces.

So I sent Ultra Pro an e-mail and am hoping for some sort of comment/response.  I don't know if there is any sort of guarantee on these but I can safely say that I will be assessing my entire pc and purging all silver one touch holders.

Anyone else ever notice this?  Or better yet....has anyone else experienced this (after racing to their collection to check right after reading my post)?

I would hope that Ultra Pro stands behind their product and is able to work with me to rectify this situation.  I've put a lot of money into their products over the years and feel that they are the gold standard when it comes to card protection.

That said, this could be the turning point for me looking elsewhere for my supplies.

Oh......and Happy New Year!!!  :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - A Good Finish To The Year

When I take a look back at the past year of my Linden collection I see two very different things...

I can find a good 10-12 cards that would compile a strong Top 10 list of pickups but I also notice some very slow progress on my master list from the past 2-3 years of new additions.

So my feeling of it being a bit of a roller coaster ride seems to fit.

With the hobby changing so drastically over the past few years and subsequently my collecting habits - especially with my Linden pc, I've been much more aware (and downright picky) when it comes to which cards I chase and ultimately how much I choose to pay for them.

While it hasn't diminished my love for collecting, I can say with great conviction that I'm acutely aware of what's going on in the world of Linden cards.  And I think that has been a benefit most times when I do pull the trigger.

Case in point, this most recent pickup - my last Linden of the 2016 year.

2015/16 Leaf
In The Game Used
#GUA-TL1 Game Used Auto Red Spectrum  /4

This doesn't look like the most impressive card.  Sure it's numbered out of 4 but uses the same headshot as Leaf did the year before, is a simple sticker auto (which is understandable as shipping out such limited numbered cards for a person to sign in person makes no sense) and really just has a color change to designate the parallel.  And you just knew it was going to be a plain white jersey to boot.

So what had me chase this one?  Well, I still see myself as a completist.  I do pay attention to every Linden auction on eBay and try to keep an ear to the ground online when it comes to new offerings.  When something pops up that I need, I keep tabs on it.

With this particular Linden, I knew that cards from this product were going for very low prices (as have most Leaf cards....they just don't hold their value) but I also knew that there were not 4 copies of this card up for grabs anymore.  In fact, I found out later that there were only 2 copies left to be had in the open market.

So grabbing my copy at a fraction of the price it would have demanded a few years ago made it a good buy in my eyes.  But really, that's all it is.  I hate to say that but it's true.  This card will definitely not make any Top 10 lists any time soon.

But I am left with the enjoyment of buying it for a good price and for knocking it off my list - two things that I will be taking forward with me into yet another year of Linden collecting.

I guess if I was doing resolutions...those would be it.

But I am confident that I will also be coming across some Linden cards that will just flat out knock my socks off.....I've yet to go through a year where that doesn't happen.

Friday, December 23, 2016

WALLET CARD - One Last One

I had grand plans today.  Was going to head out and run some errands, pick up some groceries for Christmas Day brunch (my nephew and I are making pasta frittatas), head over to get some custom cards printed and maybe catch up with a few people before the weekend.

Then I looked outside.

For the past 2-3 years we have been pretty fortunate with the winter weather here.  Not much snow prior to Christmas (if at all) and the temperature has been above seasonal most of the time.  It's amazing how quickly I can change plans when a little bit of snow hits the ground.  A luxury I was awarded today by not procrastinating for once.

So I took some time wrapping gifts this afternoon (finished my shopping a couple days ago), started reading one of the two books I have planned for the break and oh, there was an Austin Powers marathon on....must watch.  They still make me laugh.

I thought I'd share the last couple items to cross my desk before the end of the year.  The past few months have been very eventful for me hobby-wise and I couldn't be more happier.  I certainly enjoy things more when there is activity going on in my card collecting world.

Today, it's yet another Oscar Gamble card....and to celebrate his birthday to boot (was a couple days ago).

2016 Topps Archives
#106 Cyan Printing Plate  1/1

Yet again a huge assist to a fellow collector whose US mailing address I've used more than my own this year.  Thanks Kevin!

It's the second #WalletCard 1/1 to show up online and the second one I've managed to win with relative ease.  Shhhhhh....don't tip anyone off.  When it comes to my Oscar pc, I feel as though I'm gauging my success on what 1/1s and buybacks I can land - when I see those pop radar is fully locked.

I've been much more relaxed with the regular base or higher numbered parallels (I feel as though I can obtain them pretty much anytime I'd like) and clearly my master checklist proves this point.

So what are my hopes for the upcoming year with this project?  None.  I have had zero expectations and plan on continuing that trend.  I want this to be a project built on fun and enjoyment and that is exactly what it has been.

Simple as that.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

RATE MY MASK - Antoine Bibeau

So the Christmas shopping is now complete and I am officially on "my time" for the next 2+ weeks.  Last night my nephew and I went to check out Star Wars: Rogue One and we both enjoyed it (although I think my nephew is past the Star Wars phase of his life....ugh).  This evening I've been organizing my iTunes while doing some custom work.  It's so enjoyable to not have a looming alarm clock to wake up to tomorrow.

Now, speaking of custom creations - and the creative process, how many of you like to listen to music while you delve into creativity?  I most certainly do and I pulled this disc out of the archives and loved every minute of it.

This quartet got together and called the creation "The Goat Rodeo Sessions".

Now I know it's a little "out there" for most....but that's part of what a goat rodeo is.  Yo-Yo Ma is just flat out a genius and Chris Thile on the mandolin is spectacular.  This quartet performed on PBS a number of years ago and it still sits on my's fantastic.  The energy it gave me as I was working tonight was spot on.

Anyways....just had to share.  Now, on to some hockey stuff.

I've been meaning to draft this post up now for a couple weeks but you know me....procrastinator.  Who saw Leafs goalie Antoine Bibeau when he made his Toronto debut earlier this month?  Who noticed his goalie mask?

I most certainly did.

How could I miss it!!  It pays homage to one of the all-time great goalie masks not only in Maple Leafs history but NHL history - Felix Potvin.

The crown and chin of the mask are definitely taken from the iconic lid while the sides have a nice airbrushed pose of The Cat in his heyday.

When you compare the two photos you can really see the similarities.

Hate to say it, but the throat guard kind of gets in the way of the design.  Darn safety stuff.

Bibeau has dipped into Leafs goaltending history prior to this with tribute masks of Johnny Bower and Mike Palmateer, but this Potvin offering takes the prize.

Designed by Sylvie Poitras of Airbrush Zap, it's nice to see other mask designers get some NHL love.  Notice the fleur-de-lis (flower of the lily) on his backplate signifying Bibeau's heritage (and that of Potvin) along with the nickname "Bibs". I wonder if that is pronounced "bibs" or "beebs"?

The silver, white and blue is definitely a nice combination, suiting the current TML colours with the black outline producing a good punch for those admiring from a distance.

Bibeau had this mask done up prior to the start of the season with his farm team the Toronto Marlies.  But it wasn't until he was called up to the big club that most took notice of this great looking mask.

What I like about it is the simplicity.  Yes, I know it's just copying an old design so that's cheating, but when you look at masks these days and the complex designs, it's nice to see something that is so relaxing on the eyes.

There's good flow from the mask to the rest of the equipment and one can appreciate it from afar as well as up close.  Points for that.

When I did a Rate My Mask for the above Felix Potvin mask I gave it a 3.5 out of 5 which I still agree with to this day.  But wait for might be surprised by my Bibeau ranking.

It really hits all the right notes for me and I think it's a breath of fresh air in this day and age of goalie masks.

4 out of 5 it's your turn to RATE MY MASK!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

MY COLLECTION - This Book Is A Great One

The weekend is here ('s almost over) and I am officially on my holiday break.  While I am happy to see it here, I can't believe that the past 12 months have flown by so quickly.  Must have been a fun one I guess.

I've been finishing up some custom cards for my sister to give out as gifts this year and it has me rarin' to go with some long overdue custom projects.  That will get some time and energy of mine in the days leading up to Christmas.  It's something I am very much looking forward to.

I am also looking forward to diving back into a couple books.  I have let my goal of reading 20 titles this year slip....badly.  In fact, I haven't read a single page out of one of the many books I have on my shelf since the middle of August.  For shame.

Speaking of books, I've got to share this amazing gift I received the other night from a friend of mine who knows I enjoy books, sports, signatures and collecting.

This is the new book by The Great One as he shares some of his memorable stories through his life in hockey.  It's been on my radar as I used to work for the author, Kirstie McLellan Day.  She owns a production company in town with her husband and I was an editor there for a good eight years.

She had written her first couple books during my time there and I really couldn't get into either of fact, I thought they just weren't that good.  But when I saw she was doing a book on Theo Fleury, Bob Probert and then Ron MacLean I thought maybe I should take another look.

But buying the book new just wasn't going to happen.  I rarely do that now because I have way too many on my shelf as it is and I like to buy books at the used book sales each May here in town where the money goes to very worthy charities.

So I was surprised to see my friend (whom I worked with at this production company) hand over a copy the other night.  It was a very nice gesture....

....especially when I saw that the book was signed by Gretzky himself!!!!

I would have loved to have seen my face when I opened the cover and saw the signature.  I was absolutely gobsmacked - speechless.  Heck, I still am and I've had a couple days to let it sink in.

Yes, the signature is on a sticker that is then placed on the inside page of the book....but still.  It's a genuine Gretzky auto - personalized....TO ME!!!!

Seems my friend (along with his other co-workers) was asked by Kirstie if he would like a copy signed and if they would like an additional one signed for someone else.  For him to think of me in that moment was super thoughtful.

I've been lucky enough to discover some autographed copies of books over the years and I have been even more fortunate to receive some as gifts too.  But this Gretzky auto is on a level all its own.  This is without question a Great One.

Huge thank you Dave for the incredible gift.  I will definitely have to read this book now and am looking forward to tearing it to shreds chatting about it in the new year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - A Little Overtime Gold

Just a handful of days left before I start my Christmas break and I think I have already mailed it in.  We've got just a couple loose ends to tidy up before the end of the week and I feel like leaving it until the later part of the schedule as opposed to dealing with it now.

Is that so wrong?

I'm just happy that I haven't been summoned to work some late nights or weekends as in past years.  Small victories.

I've been working on getting my computer nice and organized for the workout it's going to get over the next month.  You did not want to see what the desktop looked like a few days ago (icons everywhere).  Those who can't stand disorganization would have left the building.  But it's all fixed up now.  I've transferred all the stuff from my old hard drives and am currently in the process of getting all my music up to snuff (I'm still a CD guy...sue me).

Coming home today I noticed an envelope in the mailbox.  A plain white one.  Ugh.  I knew right away what was inside as I had recently won an eBay auction from a seller who lives in the same city as I do.  My guess is that the seller wanted to save a couple bucks and figured "what could happen?".  Well numbnutz my card could've become damaged (as has happened to me before).

But alas...all is well.  The card arrived all in good shape.

2016/17 Upper Deck Overtime
#47 Gold Foil Autograph

I was pleasantly surprised to see this beauty pop up late one night when I just happened to be surfing.  It had a very nice BIN price (half of what I offered up on the previous copy I saw) and immediately hit the buy button.

While there are no hard numbers on how many copies of the gold auto exist, I can safely say that finding this one for the price I did is about as good as I'm going to see it at.

It's a sticker auto but for some reason I'm not as annoyed by this one.  It has a nice aesthetic look to it. And with this pickup, I have already finished off the four card Overtime set.  The regular base, blue parallel, red /99 and the gold auto.

That's how a product chase should work folks.

Oh......I almost forgot.

I bought this too.

Early Christmas gift for me.

Jingle all the way indeed!!!!!


Sunday, December 11, 2016

CUSTOM CREATIONS - Mondo Movie Poster Cards

About a month ago I went to see a fun documentary at a local film festival.  It was a movie about movie posters.  Now I like a good movie and I enjoy a good movie poster, but I think it was the collector in me who wanted to check out this flick.

'24x36' is a film that touches on the history of the movie poster, but mainly focuses on the recent interest/resurgence of alternative movie posters - Mondo movie posters.

Check out the trailer here.

I didn't even get home from watching the movie and already my mind was racing.  I'd love to own a poster at some point...but which one??  Is there a catalogue of all the posters ever done?

And then it hits.....

Maybe I should make some Mondo movie poster cards.  After all, the movie poster (I think) works quite well as a trading card.

So I did some mockups.....wanna see???

I knew that you would.

So I printed out and assembled the first three cards of my eventual set (I think I could do easily 200 cards).  I only did a few cards as I wanted to make sure everything looked good (color, framing, front vs. back, etc.).  I'm glad I did because I do feel like I'll be doing some minor tweaks.

The poster is a little too tight to the edge for my liking....but it's close.  I really like the way the poster turned out and printed quite nicely on the card.  Good detail....even some of the bottom text (the scan does not do it justice).

Here is the back I'm going with.  I'm going simple and allowing for some information on the poster/artist to be included (the information digger in me will enjoy this part of the process).

As mentioned, I've assembled three cards so far and am really optimistic with how this project will turn out.

I really like the looks of many of the Mondo movie posters I've seen so far.  When I was watching the documentary I couldn't help but seeing some of the designs before....but I wasn't sure where.  Then they started talking about the Mondo X Steelbook Collection blu-rays.  Noice!!!

I've been thinking a lot about Mondo posters since.  I watched as their Black Friday sale went off like a gong show.  Hundreds of posters in their archive were put back on the site for sale and they went lightning quick.

I wonder how many of them then saw their way over to eBay?  There's a massive secondary market and (like some higher-end hockey cards) the flipping can get pretty pricey.

For me though, I think I'll get great enjoyment out of building this custom set.  There are some terrific movies depicted in some of these pieces of art (like the classic Big Trouble In Little China).  Beautiful stuff!!  The artist on this one is Tyler Stout.  He has a very distinct style and if you check out his work you will see what I mean.

There is a second reason why I want to do these custom cards.

This is my final week of work before a three week holiday break.  I have had a few custom projects on the plate for a while (some for far too long).  My goal is to put a dent into them....if not complete them all.

It's one of my many flaws.....I'm a procrastinator.

But I hope you enjoy these cards as much as I do.  I'll show off a few more when I get to printing them up.