Monday, September 15, 2014

A TRIUMPHANT RETURN!!! (aka...I'm Back)

Hello everybody!!!

It's been nearly three months since I last posted and I can't believe how fast the summer has come and gone.  I knew it was going to happen since the summer months are by far the busiest at work.

Last Sunday was the end of a hectic season at work and now it's the quick sprint to Christmas.'s true - it'll be here soon.

So what did I do during my hiatus from the hobby?  Well, other than work there was the odd round of golf (one of my better years in a while).  I've caught up with some friends, spent some time with my niece and nephew and just really took advantage of my down time.

I've watched a number of solid sport docs and am still on the lookout for more.  Reading was a little lighter than I wanted.  Still trying to finished my latest book (it's been a few weeks since I turned a page).  That said, I went to the library today and on a whim took out the next book I'm going to read.  Seems like this time of year is a popular one for new releases.

Listened to some new music, bought a few cd's (yes...I still buy cd's) and even managed a concert.  Overall, I just wanted to enjoy the things I like.

Which is why it was a little tough to stay completely away from the sportscard hobby.

I'll admit - I caved.

I was good for the first 6 weeks or so.  No real anxious twitches to search ebay or lurk on the hobby boards.  But around the end of July I decided to do a quick Linden search on ebay...just to see what all was new out there.  To my surprise - very little.  Just one new card (numbered to 499). The hiatus timed perfectly with a Linden lull in the hobby.

My "one time" search lasted about a week until I searched again.  Then a couple days later.  Then....

Let me begin this story by saying that my Linden wantlist is organized chronologically (the earliest card at the top and the newest releases at the bottom).  Those cards near the top of my page have been there for a while.  Some well over a decade.

Wouldn't you know it....the card that popped up on ebay was the first card on my list.  A 15-year-old card that I have never seen a copy of.  Until I decide to go on hiatus.

Well....that went out the window pretty quickly.  I made the decision to bid and bid big.  To my enjoyment...the card went for less than half what I was willing to pay.  I was thrilled.

The card arrived about a week later and I can say that I had zero remorse about going back on my hiatus.

1998-99 Topps Gold Label
#42 Class 3 Red  /25

The first year of Topps Gold Label holds a special place in my heart.  It's the product that ruined my dream of owning one of every copy of a Linden card in existence (there are 9 different 1/1 cards) but it did supply me with my first ever 1/1 Linden.

I have been on the lookout for this card year after year and have never seen it.  With only 25 copies, I was reserved to the fact that I'd never cross it off my list.

You can see the faint embossing of the serial number along the right side (12/25).  There are three different color levels (gold, black, red) and each color has three "classes" (one, two and three).  And then each of the nine cards has a 1/1 version.  Back in 1998, I hated this concept.  To be honest, I still do.

But other than the 1/1's, this Class 3 Red is the rarest in the product, and clearly the toughest to find.

So what's on the top of the list now?  The 1999/00 Be A Player Millennium Emerald /10.  Another one that may never pop it's head out of the ground.

So after grabbing this gem, I decided to take a closer look at the Linden cards on ebay.  I did cave and buy two more....the prices were just too good to pass on.  But you know what - that's it.

Three Linden cards.  That's all I've picked up since completing the Nameplate in June.  I'd say that's a pretty successful hiatus.

But with any good hiatus, the return can be equally as fun.  So stay tuned as I've got a few goodies to show off and a special surprise for one lucky reader.

I hope you all had a great summer!

Friday, June 20, 2014

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - Gimmie and 'L'...

It's been a little while since I have posted anything....and was done on purpose.

I decided last month that after The Card Show at the end of May I would take a little summer hiatus.

But I wanted to wait for the announcement until I could share this unlikely little collection.

A while back I picked up a letter from the In The Game Used product.  I believe it was a 'D'.  At the time I thought it would represent a letter from the product.  I had a letter from the Decades 90s product too.

Never did I think what would happen.....would happen.

But over the weeks, it was a letter here and a letter there popping up on ebay.

I talked to another Linden collector asking if he was chasing any of them. He said no.  That got me even a little more motivated.

One turned to two, turned to three, and all of the sudden I thought that this little pipe dream was becoming a bit more of a reality.

But still....the likelihood...nah!

I saw one more card pop up on ebay with a higher Buy It Now than I was willing to pay.  Finally.....the bubble had burst.

I even sent the seller a message asking if he was firm on the price.

He was.

Well, it was fun while it lasted.  I could now relax as the chase was over.

But then last month at The Card Show I was stunned to find the letter 'I' sitting in a showcase.

Seeing one of the letters locally at a show was completely unexpected.  Especially when it represented the fifth out of six letters.

I didn't mince words and cut right to the chase.  I made a very fair offer and the seller took it.

That meant just one more card.

So how much more for a card would you pay if it meant completing a set?

To me, there are still limits.  I wasn't going to pay the asking price of the final card online.  But a fellow Linden collector who knew where I was sitting with this project (once again) helped me out.

He was placing an order with the store that had the card and made a deal for less than what the card was listed for.

The final piece arrived in the mail today and the unthinkable is complete.

I never would have imagined that these six letters would all be sitting side by side in my possession.

And with that, I'm now back on my break.

I decided that I'm taking the summer off.  Completely.  As of right now.

No Lindens.

No ebay.

No hobby boards.

No blogging.

That doesn't mean that I'm going away or have become tired with the hobby.  I still very much love collecting cards.  I just need to focus my time during the summer on other things.

Work is extremely busy and I'd like to try and get a round or two of golf in (if it ever stops raining).  Plus, I have a massive list of books I want to read (not that I'm going to finish many over the summer months).

I think the time away will be good.  Recharge the battery so to speak.  And my wallet will like me a little more too.

So thanks for reading and I hope you'll check out some new content in a couple months.

Happy Summer!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - The Card Show Edition

Uh oh....I think my scanner is crapping out.  Maybe it's taking revenge for the bad things I said about those autos a couple days ago.

I'm due for a new one though......but that doesn't mean I want to go out and buy one.  Why can't things last 15-20 years like they used to?  I'm in a good 10 - and kaput!!!

So forgive the weird scanning contrasts (I scanned on two different days).  You'll still get the idea of what wonderful Linden cards I have landed over the past week.

Sorry....did I say wonderful?  Messier - ugh!  I really hope the Habs can rally and knock off the Rangers in 7.  I don't think I'll be able to stand Messier and crew being paraded around during the Finals.  After all, it's the 20th Anniversary of what I consider to be the best Finals series I've ever watched (and the worst outcome ever).

I didn't cringe too much in picking up this card though.  Since it came in a trade (along with some HOF autos).  So Messier doesn't cost me any money.  Ha!

I did shell out for this one though.  Drat!

I was laughing a couple times over the weekend when I mentioned that I was glad (for one) that Linden had never won a Cup.  When I saw that In The Game was releasing a Stanley Cup themed product, I thought for sure I was safe for at least one release.

Nope.  He's got 4 cards.  A dual (with Messier), a quad (with Messier) and a pair of gold parallels.

At least he isn't in Between The Pipes.

He's not in Between The Pipes right?

This  Panini Playbook AutoBIOGRAPHY card came in a solid trade with Dylan at the weekend show.  He had shown it off to me a few months ago when he pulled the card at a local shop.  It hung around in his collection long enough for me to swing a sweet deal.

I picked up this Linden and the Michel Goulet auto card I showed a couple days back.  Can't go wrong with that pair.  The two cards going back his way were newer to my trade box, but I was happy to see them go his way.

A very fair trade in my opinion.  Win-win!!  Thanks Dylan.

Just a quick aside.....notice the sticker auto on this Linden card.  Now remember the Cournoyer auto from a couple days ago?  That one is hard signed.  What gives?  This Linden would have been spectacular as a hard signed offering.

An observation.

This card is one that I already have, but was gifted to me and I'm happy to add it into the collection.

It bounced between a couple of show/trade night regulars before hitting my hands and it took all of about 10 seconds when I walked in on Saturday.

I love when Linden cards just up and slap me in the face.  Thanks guys!

Hoo boy....another Messier.  This time in Vancouver garb.  To see him on a Franchise card makes my skin crawl.  No wonder this one didn't scan well.

With this silver version I now have all three versions (black, silver, gold).  Into the box they go....never to be seen again.

Or maybe I just put a sticker on the toploader covering up Messier.  Ha ha!

A nice triple card from the In The Game Used product.  I picked this up as a throw in on another card I landed (which I will show off down the road).

Free is good.

This one was not free.  But I was happy with the price I paid for it.

The gold parallel out of 10 was a nice addition to the collection.  I had won it on ebay but the seller was local so I was able to pick it up at the show.  No shipping charges either. Sweet!

A couple of pretty nice pieces on the card too (a little foreshadowing).

In The Game offered up some Spring Expo redemption cards this year and this Team ITG piece was one of them.  Limited to just 9 copies, I knew that if I wanted one I'd have to play my cards right.

Luckly I snagged this one at the right time.  Got it for less than what other had gone for.  Can't beat that.

And a nice two color piece on the Linden....bonus.

And as a about the gold 1/1 parallel.  I was shown this at the card show on Saturday but the price tag was more than I was willing to spend (for a redemption).  But I could understand why the price was where it was.

Just look at the piece on that Linden!!!'re not seeing things.  It's identical to the silver version.

Now compare the Bure.

Night and day.

That Bure piece is literally bursting out of the card and easily makes this a must-have for a Bure collector.  I knew that if I wanted the card I'd have to bite the bullet.

So Sunday when I went back for round two, I decided to make a cash & trade offer.  I do feel like I overpaid for the card, but with the amount of $$$ I shelled out on the transaction being a lot less than the price tag, I was ok with it.  It is after all a 1/1.

Well not really....the Linden piece is the same.

So that concludes my Linden pickups over the past week.  Say for one.

There was one card that trumped 'em all.  But I'm holding off on showing that one because as awesome as it might become even more awesome if the stars align.

Stay tuned!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

HHOF AUTOS - Bubble Mailer Madness

When I got home from work today I saw no less than five bubble mailers shoved into my mailbox.  Easily one of the more fruitful maildays I've had in this hobby.

Some of the addresses I recognized as ebay purchases or hobby board transactions, but there were a couple that I recognized but couldn't figure out what I had bought or traded for.

One package in particular came from Casey over at Drop The Gloves! ...oops, I mean House Of Oglethorpe (still getting used to the name change).  When I opened the envelope my eyes widened and jaw dropped.

The note included was short and sweet.  It basically said that he appreciated my quest for HOF autos and that he'd like to pass along some cards to me.

I was excited to read the note and equally excited to see the stellar offering.

Joe Nieuwendyk
(Inducted in 2011)

Hey, didn't I just trade for a Joe Who on the weekend?  Why yes I did.  But this Nifty 50 piece blows that one out of the water.  The design, the auto, everything about this card just pops.

In fact, I think the Nifty 50 set is one of the nicest hard signed auto sets out there.  Great concept.  If I were to build an auto set, this would definitely be on the shortlist.

Glenn Anderson
(Inducted in 2008)

Hey, didn't I just trade for a Glenn Anderson on the weekend?  Why yes I did.  But this Trilogy Legendary Scripts card again destroys what I have.

The autograph is way, way better and I love the horizontal design.  And you can't see it in the scan, but the matte finish / glossy finish combination really adds to the allure of the card.  Great card.

Brad Park
(Inducted in 1988)

Hey, didn't I just trade for a Brad Park on the weekend?  Nope!  So you are one for three Casey!  :)

These Epic Signature cards are yet another gorgeous set to pull hard signed autos from.  And Park has a solid sig.  Steady and not too complex (his short name helps with that), it's a great example to add to the growing collection.

So let me take a moment right now to say a huge THANK YOU to Casey.  I've enjoyed your ever evolving blog and collections.  And your generosity is very much appreciated.  Cheers!

So now....this means that I have a couple of extra signatures.  What to do?  I think I need to do something special to commemorate these wonderful additions.

You will definitely want to stay tuned.

Current Collection - 59 HOF Autos

BEHIND THE MASKS - An Introduction To Masked Men 6

One of the other big snags at The Card Show last weekend was the bulk lot of Masked Men 6 cards spread out over a huge table full of stacks of singles priced to go.

I love half price tables...especially when the cards are nicely priced to begin with.  To top it off, it was late in the show Sunday so I was able to grab these at $2 a pop.  FYI....I'll do that all day long.

This year's goalie mask offering is a diverse and interesting checklist.  Some good, some bad, some ugly.  At 50 cards it makes for a challenging chase.  One that I will take my time with (as always).

So let's see what faces I came home with.

Vintage!!!  I love anything and everything fibreglass.  Garrett's Nordiques lid is a definite fave.  Even in hand drawn form this card just pops with color and design.  Goalie mask design that is.

I'll admit, the latest Masked Men design doesn't quite do it for me.  The square box, thick marshmallow font and simple textures just take away from a very impressive sketch of the goalie.  I also think that there is a little too much wasted space.  More room could have been utilized for the actual mask and less on the background and overall design.  But that's just me.

Kelly Hrudey.  An interesting choice.  Both in the sense that he's in the set to begin with and that ITG didn't go with his Hollywood lid from his LA days.  This Sharks mask is still pretty sweet.

I like that they went with some unique names from the past.  Better than seeing the same ol' faces year after year.

This Curtis Joseph mask is interesting in that it reminds me of Ron Tugnutt's lid.  It's definitely not what most people think of when they hear "Curtis Joseph's mask".  But fear not, there are two Joseph cards on the checklist.  So I can only assume the other is the CuJo special.

The King (and if he continues his ways....MVP).  A nice rendering of Lundqvist's mask.  Great detail.  I really like the work of the artist on these cards.

Henrik has slowly built his mask into one of those iconic designs that will likely stand the test of time.  And there is a long line of big name NYR masks to fall in line with.

Another interesting choice.  Clint Malarchuk is definitely known more for one single event as opposed to his goalie mask, so it's nice to see that he gets some face time for his Buffalo mask.

It would've been nice to see a little more of his mask as the angle really doesn't give much away in terms of design.  I see a lot of purple and gold and a little bit of character design but that's it.

And unfortunately there is zero information on the back.  Nothing to indicate what is on the mask, when the mask was used and even what team the mask is associated with.  Big miss there.

Remember these two?  If you collected mask cards back in the day, these guys were the ones to get.  Manny and "Locks".  Hey, I think I just created a new cop show.

To this day, Lacher's mask is still one of the most intimidating and awesome looking.  Love it.

Some Chicago detail in spades.  A pair of really intricate goalie mask designs which can really be appreciated in these cards.

I'd love to see a little more color in Crawford's mask but I'm slowly coming to accept it.  The "Bulin Wall" mask is instantly recognizable.  Great stuff.

Fantastic Flyers.  Mason always has great designs on his mask - even going back to his Columbus days.  Emery's offering looks to be an older model as I think he still employs the boxer motif.

Regardless, they are a couple great adds to the checklist.

Meh.....I'm not that big on International masks.  I think the Masked Men sets should just be NHL goalie masks.  Or do a completely unique subset. But these two cards don't really do anything for me.

Moreso these cards.  Who are these guys, what teams do they play for and why do I care about them or their masks?  Are they NHLers?  If not, get 'em out.

As an aside, the Captain America mask is kinda neat.

So that's 15 cards to start off with, leaving me with 35 on the wantlist.  These cards don't seem to be popping up very much so it might take a while for me to complete the set.  But that's ok.....I've still card a couple cards from Masked Men I still outstanding.

HHOF AUTOS - Cards That Scan Like Crap

Fair warning to you all....these cards do not look good scanned, but are fantastic in person.

Six more cards were added to the HHOF Autos project on Sunday, one of the best weekend hauls I've had to date.

The addition of a number of HOF signatures in the new ITG product Lord Stanley's Mug has a lot to do with it.  Good autos for a low price.  Make it easier to trade for.

Let the show begin.

Bryan Trottier
(Inducted in 1997)

When my 100-card project is complete, I'm sure there will be a number of New York Islanders representing.  They are from an era that is near and dear to my heart as it was really the time when I discovered the NHL.

Trottier was at the forefront as I was probably a bigger fan of his than Bossy.  Billy Smith though took the cake.

Trottier has a nice solid signature (if you could see it) and his penmanship hasn't drifted a bit over all these years.

Glenn Anderson
(Inducted in 2008)

Now how much is Anderson a Hall Of Famer as opposed to how much did he benefit from being on such a stacked team?  It would have been interesting to see what a career he would have had if he played on a different team.

Sure, he had some contributing years with other teams later on in his career, but the reason why he's in the HOF is because of the Oilers dynasty.  C'est la vie.

This auto is so-so, but was basically a throw in on another it works for me.

Joe Nieuwendyk
(Inducted in 2011)

Fun Fact: I can spell Joe's last name without looking.  Thank you very much.

Nieuwendyk was such an exciting player when he burst onto the scene in the late 80's with Calgary.  A pair of 50-goal seasons will do that.  And while he won three Stanley Cups with three different teams, he will always be a Flame to me.

Joe's signature looks a little rushed, but I wanted him in a Calgary themed card and this was a great example of that.

Larry Robinson
(Inducted in 1995)

All of these Lord Stanley's Mug cards came from the same dealer.  He had a bunch of them on his table.  And when I was deciding which players to pick out I was going for some of the "cheaper" cards.  I was surprised to see Robinson in the mix.

I'd like to mix things up a little more with different designs and releases for autos in this project, but I won't complain about picking up these four from this set.

Larry's auto is one that is immediately recognizable.  A little sloppier than examples I've seen in the past, but still very strong in comparison to some others out there.

Robinson's resume speaks for itself.  He goes down as one of the best - period.  958 points over 20 seasons.  Always had steady numbers throughout.  PIMS, +/-, assists, TOI, you name it.

A two-time Norris trophy winner (and he would have won more if not for some guy named Orr), a ten-time All-Star and won six Cups with the Habs, Robinson led a dominant defence group that will never - NEVER be duplicated.

Ed Belfour
(Inducted in 2011)

Eddie The Eagle has such a memorable goalie mask...but he was actually known for being a pretty darn solid goalie as well.

He rocketed on the scene in the late 80's and led a surpise Chicago team to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1992.  After that, the was the man.  He played nearly 20 years in the NHL with (let me remember the colors), teal, green, blue and gold.

He has 484 wins which ranks him third all time.  That right there will get you in the Hall.  He's a two-time Vezina winner and is one of a select few goalies to win the Calder as rookie of the year (1991).

I really wanted a Chicago card for my Belfour auto and was happy to see this offering on the same table as the other sigs shown above.  It was nicely added into the deal made and I'm really happy to add it.

Steve Shutt
(Inducted in 1993)

Hey, this card scanned not too bad.  And it's a good thing because it looks fantastic.  Those are some meaty pork chops!

Shutt, like Robinson, was a member of such an incredible dynasty team.  But his numbers aren't just as a result of playing with some incredible players.  I'd go out on a limb and say that Shutt may be one of the most underrated goal scorers of all time.

Look at the facts - Four 45+ goal seasons.  424 career goals in just 13 seasons.  Nine straight seasons of 30 or more goals.  Just awesome.

I think Shutt gets overlooked because of some guy named Lafleur, but number 22 definitely played an important role in his team's five Cup wins during his career.

I love Steve Shutt's auto.  His and Mike Bossy's look very similar.  Fluid, bold, with purpose and legible.  This Cup NHL Enshrinements card just magnifies those qualities.

Six more spectacular additions (crappy scans and all) and puts me close to the 60 card mark.  Well on my way.

Current Collection - 58 HOF Autos

Sunday, May 25, 2014

PARKIE PROJECT - The Card Show... Round Two

I was back for more today at The Card Show.  What a weekend!!  I found even more HOF autos, a handful of Masked Men 6 cards (finally), yet another huge Linden for the pc and I couldn't resist going back for a double dip of Parkies.

When I saw the gorgeous batch of 51/52 Parkhurst cards sitting in a showcase yesterday, I knew that I wouldn't be leaving the show with just the three I picked up Saturday.  I knew I'd be going back.  The only question was - how many am I gonna get?

Well...the answer is three.  Not because I ran out of cash, but because I decided to go in a little different direction (stay tuned - I'll leave the best for last).

1951/52 Parkhurst
#23 John "Moe" Henderson

Henderson played his entire NHL career with the Boston Bruins and lasted eight years in the big show.  His numbers didn't astound, but he did  produce quite well as a player/coach for Hershey at the end of his career.

It's amazing to think that he was 6ft tall yet weighed only 180lbs.  He'd have no chance in today's game.

He does have a link to the Hockey Hall of Fame...he is the nephew of the Conacher brothers (Roy, Lionel and Charlie), all of whom have been inducted.

The card itself is a little soft on the corners, but mighty fine for the price I paid.  Good centering and quality detail....for a bland photo.  I like it.

1951/52 Parkhurst
#32 Ray Barry

This card is interesting.  Ray Barry played all of 18 games in the NHL.  Yet Parkhurst decided that he was worthy of being included in the 105-card set.  I can only imagine some of the players who got snubbed only to see that Barry got his due.

After his quick cup of coffee in the pros, he played five seasons for the Calgary Stampeders of the WHL (not that WHL).  Neat.

The card again has some decent corners and centering (considering the price I paid) and really the only thing that sticks out for me is the "off" print.  You can really see the ghosting of the image layers on his skates.  Not sure if that is consistent on all his 51/52 Parkies, but I'm happy with it.

1951/52 Parkhurst
#75 Turk Broda

Alright, a name many of you older folk will recognize - FINALLY!!

I decided to go with this Broda as my final Parkie pickup as opposed to spending the money on three or four lesser known players.  The price was excellent and the card is equal to that (if not more).  I'd say this is the pinnacle card in the small collection so far.

Walter "Turk" Broda is a Hall of Fame goalie who played his entire career with the Toronto Maple Leafs.  He won five Stanley Cups, two Vezina trophies and is ranked #60 on The Hockey News' list of Top 100 Greatest Hockey Players.

He was in net for one of the greatest comebacks in Stanley Cup Finals history when his Leafs team were down 3 games to none to Detroit in 1942 and came back to win the Cup in 7 games.

A 300-game winner, he is without a doubt a huge name to add to this pc.

The card itself is very solid in my opinion.  Good corners (yes... a little soft, but more than acceptable for me).  Good color.  Good detail (although I don't know what's up with Turk's face...he looks a little cartoonish).  The back of the card is slightly dirty but's all relative.

Three more fantastic additions to the Parkhurst project.  A little weekend splurge, but definitely worth it.

Parkie Progress - 10 of 105  (9.5%)