Monday, May 25, 2015

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - A Three'Fer At The Show

While it's still been a slow go over the 2015 calendar year, I've been pleased with the pickups I've made (and more impressed with the Linden's I've passed on).

The big Toronto Expo is about a month past and even though I wasn't able to attend, I did manage to snag a great looking card for the collection.  Trade nights have been quiet for the most part, but do occasionally lend a nice surprise.

And I can now say that the monthly card show has proven to be fruitful for my Linden collection (something that was very "hit or miss" so far this year).  A couple weeks ago I was able to grab three.....count 'em - THREE new pc cards.

2014/15 Upper Deck Trilogy
#133 Ice Scripts

This hard signed Ice Scripts autograph is a solid addition to the signatures housed in my collection.  I do like the clear cards (be it the Ice Scripts or Glacial Graphs) so long as the auto is not faint or smudged.

I prefer the card design on this year's offering over the 13/14 card, but like the more full-body shot on the prior.

This card was an addition to the main pickup from the show....a card that made me cut short a "parade of garage sale day" with my niece and nephew (to be fair...it was raining and we were about done anyways).

2014/15 Upper Deck Masterpieces
#133 Black Framed Memorabilia Stick  /35

When fellow blogger Captain Canuck fired off a photo of this find asking if I needed it, I was already doing the math in my head on what to offer the seller.  A quick drive over to the show and I saw the great looking card first hand.

For a memorabilia window so small, Upper Deck did a nice job with their sticks and patches, maximizing the "wow" factor.

With no completed sales on ebay (the card was that new on the market), I gave it my best guess and made what I felt was a fair offer....and still think so.

I really like the wear on the stick piece and am thrilled to cross off the toughest card from the product release (just 35 copies).

2014/15 Upper Deck Masterpieces
#133 Memorabilia Jersey

While I was finalizing the transaction of the two cards shown above, another seller popped by and flashed this card in my face.  I knew he had it as I saw him pull it during his box breaks earlier in the week.

I predicted correctly in what I thought the seller would be looking to get and when I kind of stalled on it he lowered the price.  While it was still a little higher than I would have eventually spent, the seller has kept me in mind on more than one occasion and he does price his cards fairly.  In this instance, he got a few extra bucks off of me due to the newness of the product.

At the end of the day, it wasn't enough to raise a stink over and I do like that it's a non-white jersey piece.

So with that, it was one of my more successful card show trips in a while. And I didn't even plan on attending.  Fancy that.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - A Pair With Some Pop

About a month ago I was observing some of the new Linden offerings in Upper Deck Ice.  Specifically the Glacial Graphs trio of cards.  I was quite excited to start the chase for these three autos.

And while the blue base version has been here and there, I haven't really even taken a sniff of them yet hoping that I'll find one locally.  The yellow and black variations have shown up on the secondary market, but it seems as though many sellers want to impress the Linden Tax on these cards.

After all.....they're clear plastic so they must demand a premium.

What started as an exciting adventure quickly turned into a sit-and-wait game.  I've become a patient man in my old age.  I can wait (most of the time).

I did see one of the black parallels /10 hit ebay with a low starting bid.  I kept a close eye on it but decided not to chase it.  I was more curious to see what the end price would be.

I was a little surprised that it finished so low (about $30-40 less than I anticipated).  Of course, the next two or three to hit the open market were slapped with high Buy It Now prices.

No thanks.

I made (what I considered to be) a very fair offer and was quickly shot down.  I was told that I should have bid on the last one since it went so low.

So I continued to wait.

Until last weekend and the Toronto Expo where I unknowingly had a couple people on the lookout for me.  I received a text late in the day Sunday asking if I'd be interested in this card...

Uh.....yeah.  How much?

Well, the price was not terrible, but still higher than I wanted to spend.  I countered with (again what I considered to be) a fair price but the seller wanted just a little more.

I bit and bought.

Picking the card up at last week's trade night made me happy with the purchase.  It's a really solid signature and I was right....the scans do not do the card justice.  It looks great in person.

The funniest part....this is the same copy as the guy who snubbed my offer on ebay.  In the end, it was a compromise on both sides.

But that was not the only Linden to cross my path on trade night.

I had almost forgotten about a Linden card I was told about months ago.  I knew the card the collector was talking about (and I did need it), he just kept forgetting to bring it.  Until now.

This 2014/15 Trilogy Signature Pucks card is very reminiscent of the previous year's copy, just a color change in the background really.

But hand-numbered to 15 makes it a tough find.  And it does meet the minimum requirements of my Linden collection.  The guy pictured....that's Linden.

So a good ol' fashioned trade occurred.  I was able to part with a few cards that have been sitting in the trade box for a while now and walk away with this....kind of off-angle auto.

There.  That's better.  Too bad I couldn't do that with the puck for real.  Only in the world of Photoshop can I fix a card that quickly.

Two great cards in one evening.  I'm sure there's a word for that.

Friday, May 15, 2015

MY COLLECTION - A Very Entertaining Gift

I'll admit....I've been a little demotivated with the hobby recently - I'm in a bit of a funk you could say.  Nothing is really exciting or "talk-worthy".  That is until last night's trade night when all that went straight out the window.

I was the very fortunate recipient of a gift.

I'll say this...I like cards with stories.  And I like collectors who have stories to tell.  To me, hockey cards are more than just little 2.5x3.5 pieces of cardboard with price tags on them.  They tell of history in the sport and in the hobby, be it a superstar name or one game wonder.

So when I was sifting through a monster box of traders, and gawking at many spectacular offerings, I was immediately drawn to a stack of 51/52 Parkhurst jewels.  While sorting through them (and imagining how many of them I'd love to buy) I came across a few other vintage goodies.

The box owner popped by and lifted one out.  We took a closer look at it and he told me that it was a gift.

He said that when he picked it up he was thinking of me and that I'd probably appreciate it and enjoy it.

Clear.  The.  Track!!

Enjoy it?  This is downright awesome.

For those of you who might not recognize the buzz cut Ed Shack, this is the rookie card (from the 1958/59 Topps set) from the man who we would later dub "The Entertainer".

Next to the Bobby Hull, this Shack rc is the most desirable card in the set.  Definitely not "common" or no name.

Still not sure you know who he is?  Here....maybe this will help.

Like I said - Clear the track.....here comes Shack!!!  Toronto fans would probably instantly know who I'm talking of.  And I'll be honest, I didn't know that his days in the league started with the Rangers.

That is just a spectacular photo.

In his post-playing days, he'd ham it up during NHL oldtimers events as "referee"....while dog-collaring players I'm sure.

Alright, back to the card.

When I was told that the card was meant for me and was bought with me in mind, I really was taken aback.  I mean, this isn't a Trevor Linden offering on my wantlist, it's not a Cup raiser or goalie mask card, not quite a vintage Parkie and it's not numbered less than 100.

No, this card has it's own energy....it's own character and that's what I see in spades.

Just look at how tight that jersey is on the young 21-year-old winger.  His gloves crawl halfway up his arms.  The stick is a fine wood offering (and probably a straight blade).  And I must correct myself.....it's a SWEATER, not a jersey.

The card design is so simple, but that was how things were back in the 50's.  Huh....this card is almost 60 years old.  How cool is that?

Creases and dinged corners be damned....they just add to the awesomeness.

And since we are having so much fun....

Here's what the back of the card looks like.

I would have expected nothing less.

Topps knew even then when they stated "Colorful..." and "Aggressive..". Yeah, that would be bang on.  And who nowadays would have a hobby like "truck driving" or skills like "butcher boy".

I wish this piece of cardboard could talk so I could hear some of the neat stories of where this card has been.  For now, it's an easy decision as to what I'll be doing with it.

My little shrine at work could use a new addition ever since I snagged my #WalletCard off the mantle back in January.  This Shack will make for a great conversation piece.

And to the fellow collector who gifted me this card - Thank You!!!  Your generosity, enthusiasm and approach towards the hobby is one that I appreciate and enjoy.  Please know that this card really means a lot.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

RAISE THE CUP - Cleaning Off The Desk

Well I had a few moments tonight to clean up my office desk.  Seems there's been a massive explosion, and the result......cards, cards everywhere.

Most are ones that need to go into trade binders or monster boxes (as they've been downgraded from the toploader world) a handful are from various projects and a couple are "reminder" cards.

What they're supposed to remind me to do.....who knows anymore.

But I came across three cards that were easy to place and a quick check on a project binder showed me that I needed to do some scanning.....and some show & telling.

This Mario Lemieux card is a real eye-catcher.  Even when I look at it close up, it has that drawn/sketch feel to it.  But it's not.  It's just a slightly overexposed photograph.

Inserted into the 2006/07 Power Play insert set called Cup Celebrations, this has slowly revealed itself as one of the earlier Cup raising insert sets out there.

I picked it up at a trade night a few months ago.  Crazy enough - I traded for it.

A lot of LA Kings Stanley Cup cards of late (but not this year).  I really like a lot of the horizontal offerings in my project.  The background really gives the card depth and makes the Cup punch out even more.

Kopitar looks truly overjoyed.  What a great moment - and a perfect example of what I like about this collection.

Uh oh.....we need a ruling.

A while back I made the decision to take some cards out of my Raise The Cup project.  I decided that some of the parameters include...

1. Photo must appear on the front of the card
2. Stanley Cup must be raised over the player's head

Well, clearly you can see that we only have 50% on the test.  But boy is this card ever nice.  You can tell that this photo was taken literally moments after Toews was presented the Cup.  The expression on his mug is perfect and there's good energy in the shot.

Plus it's Jonathan Toews....not Mark Messier.  I was able to throw out a card of The Moose because he had the Cup at his side.  A good reason as any to get rid of it.

This card on the other hand - is going in.......for now.  I'm sure I'll change my mind at a later point.

But I get to do that.  It's my project.

Current Collection - 120 cards

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - More Artifacts

It's been a bit of a slow week hobby-wise for me.  I've kept my eye on a number of auctions, but have passed on pretty much all of them.  Prices just don't feel right.

But every once in a while one pops up with all the stars aligned.  And when the bidding is all said and done, sometimes you win one.

And in this case it was a nice addition to a miserable release.  (OK....that might be a little over-dramatic).

2014/15 Upper Deck Artifacts
Gold Spectrum Material
#31 Patch/Patch  /15

I'm happy with any card numbered to 15 that I can grab for what I feel is a good price.

A couple of interesting patches on it though.  I couldn't put my finger on it until I saw the card up close.

Doesn't look like Canuck colors.  And it's got some unique stitching too.

I think it looks like a CCM patch.

Thoughts anyone?

With this card I'm almost halfway through the parallel hell of Artifacts for the 14/15 release.  I now have 9 of 19 cards put out in the product.  A couple of them are easy pickings, so I'm not in a rush.  All the others?  Well, let's just say this /15 was the easiest of those.

Not a race.  Not a race.  Not a race.

Monday, May 11, 2015

OPINION - Is It Really A Masterpiece?

For a few weeks now, I've been anxiously anticipating the upcoming Upper Deck release - Masterpieces.

I remember this product being a blast back in the 2008/09 season when it debuted.  The artist painting feel of the card, putting it on a matte, textured card stock and the great action many of the cards all made the robust checklist very popular.  Not to mention the jersey variations and hard-signed autograph finds.  A great product.

Word of Masterpieces being resurrected this season got me excited.  And  I really got my ears perked when I learned that Trevor Linden would be on the checklist.

Recently, Upper Deck showed off some of the cards in a Facebook post.  Here's what I saw.

First off, some of these artist paintings are spectacular.  The photos do these cards no justice I'm guessing.  I fixed them up as best I could, but I can just bet that seeing them up close will be a real treat.

The design may be simple, but that's part of what hooked me last time around.  The textured card stock is back too it seems.

And I really like how they've built the signature and memorabilia components.

And I have no doubt that the checklist will be a who's who.

Hopefully, like last time, there will be some all-time greats included along with today's current stars.

Oh yeah......did I mention Linden is in the release?

Marty, shown in his Devils garb.

You can kind of tell in the collar of his jersey.

That exciting......right?

Iggy.

Really?  That's the best photo you could draw from?

Hmmmmmmm.  Going back I'm seeing a bit of a trend with these cards.

Huh.

This Ovechkin offering lacks any sort of dynamics that the original Masterpieces had.

I'm getting a little bit concerned.

Ah, there he is.  Trev.

Doing his best "glide, turn left".  A real action shot if I've ever seen one.

OK, opinion time.

With a product like this (that has a very distinct and definitive history behind it) why would Upper Deck fill the pot with portrait shots and lackluster action?

Seriously?  Take a look at all the above cards.  It would be very fair to say that the Linden offering has the most action in it.  And if that's the case.....not good.

In this day and age, shouldn't the best of the best in terms of reference photos be available for a project like this?  Why didn't Upper Deck use the  08/09 offering as a guide?

Now, I'll admit, this Cam Neely card is not the most dynamic card itself, but it blows away anything I've seen from the upcoming release.

Great detail, great framing, good looking card.

And the white border base version really looks bland when compared to the brown border gems.

There it is.  That's what I think of when I hear Upper Deck Masterpieces.

What more would a person want in a card?  Tons of great color, creativity and artistry.  Both in the player depicted and the artist capturing.

Here's another.  This just destroys anything shown above from the current crop of cards.

So what happened?  Why the change?

I'm not certain, but what went from a high-level of excitement on the set has turned to a lukewarm simmer for some Linden chasing.

Not the end of the world, but I do believe that more could have been done with this set.

What are your thoughts on Upper Deck Masterpieces?  Both the original offering and the upcoming release?  What are your thoughts on the portraits painted?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

WALLET CARD - Disaster!!!!

It was a disastrous afternoon.  A chain of events that led to an unfortunate incident.

The results......ugly.  Too much for some to handle.

Warning - the following photo may be disturbing to some hobbyists.

Simply put, this is what happens when your wallet (housing the above #WalletCard) is placed in the washing machine.

The story goes.....

Jar of salsa smashes on the ground.  Salsa everywhere.  Salsa on pants.  Wallet in pants (but forgotten about due to said salsa).  Pants go to washing machine.  Pants get washed.  Wallet gets washed.

Salsa gone.  #WalletCard gone.

Other than my wallet being a write-off, this was the only other item to take on any real damage.  All my credit cards and such are plastic.  All my money is some freak kind of waterproof indestructible material.  coins...good.

Just poor ol' Oscar.

I let him dry out and now he's super brittle.  I don't know if it's possible to salvage this copy - but believe me I'll try.

If not, I'll be on the search for a new copy.  I need #WalletCard

Actually, what bothers me more is the fact that this card was given to me as a gift and had meaning to me even before this year and the advent of #WalletCard.

Down......but not out.