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.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

SIGNATURE CHAMPIONS - Guy Lafleur

It was monthly card show day today and although I didn't come across any new Linden cards to add to the collection, it was really nice to see a bunch of new "stuff" on tables that normally have a bit too much of the "same ol' stuff".  I was tempted to splurge on a couple bigger ticket cards but a recent appointment with my financial guy had me hearing his voice in my head a little louder than normal.  Probably a good thing.

But that doesn't mean I didn't find something to come home with.

First (and most surprising) would be the latest issue of Beckett Hockey.  I can honestly say that I haven't paid for a Beckett mag in years.  It's just turned into too much "price guide" (and I use that term a little loosely) and not enough articles.  But the cover of the most recent issue had me considering an exception.

Alright.....you have me interested.  I'm a sucker for a good list and I guess when it comes to hockey cards, this would be the ultimate one (although I bet I could come up with some pretty sweet lists of my own).

And I love the way the cover looks.  Super simple design but the gold light overlay just really caught my eye.  Very nice.

So I bought it.  I won't divulge anything regarding the items on the list (as I would recommend you go and pick up a copy to check it out) but I will say that there were a number of cards that had me surprised.

I would assume a number of iconic pieces of cardboard be on the list but there were many that I never....NEVER would have considered.  I like that in a good list.  A decision is made, an argument is presented and a list is formed.  Kudos.

Sadly, there wasn't much else in the magazine that caught my eye.  It's just not like it used to be back when the magazine was born in the early 90's.  The "Hot List" made me laugh though.  Every single one of the 20 cards presented were either Young Guns or YG Canvas cards....say for one - and it was a Canvas card.  Boy.....I feel like the hobbyists are predictable these days.

Where's the variety?  Where's the fun?  Are we all just supposed to go and get our Auston Matthews or Patrick Laine YG and just call it a day?  I guess so.

But I digress..... on to the card pickup at hand.  One new add and it was an automatic when I saw it.

This Guy Lafleur Signature Champions card is one I have seen a number of times online but never took a stab at.  His signed stuff feels a little off-kilter to me.  The guy is a legend....but he doesn't seem to have the hobby love that one would expect.  Original Six team, hugely popular in the 70's and early 80's, successful and loved by the fans.  So what gives?

Is it the fact that played second fiddle to Gretzky in the latter portion of his career?  Too many great Habs back in those days?  Outside of Montreal is he even on anybody's radar?

Regardless, I've been waiting for the price to be a reasonable one before I struck.  The price tag on this one today made the decision easy.  Simply put, I paid less for this card than I did for the Chris Chelios one a couple weeks back.

'Nuff said.

My only beef with the card would be that Guy isn't hoisting the Cup over his head.  But I guess that wasn't the big thing to do back in the 70's like it is today.  And the Conn Smythe trophy balanced above The Cup just steals the thunder from what should be a pinnacle moment (actually....the yellow towel does that pretty well too).

One more off the list.  Starting to get to a point where it's the tougher ones left on my list.  But I knew that going in.

I confirmed that in my new Beckett mag tonight.  :)


Current Collection - 9 out of 42  (21%)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - It's......A Card

Alright....the last of my card show pickups has me thinking if it's even worth sharing this one with you all.

After all, I overpaid for it (was part of my 2-card lot with the Chelios Signature Champions) and it really doesn't have much exciting to add.  But maybe I'm being too critical.

I'll let you all decide.

There are cards that I purposefully pass on when I see it pop up online.  I figure that there's a good chance I'll find it locally.  And to me "locally" means cheaper.

Most of the time.

2014/15 Leaf In The Game Used
Game Used Quad Silver
#GU4J-02 (with Hull, Naslund & Roenick)  /55

This is the most common card Linden has in the robust first offering from Leaf back a couple years ago.  Leaf/ITG paired up to release In The Game Used and Trev has a whopping 45 cards in the product.

FORTY-FIVE

And this card /55 is the most common.  You can understand if I didn't go after this list with a great amount of gumption.

I did find a copy of this quad jersey but the price tag was a little cringe-worthy.  Hoping to get the price down I paired it up with the aforementioned Chris Chelios autograph but the discount was only marginal.

So let's not talk about how much I spent on this card.

Instead, let's try to figure out what the heck the connection is between the four players shown on the card.  And "They all play hockey" is not the right answer.

And........go.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

OUTSIDE THE BOX - A Couple Of Legends

Let's go over the list one more time....

Like sifting through boxes looking for gems - CHECK

Sucker for a deal - CHECK

Enjoys a good laugh - CHECK

So when I came across a box full of non-sport priced at three bucks a piece or 2 for $5....I decided to take a few moments.

I came to a quick halt when I saw this gem....

Ha ha ha......who loves ya' baby!

I have no idea what possessed...............oh yeah right.  I'm a sucker.

Get it!!!  I'm starting to show my age.

The back of the card has some great info on Mr. Savalas (I just can't call him Telly)....

"Telly Savalas ranks among the most recognizable actors of the 20th century.  A veteran of World War II, Savages was nominated for an Academy Award in 1963 for Birdman of Alcatraz.  Of course, his most famous role came as Lt. Theo Kojak on Kojak.  Who loves ya' baby!"

Very cool.

Anyways, I confirmed with the seller 2 for $5 and began digging for card #2.

It was a non-sport box but found this equally impressive legend....

The King.......Richard Petty.  Race Used Firesuit.  Look at that photo!!

That was good enough for me.

These two cards for a measly five bucks.  All.....day.....long.

Friday, March 10, 2017

RAISE THE CUP - 2007 Ducks Authentic Moment

Another benefit to hunting and digging through numerous boxes looking for cards....you tend to find stuff you weren't even looking for.

In fact, I can't even claim to have found this card in particular.

Leave it to fellow collector, digger and frugal-minded collector Captain Canuck for finding this little offering for me.

Great eye!  This is a super shot of the "Big Three"??? posing for Polaroids after their big win in 2007.  Getzlaf, Perry and........some other guy.  Oh yeah - Dustin Penner.  Whatever happened to him?

Anyways, it was a solid pickup and I guess I have Captain Canuck to thank (although I'm sure I would've seen this one when I eventually went through that same box....it was just inevitable).

Adding another card to the ever growing binder tonight and I had a chance to flip through the pages.  I like when a project such as this starts showing some teeth.  A fun, inexpensive collection.

And that's what the hobby is all about.

(oh......and helping people)

For the record, Dustin Penner - a TWO TIME Stanley Cup Champion....ugh - last played in the NHL in 2014 and was last seen being unceremoniously booted from TSN's Trade Deadline team after tweeting some "insensitive stuff".  I think we will leave things at that.  Yikes.

Current Collection - 156 cards

Thursday, March 9, 2017

VOICES OF THE GAME - Charlie Simmer

I like digging.  Digging through huge monster boxes of cards.  Not base cards but inserts.  Jersey cards and autos that have been sitting for far too long in a closet.....with blowout prices on them.

I like that.

The recent card show had me sifting through a couple tables worth of boxes and I managed to find a few diamonds in the rough.

I made the decision to not go overboard and buy stuff for my trade box.....but that didn't last long.  Some Masked Men I and II card for .50 cents each killed that goal.  I'm a sucker for a good deal.

Looking back I wonder if that was a good deal??  Ha ha.

Anyways, on to one of the cards I found through my hours of digging.

2010/11 Panini Crown Royale
Voices Of The Game
#1 Charlie Simmer

This is a very small collection I have passively been building.  Working in the world of television and media I thought it would be fun to go after these cards.  Especially when you start the collection off with a legend like Dick Irvin.  As my nephew would say....noice.

Charlie used to do color commentary for the local Flames games for a few seasons back before the huge Sportsnet NHL bid.  He wasn't too bad to listen to......but I'll admit I like his signature better.

Simmer has a real nice auto and it fills the card out well.  He seems to be sporting a Kings jersey in the photo...likely from a night honouring him - or a teammate.

For just a few bucks I'm happy to add it to the meek collection.

Oh.......and in case you were wondering......Bob Cole does have a signature card (or two).  It's officially on the radar.


Current Collection - 8 cards