December 25, 2015

Merry Cards-mas

I'm going to write this post for the second straight year. When I published it last year, the blog was almost brand new and even a full year in, it boasts the lowest page view count of any post I've written. However, 'tis the season and Christmas is a treasures time in my house. Perhaps even more so this year, having just been blessed with a happy and healthy daughter just one week ago. So, here is take 2, a post sharing my Santa card collection.

I absolutely love that Pro Set Head Coach card showing Santa trimming the tree with some cardboard! I'm happy to have the rest of these in the collection, but most don't stand out like that first one. Though, Santa's Heisman pose is pretty cool. I've picked these up since the last post. In fact, I found a few of these in one if the card show nickel boxes I wrote about previously.

Seems that there a good many cards of the Christmas legend from his playing days. I suppose that Pinnacle card doesn't really count, but if you are a Cowboys fan, you've gotta dig it. Well, it's got presents, bows, and Santa hats, so it's close enough.

This one is really up my alley. It's the 'action variation' here capturing the man doing what he does best(even if he's having a bit of a tough time here).

The final card I'll share in my Christmas post this year shows the man making his (check)list and checking it twice! It's a pretty decent front, but the back is what really gets me on this one.

True, this is deep for something written on a sports card. It really is a wonderful reminder that we should treasure who and what we have and to try to take a moment to show some kindness to others.

Anyway, thanks for reading and to all who celebrate it, I wish you a Merry Christmas!

December 19, 2015

The Return of the NFL Inspired Single Card Post

Hi everyone, not much time to write today as I sit in the hospital staring at the new addition to my family. Thanks to you all for the wishes of good luck and congratulations, it means a lot!

Tomorrow, when the Broncos face the Steelers, they have the chance to clinch a playoff spot. Heck, with a little help, they could wind up with the AFC West Division title by the end of the weekend. It's been announced that Brock Osweiler will get at least one more start, as Peyton is not ready to return quite yet. I am happy to see Brock get this opportunity. I think he's done a great job leading the team in Peyton's absence and the offense has even looked more like it should have all season(with the exception of last week's loss). I love Manning, but I'm all for what's best for the team and it's great to see that things won't necessarily be terrible once he retires. So, good luck Brock! Beat those Steelers and clinch that playoff spot!

This was a recent Listia acquisition. It's got a great three color patch, is die-cut, and is #/49. All the way around, it's a sweet addition to the collection. I'm certain that I threw way too many credits at this, but I figured I had them to use and it was better than throwing way too much money at something like this on eBay. Go Broncos!!! Thanks for reading.

December 17, 2015

Contest Winner and Some Brief Blog Housekeeping

Sorry for the delay on writing this post. I figure that folks are always pretty excited about a contest, right? In total, I had 19 entries into the contest before last night's deadline. So, first things first, thank you all for the great response. I didn't really have any expectations, but those numbers certainly made me happy! I ran the names through the 'randomizer' nine times earlier this morning and the results are in...

...and the winner is The Lost Collector!!! Congrats! Since there was such a great response, I'll also be sending a 'prize pack' out to arpsmith! Since I haven't had the pleasure of trading with either of you fine gentlemen, please send me an email with your contact info: tim (dot) trisomenc (at) gmail (dot) com

I will piece together customized packages and send them out as quickly as I can. Thanks again to everyone for the great responses and thanks for reading!

Now, on to blog housekeeping. Tomorrow morning I will be taking my wife to Duke University Hospital so that they can induce labor for the delivery of our third daughter. In most aspects of my day to day life, this has been a pretty well kept secret, but the cat is out of the bag. Depending on how things go over the next few days, I may or may not have the capacity to compose posts for the immediate future. I realize it's entirely possible that no one would have even noticed I was gone for however long, so I'm not trying to be presumptuous. I resume 'normal' posting as soon as I can. One last thanks to all of you for reading and making my first anniversary contest a really encouraging thing!

December 16, 2015

Loving 2015 Topps Chrome Update is All About the Nostalgia

Before I begin this post I want to remind everyone that the deadline for entering my one year anniversary contest is tonight at midnight. Thanks to all who have already entered and good luck!

From the moment I laid eyes on this year's Chrome Update cards, I was in love! I decided right away that I was going to try to complete the 50 card, retail exclusive set. Then I wrote about it. Shortly after, I began to see post after post pop up about the set. Most had good things to say about it, but a few mentioned that they failed to see what the big deal is. Those posts that wondered what all the excitement was about made me think about why I immediately liked these cards so much. After some thought, I figured it out. They remind me of another set from my collecting past.

Back in 1996, I pulled this card from a pack of Bowman. At the time, I had no idea what it was. The internet wasn't quite the resource it is today, my local card shop at the time didn't have(or wouldn't share) product info, and I didn't regularly read Beckett. Pulling this card of the best player in baseball at the time and which was unlike anything I had ever seen(and didn't know existed) is one of my favorite collecting memories. While it turns out this card isn't nearly as rare or valuable as I once imagined it might be, it was still a tough pull since these Bowman's Best Preview Atomic Refractors only fell 1:48 packs or every other box. Add to that there were 30 cards possible in the set and it was even longer odds that I was able to pull the Griffey Jr. Over the years, I've picked up a handful of these here and there, but I've never made a serious run at piecing together the set. In fact, despite several attempts, the Jeter Atomic Refractor still eludes me all these years later. That's something I'll have to fix someday.

The next time I can remember seeing that same design was in last year's Bowman products. However, the use of that finish on a recreation of the 1989 Bowman set didn't have me too terribly excited. They're still some nice cards, but nothing I felt compelled to actively chase.

Then, I saw these...

I've really liked the 2015 Topps design since day one. So, when I opened my first pack of Chrome Update and saw cards like these(I didn't actually pull these two in even my first 8 packs), I was once again surprised and thrilled. For a split second I thought maybe I had opened a 'hot pack' of Atomic Refractors'. For me, the feeling of nostalgia...being transported back to 1996, is the main reason I instantly fell in love with this set. Hopefully I'll be able to track down he remaining 8 cards I have left to finish the set without too much trouble.

Anyway, thanks for reading my ramblings and reminiscing. If you're one that likes the Update Chrome set, why do you like it. Does anyone have any similar stories about other sets?

December 12, 2015

New Blogging Year = New Local Card Shop

As I was doing my research and reflection before writing my one year anniversary post the other day, I really wanted year two to be a little more 'adventurous'. I'm not really sure what I mean by that just yet, but as New Year's Day approaches, I'll probably sit and write a blog goals list for the year to better define it. I decided that an easy way to be 'more adventurous' in the short term was to finally explore a card shop that I hadn't visited yet. This particular shop is in Danville, VA and though I live in NC it only took me about a 30 minute drive to get there. It is actually the most local shop that I am aware of. I knew it existed because they participate in most of the card company promos like Topps' Spring Fever and Panini's multiple holiday promos. I made the drive yesterday just to see what I've been missing. Overall, I'm glad I did!

I forgot to snap a photo of the store front, but I found this image online. It is a really small shop and is primarily focused on comics, but the trip was certainly worth it and I'll definitely be returning on a semi-regular basis. As I walked in the front door, there was a small table that had a rather large plastic storage bin, not unlike this:

It was filled with store made repacks! For a collector like me, it was heaven. Team bag after team bag was lined up in there. All four major sports were represented as were golf, soccer, MMA, and there were even a few non-sport. I loved that there are two 'face' cards to help me pick which ones I want and that there was so much variety, but the best part was the price. There was a small sign next to it stating that they were a quarter a piece or 5 for a dollar. I didn't pay attention to how many cards were in each, but I started searching and quickly began pulling ones that I needed to take home. When all was said and done, this is the pile I had.

That's 16. All but one were baseball(there was one football for good measure). I also picked up four MMA packs that I'm not going to show off here. I picked all of the ones in the box that had Chrome showing in an effort to help fill in my remaining set needs and found a few others that had face cards that were too good to pass up.

As I searched the rest of the shop, there was a decent selection of open packs and boxes available in baseball, football, basketball, WWE, and some non-sport. The prices were in line with what you probably see at most shops these days. They also had a decent selection of supplies. Unlike most shops, they didn't have multiple display cases lined with singles, but they did have a few boxes to flip through that were sorted by team and somewhat alphabetical. I picked a few cards from these boxes to round out the day's purchase. Here are the highlights of the repacks.

These two made the Chrome packs worth it all on their own. The Bautista is the green refractor which is #/99 and the Konerko is the regular refractor of his farewell card. Beyond these, I found a few cards that are already set aside for trade partners and a prism refractor of MadBum too. Additionally, I found 15 cards to cross off my set checklist.

This Kiermaier 'Cracked Ice' card was on the face of one of the packs and I could not pass it by. I've said it before, but he was one of the most exciting players that I had the fortune to watch in Durham!

I picked up a prospect pack because the Adames and Garcia were the face cards and I thought they'd be good additions. Perhaps, if things work out, they'll one day look good with in person autos on them.

That wasn't all the prospect pack had to offer though. This trio was sandwiched in the middle. There were another two guys that I might potentially see come through Durham with the BoSox and Yankees Triple A teams and Kolek played in Greensboro(which is not too far a drive from me either) this past season. The design of these just seems to scream 'sign here"!

The best pack of the trip contained these two oddly sized and shaped cards from A&G. I am not exactly sure what these are(and haven't done the research to find out) but it's cool to add another Josh Hamilton even if I don't actively pursue that collection anymore. These were surrounded by the following cards which blew me away.

The Sano and the Vargas were the cards showing on this particular pack. How it was still sitting in the bin is beyond me. Honestly, it could have been almost anyone from Bowman Sterling and I would have picked it up just to add some more singles from that brand. As if the pack wasn't good enough, I found that sparkly, Bowman throwback insert of Kyle Schwarber tucked in there as well! All for the low, low price of twenty cents!

Here's the final lowdown on these repacks: they are AWESOME, and worth the drive alone. Each pack ended up containing 10 cards which essentially made this bin somewhat of a dime box! Heck, after all was said and done, I ended up adding 20 team bags to my supply reserves that will eventually make their way to many of your mailboxes. Add to that, I love the unknown/surprise aspect of the repack format and it made for a great new adventure!

December 10, 2015

A Year Sure Does Go By Fast + An Anniversary Contest

WOW, a year ago today, I published my first post on this humble little blog. It's hard for me to believe that I've been writing here for that long already because I still fell like such a rookie most of the time.

The look on Swish's face says it all, I'm pretty excited to have made it this far. When I started things, I had no plan, no expectations, and had no idea how frequently I'd write or if anyone would actually see any of it. I just wanted to explore another aspect of our hobby that would bring my enjoyment of it to another level. Well, here is what my first year looked like:

  • This is my 162nd post published
  • 25 of you have actually liked the content enough to follow the blog
  • I have no frame of reference to know how good(or not) a number it is, but the post that has had the highest number of views in my first year was my tribute to The Ultimate Warrior post that has over 1900 views. For some of you, it may be a regular occurrence to see those kind of numbers, but for me it is unfathomable.
Thank you to all of you out there that have read, commented, and/or proposed a trade. Establishing relationships with all of you wonderful folks of the 'cardsphere' has been great!

Now that the thanks have been given, here's the part of the post that you've been waiting for since you clicked on it: the contest! Since it's my one year anniversary and traditionally paper is the gift that corresponds with that, I'm going to give at least one lucky reader the gift of paper(cardboard is paper, right)! It's the first contest that I've run so I'm going to keep it simple. Here's the details:

  • To enter, just leave a comment on this post. Entries will be open until the end of the day on 12/16. To ensure that I get all entries counted properly, there will be a limit of one entry per person. Sorry, no bonus entries for promoting the contest on your blog though I'd love it if some of you would be willing to do that.
  • Once all entries are in, I will randomize the entries 9 times to find the winner(Jeter #2 + Elway #7 = 9 times). Depending on the number of entries, I may select more than one winner. I'll keep you updated on this.
  • I don't have a specific prize set aside so I'll do my best to customize the prize pack to fit the collecting interests of the winner(s).
There you have it. It's been a great first year and I'm looking forward to building on it to make year two even better! Thanks for reading and good luck!

December 6, 2015

More Set Needs from Madding

Here it is, almost Christmas and I'm still chipping away at more 2015 sets(or insert sets) than I've collected in he last decade combined. That's why I dig it when I get packages that help me cross numbers off my checklists. Recently, I received more cards from Cards on Cards.

I really like the retail-only All-Star Game inserts and this DeGrom helps me get one card closer. I snapped up a lot of Update his far, but until this envelope arrived, I hadn't been lucky enough to pull that Jeter insert.

These, I really love. We've got a retail-only insert teamed with throwbacks. Between Walmart and Target, there are 50 of these to track down and I'm sure gonna try. Other than the card stock not really having the 'throwback' feel to it, I don't have any complaints about any of these that I've laid eyes on. I think it's a great way to close out a collecting season that has been heavy on throwback-themed inserts.

Great stuff. Who knows, maybe if I keep getting help like this with my set needs, I might be able to complete a few more sets before the dawn of the 2016 collecting season. Thanks Madding!

December 5, 2015

Just Commons - Where Have You Been All My (Collecting) Life?

I have no idea what took me so long to explore Just Commons and finally place an order on there, but I finally took the leap. Let me just say that if am happy I did! Thanks to a few recent eBay sales, I had a bit of cash that was burning a hole in my Paypal Wallet. I'd read numerous posts on various blogs out there singing the praises of Just Commons so I figured I'd see what I could find out there. Turns out I can find a LOT of cards I want out there, so I filled my cart up to just beyond the free shipping magic number of $15 and placed my order. A few days ago, the package arrived.

Let me just say, I have a bunch of 1992 UD sitting in a box, but when I first saw this Cecil Fielder from that set, it didn't seem familiar. I mean, how could you forget a photo like that? Sure enough, I went through all that I could find from that set and didn't have that awesome appearance by the San Diego Chicken on cardboard. Into the cart it went! That Bernie Williams is a pretty perfect card for me. One of my favorite Yankee players, a guitar on a baseball card, Yankee Stadium facade in the background? Check, check, check! The last two of this scan and the first two of the next scan have long been on my radar. They are the 'Limited Edition' parallels of the 2001 Yankee Team Card, World Series Champions card, and both AL Playoff series highlight cards. Apparently, these were Topps' version of Tiffany sets for the new millennium. I've been trying for years to piece together an early version of the rainbow for these cards. There are flagship, Limited Edition, Topps Employee, Chrome and Retrofractors that I am aware of. Finally, I can cross off the Limited Edition varieties from my checklist.

Keeping with the parallel theme, we shift gears to 2015 Topps Update gold. I had to pick up the Gardy since it was his first All-Star appearance. I was fortunate to pull a Mason Williams gold from a pack, so I needed the Heathcott to round out the gold Yankee rookies. Then I figured, I'd add the Rays gold rookies to the cart. I saw an awful lot of both Andriese and Mahtook while they were in Durham. It was nice to see them get a look(or two or three) in Tampa.

Next up, more former Bulls who have been pretty successful in Tampa. I hope that Cobb will return from TJ surgery as good as new and continue on his path towards becoming a top tier AL pitcher. For my money, Kiermaier was probably the most exciting player I've gotten to see in Durham in a long time! I'm really glad to see him performing so well in the Majors. I was thrilled to see his hard work pay off with a Gold Glove this season. Keep it up 'Outlaw'!

I managed a few Aaron Hicks RCs since he is the Yankees latest addition. I'm hoping to see big things from him. The refractor RC is on the left and the base is on the right. I also snagged a Bowman Chrome RC(not pictured).

Last, but not least, RCs from two of my favorite players. Here aren't just any RCs though. It's easy to see that Bo doesn't know Donruss on the left since there is that Leaf logo hanging out in the top left corner, but that Bernie looks like the base Topps RC...

That is until you turn it over. It's OPC!!! I can officially cross another card off the Cardboard Wishlist! Awesomeness! 

Wait, Bo knows French?!? Yup! With these new additions, I only need Tiffany versions of these guys' RCs and I'll have 'em all.

All in all, I picked up 25 cards. There were a few others that I didn't scan. If you're interested, a few of you may just find the others in your mailbox sometime in the near future. I just got my first order and I'm already searching the site and filling my cart once again. If you guys haven't checked out a Just Commons yet, I'd recommend doing so. It's definitely another great resource for adding to your collection. Thanks for reading!

December 4, 2015

Fuji Spreading Some Hobby Love

Over the past few weeks, I've seen quite a few posts from folks that received envelopes from Fuji. Though I'm behind in writing about it, I was fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of a padded mailer from him as well.

One of my favorite Nats pitchers(now former Nats pitcher) led of the package. This is my third Zimmermann relic. I suppose I'll have to make a decision about whether I continue to collect him going forward now that he has left Washington.

The Nats relics didn't stop there! Up next were two new Desmond jerseys that I didn't previously own. 2015 was a bit of an off year for him, but I hope that he'll rebound in 2016.

This is my first Longoria relic. I love the frame on his one! It's been a while, but I remember watching him in Durham during his short stint here before carving out his spot in Tampa.

It would have been a great package if it ended there, but there was still one more card remaining.

I had seen these floating around on other blogs and I really wanted to add one to my bloggers/trading partners collection. I was thrilled when I flipped to this. I've thought many times about creating my own blogger trading card to include in trade packages, but it just haven't taken that leap yet. I really should because I think it's awesome when I receive something like this.

Thanks for the surprise trade package Fuji. I really enjoyed it!

December 2, 2015

Enjoying Some Tim Horton's in Good Ole NC

These days, I don't make it a habit to actively track down hockey cards. However, I had read about the Upper Deck Hockey set that was going to be distributed exclusively at Canadian Tim Horton's locations and I was intrigued. During some recent treks through the Land of Listia, I began seeing some singles pop up. I found a lot of three that offered free shipping and I pounced on it. The lot arrived earlier today and when I laid eyes on the cards, I was so impressed that I scanned them immediately and here we are. Sorry to the trade posts that I am woefully lagging behind on, but this post began writing itself as soon as I opened the envelope and saw these beauties.

Here are two of the three cards from the lot. The scans came out pretty well, but they still don't do these cards justice. The lines are textured and the foil is very refractor-like. I really like that the positions are listed in both languages too!

Here is the main reason I went after that particular lot. I've taken my family to a handful of 'Canes games over the past few seasons and I've grown to like Staal pretty well during that time.

Here's a look at the back of the cards. It's a nice clean design. At the moment, I can't really think of anything that I don't like about these. After seeing these in hand, I know that I'm going to track down some more of these. They make me wish that there was a set here in the States that we could chase. Maybe one day here will be another Denny's Baseball set or McDonald's Football issue. Until then, I'll have to settle for this international hunt. What do you guys think of this set? Have you seen this up close yet? I'd love to hear thoughts on this one. Thanks for reading!

November 30, 2015

A Couple of PWEs From the Shoebox

Just when I thought I was almost caught up with trade posts, there was a deluge of packages that began to overflow my mailbox. It's a good problem to have! One of the arrivals was the latest PWE from my most prolific trading partner, Shane...the Shoebox Legend himself! I had just gotten everything scanned and almost ready to write about and sure enough, another envelope arrived. So, in the interest of trying to catch up a bit I'm going to combine these two great envelopes. I like to start chronologically, so let's take a look at the first PWE.

The only card that I knew was en route was the Heritage High Number Heathcott RC. Wow, alliteration much? The A-Rod commemorating his 600th HR was a nice surprise, as was the A&G Gibson.

Next up, I found this awesome gold parallel Betances relic. It may be a plain gray swatch, but it's my first GU card of the Yanks' set-up man(and PT closer) and it's #/99! As nice as it is to add a new Gibson and this Betances relic to the collection, the envelope was elevated to the next level of greatness by the following card:

I was shocked when I flipped to this card. I had seen Shane write about these vintage football cards a few times, but I've never actually seen one in person. This comes from the 1960 A&BC Football set. As you can see, the set borrows the 1959 Topps Baseball set's design and puts it to good use showcasing the English football stars of the day. I am thrilled to now have this well-loved copy in my collection.

In the short time between receiving the two PWEs, Shane and I both began the quest to complete the 50 card 2015 Topps Chrome Update set. After exchanging a few messages back and forth, I knew it wouldn't be long before another group of cards would be on the way.

Shane had told me he had four cards from my checklist that he'd send. There they are, I'm happy to have these four that drop my set needs down to 13 cards to go. As usual, the other cards that rounded out the envelope were equally incredible. The DeCarr is my first 2015 Pro Debut. The set looks pretty nice in hand. Austin would look better if I can manage to get it signed at some point. The Andrew Miller is of the rainbow foil parallel variety.

There was more shiny with that AL HR Leaders gold parallel from 2012 which had not only one, but two Yankees on it! I'm not a huge fan of the Highlight of the Year insert from this year, but as a Yankee fan and a fan of baseball history in general, how could I not love the Babe Ruth that commemorates his single season HR record?

Thanks Shane, As always, there was a bunch of great stuff for my collection and I was blown away by your generosity.

November 27, 2015

Contest Winnings From Sports Card Collectors Blog

A short while back, I commented on a post over at Sports Card Collectors blog and was entered into a contest. Surprisingly, my name was at the top of the randomized when all was said and done. Soon after, I received my winnings.

Two unopened packs of 2015 Panini Player of the Day packs. Each pack had two cards, one veteran and one rookie. I could hardly wait to open them long enough to take this picture of the unopened packs. Let's see pack one(the top one).

The design is nothing to knock your socks off, but it is clean. Honestly, I don't think there is anyone in the set that I would have wanted to pull less than Kaepernick. I don't like the '49ers and I don't care for  their current QB. The pack was saved by the appearance of that Gurley. He's turning in quite the season thus far and is probably one of the hottest rookies right now. On to the second pack.

The veteran part of this pack is infinitely better that the first pack. The Panthers would have to be my second favorite team in he NFL, mostly because they are essentially my 'home' team. As an added bonus, the team is playing really well. As for the rookie, Mariota is having a pretty solid, if unremarkable,  first year.

The backs are alright, with the large Player of the Day logo and a short write-up. Sorry the Kaepernick didn't make the cut for the card back scan.

Nice contest. Two packs of cards that I wouldn't have seen otherwise, a Panthers player, and two of the season's best rookies make for some pretty exciting winnings. Thanks Sports Card Collectors and thanks to Panini.

November 26, 2015

NFL Memories From Thanksgivings Gone By

First things first, I want to wish everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! For me, it's a great holiday filled with family, good food, and some NFL action. It's been that way for as long as I can remember. So, a few weeks ago with the holiday fast approaching, I began searching for cards that could be tied to the various games played on Thanksgiving day. I wasn't sure what I'd find, if anything. As it turns out, Panini released a Thanksgiving 'tribute' insert in their 2013 Totally Certified product.

When I saw this one of future Hall of Fame CB, Champ Bailey, I really had to have it! It's horizontal, it's got a great action photo, it's from a game where he was a Bronco, and when I turn it over, it really lets me relive the memory of the game listed on the front.

The only issue I have with the backs is that they recycle the front photo(but I really don't mind). The write-ups give a pretty detailed account of how the player impacted that game. When I got it in hand, I liked this set so much that I went back looking for more.

I decided to pick up former Cowboy/current Bronco, DeMarcus Ware just because. The set goes back to the '20's with the likes of Clarence 'Ace' Parker, so it's pretty comprehensive. If the checklist wasn't 50 cards deep, I'd consider putting the set together. For this holiday, I'll just have to settle for these two to remind me of some great Thanksgiving football. Thanks for reading. I think it's time to break out the pumpkin pie!