July 18, 2020

The End of the 7 Day Trading Card Challenge Road

Here I am, I've come to the end of the line for my 7 Day Trading Card Challenge. There have been twists and turns...planned and unplanned pauses, but the journey ends today. I really appreciate everyone in the blogosphere that took some time to engage with the idea and share their takes on these topics. I truly enjoyed reading everything.

When I first developed the list subject matter, I had a very specific idea of what I was going to write about for the final prompt: Best hobby trend to emerge this year. That being said, my thoughts have changed significantly on this since then. Many other great trends have been highlighted by other writers. I agree that at least 1 or 2 other topics are 'better' than what I'm going to write about. The resurgence of the blogging community would top the list for me. Whether it be the revival of long-dormant blogs, the birth of new ones, or the incredible generosity that has been flowing for months, it's all been a bright light shining through these dim times in which we find ourselves. However, there's no reason to fully rehash these ideas that have already been shared so I will stick to my originally scheduled topic.

Subscription/Club services are a relatively new concept for Topps. This started in 2018 with 582 Montgomery Club. I didn't know about is until early this year and have not paid for a membership, but I have looked into some of e Club's offerings. They include but are not limited to the following: a factory set with a silver foil Montgomery Club stamp on each card, several 'exclusive' mini sets inspired by some part of Topps' history(some including autos), access to purchase club only products, and early access to some other popular products. Since I am not a member, I'm not going to go into too much detail on this, but I feel that last perk deserves some attention. Especially in the current hobby climate, where product is scarce in the wild and trying to order exclusives online(Bowman First Edition or Sapphire for example) is impossible, having early access to the ability to order product is a huge benefit. I'd argue that it even shows that Topps is trying to take care of its customers(I know some may disagree, but I'm keeping it positive here folks). This is actually one of the reasons I am thinking about making an attempt to secure a membership for 2021. Heck, Finest Flashback just came into my awareness over the past few days and members had an opportunity to buy boxes before Topps employed a lottery system to offer purchase opportunities to non-members. That would have made membership all worth it for me this year. For those wondering what Finest Flashback is, consider researching it a bit, especially if you're a nostalgic collector and loved the 1993 Finest set, you won't be sorry.

The newest subscription offering(and the one I am familiar with) began in April this year. It is the Topps Future Stars Club. The premise is similar, but on a smaller scale. For $26.68/month, you are opted in to the club and will receive a blaster of product(TBD each month), an exclusive themed set(roughly 5 cards/set thus far), and a 'collectible' item. I am a sucker for some of the 'exclusive' sets that Topps has put out between this and Montgomery Club, so that is a nice perk. The real draw for me has been the blaster. Once again, in the current hobby environment, product is hard to find and no one in their right mind would want to risk trekking out to multiple big box stores just to find sports cards right now. Ordering blasters, hangers, fat packs, and the like is also next to impossible these days, so te fact that Topps is going to deliver a blaster a month along with a small, exclusive set, and a random collectible item for a little more than the cost of a blaster in the wild is very appealing to me. Since I've rambled for a while, let's just take a look at the inaugural box contents from April.

I was excited when this arrived in my mailbox(I was a bit surprised that it fit in there too).


Before you say it, I know that the Opening Day Blaster isn't really worth the monthly subscription cost. I agree. In May, they sent a Topps Series One. Going forward, it seems like the cost will even itself out. The collectible item for the month was that Future Stars Club patch. It's unlikely I'll ever put it on anything, but I still think it's pretty cool.

Here is a closer look at the 5-card set. Pretty vanilla design, but it's clean and I like the Club logo on there. It kinda reminds me of Topps Kids in a way.

...And a view of the card back which reveals that the theme of the month was left-handed, power hitting outfielders(while taking up a majority of the real estate). Kinda random, I know. At least they included a player specific trivia question. Overall, it's not a bad set in my opinion.

I may be in the minority on this trend as others may feel things like this are horrible for the hobby, but the collecting landscape is changing and evolving whether we like it or not. These offerings provide a unique way to experience our hobby and in the case of the Future Stars Club, a way to enjoy ripping some packs on a semi-regular schedule without having to leave the comfort and safety of your home. What else can you ask for in the middle of a pandemic? Thanks for reading.

July 17, 2020

My Favorite Non Sport Card - 7 Day Trading Card Challenge

Today's Challenge topic was probably the most difficult for me. I don't have a huge volume of non-sports cards to choose from. You'd think that would make it easier to pick a favorite, but for me it was the opposite. If you've read any of my other Challenge posts, you know that I have selected my favorites based upon the stories behind the cardboard and most of my non-sports stuff doesn't have much to tell about. I've really enjoyed writing those stories down and sharing them so far. Hopefully you've enjoyed them a little bit too. I had to dig deep for this one, but I definitely landed on the right one in the end.

Back in the fall of 2014, my wife and I took our 2 daughters(our third wasn't born yet) to Walt Disney World. Since the girls were too young for most of the rides, a lot of our time was spent on character meet and greets/autograph collecting. One day, while walking around Hollywood Studios, we stumbled upon the Wreck-It Ralph characters. They did a really great job recreating a space from the movie for the meet and greet area(see below).

My oldest daughter, Kara, loved that movie at the time(still does) and since it had so many retro video game references, so did(do) I. We stood in a relatively short line and she repeatedly told me how excited she was to meet them and add their autographs to her book. When it was our turn, she ran up to meet Ralph and Vanellope. I took a few pictures of her and then she asked for a picture of both of us with them. The cast member working the area took my phone and snapped a few for us in addition to the ones taken by their photographer for our PhotoPass. Once photos were done, we were informed that Ralph and Vanellope weren't able to sign autographs(the large costume hands made it too difficult to manage signing). Kara was so disappointed, for a split second. Then the cast member pulled a few cards out of a bag...

As these were handed to us, we were told that it takes Ralph and Vanellope a long time to sign autographs. Since they didn't want people to wait so long to see them, they 'signed' these cards before they came out for their meet and greet to make things go faster. Kara was so excited! We were given three(one for each of us and one for my other daughter).

Here is the back. In reality, these are PhotoPass code cards(used to access the individual character photos for the folks that hadn't already purchased the full service). Personally, I prefer the story told by that cast member. I love that these are standard trading card size and that all of the promotional info was squeezed into the bottom 2/3 which left room for 'traditional' card back info as well. I think back to the moment she was handed this card by that cast member often and it always brings a smile to my face. It is one of the best souvenirs I have ever gotten. Thanks for reading.

June 29, 2020

7 Day Trading Card Challenge - The Re-Write Edition

Wow, how time flies! It's been almost a full month since my last post. Initially, I took a few days to recover from the May posting schedule here and adjust to my girls being on summer vacation. Then, the real world went to hell. Since the blog and hobby play such a huge role in my escapism, I'm going to keep the discussion of those topics out of here for the most part. However, they somewhat inform the reasons for my absence so I'll allude to them briefly. I had planned to write about a recently acquired Negro League card sheet from a 1992 Tuff Stuff, but thought better of it. With everything going on right now, it just didn't feel like the right time. Then, my post for today's topic was about a wrestler/MMA guy that I had briefly written about in the past. It was written, proofed, and ready to publish... Unfortunately, this guy was source of alleged behaviors/actions that can be described as questionable(at best). These allegations surfaced as part of the #speakingout movement that has spread across Twitter during the past few weeks. Once again I thought it best not to post about that particular person's card, especially since my impression of this person is currently in limbo. If he ends up being innocent, perhaps I will revise that post and publish it sometime in the future.

Quite a bit of time and effort went into writing that one and now I needed to come up with another card to write about. The search for a new subject didn't last long. In fact, earlier this month I had considered putting my other planned post on the shelf in favor of this one but ultimately decided against it at the time. Like many of you out there who have been missing sports, I have been enjoying number of the recent ESPN documentaries that have aired. With that being said, I was anxiously tuned in on Sunday June 7th for the debut of the 30 For 30 episode 'Be Water'. If you haven't seen it, the focus was on the life and career of Bruce Lee. I've been a fan of his work and philosophy since I was young. First came my love of his films. I took Tae Kwon Do classes for around 2 years beginning when I was 8 or 9. What kid that age wouldn't be drawn to the fight scenes in his movies?

I've had this poster since way back then. At the time, it was just pinned up on my wall. It currently resides in a frame waiting to decorate the walls of a future entertainment space in the unfinished upstairs of my house.

As I got a bit older, I picked up a copy of this book. I've read through it more times than I can count over the years. It's not so much a 'how-to' as it is a collection of quotes and philosophical writing. It's true that these writings can be applied to martial arts training, but most of them are applicable to facets of daily life as well. Reading it as a teenager had a tremendous influence on my developing world view and flipping through its pages has altered or refocused my outlook on many occasions since. 'Be Water' was okay, definitely not exceptional in my opinion, but watching it brought this influence back to the forefront of my thoughts. I originally hesitated to write about all of this for today's challenge topic only due to the card itself.

Don't get me wrong, I really like this card and it did take me quite some time to actually add it to my PC. Looking at it, I can't help but see it as a reminder of how unlikely it is that I'll ever own the relic version of this which would absolutely be my favorite 'other sport' card though. Ultimately, this still takes the cake over all others because it represents such a huge part of my personal history. Thanks for reading.

June 8, 2020

7 Day Trading Card Challenge - My Favorite Basketball Card

Today's challenge topic is the favorite basketball card in my collection. It's kinda a tough topic. I have plenty of basketball cards accumulated over many years, but there's not really one that stands out from the crowd. Well actually there is, but it doesn't fit today's post. So, I'm cheating a bit on my own challenge topic. My actual favorite basketball card arrived a short while ago, but I'll be writing about it sometime in the future when I put together the second 'Personal PC' post. Therefore, today I'll be telling the story about why my favorite card pictures teams and players that I don't particularly care for.

I've never really had a favorite NBA team. Instead, there has always been a handful of players in the league that I've preferred to watch(and collect). I've definitely had teams and players that I really didn't care for though. Year after year, the Knicks and the Bulls were usually pretty high on that list. Looking back I see that the primary reason I disliked those teams was because so many others that I knew loved them. If there is one thing writing these Challenge post stories has made me realize it's how much of a contrarian I was in my sports opinions, but I digress. Today's card(s) come from a time when the Bulls were coming off of their second championship in a row. I was pulling for any team from the East or West to prevent a third. That year my two least favorite teams met in the Eastern Conference Finals. Despite the participants, game two produced one of my favorite basketball moments.

The Dunk! This was an iconic play. Of course we now know that it didn't lead to the Bulls losing, but this was one of the first 'posterized' plays I can remember.

I didn't have this hanging on my wall, but several of my friends did. Alright, let's bring it back to cards. I began collecting basketball heavily during the 1992-93 season while searching for Shaquille O'Neal rookies. My excitement for the 1993-94 releases remained high as I anticipated hunting for Pennies. I remember walking into my LCS one afternoon and being shocked to see that poster image on a basketball card!

This 1st Day Issue parallel was staring at me from inside the display case. I struck up conversation about that game with the shop owner. For the record, he was a Knicks fan. Even back then, I loved those 1st Day stamps and I knew I wanted to have that card in my collection. I can't remember what I paid that day, but I do recall not thinking twice. Over the next few years, I looked fondly at this card quite often. When I packed my stuff to move from NY to NC, it was tucked safely into a box. It stayed there until about 2 years ago. As this blog was heading towards its unintended hiatus, I was staying active searching for post topics. I remembered how much I loved this card and went searching with the intent to write about it, but it took quite some time to find. So much so, that I actually thought I had lost it somewhere along the way. As I hunted box after box, I started checking eBay to find a suitable replacement.

I picked up this Members Only version about a week before I found my 1st Day Issue. Since I had two copies, I figured I'd try to track down the rest of this 'old school rainbow'.

I quickly tracked down this NBA Finals version on COMC and followed it up with the base version.

It's kinda hard for me to believe his was one of the last versions I acquired.

I hunted and found someone selling the last copy I needed as part of a Knicks team lot in a Facebook group. I commented that the Knicks set was sold.  The seller replied that the set was available except the Starks(which was pictured, btw). I messaged back and forth explaining to the seller that the Starks was the only card I was after because it was going to complete my rainbow. There was silence for an hour or two. The next reply came and the seller told me the entire set was available. Turns out he had planned to set the Starks aside for a buddy, but he thought it was cool that it would complete my rainbow and sold it to me instead.

Technically, there is one last parallel that I know exists. Topps often did Master Photo versions back then and one of hose is floating around for this card. However, I'm not planning on adding it the collection since it's not standard size. So, I'm calling this one complete with the 5 versions I have. Thanks for reading.

June 1, 2020

Let's Send it Over to the Randomizer

I want to thank everyone that took the time to participate in any of the contests this month, I hope you all found them to be as much fun as I did. I'm especially thrilled that 'Anything Goes' week drew the biggest response of the month. At the close of the claiming window, we had 16 entries! I apologize for not getting to the randomizer right after 8pm.


Here is the entire list entered into the randomizer.

Here is the screenshot of the list after 7 rounds. The time stamp on the randomizer is set at UTC(Coordinated Universal Time) which is 4 hours ahead of EST. bbcardz, The Lost Collector, and Elliptical Man are the winners of this week's contest. Congrats! I'd appreciate if bbcardz and Elliptical Man could reach out with their address within 48 hours since we have not traded in the past(same to AJ if anything has changed since I last sent stuff your way). As advertised, packages will go to the post office on Thursday.

As a final wrap up on a fun month of contests, I'd love to hear feedback of any kind. Would you like to see these continue in some form? Was a month of this long enough? Sound off. Positive, negative, or completely indifferent I'd love to hear it. Thanks again for helping celebrate the blog re-launch and as always, thanks for reading.

May 31, 2020

Anything Goes Week is Here

Welcome back for the final week of my blog re-launch contest. This week anything goes! Once again, a brief recap of the rules: 21 cards will be posted this week. Each reader can place a claim on one card. Cards can be claimed by more than one reader. Claims serve as entry into the contest and must be made with an associated name(no anonymous or unknown). The claim period will be open until Monday night at 8pm EST. At the close of that period, I will enter a list consisting of 'reader-card claimed' pairings into a list randomizer. This week, the top three readers with novel claims will be declared winners and receive Cardpocalypse packages. See yesterday’s post for clarification regarding the selection of winnersThe packages will include the cards they claimed and some cards that will remain a mystery until the package is opened. Packages will be sent on Thursday.

First up, some familiar cardboard.

Joanna is /125, Bayley is /199(mat relic actually from NXT Takeover), and Kell is /175.

Familiar Refractor-y goodness.

From here on all of the cardboard will be making its contest debut. Max is the photo variation SP.

Forte is /200.

Hockey anyone?

Richardson is /75 and Johnson is /999.

Best of luck to all. The claiming period is open.

May 30, 2020

Final Round Rules Update

The final Cardpocalypse giveaway drops tomorrow. As previously promised, there will be multiple winners this time around. The theme is 'Anything Goes'. All rules from previous weeks apply here. However, I wanted to clarify how the winners will be selected. This week, the top three readers with novel claims will be declared winners.

The screenshot from this past week's contest will provide a good opportunity for me to explain. In the example above, the three winners would be John Sharp, Sport Card Collectors, and The Lost Collector. Jafronius would have missed out since SCC had claimed the same card and was higher on the list after the final shuffle.

Remember, everyone is eligible to enter this week. There will be 21 cards spanning all previous themes and a few that weren't already represented. Of those 21 cards, only 8 are making a second appearance in the contest. I'm really excited for this round and I hope all of you are too. The claiming period will begin in less than 24 hours...Are you ready?

May 29, 2020

7 Day Trading Card Challenge - Day 3

The story of my favorite football card begins over thirty years ago in the Hudson Valley. It's January 1987 and I'm in elementary school in Orange County, NY. I remember sitting in the gym with all of my classmates listening to the teachers at the front of the room talk about the upcoming Super Bowl matchup between the Denver Broncos and New York Giants. The school day was almost over and they had turned the few moments before the bell into an impromptu pep rally. The specifics are fuzzy, but the message was 'Go Giants' or 'make sure you cheer for the Giants'. Most of my classmates that cared about sports cheered. Not me. I remember thinking that I wasn't going to cheer for the Giants just because they told me to. Not to mention, I had just watched the AFC Championship game and saw 'The Drive'. I thought that was amazing. Prior to that I hadn't given much thought to who my favorite football team was, but on that day in the gym my love of the Broncos officially began. Most of my friends thought I was crazy to cheer for them and we had spirited discussions about who would win the big game. I was one of only a few that wasn't pulling for the G-Men. Of course, I ended up being disappointed by the final score a few days later. My classmates gloated but I didn't let that shake my allegiance.

Fast forward a few months, it's early summer. I took a ride with my mom into our small town to run some errands. One of our destinations that day was a tiny general store named Seymour's.

This is a relatively recent picture of the building(thank you Google street view) where that store once lived. It looks much different now than it did back then, but the constant that is relevant to my story are the windows to the left of the door. I was walking down the sidewalk towards the door on that day in 1987 and something in that window caught my eye. They had a display case full of sports cards! I walked into the store with my mom and impatiently waited for her to get whatever we needed. I begged her to let me stop and look in the window before heading back to the car. She let me look for what felt like a few seconds and one particular card caught my eye. I asked if I could get it and got the standard 'not today, maybe some other day'. I didn't realize at the time but that's parent speak for 'let's go, get in the car'. Day after day I asked if I could get that card. After the hundredth time being denied, I finally started asking if there were any jobs I could do around the house to earn some money. That was the first summer I remember being allowed to mow the lawn. Looking back, I made it easy on my parents. I had to convince them that I was able to safely use the mower rather than them having to fight with me to do that chore like they did with my brothers. I spent weeks collecting aluminum cans, doing odd jobs around the house, and mowing the lawn trying to earn enough to buy that card. Let me pause right here to qualify something - it was a different time and 'allowance' rates were much lower then. As the weeks went by, we made several trips to Seymour's. Each time I anxiously rushed to the window to see if they still had the card I wanted. Each time I was relieved that it was still sitting in that case. By the end of the summer, I had saved enough to buy the card. I just had to wait until there was a need to go back to the store again. A few looong days later my mom told me she was heading into town to pick a few things up and asked if I wanted to go along. I asked her if we could stop at Seymour's and she answered 'maybe'. That was good enough, I grabbed my money and hopped in the car. I don't remember how many other places we stopped that day, but it felt like a dozen. I tried to be patient. Next thing I knew, we were driving past the entrance to the parking lot. I was disappointed to put it mildly. I asked if we could please stop so I could buy the card. I got no answer. I'm not sure if she heard me and just wanted to make me sweat it out or if I actually asked so quietly that she never heard me. As we made our way through town, I resigned myself to the fact I'd have to wait for another day. The car turned unexpectedly, but I didn't think much of it. For all I knew, there was another destination on the list of errands for the day. I didn't pay much attention to where we were headed as I was too consumed with disappointment. The car stopped and I looked up to find we were in the parking lot. Turns out, my mom looped around to a secondary entrance. We got out of the car and I rushed to the window...the card wasn't there. In fact, the whole display case was missing from its normal spot. I walked in thinking that after all that work, I'd missed my chance to buy that card. We were greeted by a new employee which felt like a big deal in a small town USA, family owned business. My mom encouraged me to ask about the card display so I did. Fortunately, the new employee just hadn't put the case into the window. It was sitting safely behind the counter. They pulled it out and found the card I had been seeking all summer.

This is the card I worked so hard for. It's not perfect. The centering isn't great and the corners aren't the sharpest. I have had plenty of chances to pick up an 'upgrade' at decent prices over the years, but I've never seriously considered doing that. I've definitely never considered replacing it with a 'better' copy. I have cards that are worth more and that are much flashier/prettier, but it will take something really incredible to knock this one from its spot as the favorite football card in my collection. Thanks for reading.

May 25, 2020

Week 4's Winner is...

The bell has been rung on this week's claiming period. Thank you to the 9 readers that participated this week. Let's go to the list.

Here is the list pasted into the box, ready to be shuffled.

Here is the screenshot of the list after 7 rounds. Remember that the time stamp on the randomizer is set at UTC(Coordinated Universal Time) which is 4 hours ahead of EST. This week's winner is John Sharp! Please drop a comment with the best way to contact you about shipping instructions. The Sasha Banks relic will be headed your way. I once again have a challenging few days ahead of me preparing a prize pack for someone I haven't traded with in the past. If last week is any indicator, it's definitely going to be a blast! I thought that the Willie Nelson relic was out of here for sure since it proved to be so popular. Perhaps I'll have to throw it back out there for the upcoming 'Anything Goes' week. All previous winners are now eligible to enter once again. Stay tuned for a brief rules post later this week. It will outline how many winners there will be and give some additional contest specifications that will be in play.

Check back here this coming Sunday to see what is up for grabs when anything goes! Thanks for reading.

May 24, 2020

It's Cardpocalypse Sunday

Welcome back for week four of my blog re-launch contest. This week, the focus turns to MMA, wrestling, and non-sport content. Once again, a brief recap of the rules: nine cards will be posted every week. Each reader can place a claim on one card per week. Cards can be claimed by more than one reader. Claims serve as entry into the contest and must be made with an associated name(no anonymous or unknown). The claim period will be open until Monday night at 8pm EST. At the close of that period, I will enter a list consisting of 'reader-card claimed' pairings into a list randomizer. The reader/card combo at the top of the list after 7 rounds of shuffling will be the winner of the week's Cardpocalypse package. The winnings will include the card they claimed and some cards that will remain a mystery until the package is opened. Packages will be sent on Thursday each week. Readers can only win once during weeks 1-4. Week 5 will have multiple winners(number yet to be determined) and the four previous weekly winners will be eligible to enter again.

First up, some UFC cardboard.

Rose is /99, Joanna /125, and DJ /200.

Sasha is /150, Bayley /199 and HBK /299. Both mat relics are from he actual events(NXT Takeover Dallas for Bayley and Royal Rumble 2018 for Sasha).

I apologize that my non-sport game is kinda weak. We've got a sparkly Star-lord, The Flash in its foilboard glory, and a Willie Nelson relic.

In the words of 'Big' John McCarthy, 'Are you ready? Let's get it on!' 

The claiming period is open.

May 22, 2020

7 Day Trading Card Challenge - Day 2

Day 2 of the challenge: a card from a current year release with a unique photo.
I made this one tougher than I originally intended. How? Instead of selecting one card from any sport, I decided to show off one card from each sport! For some sports it was tough to pick a unique photo to go with while in others it was difficult to even find one.  I only own 2 of the 4 cards I'm going to feature, but I really like them all. So, even if you haven't opened much current year product, don't let it stop you from tackling this topic. Up first, baseball!

Stadium Club would usually be my 'go to' set to find unique photos on cardboard. Since this year's set hasn't been released(fingers crossed it doesn't get scrapped) yet, there's really only Topps flagship, Opening Day, Donruss, and some higher end products to choose from. Donruss and the higher end products don't really produce anything that fits this topic for me. Flagship contains some cool pics, but most of the really unique photos lie in the SP/SSP(SSSSP?!) section of the release. That narrowed my search to Opening Day. Since it's mostly a rehash of Flagship, I didn't really expect to find anything great here. However, when I went back and flipped through the packs I opened, a few really stood out. 

The Spring Has Sprung insert set contains some interesting views of the game that collectors don't get to see very often. This Juan Soto is my favorite of the 5 I've pulled. For me, there's something awesome about seeing a young star being instructed on one of the fundamentals of the game.

The card backs even detail what is happening on the front! I'd like to complete the set at some point, but it's probably going to be a passive exercise since my hobby energy is focused on other pursuits right now. Let's move on to football.

This is one of the ones I don't own. These days, I don't buy a lot of football, but what I have from current year products is all pretty boring. Yeah, some of them are shiny or sparkly but the pics are all pretty similar and don't really show anything resembling 'action'. This one doesn't knock my socks off, but compared to most of Panini's offerings, it's full of emotion which certainly makes it unique. NBA anyone?

Ditto everything I wrote about Panini football products here. Prizm and higher end products all have player silhouettes against some solid background that lends itself to creating the plethora of colored parallels that are all the rage these days. Even in NBA Hoops and Donruss, most of the images are pretty standard(dribbling, rebounding, holding the ball...). Even the action shots involving shots or dunks are from similar angles and really don't capture anything besides the player with the arena's rafters or roof in the background. Something about he composition of this one is cool. You can see George's eyes focused on the rim above and the crowd all decked out in orange serves as a much more interesting backdrop. It just feels alive. Let's close out by heading to the ice.

Let me just say that I miss Upper Deck's offerings in the other sports. Each year there are some really awesome pics on hockey cards! This is definitely one of my favorites from this year's product. The low angle along the goal line, the opposing player behind Bishop, and his teammates scrambling to make sure the puck is secure under his glove all make for an action packed image.

Looking back at all of these together, I suppose there is a common theme that ties these all together for me. They all bring the game to life. I don't have anything against a posed shot here and there, but they are becoming more and more prevalent. Even most of the 'action' pics these days are so mundane and repetitive. I'd love to see a movement from the card companies to incorporate more and more of these types of images across their various sets. Making these unique pics a regular fixture in packs would certainly make out hobby more interesting. Thanks for reading.

May 20, 2020

Challenging the Blogosphere

Sometimes inspiration strikes at the most unexpected moment. I have spent a lot of time over the past several weeks juggling in-office work, working from home, home schooling my two oldest daughters, and trying to come up with ideas for interesting blog posts in the additional time I've been afforded to spend on the hobby. Last week, my oldest was assigned a 'daily LEGO challenge' as an option for art. She was sharing the list of building themes with me and suddenly the light bulb in my head came on! I started brainstorming a blog challenge theme list. I realize this isn't a new concept. In fact, what I'm going to share is quite derivative of the 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge that was introduced by Tony from Off Hiatus Baseball Cards back in 2017 so I made sure to get his permission before reimagining it. He gave his blessing so I moved forward with the idea of creating topics that I want to write(and read) about. Most of these aren't ground breaking by any means but I hope at least one of these topics might generate some interesting back and forth within the community. If not, I'll still enjoy putting my opinion out there for all to see. Without further delay, I am throwing down the gauntlet to everyone in our hobby community(blogosphere,Twitter-verse, etc).

Feel free to share(if you're so inclined) and make this your own. I'm just throwing some ideas out there. Post on a daily/weekly/monthly schedule, modify topics to fit your specific collecting preferences, or pick just one topic to write about. Have fun with it. Should you choose to participate in the challenge, please share links to your posts/tweets so the community can follow along. I'd love to add to my blogroll or follow some 'new-to-me' accounts.

Day 1 - Favorite card acquired during quarantine 
I understand that this may be a topic that some aren't able to participate in for various reasons. If that describes you, please don't let it keep you from tackling this list. Use day one as a wildcard or skip it altogether. For me, continuing to acquire cards in various ways has been an important source of escapism for me. I've completed several trades and purchases since North Carolina's stay at home order went into effect. My favorite of all the cards I've picked up so far is actually the first one that arrived during this period.

Historically speaking, I haven't made a habit of seeking autographs from actors. However, this one has been on the non-baseball version of my Cardboard Wishlist for quite some time. Trust me, it's definitely not because I am a Game of Thrones fan. I am a fan of the annual World's Strongest Man competition and 'Thor' here has been one of top contenders for the better part of a decade. He has been one of my favorite non-American competitors for just as long. During my time away from the blog, I started to piece together a strongman collection. I've made some good progress on that and will show off some more of it in the future. Since WSM card sets don't exist(that I know of), the only Björnsson cards I've been able to find come from the various GoT sets. I've seen 3-4 different autos from those sets on the market, most at prices I haven't been willing to pay. This design and photo selection was the one I really wanted to track down. Aside from the large series title splashed across the front, you wouldn't be able to tell it wasn't a sports card. The other designs picture him in armor or with gashes on his face. I jumped at the chance to pick this copy up as soon as I got the eBay search notification. Why? First, the price was right. Even better than the palatable price tag was the fact that it's a full name signature. Many of the autos I have seen are signed 'Thor Björnsson'. Prior to seeing this one, I had only seen one other example of his full signature on eBay(though a quick search as I write this comes up with more than a handful of to choose from). I'm happy to cross this card off of my wishlist and it gave me the perfect opportunity to introduce a new part of my collection to the blog!

There you have it, day one is in the books for me. The challenge has been issued.

Thanks for reading.

May 18, 2020

The Week Three Winner is....

The final buzzer has sounded on their week's claiming period! Thank you to the 7 readers that participated this week. The basketball contest edged out last week with just over an hour left.

Here is the list pasted into the box, ready to be shuffled.

Here is the screenshot of the list after 7 rounds. Remember that the time stamp on the randomizer is set at UTC(Coordinated Universal Time) which is 4 hours ahead of EST. This week's winner is The Diamond King! The Rick Barry relic will be headed your way. I have a challenging few days ahead of me preparing a prize pack for someone I haven't traded with in the past. It's gonna be fun! You are not eligible to enter in week 4, but I hope to see you back here for 'Anything Goes' week 5. Please let me know the best way to reach out to you regarding your address. 

Check back here this coming Sunday to see the variety of MMA/wrestling/non-sports cards that will be up for grabs in week 4. Thanks for reading.

May 17, 2020

Cardpocalypse, Basketball Style

Welcome back for week three of my blog re-launch contest. This week, we focus on basketball. Once again, a brief recap of the rules: Nine cards will be posted every week. Each reader can place a claim on one card per week. Cards can be claimed by more than one reader. Claims serve as entry into the contest and must be made with an associated name(no anonymous or unknown). The claim period will be open until Monday night at 8pm EST. At the close of that period, I will enter a list consisting of 'reader-card claimed' pairings into a list randomizer. The reader/card combo at the top of the list after 7 rounds of shuffling will be the winner of the week's Cardpocalypse package. The winnings will include the card they claimed and some cards that will remain a mystery until the package is opened. Packages will be sent on Thursday each week. Readers can only win once during weeks 1-4. Week 5 will have multiple winners(number yet to be determined) and the four previous weekly winners will be eligible to enter again.

I have really appreciated the participation and interaction throughout the first few weeks. Entry numbers were down last week which I expected considering the switch from baseball to football. As we move on to basketball this week, will we see an increase in numbers? Will there be more than week one? Time will tell. Let's see what's up for grabs this week.

Let's start with some ink and a relic.

Durant is /25.

Carter/Edwards is the single side refractor(VC) variety, Dominique is a bronze refractor, and Richmond is the gold parallel.

Best of luck to all, the claiming period tips off now!

May 13, 2020

Celebrity Dopplegangers on Cardboard

Last week I was flipping through various boxes looking for cards to include in Dimebox Nick's Cardpocalypse prize pack. I came upon a stack that was clearly from a previous Fairfield/Walgreens repack. There was a run of random minor league issues and I did a double take when I saw one of them. Looking at the image I felt like I had seen the guy in a different quadrant of pop culture. After thinking for a moment, it hit me and the creative juices started flowing. The idea for Celebrity Dopplegangers was born. I'm sure it won't be a regular series, but I had to engage the creativity before it went away.

This is the card in question. It's from the 1990 Star Company Lakeland Tigers team set. Marty Willis played five minor league seasons(none higher than double A) and posted a mundane 24-30 win/loss record. Needless to say, he didn't set the baseball world on fire. Does anyone else see what I saw?

Bobby Brown from the Cobra Kai dojo! Maybe it's a bit of a stretch, but the resemblance was close enough that it made me want to look up the actor that played Bobby(just to make sure he didn't have a brief minor league jaunt). Ron Thomas definitely did not play minor league baseball, but I was intrigued to learn that he became a high ranking, well respected martial artist and motivational speaker. Funny how life imitates art, isn't it?

I hope you got a kick(see what I did there?) out of my first post of this type. Technically, it's the second time I've explored doppleganger territory(Aaron Judge/Cameron Frye was the first), but that wasn't a dedicated post. Anyway, I'd love to hear your toughts on this topic. Did I hit the nail on the head or was this a pretty big stretch? Have you had a similar experience while flipping through your collection? Should I keep an eye out for more of these or drop the concept forever? Drop a comment and let me know your thoughts. Thanks for reading.