Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Update: Almost Done (Some Trade Bait Posted)

2017 Update is almost done, that is.  For the first time ever, I decided to build an entire flagship set: Series 1, 2, and Update.  I know that 2017 is not everybody's (or anybody's) favorite design, but I decided to make a go for it.  I don't think I'll do it again.  The experience wasn't all bad, but I found that I spent most of my card money on flagship and don't have much else from 2017.  Moreover, I worry about trying to store all my cards if I'm collecting 1000 flagship cards every year, plus whatever else I pick up.  I'll stick with smaller sets, I think.

I finished off Series 1 and 2 before Update was released.  I started in on Update, but I was growing frustrated with my inability to pull Judge and Bellinger.  I knew those cards would be the most expensive on the secondary market, so I was hoping to pull them out of the packs that cost me seven cents per card.  The fact that they both appear three times in the set didn't help.  But I couldn't pull any of them.  When an ebay coupon for some percentage off came my way in December, I decided to use it on a retail box of Update, and came away with 24 packs for right around $25-$30.  Since I was only about halfway done with the set, with none of those pesky rookies in hand and the duplicates piling up, a full box seemed like a good plunge to take.  I was banking on the collation being good enough in the box that I would limit the amount of dupes I would pull while working toward the set.

I was not disappointed.  While I ended up pulling some of the same cards I already had, I didn't have any cards repeat themselves from the same box.  Now that I have finished breaking the box, I stand in need of only 11 base cards.  I'm happy to report that all of the expensive rookies are in my collection.  Interestingly, it took until the very end, when I pulled two Judges and one Bellinger from the same, second to last pack in the box.  What a pack that would have been for an ebay seller in October, when Update first released.

Everyone has seen 2017 Topps ad nauseum by now, and it's not even the current flagship release, so I'll skip the base cards and show the inserts/parallels that came from my retail box.

I pulled three Rookie Cup reprints.  Oddly, they were all 2013 reprints.  And now all three of them fit in my collection, thanks to the Yu Darvish signing.

 I like the Untouchables set, so even though I don't collect Colon and Lincecum, they'll stay in my collection.  Javy's fancy glove work is a nice insert for this Cubs fan, and this great Chris Coghlan Gold parallel fits neatly into my ROY collection. 

I also pulled five SPs from the box.  I'm keeping these four.  I think it would be hard to top these four players in a random grouping of SPs from one box.  The Griffey is a great photo, to boot.

Now for the trade bait inserts/parallels.  If you want one of these, they are available.  Just let me know.

Of the three 1987 inserts in the box, not one fits in my collection.  If they happen to fit in yours, they're available.  The MLB Network set, while an interesting concept, doesn't hold much appeal to me.  Who's building it?

These Postseason Celebration cards look really washed out in the scan.  None of them were too interesting to me, since the set is filled with Cardinals, Yankees, and Red Sox--three teams I find it difficult to cheer for.  The Cubs Celebration card was my favorite of 2017, but this I have an extra now if someone wants it.

Here is the lone serial-numbered card from the box.  It's blue parallel Red Sox Celebration, numbered 295/500.  It's also available.

I have some gold parallels, if anybody is looking for these.

And finally, a couple Topps Salute inserts and the fifth SP, which I don't plan on keeping.

If you like these inserts, let me know.  As I mentioned before, I'm only 11 cards away from completing three series of 2017 flagship.  These are the Update cards I'm missing:

#41--Mitch Haniger, Diamondbacks
#82--Matt Boyd, Tigers
#96--Brett Phillips, Brewers
#176--History Makers (Rizzo/Bryant), Cubs
#244--Justin Turner, Dodgers
#247--Dansby Swanson, Braves
#248--Ender Inciarte, Braves
#251--Daniel Descalso, Diamondbacks
#257--Alex Wood, Dodgers
#288--Miguel Sano, Twins
#296--Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins

If you can help me out, let me know.  Here is the list of base trade bait I have, if anybody is looking for 2017 Update.

I'm almost finished with my first ever full run of Flagship for a year.  I'm hoping to close this out before we get too far into the 2018 offerings.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Just Commons, Really

I have such a backlog of scans that I haven't even started on my Black Friday COMC order yet.  That's okay with me; my collecting has been slowing down so much in recent months that I'm not overwhelmed with too many unscanned, unheralded cards.  I'm just pacing myself and coming up with some good blog posts that aren't necessarily centered around recent acquisitions.

One problem with being so far behind, however, is the fact that the site I used to purchase these cards has been completely overhauled since I placed this order.  I picked up some set needs from Just Commons, which is no longer.  It has since been born again, with a new look and a new name.  Just Commons has been christened Card Barrel, but it's still the same great site.  By the way, if you had unused reward points with Just Commons, just contact the owner of and tell him your email and username from the old site and he will transfer your reward points over.

Some more for my 2016 Archives build.  These are my favorite of the lot.  Bartolo Colon and his chins kind of steal the show here.  I have questions about 2018 Archives.  Isn't 1983 Topps due up for Archives this year?  And isn't there a 1983 insert in Flagship this year?  Does that change Topps's plans for Archives?  And what about 1993?  I like the original set, so why am I not so enthusiastic about seeing it done for Archives this year?  So many questions.

I've mentioned before that the 1992 Pinnacle Team 2000 checklist actually had some pretty decent players.  None of these guys were necessarily the future of baseball, but there are some solid names here.

I never opened a pack of 1998 Ultra, but I've got a nice shiny spot in my binder for some of the cards I might have pulled.  I bought a collection off of a guy who had some great late-90s cards, and there was a good partial set of the Notables insert set and the Pizzazz subset.  I really like the Notables cards; I think the design is beautiful and classy.  The Pizzazz screams 90s.  You can't tell from these scans, but the cards are really sparkly, even more so than Topps Metallic Snowflakes from these last two years.  When I decided to go ahead and complete the subset, I didn't realize that I was chasing SPs.  I've found that some of them are more pricey than I typically like to do for a set, but it sure will look nice when I'm done.

I've already pre-ordered my box of Opening Day for this year.  In the meantime, I'm still putting together my favorite Opening Day insert set from last year.  Opening Day!  Bring it on!  It's only February and I'm already using exclamation points in excitement!

Finally, to round out my Just Commons order, I picked up some former Rookies of the Year who were lacking in representation in my collection.  Cards older than I am and some oddballs on the cheap work for me.

Next time I order, it won't be from Just Commons.  But Card Barrel will probably be my friend and my go-to site for my set builds.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

A Couple of Odd Packages

I've been more active on ebay over the past two months than I normally am.  I've just found that with my current collecting focus, ebay has served me better to find what I need than other outlets. I'll be posting a little more about these purchases in the coming weeks.  During my recent ebay shopping, I've come across some oddballs that I've snatched up.  One of these purchases was an oddball set that was advertised as containing Kurt Warner's rookie.  Plus, it was a promo set, so I took a chance on it. 

This is what I got:

Here is the checklist that met me on the top of the package.  From what I have been able to learn, 989 Sports was a subsidiary of Sony that made video games.  I never owned a video game console as a teen, so I only vaguely recall this.  Apparently, 989 Sports hosted a Players Party before the Super Bowl and NFL players competed in video sports.  The various card companies got in on the action with some promo cards for the party.  I don't know how they were made available.  This set is from the 2000 Players Party and features 1999 card designs.  There are 12 cards in the checklist.

The checklist is pretty darn good.  Here is the aforementioned Kurt Warner "rookie."  I don't truly consider a promo card to be a rookie, but it is the rookie year of a Hall of Famer.  Edgerrin James was also a 1999 rookie.

Here we have Upper Deck, Topps, and Collector's Edge.  I'm not sure which Upper Deck product is shown here, but it will pop up again later.  So will 1999 Topps.

Dorsey Levens represents the lone Packer and lone Fleer Tradition card in this set.

The final three cards are good ones, with Herschel Walker's return to the Cowboys and a John Randle.  Most of the players in this set would fit in my collection otherwise, so I'm happy with the purchase.  I'm tempted to divvy them out to my various player pages, but I'm keeping the set together.

Also from the same seller, I picked up a 1982 K-Mart set, complete with the original box.  I've always liked this cards and the set was on my wantlist, but I hadn't even approached half of the 44 card set.  Now I picked it up all at once.

For those of you who don't know (and I doubt there are many who don't), this set commemorates K-Mart's 20th anniversary with the AL and NL MVPs from 1962-1981.  Each card features a picture of their Topps card from their MVP year.  The final three cards mark important records: Don Drysdale's scoreless inning streak, Hank Aaron's home runs, and Pete Rose's hits. 

If that package wasn't odd(ball) enough, I recently completed a trade on TCDB that brought me some oddballs.  The entire PWE consisted of

Denny's Holograms and UK Minis.  Now these were some of the oddest packages I've ever received. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

I Made a Trade with LV Through TCDB, BTW

It's always interesting to me to come across fellow bloggers on other sites.  While I don't post every trade that I make, I always post what I get from bloggers because I know my thanks won't fall on deaf ears.  In today's case, I was contacted by TCDB user stevienicks77, who turned out to be none other than Laurie D of LV's TTM Autograph blog.  We worked out a trade in December, so I'm a little late in posting, especially because she already posted on her end. Stevie, erm, LV, erm, Laurie was able to help me with a few set needs.

The majority of my end of the trade came from 2016 Archives.  I'm getting so close to finishing that set I can taste it.  Here is a sampling of the 1953 design from the set.  I'm always glad to add a Satchel Paige card to my collection.  I don't think he receives half the recognition he deserves for his amazing career.

Representing the 1979 design, we have some legends, current stars, a promising rookie, and a late ace.

1991 was my favorite design redux of the set, and these cards are the best.  It would be tough to find a better group of players than these six.  The Nolan Ryan card is phenomenal.  I also like the Goldschmidt because his cards usually feature him with a bat in his hands, but the 3-time Gold Glover is no slouch in the field, either.

Finally, I received one card each from two other sets I'm trying to complete.  I didn't even register that the "When I Was a Kid..." subset of 2013 Triple Play was an SP until had a hard time tracking them down for a price I was willing to pay for such cheap cards.  I'm completing the set just because I can, but I have to say that the SPs are better than the rest of the base set.

So there's my trade with a blogger through the outside venue, TCDB.  Thanks for the cards!  I appreciate the set help.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

How I Spent My Christmas Break

In my last post, I wrote that I was finished with cards for the year.  I had two weeks off of school and I made the decision that I would refrain from spending any time with my cardboard collection.  In the meantime, I planned to spend some time with one of my other hobbies, namely building stuff.  Like P-Town Tom a few weeks back, I pulled out my trusty Kreg Jig and my miter saw and set to work building a window seat/storage bench for our upstairs loft. 

This is what a two week break from cards will get you.  Child not included.  It's all finished now except for the painting, but that's my wife's job.  I saved a little time and money when I lucked into some dresser fronts in Ikea's scratch and dent corner.  All I had to do was frame it in, attach the facades, and build the lids.  Next project: a built-in bookcase to the left of this picture to complete our kids' reading nook.

Though I vowed to keep myself away from cards, the cards didn't stay away from me.  Since this is a card blog, I'll take this opportunity to show off some cardboard that came in the mail over the break, which I glanced at and tucked away in the closet until I could scan and file them.

First, there was a small PWE trade with Nachos Grande.  We swapped some Topps Gallery.  He is working on the set, and I just saw some guys I collect on his trade list.  The top two are base cards.  The Addison Russell on the bottom is an Artist Proof parallel.  Eric Hosmer is shown on a Masterpiece insert, which I really think is the best-looking set of the year.

Right before Christmas break, I made a purchase on ebay.  This Leaf Valiant card is quite pretty in-hand.  It's a shiny on-card auto, representing the 7th Brad Sorensen autograph in my collection.  And it only cost me $1.29 shipped.  I'll take that all day long.

It was good two weeks off, but I'm glad to be back at it now.  I am referring to both work and cards, of course.  I hope all of you had a good holiday season and have started the new year off on the right foot.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

I'm Done with Cards . . . for 2017

Last Friday was the first full day of Christmas Break for me.  I used it to finish getting the last of my loose cards put away.  For the sake of my marriage, I have resolved not to be involved with my cards again until through Christmas Break.    Instead, I'm playing board games and building Lego sets with the kids and building some storage benches to finish the reading nook in our loft.  I knew there was no way I was getting any cardboard for Christmas anyway, as all my family thinks I'm a crazy person with a bad habit and they refuse to support it.

We moved into this home last September, and I claimed an unfinished closet upstairs for my cards.  I've been working to get organized since the move, and I'm there (for now).  Here is over a year's work of organizing:

Here is every card I own, minus one binder that's in our master bedroom closet, just for the sake of space.  No loose cards lie anywhere.  No stacks of cards are placed randomly in boxes.  Each card is in its place.  The only exception you see is the stack of cards on the left, but those are pulled as part of an ebay lot and are ready to ship.  All my PCs are in binders, along with select sets and frankensets.  Other sets and all my trading fodder are in shoeboxes.  I'm proud of my work, and as I type, I'm about four days in to my self-imposed embargo without handling a card.  Now my supplies need to be stowed away.  I have penny sleeves, team bags, and top loaders shoved all over the place just below the picture.

Since I'm done with my cards for the year, now is as good a time as any to recap my collecting for 2017.  First, I didn't set any collecting goals, but I did declare that my focus would be to add to my BYU collection.  As the calendar turned to 2017, my BYU football collection was a paltry 105 cards.  I have to admit; I lost focus a little bit.  I did make a couple of BYU only purchases, but I didn't add as much as I would have liked.  My collection now stands at 185, so that's a total of 80 new BYU cards added.

Instead of BYU, I found myself focusing on set-building.  Again.  Even though last year I swore it off.  I've decided that sets have a place in my collection, and a fairly large place at that.  So let's take a look back at the sets I've completed in 2017.  Some of them I started this year, but most of these sets have been years in the making.  I'll run through these in reverse chronological order, and share the final card I acquired to complete the set.

2017 Topps: This is first time I have ever completed a flagship set.  I'm working on Update to polish it up, but as far as the cards that have continuous numbering, this set is complete.

Final Card:  I'm not exactly sure.  I didn't keep track.
2017 Topps Heritage: I've never completed Heritage either, and I really wanted to get it this year.  One of my main reasons was the fact that I knew it would have a World Series subset, and it would feature the Cubs, of course.  I like the burlap, too.  Once again, this is only the base set.  I didn't even attempt the SPs.  As far as I'm concerned, they're just gravy and not necessary to complete the set.  I don't have the budget to chase them down just to say I've completed the set.  That may be sacrilege, but I'm at peace with it.

Final Card: I bought this set off ebay.  They are all the first and last card.

2016 Topps Perspectives: This 25-card insert set took me two seasons to build.  The significance of this set is that it was built entirely through trades.  I didn't crack a single pack of 2016 Flagship; I just saw the set on the blogs, fell in love with it, and went to work.

Final Card: #P-1 Andrew McCutchen

2015 Topps Update Pride and Perseverance: Here is another insert set I completed.  I love reading the stories on the back of these cards.

Final Card: #2 Curtis Pride--I thought it ironic that the last card missing from my Pride set was Curtis Pride.

2015 Topps Update Whatever Works: This is another great subject for a set.  I love baseball's quirky superstitions, so it makes sense that I would be drawn to an entire baseball card set devoted to its quirky superstitions.  This set was tricky.  Somehow my wantlist got messed up, and I ended up acquiring duplicates of some cards instead of the cards I actually needed.  It's all fixed now, and the set is complete.

Final Card: #12 Justin Verlander
2014 Panini Contenders: **Disclaimer** This is not the complete set with all of the rookie autos.  This is only the base veteran set.  I bought three retail boxes of this back in 2014 and pulled so many dupes that I still didn't have the 100-card base set.  I do know.

Final Card:  #100 Adrian Peterson

2013 Panini Prizm: This one should have been done last year.  I thought I had it.  Then I realized that I had two copies of Saints running back Mark Ingram and none of Saints running back Darren Sproles.  Oops.  I rectified it early this year.

Final Card: #143 Darren Sproles

2013 Topps Strata: I bought a hobby box of this in 2013 and ended up with a good starter set.  It wasn't my favorite design, but I had enough that I decided to just go ahead and complete it anyway.  Note: the football version of Strata is not a high-end product, like baseball Strata became.  This is a middle-range product with an "just okay" look to it.

Final Card: #45 Michael Vick

1995 Collector's Choice: This set was 20 years in the making.  I started it when I was 13.  Then I went on hiatus for almost two decades.  When I came back, I decided to finish it off at last.  Some of the cards I had to chase down were really familiar because I had lost some through the years.  I've got them all back and then some, and this set from my childhood is done.

Final Card: #246 Bryant Young

1988 Topps: This is my crowning achievement for the year.  Earlier in 2017, I decided to chase this set for sentimental reasons.  It was the first set I ever had in my collection, the one that started it all.  I'd never really considered putting the set together until this year.  It turned out to be easier than I expected.  So many 1988 cards came my way in trades.  I found out one of my LCS's had a monster box full of them and the owner was willing to sell them to me for a nickel apiece.  The one card I was worried about was the iconic card of the set, Bo Jackson's rookie.  I found it on ebay in November for just $4 and snagged it.

This wasn't the last card I needed, though.  I thought this one would take me longer than it did.

Final Card: #285 Lawrence Taylor

For those of you keeping track at home, I finished off 10 sets in 2017, seven base sets and three insert sets.  I added 80 cards to my BYU binder, and had a whole lot of other cards join my collection.  All of those cards are safely stored in binders or BCW shoeboxes.  I'm ready to begin the new year.  And I'll ring it in without my cards.  But when Christmas break ends next week, I already have some boxes I bought off ebay to bust.  Since it pleases my wife, I can wait until then.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Favorite Card of 2017

For whatever reason, deciding on my favorite card of 2017 was difficult.  I think it boils down to the fact that I didn't get any cards produced in 2017 that made me say, "Wow!"  I got plenty of awesome cards, but the ones that I got and couldn't take my eyes off came from other years.  As unpopular as Flagship was this year, I think there was some outstanding photography that made it a pretty good set.  Most of the cards I considered came from this set.

I don't have a countdown this year, but I will share some of the cards that crossed my mind when P-Town Tom announced his contest.

Earlier this month, I tried some Topps Gallery.  I pulled this Masterpiece insert.  It's beautiful in-hand.  In fact, this insert set is probably my favorite set of 2017.  But the subject matter of Brian Dozier just isn't enough to be my favorite card.


Another card I considered was chosen by the web's most well-known Angels blogger, Tom from Angels in Order.  This card is so cool, and Andrelton Simmons's defensive prowess is certainly worthy of a fiery celebration, but it just wasn't enough to be my favorite.

I think this card, already shown off by Night Owl, is probably my favorite.  But, alas, I don't own it.  I just have seen it enough on the blogs for it to pop into my mind immediately when I thought of best card of 2017.


P-Town Tom himself already showed this card on his blog.  It's great, with Bryant celebrating the World Series on the front and Schwarbs on the back.  This would probably be my runner-up.

Even though I didn't choose the card above, from the beginning, I thought that there were enough cards celebrating the Cubs World Series to choose one from them.  A Heritage TV design?  Possibly?  The Cubs flying the W?  Also in the mix.  But no one single card stood out to me.  Then last week I bought another pack of Update, and it solved my problem.  There, in probably my last pack of 2017, was my favorite card of the year.

And here it is.  The Cubbies celebration parade, with Heyward, Bryant, Fowler, and Rizzo.  The only negative to this card is the fact that the player front and center in the card was one of the first to leave following the championship.  But that is such a minor drawback that I don't feel like I could choose another card.  2017 was the year of Cubs celebration cards, and I don't think I could tire of it.  This is my favorite of those 2017 cards.