Monday, April 8, 2019

PARKIE PROJECT - Edmonton Summit Pickups

A busy month on the work front and a slow collecting month changed drastically when I made the last minute decision to make the trek up to Edmonton for the Summit Card Show - the biggest sports card show in Western Canada.  I went last year (after a number of years away) and absolutely loved the environment.

I was unsure if I was going to go because.....y'know.....work.  But I ran into another collector on the Thursday prior and he really made the point that I should go.  Spending some time to unwind and enjoy the collecting world is an important part of the hobby.  After all, if you're not partaking in the hobby....it's not much of one.

So I jumped in the car early on Saturday to make the three hour drive.  It was actually a really nice trip.  Great weather, not too busy on the roads and some good tunes to keep me company.  I arrived just in time to get in line for the big auto snag of the trip (more on that in a bit).  But first, a pair of Parkie pickups.

1952/52 Parkhurst
#68 - Rene Marcel Pronovost

There were a few tables that had Parkies, many of them were either in really bad shape, overpriced or slabbed.  I'm looking for decent condition, nicely entered raw cards.  I finally found a dealer that had a number of them - and for a decent price.

This Pronovost was one I selected because of the name.  I really like the aesthetics of the cardboard and it has just a hint of a surface crease.  But I'm more than happy with it.

Again, it was all about the name.  Pronovost isn't the superstar that others in the set are but it's nice to cross off a name like this.

1951/52 Parkhurst
#12 - Floyd 'Busher' Curry

Another well centered offering that has really nice colour and pretty solid corners (all things considering).  I went with this one because he's Montreal.  I feel like those players just have an artificial premium on them (I could be totally out to lunch on this).

Clean backs on both (clean enough for me) make these a dynamite pair.  Like I said, I could've gone overboard and grabbed another 5-10 cards but I held off.  There was a beautiful Terry Sawchuk RC that was ungraded and I seriously considered it.  It was priced at $1200 but would've been 20% off.  Wasn't planning on a big purchase like that but I'll wonder if I left a good deal on the table in Edmonton.

This puts me at just over 20% of the set.  Of course there are a ton of big names on the wantlist.


Next up.....Joe Carter.

Who remembers where they were when THAT homer was smacked?  I do.  It's still one of the pinnacle sporting moments I've ever seen - and I bet Joe Carter has been asked about it every day since.  EVERY.  DAY.

I'm sure he doesn't mind though.

My co-worker, whom I've worked with for a decade, and I have taken sports many times and I remember a number of years ago him saying that he has a Toronto Blue Jays magazine with Joe Carter on the cover that he'd love to get signed one day.  He's not a collector or anything, but this would be the exception.

For some reason I kept that little nugget of info in my brain and was thrilled to see Carter's name on the signing list for the show.  I though briefly about seeing if I could snag the magazine without him knowing but it was too much of a logistical challenge.  So I did the next best thing.

I went to Edmonton and got a nice 11x14 signed by the man himself......and personalized to my co-worker.

It's a great going-away gift as he's moving in a month or so to BC.  I'm pretty thrilled for him as he pursues the next chapter of his life with his family.  But I can't help but be devastated at the same time as he's been one of the best co-workers a guy could ask for.

He's really opened my eyes with regards to non-profits, charity and the act of giving without expecting anything in return.  He's been a huge influence on me and it'll be one thing that will last long after he's moved.

Anyways.....enough of me blabbering.  On to the final - and I must say, stunning item I picked up from the trip.

It was at the same table that had the Parkie cards, just a few items in bins labelled "50% off".  I don't need much more of an invitation than that.

There were a lot of programs and some neat, older items.  It was one in particular that had me doing a double take.

It doesn't look like much upon first glance, but it was the covering that was protecting it that had me take a second look.

This is a book entitled Down The Ice, written by the iconic hockey broadcaster Foster Hewitt.

For those that might not know the name, Hewitt is THE MAN when it comes to play-by-play historically in the NHL.  He introduced Canada to the game first over the radio airwaves and then eventually on television.  He was the voice of hockey for a generation.

And I'm a sucker for broadcasting items.

This book is a first edition from 1934, so yeah....like 85 years old.  It's in pretty great shape for an item that old.

But what really got me going was on the page prior.....

One of the nicest signatures I have ever laid eyes on.  This is a beautiful fountain pen example that just flows across the page.  You don't see the guys these days with penmanship like this.

I was quick to snag this item and thrilled to show it off at the show - with more than one gawk and a few asking which table it came from.

Funny thing.....this wasn't my first encounter with Foster and his signature.  A number of years ago I found his autograph in a Hall Of Fame book that I picked up at a used book sale.  It's neat to see just how different the two signatures are.  Clearly one is from his earlier days and the other is from after retirement (that's my guess anyways).

Regardless, I'm over the moon at these pickups....and the fact that I made the trip to the show.  It's a great reminder to me that I need to take some time every once in a while to enjoy things and stop to smell the hobby roses.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

HHOF AUTOS - Two New And An Upgrade

When I started my hard-signed HHOF auto project a few years back, I knew that the element of 'trading only' would make this a fun challenge.  These days it's so easy to just click a few buttons and purchase your way to a collection or head to the store, bust a few boxes and walk away with a handful of cards.  But the art of the trade is something that is sorely lacking in this hobby.  It's hard these days though...most transactions happen online and there are few outlets available to make successful one-on-one transactions.

But I'm very fortunate to have a couple of shops in my city that run trade nights.  And while I tend to bring the same ol' stuff, there's always a chance that I will walk away with something new - without having to drop a ton of coin.  And I did just that last month.

Rod Gilbert
(Inducted in 1982)

A perfect addition to my collection.  Great card set, solid signature, and a guy that doesn't really command top dollar.  This was an easy one to trade for.

Obtaining this card has made me want to take a look at the variety of my cards.  I like that I have a good mixture of product types and that there are no real stretches of redundancy.

Let's keep that up.

Found some interesting info when I was researching Rod.  I had no idea that he broke his back just as he was being called up from junior to play with the Rangers.  Tripped over some debris thrown onto the ice and fell into the boards.  Doctors took a bone from his leg to bind three vertebras in his back.  And this was back in the 60's.  That's nuts.

As well, I noticed he was putting up a point-a-game stats right up until his abrupt retirement.  Seems he had a bit of a dispute with then GM John Ferguson.  Pretty much killed his career.

Sergei Fedorov
(Inducted in 2015)

Boy either my camera sucks or my computer monitor needs a reset.  This card looks blue - and it's not.  But let's look beyond my lack of proper editing on the pic.  Another offering that is unique to the collection.  Cool autograph.  Maybe could've been a bit better photo....but I'm not picky.  I managed to get rid of stuff I don't want for something I do.

Gotta say that's a win in my book.

It's so weird seeing guys inducted into the HOF that I followed from day one.  Makes me feel old.

The one thing this card makes me aware of (and you'll see it in my next offering) is that I'd like to consider getting the players in a jersey that best represents them.

Like this one.  When I hear the name Pat LaFontaine, I think New York Islanders.  I think epic long overtime.  To me he is linked to the Long Island jersey forever.  This card replaces the one I had in my collection for some time.

It's a nice card and all, good signature, great card design, but he's not Buffalo to me.

Just like Fedorov isn't a Duck.  I know I'll be upgrading that one down the road.  I can sense it now.

But for now, it's one step closer to the goal.


Current Collection - 80 HOF Autos

Monday, March 4, 2019

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - It's Lethal

Well February was the longest short month ever.  Work pushed me to a near breaking point and at times I wasn't sure I'd survive.  But my project is over and done with and I'm currently enjoying a couple days or relaxation to recover.  Then....it's back at it.

So in the meantime, I thought I'd do a little catching up on things.  Posting on my blog, reading a book or two and finishing some side projects that have been on the plate for far too long.

My recent search for Linden cards produced an interesting result and so I figured I'd share.

I saw a triple jersey card up on eBay a couple weeks back, it had been there a couple times before, and I finally did a double take on it.

2003/04 Upper Deck MVP
#LL4 Lethal Lineups Triple Jersey  /50

This card is one of Trev's earlier relic cards and at the time was highly sought after by myself (and I'm sure all the other Linden collectors...not to mention the Naslund and Bertuzzi chasers).  Fifteen years later it still catches my eye.  I don't know what it is....maybe the player selection?  It certainly isn't a card that has that 'blow me away' type of design, but I like it.

Here's where the detective case begins.

This is my copy of the card.  I've had it for years.  Bought it who knows when (or where), put it in its toploader and stored it away.  But I must have some sort of photographic memory when it comes to this card because when I saw the numbered version pop up, I knew something was a miss.

Note: The scan of the first card and the photo of the second makes it appear that they are two different looking cards (parallels if you will).  They are not.  My camera was just being finicky.

I had always assumed that the cards from that release were unnumbered.  So I just went on my merry way and ignored anything that came after.  Well seeing this numbered offering pop up again finally had me asking questions.

It seems as though I've got a rare bird here.  Looks like all of the Lethal Lineups cards are indeed numbered.  So how did I land this one?  For once....I have no story.  I wish I did though.

Needless to say, I quickly contacted the owner of the numbered version (he too, a Linden collector) and made an easy purchase.  The card is on its way to me now.

Glad to cross this one off the list - which was already crossed off but shouldn't have been...adding another line to the master list but then crossing it off.  I think I killed two birds with one stone - somehow.  A lethal shot you could say.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

OUTSIDE THE BOX - Negro Leagues Centennial Team Postcard Set

One of the really exciting aspects of the card collecting hobby is the explosion of the online element. Don't get me wrong, I love the in-person component - and find it to be an essential part of collecting, but there are just so many different things that can be explored, discovered, chased....and bought online.

I have my "hobby favourites" when it comes to those people or collections that I can admire from a distance on social media.  Just a few of the names that come to mind are Tim Carroll and his cut up baseball cards, Ryan Cracknell and his fun, enthusiastic approach to collecting, Shane Katz and his awesome Topps Binder Project as well as his sweet oddball finds, and Graig Kreindler with his absolutely jaw-dropping baseball art.

Craig's work is tremendous.  The patience and time he takes to perfect his numerous works of art are truly mind boggling, the detail in some of the scenes are head shaking and the essence of the day and the spirit of the subject(s) is definitely captured.  I've been a big fan of his for years and hope to one day pull the trigger on an original piece.

In the meantime though, I've found a terrific slice of Graig Kreindler art to get me by.....and it also quenches my card collecting thirst.

What you see here are 34 postcards commemorating the Negro Leagues Centennial Team (1920-2020).  Each one a "study" of an iconic name in an important part of the baseball story.

The detail in these pieces are fantastic and the scans don't do them justice.

This is the box cover.  As you can see, the collection is limited to just 2,020 sets and I was thrilled to have landed one.

I had noticed a tweet sent out by Graig shortly before Christmas indicating that the Negro League Museum had been working with him to commission this set.  Pre-orders were underway and I raced to the website to get my place in line.

I noticed quickly that due to me living in Canada, my order was unable to be processed.  Once again, social media to the rescue.  Within moments of sending my query to the museum, Jay Caldwell responded and said he would look into things.  Long story short, my order was placed within the hour.

Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige

When my package arrived shortly into the new year I was absolutely stoked with the quality of the set.  The postcards have a beautiful sheen to them and are perfectly cut.  The simple framing on the front just add the perfect amount of class to the cards.

Roy "Campy" Campanella

The backs have a great writeup about the player along with some personal information.  No stats though, but that's ok.......there's lots of room to type up a quick note, slap a stamp on it and mail away.

Joshua "Josh" Gibson

If I had the slimmest of beefs, it would be to have the cards printed on a canvas card stock (kind of like what Upper Deck does with the Series I & II Canvas cards).  That would've taken the things to the ultimate.  But make no mistake, these are literally stunning works of art.

James Thomas "Cool Papa" Bell

I'll admit, I still haven't really....REALLY spent the time to fully immerse myself in these cards.  I mean c'mon, just peer into those eyes for a moment.  What would be going through his mind?  What was his life like at that moment?  Where had he been and where was he going?

Mesmerizing.

Graig has put together arguably the greatest set of Negro League cards out there - period.  And yes, I've picked up other sets in the past, but these paintings are just a special notch above.

John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil, Jr.

The last pic I'll share is of one of my all-time favourite baseball players, the great Buck O'Neil.  Every time I hear his name or see his picture, I immediately think of the fantastic clips he provided in the iconic Ken Burns documentary series 'Baseball'.  He just had a genuine voice that I appreciated a great deal.  His storytelling ability is tops on my list.

One of the books on my 'to read' list this year is The Soul Of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America.  I can only imagine the "pictures" that he will paint in my mind.

Thank you again Jay for your help in getting me this set and thank you Graig for producing some incredible pieces of art.  For those who are interested in picking up these postcards, I believe there are still some available from the Negro League Museum store.

Monday, January 28, 2019

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - Bought 'Em, Got 'Em, Where Am I With 'Em?

Well I can safely say that the start of 2019 has proved to be far more exciting from a hobby standpoint than most of my 2018.  I've already surpassed my blogpost amount from the previous campaign and I've picked up a few quality pieces for my growing projects.

The staple of them all though still remains my Trevor Linden collection.

I took some time over the holiday break to go through my Linden cards, do a little resorting, double check some lists and just enjoy the cards I've been chasing for over 20 years.  It really reinforced to me how much I enjoy this project and how I really feel like I've come into my own with how I approach this daunting task.  He's got a lot of cards on the wantlist, and a good chunk of them are both tough to find - and costly.  A patient approach while waiting for the right price is key.

Which brings me to my two latest acquisitions.  I'm on the fence with them.

2017/18 Leaf In The Game Used Superlative
#SP-TL1 Super Patch Blue  /4

The word that comes to mind is.....gallimaufry.  I believe Paul over at Card Boarded has used that word a few times.  This card has a lot going on.

First of all, the blue foil pops - a lot......and it looks awesome.  It really makes the card look crisp.  The patch is big - real big.......and I love the three colours with the stitching.  It's a solid, super, patch. But this is where the train derails a bit.  The jersey in the photo is one Trevor never wore (flying V) and I don't quite get why a Canucks jersey was used on a card with a Canadiens patch?  It really makes a colourful mess on the front of the card.

I didn't pull the trigger right away when I saw this piece, yeah it's rare (only four copies) but I just didn't feel "excited" to hit the purchase button.  I don't feel like I overpaid.....but I feel now that I could've held out longer and picked one up for less eventually.

Regardless, it's a nice enough card and I am excited to add it to the collection.  Just not "over the moon" excited.

Speaking of not "over the moon" excited.......

2017/18 Leaf
#193 1993-94 Buyback Signatures  /5

This base card buyback auto thing has now hit me a few times - and the novelty of it is growing tired.

Back in 2010, it was Panini offering up the Score Recollection Collection buyback autos.  Those were fun to snag.  A little pricey considering it was a penny base card with an auto and a serial number stamped on it.  In 2016, Upper Deck got into things with their Fleer Showcase 25th Anniversary Buyback autos.  Again, a nice idea, and well executed.  This time they were a little more common (25 copies) and so the chase....and find was fun.

This time around it's Leaf, and really it's not pushing any boundaries.  In fact, I feel like they've taken a bit of a step back by putting a sticker signature on the card.  It just doesn't have the personal connection that the others did.

Nonetheless, when they started to pop up online, I kept my eyes open.

The first few came and went......and came again, and again.  The prices were just too high - for me and many others it seemed.  Finally, this copy popped up (from a seller I've dealt with numerous times over the years) and while I thought the price was a little high, I thought it was more in the ballpark.  I made an offer and they accepted.

So I should feel excited right?  I got the card for the price I wanted to pay.....right?

Yeah, the "over the moon" feeling just wasn't there again.  Much like the Super Patch, this card is just....there.

Again, don't get me wrong, I love the fact I've added it to the collection.  I just don't feel like I've snagged a sweet deal or landed an amazing item.

Two solid pieces.....that's where I am with 'em.


Sunday, January 27, 2019

12 In 12 REDUX - Confessions Of A Baseball Card Addict

'12 in 12'.....it's been a long time since I've typed that.  For those who have followed this blog for a number of years know that I got back into reading and I set a goal of reading (and reviewing) one book each month.  I was pretty proud of completing that goal back in 2013.  It has been a number of seasons since I posted anything book-related here, but that doesn't mean I've stopped reading.  In fact, over the past couple of years I can safely say that I've finished more titles than ever before.  Last year I completed 18 books and this year I'm setting an even loftier goal of 25.

This morning, I finished book number two of 2019.

Confessions of a Baseball Card Addict
by Tanner Jones

As a heavy-duty player collector now for a good two decades, a blogger for over 10 years and a person who just tremendously enjoys this hobby for a number of reasons, I've known the name Tanner Jones for a while.  From his "top of the mountain" Canseco collection to his unparalleled custom card creations to his fantastically well-written blog posts that litter his website, Tanner has a passion, enthusiasm and genuine love for card collecting - and the hobby - that I find energizing.  And after the most recent "chapters" in his card collecting world, he has decided to share his story in book form.

I'm not shocked......but I was really excited to see this new title pop up on Amazon.  It was an insta-purchase.

Tanner's book reads quite easily.  He writes with a conversational tone that paints a picture of each episode he's sharing.  From his first foray into cards, to his early buying and selling, all the way up to discovering his passion as a Supercollector - and beyond, it's quite the ride he takes us on.

But while baseball cards and Jose Canseco are the tangible focus of the book, this is more than just a sportscard read.  It's about finding something you enjoy, pursuing a passion and ultimately - knowing your limits and what are the real important things in one's life.  He could've been collecting comics or stamps, dolls or dishes and it wouldn't have mattered.  The stories would've still resonated.

I also really liked the feeling of "beginning, middle, end".  Tanner chose the perfect spot - the perfect instance to find the finish line in his read.  He even mentions this in one of the chapters. There are many times where I've read a book only to feel that it was put out too early - or too late.  Tanner's book comes at just the right time, and it's a wonderful standalone read.  The great thing is....his story is still going on.  Even as I type this, I'm noticing a bonus chapter on his website (be sure to check it out).  This isn't a stale, decades old recollection.....it's stuff that's happened - recently.  I think that's pretty cool.

There were a number of lines in the book that really struck me - as if he was writing them just for me.  For example, "An argument can be made that perhaps the act of collecting can be more enjoyable than having a collection."  How about "Scrolling through eBay, it just seems like a lot of white noise now, which is a stark difference from what my mindset was not too long ago."  Or my favourite... "Collecting is also about the thrill of the hunt, the camaraderie between collectors and the stories behind the cards."  Ain't that the truth!

Lastly, this book really hits me because for a number of years I've felt that I've got "a book inside me".  I don't know what it is or when it will come out, but I know one thing.....I enjoy writing on this blog (even if my grammar, punctuation and stream of consciousness seem a little all over the place) and I think I would enjoy the process of building something as impressive as a book.

Maybe one day.

For those looking for a fun, hobby-related read - how have you not yet bought this book??!!!  For those that enjoy the card collecting world from afar, give this one a shot.  And keep this mind, Tanner wrote and published this book independently.  That's an impressive task.  It's earned my money to buy a copy and I recommend highly that you give it a shot.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

OPINION - Trevor Linden Digital Cards

Well, the inevitable finally happened.  Trevor Linden not only has digital cards.....he has his first digital relic card.

And while I'm still torn on how the whole "digital card" element of my collecting will evolve, I thought I'd take a few moments to share my thoughts as they are at this time.

But first, let's take a look at what I had to say on the subject three years ago.

One thing that caught my eye in re-reading this post is that my thoughts leaned towards the immediacy of collecting - Topps Now comes to mind.  I still believe that this element of the hobby can be further explored and generate even more excitement.  Imagine seeing the card being built right on your smartphone mere minutes after the actual moment has been captured by photographers.  That could be cool?

I also noticed my thoughts on how digital card collecting might be the way to introduce some of the younger generation into collecting.....after all, one can enjoy the hobby on a daily basis via the Topps Skate! app - for free.

Yes, did I show my hand here?  I've been using the Topps Skate! app for the better part of a year now and I must say I am thoroughly enjoying it.  Granted, I swipe through the base cards like they are nothing now and look forward to the insert cards, but still....the fun of ripping a virtual pack (dare I say) is there.

One of the reasons I signed up was because I had learned that Linden garnered his first digital card (complete with an "autographed" parallel).  This finally brought the question to the forefront....

How will I go about collecting Trevor Linden digital cards?

Honestly, I can see myself chasing them in trade only.  I can't justify (yet) paying money to purchase a digital card.  Just so you know, a digital version of the Linden auto popped up on eBay a number of months back and was scooped up for about $25 bucks.  I'm just not ready to fork out actual cash for my non-tangible Lindens.

The challenge when it comes to trading for these digital offerings is that the only way you can sign up for the Topps Skate! app is through Facebook - and I am not on Facebook.  For the past year I've been building my digital collection as a "guest".  Believe it or not, this might be the straw that busts me into starting Facebook - who'd have thought??

Anyways, back to the latest Linden digital offering.

2018/19 Topps Skate! Triple Threads
#5 Alumni Relic digital card  (limited to 150)

First of all, this is a stunningly beautiful card.  This would rank high on the wantlist if it was an actual tangible item.  A bit of a shame that they don't do up the backs of their cards with any sort of statistical detail (that's one of the big drawbacks of Topps Skate!.....but they make up for it in volume of items).

It's a definite eye-catcher and this has me wavering a little more towards signing up and seeing what I can go to obtain one (I actually have some solid traders that I've picked up via my free daily packs of digital cards).

So what I've done with this card, and all of the other Linden digital cards that have surfaced, is that I'm taking a screen grab of the front and back, adding the cards to my Linden Master List (indicating that it is indeed a "digital card") and treating them just like every other card on my wantlist.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the whole thing.  It's silly really......I don't "own" the card but I can access whenever I want to on the app just like I've brought it up so I could take a screen grab.  What's the difference between owning it and not??  It's all mental - it's all in my head.

But in my head......I don't own them.  So I am not crossing them off my list.

Side note.....one just sold for $5 on eBay - and was snatched up quick.

We hobbyists......no wonder my co-workers think I'm weird.