Monday, November 24, 2014

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - A Double Hit Of Patchy Goodness

I got home tonight to not one, not two, but three bubble envelopes.  I love a mailday like that.  One envelope was from an ebay purchase, one from a hobby board trade and the final one was a very kind gift from a fellow blogger.

I'm looking forward to going through everything and showing off a few of the cards too.

These two Linden cards go together well because they are both nice patches.  The one finishes off a product release for my pc as well (double...double whammy).  The other is one of these show 1/1 redemption cards that I'm learning to hate.  But since it was a trade, all ill feelings go by the wayside.

2012/13 In The Game
Decades 90s
#M-44 Game Used Patch Silver
2014 Toronto Fall Expo 1/1

How is it that a product that came out over a year ago gets the redemption treatment at a 2014 Fall Expo?  How is it that this product now has two versions (2013 & 2014) of redemptions produced and released?

I know....Johnny Crybaby.  But I just don't get the sheer volume of redemption cards that came out of the ITG camp earlier this month in Toronto.  Overkill is an understatement.

But, like I mentioned, I did pick this card up in a trade so I'm ok with this.  And the patch is really nice.  Three colors, vintage jersey....I'm in.

But I doubt I'll be in for many more unless the price is stupid good.

2012/13 In The Game
Forever Rivals
#M-41 Game Used Patch Red

Now this card on the other hand was a fun one to pick up.  Limited to just six copies, it was the last card from the Forever Rivals product (not including redemptions....hrmph!) on the wantlist.

When it popped up on ebay last week, I had to do a quick doubletake.  I wasn't sure if I was seeing what I thought I was seeing.  And to top it off, it had a pretty reasonable Buy It Now price.

But as nice as the price was, I felt that it should go for a little less.  Yes, the patch is nice, but if there was some red in it....it would have been a slam dunk.  Instead, I put in a Best Offer to knock down the price.

I've been burned by this tactic before.  Good price, get a little greedy, wait for a response, someone else scoops in and buys it.  But this was a card that I thought wouldn't have as much interest.  It's from a product that's a couple years old, the patch isn't as strong and quite frankly, the market for Linden cards that aren't fresh off the assembly line just isn't as strong as it was a couple years ago.

I waited.....and waited.  The card auction sifted onto the second page on ebay, and I waited.  The longer things went, the more comfortable I became.

Late that day I got the e-mail saying that my offer had been accepted.  I was thrilled to pay what I did for the card and am equally happy now that it's in my possession.

Slowly but surely I'm crossing cards off.  They get added on the list quickly at times, but I've got the time to knock them off.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

CARDBOARD PHOTOGRAPHY - Jean Beliveau

It's been a long while since I've shared a card here worthy of a Cardboard Photography post.  But when I saw this gem in a trade box at last week's trader night, I just had to pick it up.

It's not a high-end card, it doesn't have all the swagger and sway of a patch/auto limited to 4 and it doesn't have an over-the-top card design.

It's simple, it's inexpensive, it's well thought out and it's very effective.

2012/13 Score
The Franchise
#OS4 Jean Beliveau

This is what an insert card from a low-end product should look like.  It's a total eye-catcher.  That vintage feel in the photo complimented by a simple top and bottom border (in a gorgeous green) with minimal gunk on the front.  Every single time that I see a card from this set laying out on a table or sitting in a trade box, I stop and admire.  That's what a hockey card should do.

Let's take a closer look at this photo.

Judging by the 'C' on Hawks' Pierre Pilote, this photo comes from the mid-60's.  While the focus is most definitely on Beliveau, one can't help to admire the "busy-ness" in the pic.

"Gentleman" Jean, Pilote and fresh cut John Ferguson are all clearly keeping an eye on the puck.  I love that there's a story in the photo and we are left to our imaginations as to what it might be.  The fans in the back are all sitting stoic in their (what seems to be mandatory) dark heavy coats, perfectly mannered in their attendance.

So what is the story in the card?  Well I found full 8x10 from where the card was cropped.

I was hoping for the puck to be trickling ever so close to the goal line.  Maybe a scramble or a desperate dive for possession....sadly no.  But this photo does reveal a little more than what's seen in the card.

Where are all the ads?  I miss the clean white boards.  Take a look at how tiny Denis DeJordy's pads are.  Love the ol' leather.  And the crowd....yup, they all got the memo.

While it might seem simple (or inconsequential) to some, I love how someone took the time to see this photo, identify that it would be a prime candidate for a hockey card pic and then go about finding the appropriate cropping and card layout.

Back to the card.

Speaking of leather....how about Beliveau's gloves.  Those are spectacular.  I could go for a pair of gamers for sure.  The tie-up sweaters that fit just right.  Minimal padding that don't make the players look like gladiator beasts (although Beliveau looks pretty intimidating even without the extra bulk).

And of course.....no helmets.  In the early 60's there were very few players who used head protection.  It's crazy to think about it now, but that's how they rolled.  Instantly identifiable, Beliveau just has the look and stature of a Montreal Canadiens captain.

One last note about the card layout.  Panini, who produced the Score brand for the few years they were in the hockey card business, has the presence of mind to make one simple design move that I think really finishes the card off nicely.

A quick comparison of what is and what could have been makes things crystal clear.

Simple and smart, but boy does it ever make a difference.

By just simply pushing in on the photo and letting Beliveau's head pop into the top banner area, the photo takes on a whole new context.

Don't get me wrong, the modified version of the right is still a nice looking card.  But less time is spent looking at Jean and more on the entire scene.  If the theme of the card was Montreal vs. Chicago....we'd have a winner.

But the name on the bottom says Jean Beliveau - and that's who you're looking at first and foremost.  That simple cutout tightens up the photo in the card just right.

A great looking card from an equally stunning set.  The next time you see one at the local show, take a moment appreciate it.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

BEHIND THE MASKS - A Little Monkey Business

In addition to the Mike Modano auto I picked up yesterday, I managed a small handful of cards to add to various pc projects.  All the cards were ripe with solid photos and I even went bananas over a Beliveau.

You have to check back later for those goodies because right now I've got  a goalie mask to share.

Upper Deck's flagship product - Series I - recently hit the shelves for the 2014/15 season.  Known for its solid photography, this year's offering doesn't disappoint.  In fact....it's almost overkill.

I'm all for the fancy low-angle "look at what I can do with a camera" type shots, but every fifth card?  Or the exuberant celebration shot that can only represent the pain and agony that player must have gone through...I feel your suffering.  For about a hundred cards worth.

Just give me some good solid action shots.  Nothing overkill.  This isn't Abstract Photography 101.

Dynamic shots.  Unique angles.....UNIQUE.  And how about some closeups.

Yeah.....I like this.  Brian Elliott's days as a St. Louis Blues starter may be coming to an end (with the emergence of Jake Allen) but that doesn't mean he can't have a cool looking Upper Deck card.

And with me being a sucker for masks....this is just the type of card I'm interested in.  But I can't help but see something else in this mask card.  Can you see it?

For those of you who were around back.....way back at the start of 2011, I featured a gorgeous Jaromir Jagr card.  But what made me laugh the most was that I decided to superimpose the photo of Mullet McGee on a Canadian $5 bill.  Hilarious if I do say so myself (and definitely holds up to the test of time).

There's something about this Brian Elliott card that makes me think about.........

Eh?   C'mon......you saw it too right?

Take a second look.  That Elliott card could've been the poster for the big film reboot.

Here's the before.....
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Totally works.

For a guy who can't seem to find enough hours in the day......I seem to have found one tonight.  Ah the wonderful world of sportscard collectibles.

Note:  I've just finished scanning over this post and am seriously considering NOT hitting "Publish".  What the heck have I just been doing??!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

HHOF AUTOS - This Is Definitely A New Addition

It has been a mighty long time since I've had an actual new addition to the HHOF Auto project.  And yes....it was due to a lack of trying.

Since the return from my summer hiatus, I've been to a few trade nights and a couple of local shows but just never saw anything that really made me want to chase a trade.

Well at tonight's monthly trade night....I managed to pull the trigger.

Mike Modano
Inducted in 2014

Like I said, this is truly a new addition.  As in last week I wasn't chasing this card.

Call me silly, but I feel like I shouldn't add to the wantlist until the actual Hall Of Fame ceremony has taken place.  Technically, they aren't a part of the Hall until then.

If I were to "work ahead", I could conceivably chase cards like Lidstrom, Brodeur, Crosby and Connor McDavid.  But I don't feel comfortable doing that.  It would feel like cheating and not give the respect to the Hall Of Fame project as a whole.

But Modano is in.....and now he's a part of my collection.  This Cup card is a perfect addition.  High-end card, beautiful signing space, great signature, solid photo (and with the team you'd want with him) and I made a fair trade for it.

What more can a guy say.  I hope all my future acquisitions for the pc are as smooth as the one tonight.

Current Collection - 61 HOF Autos

12 In 12 LEGACY - A Wild Stab For It

It's been a while since I have spent some time at the library doing some good old fashioned reading.  That was the goal tonight.

I was hoping to bring my nephew along since we recently picked up a new book for him to tackle (it's a tough go getting him to read on a regular basis....but he's normally game for a library trip).  Unfortunately, I was riding solo as he had a little bit of homework to tackle.

I took along a new book I was going to start, but found a title as I was browsing that made me call the ol' audible.  And it was short enough that I was able to flip through it from cover to cover in one sitting.

A Wild Stab For It: This Is Game Eight From Russia
Dave Bidini
109 pages

I like Dave Bidini.  He's a musician, writer, author and he's got an opinion.  I really enjoyed his book Keon And Me which I read back in 2012 when I pursued my '12 in 12' goal.  I've got a couple other titles by him that are sitting on the shelf......ready for me to read.  Ready.

For me to read.  At some point.

Anyways, back to this title.  I am a sucker for the content - the 1972 Summit Series, I am a sucker for Dave Bidini's writing and at 109 pages, I am a sucker for a short, quick read - especially tonight.

The story of what happened on the ice is very well documented but the angle this book takes is a collection of short, simple stories by different people Dave has talked to, and put into this collection.  Taking us through that final game on September 28, 1972.

While there were some interesting tidbits, I was a little disappointed by the overall tone of the book.  I was hoping for more of Bidini's voice in the read, but found it to be almost "notation-ish" (hey...another new word).  It felt like a collection of notes that were types up, organized and put into a book.  It lacked the character that I was anticipating.

Still, there were some interesting stories that I had never heard.  Like the night before the game when Ken Dryden was asleep and coach Harry Sinden was in the lobby of the hotel.  A reporter approached Harry and Sinden proceeded to ask if he could go check the bar next door to see if any of his players were still up (the coach not wanting to be seen as the bad guy).  A couple moments later, the reporter returned and said that if he were to wake up Dryden....they could have a team meeting.

Or the method of choosing the Player Of The Game (a lot different than today's instant Twitter feedback).  Just mail your choice to this PO Box address.  Snail mail....nice.

If you're a Canadian hockey fan, I think you'll enjoy this book.  It's got some good nuggets to it.  But it doesn't have that lasting effect some titles give.

3 out of 5

Here's an interview with Dave Bidini just after the book's release back in 2012, the 40th Anniversary of the game.


As well, I've also put my two cents down on this title on the book site Goodreads, under my username bamlinden.  You can follow me there if you like (I have my other 12 titles read in my '12 in 12' journey as well as some other books I've read over the past couple years.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

BEHIND THE MASKS - Two More Card Show Pickups

Went to the monthly card show yesterday.  Was hoping to land a few cards from this year's Artifacts.  After all, my guy has a bazillion cards in the product so there must be a few hidden in the cheap bins.  Right?

Ah.....no.

In fact, not a single table had any Artifacts.  Has the product dried up already?  Did nobody crack a single box?  Did I miss the bus in bidding on some decent priced Linden cards on ebay?

Note:  I always miss the bus.

There were a couple of noticeable absences and that probably had something to do with it too.  I hate to say that I kind of rely on the wax breakers to feed my Linden card cravings locally.  There's no way I can afford to both crack and chase.

I was batting the big .000 with cards....so what to do?

Dig.

I normally sift through boxes looking for shiny things, cheap things, abnormal things and every once in a while I get rewarded.  Problem with a smaller, local, monthly card show is that the same stuff tends to sits on tables and in boxes month after month.

The sifting goes quicker and quicker each time.

But with nothing better to do on a Saturday morning and a huge desire to buy something, I decided to go through stuff a little more thoroughly.  And it paid off.

Nothing massive....but I did knock a couple cards off the wantlist.

Masked Men 5 might go down as my favourite mask set in years.  The sketch option instead of photos (some blurry and low res) definitely give the set a consistent look.  And the funky, shiny, laser-like red background looks cool both in person and via scan.  Win-win.

I really like Jonathan Quick's retro mask.  A tribute to Rogie Vachon.  Goes great with the purple and gold vintage uniforms they tend to wear on occasion.

Marc-Andre is another solid find.  Both cards were in a box way at the end labelled $3 each or 4 for $10.  I could only find these two that interested me so I bartered him down to $5.  I'm a stingy guy like that.

When I saw the Fleury, I remembered my first reaction to seeing this mask.  You can see that it appears to be a hockey card on the side of the mask.  A Tom Barrasso card in fact.

In this photo, you can get a better sense of what the paintjob looks like.  I knew I had seen that card before.  But it wasn't a dead ringer for the card I had in mind.

Huh.  Interesting.

There's no doubt that the card on the mask is this Barrasso Greats Of The Game.  But you can see that the ITG logo has been replaced by a Penguins logo.  Ironic since ITG doesn't have an NHL license and therefore can't use logos.  You can also see that a few liberties were taken in the color scheme and background designs.

Here's a link to an article better explaining the paintjob.  You can even check out the comments section where I just had to ask "So...did ITG give this guy permission to use the card likeness?"

In The Game gets razzed all the time for bending the rules, using logos in masks, whatever it may be, but the card on Fleury's mask is a toss right back.  In fact, if I remember correctly, Dr. Price did comment saying that no  discussion about the use of the card ever happened.

Kind of gives me a sour feeling towards the mask.

So we have an ITG card with a sketch of an NHL goalie mask depicting a goalie mask card of another ITG product modified with NHL logos.

Card shows can be so much fun.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - Toronto Expo Pickups

You heard that right.....Toronto.....Expo.

I didn't go to the show, but that doesn't mean I can't walk away with some stuff.

It all started last month when I won a pretty decent round of Pack Wars.  This sweet Taylor Hall 3-color patch/auto was being drooled on by a local Hall collector.  He was looking to trade.....and I was looking for Lindens.

He told me that he was heading to the Fall Expo in Toronto and so I gave him my tradelist.  Fingers crossed he could land a big item.

I saw him this past week at another trade night and as the title says....I've got pickups.

2014/15 Upper Deck
25th Anniversary Young Guns Tribute
#UD25-TL 2014 Toronto Fall Expo Giveaway

I was pumped to see this card.  It was only given out to those at the show who opened up a tin of The Cup at their booth.  While I don't know what the production numbers are on these cards, I have yet to see another copy of one pop up anywhere.

Trevor Linden now has an Upper Deck Young Guns card.

His rookie card was part of the final OPC product prior to the "big boom".  Score, ProSet, Upper Deck and more all created an entire new world of collecting.  Ushering in the junk wax era, Linden's rc can easily be found for less than a buck.

But that wasn't the only Linden item coming my way from Toronto.

Next to his tradebox, there was a larger UltraPro box, housing a display case.  Inside was the item that would complete the trade.

Yessir!  This is an autographed game-used Vancouver Canucks glove.  Tons of usage and a gorgeous signature right in the sweet spot.

The Certificate of Authenticity looked less than what he felt was acceptable, so he had the glove properly authenticated and the paperwork will be arriving shortly.

Now the glove went for a little more than my Taylor Hall card, so a little evening up, and a thank-you handshake and we were done.

What I found to be the kicker is that he initially pulled out an Artifacts base card as a gag for me.  I got home and took a closer look at the card.

What do you think???  Could it be???

I'm gonna say yes......only becasue it would be the perfect way to end this story.

So thank you very much Craig for making the 2014 Toronto Fall Expo a very memorable one for me.