Sunday, January 25, 2015

WALLET CARD - Oscar's A Cover Boy

For those of you who haven't been following the wacky adventures of my #WalletCard on Twitter.....what are you thinking???!!

In all honesty, there hasn't been too much going on.  A trade night, a tarantula and a trip to the library.

I'll admit, I'm not pulling this photo out of the wallet to shoot just anything and everything.  But I am aware that a handful of tweets/posts per week is warranted.

And....I'm having fun with it.  I know I picked the right card.

When I initially chose this 1976 Topps Oscar Gamble card, it was because it had a bit of sentimental value to it.  Plus, it's just one heck of a sweet photo.  But I've discovered in just the couple short weeks I have been participating in #WalletCard, Oscar Gamble and his 'fro have more of a following and admiration than I anticipated.

I decided to do some searching up on Gamble and stumbled across this fantastic video done up by author and journalist Dan Epstein.  It's a must watch.

"The copious circumference of his coiffure." ???!!! Writing does not get any better than that.

I immediately became a Dan Epstein fan.

I did a little more digging and learned he has written a couple baseball books.  I tracked one down at the library today.

Oscar "Coverboy" Gamble thinks it's worthy of being my next read.

I wholeheartedly agree.

I thought his 'fro on the front of my card was crazy cool.  That photo on the cover of the book is legendary.

I did a little quick flipping (to the pictures of course) and look what I found.

Now I'm definitely reading this.

I think Oscar might enjoy playing the part of bookmark for this one.  Or does that create some sort of "conflict of interest"?  This #WalletCard thing is so complex.  :)

Be sure to keep up to date with the latest and greatest from Oscar Gamble...#WalletCard.  You can follow him on Twitter by clicking on the '76 Topps card at the top right of my blog.

Keep having fun!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

HHOF AUTOS - Three In, Only One Off The List

I went with a plan.  I went to last week's trade night with serious intention.  The trade for at least one new HHOF auto.

It had been a good couple months since I added a fresh face to the project.  Lately, the word "upgrade" has been used.  And while I managed to do that again the other day, I was finally able to cross off another name from the wantlist.

It started with a quick sift through a trade box (fancy that).  But it was exciting because these trade boxes haven't made an appearance in quite some time.  I know that my trade box (along with a few others) can feel pretty stale month after month.

There was one card that caught my eye and I made a point of putting it aside.  I thought I'd have a good shot at trading for it since the auto is really not that desirable in the collecting world.

Along with the HOF sig, I added a couple inserts (you've just recently read about them in my blog posts).  A quick and easy trade was made and a new upgrade was added to the collection.

Bill Barber
(Inducted in 1990)

I like this card.  It's from a set that hasn't made an appearance in my project yet and for pretty much that reason alone I added it.

Taken from 2013/14 SP Authentic this sports a very nice, bold signature.  The photo has a hit-and-miss quality to it.  70's pics are awesome to begin with, but focus issues are always an......issue.

Overall, for what I gave up to get it, it was more than worth it.

This was a bit of a bonus auto for the night.  As I mentioned off the top, I had definite plans of landing a HOF auto.  Why was I so sure?  Because I knew a trader who had one.  I just didn't have any trade bait he was interested in.

He's a Wings I went to work.

The local monthly card show helped me add about a half dozen Detroit cards and I felt confident about my chances of finalizing a trade.

Denis Savard
(Inducted in 2000)

Yes....another upgrade.  But the Savard currently sitting in the slot was from the Panini Classics product.  And while that is a fantastic set and a great resource for landing HOF autos, I don't want to oversaturate my project with cards from one release.

This card comes from an earlier offering, 2008/09 SP Authentic.  The Sign of the Times autograph  set is a great insert staple that SP Authentic has developed and I really like this particular design.

Lots of great color, the photo takes up a good portion of the card (unlike other years where the horizontal design allows for more auto space) and a dedicated spot for the signature.

Savard's auto is not the nicest in the world and this offering is a little "meh" but I think the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

Brian Leetch
(Inducted in 2009)

Finally!!  We have a winner.

I knew this card was sitting in the trade box for a couple months now and it's about time that I managed to make a trade happen.

This card has everything that I want in an auto for this project.  Unique design (yes, I have a Milt Schmidt from the same product...sue me), good photo (yes, it's of the Rangers and reminds me of 1994...but I can't really avoid that) and quite possibly the nicest signature of a player not from the 60's or 70's.

It's cards like this one (as opposed to the tougher, more expensive vintage offerings) that will get me to my goal of 100 HHOF autos.

Accessible, affordable and tradable.

Just gotta put my mind to it.

Current Collection - 62 HOF Autos


It's been a long while since I've given a card some face time strictly for the photography.  But when I saw this card pop up at trade night a couple days ago I knew I had a post.

Remember those Score Net Cam cards from a few years ago?  The set that takes low angle butt shots of goalies and gives them the moniker of "insert".  The set that reminded me of my old Atari video game system?  Super cool for about two minutes....then I find myself asking "Why am I even looking at this?".  The set that I used to build....then abandoned, and never moved from that day forward (seriously...I haven't touched 'em).

Well it seems that Fleer Ultra needed an insert set and pulled a rabbit out of the ol' hat.

Red Light Views.

Yeah, that's right.  A celebration of pucks going into the net (after all, that's what the red light is for).

I'll be honest, when I first saw this card I thought "Cool".  Then I slapped myself for thinking such a thing.

But I still traded for let's take a closer look at this bugger.

First, you have chaos.  How many guys do you count in the crease?  Six?  Seven?  And where exactly is the puck?  According to the set could be in the net.  And I love the stick just stealing centre stage.

One of my biggest beefs is that the Red Light Views title is plastered across the top of the card...impeding my view of both the unknown Penguins player and the video screen at the top (which has an alternate view of the play).

It's a shame since there's ample room at the bottom of the card if you swap text with the team names and date.  But what do I know.

I do like that we get to see King Henrik's backplate (as unexciting as it is). And I do enjoy the numerous thoughts D-man Ryan McDonagh must be having.  "Where's the puck?", "Where's my contact?", "Those are nice skates", "I'm making imaginary sand castles in the ice".  Hours of fun.

Overall though, it is an interesting photo - just not a unique or exciting execution of a hockey card.

I think it would have been better if the insert set was called "Gongshow".

Oh wait.....that idea has already been taken.

Friday, January 23, 2015


Yup.  PK's not invited to the All-Star game and now one of his cards is destined for the rear tire.

You read that right Brian - PK's goin' to the spokes.

And can you really blame me?  After all he's a part of one of the worst insert sets of all time.

(maybe Fleer Ultra should get the nod instead)

Circle and Rectangle.

That's not the name of the set....but it might as well be.  It's better than the red foil lettering you can barely read.

For those of you still guessing, it says "Gongshow Grinders".


That's the best you could come up with?


Let's take a look at what Urban Dictionary refers to a gongshow as...

Ha ha.  Fairly accurate.  Thank you Sergeant Dangles.

In fact, that gives me an idea for what the set should be renamed as...

"S#!+storm".  I like it.

But sadly....there's more.

Check out the back of the card....

Big Circle, Little Logo.

Hey, I just made up another insert set name.  You can have them both for free Fleer.

Seriously, what's the point of this card back?

I've got no words.

I even asked my wallet card what he thought of the offering...

Oscar feels there's a lack of 'fro on Subban and that in itself is a gongshow.

Talk about big circle, little that 'fro is sah-weet.

All that said, this card should (and will) receive a premium value when and if the time comes to trade it.  It's so rare, so valuable, so stinky.'ve put one in the record books.



Thursday, January 22, 2015

OPINION - Appreciation And Enjoyment

Before I get started on my blog post, I'd like to share a great post over at Baseball Card Breakdown.  It focuses on the concern of custom cards being sold on ebay.....and not by the custom's designer.

It's kind of scary to think how good some of these customs are and then to see them pop up on the open market completely unbeknownst to anyone except the guy doing swiping.

As a custom card guy myself (although things have been all but non-existent over the past year or so) I feel pretty ticked - and I'd be pretty ticked off - seeing someone's individual creation (not even intended for sale) being tossed out there under someone else's bad name.

A definite buyer beware.

But now on to a subject that arose over the past few days.

So I was surfing Twitter and noticed I received a message from a fellow Linden collector.  He mentioned to me that he had just realized that the photo used on the Linden UD 25th Anniversary Young Guns card and that of this year's Black Diamond are one in the same.

I proceeded to tell him that he's late to the dance (as I recognized it right away).  He also mentioned that at times he feels like he's just ticking off another mark on the checklist when he picks up a new Linden.

I feel the same way too sometimes.

But I recommended to him that he take a bit of time to sit back and enjoy his collection.  Flip through his binders or sift through the cards in toploaders.  Bottom line though....enjoy what you've spent countless hours building and collecting.

Which made me often do I look at my own collection?

I'll be honest, I store my cards in 3200 count boxes.  All crammed in my closet.  I've got my cards in penny sleeves/toploaders (except for the higher end items which sit in one touch holders).  I open the box when I have to add my most recent additions to it, but it's been a while since I've sat down, opened the box and spent time looking at my pc.

I mean REALLY look at my collection.

Enjoying it.  Remembering the stories that are connected to how I came across the card or who I traded with.  What store I got it from or how much of an absurd price I paid.

I threw the same question out to some others and got a varied response.  Some said they hardly ever look at it (the chase is more the focus) while others do see it more (because they display it a little more prominently).

Now, there's no right or wrong way to appreciate a collection and I feel quite content with the way I do things.  But I'd be lying if I said I didn't take my Linden pc out and flip through the cards a couple days ago.

A half hour very well spent.

How often do you look at your collection?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - Patience & Promos

Before I get going with this blog post, I want to take a moment to comment on a couple of things.

First, I recently participated in the nomination process for (what is being dubbed) The 2014 Bip Awards.  Excellence in blogging and social media in the trading card industry.  As I was filling out my nomination form I began to realize that I don't really participate too heavily in reading other people's blogs.

I peruse my own blogroll on a daily basis and I jump over to the Sports Card Blogroll to get in a few others, but that's about it.  It made me want to explore a bit more of what is out there.

I like blogs where there is an enjoyment of the hobby, some sharing of a collection, good opinion and thoughtful posts.  They don't have to be a daily occurrence...but I like blogs where there is some life breathing in them.

I recently added a pair of blogs to my list (one of which is a return of a blogger and custom card maker I recall from a long while back).  Check them out.  And if you have a recommendation for some good reading (hockey, baseball, sports, non-spots, whatever), drop me a comment.


Speaking of checking out blogs, be sure to check out Bad Wax Customs for his multi-part "How To Make A Custom Card" series.  Part one is posted with more to come apparently.

I always enjoy learning more about how others create and assemble customs.  I'm kind of in the same boat as him in the sense that when I started out designing custom cards, there was little to no resources on the subject.  It was trial and error.

And I still think that trial and error is the best way to go.  But getting tips and tricks from others is always a valuable resource.

Now....let's get to some Linden cards.

This past week was an interesting start to the new year.  I landed a couple interesting cards that I never would've thought I'd see...let alone own.  And patience really does pay off.  For reals.

2013/14 Panini Contenders
#CL-24 Contenders Legacies  /499

This card has been on the wantlist for about a year.  It's not a rare offering by any means but it's not a slam dunk to find at the local shows or trade nights.

And forget about snagging this one on ebay.  The shipping alone would be 2-3x the price of the card.  What's the point?

So I waited.  And waited.

And waited.

What was I waiting for?  I don't really know.  I was hoping by some strange chance that someone would approach me with a handful of cards from this set and I could magically find said card.

Well, that kind of happened today.

I was at the local monthly card show and it was "sale time" for one of the sellers.  Lots of boxes of autos, jerseys, rookies, inserts all with prices slashed to go.

Sure enough, in the mix sat a little case of Panini Contender Legacies inserts.  My fingers were crossed as I was shuffling through the lot.  Last card was the winner.

By bulking it in with a "3 cards for $10" deal, I was able to land this Linden for nuthin'.  Yup....a freebie Linden.  And I got to cross one off the list.

He shoots, he scores.

2012/13 ITG Forever Rivals
#M-41 Game Used Patch Gold
2014 Toronto Fall Expo  1/1

If you read my Top 10 from 2014 post, you would have noticed that I recently finished my Forever Rivals non-1/1 card chase with the final piece of the puzzle being the red patch (limited to 6).

Soon after, I saw this card up for bids on ebay.

Lately, especially with the 2014 Fall Expo surge, show cards have become a real turnoff.  I've seen way too many of these "1/1" parallels hit the open market and the saturation has hit a tipping point for me.

There were times when I would chase these cards with the same excitement and intensity as I would a regular, pack-pulled offering.  But now I rarely blink when even a "really good deal" pops up on one of them (and that doesn't happen often).

So why this card?

Well, I really like the patch.  And it was a really good price (when comparing to what the non-show card patches from this set go for).  But I decided to pull the trigger mainly because it was the closest I'd come to getting a Trevor Linden Forever Rivals Game Used Patch Gold card.

The pack-pulled version of this card is sitting securely in another Linden collector's pc.  So to kind of create a "fill in" type of approach, I made an offer on the show card.

It's the first time I've done this and I'm very happy with the pickup.  I don't see me doing this on a regular basis moving forward, but I thought this one instance warranted the purchase.

1996/97 Leaf
#12 Leather and Laces  /5000

I remember these cards back in the day.  I wanted to build the set so badly but boy were they ever expensive.  I think I paid at least $50 for the Gretzky (who was in his Blues uniform at the time).

Fast forward to today and the same card now sells for $5 (I just  The complete 20 card set could easily be built for less than $50.

So why am I showing you this card?

Well, a few years back, I learned about a couple of promo versions of this card.  One labelled as "PROMO/5000" and the other as "XXXX/5000".  So, me being the completist that I am, I added the pair to my list.

Years passed.  Then I stumbled across a completed auction for a Linden XXXX/5000.  So how did I miss it?

Well, the seller doesn't ship to Canada, so I guess it didn't appear on my search sift.  And he had the card at a ridiculously low price (all things considered).  Thankfully, he re-listed the item.  And I called in a favour.

I asked a fellow Linden collector who has a US postal address to pick up the card for me.  He was happy to do so and I was happy he did.

It arrived in the mail yesterday and when I laid eyes on it I was shot back 15 years, remembering a time when these inserts were the big chase for me.

How times have changed.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

WALLET CARD - It Has Begun

I picked up my #WalletCard from work today.

To refresh everyone's memory, it a very good condition 1976 Topps Oscar Gamble baseball card #74T. Stunning afro and all.

It had been on my desk at work snuggled in "The Shrine" during my break for the Christmas season.  It was waiting patiently for me all these days.

It was the obvious choice for me when it came time to decide on a card for this year-long exercise....even coming from a guy who is primarily a hockey card collector.

First off - the card is just stunning.  A total eye-catcher.  Second, it was a gift from a fellow blogger and is a wonderful reminder of what I enjoy in this hobby.  Good people, honest fun.

The card has now found a home in my wallet.  It's a bit of a tight fit, but it'll work.

And if Oscar should sustain a little nick here or there.....I think it will just add to the incredible character this card has.

For those of you who want to follow Oscar and I over the course of the year, he decided that a personalized Twitter account was in order.  You can either search @OscarGamblesFro or click on the baseball card on the right-hand side of this blog.  It'll take you there.

I plan on updating both the Twitter account and this blog regularily - so be sure to check back often.

Should be fun!!!