Monday, September 26, 2016

RAISE THE CUP - Worst Card Design Ever

I hate to say that I've let my 'Raise The Cup' project get a little disorganized.  Part of what I wanted this blog to be way back in the day was a vehicle for me to become a little more in check with what I'm collecting, where things are and what I actually have in my various pcs.

One of the things I'm determined to do before the end of the year is really get my card collections in order.  Get the closet dialled and shed some of the extra base and unwanted (and untraceable) cards out of the way.

But I was in a scanning mood a few days back and I saw a number of Cup raisers that just screamed to be entered into the digital world.

And by screaming...I mean "What the heck is this crap??!!!"

I can easily say that these 15/16 SP Authentic All-Time Moments cards are some of the worst design layouts I've ever laid eyes on.

I don't know about you, but I would balk at slapping a big sheet of black over nearly half of the card.  I can't believe that the designers at Upper Deck decided that sacrificing the photo was the best option so they could throw some text on the front of the card.

Nah.....I don't actually need to SEE Sakic and Roy (hey Bourque is in there too...I can see half his head).  You've so eloquently described the setting with your words.

It's abysmal.

This one is slightly.....SLIGHTLY better.  But still - one heck of an ugly card.

And what is with the border?  I was trying to figure out if there was a printing error along the bottom.  Was my scanner already crapping out?'s supposed to look like that.  It's like a filmstrip.  Cuz, you know.....they're silver - right?

I almost don't want to include these into the project (and I guess I do have the ultimate say over that) but I think deep down I want to include them.  Just so I am reminded that a bad decision should never be justified.

They're so ugly that I've got to send them.....



Sunday, September 25, 2016

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - I'm An Idiot...Redux

I'll begin by saying that I'm an idiot.  I've displayed that trait so brilliantly in the past.

Case in point, my wonderful Upper Deck jersey card fiasco.  Good times.

Well, I'm here to say that I've outdone myself and I have nothing left to do except share my glorious stupidity.

It was just back in March that I was oh so excited to share my latest and greatest Linden pickup.

A gorgeous black jersey square and a stunning sticker auto on some shiny gold foil of a card. logos please as we are not allowed to use them.  And just for fun, let's number this bad boy to just 15 copies.

Like I said.....stunning.

Well I must have liked it so much that not 3 months later I decided that I must have another.

Humph!!  The silliest thing (other than me buying 2 copies of a card /15) is that I had no idea I'd done it until a couple nights ago.  I was doing some sorting and found both copies sitting almost one on top of the other.

Did I mention that I'm an idiot?

So do I keep the 04/15....dubbed "The Original" or do I swap it out with the 05/15...dubbed "The Upgrade"?  Can I return both copies and just go back to bed?  Why do I have a checklist if I can't seem to look at it when the time comes know...look at it?  Just some of the many burning questions that have developed as a result of this "happy accident".

I even did a quick history search on eBay.  Yup, I bought both of them....fair and square.  I'm glad to say that I paid less (albeit slightly) for the second copy than I did the first.  Small.....SMALL....REAL SMALL consolation.

So.......anyone need a beautiful example of a card /15?

Mental note....update your master checklist and LOOK AT IT before you buy any cards.  I don't need to be building a secondary Linden collection.

Hoo boy.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


I'm so late to the party on this one....but I was sifting through some of my cards last night and stumbled upon a stack of 2015 Topps Stadium Club baseball.  They came from a heated round of 'pack wars' that I won oh about a year ago.

I've been on a bit of a baseball kick of late.  Chalk it up to a great stretch run (or frustrating if you're a Jays fan) to the season, some new #WalletCard Oscar Gamble pickups and some eBay cheapies to add to the tradebox.  So when I flipped through the stack of TSC I was doing it with a big grin.

There are some great photos used in the set (I think Stadium Club is generally known for its solid photography).  But when I got to a certain card - I stopped sifting.

2015 Topps Stadium Club
#210 George Brett

There's a lot that I like about this card.  First and's George Brett - my favourite player when I was a kid.  After all, his last name was my first name.  How cool is that?  I always wanted a Brett jersey...I thought it would've suited me well.  Heck, I still think about picking one up.  It's now a tossup between Brett and Gamble (Cleveland Indians era).  Oscar is catching up in the race.

But back to the card.  The photo is just tremendous.  It harkens a time when players were totally accessible and many were more than willing to give a young fan a couple moments of their time...and a sweet sig on a newly purchased baseball.  This shot has a distinct 70's feel.  The stadium in the background, the jersey, the shaggy's all there.  But to me there's just a little more.

This card (it seems) has had a little work done to it.  It almost has a painted look to it.  I'm convinced that if this card was blown up 5 or 6 times in size I'd hang it in my office.  It looks like a fine piece of art.

The photo had me so interested that I began researching it on the good ol' computer.

Well worth the time.

I'll begin by sending you to a story on National Geographic's site.  It seems as though there a neat story about this pic.

note: Again, I'm so late to the party on this one....I'm talking a couple years late.  But like I's a neat story.

Pop star Lorde said that this George Brett photo (which appeared in a 1976 edition of National Geographic) was the inspiration for her mega-hit 'Royals'.

"I had this image from the National Geographic of this dude just signing baseballs.  He was a baseball player and his shirt said 'Royals'  It was just that word.  It's really cool."

Seriously??  That's incredibly random...and the song has nothing to do with baseball.  But what the heck...a person can have ideas shoot into their head from the strangest and unlikeliest things.

This is the full version of the photo that was used in the article.  Taken by photographer Ted Spiegel, this moment in time really has a certain type of energy to it.  Not in a frantic or explosive way, but in a motivating and innocent mode.

But my hunch about the card having some work done to it might have some merit.  This photo looks to be a little underexposed (it could just be the scan) and you really don't get a full sense of the expression on Brett's face.  The card does a nice job of evening out the contrast and making everything  less harsh to look at.

There are few occasions where I like to see baseball cards showing players doing something other than play baseball.  The old "sitting in the dugout" shot or "fake pose" down the third base line doesn't really do it for me.  But this shot just has a distinct uniqueness to it that frankly can't be matched.

The more I think about it, the more I want to find a nice copy of this photo so I can hang it up in my office.

Friday, September 23, 2016


There are times when I just take a flyer on things.  Be it a pack of non-sport, a box of CFL or a pair of autos that I might be able to parlay into something more.

The last month - heck....this whole baseball season - has been a truly exciting rollercoaster ride for Toronto Blue Jays fans.  A whole lot of expectations after a breakthrough 2015 season.  Thoughts of a division title and dare I say...World Series birth are on the minds of many.

Come October, should the Jays make the postseason, I feel as though certain players may have heightened interest in the hobby.  And what can I can never hurt to have a couple Toronto autos in the trade box.

A recent venture into the ebay vortex had me searching Jays autos.  I saw an auction that I thought I'd take a stab at.  Whatdyaknow....I won.

Roberto Osuna might just be one of the top young pitching stars in the game.  He's got a maturity to him that far outweighs his early-20s inexperience.

This hard-signed card from Topps Supreme came at the right price.  I have no doubt that I'll be able to trade it away for something I really want - or bolster my trade box.  Again, it's nice to go to trade night with some new stuff in the arsenal.

Quick note....sloppy sig.  Let's get these young guys slapping a better auto on these cards eh?

While Dalton Pompey might not be meeting expectations in the 2016 season, I think he definitely has some upside in the Jays organization.  With a guy like Jose Bautista likely on his way out, that might open the door for Dalton to come in and become a mainstay of the Jays outfield.

Another Topps Supreme card, hard signed, numbered to 25, it was in the same lot as the Osuna so it was coming along whether I liked it or not.  I like it.

Again.....let's get some penmanship going guys.

A couple new cards to add to the trade box and here's hoping that the Jays go deep in the playoffs.  It'll only up the value of these cards even more.

Now....time to head back into the vortex.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

WALLET CARD - A Pair Of Gamble Autos

They say "slow and steady wins the race" and I'm hoping that is true because my card pickups for the year have been really thin.  Very few Linden pickups (easily my slowest year in a decade), a handful of goalie mask, HOF autos and Cup Raisers and the odd card for sheer tradebait.

I'm not disappointed by any means as I feel even more confident in my quest for cards.  I go at my pace and I pick up what I want - when I want.

And it seems that I want to pick up Oscar Gamble cards.

It would not surprise me in the least if #WalletCard ends up being at the top of the list in terms of number of cards acquired this year.  Many of them go for really good prices - compared to the crazy asking prices of some Linden offerings.  It's just a lot of fun building a nice small player collection like this.

Recently I have been getting help from a fellow collector who has a US address.  The savings I get on shipping are immense.  It's almost to the point now where any card being sold from the States goes through him.  And Oscar Gamble baseball cards are tougher to come by here in Canada.

My most recent cry for help (thanks again Kevin) landed me a pair of autos.  Let's check out the goods.

2014 Panini Golden Age
#GAM Historic Signatures

I really like this card.  The uniqueness in design layout, bold name font, interesting photo placement and prime signature area combined with the old cardboard-stock, matte finish, hard-signed script has me just admiring this great piece.

Yeah, there's nothing fantastic about this card - heck, there aren't even logos (no MLB license for Panini)....but it just works.

The scribble is a little wobbly, but I'm ok with that.  It's par for the course.

I think all that this piece of cardboard is missing is a nice big afro.

2004 Upper Deck Yankees Classics
#AU-48 Classic Scripts

A sweet swing highlights this signature parallel from the mid-2000's.  Not a tough card to find by any means, but to get it for the right price is where the challenge lay.

The auto isn't as solid as the first card, but I chalk that up to the pen.  It is what it is (stupid pen).

To knock this one off the list for the price paid suits me just fine.

These two cards put me at the 45-card mark out of a total of around 155 cards.  Oscar has been included in a couple recent releases - Topps Archives (5 cards) and Topps Archives Snapshots (5 cards).  See....nothing crazy like 32 or 61 cards.  Five.  FIVE.  I like that.

I find that I'm leaning towards two types of #WalletCard pickups these days...autographs and stamped buybacks.  I feel as though the regular base cards are easy to find any time I want.  The buybacks though may only have a certain shelf life before they get tossed in the never-to-be-searched box.  Luckily I've been able to land almost every buyback I've laid eyes on - and again, for a good price.

Is that enough foreshadowing for my next Oscar Gamble post?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

PACK RIPPING - 2016/17 Tim Hortons Hockey

One of the lasting impressions of the previous hockey hobby season (for me) was the overwhelming success of the Tim Horton's hockey release.  It hit a wide audience, was a quality product (that wasn't ultra high end) and had some staying power while collectors and fringe fans tried to hunt down their set needs.

It caught me a little off guard as I really didn't think that the "restaurant issue" product would really fly.  McDonalds did an admirable job with their sets over the years and really found a niche collecting audience, but what Tim Horton's did blew that out of the water.  I really feel as though it introduced a lot of new people to the hobby....if only for a little while.

So I was excited to learn of the return to the market this month for Upper Deck and Timmy's.  The drive home from work had me stop off and pick up a few packs.

Twenty - to be exact.

Now, stupid me thought that if you bought your beverage that you would get all of your packs at the discounted price (yes....I'm a maroon).  But even at the regular retail price, it's a fun and inexpensive rip.

Three cards to a pack - two base and an insert.  Lots of insert sets to be had and some tougher pulls (and crazy longshots) give something for everyone.

Um.....he's not with.....huh.

Ok, I guess UD decided that leaving Hall in the set as a n Oiler would be less of a headache than pulling the card and replacing him with another player.  I would have loved the ol' 80's OPC treatment...

"Now With Devils"

That would have been sweet.

The base cards are your usual food-issue foil-type card.  Nice, but not jaw dropping.  Not much in terms of photography or player poses...pretty simple actually.  But the checklist is solid.

100 base cards with a smattering of current stars, young studs and Tim Horton.  Cool.

I have no doubt that the Connor inserts will be popular among his young fans.  The McDavid train in chugging along at full steam.  And if there isn't enough hype on him already, his play at the World Cup is certain to get people drooling for the NHL regular season.

This Game Day Action card is a neat concept and it seems.....SEEMS as though the photos are taken from the actual game depicted on the back description.  Not bad.

Hey now.  I had to do a double take when I saw the vintage Canucks sweater with the 'C' on it.  But's Henrik from last year's retro jersey night (oh how awesome was that).

The Local Leaders set is a great concept that has had success in the past under different monikers.  And in my opinion they should go back to them.  Local Leaders doesn't breathe excitement.  It feels like a city committee meeting roll call.

Still, nice card.

Pure Gold reminds me of the early 90's Pankhurst emerald parallel.  A simple cutout slapped on a foil coloured background.

These should trade well.

I like the looks of this insert set.  Goalies....close ups of masks....sign me up.

Platinum Profiles though are not just full of tenders (bummer) but are left for the top stars.  A good silver foil makes this easily smudgeable.  Ha.

This was my big hit of the lot.  They come in 1:16 packs so I caught the right odds.  It's a nice clear card (like UD Ice) and has a slick, bold design.

I would have liked a Connor McDavid....but hey, so would everyone.

Overall, this pack rip session was a lot of fun.  There were no high expectations for big hits and I know that there will be a lot of people looking to trade.  And at the end of the day, isn't that what the hobby should be about?

Will I buy more packs?  Probably.  But I doubt I'll binge for 20 packs at a time from now on.  Maybe one overtime I hit up the drive-thru.

Good stuff UD.  (except for the Taylor Hall flub......and why is Karri Ramo in the set?)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

BOX BREAK - 2016 Upper Deck CFL

Well, I was really looking forward to this Saturday afternoon.  Nice weather, a break from some of the recent hectic travelings and a chance to get back out on the golf course to smack the ball around and get some good cursing going (ok....I'm not THAT bad on the course).  But there was only one little problem.

I went to the wrong golf course and as a result - missed my tee time.

It was brutal.  Especially when I started receiving texts from my golf buddies heckling me to no end.

So I decided to do some office cleaning and card scanning.  Not even close to making up for the "botch of the year".

But I digress.  On to a nice story about cards.

Right before I left for my trip to Brazil, I managed to make it out for the local trade night.  I knew it would be an abbreviated go as I still needed to pack....and but stuff....and just do a bunch of overall prep work.  I like to leave things to the last minute it seems.

Anyways, while I was at the card shop I was really....REALLY wanting to open some packs.  Sadly, there was no hockey product that was speaking to me.  Even the baseball (which is my second choice) didn't have anything I was excited in.  Not even the non-sports stuff was catching my eye.

Worried that I would be leaving with no cards in tow, I decided to take a flyer on the recent CFL product just released by Upper Deck.  The price was right so I decided to give a box a go.  Shall we see how I did?

2016 Upper Deck CFL
6 cards per pack
24 packs per box

I feel as though the CFL product has a pretty strong niche collector following - especially in Canada and I thought if I could hit a couple cards, maybe some trading could be had at future trade nights.

The base cards are nothing jaw dropping.  Simple design, some decent photos (some not so much) and a good overall checklist it looks like (163 base cards with the shorter print ones after card 100).  No career stats on the back...just the past 5 years (a bit of a miss here) but a good effort once again by Upper Deck.  After all, this is their third year doing the CFL release.

A breakdown of the base shows (and I'm going to go out on a limb with a guess here) that cards 1-100 are a given (I had about 15 doubles on top of that).  So that's a real nice start.  Cards 101-140 which are the special teams cards land about 1:2 packs.  I ended up with 11 cards - no doubles.  So some work to do if I want the complete base set.  Cards 141-163 are All-Star cards and land 1:6 packs.  I ended up with 5 so I exceeded the expected 4 cards I should have received.  Nice.

BTW....the horizontal cards don't do it for me at all.  I think it exposes just how bad the logo looks on the front.  I feel as though UD could have done a better job incorporating the logo into the overall layout of the card.

Overall though, the base card offering in this product is pretty good.

Some OPC retro cards in this product (42 cards) and they have their distinct retro look.  I like these cards a lot - except for the smudging just above the photo.  These have a definite 1971 feel to them and I'm sure that set collectors will enjoy the additional chase.

They are 1:3 packs so I should have received 8 in total.

Drumroll please.....

Eight it is.

The box odds call for 2 memorabilia cards and that's just what I got.  Nothing to write home about but I feel like these would make for some good traders.  More so than the dollar jersey cards you tend to get in hockey products these days.

There are patch variations /15 in this product and a quick look on eBay shows some impressive patches.

The more I look at this product, the more I see Upper Deck taking the best of the best from other signature sets and building a real nice niche product for diehard collectors.  I'm impressed so far.

Hey.....I got a thickie.  This was a great surprise.  These manufactured patches are another notch from the OPC belt.  They come 1:128 packs so I definitely hit a tough one.  I especially like that I got a Stampeders logo as I know I'll be able to trade this one locally pretty easily.

And a quick look at the checklist seems to reveal that these are an extension of previous UD CFL releases (as they are listed TL-51 to TL-62).  Pretty cool.

Wow!  Another great box hit.  This High Gloss parallel is numbered to just 10.  While not the top QB in the league, it's still a QB....and should get good trade value as well.

I must say that I'm quite pleased with what this spur-of-the-moment pack ripping adventure has resulted in.

But if only that was all.
There are autos in this product.  Three different types.

Offence base card autos (40 cards) run 1:96 packs, Defense/Special Teams base card autos (12 cards) run 1:256 packs and then there are the All-Star autos (11 cards) numbered to /25.  There are also CFL Scripts (which is what I landed) and they are also numbered to just /25.  Yes, it's a sticker auto but still....more good tradebait.

So.....I can say pretty confidently that I hit a really good box.  Does that change my perception on the product?  Maybe.  Will I try my hand at another one?  Doubt it.  I really like that I have some good traders and should be able to recoup most (if not all) of my box dollars on this one.  Pretty rare when that happens.

If you're a CFL fan....then I would think that this is a must-try product for you.

Have you ever stepped outside the box and tried a product you normally don't rip?  How'd it go?  Did it meet your expectations?

Well....I feel like I accomplished something tonight.  Better than nothing I guess.

But make no mistake, I'd much rather be losing golf balls in the pond today.  Ugh.