Thursday, July 14, 2016

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - A Pair Of Ultimates

Hey everyone!!  How goes?  Work has finally cooled down for me and I'm getting back into a bit of a normal routine.  Still busy, but not crazy long days anymore.

It's been pretty quiet on the card front.  A couple things I'd like to share though.

First, an unfortunate lost card callout (they do happen).

2015/16 Leaf/ITG Stickwork
Tape Job Gold 5/5   (LOST)

This card was bought by me on eBay back at the end of May.  Sadly it has not arrived yet.  The seller and I have communicated a number of times and they are super to work with.  As bummed as I am that this card is lost, I'm thrilled to know that there are sellers out there who look to work WITH the buyer when crap hits the fan.

Just a heads up in case anyone happens to stumble across it.  It was coming from Winnipeg to Calgary.  Lost in transit.

Second, I read a cool article written by Trevor back in his rookie year.  A fun read.

I enjoyed hearing about the preseason game in Duncan, BC and it reminded me of the infamous #49 jersey (the number he wore as a rookie during the preseason).  I did a quick Google search and discovered this...

What a great pic.  Never seen it before.  I might just have to see how much one of these go for.  Would surely look great signed.

Lastly, let's take a look at a pair of Linden cards that have found their way into my collection.

These Leaf Ultimate Signature cards are nice but would be a heck of a lot nicer if they were hard-signed.  Not sure how they determine which ones get the sticker treatment and which ones don't (he has both in different products).

The sticker just detracts from the whole vibe for me which is why I decided I wouldn't fork out too much for these tough parallels.

A local collector had one of these at the monthly show and asked if I was interested.  At the time I was (since I didn't have this one).  I asked how much and sadly the asking price was way too much.  I made what I thought was a fair offer and he declined.

Good thing in the end as I bought this copy for half the price I offered the guy at the show.  She went cheap.....especially for a card /9.

Why did I offer the price I did at the time?

Because I had bought the /3 version recently (for a good price IMO) and refused to pay more for the /9 version.

These are cards that are nice to knock off the checklist but are in no way "must haves".  I only chased them because I got them for great prices.

I kind of have a list of those cards that I am not chasing (Vault) and those that I am likely not to chase unless the price is really good.  There are a handful of cards that I've got an eagle eye out for and those are the most desirable at this time.  Things like some older issue stuff, hard-signed autos and unique or landmark cards in the Linden world.

Not too many new releases with Linden out there (which suits me just fine).  I'm happy to drift through the summer with minimal card purchases.  I have snagged some COMC stuff (and even signed up for it myself....yes, I caved) and am excited to add some fun items for other non-Linden projects.

But that's for another day.

Hope you're enjoying summer.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Part of the card scanning I did recently included a tremendous gift I received from a fellow hobbyist and Jacques Plante collector.  And while I don't normally gush publicly about presents like these, I do have an ulterior motive.

For those who may not know the backstory, I was volunteering for a charity bookstall a couple months back.  Out of sheer luck/coincidence/karma I came across an amazing find.  A signed Jacques Plante book is incredibly rare and to see the charity benefit from it to the tune of $200 was equally amazing.

I was the go-between for the transaction and I received the following cards as a "Thank You" for my efforts.  I must say, I was speechless when I saw the lot.

Now I'm not a Vault fan but even I had to marvel in the selection of these cards.  I really appreciated that the sender took the time to find out what I collect and customized an amazing package.

I may use amazing a couple more times.

The Linden becomes my third Vault card in my collection - and I have zero interest in the product.  That's a pretty good batting average.

But let's take a closer look at some of the items.

This 2006/07 Parkhurst product goes down as one of my all-time favourite products.  I think the execution of design, photo selection and checklist is a real triple threat (and a call to card companies out there on how to do it right).  The hard signed signature inserts make the chase even more impressive.  And while there are some tough short prints out there (Lemieux, Beliveau, etc.) there are many great autos that are very reasonable in price.

The Giacomin is already sitting on my shelf at work as part of my shrine.  A constant reminder to me that if you do good things...good things happen.  This Red Kelly offering will sit in the collection for a while.

The Dominator - All-Star version.  I like goalie stuff and this card packs a good punch.  The stick piece on the right bulges out quite a bit from the card and the photo in the middle harkens back to a fun time both in my collecting world and the hockey one.

This will be one of a few cards that hits the trade box (or maybe used in a different way...more on that later).

Mask cards are a big fave of mine.  I've enjoyed building (slowly) many of the base versions of these sets and have even made some good headway recently.  This Richter card is the gold version (originally limited to 10) but with the Vault designation I guess that turns into 5....or 15???  Who's keeping track?  Definitely not me.

Richter's mask (as cool as it is) always reminds me of the Canucks and their failed run at a Stanley Cup.

Moving on.

Probably the most enjoyable card in the lot is this Carey Price Team Canada mask card from The Mask IV.  While that in itself would make for a great card, it's the fact that this is the unreleased black version that has me wide-eyed.

The card scans like crap but it is a deep black shiny piece of goodness with a green Vault stamp (not sure what that means...if anything).  Any Carey Price fan, mask fan or unreleased card fan I'm sure would be thrilled to add this to their collection.

Huge thanks to Pete for the generous gift.  Way more than I ever would have anticipated.  A win-win for us both I guess.

But now I want to focus on that third "win" in the title.  I need to find a way to turn a few of these cards into some $$$ for another charity that I'm fond of.  I'd love to set up a raffle or action (or three) to capitalize on these cards so I can then parlay the funds towards another charity.  But what's the best way to do this??

Canada Post is likely to halt mailing after this weekend while they pitter-patter around another dispute and I'm not a big eBay fan.  I'd set something up on my blog but I don't know if I'd get enough eyes on it.  Maybe something locally like trade night or a card show?  Gotta come up with a plan though.  Keep the momentum going.

Anyways, long story short, I'm open to suggestions (I'd love to raise $100cdn somehow utilizing these cards) on what might be the most successful (and safest...for all) method.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

WALLET CARD - Something Old, Something New

Woo...June has pretty much come and gone in a hurry.  Work has been hectic, but that's the gig I signed up for.  Managed to squeeze a round of golf in there (and am hoping to go today if the bad weather holds off) and even made some headway on the book I'm reading.

And I even managed to make it to a couple trade nights - and have picked up some cards for my various collections.  AANNNNNNNNDDDDD...I'm going to blog about them.

I know...that's crazy talk.

So, let's enjoy a few posts over the next week or so while I share some of goodies I've acquired.

First up - Oscar.

I must say that over the past year-and-a-half since I began my #WalletCard escapades, I have really enjoyed what this non-hockey card project has brought.  It's been quite inexpensive, full of both vintage fun and current pack ripping goodness and the photos are KILLER (for the most part).

I never thought I'd enjoy a second player collection after Trevor Linden, but Oscar Gamble has done that.

I've tried not to binge on picking up cheap base cards off of one of any number of sites.  I could easily knock off 40-50 cards without blinking.  But where's the fun in that?  Finding cards locally is always preference number one.  And recently it's been some good hobby friends that have created those adds.

1980 Topps #698

I walked into one of the local trade nights at the start of the month and was promptly handed this beauty.  Seems the guys were doing some 80's pack ripping and came across this.  It's cool to say that this is freshly pulled and has gone directly into the toploader.

Of course my first comment (after the "thank you") was to see if they pulled the Ricky Henderson RC...which they did.  Nicely done.

This card was is one of the last to show off a decent 'fro.  The 80's cards had Oscar with a more conservative cut.  It's a shame...could've been killer in those White Sox unis.

My night would not have been complete without cracking into some of Topps newest product - Archives.  I knew early on that there were new #WalletCard options to pick up.  And while I doubted that I would hit one of the tougher parallels, I felt that the base card should be found relatively quick.

2016 Topps Archives #106

Bingo!!  This 1979-style offering crosses another one of the list.  And was exciting to see it come out of the pack - even more than most of the parallels or inserts I hit.  That's the sign of a good project.

The photo.....well...I can't help but be a little bummed.  It's not the first time Topps Archives has used a n older Oscar photo for it's pic.  Older Yankees days.

Just once I'd like to see them go off the board and really give the hobbyist a shot in the arm.

Could you imagine seeing this photo on that card?  Instant dynamite.

So with those two recent cards, and a couple other buybacks that have found a home with me, I've got my #WalletCard collection up to 41 (with a couple more in transit).  He's got about 150 cards so that puts me almost a third of the way there.  Not bad for 18 months of work.

Like I said, a really fun project that isn't breaking the bank....especially when you have people dropping cards in front of you - Thanks Mikey and Brian!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

12 in 12 - Books, Books and More Books

With May coming to a close tonight so too does my month of books (it was an unofficial month of books).  With multiple charity book sales going on in the city paired with some timely garage sales and a few trips to the library, I can safely say that I have enough reading material to last me for years.  In fact, I can assure you that I will never get through all the titles I purchased.  The collector in me is happy while the realist is wondering "What the heck!!??"

At the start of the month I learned of a really cool initiative championed by Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck.  He started a book club.  I've never participated in a book club (let alone an online one) and was intrigued by the title chosen in the "veteran" category...

A lot of people pair this book with my all-time favourite - Unbroken, so I felt like I should chase down a copy and start reading.

Wouldn't you know it, a few days later I started volunteering for a huge used book sale here in the city.  Unloading and sorting hundreds and hundreds of donated books.  It took less than a day to find my book.  And I must confess...I bent the rules by cherry-picking the title early.  Normally we are supposed to wait for the sale to start.  I would like to make it known that I paid full price for the book (I didn't cheat the system THAT way).  I knew that if I waited for the sale....I'd be well behind where everyone else would be in the book.

So far so good.  I'm enjoying it and even participated in the first chat session.  Andrew video answered two of my questions.  I thought that was pretty cool.  If you're interested, grab a copy and start reading.  There's lots of time to catch up.

Now, you may have heard about my incredible find while I was sorting titles at the book sale.  C'mon....a signed Jacques Plante!!!!  One in a million.  Well, I can happily say that I bought the book (for $200cdn) as I had made arrangements to buy it for a Plante collector on the East Coast.  It arrived earlier this week and I've since been reimbursed.  So cool that I was able to help get the book into the hands of someone who will really appreciate it - all while bringing in a hefty sum for a great charity organization.

And the karma bug bit me just a couple days later when I finally got to do some shopping at the sale...

I learned a number of years ago that you should always check the front few pages of certain books.  Guys like Howe were consistent signers.

BINGO!!!  Not only was it signed by Mr. Hockey himself, but his wife Colleen and The Golden Jet Bobby Hull.

Now, I was in full customer mode when I saw this book so I took full advantage of it.  Four bucks.

Every day of the week I'm making that purchase.

Let's take a look at some of the other titles I picked up...

Ken Dryden's The Game is one of my favourite sports book - and tops on my hockey list.  Dryden is a great wordsmith.  I really need to read that one again.

This title is one I've never seen but I can only assume it's going to be good.  It is after all one of the most iconic events in Canadian sports history.

There were about 20 copies of this book handy at the sale.  I bought it because it was in like-new condition.  Couldn't say no to the price.

Not sure it'll be the page flipper or exciting read....but it's hockey.  Gotta do it.

This one was a garage sale special (but I'm including it into the hockey portion of my show & tell).  Patrick O'Sullivan's story is an incredible one and there have been some strong documentaries and articles written about his struggles growing up.

Another book that was in like-new shape.  It's on the list.

I've had my eye on this title for a while - even borrowing it from the library a couple times but never cracking into it.  Now I really have no excuse.

Phil Jackson....Eleven Rings....The Soul Of Success....I'm game.

Consistently on the list of "All-time great baseball books", Summer of '49 might not resonate with me as an era in my mind but that's all the more reason why I should pick it up.

Halberstam, Roger Kahn and others aren't legends in the baseball book world for nothing.  It was a no-brainer.

My lone football title was this Nate Jackson read.  A friend of mine recently read it and raved about it so it made the decision really easy for me.

I like the idea of hearing from the non-superstar and his quest through the world of pro sports.

This guy on the other hand is no amateur.  What Tom Watson did in 2009 at the British Open rains one of the greatest feats I've ever seen.  Coming this close (fingers are REALLY close together) to winning a major at the age of 59!!  And with a hip replacement to boot.  That's just unheard of in golf these days.

Should be a dandy of a read.  I wish I'd have taken it with me on my golf trip.

Another book on the "all-time greats" list.  I know so little about Joe DiMaggio and I don't know if this will get a quick pull from the shelf, but again the collector in me just couldn't say no.

That's what a lot of these titles are in addition to good reads....they're additions to my growing collection of sports books.  I like that.

One of my favourite 30 for 30 documentaries (The 16th Man) was about this incredible story of the South African rugby team "Springboks" that shocked the world to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

The story was so much more than just a team that overcame improbable odds.  It was the coming together of a nation torn apart by apartheid and the recent release of Nelson Mandela (who's mission was to build peace through this underdog team).  It's an amazing I'll read about it again.

Evel.  Awesome.  Read it already.  Wanted it in the collection.  Cool cover.  Bad ass.

'Nuff said.

Surprise surprise.  I didn't just stick with sport titles at the sales.  When I saw this bold (and immediately identifiable) cover staring at me I snagged it up quick.

Who wouldn't want to learn more about the greatest cartoonist of all time.  Yes, I'm a Bill Watterson guy but you can't deny the impact Charles Schulz had on the world of comics.  Pretty much everyone lists him as an influence.

I wish there were official biographies for Watterson and Tom Larson (The Far Side) and maybe one day there will be, but to knock this one off the list is huge.  Looking forward to this one.

Lastly, Uri Geller (a vintage copy).  The cover is so funny.  I bought it on that alone.

So who is Uri Geller?  Well, there's a great documentary on Netflix called An Honest Liar.  It's about the world famous magician/escape artist The Amazing Randi.  Part of his mission in life is to expose the fakes who try to claim paranormal powers and profit from the gullible.

Uri Geller is one such faker.

Check out his appearance on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Classic!!

Had to buy the book.  Had to.

Finally, the one last book on my radar is about to show up at the library for me any day now (yeah...that's right, I have all these books and I go and rent one from the library).  I recently read a great article about Ty Cobb and am now just putting this title on the top of my list.

Basically, Charles Leerhsen has, through his dedicated research, discovered that the character of Ty Cobb that we have all grown up to hear about is nothing more than a myth.  He was not the racist, cheating thug looking to injure other players that everyone thinks of when they hear the name.  Heck, it's been documented numerous times in best-selling books and award winning documentaries.

Leerhsen goes to debunk the myths with hard evidence and in turn questions those who have documented the myth as truth.  I guess repetition can sometimes bleed into something believable.

It's officially the next title on my list after The Boys In The Boat.  And by what I see on my bookshelf, I better get cracking.  There's lots of pages to be flipped in this house.

Well....that about does it.  Thanks for sticking around this long to check out my haul and do yourself a favour and pick up a book.  Let me know what you are reading these days or what you've just finished reading.  Anything on your radar?  Have fun!!

Friday, May 27, 2016

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - They Were A Gift (I'm Not Caving)

Last weekend was the final monthly card show of the season.  It also is the unofficial transition from winter quiet months at work to the hectic summertime season.  A time that in recent years has been partially responsible for me stepping away from the hobby.  Not necessarily a bad thing (as I think taking breaks....especially when things are in a funk....are good) but this year I'm not going to remove myself completely from the hobby world.

With all that is currently out there in the world of sportscards and with the struggling economy, there have been a couple of decent value finds out there.  I plan on keeping my eye open for future "good deals".  What I don't plan on doing is going on any sort of buying splurge.  Partially because I don't really feel like pumping out a bunch of cash for cards and partially because I think the market is flooded with stuff most people could care less about.

I know I do.

Which brings me to my show & tell for this post.

First of all, I'd like to preface by saying that I do not collect ITG Vault cards.  I was warm to the concept way back when it first was introduced but quickly slammed the door on them when I saw the ridiculous asking prices placed on many of these items.

Curious to see how those same people are making out with those $120+ Linden cards now (I bet they don't even command $20).  Flooding the market will do that.

The only interest I have in Vault cards are purely for documenting and my master checklist.  I could care less where these cards end up as time go by.

Well, at last weekend's show I became the owner of two ITG Vault cards.

This Decades 90's Game Used Jersey Silver (with the blue 1/1 stamp) along with the next card were gifts from a local collector.  He knows I'm a die hard Linden guy and when he was cracking open some of the Vault product put these aside for me.

It's funny....I tried to say no thank you (didn't want to trade for them) and showed no interest but when he said "They're yours" and gifted them to me......well I couldn't say no.  It was a very kind gesture and so of course I will make an exception.

But when I look at this card I see not only a very nice gift from a fellow hobbyist, I see the ridiculousness of the Vault program.

To date, I have documented THIRTY different 1/1 stamped Final Vault cards.


Add to that (with the variations in stamp colours) another dozen or so (minimum) Linden "1/1's" and the head shaking and laughing ensues.

I've asked this many times......who is this product for?

Definitely not the set builder and certainly not the player collector.  Is it for the guys who love to pull the awesome patch cards that have been leftover from ITG's run in the hobby?  Sure.  But then why is a boring jersey card like this included?

It's nothing but a product dump and cash grab.  And many of the people opening this product see dollar signs on the secondary market.  Unfortunately they need to take the goggles off because these cards have flooded the market and crashed the "value" on these cards.

I will be extremely happy when this phase of my Linden collecting is over and I hope never to hear the word "Vault" again.

In addition to the fabricated 1/1 cards, ITG decided to throw in a bunch of autograph cards just sitting on their leftover shelf.  But rather than giving them one of ten different 1/1 colour stamp variations they just stamped it with a generic Vault logo (which sowed up poorly in the scan) and away we go.

That tells me that they had way more than 10 of each of these cards left in the stockpile.  Again, flooding the market with what has now become loonie bin signatures (or loony bin....depends on how you want to take that...ha ha).

Simply put, these cards do nothing for me - zero.  But I can't turn down the generous gesture of a gift.

And so with a hearty thank you, they will be marked off the list and put away....likely never to be looked at again.

Into the vault so to speak.

Monday, May 23, 2016

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - Finally Punched This Ticket

It's been an exciting and fast-paced month for me.  The first couple weeks in May involved a lot of volunteering for a charity book sale.  Lugging in hundreds of boxes of books, sorting for days on end and setting up for one of the biggest used book sales in the city this year.  It was tremendous.  I found a number of gems for my own personal collection (I can't say I'll get to reading all of them.....there's just not enough days) and I was able to find a home for the signed Jacques Plante book (a $200cdn buy).  All totalled, the charity raised $300,000 in just 3 days - amazing.

This past week was spent in lovely British Columbia golfing up a storm.  Six rounds in four days and it was incredible.  Great weather, great courses and great company.  I played pretty well too....up until the final day when there was actual money on the line (I choked so bad).  This was our 10th year doing this trip and I'm looking forward to many more.  Such fun.

When I got back from my trip I was hit with a few bubble envelopes in my mailbox (ok....a couple PWE's too......BOOOOOOO!!!) and I was very excited to tear into them.  I knew a few special cards were coming my way.  The one I've chosen to share tonight is one I never thought I'd see - and am thrilled to cross off the list.

1996/97 Score
#173 Golden Blades Winner (Punched)

Looks like a simple base card upon first glance but take a closer look at the upper right corner.  If you turn the card 90 degrees clockwise you'll recognize the Pinnacle logo from that era is punched into the card.

This product had a number of variations and if you weren't paying attention you could miss some key adds to your player collection.

There was the base card.

There was the Artist Proof card.

There was the Golden Blades card.

Now, on the back of the Golden Blades card there's a coded box (like snow on the television).  If you took your card in to a dealer they would decode it through a special decoder.  It would tell you if you have a "Winner" or not (so there are two variations).  If you had a "Winner" you could send it in to Pinnacle and they would punch the Pinnacle logo into it for you.  They would also send you a Special Artist Proof card (which is the same as the Artist Proof card....only thicker).

Still with me?

Now, if you had a dealer send it in for you, he would receive a Dealer's Choice Artist Proof.  That's seven different variations....phew.

These Golden Blades "Winner" punched cards are impossible to find nowadays (well.....almost).  In fact, I've never come across one until a few weeks ago when a collector on one of the hobby boards I frequent picked up a near complete set of the punched cards.  I quickly showed my interest in the Linden and we came to an agreement on price.

All that remains on my list of seven is the non-punched version of the "Winner" card.  I don't have a decoder, but have been told what to look for on the reverse (apparently you can tell which is which with the naked eye).

It's without question one of the biggest Linden pickups I've had this year (the quantity might not be there...but the quality sure has - and not the expensive kind either).

What a great way to kick off the summer.

Monday, May 9, 2016

OUTSIDE THE BOX - You Never Know What You'll Find At A Book Sale

Books have been at the forefront of my mind of late.  This upcoming weekend will see a pair of huge charity used book sales open their doors and I've got a few titles that I'd like to add to my ever-growing list of books to read.

I've got about a bazillion titles in the basement but the collector in me just can't let a good sports bio go by.

Over the past couple weeks I've been volunteering at one of the sites, prepping for the big weekend by lugging in books from the car trunks of generous donors, sorting the thousands of books (and tossing some of the old, torn or soggy page turns into the recycling bin) and setting up the 200+ tables with titles that will keep the place hopping.

This is just half of the curling rink that has been taken over by this book blitz over the past little while.  It truly is a mountain of books.  And I'm having a blast going through them and helping out a great cause (my back may disagree with me when all is said and done).

On Sunday though the stars must have aligned just right because I came across a stunning find.

People have any number of reasons why they would box up some of their old books and donate them to a used book sale.  Just clearing out space, bored with the topic, finished reading it or are tired of seeing it staring at them from the shelf.  Regardless, we get anything and everything at these sales, from old vintage classics to the new release award winners.

I had been busy doing a lot of the grunt work for most of the day yesterday - lifting boxes, moving boxes, emptying the recycle name it.  For some reason I felt like taking a break and decided to do some sorting.  I grabbed an oddly shaped box and found an empty table.  I cracked the cardboard open and my eye caught one title in particular.

As a goalie fan and as a Jacques Plante fan I was excited to see a really nice copy of this book.  It was obviously the first one I pulled out of the box.

I leafed through the pages to check out the condition of the pages and they matched the cover - superb.  But then I saw some scribbling on the inside title page and my jaw dropped.

Yeah.  You're seeing this right.  A signed copy from the man himself, dated February 1973.

I must have let out a naughty word or two because the guys next to me wanted to know what was up.  I showed them the signature and they kind of looked at me like "What's the big deal?"  Clearly they were not hockey fans.

Jacques Plante passed away 30 years ago....before the boom of signature memorabilia and cut autos in the world of sportscards.  And while his scribe might not be uber-rare, you just don't see them pop up very often - if ever - in this capacity.

Now, I could have done one of two things.  I could have put the book into the sports section and kept my eye on it for sale day and make the easy $5 purchase, or (and this is what I ended up doing) I could have passed the title along to the organizers with some knowledge on just how rare and desirable this autographed copy can be.  They plan on putting it into a featured area with (what I hope will be) a fair price tag so that the charity and the buyer both benefit from this amazing find.

The crazy thing is that this isn't the first time I've discovered a jaw dropping signature on the inside cover of a sports book at a charity book sale.  Anyone remember my Foster Hewitt story?

Always check your used books for signatures.  There are gems to be found.

Right place, right time.