Saturday, April 2, 2022

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - Front Row Promo

Big card show day in the city today and I was excited to find some time in my hectic schedule to head on down to see if I could find any treasures. 

I absolutely love card shows. There's something special about seeing the cards in person, talking shop with the vendors and other collectors and scouring through monster boxes looking to unearth that one card that'll make your day. I've been supporting the shows here in town for over 25 years and will continue to do so. It's an important part of the hobby for me.

While I didn't track down any new Linden cards, I did have a great conversation with another player collector who mentioned a card I've not thought about in a long time.

He said he had seen a post on Instagram about a set of caricature cards that had stumped him for info. I knew the exact card he was talking about. When he showed me the photo, I told him that I had indeed found myself a copy of the card years ago.

So here it is....

1991/92 Front Row
#5 Promo

I can still remember seeing this card on the shelf at Collector's Paradise and thinking to myself "What in the world is this card?". By this point in my Linden collecting, I had a pretty good bead on what was out there - or so I thought. I had never seen this card, heard about this brand or noticed it on any checklists or catalogs.

I've learned since that this is a prototype card that was developed with the plans to build an entire set. For some reason, that never came to fruition. But these promo cards did find their way into the market.

Again, I had never seen one before...yet this shop had two of them - and graded at that.

I snagged the one without hesitation. In hindsight, I should have grabbed them both (I've never seen another copy of one since).

When I checked out the IG post this afternoon, it showed the backs of all 7 cards that were made (Gretzky, Lemieux, Hull, Yzerman, Linden, Belfour and Lindros). Pretty good company for my guy if I do say so. The interesting thing is that the Lindros card has his caricature in a Nordiques jersey. In the comments, people were asking to see the front...so here it is...

There's nothing radically amazing about the card. I like the action shot photo that was used and think it was a clean design for the time (remember, this was when sets like Score, Pro Set, etc. were the rage...cards were booming).

What I really do like about this card is that it takes me back to a very vivid place and time in my collecting - even now. That's a special card in my opinion.

One neat thing I learned about this promo set...apparently the drawings were done by Todd MacFarlane (yes...THAT Todd MacFarlane). I couldn't find any info to confirm it, but if true, would be yet another cool aspect of this card.

So while I didn't pick up any new Linden pieces at the show today, I did end up with a fun post and a great memory.


Monday, March 7, 2022

OPINION - Trevor Linden Digital Cards (Part 2)

It's been three years since I posted my thoughts on Trevor Linden digital cards. At the time, my investment into the Topps Skate! app was minimal. A lot has changed over the three years.

I am now checking the app almost daily. Ripping my complimentary virtual pack, collecting my coins and using those coins to open packs from all sorts of products, and yes...hunting down Linden cards.

To date, he has 18 unique digital cards and I have landed 12 of them. And what can I say...I've loved the chase. Finding a Linden in a pack I open, trading with others on the app...it's pretty much all there.

But his most recent cards have me slightly bummed.

2021/22 Topps Skate!
Triple Threads Series 2 Alumni Relic

Let's just start by saying that this is a BEAUTIFUL card. I've said it before, but what I wouldn't give to hold a physical copy of this one. Dynamite.

But this card is pretty much impossible to land if you are only enjoying the app for free.

This was the "award" card if you managed to complete the alumni relic set (10 cards)...and they were super rare to come by - literally.

Cards on the Topps Skate app are ranked into various classes.  There's base (and their various tiers), common, uncommon, rare, super rare, iconic and legendary. The latter on the list are cards you might come across once a year if you open packs regularly for free on the app.

This Linden card is in the super rare category. I opened dozens of packs and didn't hit a single one of these alumni cards. To land all 10 needed to acquire the Linden wasn't going to happen.

Unfortunate, but it's not the first time I've found a Linden card that I'll never own.

2021/22 Topps Skate!
Triple Threads Series 2 Alumni Relic Green

Here's the green parallel...found in the iconic category. I wish they'd have used a different design on the patch - but maybe I'm just picky.

If the super rare was next to impossible, now multiply that by about 100. 

Interesting thing about this one though is that in the packs that I did open, I hit an iconic alumni patch. Martin St. Louis. I thought maybe there was a sliver of hope in trading for the Linden.

Nope. Because the Linden is an award card, you can't trade for them.

Unfortunate (again), but did I mention that there are cards out there that I'll never own.  :)

2021/22 Topps Skate!
Triple Threads Series 2 Alumni Relic Red

Oh, and just to kick a guy when he's down...here's the legendary red version. 

It's an undeniably awesome card. I almost said "piece of cardboard"...but therein lays the catch that I have to remind myself of - these are just digital images. They don't tangibly exist.

I've seen some digital Linden cards sell for a fair penny on eBay of late. I am not there at all right now.

But talk to me in another three years.  Who knows.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - Hockey Card Day

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. It's been a busy last few weeks and haven't had much time to devote to my hockey cards, but some recent activity on my eBay timeline had me add some spring to my step.

While I might not be picking up cards at the pace I used to a decade ago, I still check eBay multiple times a day. Often, I find cards that are either overpriced (in my opinion) or new items that are still in that initial wave of frenzy. Recently, there hasn't been much excitement in the new listings at all (same old stuff showing up). That is until about a week and a half ago.

Trev has found his way into the new OPC product with a manufactured patch trophy card - I was very surprised to see it...and am looking forward to picking that one up soon (hopefully at a local show this spring). But the card that really had me going was this one...

2022 Upper Deck
#CAN-13 National Hockey Card Day
Hockey Heroes

I was legitimately confused when I first saw all the postings selling NHCD sets. Never in a million years did I expect him to make it on the checklist...but here we are.

And I am THRILLED. I couldn't wait to pick up a copy. I would've loved to have opened it up in a pack...but that wasn't to be. Thankfully, my local shop kept a copy aside for me and I picked it up a couple days ago.

This card has me just as excited as any other card I have picked up in the past 6 months...maybe even more excited. It really reinforces just how much I love collecting Linden cards.

It's a cool card design, inserted into a product that thousands of people (a lot of kids) opened last weekend. Most probably were happy to see it only to finish their set, but I hope there were a few that actually took a moment to look into who he was as a player.

Very, very pumped to add this one to the collection.

Friday, January 14, 2022

BEHIND THE MASKS - The Ups & Downs Of Intimidation Nation

Heads up everyone…I’m on a roll. 

Heads up again…likely won’t last. Ha ha.

Goalie mask sets have been pretty much off the production plate for about the past 5 years. The most recent set to be released (that was on my radar) was 2017-18 Leaf Masked Men....and it was quite underwhelming. Not the greatest checklist and some of the masks were altered in order to align with proper copyright and usage agreements.

Still, I chased the set. Built it with ease as many of the cards weren't overly desirable. What's the saying..."One man's trash is another man's treasure." OK, the cards aren't trash...but you get my drift.

This year, Upper Deck returned to the mask inserts table by pushing out a 32-card release in the Skybox Metal Universe product. Upon first hearing of this, I was quite excited. I was still pumped to build the set when I saw the first couple of cards, but slowly, the rollercoaster ride of this set started to reveal itself.

2020/21 Upper Deck Skybox Metal Universe
Intimidation Nation
#IN-22 Elvis Merzlikins

I really appreciate that UD put actual player shots on these Intimidation Nation cards. A lot of the photos are very crisp (unlike some of the past mask sets where the image was pushed just a little too much...creating some blurriness). There have been too many products that have come out where the image is just a floating mask. To me, there's no reason why you shouldn't show an actual player wearing the actual mask these days. If you can't....don't make the set.

I like the 'sheen' that the card gives off in the light. It's not a full-on glossy vibe, but I like how the background catches when you tilt the card.

It's a great checklist with most of the 'A' goalies in the league featured.

But....

2020/21 Upper Deck Skybox Metal Universe
Intimidation Nation
#IN-17 Tuukka Rask

BUT...I can't stand how Upper Deck slapped the 'Intimidation Nation' title smack dab on the crown of the mask. It completely destroys the design appreciation of the goalie's lid. I really was disappointed by this.

For years, magazine covers have been able to fit the title of the magazine and the photo into place so both marry aesthetically. Heck, sometimes, the title of the magazine takes a backseat to the image and is tucked in the background.

Not here though.

2020/21 Upper Deck Skybox Metal Universe
Intimidation Nation
#IN-16 Jacob Markstrom

Yeah....I can't get past it.

But...these cards were pretty reasonably priced on the secondary market. Normally, new mask cards would be on my radar once they dipped below five bucks apiece. I was surprised to see them go for a buck or two at a local card show a couple months back. I snatched up all that I could.

I somewhat regret that decision now.

2020/21 Upper Deck Skybox Metal Universe
Intimidation Nation
#IN-13 Martin Jones

I went on COMC before the end of the year and picked up a handful to continue my chase to build the set. At $2-3 per card, I thought I was doing pretty good.

Until recently.

I was made aware that Skybox Metal Universe was placed on Upper Deck's ePack platform (digital cards) and apparently that has created a massive influx on these inserts on COMC. To the point that the cards have plummeted in price.

2020/21 Upper Deck Skybox Metal Universe
Intimidation Nation
#IN-9 Pekka Rinne

Cards that were $2-$5 before Christmas are now sitting for as low as 0.35 cents - and there are dozens of copies available.

As soon as I found out, I hopped on the site and picked up the remaining cards to finish my set (I'll never see them for that price at the local shows). I didn't know if I should laugh or cry.

I'm still not sure how exactly the bottom fell out of these cards - I think it has to do with the ease that these digital cards on ePack can be moved over to COMC...and so everyone is doing it.

Regardless, if you are looking for a good, fun goalie mask set build that's cheap (knowing that the masks are covered by words), then head on over to COMC and build away. You could probably build the 32-card set for under ten bucks.

Ouch. Ha ha.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

WALLET CARD - Some Of My Oscar Pickups In 2021

I've said this many times, but it is worth repeating...

Finding a project to build that revolves around simple fun in the chase and the acquisition of cards has been an absolute blessing for me. Collecting Oscar Gamble cards for the past seven years has been awesome. A very manageable checklist of fewer than 200 cards, most of them ringing in under a buck, but also having some tough-to-find gems in there...it's the perfect mix. Not to mention some of the fantastic era-driven photos - it has it all.

Much like my goalie mask cards, I've been patient in how I purchase my #WalletCards. I strike when I see a deal too good to pass up or when a rare bird is in sight. These are some of the pieces I've added this past year.

2019 Topps Heritage
#654 50th Anniversary Buyback 1970 RC

I really keep a close eye on the buyback cards that surface. It feels like that's been the bulk of Oscar Gamble offerings the past 5 years. To be honest, I don't really mind the chase. Most of the time, these cards don't command much of a price. 

This rookie card offering was a little more than the average buyback, but I still snagged it for well below what I thought I'd have to pay for it. It's his first RC buyback that I've seen.

Would've been nice to see the stamp on the right-hand side instead of covering up Oscar's name. But...I'll survive.

2020 Topps Heritage
#23 50th Anniversary Buyback 1971
(stamp in the lower right corner)

Speaking of selectivity with the placement of the stamp, this is my second 50th Anniversary buyback copy of this card. Why? Well, the other copy has the stamp in the upper left corner. That was a variation worth the purchase.

I know...I know...but I'm a completist, and I'll find ways to justify adding one more card to the mix.

1974 Topps
#166 Stamps

This is a great item. It's super-tiny. It's about an inch wide and an inch-and-a-half tall. My niece would say it's the cutest item in my collection.

It's a little more off-centered than I'd like, but I can always upgrade when the time comes. It was a good price, is clean on the back (never licked) and the image is iconic Oscar.

Couldn't pass it up.

2016 Topps Archives Snapshots
#AS-OG Autograph  /300

Finally able to cross this one off the list. I definitely went about this chase backwards (or maybe I did it the right way). I crossed off the rare black&white auto /10 and the negative signature /5 before pulling the trigger on this hard-signed offering /300.

It's a great image. Certainly reflective of the era, but has a crispness to it that feels current (it's the same photo used in his 1974 card...but you can tell the quality of what can be done with images on cards these days). And side note...I've really grown to enjoy Oscar's signature. 

The Archives Snapshot rainbow is complete.

2016 Topps Archives
#106 Printing Plate Black  1/1

Last, but certainly not least, This printing plate was an absolute no-brainer when I saw it pop up on COMC. For ten bucks, I couldn't hit the 'buy' button fast enough. 

It's the second printing plate from this release that I now have and the fourth 1/1 in my Oscar Gamble collection. I'm really enjoying how much progress I've made over the years.

Just sifting through the cards I have of his in my PC box (I keep my cards in toploaders), I'm at about 120ish (there are a few oversized offerings and such in the closet) and I can say I'm really proud of how the collection looks. I'd love to add a few more tougher-to-find cards of his over the next year...maybe I'll jump on more baseball-centric sites to see what can happen.

Regardless, and as I said off the top, this is a really fun project and I am enjoying every minute of it.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

PARKIE PROJECT - A Pair Of Pickups From My B.C. Trip

It's been 8 years since I pulled the trigger on this Parkie Project. This past year saw me add a couple more cards to the collection and has me near the 25% completion mark.

So at this rate...I might just finish this project in my lifetime.  :)

Seriously though, this has been a passive pursuit at best. I've been very hesitant to pick anything up ungraded online and am finding that graded copies are a little more money than I'd like to spend (especially for common players). So when the opportunity was staring me in the face a couple months back, I decided to throw a bit of caution to the wind and just have some fun.

I was out in British Columbia at the end of October and was thrilled to find out that there was a monthly show happening on the same weekend I was there. It was a beautiful day, sun shining, and I had a nice car rental...so I decided to make the 45-minute trek to check it out.

I was so excited to go to a show that would have new tables, vendors, boxes and showcases for me to explore that I made the trip out there on the Saturday...and the show was on Sunday. Undeterred, I enjoyed the car ride back and made the trip again the following day.

I was hoping to pick up some Linden cards primarily but was surprised to find that he was not a prevalent player on the tables. The new crop of Canucks were reigning supreme. I did find one auto card of his...but forgot that I already owned a copy of it. Sometimes you just gotta laugh.

But I did come across a few 51/52 Parkhurst cards that were in the condition range that I was looking for. Unfortunately, the prices on the toploaders weren't what I was hoping they'd be.

I had gone to the show with a budget in mind...and I was well under that amount...so I decided to splurge a bit.

1951/52 Parkhurst
#27 George "Red" Sullivan RC

This is the kind of card I like to see when chasing my Parkies. The centering is nice, the colours seem decent, clean back, no creases. Sure, the corners are not great, but there's a feeling of consistency and symmetry that I find appealing.

When I place it alongside the other cards in my PC, it fits in perfectly.

So when I say that I decided to splurge, this card had a pricetag north of $40. I've only paid more than that once in my Parkie pursuit...and that was for a very nice Turk Broda copy. No way was I going to spend $40. 

Let's see if I can get a bundle price.

1951/52 Parkhurst
#51 Pete Joseph Babando RC

I think pretty much all the cards from this set are rookie cards.  :)

Second verse same as the first. A nice aesthetic to the card, had everything I want...except the price.

The seller had a few others, but they weren't as nice (had creases and such) so I finally asked what he would do for the pair.

"$70...$35 a piece."

I wasn't interested in them at that price. So I did a few laps around the show, checking out other tables, other cards for my collections. Near the end of the day, I went back and offered $60 for the two. I wasn't thrilled with the price...but I didn't think I could get them for any less than that.

He accepted.

By no means do I have 'buyer's remorse'. I am really happy to add a couple more cards to the Parkie Project and in looking at what these cards sell for these days...I think I did ok. Not a steal of a deal by any means, but progress on a project.

And a couple nice pieces of cardboard that will remind me of my time in BC...when I drove out early to a card show.

Can't put a price on that.


Current Collection - 25 cards

Friday, January 7, 2022

BEHIND THE MASKS - 96-97 Pinnacle Masks

 It has been OVER FOUR YEARS since I have posted anything goalie mask related.

Wow!...just letting that sink in for a second.

Goalie mask cards have been a main pillar in my collecting world for 25+ years. I loved what Pinnacle did with their Masks sets in the 90's and appreciated what ITG did with the mask theme throughout the 2000's. I am a real sucker for goalie mask design and history in general and slapping those images on hockey cards is a true no-brainer.

The excitement for new goalie mask-themed cards has been slim to none over the past 5-6 years. Airbrushed lids and lack of robust checklists have really put a damper on things. But that doesn't mean I don't have an active wantlist...and I do make occasional searches online.

But the card I picked up a couple months back at a local shop might just be my favourite piece of cardboard acquired in 2021...and it cost me just five bucks.

1996/97 Pinnacle Masks
#5 Jocelyn Thibault

This might seem like a pretty unassuming card...but it has been on my wantlist for decades.

Let me explain.

There are many collecting projects that I'm pursuing at a pretty pedantic pace. It's less about obtaining the cards and more about finding them when the time is right. I could have very easily picked up a copy of this card years ago (and probably for a half-decent price) but I wasn't in the mindset to be aggressive to grab a copy.

Patience and opportunity are a huge part of my collecting foundation.

I love finding cards that I need locally. There's just something about sifting through boxes and showcases trying to find something to cross off of one of my wantlists. To find a card - and then to see it for a great price - nothing beats that. I'm very happy to hold off on making purchases online in the hopes of finding some of these inexpensive gems in person.

This T-Bo mask card was wavering in and out of that realm for years. The 96/97 Pinnacle Masks offerings aren't the easiest to track down (nor are they the cheapest) so I needed to employ good patience. Sure, there have been a few times when I've jumped on COMC and stared at this copy...but I wasn't about to spend $25 for the card (nor was I interested in the copy with a chipped corner). I'm in no rush.

So to stroll into my local hobby shop a couple months back and see this card staring at me from the showcase...I was gobsmacked. And the $5 price tag made me absolutely gleam. I couldn't pay for the card fast enough, nor could I brag enough about how happy I was to land it. I was subsequently ridiculed for not having a copy in my collection already...but that's what makes collecting so much fun.

It felt like this piece was found at the right time, in the right place and for the right price. There's no better way to land a card than that.

Now....to find the Ron Hextall to finish the set.  :)

I've got plenty of time.