Sunday, January 29, 2023

WALLET CARD - Some COMC OPC ASAP

I'm on a roll this month. I can't remember the last time I blogged this much. Not sure if this will be a sign of things to come...but I'm just going to enjoy it while it feels right.

More from my start-of-the-year COMC mailday. This time, we focus on my "other" player collection - Oscar Gamble.

I'll state it yet again...this is one of the most fun PC's I have. Not a burden on my wallet at all, not many cards to chase overall and I can't help but smile when I see his mug on a card.

Simple reasons...that's what I love about this hobby.

These pickups are mostly of the O-Pee-Chee variety - a real callback to my youth when I did actually rip open baseball packs during the summer. Those were the days.

1983 O-Pee-Chee
#19 Oscar Gamble

If there was a year that really epitomized my card collecting hobby as a kid, it might be 1983. I probably opened more hockey packs that year than ever (I only started collecting in 1980), The 83 set was my first complete set build (I still remember the wooden box I kept my cards in) and I was opening a lot more baseball cards in the summer too. I was even buying non-sports like Gremlins, E.T. and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. I couldn't get enough cardboard.

This 83 set was my favourite of all the baseball sets produced that decade. I loved the dual photos and was completely enamoured by all the stats on the backs of the cards. They also had those cool "Then and Now" Super Veteran cards which I thought were pretty sweet (I can still see the Kent Tekulve with the pillbox cap and shades).

I probably had a copy or two of this Oscar Gamble card back in the day, but had no idea of the level of coolness he exuded at the time. I think Gary Carter was my guy back then. Nice to add this to the PC. Brought back great memories.

1974 O-Pee-Chee
#152 Oscar Gamble

This might look like just a regular baseball card. Simple pose...not much there. But take a closer look.

I see some pretty cool uniform details, love the logo on the cap, a precursor to the iconic afro photo to come the next season, blue sky and look at that field in the background. Love it.

Another OPC offering that I'm glad to cross off.

1973 O-Pee-Chee
#372 Oscar Gamble

This is a fun year for baseball card photography. A lot of wider shots that show more of the play (is that a curse or a paradise for the cameo cards?). 

I love the dust flying up from what looks like second base as Oscar slides in - surely safe. Love that the batting helmet is nowhere close to be seen - showing off Oscar epic 'fro.

The card might be a little off-centre, so maybe an upgrade is in order down the road. But for now, I'm really pleased with this addition.

1974 Topps Stamps
connected block of 12

This sheet of stamps has been sitting on COMC for a while. I already have the single stamp of Oscar, so I was debating whether or not to pick this sheet up. I decided to go for it since the centering on the Gamble stamp is really good. 

Might be a selection that gets separated from his brothers down the road. We'll see.

Again, check out that hair...it's so iconic.

But my appreciation for Oscar Gamble goes far beyond his hairdo. He was a really good ballplayer and seemed to have a real positive approach to the game. I don't ever remember him playing (I was 12 by the time he was out of the game) but enjoy checking out highlights anytime his name is mentioned in the description.

As I was putting these cards into their appropriate box in my closet, I was checking out the full Oscar collection. I now have over 100 Oscar Gamble cards (closer to 125 with the oversized and oddball stuff) but 100 legit 2.5x3.5 cards. I thought that was pretty cool. There are still less than 200 cards on my master list...so I'm doing well. 

Maybe I'll pick up a few more cards on my next COMC pass.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

PARKIE PROJECT - More From COMC

More from my start-of-the-year COMC pickups. This time, I feature a card for a PC that has never seen a COMC addition. First time for everything.

I've been passively building my 51/52 Parkhurst set for a good decade or so. I tend to pick up cards when the spark to go hunting occurs - happens only a few times a year. This time, it was when I was on a buying binge at COMC during their Black Friday event.

I'd never picked up a vintage card like this via COMC, but felt quite comfortable in the quest. I've enjoyed my time on COMC and have never had any issues. The only real question would be...could I find a Parkie for a decent enough price?

Needless to say...I did.

1951/52 Parkhurst
#102 Ed Slowinski

For forward Ed Slowinski, the New York Rangers would be the only NHL sweater he would don. Playing nearly 300 games over 7 years, Slowinski was a solid player, but never found the same level of success as he had in the AHL. He was a first-team All-Star there and was nearly a point-a-game player over another 300 games in the junior circuit.

He played in one Stanley Cup final with the Rangers, losing to the Detroit Red Wings in 7 games in 1950 (he led all scorers in assists that postseason). The Rangers were awarded the O'Brien Cup for being the runners-up. The trophy had originally been the National Hockey Association's championship cup, but was being used as the 2nd place award in the NHL. The O'Brien Cup was retired from presentation after the 1950 season.

Slowinski retired from the game after the 57/58 season and  was selected to be an Honoured Member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985. Ed "Eddie" Slowinski passed away in 1999.

This card is in really nice shape. As with most of my Parkies, it has no residue or creases. The centering is decent and I'm more than happy with the quality of the corners. The only hiccup was the price paid. I normally have been chasing cards when they are sub-$20cdn. This one ended up being $33 after the currency conversion. Not the end of the world - I'm more happy to add to the collection.


Current Collection - 29 cards

Saturday, January 21, 2023

BEHIND THE MASKS - Some "Finally" Cards

Very exciting week in terms of sportscards...my COMC order arrived.

I've unexpectedly started the habit of leaving my purchases until their Black Friday special to ship. A couple years ago...it took the better part of 7 months to ship. This time, about 45 days. Makes for a nice new year gift.

I managed to pick up a number of cards for various PCs. I also caved. I pulled the trigger on a few cards that have been on my watchlist for years...finally deciding to cross these cards off the list for the prices they were set at. Wasn't terribly overpriced, but would've liked to land a couple a little cheaper.

But let's check out what I snagged in terms of mask cards...

2010/11 In The Game Between The Pipes
Inspired Masks
#IM-04 Antero Niittymaki

This one was probably the longest on the COMC wantlist. I've seen it dangle for years. But the price never dropped below $19us. I finally bit.

This is a tough insert set from the 10/11 season. Artist renderings of some pretty sweet masks. This pickup leaves me with just one to go to complete the 13-card set. I need one of the Carey Price cards. 

Haven't seen one surface in a number of years. Now, that said, I don't do daily searches for these cards like I do my Linden collection. But I've always said...it's not a race. I'll track it down eventually.

I really like Nitty's gangster-inspired mask. A very worthy addition to the set.

1998/99 Pacific Dynagon Ice
Ice Watchmen
#2 Patrick Roy

From one of the oldest mask sets I'm still working on (well.....not anymore), this 25-year-old offering finally hits the PC. 

This 10-card set boasted some of the best goalies of the era. This Patrick Roy piece was likely the most coveted - and most expensive. Again, I finally caved and hit the 'buy' button.

As for the mask design, I'm partial to his Habs design...a little more iconic in my eyes. But his Avs creation is one that holds some high stature for the time.

Pumped to finish off this set.

2008/09 In The Game Between The Pipes
Masked Men
#MM-03 Carey Price

Another mask card from a set that has been lingering for a very long time. Interesting note one this one...I already own a copy of the card. I guess I picked it up at some point but never update my checklist.

Sadly, Carey Price cards don't get the kind of hobby love they once did. But that's ok. Not the first time I've made a duplicate purchase (see my Linden pickups during the holidays) and it won't be the last.

Price has had so many iterations of his his lid through the years that I barely remember this one from early in his career.

Three mask cards that were a definite highlight from my most recent COMC shipment. Did you have any COMC cards come in during the last few weeks? How long do you hold off before pulling the trigger on having cards sent?

Sunday, January 15, 2023

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - Trophy Winner

Wrapped up my first week back at work and I'm more sure than ever - this year will be one of opportunity for me. I'm excited to be at a place that celebrates professional growth and quality collaboration. In just a few short months, I feel like I'm a contributor to the team dynamic and am quickly finding comfort and confidence in my role.

We've been learning a lot about AI generated text and imagery. It's a rapidly evolving world with regards to technology - and it is both mesmerizing and at times...intimidating.

I really enjoy the fact that I have this great card collecting hobby to pull me back into a room of familiarity. Yes, the sportscard world has certainly evolved too - especially over the past couple of years - but it still brings me to a level of calm and relaxation that I absolutely welcome.

A fairly quiet last couple weeks. I've got a COMC order on its way...so that's exciting. I'm looking forward to adding to some of my side projects that have been quiet for the past while. I've also been working on a set-build that has been one of the more fun chases of the past few years. More on that over the next month.

Today, it's a single card that has come in - and finally gets crossed of the master list.

2021-22 O-Pee-Chee
#P-4 Trophy Winners  
Manufactured Patch

This is a card that has stymied me on more than one occasion. Super-happy to get this one finally in.

I had first won this card via ebay auction last summer. To my dismay, it was the rare bird that got lost in the mail. Unfortunate, but I was able to recoup my money. Another attempt came a couple months later but I managed to lose the auction at the last second...I should've bid my maximum. Instead, I got cheeky and bid just above the going rate. Bad strategy.

Patience did pay off as this one came up at the right price, ended with no disruptions and was mailed out promptly - and with good protection (I like well placed painters tape). Was exciting to open up the bubble envelope.

This card is one of the few manufactured patch cards that Linden has. I love the fact that it celebrates his 1997 King Clancy Memorial trophy win (awarded to the player who best shows leadership on the ice and humanitarian contributions off the ice). I've always admired Trevor's work in the community and his selfless approach to charity and giving back. 

I've always said, I loved watching him play during his career, but I feel he will have a bigger impact after his retirement.

I'm one who likes the manufactured patch...when it is for good reason. A solid concept can be elevated with manufactured patches. These trophy cards are a perfect example. Recently, SP Game Used came out with some manufactured patch cards (and yes, there is one of Trev) and while it's a nice looking piece of cardboard, it doesn't resonate quite as much. What I'd love to see is a set of manufactured patches that celebrates some of the special patches teams have worn over the years. 

Imagine a card celebrating the life of the great Johnny Bower - by having a manufactured patch similar to the ones that the players wore on their jerseys.

Or when Detroit honoured their beloved owner, Mike Ilitch after he had passed away.

The Leafs also donned a very special crown-capped maple leaf with the name Borje on it to show respect to the great Borje Salming.

I think a small card set inserted into the flagship product featuring beautiful, embroidered, manufactured patches of memorial or special patches worn by players would be pretty sweet. Heck, it could span across multiple products - or even build year after year. The possibilities are plentiful. 

I, for one, enjoy cards that have meaning behind them - stories. All great cards have a story. That's why I really like the latest add to my Linden collection.

Monday, January 2, 2023

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - New Year, More Cards

Happy New Year everyone. As we ring in 2023, I am more optimistic than ever. I'm excited to get back to work next week - learning, building, shaping, and hopefully inspiring. I feel as though my work/life balance is the best it's been in a very long time. I'm getting closer to having a home that feels like everything is "in its place" (it's been purge city during this holiday break). Lastly, I'm just thankful and grateful for being in this positive space.

A year ago, I made a promise to myself that 2022 would be a year of change. I look back and feel I have done a very good job of that. Some new personal habits, a change in jobs and a more focused mindset on what really is important to me. Today, I look ahead and think to myself that 2023 will be a year of opportunity for me. It's time to take the bull by the horns.

Sportscards have been a smaller part of my world in many ways this past year...but not a day goes by where I don't put some time into it. I may have not picked up as many items, gone to as many shows or made any headway with longterm goals...but I've still got the passion and enjoyment that the hobby has provided - I don't think that'll ever go away. I still get excited when I do an ebay search and find some Lindens that are on my wantlist...even if I decide not to bid on them.

I'm excited to start the new year with a mailday...some recent ebay pickups. I should also have a COMC order delivered to me before the end of the month. Always a nice springboard to a new calendar turn.

Three cards to share today - all from the same product and from the same seller.

2014/15 Leaf In The Game Used
#GU4P-02 Game Used Patch Quad Silver Prismatic  /3
featuring Brett Hull, Mats Naslund and Jeremy Roenick

When Leaf took over the In The Game products from Dr. Brian Price back in the early 2010's, I was very curious to see what kind of designs and releases would come forth. This ITGU offering was one of the first - and they packed in the Linden cards. Thirty-eight different cards added to the checklist.

THIRTY. EIGHT.

It really was the start of a shifting mindset for me. I went from having my foot on the gas week-in, week-out to really paying attention to my pocketbook. I knew that if I was really going to enjoy this hobby, I would need to focus more on how much I could truly chase at any one time.

The beauty of that is it really reinforced the mindset of "this is not a race". These pickups show that. Almost a decade later and I'm happy to add them to the PC.

2014/15 Leaf In The Game Used
#GU3P-15 Game Used Patch Triple Silver  /15
featuring Brett Hull and Mike Modano

To see a handful of cards with low print runs show up all at once on ebay definitely perks the ears. Sadly, my first thought is still to the stolen Trevor Linden collection that (while progress is being made) still sees a number of rare birds not at their proper home. It's always a first check for me.

The second thought is "how much to I push down on that gas pedal?" as opportunities like these don't pop up near as often. Maybe it was the end of the year/holiday spending mindset, maybe it was the lack of Linden pickups this year...but I decided that I'd go for it.

It's always reassuring when you reach out to a seller and he responds quickly, and with a good, positive voice. Made the purchase even easier.

2014/15 Leaf In The Game Used
#GU3J-15 Game Used Jersey Triple Prismatic  /5
featuring Brett Hull and Mike Modano

The final card out of the three was a bit of a brain fart. Although clearly noted on my master checklist, my brain mistook this triple for the other triple Linden has with Lindros and Sakic on it. So I bought this one while already having a copy /5. Ouch. Darn massive checklist.

I've no clue what the connection is between any of the players depicted on the cards (some make sense, like Modano and even Roenick...but Hull??). Oh well, c'est la vie.

Minus the 1/1s, these pickups leave me with just 4 cards from this product to chase. That's pretty good. It may be another decade before I add any, but it's always nice when I do.

Making purchases that feel right in the moment and don't pinch the bank book too tightly really makes the journey a fun one.

I'm looking forward to the year and what will come for my collections.

All the best everyone.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - Platinum Puzzler

One of the unexpected joys of my long-time player collecting journey has been the curating of my master checklist.

I know....who'd have thunk it?

For a few years now, I've pulled the foot off the gas in terms of PC pickups. I still check the online auctions numerous times a day, but the maildays are fewer and further between. I do see the master checklist building in size...but instead of getting frustrated by my apparent lack of progress - I actually enjoy seeing a complete list built and looked after.

So it really excites me when I can add a card to the list that I didn't know existed.

That happened recently.

One of the big PC accomplishments in my collection has been the pretty complete rainbow from 2000/01 Be A Players Signature Series.

In addition to the 2 auto cards (regular and gold), I have landed the base, parallels and as many show cards as I've ever seen.

But a new card has been (shockingly) added to the checklist...

2000/01 Be A Player Signature Series
#213 Platinum

Simply put...I've never seen a copy of this card before - and I've never had it on my master checklist until I picked it up.

I've got a couple platinum show cards from this product, but not a base parallel.

This is what the base looks like (on the left)...clearly a different looking card. There's no doubt that this is the platinum variation (vs. some sort of printing anomaly).

There's no numbering on the back to indicate scarcity, but as I mentioned, I've never seen a copy of this nor have heard of its existence in over 20 years of collecting Trev.

Here's the set of 5 with the emerald /5, sapphire /100 and ruby /200. A nice looking group.

I'll be honest, I was shocked to land the emerald a while back - a card that is notoriously difficult. But this platinum add is an even more exciting find.

Here's the whole family...all 19 of them (21 if you count the signature cards). This really is my favourite rainbow in my entire Linden collection.

Could there be other show card parallels? Absolutely. I wouldn't be surprised if there were 4 different cards from each show...but I've never come across any - and I've done my due diligence too.

I plan on reaching out to a couple of my fellow Linden collectors to see what kind of info they have on this new addition. They always have been a fantastic source of information.

Regardless, this new parallel (and even more completed rainbow) looks perfectly in its place in my collection.

Thrilled to add this one.


Have you ever landed a card for your PC that you never knew existed until the moment you bought it? What were your thoughts when that happened?

Saturday, October 15, 2022

PARKIE PROJECT - Two More From The Show

It was a big day today....card show day.

And it's been a big week this week....started a new job.

After 13 1/2 years at my previous workplace, I decided it was time to make a change. The workload had become too much for these shoulders to carry and a wonderful opportunity had presented itself. It's been an amazing week getting to learn new things and feeling like the weight of expectations and tasks just melted away. I'm very excited about what the next chapter of my working life will consist of.

Now, back to the card show. 

It was the city's big show which happens every six months. I always go with little expectation on finding Linden items (but you never know unless you dig), but I approach the day with great enthusiasm as it's a chance to just "be me" in a true hobby environment.

I did dig...but alas, no Lindens. That's ok...I did find a couple pieces of cardboard that cut down a checklist a little more.

My Parkie collection grew by two cards today.

It's been a good last 12 months for my 51/52 Parkhurst collection. I've managed to add a whopping five cards. FIVE! Ok, it's not that impressive...but it's definitely more than I would have guessed a year ago.

1951/52 Parkhurst
#45 Fred Hucul RC

Fred "Stoneface" Hucul holds the distinction of having the longest gap between NHL appearances in the history of the game (not counting goalies). He went 13 seasons without seeing NHL ice...wrapping up his Chicago stint in 1954 and making his St. Louis debut in 1967 after being picked in the expansion draft when the Blues entered the league.

Hucul played a total of 162 games in the NHL and actually spent the bulk of his career in my hometown of Calgary (with the Stampeders of the WHL).

This card fits my collection perfectly. Not terribly off-center, no creases or marks on the front or back, and yes, there are rounded corners...but not in a "wow, that's ugly" kind of way. I've always said that if I'm going to ever complete this set, it's going to be in this type of condition.

A fair price on the card, probably a little more than I've spent on average. But I've not bought a ton of cards this year and I just decided to strike when I had the chance. I also think that cards in general are getting a little more expensive - the past two years have seen a rise in prices. I need to get used to that.

1951/52 Parkhurst
#97 Nick Mickoski RC

I feel like every card from this set is a rookie card..ha ha. 

Nick's career lasted 13 seasons and he played for four of the six Original Six teams over 703 games. He was an All-Star in 1956 and is an honoured member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall Of Fame and was posthumously inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall Of Fame in 2004.

In the 2009 book '100 Ranger Greats', he was ranked #77 all-time of the 901 New York Rangers who played in the team's first 82 seasons of existence.

What I like about this card is that it's a little more centered, the corners are a lot crisper (yes...still rounded) and so it cost me a little more $$$. 

It also cost a little more cash because of this...


Don't hate me because I cracked a 70-year-old card out of it's PSA case...especially when it graded 3.5.

It had to be done. There's just no way I would have wanted this card in my collection in its slab. I'm building an ungraded set...those are my rules.

Did I cringe as I cracked open the slab? Not really...it's not the first time I've done it for this set. 

I'm really pleased with the two that I snagged from the show today. Gets me just a little closer to the end goal.

One day.


Current Collection - 28 cards