Monday, June 27, 2011

STASHED IN THE CLOSET - Action Packed Big Picture Promo

I was getting this card out tonight in hopes of trading it for a Linden that I need. I remember it being such an odd card when I originally bought it that I thought I'd share it with you.

1994/95 Action Packed
Big Picture Promo
BP4 Steve Yzerman

How many of you remember Action Packed? My knowledge of them is nothing more than seeing them make some neat football cards in the early 1990's.

That....and they liked embossing.

This card came from a 4-card set that was issued to propose a new set (that ended up never being released). To my knowledge, Action Packed never delved into the hockey market after that.

This set also included Jeremy Roenick, John Vanbeisbrouck and Jaromir Jagr. What really caught my eye about these cards was that they folded out into a little mini poster.

A neat idea...but what's with Keith Primeau in the background? Is it me, or is he about 8 feet tall?

Back to the embossing on the front for a second. I've always wondered just how effective embossing is when it comes to selling a card. I mean, does it really matter?

The time and money spent embossing each card (and each one is unique since it follows the contours of the player) must make it impractical to produce - one would think.

Nonetheless, it's a neat feature, a neat card and a throwback to a time where anything (literally) was possible in the sports card world.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

ONE SHEET, ONE SET - 2003/04 SP Authentic

The 'One Sheet, One Set' train has been sitting in the station for far too long. I've picked up a number of base cards at the last card show I went to, but haven't had the chance to document and properly store them.

So......I'll go with a past sheet that's been sitting in the binder waiting to come out.

2003/04 Upper Deck
SP Authentic

Upon first look, you'd think this set was from the mid-90's. They just have that 'nothing special' feel to them.

These base cards are the first 90 in a 166 card set. The remainder being RC's. I will just be focusing on the base.

Very grey, very measured, very linear.

There's just nothing about the front of the card that gets me excited to collect the set. I've seen better designs from custom card creators - the layout is boring. The text is minimalist (and that's being kind). The photo selection reeks of bland - par for the course.

So with that....let's take a closer look.

Alright, I'll concede, there is some texture to some of the elements in the background. The marble/stone effect gain minimal points.

The various shades of grey just don't inspire me. And on the darkest chunk sits the word 'Authentic'. It's a failed attempt at something that might have had some potential. Look at how much of the card background is actually white. Horrible!

The horizontal lines just miss completely. In the background at the top, they just get lost. It's too bad since that design structure might have worked if it was better thought out.

The horizontal blind look at the bottom of the card just loses me. I don't think it meshes with the top half of the card at all. It impedes too much on the player cutout. The fancy attempt at putting the player's last name in with that layer just feels like a company grasping at straws.

The player name and team nickname in the bottom corner are a joke. Slap and slap! Could there have been less effort put in? I doubt it.

The player photo selection has zero emotion and really fits the card design well. And by well.....I mean bad.

If you saw a bunch of these in a card box would you think " product" or "Junk Wax!".

I thought so.

The back of the card keeps some of the design elements from the front (too bad). The stone textures and grey return. The barely noticeable 'Authentic' is back - like it means something. Gone though are the window blinds (thank you).

Great head shot (sarcasm). I take back most of the points handed out to the front of the card. Why would a card company want to use the same bad photo twice? Oh yeah, they weren't trying.

Stats are minimal. At this point I could care less. I feel like there are things just randomly placed here and there. No rhyme or reason.

The team logo. The position abbreviation. The lines separating the player name, tidbit and stats. Even the card number itself.

It's like someone just picked up all the card back elements, threw them up in the air and where they landed is where they stayed.

The bottom quarter of the card is a waste. White and logos. Sign me up!

Phew! There, I'm done.

Overall, if you couldn't see this one coming, avoid this set. There's nothing redeeming about it. I'm not even going to look into the guide to see what it books for because I can guarantee it's not very much. And if you can't find the set dirt cheap....then you're getting ripped off.

Now that I look at it, I feel ripped off that I actually paid for 8 cards. Dang. Back in the binder you go - never to be seen again.

0.5 out of 5

STASHED IN THE CLOSET - 1987 Team Canada Photo Set

Tonight was the first time in weeks.... dare I say months, where I did absolutely nothing.

And I loved it!

It gave me a chance to recharge my battery, catch up on a few things I let slip for too long and it allowed me to throw together a couple blog posts.

I decided to rummage through the ol' closet to do another show and tell of some oddball stuff in my collection.

Here goes.

What we have here is a 4-sheet set of headshots from the 1987 Canadian Team participating in that year's Canada Cup.

I picked these up at an antique show a few years ago. The guy I bought them off of used to work at a newspaper and these 8x10's were used as the 'go to' headshots when photos were needed to support a writer's article.

Back in the day (before computers took over), filing cabinet upon filing cabinet was full of these types of documents for 'file' purposes.

In the mid-90's, the NHL moved away from the 8x10 and went to slides. Those only lasted a couple years before everything went digital.

Nowadays, they probably don't even put them on disc, I'm sure it's just a download or something.

Gretzky to Lemieux. For those in my generation, it was THE GOAL. It was bigger than Henderson in 1972, it was bigger than Bobby Orr's Cup winner. It was bigger than anything I had ever seen to that point with my own eyes (and it still impresses).


Obviously, the big coup when it comes to this set of photos is the player selection. Gretzky, Lemieux (Mario that is), Gilmour, Hawerchuk, Coffey, Roy.

Wait....Patrick Roy?

If I remember correctly, he was never on the 1987 team. He was snubbed by Glen Sather, who picked Grant Fuhr for the job instead.

What I love is that Roy was still photographed and included in this team set.

What a rare addition.

And how about that photo of Steve Yzerman? Can you say 'deer in headlights'? Maybe that's why he was snubbed for so long in international play.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I'd like to first say that online auction sites have been an invaluable part of my sports card collection. For over 10 years, I have searched, discovered, bid, won, paid and received countless items that would never have become part of my collection had these avenues of purchasing not existed.

I have always been one who likes to bid 'live' on an auction. I have also, for the most part, been one who likes to bid on an item at the last moment - preferring not to reveal my hand until late in the game.

It has worked for hundreds of items in the past and I feel like I've been able to get some great cards at the lowest possible price as a result.

It's worked that is......until about a week ago. Today just added to the frustration and now I sit here contemplating my methods.

Last week, I was eagerly anticipating the conclusion of an auction for a 1/1 Trevor Linden card. I had it all planned out. I even went so far as letting some other Linden collectors know that I was going to bid on it (so they decided not to go for it). Sitting at work, I was just waiting for the minutes to count down before I placed my bid.

Long story short, I got called away from my computer on an urgent matter and ended up missing the auction. The card's final auction price was a fraction - A FRACTION - of what I was willing to pay. And to top it off, the other Linden collectors were left asking "What happened?".

I felt horrible. Not because I missed out on what probably would have been a great deal, but because none of us Linden collectors ended up with the card.

By the way - even a week after the fact, it's still stinging me.

Fast forward to today. A similar scenario where a 1/1 Linden card (this time a show card) was coming to completion. Again, I expressed interest and the other Linden collectors decided to pursue other cards.

Wouldn't you know it, as I'm sitting in front of my computer with the auction open - minutes left to go - some IT guys come into my office needing to do some tests on my system.

Once again, I miss the end of the auction.

Are you kidding me??!!!!

This time though, maybe realizing my past experience, another Linden collector placed a last minute bid and grabbed the card. He very graciously indicated that he bid on it with the intention of it going to me (should I miss out on bidding).

Wow! I've become predictable or something.

I am definitely in an ebay funk right now.

So, all of that leads to my topic - sniping. I have never used a sniping program (and until today, never considered using one). In fact, I've felt that it was kind of 'cheating' when it comes to placing bids (obviously, it's not cheating, but it just doesn't do it for me).

I understand the benefits of a sniping program but have never really been interested in seeing what is out there to help me with my auction hunting.

My attitude has changed slightly with the events of the past week. Part of me feels like utilizing a sniping program would act as a safety net should something happen and I not be able to bid on an item as planned. But part of me feels like it's giving away information or having someone else do the work for me.

Even with it costing a minimal amount of dough to use a sniping program, the idea is still not a home run for me.

That said, if I keep missing out on some PC items, I might just have to go an alternative route.

So, what are your thoughts on sniping programs (or snipe bids in general)?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

RATE MY MASK - Roberto Luongo

V for Vancouver? V for Victory?

How about V for Vile?

That's Roberto Luongo's goalie mask these days.

Going for that 'retro' look, Roberto's got a swing and a miss for a mask.

I don't think the finesse of the ultra-cool Johnny Canuck on the top of the mask blended with the bold pinstripe Canuck colors forming a 'V' in the front go together well at all.

Gotta love when the Reebok logo sticks out like a sore thumb. Ouch. The only other item on the front of his mask is the Canucks' 40th Anniversary logo on the chin - boring (although it's better than the captain's 'C' he had earlier).

If he wanted to go bold, then take a page out of Chris Mason's mask with the Thrashers...

Now that's how to do a cool retro mask. Bold, bold and more bold.

Luongo liked the retro look ever since coming to the Canucks (only a couple versions garnered decent marks from me), but his masks from previous teams really hit the mark.

The Islanders and Panthers really were choice teams for Lui to get creative with his masks (and he needed it with the lack of winning he'd experience).

Remember the Pink Panther days? Now that was fun stuff. I miss that Roberto... bring it back.

Not much else to say...even Luongo himself doesn't have much to add in this video about his current mask design.

I give it 1.5 out of 5

Now it's your turn to Rate My Mask!

Monday, June 13, 2011

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - Autographed Ticket

Wow! Nearly a week has gone by since my last post. Work has been a bull for me lately.

I work in the video post-production industry and this past week the facility I work at put on a number of events. Facilitating the recording as well as gathering interviews for documentaries and such add up to long days and even weekend work.

I was happy when I woke up this morning and didn't have to put things into top gear again. The relaxing will only last a little while as things ramp back up at the end of the month.

Anyways, in the midst of this odd postal 'strike' in Canada (more like a staggering delay), I received a cool item for my Linden collection.

Now I've never seen this ticket before, and when it showed its face on ebay, I was immediately interested.

It had a slightly higher buy it now price than I cared to pay, but I knew if I didn't snag it then, it would probably be gone and the likeliness of seeing another would be next to nil.

The key for me to finally pull the trigger was not that it was a signed ticket, but rather that it was from Trev's days in Washington. How many of you remember Linden playing for the Capitals? Sadly, I do.

It was not fun to watch. These were the pre-Ovechkin days. Sure, they had Jagr, but he was not one bit the player he was when with the Penguins.

In 28 games with the Caps (spread over two seasons), Linden had but 7 points. Just not the right chemistry.

The only cool thing about Linden being in Washington was that it was his final destination before returning to Vancouver (his proper home).

I like this one-of-a-kind item and it'll sit proudly with my other oddball items.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

RAISE THE CUP - A Pair From The Summit II

The 'Summit II' card show in Edmonton on the weekend not only brought some ITG Decades goodness with it, it was a chance to pick up a few cards for my various projects.

Here's a pair of Cup raisers to add to the collection.

This Niklas Lidstrom comes from Upper Deck's Biography of a Season (2008/09 style). I'll admit, I'm a fan of these cards. Each year they have a nice design and great photography. Reflective of the top moments of the past season.

How could you go wrong.

Now, was this Lidstrom's last Cup raise? I'm thinking so. While I do believe he will be back for another season (apparently he's already training hard for next season), I don't think the Red Wings will have the team to make it all the way to the finals. Injuries might spell the doom of another ring for Nik.

When I saw this card, I did a quick double take and stop. I didn't realize this card existed. What a great photo (used already in another McDonald Cup Raiser card in my project).

Lanny really had a storybook ending to his career. Getting 500 goals and 1000 points i his final season and capping it off by wearing the captain's C the night he won the Stanley Cup - his last game in the NHL.

Hard to beat.

Makes me think if this season's Cup Final will have some sort of story that will stand the test of time. I hope so.

Current Collection - 37 cards

Monday, June 6, 2011

BOX BREAKS: 4 Boxes of ITG Decades

I headed up to Edmonton this weekend for the 'Summit II' Sports Collectibles show. Normally I wouldn't travel up to Edmonton for a show...but I had good reason this time (more on that later).

I managed to pick up a few cards for various projects and I was able to see some amazing collectibles. Some old game-used jerseys from the 1970's were on display at the In The Game booth. Stunning to say the least.

Other sellers had some great vintage cards, jerseys, sticks and memorabilia. It was like going through a little mini time machine. A very different vibe from the shows I'm used to in a good way.

I might just have to make my way up there again next year.

One thing that was definitely on the 'to do' list was bust a few boxes of ITG's newest product - Decades. Why?

Cause this guy is in wallet is already crying.

Actually, It wasn't so bad. I bought 4 boxes and I found it to be a real fun break. This product celebrates the decade of the 80's so I knew it would bring back some great memories for me.

You get nine cards in a box - all of them 'hits' so no base cards. Three hard-signed autograph cards, three authentic game-used memorabilia cards, one Decades rookie card, one non-memorabilia insert card and one 100 Years of Hockey Card collecting card. Guaranteed.

Here's what I got...

The 4 '100 Years Of...' cards. These have been inserted in numerous ITG products this season, so building the set would take time. I'm on the fence when it comes to the design. Love the concept though.

I ended up with three 'Battle Of' cards. Would have preferred a mixture of non-memorabilia inserts, but you get what you get. How many of you remembered that Phil Esposito played for the the 80's? I did.

ITG's version of the rookie card. Cool design and look at the mugs on these guys. Francis looks so young. I really liked these cards.

But I liked these even more. I traded for a couple (I pulled the Roy myself). Definitely planning on getting the entire set. That Moog is awesome. You never see photos of him in an Oilers mask...he's always wearing just a helmet.

On to some of the autos. Three in a box and they're all hard signed. The checklist is a who's who of 80's hockey (or should I say - Who's That!). Actually, it's a bit of both. Seeing some of the autos coming out of the boxes yielded a 'Oh man....I forgot about him' comments.

I traded for the Snepsts and pulled the Tanti. I thought I had the Linden, but no. I will have to trade for it now.

A great treat in this product are the Team USA autos. Every member of the 1980 Miracle On Ice has signed. Now that's an impressive feat.

Don Lever.....anyone? Anyone! Yikes.

This Dave Keon is a shortprint so it should come in handy when it comes to gaining a Linden in return. What a great auto.

Now the jerseys. You've seen the Linden (which I traded for) so that's a start. There are three versions of jerseys for each player (a black version, a silver version and a gold version). Each has a print run more limited than the previous.

For me, it just means more Linden cards to add to the wantlist. So be it be it.

This card is pretty cool in person. Normally with patch cards, you see stitches and such. Because this is a Nordiques jersey from the 80's, it's got the ironed on plasticy stuff. Love it.

Along with the normal jersey cards, there are various subset jersey cards available in the product. You pretty much need an abacus to stay organized with all the jersey cards and parallels and subsets.

This Pokey Reddick card should help me out - since there's a resurgence of Winnipeg stuff right now.

This Tony Esposito jersey is the Gold version (there are only 10 copies of this card). Too bad for the solid red swatch.

Like I mentioned....another subset. The seam on this bad boy is just bursting out. It's pretty cool if I do say so myself. And how could you not like a Coffey jersey from his heyday in Edmonton?

Quads! In four boxes of the product, I hit four quads. I really like these too.

The player selection on the Canada quad is not what one would normally see. Blue for the Goulet? Sadly, they had to use a Nordiques jersey. Sadly I I crazy?

The USA quad is equally as eclectic in player selection. Barrasso and Esposito on the same card. Wait! Tony Esposito in a USA jersey? What gives?

We all remember him as part of Team Canada in 1972 and he represented Canada numerous times. But in 1981 he became a naturalized US citizen and played for the States in that year's Canada Cup.

All-Stars from the 80's. I always liked the All-Star cards in the various O-Pee-Chee products back then. I remember getting a Don Edwards or Danny Gare and thinking "Who are you?" Other years, it would be Oiler stacked.

This four pack of players fire off a fine wallop.

But my favorite quad in the bunch is this Islanders card. These are the four that I remember most from those early days of card collecting. They were at the pinnacle of the sport when I was introduced to hockey cards. Man, those were the days.

Look at the photos they used. Right from that era. Points for that.

Lastly, the showcards that I received from ITG for opening my boxes at their booth. One card per box. Completely random (bummer). Not bad. A couple of the cards have that wildly popular seam burst going on. And with them being 1/1's, there might be a bit of a demand if the right collector comes along.

I've seen a Linden Emblem show card 1/1 go for well over $100 on ebay already. And these cards were given out for free.

Overall, I really like this product. Player after player...memory after memory. By essentially eliminating the base cards, one can get right to the goods. That said, I wouldn't have minded some base cards from that era. Would have been neat to see some old school collecting going on.

Got it, got it, got it, need it.

Go out and get a box - and trade me your Lindens. :)

Friday, June 3, 2011


It's June. The Canucks are pushing ever closer to that elusive Stanley Cup championship, my work is shifting into its summer season (which is a nice change) and there's a huge opportunity awaiting for me this weekend.

How big? Big enough that I've tried my best to make it my only priority this week. While that didn't happen, I feel I have done all I can to prepare.

I hope to share more down the road. As well, I hope to get back to posting a few more blog posts over the next while. I miss it.

Thanks to all who stop by to see what's up with my collection and I hope you all are doing well.

Until next time!