Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ARTICLES: "Cardbacks For Dummies"

Saw this great post over on Panini's blog site. Thought it would be of interest to some of you.

An often overlooked aspect of sportscard creation - the 'write up' - is almost as much of an art form as mocking up a design for a card front. I myself am a nerd for card creations and all aspects of design (even the boring text). So I found this article to be a unique look at an underappreciated talent.

How many of you take the time to read the backs of cards (ok...not ALL of them, but some)? These words don't grow on trees.

Have you ever tried to write up a card back yourself? It's not as easy as you might think.

To me, things like where the word appears on a given line, the length of the line in comparison to the others, the overall aesthetics, the font size, the descriptive words, the accuracy of the information....I could go on. It all plays a role in making the cards comfortable to look at and consistent from one to the next.

Thank you Panini for taking a moment to give the writers center stage.

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - More, More, More

With this recent haul of bubble envelopes, I admit to having mixed emotions. On the one hand, I have three more top notch Linden cards to show off (and cross off the wantlist), but I currently have no more cards incoming.

No trades, no purchases, nothing to look forward to.


Actually, it's not all that bad. My bank account surely appreciates the rest it's getting. And I know that there will be more on the horizons.

The lull is nice to be honest. Panini recently released it's 'Certified' product for 2011/12. Last year, there were nine Linden cards in the mix (and at the time I thought that was rough). This year - NONE!

Thank goodness I'm not a Tim Thomas collector. In just this year's 'Certified' product alone - over 50 different cards on the various checklists. Parallels, inserts, subsets, autos, jerseys, patches.


On to the Linden show.

2010/11 In The Game Decades
Game Used Jersey Gold
#M-62 SHOW The National Chicago 1/1

Another expo redemption card to add to the crazy long list. With 9 different jersey/emblem/number cards in the regular release, I can only assume that there is an equivalent redemption card to go with it.

I have show cards from both the Chicago National as well as the Summit II in Edmonton last April.

That makes 18 different 1/1 show cards (if a complete run of each was released).

I have a whopping 4 of them.

I've got a loooooonnnng way to go.

This card though has a nice seam in it and for the price, it was a no-brainer.

2011/12 In The Game
Ultimate Memorabilia 11th Edition
Cup Finals Silver /24

Oh, this card is bitter sweet. On the one hand, it's a great reminder of what I consider the greatest Finals series I've ever seen.......but the wrong team lost game 7. On the other hand, it's the first card to feature both Linden and Mr. 'I'm not going to type what I'd really like to type' Messier.

I love that the Linden piece is two-color as well.

2011/12 In The Game
Ultimate Memorabilia 11th Edition
Ultimate Legend Autograph Silver /9

This is a stunning looking card. I really like the design of it.

That must be the reason why I accidentally paid way too much for it.

So I notice this card on one of the hobby boards and immediately go to work on researching what I should offer the seller for it.

The first place I go - ebay.

Lucky me.....a completed auction. For a little over $160. I thought that was a little high. So I offer $125 thinking that was fair.

Well, the seller agreed - with enthusiasm.

After I paid for the card, I went back to the ebay auction. It seems that I used the 1/1 parallel of the card as the price gauge. Hoo-boy.

I probably could have gotten the card for half what I paid for it (well, maybe not that low....but definitely under $100).

What could I do other than wait for the card to arrive.

I guess proudly show it off. :)

With this pickup, I am now down to the base card /63, the gold parallel /9 and a card called Hot Patch /9. The Hot Patch cards came only in 'hot packs' where all three cards would be of a unique design - all bearing a nice looking patch card (makes sense).

I've seen two of the Hot Patch cards so far, but neither had a patch that made me say 'wow' a good way.

I guess there's always something to wait for.

Monday, November 28, 2011

RAISE THE CUP - A Winning Pair

A slight delay from me in showing off the second card in this post. I wanted to get the first on in the mail before I showed off this particularly prominent pair of pieces for your perusal.

I recently saw this first card in another person's show and tell post. I had never seen this card (or the set it came from) before. I was thrilled to learn that it was an upgrade (the original had a colored jersey piece). He was more than happy to work out a trade for the white jersey colored card.

2001/02 Be A Player Memorabilia
Stanley Cup Champions
#CA-13 Dave Reid

Now, I was also told that this card is limited to just 40 copies. What a great piece.

And guess what the concept is of this set? You guessed it, the Stanley Cup Champions - Colorado Avalanche - raising the Cup over their heads.

This 14-card set includes Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and Ray Bourque.

The only card not showing a player with the Cup over his head is Burnaby Joe.....he dished the Cup over to Bourque rather than hoist it.

Now that's was class.

While I'd love to build this set, some of the biggies don't come cheap. This Reid will have to act as the representative of the set for now.

And I'm not complaining.

The second (and last) card in this post comes courtesy of a person whom I've gained a lot of respect and admiration for over the past year. And it's a fitting card to post today seeing as he's become the newest head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes (and I think he'll do a bang up job).

1993/94 Upper Deck
#148 Kirk Muller

A couple weeks ago, one of the local card shops had their Traders Night. It's something that I've tried to attend more and more of this past year. A great way to get collectors together to 'talk shop'.....or eat pizza.......or both.

Anyways, Brian (Captain Canuck) over at Just A Bit Offside is someone always offering up a 'how's she going?' when I arrive at the shop. This month though he also asked if I was collecting 'Cup raiser' cards...while pulling this Muller out of his trade box.

He plunked it down in front of me and said 'Here you go'.

Now to most people, this card is just a penny common from a 20-year-old set. To me, it's a fine addition to a set I've been slowly building over a couple years.

A simple gesture of awareness and kindness....something I LOVE about this hobby.

Thanks very much (again) Brian. It will sit proudly in the binder.

Gotta root for Captain Kirk. In his 19-year NHL career, this was his only Cup championship. Surprisingly, he only played with the Habs for a couple seasons before he was off to the New York Islanders. Signing with the defending champs from Dallas a few years later almost notched him a second Cup, but the team he was originally drafted by, the New Jersey Devils, were one better that year.

I'm looking forward to seeing the type of coach he is in Carolina (I sense 'player's coach') and the impact he has on the team this year and over the next couple seasons. Carolina's got a better team than they are showing on the ice. Should be interesting.

Current Collection - 63 cards

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Have you ever had someone contact you saying "Hey, you have a card I need......wanna trade?" I'm sure it happens to a lot of us (some more often than others).

For me, it doesn't happen too much. I think part of the reason is I'm not flaunting my traders on multiple hobby boards, my blog, a separate website and on ebay with ridiculously high BIN prices. OK, I do have a separate site for my traders list, but it is soooooooooooo out of date.

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from someone out of the blue expressing interest for a card that I recently pulled. He simply asked if we could work out a trade.

Instantly, I said "Sure!" Always glad to help someone out (especially when the card in question is one I really have no desire for).

So he sends me a link to his traders list. I take a look at it. And I take a look at it again. A third time and even a fourth.

Nothing. There was absolutely nothing that stuck out at me. And I wasn't even looking for a card I needed. I was just looking for a card that I'd be happy putting in my traders box.

And this is where the dilemma came in....

Do I make a trade just for the heck of it? Just so the other person can get the card they want? So I'm stuck with a card I don't really want?

Or do I say "Pass."? Nothing of yours interests me.

It's a tough one. On one hand, I have no real use for the card I have that he wants, but it's the same the other way.

Is it a wash? Or am I out something? Did I gain?

Anyways, I finally settled on a card and we proceeded with the trade.

It arrived in the mail recently.....and ever since, I can't get the thought out of my head that "I just really don't want this card".

2009/10 UD MVP
Super Script
#50 Joe Thornton /25

It's not a terrible card or anything, it just has no impact on my collection (even if it's just going straight into my traders).

I'm happy that I helped out someone else, but I just feel 'blah' about this card.

For the record, this guy had about a bazillion Joe Thornton cards for trade. If you're a Joe collector, he's a guy that has got a ton. For me though, Joe is not overly exciting.

I don't feel ripped off or anything and I feel that everything about the trade was on the up-and-up.

I just don't really need this card.

Has this ever happened to you? What do you do?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - Dominion Printing Plate

A small mailday only in numbers today - not in quality of cards.

I've been looking forward to this one for about a month.

2010/11 Panini Dominion
#150 Printing Plate Blue (I think) 1/1

I was a little concerned when I opened the Priority envelope only to find a little damage to the bubble mailer. Inside was the card inside a toploader - tightly taped shut.

Now with base cards (or thin stock cards), taping it shut is not a huge issue. But when the card is 130pt (or THICK), this can put a lot of strain on the toploader.....which it did. Cracking it.

I was a little worried that the card might be scratched, so I spent a lot of extra time not aggravating it.

Thankfully, the card escaped unscathed. But a simple note to the sender came abruptly after.

Enough of the drama, let's enjoy the card.

I think this is the 'blue' plate as it does have a predominantly bluish hue (makes sense). Dominion also included a 'black', 'red' and 'yellow' plate in their release.

As I mentioned, these suckers are thick. And they have a metallicy surface while the bulk of the card is just thick card stock.

Here's the back. It's a true 1/1.

I also like that the corners are rounded (I don't know why simple things impress me).

I was surprised at how little I ended up paying for this card. It seems that anytime a low print run Linden comes up for bids, the price starts going through the roof.

This one went for less than half of what I figured it would - and I'm happy it did.

In addition to the Linden printing plate, another card from the whirlwind ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 11 arrived.

2011/12 In The Game
Ultimate Memorabilia 11th Edition
Dynamic Duos (with Pavel Bure) /24

It's dynamic.

Although I never really connected these two as a 'duo'. Yes, they played on the same team at the same time, but they never really shared a ton of ice time together.

Rarely did I hear "Linden to Bure.....he scores!"

Nonetheless, it's another great card to add to the rapidly growing 'slabbed card' portion of my Linden collection.

And that's that.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Custom Creations - I Changed My Mind

A little while ago, I completed work on the front side of the Patrice Bergeron Stanley Cup Champions card that I was making for Colin. He won a friendly wager last playoffs and his reward was a one-of-a-kind Patrice Bergeron card for him to sign.

Tonight, I finally got started on the back side of the card. But within moments, I was contemplating the work I had already finished.

I tried to ignore it and continue on, but the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me.

So......I started over.

It took a while, but I came up with something that I'm happier with. Judge for yourself...

I am hoping to get the back of the card done tonight. It's been far too long since the wager ended and I need to get Colin his card.

My apologies........I just want to let you know it's something I haven't forgotten about.

EDIT: I finished the back of the card. I'll work on the assembly tomorrow. :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

BEHIND THE MASKS - Some Toronto Goodness

Believe it or not, I actually picked up some cards not in the Ultimate Memorabilia 11 product this past weekend at the Toronto Expo.

For real.

And while the quantity isn't as great, there's still some quality mask goodness here in this post.

I said some.

2010/11 In The Game Decades
Memorable Masks
#MM-04 Tom Barrasso

I'm almost done with this insert set (just three more to go). I'll admit, it's cards like this one that creates a lack of effort on my part when searching.

Quite simply, this mask is not memorable at all. In fact, I remember Tom with the good ol' helmet and cage...

Oh yes, that brings back memories.

While I appreciate the effort of ITG to put together a quality mask insert set, it just comes up a tad short the more I see some of the photos.

A little grainy and a little ho-hum with some of the player selection.

2010/11 In The Game Decades
Memorable Masks
#MM-03 Mike Liut

Now this was one of my favorite masks growing up. The solid white, the long beak staring down at you. I also think the fact that I rarely saw it made me appreciate it more. Today's masks just don't have that same impact.

Again, the photo is on the grainy side, but I can forgive this one a bit more.

2010/11 In The Game Decades
Memorable Masks
#MM-05 Bunny Larocque

First of all, I think it's pretty cool that Michel's nickname adorns the front of the card (to me.....he's Bunny).

Second, this mask is killer. just simple blue and white, but I'm sold - instantly.

Great sharp photo on this one. I guess they tracked down a good high res shot. Just look at those eyes piercing out from behind the fibreglass.

And you can see the hidden Playboy bunny logo on the cheek. Nice.

2009/10 In The Game 1972 The Year In Hockey
Masked Men
#MM-01 Doug Favell

Finally! A set killer.

This was another slow build. Not because I didn't like the cards, but because I wanted to do this set more 'on the cheap'.

I picked this final piece of cardboard for a buck. And it'll go down as one of my favorites in the set.

Doug's starburst mask wasn't the first painted lid he had. Anyone remember the fully painted orange mask?

Doug became the first goalie to wear a fully-painted mask in NHL history.....and it was done as a practical joke. Here's the story.

Great stuff. It's too bad though that the 'pumpkin' no longer exists.

2010/11 In The Game Between The Pipes
Inspired Masks
#IM-06 Jaroslav Halak

This was a nice find at the Expo. I'm slowly building up this set and am looking forward to the day where I can display them all as a complete set.

Notice in Halak's mask the picture of Patrick Roy raising that Stanley Cup. This iconic pose is what the Inspired Masks theme is all about.

2010/11 In The Game Between The Pipes
Inspired Masks
#IM-03 James Reimer

Lastly, this card was not a show pickup, but rather a mailbox gift upon my return.

Still some Toronto goodness though.

Reimer was the buzz of the league before his concussion-like upper body, let me ask his mom. Whatever it is, it's keeping him out of the game - for a while. Never good to see.

And with the way Ben Scrivens is playing, he might be out of a starting job before he really had a chance to solidify it.

And that's not Colonel Sanders on his mask, it's supposed to be Don Cherry. Sometimes it's tough to draw a picture, of a drawn picture, on a mask....on a mask.

Better than I can do.

1 vs. 100 - Finally!

Well it's about time! Six whole months have gone by since I've added a card to this project.

Way too long of a span if you ask me.

Granted, I haven't really been pursuing any of the cards on the wantlist too aggressively. Plus, the ones left aren't the easiest to find.

I had one deal for three cards fall through a few months ago. A tough break, but what can you do.

This card though was as easy a transaction as you could ask for.

2008/09 Upper Deck SP Game Used
Significant Numbers
#SN-PB Pierre-Marc Bouchard /96

One of the higher numbers left on the list finally gets scratched off.

I knew of this card as it was in the three-pack I was supposed to get a while back.

A rock solid trade from a guy who I actually met at the Toronto Expo....just a couple days before the card arrived in the mail.

He actually asked me if I had received the card yet. Genuine concern over the transaction - now that's a lost art.

Thanks very much Wes for the great trade. This one's a keeper.

79 out of 100 (79%)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

BOX BREAKS: 2011/12 Ultimate Memorabilia

Well, last night it was the Linden haul. Tonight, I show off my box (and a bit) break of UM11.

I pre-ordered a box (5 packs) before going to the Expo so it would be nice and toasty warm when I got there.

While I've opened a pack or two of the high end stuff, I've never bought a box. It was pretty cool (and I could see how it would get addictive).

The last day of the expo, I was very comfortably under my spending budget so I thought I'd give the product another chance by opening a couple more packs (hence, the seven packs).

Here are the goods.

2011/12 In The Game
Ultimate Memorabilia 11

There are three slabbed card to a pack. In it you'll normally receive a base card and a couple of memorabilia cards. Pretty simple.

These are the silver base cards numbered to either 62 or 63 depending on the player.

I ended up with the following guys...

Roberto Luongo /63
Theoren Fleury /63
Tony Esposito /63
Doug Harvey /62
Glenn Hall /62

Not bad, but not great either. In a couple months, these will turn into the 'throwaway cards' of the set. I don't know why, I think that it would be a cool set to build.

Some of the sketches are a little rough, but I like the concept. I wish they were in color though.

Here's the Doug Harvey. A nice mix of the current guys and the oldtimers. Something I like about the ITG products.

There are also gold parallels of the base cards numbered /9. I managed two of them. This Jari Kurri /9...

and Ray Bourque /9. Or.....a pair of scrubs. :)

Ultimate Future Star Autograph Silver
Griffin Reinhart /30

Now that we are done with the base cards, we can move on to the goodies.

This Future Star autograph doesn't really do it for me. I'm not a big fan of the junior guys other than in Heroes and Prospects.

And I think we have another graduate of the scribble school.

Ultimate Future Star Autograph Silver
Colton Gillies /30

Second verse....same as the first.

I'm sure some of you enjoy these cards, and I can appreciate that. That's what makes UM11 a great product. It's more of a 'pick and choose what you want' and leave the rest behind.

So I'll leave these behind.

Goalie Generations Silver
Patrick Roy/Mike Vernon/Tom Barrasso /24

Now we're cookin' with gas. This is an interesting selection of players. Gotta love the Montreal version of Roy. Mikey's gotta put his lid on though.

And boys and girls, always read your card backs. Do you know what common stat these three share?

They all played 19 years in the league. Now you know.

Ultimate Autograph Silver
Mikko Koivu /19

I like the simpler design of this card. Really sharp. And the way that ITG uses the recessed insert for the auto rather than the sticker totally works for me.

It's done with purpose and feels like the player actually signed the card. Only when the auto tucks underneath (as it does with this one) do I lose the effect.

Still, I like it. I just didn't want it to be Koivu. Linden.....yes.

Ultimate Legend Autograph Silver
Scott Niedermayer /9

Seems like the ol' farts don't sign as many cards. Works for me.

Another nice vertical design. The photo is a little fuzzy, but still passable. The hint of red in the design really finishes it off nice.

A solid pull from the product.

All-Stars Silver
Dominik Hasek /24

I can see this being a highly under-appreciated card. But think about it, it's got pieces from four different All-Star games (1997, 1999, 2001, 2002). You don't see that everyday.

And a pair of two-color pieces....very nice.

Ultimate Auto/Stick and Jersey Silver
Nicklas Lidstrom /9

Plain and simple - one nice card.

Symmetrical. I'm a sucker for that. Just another nice looking card with a hint of red to make everything pop.

And it's Lidstrom....../9. Awesome.

Dynamic Duos Silver
Mark Messier/Brian Leetch /24

Hoo-boy. I had to get this pair didn't I. And to kick a Canucks fan when he's down, I know that there's a Linden/Bure dual from this same subset.


I'm holding out hope for a simple swap.

600th Goal Combo Silver
Mike Gartner/Chris Terreri /24

Now this is an interesting concept. How often will you see this duo on a card?

Makes me think of all the weird combos you could come up with.

600th Goal Combo Silver
Wayne Gretzky/Greg Stefan /24

Like this one. And yes, woo-hoo.....a two-color Stefan jersey piece. I'm so lucky.

Still, it works for me. If they can do a full representation of the 600 goal club that would be impressive.

Oh yeah, that's right - they did!

Now on a couple of the pieces, there's two jersey swatches from just the player (eg. Joe Sakic), anyone care to guess why?

Ultimate Autograph Gold
Ilya Kovalchuk 1/1

Out of the seven packs I opened, I pulled two 1/1 cards. Pretty good odds. This is the gold version of the auto card. Again, it's eye-catching. Great design and colors (rich and not overpowering).

Now I just need to find a Kovalchuk collector.

Goalie Generations Gold
Jacques Plante/Harry Lumley/Terry Sawchuk 1/1

This was the number one card from my box break. It's a gorgeous triple memorabilia piece. Two two-color jersey pieces and some vintage pad on the Sawchuk. This card looks sweet in person.

I'm really hoping to parlay this one into some Linden goodness.

Now, those were all the cards that came out of the packs......but my show and tell isn't quite done.

You see, when you purchased a pack of UM11 and opened it at the In The Game Land booth they had set up at the show, you would receive a redemption card - FREE.

Free is good last time I checked.

By the way, they are all quad jersey cards (you'll see what I mean). It's all awesome.

In total, I received seven expo redemption cards. Here they are.

Fall Expo Redemption Silver /25
Winnipeg Jets (Chris Mason/Bryan Little/Ben Maxwell/Andrew Ladd)

J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets! Jets!

And it's not my favorite card.

Did you notice....these cards are numbered /25! And there were some gold versions /5 in the mix as well. Crazy.

Fall Expo Redemption Silver /25
Dallas Stars (Brett Hull/Mike Modano/Joe Nieuwendyk/Brendan Morrow)

Another great group of guys. Cool to see them all on one card.

Fall Expo Redemption Silver /25
Los Angeles Kings (Dave Taylor/Charlie Simmer/Bernie Nicholls/Marcel Dionne)

That's right, not all of them have just current players. Vintage stuff rocks. And LA Kings purple and yellow lead the way (next to the Canucks.......well, all the Canucks).

Fall Expo Redemption Silver /25
Vancouver Canucks (Harold Snepsts/Tiger Williams/Richard Brodeur/Tony Tanti)

Speaking's a nice looking card that brings back good memories. Although I would have loved Garth Butcher over Tony Tanti (no offence).

Fall Expo Redemption Silver /25
Buffalo Sabres (Danny Gare/Rick Martin/Gilbert Perreault/Roger Crozier)

More oldies but goodies. Gotta love Gare's lid. I miss the 'Lanny' helmet.

Fall Expo Redemption Silver /25
Toronto Maple Leafs (Bob Baun/Dave Keon/Tim Horton/Terry Sawchuk)

Even you Leaf-haters gotta give this card some props. It is one great looking group.

And for the last card, I received this group of scrubs...

Fall Expo Redemption Silver /25
Team Canada (Mario Lemieux/Steve Yzerman/Joe Sakic/Scott Niedermayer)

Wow........just wow.

Well, that's all of them. My 2011/12 Ultimate Memorabilia break. Hard not to give this product two thumbs up. Some great concepts, designs and player groupings. A couple of 'meh' cards for me, but hey, you can't win them all.

Thanks to the guys at the ITG booth as well for their enthusiasm and help for this rookie box breaker. I may be hooked.


Alright! Are you ready to witness what is without a doubt the greatest Trevor Linden show & tell post EVER?

Well are you?

After a whirlwind Toronto Expo trip, I arrived home yesterday in awe of not only the scale of the show, but the huge number of passionate hobbyists - some of whom were actually pretty cool to talk to.

OK, actually, a lot of them were great to chat it up with.

And the boys from In The Game really made this a weekend to remember. My bank statement says so. :)

Today (as the title says), I'm going to focus on the Trevor Linden cards I picked up. I felt heading into the show that I'd knock a few cards off the list, but never thought I'd hit this many of them.

It'll be a fun ride, so get a drink (I'll wait for you) and enjoy.

2010/11 Panini Zenith
#138 Red Hot

Yes, it's a low-end Linden parallel. But it was a card on my wantlist, I picked it up from the Expo, so it gets due time in this post.

I'm happy to add it and show it off. Every Linden card is a good Linden card.

2010/11 Panini Dominion
#TL2 Private Signings (Montreal)

There are two versions of this card, a Vancouver version and this tougher Montreal version. I was pretty happy to knock this one off my list as it's apparently a super shortprint card.

2011/12 In The Game
#A-TL Canada vs. The World auto

This was another autograph I picked up from the same seller as the above auto. It's currently the only Linden autograph card featuring him in his Team Canada garb.

I still think it's pretty cool that he got to play in an Olympic Games. A rarely talked about career moment.

2010/11 Panini Dominion
#3 Pen Pals Triple (w/ Brodeur & Williams) /25

This was the trifecta for me. Landing this card was a very pleasant surprise. And there's a good story as well.

Near the end of day Friday, I was passing by a booth I had been to earlier. The guy I was chatting with stopped me and simply indicated that he thought he saw a Linden Team Canada auto I might need. He told me what table it was at.

The next morning, I bolted straight to the table. I was surprised to find the Private Signings autograph there instead. Even better.

I asked about the Team Canada auto and sure enough, he had that too. I asked if he had any more Linden autos and he said no.

But right before I paid, I took one last look at his display case and saw this triple signature card staring back at me.

I jokingly asked him what else he was hiding as I pointed the card out to him.

What made the transaction even better is that I was able to get a bulk purchase 'discount'. I probably knocked off a good $10-15 off of what I would have spent if I had picked up the card individually.

A big thanks to the gentleman who works at Collecto-Sports in Drummondville, Quebec (sorry, I forgot his name). That simple gesture really made me feel good.

I made it a point to head over to him right after the purchase, shake his hand and sincerely thank him. I like people like that who just enjoy helping others out.

2010/11 In The Game Decades
#RJA-TL Game Used Jersey & Autograph Silver

Now this card I didn't think I'd see at the show.

With only 3 copies of this card made, I figured they either were gobbled up by collectors, or were sitting in unopened boxes.

The funniest part is that the guy who had it just happened to be sharing a cab with me to the show. We were just casually talking about what we collect.

Fancy that.

What's sad is.......I can't remember what the guy's name is. Now that deserves a head shake.

Thanks anyways cab partner.

Now on to the real meat and potatoes of the post.

In The Game released its Ultimate Memorabilia 11 product on the same weekend as the Toronto Expo. It was one of the big reasons why I decided to make the trip out.

I took a look at some of the mock-ups of the cards as well as the checklist. I'll admit, I was a little scared. The cards looked amazing and there were a number of Trevor Linden goodies to be had.

Did I have success? My bank statement says yes (and surprisingly no at the same time).

2011/12 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 11
Past Present, Future Silver /24

This triple jersey card (with Henrik Sedin and Cody Hodgson) was one of the first pickups of the weekend.

Just happened to see it on a table, simply asked about the price and was actually quite surprised at how low it was going for (since I was decked out in my mid-90's Canucks alternate jersey).

I couldn't get the cash out of my pocket quick enough.

2011/12 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 11
Idols Silver /24

This card reinforces my knowledge that Trev was a huge Lanny McDonald fan growing up.

Both played for the Medicine Hat Tigers and Linden even wanted to wear the number 9 with the Canucks, but that ultra-slick Tony Tanti was wearing it at the time.

I like 16 better anyways (no disrespect Lanny).

2011/12 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 11
Ultimate Automates Silver /9

This was a jaw-dropper when I saw it pulled from its pack.

I was just finishing up opening my box of UM11 when the guy next to me showed me this beauty.

It took a little negotiating, but we soon made out a great trade (both of us were happy).

This card is a huge addition as I know there are a few Bure collectors gunning for this one too.

2011/12 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 11
Complete Jersey Silver /9

This one just screamed out at me from one of the display cases late on day one.

After a couple minutes of talking with the seller, we both realized that he had made a sale with me a few months earlier on a hobby trade site.

That may have helped me snag this card for a very reasonable price. Actually, he's a really cool guy to deal with - and fair. THAT'S the reason why.

A huge addition as it is the first Linden complete jersey ever.

The emblem and number patches are stunning (I still can't believe that they got that level of coolness in such a small square).

2011/12 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 11
Complete Jersey Silver /9

Your eyes are not fooling's another Complete Jersey.

I couldn't help picking this one up as it was part of a package deal along with the last card in the post (now don't go scrolling down and ruining things!!!!!!).

I love that ITG used the ol' skate logo jerseys (the red and yellow just pop off the card better than the blue and green).

I should have a nice time trading this for some more Linden goodies down the road.

Almost home.

One of the very cool parts about the Toronto Expo was that the card companies were promoting their products with various redemption programs and such.

In The Game had a fantastic program where you would receive a special card for every pack of UM11 you opened at their booth. Free!

Free stuff is good. Especially when it looks like this....

2011/12 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 11
Fall Expo Redemption Quad Silver /25

Now, I didn't receive this one in my batch of redemption cards, but as soon as I saw this one, I knew I had to snag it.

Redemption card in the secondary market are not fun. No sir, not fun at all.

And just look at the players. Linden (nice two color piece), Bure (I heard he's good), Kirk McLean (a very cool pad piece...with stitching) and Gino Odjick...................

A stunning card - and did I mention it was FREE!

What could be better? Well.......

2011/12 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 11
Fall Expo Redemption Quad Gold /5

How about the gold parallel /5!

By this point, I think I just went into some crazy Linden card cardiac arrest. Just too many Lindens all at once.

Again......FREE! (well, ok, I didn't receive this one either. I actually paid a little more than I wanted, but I knew the chances were slim that I'd see another. And's the Toronto Expo! I had saved up my I could spend a little more liberally).

On to the final two card of this monstrous post. And they are the big boys.

A lot of my time this weekend was spent hovering around certain tables that cracked a lot of UM11. They must have hated me constantly asking "Do you have any Lindens?"

I spent even more time at the ITG section watching people box upon box of the product.

I'll admit, even if there were no Linden cards pulled, it was still a pretty sweet show. Some amazing cards in this release. Stay tuned for my box break. It was really fun.

Anyways, I happened to bump into a couple guys just finishing up their breaks when I asked if they had any Linden cards. They had one.....this one.

2011/12 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 11
Gold Press Plate 1/1

This is the printing plate used to create the base cards for this set.

I asked which booth they were set up at and they indicated that they were just collectors.

I knew that if they left my vicinity, I'd never see the card again. I asked if they would consider selling and they wanted to know what I'd pay.

I hate that question.

Do I go low and hope to work my way to a reasonable compromise? Do I go high and just rip the band-aid off quick?

I threw out a mid-range number and they might have gone for it. The ITG staffer mentioned that he heard the silver 1/1 went for $80.

The owner of the card then countered with $100 (since he felt the gold was more flash - they're both 1/1's).

I bit and paid the man, got the card and the bad feeling was instantly gone.

Actually, $100 is a pretty darn good price if you ask me. I'd have paid more (but don't tell anyone that).

Last card. And one last story.

I arrived at the show Friday afternoon around 2:00. The show had been going on for about an hour.

I met up with a couple fellow hobbyists I had met in the past and the topic soon drifted to the Canucks. I asked if any Linden card had been seen yet.

One of the guys unzips his bags and pulls out TWO Linden 1/1 cards. The base card sketch card and the gorgeous looking Emblem (although not quite as nice as mine from last year).

I just shook my head. I was there mere minutes and already two huge Linden card were gone. Thankfully, I was told that they were heading off to another Linden collector (who I know) and I knew they were going to a good home.

Still, I wanted to find that 'big' card as well. And on the Saturday, the opportunity presented itself.

2011/12 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 11
Ultimate Tag 1/1

This card was literally shoved in my face after a huge Sakic collector tracked it down (along with one of the Complete Jerseys from above). He was actually looking for me so that we could work out a sale.

He simply gave me the price (the price he said he paid for the cards), and who was I to argue. It was just the card I was looking for - and again, I was at the Toronto Expo.....I decided to spend a little.

I was thrilled that it was me he was on the lookout for - made me feel good.

Well, that's the Trevor Linden portion of my Toronto Expo adventure. It was truly one of the best hobby experiences I've ever had.

A big thanks to everyone I met, to everyone who makes these great cards and to everyone who stuck it out through this entire post (you're all crazy people...and I mean that in the best possible way).