Thursday, May 31, 2012

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK: Pinnacle Parallels

I was recently contacted by a fellow Linden collector as he was looking to get some info on an older parallel card.  I thought it would make for a good blog post (and it would give me a reason to scan some under-appreciated cards sitting in my monster box).

The card in question was a parallel from the 1997/98 Pinnacle Certified series.

Here's the base card for those of you who might not be familiar with it.  It does not scan well and the "Peel Off" cover doesn't do the card any favours either.  I can say that I have peeled some of the coverings off and the card underneath is pretty impressive to say the least.

But me being a stickler for the original presentation of a card....all of mine are unpeeled.  Maybe if I get bored in my old age, I will track down a second set and peel them all.

The first parallel I'll show you is the Certified Red.  Obviously, the difference here is the red background.  This card had an insertion ration of 1:5 packs, so finding a copy shouldn't be too difficult (and should be a very inexpensive purchase..........I'm talking quarter binder material).

Next up is the most common 'mirror' parallel.  This Mirror Red card is seeded in 1:99 packs.  Now hobby boxes of this product were 6 cards per pack, 20 packs per box so landing one of these Mirror Reds fell 1 per 5 boxes approximately.  A tougher find, but still not a big dent in the wallet (a few bucks).

By the way, none of these cards are serial numbered on the back.  Only insertion ratios were released.

This Mirror Blue card is twice as tough to pull as its Mirror Red counterpart.  1:199 packs (or 1 per 10 boxes).  Back in 1997, that would have been a pretty sweet pull.  These days, it's maybe a $10 card......maybe.  Depends on how bad you want it.

That leaves us with the parallel with the longest odds of being pulled (and the card in question from my original inquiry).

This Mirror Gold card is tops on the list when it comes to hits from this product.  Falling at a ratio of 1:299 packs (or 1 out of ever 15 boxes), this (I guess) would be considered the "case hit".  My (somewhat out of date) Beckett Annual Price Guide has this card listed at 20x to 50x that of the regular base card (that's for the star players.......which Trev will always be, except when it means a higher bv price on his cards).

I would give fair market value on this card around the $20 mark.  That said, supply and demand play a huge roll in older cards like this.  It could easily sit with no takers at $20 yet it could spark a bidding war and go for double.

It's really tough to say.  If I needed one for my collection, I'd set the bar at $20-25 tops.

Hope that helps.  And thanks for the question.  I enjoyed getting the ol' cards out and putting them through the scanner.

PACK WARS: BTP - Bursting At The Seams

While my ITG Between The Pipes box break might not have been anything to write home about, my single pack win in pack wars at traders night earlier this month swung the pendulum well in the other direction.

That's the big benefit to playing pack wars in a busy shop.  One win can equal an entire box of cards.  And that was the case here.

I got more base cards.  Enough to finish the 200-card set right?  Guess again.

But first......check out that gorgeous Vladimir Dzurilla card.  I'll go on record and say that it's the nicest base card in the set.  Great looking pretzel-style mask, solid overall photo and I really like the card design for this subset.

So here are the base card final numbers (for essentially 2 boxes worth of BTP).  I have 100 doubles but am short 25 cards in the set.  I realize that nothing is written in stone, but I'm a little bummed that 2 boxes doesn't get you a complete base set.

Hopefully I can track down someone who has some doubles.  Maybe do some old fashioned trading.

Just one 10th Anniversary insert in my win.  It'll be a fun set to build.

Not as fun as the Masked Men 4 cards.  These are great.

I must say though, that I was mistaken in the checklist for the 50-card set.  There are some non-NHLers.  Jack Campbell.


Jeez.  This must have been a Jack Campbell box or something.  Can't complain to much about this one.  He's got a little more hobby love than a number of the Future Stars autos in the set.

Same can be said for Ben Scrivens.  Sloppy scribble.......again.

Jimmy!  A nice hit.  Getting a current player is always a plus.

I know somebody that might be interested in this one.

Wow!  The autos just keep on comin'.

Jack McCartan played in just 12 career NHL games (all with the Rangers in the early 60's).  What makes Jack a big part of hockey history though is that he was the goalie in net for the 1960 USA Olympic gold medal hockey team.

Before Jim Craig and the Miracle On Ice, McCartan and his US team created their own storybook ending beating out highly favored teams from Canada, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia.

In fact, it was his play in the International tournament that paved the way to the NHL for Jack McCartan.  This card just got a lot cooler in my eyes.

Another cool looking card is this Phil Myre auto.  The blue dominates this La Belle Province auto subset and Myre's signature looks great.  I didn't win this card in the pack wars round (I had a triple jersey that I traded for this and the following card).

I later found out that this is a shortprint in the set so it was a bonus for me.

Speaking of shortprints, this Jumbo Jersey and Stick card of Roberto Luongo is limited to just 10 copies.  I had no idea when I made the trade.  I feel like I had really tilted the trade in my favor (something I will keep in mind at the next trade night.......I'll be trying to even up the stacks a bit).

Speaking of jersey cards, this dual Aspire jersey card is a nice concept.  I only wish Jones' favorite goalie was Jonathan Quick.

This triple jersey has a bit of a weird feeling to me.  I'm still getting used to the fact that Lehtonen is now the man in Dallas.  I forgot that Mike Smith had the reigns and Belfour is the only one that really makes sense to me.

I would have loved seeing Beaupre or some other goalie from the 70's or 80's, but c'est la vie.

That takes us to the big hit in my pack wars win.  The moment I saw this card, my jaw dropped.

Drumroll please......
This Mike Richter Countrymen card is the gold version (limited to 10 copies) and is absolutely bursting out of the card.


In fact, when I was first handed the card, the bottom portion of the jersey was folded completely out of the card (I did a little reconstructive surgery to get the jersey back in there).

This card design is probably my favorite in the entire release.  This card is an amazing representation of the subset and the jersey (not a Rangers jersey.... but a team USA jersey ) is about as good as one could have asked.

I was pumped to see it hit my grubby little paws.

So that wraps up what was probably the best pack wars win I've ever had.  Except for the fact that in addition to winning all the cards, I would get another one of the Cross Canada Tour 1/1 envelopes.  So it was just one bonus after another.

Bonus?  Bust?  Who cares.  I'm pretty sure I can find a Thomas Greise collector out there somewhere.

That leaves me with just one more post to wrap up my Between The Pipes escapade.  Next up.......masks!

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

BOX BREAK: 2011/12 Between The Pipes

It's a little "mini-vacation" from work before things kick up into high gear next week.  The next 3 days off will be a nice chance for me to take a breather, get caught up on some things, spend some time with my niece and nephew, play a round of golf or two and blog about some (not so) recent pickups.

Sounds like I'll be busy.........what gives?

It's all good.  The fact that I can sleep in is good enough for me.

The next two or three blog posts will highlight my Between The Pipes pickups from the most recent traders night.  I busted a box of my fave product, won a round of pack wars and made a couple trades for some Masked Men 4 cards.

So without further ado....let's get on with the show.  First up, the box break.

2011/12 In The Game
Between The Pipes

Did I mention that this is one of my favorite products of all-time?  I was really looking forward to participating in my local card shop's Cross Canada Tour promotion where as a bonus to opening a box of BTP, one would receive a unique 1/1 memorabilia card made specifically for that store and that product.

Sadly, I couldn't make it out.  But I did find out that at the trade night, there were a few extra CCT cards eligible to those who opened a box of the product in the store.


The base cards are a nice mix this year.  While I've never been the biggest fan of the junior and AHL goalies (the Future Stars), the look of these are pretty nice.  I like that they went with actual untouched pics for the Stars Of The Game subset (love some of the photos).  The Decades cards were a hit or miss ordeal.  A great diversity in player selection, but a lot of the pics left me with the blahs (too many helmetless players or 80's helmets).  I need my fix of cool masks.

Speaking of, the Stars & Stripes subset and the La Belle Province cards are pretty solid (some of the nicest in the 200 card base set).  The Expansion Tandems is a nice idea (and you get to learn about some of the goalies of an era gone by) as is the small International Pioneers representation.

Overall, a pretty solid 200 card set.  I'll get to the issue of how many doubles/cards remaining for the set I have in my next post.

These 10th Anniversary cards are much nicer in person.  Glossy, they have a mask shot piercing through the '10' which signify the 10th year that ITG has produced a Between The Pipes set.

A cool little insert build.  But let's get to the big reason why I pop this product.

Masks.  And this year In The Game gave props to the little guy. 

These die-cut cards you would think are some sort of high-end, limited number pull.  Nope.  These are the base end Masked Men 4 cards.  And they look fantastic.  Gorgeous photos, all NHL representation, that's how it should be IMO.

With 50 mask cards in this insert set, I'll be having a blast tracking them all down.

This is the silver parallel (there's a gold /10 as well).  Note, they are not die-cut.......sorry high-end parallel builders.

While I love the Fuhr mask, this silver version is sort of the 'middle brother' of the mask cards.  The low-end die-cuts will get a ton of attention and the high-end golds will get the player collectors and the few set builders drooling.

The man's land.  Oh well, it's still a stunning card.

Autos........or should I say scribbles.  A pair of less than motivated goalie graphs here.  These guys must have been in the same class at school.

No wonder I'm not a big fan of the new guys.

Take a lesson from Mr. Wamsley.  That's what an autograph should look like fellas.

I do love the diverse selection of players that are always included in the BTP auto set.  Young guys, current stars, oldtimers (and some of them shortprinted) make this one of the most impressive sets to chase.

Some may say that ITG's autograph cards have an 'old hat' look to them from product to product.  While I can see a bit of that, I must commend them for putting out a solid checklist, hiding the fact that they are sticker autographs very well and there are ZERO redemption cards in the product.  Big plus.

This Luongo jersey card was an early hit in my box break.  And while it's not the most exciting card (as most single color jersey cards are nowadays), I can appreciate the little things like jersey matching photo, good photo, decent swatch size and solid overall design.

Now this would be the big hit in my box.  A Cup Tandems card featuring Cam Ward and Martin Gerber.  It's the silver version (which is limited to just 50).  A nice looking card, I think it will be a highly chased set (I think anything with the Stanley Cup on it would be).

So nothing that is mindblowing, but an overall fun box break.  But I was excited to tear into the envelope with my bonus Cross Canada Tour card.

Now that's a stunning patch. 

Who is JP Cesario?

I guess you win lose some.  And sometimes it's a wash.  After all, it's a free 1/1 card.  How can a guy complain.

Next up, my single pack win in BTP pack wars. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

MY COLLECTION - The Redemption Comes Through

Redemption cards are a love/hate thing for me.  I think it gives card companies the ability to push the envelope on what they can advertise as being available in their products.  Love it.  It gives companies to chance to produce some really stunning cards (that take time and effort to produce).  Love it.  It creates a more scarce pull (especially when the card goes live) as not all the redemptions are redeemed.  Love it.

Pretty one-sided so far.  Just wait.

It dampens what could be a thrilling pack or box of cards as you just pull a piece of cardboard with a serial number on it.  Hate it.  It means you have to gamble that the card will be produced and that it will safely be delivered to you.  Hate it.  It means you are at the mercy of the card producers in terms of wait time, whether or not to swap and get a replacement pull or even agonize once it's known that the card will never see the light of day.  Hate it.

That last one is what definitely makes me cringe any time I pull a redemption card.  Luckily for me, the few (very few) occasions that I have landed one, they've come through.

And today the only outstanding redemption finally hit my mailbox.  It had been a good 8 months since I opened my box of Dominion and the wait is finally over.

2010/11 Panini Dominion
Nifty 50
#3 Dino Ciccarelli /50

A great looking insert set to build.  Celebrating some of the 50-goal scorers the league has seen.

A nice hard-signed signature dominates the white surface and I love seeing Dino in his Minnesota garb.  It's a simple design, but that's what really appeals to me.

The back of the card drifts a bit from the design on the front, but not enough to make me do a double-take.

I'd be curious to know how many of the 50 cards have been redeemed.  I'm assuming I'm the 27th guy to get one, so that'd be half (or a little over if you're anal).

It was nice to throw the redemption card away finally.  It was getting really dusty on my desk.

Now to go out and find a Ciccarelli collector.  No question he's on the hunt for this one.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


A quick mailday (for what had been a nice, slow month of pc pickups) and a bit of a dilemma tosses a couple Linden cards your way.

I knew that at the Toronto Spring Expo this year there would be a few Linden redemption cards up for grabs.  Some of them were the coveted 1/1's, but this one was a nice pick numbered to 19.

2012 Sportkings Hockey Plus Redemption
Toronto Spring Expo
#HPR-22 (dual jersey) with Ken Griffey Jr.

I was really excited to see Trev teamed up with someone from another sport.  My only concern is that this might be a sign of things to come (gulp).

I had decided to pass on the first couple of copies to hit the open market (which surprisingly took a while) as the asking prices were a little too high.  In a couple of instances, the card was bundled with the rest of the cards from the set (making it impossible to go after).

I decided that I would take a stab at the next one to sit at a reasonable price.  While I felt I got a nice deal, I was a little disappointed that the next copy went for a good $10 cheaper.  Now when you're talking $200 and $ big deal.  But when you're talking $35 and $25.....yikes.

Not to mention, the lack of color on my card.  Most have the single white swatch for Griffey Jr., but no white in the Linden piece.

At the end of the day, I like it.....I'm glad to have it.....and I think it's a pretty cool card.

That leads me to the other Linden that hit the mailbox last week.  And another low numbered card for the collection.

2011/12 In The Game Memorabilia
Heroes & Prospects Memorabilia
#HM-10 gold version (print run of 10)

I saw the first few copies of this card come and go and decided that I needed to pull the trigger on this one before the product completely dried up.

I snagged it for a very nice price and was happy to see it arrive in a very well protected bubble envelope.

Sadly, that's where the fun ended and the dilemma started.

As you can see from the back of the card, there's some damage to the top edge.  The scan only shows part of the story.  There is some definite denting and chipping that (to me) makes the card very undesirable.

Even if it is a card #'d to 10.

I e-mailed the seller and he was very apologetic.  He's been working with me to rectify the issue.  I have no doubt that he was unaware of the issue when he sent the card off.

I mentioned to him that I would contact ITG to see if they would issue a replacement.  Sadly, in this instance, the answer was no.  Because I was not the original purchaser of the card I would not be able to send it to them for fixing.  Which I am not surprised with and completely respect and understand.

The seller has given me a couple options to consider.

One is to keep the damaged card and the seller would refund me 25% of the price (which would be about $10-12).

The other is to return the card and get a full refund.  Of course, I would be on the hook for shipping the card back to him.

So do I return a rare card and hope that another one comes along?  Do I keep it...knowing that it's damaged?

I decided tonight to return the card.  It would bug me too much to know it's in the collection.  And I would still hunt down another copy to upgrade (which would leave me with a damaged card that I would try to get my money back on).

Bummed.....but the card is back in the envelope ready to be returned.

RATE MY MASK - Mike Smith

I just finished watching the conclusion to a great Western Conference Final series and while I believe the better team won, I can't help but feel a little for Phoenix goalie Mike Smith.

This past season, Smith upped his game to a level that I never expected from him (and I'm sure a lot of people felt the same way).  His performance during the playoffs was even more impressive.  I'm looking forward to what he brings to the table next season.

While Jonathan Quick and Henrik Lundqvist will probably get a lot of talk in the Finals (sorry Marty.......I'm rooting for you), Smith will sadly be overshadowed now that he and his team have been bumped from the playoffs.

So I thought I'd give him a little face time - literally.  After all, he has one of my favorite masks worn this past season.

For those of you not familiar with the Looney Tunes, Smith's lid depicts that crazy coyote constantly on the hunt for the Road Runner.  Wile E. Coyote might just be one of my favorite cartoon characters growing up.  If you had to judge by laugh meter alone....I'd say he's on top.

Here's a little sampling...


Back to Mike's mask.  What I really like about it is that the coyote completely engulfs the mask.  It's like the Cujo mask (or mask types) where the paint job works with the mask shape itself.  But in this instance, Wile E. just 360's around it.

Case in point.....the top of the mask really gives a great look at the coyote's face (and menacing glare).  There's some great color use and solid detail in the depiction.

A wider look at the side shows how the coyote is not just wrapped around the mask, but he's playing goal.  Complete with the vintage pads and equipment of the time.

And with the entire mask dedicated to this design style, it's only fitting that the backplate follows suit.
I think that just completes the mask perfectly.  By the way,  the "A. Smith" painted as the nameplate stands for Aksel Smith, the son Mike and his wife Brigitte welcomed last summer.

But if that weren't enough......this should take the cake.  Clearly evident on the left-hand side of the mask.

That little feather is just a precursor to what is shown on the front of the mask.

Yup.....Wile E. Coyote finally got the Road Runner.  Complete with the ACME stick and all.

Check out those eyes on the coyote.  What a great sight to be barreling in on.  Like I said, one of my faves this past year (and it takes the cake in terms of Looney Tunes themed lids.....sorry Patrick Lalime).

Here's a little blurb Smith has on his mask (at about the 3:20 mark).  It's the first incarnation of the mask, which was refined to the version you see above.

That's All Folks!

4.5 out of 5

Now it's your turn to Rate My Mask!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

'DID YOU KNOW' - Those Are Some Pretty Skates

Wood sticks, straight blades, tube skates, no helmets.  Those pieces of equipment evoke an certain era in hockey.  How many of you remember Cooperalls?  Banana blades? These days it's visors and 'frying pan' trappers.

It's fun to look at some of the trends that were prevalent during a certain time period.....sometimes it makes me think about the incredible innovations that have been introduced to the sport, but other times it makes me shake my head and do a facepalm.

Case in point.....

'DID YOU KNOW' - The California Golden Seals wore white skates as part of their uniform colors.

You can thank the 70's for some pretty crazy trends, but this one might be one of the worst.  And you can thank a guy named "Charlie O." for it.

Just a quick note.......I stumbled on a couple of 74/75 Loblaws stamps (shown above) and was immediately awestruck by the white skates.  I wanted to see if I could find anything better though in terms of a card to illustrate my point.  Not a single hockey card shows a player in white skates.  I'd say 90% of them are posed shots in front of a blue wall.....and that means either a closeup or a 3/4 body shot.

Anyways, I pulled a couple pics off of a Google search to help out this post.

Yikes!  The word intimidating does not come to mind.

Back to "Charlie O."......better known as Charlie O. Finley.  Before the 1970/71 season, Finley (who was the flamboyant owner of baseball's Oakland A's at the time) became the owner of the then Oakland Seals.  Two games into the new season, he felt the need to change the team name to the California Golden Seals (he was all about the marketing and fan appeal).

Additionally, he changed the team colors to green and gold to match his Oakland A's look.  Apparently those were popular colors back in the day.


But the kicker (literally) was the colored skates, which were actually green and gold to begin with before switching to the all-white look.

Needless to say, the new look was not embraced by the players and were ridiculed for the display.

These days, they look like a very cool piece of hockey history.  At the time, I can only imagine what it would be like to go out there looking like the ugly duckling of the lot.

Those would be a cool pair to have hanging in the den, but that's about it.

Throughout the history of the Oakland/California Golden Seals, there were a number of moments that will forever cement this team as one of the most unique in hockey history.

The skates, the name change mid-season, but how about another little bonus tidbit.

BONUS 'DID YOU KNOW' - The Seals were the first team to re-introduce the trend of putting last names on the backs of players jerseys.

In 1926, the New York Americans experimented with putting last names on the backs of jerseys.  It immediately got the thumbs down.  In the mid-70's, the California Golden Seals decided to bring the look back.  This time it was to stay.  And by the 77/78 season, it was mandatory.

I remember hearing a story about how Toronto owner Harold Ballard would be resistant to putting the names on the backs.  It meant more people would have to buy programs in order to figure out who was who.

Whether it was true or not I don't know.  But when it came to Mr. Ballard, nothing would surprise me.

Yup.........still ugly looking.  I can just hear Reggie Leach cringing in this shot. more slice of Seals info.

DOUBLE BONUS 'DID YOU KNOW' - The Seals (it is argued) were on the wrong side of one of the most one-sided trades in NHL history.

At the end of the 1970 season, the Seals (in their infinite wisdom) traded their 1st round pick in the '71 Draft to Montreal (along with Francois Lacombe) in return for Montreal's 1st round pick in the '70 Draft (selecting Chris Oddleifson), Ernie Hicke and some cash.

While the Seals continued to play horrible hockey, can you guess who Montreal selected with their newly acquired draft pick?

Like I said......the most one-sided trade in history.

And just to show off those white skates a little more (go to the 3:00 mark)

You welcome Casey!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


It was trade night at the local card store and I was really looking forward to the trip down there.  I knew there would be a big Linden card waiting for me.

But I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that there was not just one Linden on standby......but two.

The shop owner mentioned to me that he had a food issue card from way back.  He said "You probably have this one, but here you go."  And he passed over this little gem.

1992 Humpty Dumpty
Series II (mini)

Literally.......a little gem.  It's about a quarter of the size of a regular card.  He was right, I did have a copy of it already.  The funny thing is, the copy I have is enclosed in the cello pack.  So if you're a real stickler (which I can be at times), I technically need this card.

So I'm proudly placing this in my Linden post.  And it sits nicely next to this bad boy.

2011/12 ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 11
Superbox - Game Used Memorabilia and Auto 1/1

Oh baby.  This is one nice card.  And it's a redemption card made specifically for the 2012 Toronto Spring Expo.

I had put the notice out to a few people to keep an eye out for this card (and it's brother, the emblem piece) and to let me know if one or both are redeemed.

Sure enough, the Saturday of the Expo I get an e-mail from a fellow collector out there for the show saying that the Mem/Auto was pulled and that he gave the guy my e-mail.  He also said that if a deal was consummated that he would front the cash.  After a quick back and forth with the card owner, we came to a deal.  The card would be safe and sound and ready for me to pick up the next time I saw him.

I was pretty pumped when I saw the card in person for the first time.  Knowing that the only place to get the card was at the Spring Expo in Toronto, and to be able to land this 1/1 is really something special.

And it was only the start of what would be one of the most fun trade nights I've ever attended (I'll just say that Between The Pipes was very very good to me).  Stay tuned for my pickups.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


A quick post tonight to give a shout out to a new member of the hobby board that I hang out at the most, and to a couple of other members who gave him my name.

It resulted in a great "win-win" scenario for not just me....but another Linden collector.

A while back, I had my eye on an auction for a Trevor Linden Captain-C autograph.....the gold version.  The gold ones are numbered to just 10 so finding one was tough in itself.  This auction was really well hidden too (I like those).

It seems that the seller listed the card via and listed his shipping destination to just Canada.  What did that all mean you ask?  Well, if you did a search on would not have seen said card.

With just a few minutes left, the card was sitting at a mere $10.  A huge steal if you ask me.  I prepared my bid and with seconds left - hit enter.

To my surprise (and disappointment) I was unable to bid on the item.  I ended up not submitting a bid and somebody walked away with a stellar deal on the card.

I later found out that I was blocked by the seller and not allowed to bid on any of his items.  It seems I had purchased from him before.....and the transaction did not go smoothly.  What can I say - he sent my cards in a plain white envelope.  I called him out and he responded by blocking me.  That was a year ago.

The moment I found that out, I was relieved that I hadn't won the auction for the gold Linden auto.  I even messaged him letting him know that he missed out on a huge sale.  I was prepared to pay 8 times what the card went for.

His loss.  :)

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago.  I get contacted by someone out of the blue saying that he was told I might be interested in a card he had.  Yup.....same card (a different copy of it though).  Absolutely I was interested.

He was new to the hobby boards and so I helped him through the transaction process.  I even offered to pay upfront (as it is policy to have the new user send first).

Everything went silky smooth and today I received this little gem in the mail...

2011/12 ITG Captain-C
#A-TL Gold Autograph (print run of 10)

This is a great card to cross off the list.  I was able to land the card for well less than the $80 I was going to bid on the previous one (I would have lost out on it anyways) and thus both Linden collectors got great deals on this card.

And a huge shout out to you Stef for helping me with my Linden collection.  And to the pair of members who gave Stef my name - thanks as well.  I really appreciate the great camaraderie that exists between collectors.

One extra tidbit.  Wednesday is monthly trade night.  I'm looking forward to seeing some of the goodies people picked up at the Toronto Expo.  And one goody in particular that someone picked up for me.  Stay's a gooder.

Goodies.......goody.......gooder.  I've been hanging out with my niece a bit much lately me thinks.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


This issue has been bugging me for a good couple of weeks now. I thought that I would help sift through my feelings/thoughts/vents by posting about it.

In a nutshell.....Honesty is the backbone of not just this hobby, but how we live our day-to-day lives.  At the end of the day when there's nobody else around and you are just looking at yourself in the mirror, can you look at yourself and say "I was honest about __________"?

For this post though, I will be talking about honesty from a hobby standpoint.

What makes a person "honest" in this hobby?  I think honesty comes into play when you start interacting with fellow hobbyists (be it collectors, buyers, dealers, or the fellow next to you at the show).  How you present yourself, what you say, how you act and how (if it gets to this point) you deal/trade with others have a direct impact on how you are perceived in terms of "honest/dishonest".

And that's the key word here........perceived.

We are somewhat at the mercy of having "blind faith" when dealing with others in the hobby.  Unless you've built a rapport with someone over time, you are left to decide in an instant "Do I trust this person".  You have to decide if they are honest or not.  Sometimes by just a few words they type in front of a computer screen.

And from what I've learned over the years, honesty can easily be hidden under sheets of deception.  People out there looking for an advantage or even worse - taking advantage.

Am I hesitant when I deal with people I don't know?  It depends.  How did I come to meet this person.  Was I introduced to them through a mutual collector friend?  Did I just bump into them at a show?  Am I tying a private message to them out of the blue?

That's a big one.  Dealing with people online.  This is where honesty (and dishonesty) really become amplified on both ends.

I could be a real jerk......and you wouldn't know it.  If I built up a wall of friendly, honest words for months at a time.....I could very easily define myself as something I'm not.  And vice versa.

The interesting thing is that a lot of people I've read via online blogs or comment boards are pretty much what I expected them to be when I have gotten to know them.  In some instances....their typed words amplify the person they are, but for the most part, I've gravitated to those I feel are good, honest people.

But at the end of the day......I don't know for sure.

I look at my own work and I can say that I am proud of how I have written my posts, how I have presented myself to the hobby and how I treat my fellow hobbyists/bloggers.  I try to be as honest as I can.

Am I perfect?  Nope.  I do my best......but there are times where I would love to hit the "re-do" button.  Do I expect others to be perfect?  Nope.  But I do prefer people looking in the mirror and coming to the realization themselves rather than having it bluntly pointed out to them - or worse....getting busted in a lie.

I'm fine with people making mistakes (I've made my fair share of them over the years) and actually appreciate when someone can be open and honest about it.  It's a breath of fresh air to hear someone say "I'm sorry...I made a mistake".  It shows me that you are responsible enough to admit and take ownership of the error.

And it can range from incorrectly accusing someone of doing something, misrepresenting themselves (having something they might not actually own), giving out incorrect information or even simply backing out of a trade.  And in order to be honest with your fellow first have to be honest to yourself.

Looking in the mirror and being honest with yourself ........that's the true way of getting ahead in this hobby......and in life.

Sorry for the long write.  I just have had a couple of experiences recently that has made me do a quick check on this.  Some people have called me naive or even a "sucker" in the past.  I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt.....right off the bat.  Why?  Because in the brief time that I have dealt with them.....I've never been lied to (not that I know of at least).  So why wouldn't I trust them.

Maybe that's the wrong way to do things, but I hate looking at someone that I don't know and automatically paint them with a dishonest label.

To me, trust and honesty are two of the absolute biggest aspects of this hobby.....and I take them very seriously.  I do my best to gain those traits and I cherish the numerous relationships I have built in the hobby as a result.

Alright.....enough of my rambling.  I'll throw it to you.

Where does "honesty" sit on your list of traits when it comes to this hobby?  What are your thoughts on it?  How honest a hobbyist do you consider yourself?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

MY COLLECTION - Chris Pronger Is Stalking Me

Have you ever pulled a card of a player and thought "Blech.....I can't believe I got him again."?  Does a certain player always seem to pop up in your packs and make you cringe?  Are you sick and tired of getting the same guy over and over again?

Years back, it was Chris Chelios.  And if I see another one of those Black Diamond single jersey cards of his.....I'll crack.

This year the honor definitely goes to Chris Pronger.


I recently pulled this (barely) two-color jersey card out of ITG's 'Captain C' product.  At the time it was just another Pronger card....just another jersey card, but after sifting through my traders I noticed a very disturbing trend.

This Pronger Prime patch card from this year's Panini 'Limited' product was one of the hits in my single box break.  Numbered to just 25 and showcasing a pretty thick seam, this card would be a pretty solid pull....if it weren't for the fact that it was - Pronger.

This takes us to Exhibit C.

Another low numbered pull.......another Pronger.

This three-colored patch/auto card is numbered to just 5.  And for a Pronger fan this would be a real gem.

Anyone?........Bueller?  Bueller?

Thought so.  By the way, thanks Chris for cropping your own signature.  I appreciate your help in making your cards even less desirable to me.

In all honesty, I'm showing off these cards because I had an inquiry on them.  Fingers crossed I just enticed him enough.

So do you have any hobby stalkers?  I'm assuming if the answer is yes and the players are Gretzky or Crosby you're not too disappointed in it.  I want to hear the horror stories though.  Hit me with your worst.

And just because it's one of my fave movies from the 80's....