Thursday, November 28, 2013

MY COLLECTION - Some Recent Vintage

How do you define vintage?  Cards before 1990?  Cards before 1980?  Anything with an "old" player on it?

For me, vintage is anything pre-Gretzky rookie year.  I was introduced to the world of hockey cards in 1980 (I missed the Gretzky RC by one little year) and I've always considered those cards to be "of my era".  And there's no way that I'm vintage.

But over the past decade there have been many cards released featuring players from the 20's, 30's on up through the 70's.  Some even have pieces of memorabilia.

As cool as these cards are....they are not vintage to me.

But at the show last weekend, I couldn't help but pick up a couple (same guy that had the Parkies).

2004/05 ITG Franchises
Trophy Winners Gold
#WTW-10 Charlie Gardiner
Chicago Sportsfest  1/1

I know this card is a show card, but that piece of pad is legit.  To grab an old piece of leather like that for under $10 was an easy decision for me.

There are only so many pieces that can come from guys who played in the 30's.  I have no doubt that this card won't be declining in value any time soon.

2004/05 ITG Franchises
Double Memorabilia Silver
#EDM-06 Tiny Thompson

This card is not the show version.  One piece is pad and one is glove....can you tell which is which?  Neither can I.

I really like the design of this set.  The base cards, the memorabilia, the autos.  And the photo used on this card is a great shot from the 30's.  Take a moment to let that sink in.  Game used memorabilia from 80 years ago.

And no....I'm starting up any new projects with these pickups.  These cards were just too good to pass up.  Hopefully I'll be able to trade them for some pc cards.  A Linden or two would be nice.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - Jumbo Mailday Platter

There's a saying that when it rains, it pours.  The past month has been giving me that feeling.  Today I picked up not one, but two cards from the post office.  Cards that definitely fit the bill of jumbo.

You may remember just a couple weeks ago that I picked up this gem of a card (thanks to some great help at the Toronto Expo).  It was a card that I didn't think would ever hit my collection...let alone see the light of day.

And wouldn't you know it, not two days later, the silver version of the card (limited to just 4 copies) pops up on ebay.  The first one of its kind I've seen since the product came out.

At first I was going to pass on it.  After all, I had just landed the gold 1/1, and I knew there were a couple other biggies about to hit the mailbox.  I figured I'd let somebody else throw bids at it.

Then I learned that another Linden collector already had his copy.  That means just 3 are left.  It was a little last minute, but I decided to go for it.

2012/13 ITG Superlative III
#JP-11 Jumbo Patch Silver  /4

The patch is actually a little nicer in my opinion than it's 1/1 gold counterpart.  And I think that if I pieced them together they would spell the "K" and "S" from "Canucks".  The only thing that differentiates this silver version from the gold....the foil on the "Jumbo Patch" words are silver on one and gold on the other.  Woo hoo.

That leaves me just 5 cards away from landing the 20-card "rainbow" from Superlative III.  Granted, four of them are 1/1's and two of those are in another person's collection.....but I'm close.

So what was in the other bubble mailer?

2012/13 Upper Deck The Cup
#85 Masterpiece Printing Plate Black  1/1

Oh....not much.  This was another card that I flip flopped over.  Printing plates don't normally command a lot of dough (this one was a healthy amount, but not ridiculous) and it is a 1/1.  At the end of the day - I caved.

But at least I caved with something for my Linden collection.  Normally my cavings consist of box breaks that sit in my trade box for way too long.

This Linden (as with all of them) will get the red carpet treatment.

PARKIE PROJECT - The Start Of A New Collection

A number of months back a question was thrown out to the members of one of the hobby boards I belong to.  It was a simple question in its succinctness...but could be seen as much more complex if one allows.

"What are your bucket list goals/projects/wishes in this hobby?"

I have a few listed in the back of my brain.  But there was one that has been giving me the itch to start for quite some time.  And this past weekend at the card show...I decided to start it.

I would like to build and complete a set of 1951/52 Parkhurst Hockey.

Yes, it's a tall task I know.  But I've always been mesmerized by the simple beauty these cards possess.  I've always wanted to buy one but have always been intimidated by the potential "big ticket" aspect these cards can command.  But I finally went for it.

To many, this set is an iconic set in all of trading cards.  It was the first post-WWII set of hockey cards to be put out and has a truly rich checklist.

Measuring 1 3/4 x 2 1/2 inches, this 105-card set was the first set printed in more than a decade at the time and thus has an almost exclusive list of rookie cards.  The three biggest names - Terry Sawchuk, Maurice Richard and Gordie Howe.

Yeah, this is a mountain.

The book value of this set well exceeds $10,000 and high-graded copies of the cards easily garner thousands of dollars.  Thankfully, I will not be pursuing the top end stuff.

Instead, I will be finding that fine line.  Cards that make me happy both in the aesthetics of the cardboard and the price tag associated with it.  I have no expectations on the final price I'd like to pay for a built set (because this will take a looooooong time).  Instead, I'm looking for those diamonds in the rough....or a kick ass sale.

I got the latter last weekend.

1951/52 Parkhurst
#47 - Harry Lumley RC

Let's start with a goalie shall we?  This is a great action shot (a rarity in this set) featuring Hawks netminder Harry Lumley.  This card will give you a good indication of the condition I am looking for in this set.

It is not terribly off-centre, has good color, a pretty unblemished surface (this card has a bit of a crease in the lower left corner...but you wouldn't see it unless reflecting it off the light) and "not horrible" corners.

I don't know what it would be graded if I sent it to PSA, but I'm guessing it would garner more than a 1 or 2.

Now, I'm pondering whether or not to divulge the prices I pay on each card.  For now, I'm keeping that info documented privately.  Maybe down the road I will share some of those stats with you.  What I will do is share the book value (according to my somewhat outdated Beckett magazine)

BV $90-150

A great start to the set.

1951/52 Parkhurst
#85 Cal Gardner RC

Oh.....there's more.  This Gardiner is another rookie card and its traits are very similar to the Lumley.  A lot of the pictures have this kind of pose - simple, straightforward, bland.  But hey, it was over 60 years ago...they had no idea we'd want high quality action shots.

There are a couple of small ink marks on the back of the card which do not concern me in the least.  Another great add to the set.

BV $50-80

I'm saving the best for last.

1951/52 Parkhurst
#105 Jim Conacher RC

This was the card that started it all.  I just love the rich color in this card.  Amazing since there's only red and blue  There's some great detail in the jersey, gloves and laces as well.

What I didn't know at the time that I bought this card is that it's the last in the set....and thus is very condition sensitive.  Think about it, many copies of this card would be hugging elastic bands or coffee stained tables.

This is the best centered card out of the three and the corners almost have a uniform look.  I heard that Parkhurst would use a cement mixer as a tumbler to mix up the cards before distributing them into the packs.  How any copies managed to keep its sharp corners is beyond me.

Here's the back so you can take a look at the condition bar that I'm putting up.

BV $100-200

And with that - the start of the Parkie Project.  If you are looking forward to seeing the finished job, sit back and enjoy the'll be a long one.  I'm easily giving myself 15-20 years - if not more.

Parkie Progress - 3 out of 105  (2.9%)

Monday, November 25, 2013

MY COLLECTION - An Action Packed Islander

One of the things I like most about card shows is when I find a card that I've just never seen before.  And I don't mean like an old vintage card...more like an unreleased promo or a local issued item.

I found a few cards like that at the weekend show (with most going to other people) and one will sit for a while in my collection.  I think it's just that cool.

But first, let me play a little "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon".

I'm currently reading this Messier biography (I know....Messier!!!).  But in all honesty I'm quite enjoying the first part of the book - the Oiler days.  It has taken me back to my first exposure to the NHL when the Oilers and Islanders ran the show.  There's some good stuff in there.

That got me on the whole Islanders thing.

And oh, by the way, here's the lovely inscription left in the book.

So kind to have it personally signed.  I'm glad he didn't rub any sort of salt in the wound.  One other thing I didn't realize about this book is that it's a die-cut.  When I'm done with it - there will surely be some cutting...and some dying.

Mark.....class act all the way.  (I was laughing out loud when I typed that).

Anyways, onto the card I'm planning on showing off.

1993 Action Packed
HOF Induction
#3 Billy Smith

This card is one I've never come across in my decades of collecting.  Now just so you know, the auto is not normally a part of the card.  This one was signed in person.  Still, it's a beaut.

Part of a 10-card set released in 1993 to commemorate that year's Hall of Fame inductees, this Smith is the "big" card in the set.  It's got a matte finish to the background, rounded corners and is thick (to allow for the embossed feature of the player portion of the photo).  A silver Stanley Cup foil piece sits in the top right corner.  Pretty simple design if you ask me.

Which really makes you focus on the photo of Smith.  I remember everything about that.  The helmet (it's more mid-80's as opposed to the early 80's), the leather, the iconic jerseys and the scruffy beard.  Dude was always in playoff form.

The back of the card states that he is "considered on of the best 'big game' netminders of all time."  Can't argue with that.  Some of his best work came against the Oilers in the Finals.  He flat out stole games from them.

Not sure what'll eventually happen to the card, but it's got a happy home here for now.  Don't think I'll see another one of these anytime soon.

LINDEN CARD(S) OF THE WEEK - Card Show Pickups

It was a weekend that I have been looking forward to for quite some time. We finally had a "big" card show here in town.  Not as big as Expo in Toronto, but definitely bigger than anything we've seen in over 3 years.  And I was thrilled to see it come to fruition.

I'll show off more of my goodies throughout the week.  Tonight it'll just be the Linden pickups.  And there were only two.  But two is better than zero.

2013/14 Upper Deck Trilogy
#SP-TL Signature Pucks

I was hoping to find a card like this locally.  There are enough copies of it out there that surely someone would have it.  The best part was that the seller hunted me down to tell me about it.  I like when other people find cards for me.  I like it even more when they don't try and charge "Linden Tax" on top of the price.

I made my offer and he took it.  A very simple and smooth transaction for a solid looking piece.  There are two parallel version of this card.  One with a retro logo puck /13 (on it's way) and a shield logo puck /3 (that one will be tougher to find since one is already tucked away in another person's pc).

2012/13 Upper Deck The Cup
#B-TL Brilliance Auto

This card looks pretty sharp in person.  It is super-thick (for some unknown reason) but the brilliance logo and silver team emblem are recessed quite deep.  It's a nice effect (and surprisingly scans well).  The front is a little scuffy, but I don't think that was from mishandling.  The guy I bought it from knows his cards well.

His price was a little higher than I wanted to pay, but I bit on it since it's always nice to buy locally.  No mailing of cards or shipping fees.

I'm sure I'll find some go for less down the road, but this one will remind me of a fantastic card show weekend.

Stay tuned for more goodies and some shocking surprises (a hint...I started on one of my "bucket list" projects).

Friday, November 15, 2013


Another trade night come and gone and while it was a little lighter in participation...the take home was big.

Jumbo even!

I always enjoy seeing new concepts for Linden cards and the past 2-3 years have seen a plenty.  Too much in some instances.

From the Captain C to a monster quad auto, nameplates and multiple jersey pieces, there are a lot of really great memories.

Tonight was yet another chapter.  One I won't soon forget.

Well over a year ago, Superlative III was released by ITG.  And while I have slowly tracked down the bulk of the cards from the product, there are still a few that have managed to elude me.

With some cards it's tough.  Numbered out of 9 or 2 or the dreaded 1/1's makes tracking down these pieces a bit of a shoulder shrug.  They might come easy or they might never see the light of day.

One such card had a story like that.

Believe it or not, some people buy cards with no real rhyme or reason behind their collecting....and then shove the cards in the closet never to be seen again.  Gak!!!  What if a rare Linden lives in there?

Well, one such Linden did - for a year.  Then, out of the blue, this person with this rare Linden card just decides he wants to sell it.  Uhhhhh...ok.  So up on ebay it went.  And the price was not one I was going to budge at...rare or not.

I did reach out to the seller and soon learned it was a person whom I've met before.  He was selling the card for the actual owner.  We worked out a deal and this past weekend at the Expo in Toronto I had somebody pick it up for me.

It hit my hands tonight and boy did it feel nice.

2012/13 In The Game Superlative III
#JP-11 Jumbo Patch Gold  1/1

Oh yeah!  This scan does not do the card justice.  It is a fantastic looking piece and one of the best patches I have in my entire collection.

Why does it feel nice?

Because I cracked it out of its case.  I am an official Superlative toploader cracker.  I will not keep any of my cards in those holders ever again.

So even though I didn't make it out to the Expo, I feel like somehow the Expo came to me.

Thanks very much to Eli and Jeremy for making this transaction happen.

Now the card will forever be shoved in my closet.  So take one last look at it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

MY COLLECTION - The Best Piece Of Pink In It

Over the month of October, I have been following The Hockey Life a little closer than normal.  Young Colin has been providing some well used hockey tape in the hopes of raising money for a very worthy cause.

Game-used blade tape was carefully removed each week and put up for auction on ebay.  All the money earned from the auctions are donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

And although there were no bids on the final auction (sadly....the starting price was just $2.49!!!), Colin and crew built up over $76 in funds.


My nicely laid out tape arrived last week.

I asked if Colin could autograph it for me and he kindly obliged.  Thanks very much.  I'm planning to take it in to work to put with my other special items.

In addition to the stick tape, there were a couple bonus surprises in the package.

Some of you may recall the Doug Keans story.  Well he currently coaches Colin.  So these cards have a special connection.

Love it!!!!  And the pinky just makes me snicker even more.  Thanks very much.

I also received a Trevor Linden card from ITG's Heroes and Prospects and a very nice handwritten letter from Colin himself.

Thanks very much for taking the time to write to me.  And thank you for everything you sent.

Continue having a great season guys!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


With the Toronto Fall Expo over and done with for another year (and no...I did not make the trip), I have found myself keeping a close eye on the new Linden cards released.

For the past couple years, Trev has made his way into various redemption programs at these bigger shows and just keeping track of the new adds to the checklist can prove to be tasking.  The Fall Expo has no doubt brought a few more cards to the list.  I've already seen some Superlative: The First Six and Decades 90s hit ebay (and with healthy prices on them).

I'm finding that I'm less excited about these this time around and have decided to wait - maybe for a long while.  There are other cards that have piqued my interest more.

In the meantime, there have been a couple new Linden cards to hit the pc this past week.  One of which was a great find at an even better price.

2012/13 Upper Deck The Cup
#85 Game Used Patch  /10

I've said it many times before....I love the patch cards that come from the ol' yellow and orange jersey.  This might not be the most elaborate patch design out of the 10 cards made up for this release, but so far it's been the cheapest.  That'll do me just fine.

The patch window is a decent size, but I would have loved to have seen a photo that matched.  And the middle of the card is just screaming for an autograph.  Either add one or give me more photo.

Still, next to the 1/1 in the release, this is the toughest of The Cup cards I have to chase down this year.  Me likes.

Now on the flip side, I picked up a Linden at the last local show (which also happened to run last weekend).  It's amazing how much I enjoy finding a simple base card if I need it.  That tells me that I am collecting what I'm supposed to collect.

2013/14 Panini Select
#178 base

This is a nice looking base card from an equally nice looking set.  Shiny, nice photo.  But I'm lost as to why this product has come out so close to the release of Panini Prizm?  The sets seem very similar in many ways.  Especially the price point.

That....and the release of Upper Deck's flagship product Series I will likely put this Select product out of the minds of many.  It's a shame....looks like a nice set.

Anyways, I got mine.  Now to track down the parallels.

And yes, it does seem that a redemption version of this card /25 was released at the Expo.  One more for the list.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

OPINION - Local Card Shows (Big Ones)

I love going to card shows.  I've said it before that I feel very fortunate that I am able to go to a local show once a month during the fall/winter months.  It's a chance to get out, window shop, touch  base with other collectors, talk shop and on occasion pick up a sweet pc item.

But while the small monthly shows are fun, they are just that - small.

It's been over two years since I've seen a bigger show come through town.  Not sure exactly why?  There are two very successful promotions that have put on shows in the province recently...just not in Calgary, and nothing this year or last.

I've been fortunate enough to make it out to the Toronto Expo a couple times in the past couple years and while it is a bit overwhelming at times - it's a ton of fun.  Why can't we have something like this here?'s going to happen.  In just a few weeks.

Shameless plug: I designed the poster.

A couple people decided to quit waiting and start acting.  They've put the pieces together to what hopefully will be at very least an annual event.

The Card Show will hopefully have 40-50 tables set up, door prizes, autograph guests and more.

Yeah....autograph guests.  And what a group.  Three guys from the Stanley Cup winning Flames team of 1989.  Jim Peplinski, Joel Otto and Tim Hunter.  I've got a cool story about Tim Hunter that I'll share leading up to the show.

What excites me the most in talking about (and listen to people talk about) this show is that it really feels like a throwback show.  Something I haven't seen the likes of in a number of years.

Spending a day reliving some great Calgary memories, looking at some great Calgary memorabilia and just enjoying a "slice of Calgaryana".

As a hobbyist, I feel it's important to support these shows (especially if they can prove there's some worth to them).  Because without people coming out to these shows - these shows just won't exist.

So if you live in Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan, heck Canada, Northern US, c'mon out on Nov. 23 & 24 to what should be the best card show to hit the city in quite some time.

I've already got my calendar marked.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

PACK RIPPING - 2013/14 Panini Prizm

I'm finally cleaning off my desk!  There....I've said it.

I've got paperwork and cards strewn all over my desk - some dating back a number of months.  So tonight I spent some time putting cards away (and I did some scanning at the same time).

I noticed a common theme with a lot of the cards.  Pack ripping.

That.....and caving.  Bordering on regret and buyer's remorse.

But I so enjoy ripping wrappers.  And a little bit every once in a while is ok.  As long as I get good stuff inside.

SPOILER: This is not one of those instances.

I was eyeballing some packs of Prizm on the shelf last month at trade night.  The shiny silver wrappers got the best of me and I bought five packs.

After hitting a bunch of blanks....I bought a couple more.

I put a stop to things right after that.  Ugh.

On with the show!!!

2013/14 Panini Prizm
(7 packs)

This is a nice product if you like shiny sets.  It's got a look and feel of the ol' Topps Finest products from the mid-90's.

How sad that I can't even remember how much packs cost...but I do know that it's not a low-end product.

There's a 300-card base set to chase with 100 of them rookie cards.  There are also colored parallel cards (with limited print runs), some die-cut goodies and autos...albeit stickers.  No memorabilia.

It's a nice design.  Nothing over the top (I think the shiny silver does enough of that).  Basic 3/4 body shots with not much action in the photography.

Minimal card design elements with aggressive font styles.  A thick card stock and that's that.

Player selection is ok.  Stamkos and Landeskog were my best base cards pulled.

I mentioned rookie cards and they come one per pack.  Some guys I've never heard of before (in a double rookie class...not good).  This Granlund would be my best hit.  And that's not saying much.

Very similar look to the regular base cards.  I'm already getting bored.

I did manage this insert.  It's not numbered...or rare.  I dunno, is this any good?

Quarter box it is.

The "big hit" in my 7 packs was this Mike Richter Immortalized Stanley Cup die-cut card.  I think Panini has a bit of a love affair with putting full shots of The Cup on the front of their cards.

I'm just happy it wasn't Mark Messier.  I've already felt the pain of this pack ripping episode enough.

I need to refer to this post the next time I get the urge to open packs.

Who am I kidding....I'll never learn!

Now, back to my desk cleaning (it would go so much quicker if I just attacked it a little differently.....where's my garbage can?)

Monday, November 4, 2013

12 in 12 - October Review

It took a little longer than expected but I managed to finish off another book during this year-long challenge to myself.  I have really grown to enjoy reading...sometimes for long stretches.  Taking the niece (and more recently my nephew) to the library for some solid bonding - even if it's just sitting in the company of the other person, silently as we enjoy the written word.

This month's book (or should I say October's) was one that I was drawn to mostly because I knew a new biography was coming out.  A biography that I wasn't sure would ever be written or released.  The subject being a very personal, and reclusive superstar.

This was a book that has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time and I am really happy to be able to now say that I have read it.

Searching For Bobby Orr
Stephen Brunt
284 pages

To many, Bobby Orr the greatest hockey player ever to lace up the skates.  To most, he's in the top five.  To me, he went up the list after reading this book.

In what would definitely be considered an agonizing career, shortened by knee injuries, Bobby had a talent that far exceeded his peers of the time.  He is one of very few to have truly changed the game.  Evolving it and revolutionizing it.  He had talent that was noticed at such an early age and his path to stardom in the NHL was all but guaranteed by the time he could legally drive a car.

Yet it's the person himself that most people don't know anything about.  He rarely (if ever) let the outside world in for people to see what he was really like.  And while Searching For Bobby Orr doesn't accomplish gives us probably our best snapshot.

note: Bobby Orr was approached by Stephen Brunt regarding this book but declined to participate.  He also asked that family and friends not be approached either.  Stephen Brunt respected his wishes.

Searching For Bobby Orr felt more like a story of atmospheres and landmarks.  Scene sets and circumstances.  All with Bobby Orr deep in the mix.  While we never get in depth with Bobby's life or career at any given point, the path the book takes gives one a very good sense of how his life growing up and hockey career progressed.

Events like his signing with Boston (he was never drafted....the Entry Draft didn't exist at the time), his ascension to the top of the league both in scoring and with a pair of Stanley Cups.  His chronic knee problems, his omission from the 1972 Canadian team that battled the Russians.  His betrayal by then agent Alan Eagleson and eventual move to Chicago to end his career.  It's all in there, but it lacks that first person account.

Stephen Brunt is a very good writer and he puts the story together in a very entertaining way.  While it was a bit of a slow starter for me, his NHL story was one I really enjoyed.  I would have loved to have learned more about the Eagleson relationship as it is to this day one that still irks Orr.  (I hope in hie new autobiography, Bobby addresses it a little more bluntly).

For fans of hockey in the 70's, this would be a must read.  For those of you who want to learn a bit about the greatest defenceman of all-time, pick this one up.  It will give you a very good surface account of his career.  It doesn't dive deep - but that's tough to do without the man himself getting involved.

3.5 out of 5

November's book...

Only because I have a personalized autographed copy of the book (I'll explain later).