Monday, March 31, 2014

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - Some ITG Silver Linings

With In The Game's newest offering coming out this past week, I knew it would only be a matter of time before a few new cards would be added to the collection.

The big question was "Which ones?" and "When?"

With a name like In The Game Used, one can quickly deduce that all of the cards on the wantlist are of the game used variety.  And there are parallels as well.  The silver versions run between 30 and 60 copies while the golds are out of 10.

There's also another dreaded Nameplate (it's a Montreal jersey...looks good) and one other 1/1.  So the wave of cards hitting the open market will be quick and beefy.

Which is why my attitude towards a lot of the cards on the wantlist has changed from years past.  No longer am I chasing copies of anything and everything I need.  I have to be selective.  If I'm not - I'm busting the bank...simple as that.

So when I see silver versions /60, I just yawn.  Why chase those when the odds are good that they'll be around months from now - and at cheaper prices.

That's what I'm doing with the Decades 90s product.  Only now am I chasing some of the "lower end" Lindens in the release.

I wasn't even planning on putting the new silver jersey cards from In The Game Used on my radar, but a chance e-mail changed my mind.  I received a message from another local collector who opened a lot of the product.  He knew I collected Linden and showed me the Trev's he pulled.

I initially told him that I was going to pass.  The prices I'd be looking at spending would be less than what he could get currently on the open market.  He told me to fire an offer at him..."Cash is king".  That's true.  So I did.

And here's what I picked up.

In The Game Used Jersey
Silver (limited to 50 copies)

This card has a nice two-color piece with a thick seam.  Out of the 50 copies available, I'd say this looks will be the best of the lot.

A bit of empty space on the card design for my liking.  But I do believe that it's a new photo used.  That's always nice.  The jersey piece doesn't match the photo though.  Points lost.  :)

Captain C
Silver (limited to 30 copies)

A little more scarce...but still not rare enough to really make me throw a lot of money towards.

I like the design of this.  I wonder if it's a generic crowd in the background or if there is some Vancouver significance?

Again...another new photo.  Noice!!!

Teammates w/ Pavel Bure
Silver (limited to 60 copies)

The Linden is a white swatch and another card of 60 copies.  Nothing overly desirable here....except that it was for the right price, it was a local pickup and I paid in cdn currency.

That white swatch doesn't look so bad now.

Oh....and there's Bure too.

Quad Franchises w/ Naslund, Bure & Luongo
Silver (limited to 60 copies)

Yup.  Four guys, a theme and some jerseys.

Coming this fall on CBS.

Cup Battles w/ Messier, Richter & Bure
Silver (limited to 50 copies)

If there was one card that was the real "steal" of the bunch it might be this one.  It looks like it's the higher demand card on ebay....but let's see where the bidding sits after a couple months.  That's when I would have started to chase this copy if it hadn't come available this weekend.

Overall, I am really happy with my pickups.  Anytime I can buy locally it's a good thing.  Like groceries.....home grown is better.  Supports the economy.  Things like that.

I think I paid a fair price (I know it was a price I was firm on) and I also think that down the road these prices will look good for the seller too.  I told him that's it's a tougher go with the Linden collecting these days with all the cards out there.  Lots to choose from and a lot of low-numbered stuff.  So the key is "choice".

Now the question becomes "Who's next?"

Sunday, March 30, 2014

BOX BREAK - In The Game Used

I caved- AGAIN!!!!

But sometimes that's a good thing.

So I was out running some errands with my nephew this afternoon and one of the stops happened to be the local card shop.  I don't normally hit the card shops on the weekend as it can get me into trouble real quick.  But I needed new toploaders for the revamping of my Linden collection (finally sorting that out properly).

Anyways.....when I first walked into the shop I noticed the new ITG product on the shelf - In The Game Used.  And yes, my guy is in the product....a lot.  Twenty-one cards in total.  Six of those are Nameplate letters (from a Montreal jersey), one other 1/1 and the rest are most definitely on the radar.  That's yet another good wave of cards on the wantlist.

My nephew is not big into cards.  Actually.....he could care less about them.  And that's totally cool.  He respects that I like them and I think he enjoys that I enjoy the hobby.  I think he likes it too when I involve him in the little aspects about that I think would be fun for both of us.

I was finishing up with my supplies when I called my nephew over.  I asked him to pick a number between one and four (as there were four boxes of the product on the shelf).  He chose two.

Wanna see what he picked out for his uncle?  I knew you would.

2013/14 In The Game Used
(one box - four cards)

Oh yeah.  Another quick and funny story.

So my nephew thinks that all boxes of card have packs in them (like Score or OPC).  So when he saw the box of In The Game Used, he thought he was going to rip open some packs.

He opened up the box and was a little perplexed by the lack of cards and the abundance of emptiness.  His face was priceless.

Of course I knew what to expect and I explained to him that it there were just four cards in the box.

His reaction....."Boring!"

I on the other hand was really excited about the first card I saw.

Teammates Colorado
Joe Sakic & Peter Forsberg
Gold (limited to 10 copies)

A gold parallel to start with.  I was loving that.

In each pack you get a single game-used card, a double game-used, a triple and a quad.  So with no single on top....I got excited.

Guarding The Net Detroit
Terry Sawchuk, Roger Crozier & Ed Giacomin

Some gorgeous vintage on the triple.  That's 2 for 2 in my books.

Now I'll leave the next card in the pack until the end.  The "single" so to speak.

Forever Rivals
Grant Fuhr, Mark Messier, Billy Smith & Mike Bossy
Gold (limited to 10 copies)

Another gold parallel in the pack.  I really couldn't ask for anything more.

But what the heck....why not finish with something bigger.
Nameplate "M"
Tony Amonte (from his All Star jersey) 1/1

Geez.....way to pick 'em buddy!!!

Of course he was oblivious to what each card was (the scarcity or player names) but he could see my excitement.  What a bunch of fun.

Now hopefully I can turn these goodies into some Trevor Linden cards.  I've got a lot to knock off the list.

Oh yeah.....I'm bringing my nephew to trade nights from now on.  :)

HHOF AUTOS - One And One

The best thing about this HHOF Autos project I started is the element of trading.  It would be really easy to just hop on ebay and bid, bid, bid.  But my wallet would hate me for it.  That's the big reason why I added the "trade only" stipulation.

But over the past couple months I have noticed that trading for these cards has proved to be thoroughly enjoyable.  My most recent transaction occurred when I had Captain Canuck over for some 'zza and some Hockey Night In Canada (Habs edition).  He provided the food and it actually factored into the trade.

But so did these great Hall Of Famers...

Cammi Granato
(Inducted in 2010)

2010 proved to be a landmark year when it came to the Hockey Hall Of Fame.  Not one - but two women were inducted...the first two women enshrined (Angela James being the other).

Cammi Granato might just go down as the greatest women's hockey player of all-time.  She scored the first ever Olympic goal for the US women's hockey team at the 1998 Nagano Olympics (the US team would eventually win gold).  She is the team's all-time leading scorer with 343 points in 205 career games.

She was a trailblazer for women's hockey not just in the United States, but throughout the world.  There is no doubt that the effect she had on the game is being seen in spades these days.  Did you happen to see the Canada vs. US game at the Sochi Olympics?  Great drama.

The card itself comes from the 2009/10 Upper Deck hockey release.  The Champions auto insert set was a bit of a love/hate addition.  Some great names with hard-signed signatures like speedskater Gaetan Boucher, but a lot - A LOT of figure skaters.  I can see how some hockey folks might not like that.

Harry Howell
(Inducted in 1979)

And I would like to announce (another) upgrade.

This Harry Howell card has a nicer look to it than the 06/07 Parkhurst offering currently in the collection.  It's marginal....but noticable to me.

I like that Harry is actually out on the ice doing something (whatever it is he's doing....reaching I guess).  I also like that the signature works up the card.

The previous card in the pc is solid in its own sense, but I like this one better.  Plus it has a better backstory to it.

After all, it was part of the pizza trade.  Thanks Cap't.!

Current Collection - 38 HOF Autos

Saturday, March 29, 2014

SWEET GOALIE SIGS - Could It Be Yet Another Project??!!!

Do I have too much on my collecting plate?

I guess not according to the most recent trade night.

I was happily trading for some new additions to the HHOF Auto collection and came across a card that made me stop and appreciate.  Simple as that.

The card was so stunning that I have decided to start a new (albeit minor) project.

This hard-signed Rogie Vachon auto is awesome in person.  The artistic work done in capturing Rogie in his purple best, the vintage leather, the fibreglass crown mask and one heck of a sweet sig had me instantly drooling.

I was able to bundle it in with some HOF cards and was glad to tuck it in with them.

I got home and immediately started searching for the one other card that I instantly thought of when I saw the Vachon.

One of the nicest autos, one of the nicest photos and one of the nicest sets of all-time.

I was always trying to figure out what to do with this Maniago card.  Now I know.

These two cards are the start of what I am calling "The most awesome goalie autos of all-time" or Sweet Goalie Sigs.  The project is simple.  If I find an autographed goalie card that I think is the best one of them all, I'll try to snag it.

Full body shots (head on) are ideal.  And I'm not breaking the bank for this project.  It's gonna have about as much weight to my overall collection as my 1 vs. 100 set or my Raise The Cup project.....which is "Meh...whatever".

All I know is that these two cards are in a class of their own - and I just needed to give that class a name.

I'm not even going to keep tabs of who I have at this moment.  That's how little I've got pushed into this quest.  That's not to say I won't be looking.  Seeing that Vachon and hitting the brakes hard was an awesome feeling.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

BEHIND THE MASKS - Many, Many, Many Masked Men 5

I love toonie bins.  Especially when there are cards that I need in them.

At last weekend's card show I tracked down a bunch of them.  And once again - patience paid off.

For the better past of a year I have been slowly (very slowly) tracking down mask cards from the Masked Men 5 set put out in the Between The Pipes product.  I don't really chase this set as aggressively as I could, but with so many Linden cards out there I have had to slow my pickups on other projects.

But when a two dollar bin comes callin'........

....I just can't resist.

These cards have slowly dropped in price month after month - a result of declining desire.  The shiny cards don't have the same "wow factor" when new shiny cards come out every few weeks.

To me though, they are still shiny.

I really like this version of the Masked Men product.  No blurry photos, no junior players.  Just some good ol' NHL goalie masks - current and vintage.

And I'm a sucker for vintage.

C'mon....who doesn't like that Cobra mask from Gary Simmons?

Or this sweet lid from Bernie Parent's WHA days?  It's not the mask many remember him wearing during his career, but the iconic photo of Parent in this mask just trumps all of his Flyer offerings.

So much so that the photo is my computer wallpaper at work.  It's just that good.

Like I said, old and new.  Both have their distinct qualities - both good and bad.

The simplicity and bold colors of the vintage.  The intricacies and detail of the current.

It's a solid checklist put out in this In The Game offering.  And I've heard that there are some new faces in this year's I can only hope that it means new goalies and new masks added to the 2014 checklist.

This old school Belfour looks fantastic.  It's one of his early Chicago masks since his later offerings (with all teams) had the hidden "Eagle" name written in the feathers.

This mask looks a lot more menacing - as did Eddie's style of play when he first came into the league.  Can you believe that was about 25 years ago?

I like detail....but this is just a bit too much.  Can you even make out what this mask is all about?  I can't.

That's the struggle with current goalie lids.  The airbrush techniques used can be so intricate that it takes away from the whole picture when you step back to observe.

I like masks that have a bold statement from afar but can be appreciated for its detail up close.

Garth Snow in his "I'm so mad at Thomas Vanek" mask.  Or is that the "I'm so mad at myself" mask?

I kind of liked the abominable snowman look.  It kind of suited him.  Too bad he was better knwon for his mask than his play on the ice.

Here's more of the gang.

Now everyone on the count of three.....look to the left.

Some great 90's masks and some memorable helmets from todays goaltenders once again.

Actually....I take that back.  THIS is a helmet.

And really.....shouldn't be included in a set like this.  After all, it's a goalie mask set - not a goalie helmet set.

Just for fun, let's create a list of goalies that could create that checklist.

Chris Osgood (who would get some sort of lifetime achievement award)
Dan Cloutier
Arturs Irbe (of course)
Dominik Hasek

I'm loving the looks of this already.

Glenn Healy
Steve Penny
Rollie Melanson
Pat Riggin

Oh the list could go on forever.  But let's not do that.

All totalled.....SIXTEEN Masked Men 5 cards were added to the collection.  And the wantlist was hugely reduced.  I still have a few left to "chase".  Heck, I have cards from each of the five years of Masked Men cards still on the list.

Is it patience or laziness?  Same thing to me with this project.

Friday, March 21, 2014

TO THE BIKE SPOKES!! - Nighty Night

It's not that I haven't come across ugly cards over the past year....I just was too lazy to scan them.

So says the guy who has taken the better part of a year to add to the 'Spokes' collection.

I have no excuse - nor do I have any apologies.  It's my blog.  Ha ha!

But when I saw this card at the local card show this past weekend, I thought it was worthy of the .50 cents, the time to scan and the chance to catch up with all of you who love looking at terrible cards.

And this card is terrible.

First of all, let me just state that this is not a hockey offering.  It's football. Canadian football at that.  Don't judge (at least based on our card making skills).

In addition to the brutal photo slapped on the front of this "Pro Action" card (and by the way....this card is neither 'Pro' nor 'Action'), the card has zero information on it.  Nothing on the front to indicate what I'm looking at (or supposed to see), nothing on the back but a big cartoon telling me to "Test Your Football IQ".

Hey, my IQ is being tested by trying to figure out what year this card is from, what players I'm looking at, and what teams are playing.

It's card #130.....that's all I know (that and a guy by the name of Joe Zuger has the best career punting average ever in the CFL.....thanks Mr. Cartoon Guy).

Is this a night game?  That would explain a lot.  I know somebody numbered 65 is doing something.  I'm also betting there's a football in the picture.

Man.....this must've been an awesome set to build.  I'd love to see what the rest of the offerings look like.  Can you imagine?

So I decided with my super-advanced photo-editing skills that messing with improving this photo was in order.
Hey....I can kind of make out something.  There are legs.....running.  .....there's a goal line.  ......maybe a scoring play (after all it is a "Pro Action" card).

I dunno.....I've given up hope.  If any of you have magic powers or a Canadian football price guide maybe you can fire off some information.

Until then, I'm putting this card to bed.  Nighty night!


TO THE BIKE SPOKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HHOF AUTOS - Another Trade Night Success

Building this Hockey Hall of Fame hard-signed auto set has been one of the best projects I've introduced to my collecting in a long time.  Rediscovering the essence of trading has really excited not just me but I think others whom I meet locally at trade nights and shows.

I've got people coming up to me saying "Hey....have you got this guy?"  I like that.

Last night was the monthly trader night.  I missed last month's as I had plans with my nephew so March's offering was something I was really looking forward to.

And I walked away thrilled with the results.  A few guys I had never traded with before and some solid names added to the HHOF list.

Bobby Clarke
(Inducted in 1987)

How about this beauty to start with.  I absolutely love this photo.  Bold and of the time period I wanted.  The signature is crisp and clean.

The corners are ridiculously rock solid on this one.  And with the darker edging that just sort of trails off from the player, it just looks ominously awesome.

Not sure if this auto is a shortprint or what, but I can say that I've never seen a copy of this one before.  Once I saw it - I knew I'd be trading for it.

Mark Howe
(Inducted in 2011)

This was also in with the trade for the Clarke.  A Mark Howe auto really doesn't hold much hobby weight so it almost felt like a throw-in in the deal.  Works for me though as he's a bonafide HOFer....and the son of one of the greatest players of all time.

How could I have possibly passed on this?

Alex Delvecchio
(Inducted in 1977)

The trifecta of Parkhurst Champions cards I traded for and this has a great shot of Alex in action.

And check out that beauty of a goalie mask in the background.  Anyone care to guess as to who that tender might be?

After making the trade for these three cards, I came across another trade box that made me cringe......just a bit.

Alex Delvecchio
(Inducted in 1977)

That's right......we have a trade - and then an upgrade.

When I saw this Delveccho, I really wanted it.  Not because it was a better photo or superior card design (which it isn't), but because it's a unique card in the collection so far.

I felt that having this card over the Parkhurst Champions version would just give the collection a little more diversity.  I'm torn though as I do like the photo on the one prior.

I think I'll just keep both for now and let the whole thing percolate.

Al MacInnis
(Inducted in 2007)

I saw this in the same trade box as the Jake Gardiner /17.  I recognized the MacInnis auto as I had one jsut like it a while back.

Sure's the same card.

So, for the first time ever, I traded for a card that I once owned.

I really like this card because it shows Al as a Flame (how I remember him best).  It even looks like it could be from his Conn Smythe Trophy winning season in the NHL.  He was so dominant the year the Calgary won the Cup.

So with that, I have added four more cards to the HHOF collection.  I could have added more, but with all of this trading I am noticing something.

I'm running out of traders!!

I've got to replenish my trade box somehow.  Something to work on over the summer I think.

One last hard-signed auto card from a Hall of Famer to share.  Again, it's not a player, but I just had to have it.

If there's a legend in hockey broadcasting from my era, it's Dick Irvin.  His voice, his knowledge and his stories are second to none.  I can listen to the guy talk all day.

Heck, he could read from the phonebook and make it sound interesting.

What a great signature.  This card is most definitely a keeper.

Current Collection - 37 HOF Autos

Thursday, March 20, 2014

1 vs. 100 - What A Week!!!

Tonight was one of the monthly trader nights that I regularly attend.  And while I go in always optimistic that I can come away with something new, that's not always the end game.

But tonight was not that.  In fact, it was the opposite.  I was able to walk away having made many trades.....possibly even the most I've made in a single trade night.

And that means some show & tell posts.

Tonight will be short and sweet though as I am tired and ready for sleep.

2011/12 Panini Titanium
# 133 Jake Gardiner  /17 happened again.  Twice in one week.

After months of a stagnant project, I have added two cards to a set that only has a handful of cards left on the wantlist.

I was sifting through one of the numerous trade boxes at the store and came across this beauty.  I was pretty sure I needed that number but a quick check of the list confirmed it.

I couldn't believe that I tracked down a /17 locally after all this time.

What made things even better is that I was able to trade for it with supreme ease.  I couldn't have asked for a better transaction.

What made me laugh is that when I told some people that I needed this card for my project, some of the guys forgot all about it.  It had been so long since I really had been making dents in it.  Some thought I finished it, some thought I gave up on it.

Not so's still on the radar.  Always will be until I hit that last card.

So with this number crossed off, I am now down to FIVE cards.  I know the end will come one day (and I could probably speed things up if I were a little more aggressive in searching) but the fun of just letting this project breathe on its own is really rewarding.

And it makes a find like this even more fun.

95 out of 100  (95%)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - A Three Card Mailday

An overflowing mailbox greeted me as I walked up to my condo this evening.  A rare site these days.  I had to do some quick thinking as to what might be inside each of the three envelopes.  I soon remembered.

With the newest In The Game release - Stickwork - now a couple weeks old, the prices have dropped enough where I decided to dip my toe into the pool.  I was quite happy with my first find.

2013/14 In The Game Stickwork
#GUS-93 Game-Used Stick Silver

The "least rare" of the Linden cards inserted into Stickwork will probably end up being the easiest (and cheapest) of the eight possible cards to chase.  Limited to just 19 copies, this was common enough to let a few copies pass, but rare enough to strike when the time was right.

A nice beefy piece of game-used stick covers half the card.  I like it!  I also like the fact that it's a different stick used than his UM10 stick card.  Love the contrast.

I also like the way the cards were inserted into the boxes.  At 3 cards per box, each were housed in a sturdy one-touch (unlike the Superlative toploaders....see below).  I could (and did) crack open the card and run my finger along the stick.  It's a real thin piece but is really cool.  There's something about game-used items in a never gets old to me.

If I did have one criticism, it would be the text on the card.  It has the look of a faded photocopy as opposed to a punchy, brilliant design.  The scan looks nice, but in the light the card loses its lustre a bit (no pun intended).

Some players included in the set do not have their faces pictured on the cards (for various contractual reasons I'm assuming).  I'm thankful that my guy does have a head shot as it completes the card design for me.

2012/13 In The Game Decades 90s
#M-44 Franchises Black (w/ Bure, Messier & Odjick)

Patience paid off again with these Decades 90s cards.  I've been painstakingly slow at obtaining the 27.....yes, TWENTY-SEVEN different cards available in this release.  Sure, many of them are 1/1's and will never hit my doorstep, but there are a lot of low-numbered parallels too.

This black parallel is the most common of the Franchises cards available so I knew they would bottom out in price sooner than later.  While I would have loved to have traded for a card like this, picking it up for the price I did worked just as well.

Nothing much to the design or the jersey pieces (but what can you do...I'm sure there are a ton of solid white or solid black pieces in their arsenal), but a card is a card and it was on the list.  Finding it for the right price was the biggest challenge.

Again....patience paid off.

2012/13 In The Game Superlative III
#SCJ-08 Complete Jersey Silver

This card is a big one for me - for many reasons.  Limited to just 4 copies, this card is the final piece of the non-1/1 Superlative III puzzle.  Right now I own 16 of the 20 total cards available with two of the remaining four already spoken for.

This piece happened to catch my eye on the hobby boards as part of a show & tell.  The person who owned it wasn't looking to sell but would consider a trade.  Awesome!  I love trading.

Unfortunately, he was looking for something very specific - something that I did not have.

He wanted a similar Complete Jersey card, but of Steve Yzerman.  Hmmmm.  Where could I get one of those?  To ebay I went.  Day in and day out looking for an Yzerman Complete.  Eventually I did find one.

Before bidding on it, I decided to double check with the owner of the Linden that the card I'd be bidding on would be a worthy trade.  He agreed and I bid.  When I bid my maximum amount, it ended up being the final amount - I guessed basically exactly what I needed to win the card.

Great in the sense that I knew it would lead me to the Linden.  Crappy in that it was the top dollar amount I was willing to pay (it would've been fantastic to hit the Yzerman for a steal of a deal).  Regardless, the trade was made.

The card arrived in the mail and I'm thrilled.

I'm thrilled also because it finally softens the blow from one of the worst ebay transactions I've ever encountered.  The gold 1/1 version of this card is one that I do own, but under circumstances I would love to change.  But that's in the past.

I quickly and anxiously cracked open the seal on the toploader and freed the card from its plastic.  I'm on the record as one who will never keep his Linden cards sealed in those housings.  Too many bad memories.

Right.....that's in the past.

Today, it's three more great cards to add to the collection.  Gotta love that!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

1 vs. 100 - One More Step Closer

It's been a long time since my last '1 vs. 100' post.  With just seven cards left on the wantlist (and me not really pursuing any of them), the opportunities of snagging a card for this project have been near zero.

But last month I came across a post on the hobby board I am a member of and saw a card that was the right number - both serial and price.

A smooth transaction and a bit of a wait as it came from the US and I've got another card to cross off.

2011/12 Panini Titanium
#108 Brayden McNabb rookie  /66

This isn't the first card from the Titanium release to make it into my pc.  The serial numbered concept for its rookies makes my project just a little easier to obtain.  In fact, I'm pleasantly surprised with the numerous product releases that utilize weird serial numbering.

For this McNabb rookie, it's his draft position that justifies the /66.  Picked by Buffalo in 2009, Brayden has had just a sniff of NHL time (8 points in 37 games).  This made his Titanium rookie card available at a very reasonable price.

I mentioned that the card came from the States.  And just a quick story on that.

In discussing how much shipping would cost, I quickly realized that a bubble mailer with just this single card would be too much in contrast with the price of the card.  I had considered having the card shipped to someone I know who has a US postal address, but the ping-ponging wouldn't make up much of the difference.

So what did I do?  I had the card sent via PWE - plain white envelope.

Yes, it's true.  A method so shunned that the mere mention of it sends shivers down spines.

The seller mentioned that for just a couple bucks, he would send PWE and we could both cross our fingers.  With the price of the card what it was....I decided to go for it.

It took about 6 weeks for the card to arrive, but when it showed up, there was no doubt the risk paid off.  The card was in perfect condition.

I appreciated that the seller was open with his communication and we were very upfront with the risks.  Quite simply, I'd be taking the risk of a crumpled card, he would be mindful of the toploader he used (there are flimsy ones and sturdier ones).

So it's success many ways for this post and it puts me one more step closer to completion.  Can you believe I've been working on this project for over 4 years now?

94 out of 100  (94%)

Monday, March 17, 2014


A big Linden card hit the mailbox this past Friday.  Big for a number of reasons.

First, it was a bigger ticket Linden addition price-wise....the biggest of the year so far.  It was from the highest-end product he's ever been in - The Cup.  It was a low-numbered beast to boot.  But most of all, it put to rest one of the most challenging product chases in my 15+ years of Linden card collecting.

That's a lot of buildup.

2011/12 Upper Deck The Cup
#CF-TL Foundations Patch Auto  /5

For the past two years, the challenge that The Cup has posed to not just my Linden collection but the ideals I have about collecting in general have been huge.  I've been up and down the scale - when is enough... enough?  How much is too much?  This is not a race.  When do I pounce and when do I sit back?  Patience will prevail.

In the end though I think having 11 Cup cards (not including 1/1's), many numbered to 25 or less has given me a new perspective on what being a player collector is all about.

I have no control over what cards go into what product.  How many Linden cards get added to my wantlist list with every release.  But what I do know is that I can choose to chase.

If there's a Linden card out there that does not jive with me be it because of the price, the design, the rarity, or the product it's in, I have the choice to say "No thanks".  I've know for years now that the possibility of owning one of each Linden card there is is an impossibility.  But now I have decided that my card pursuits are determined by each individual item that comes available.

If there's a card /5, /10, /100 that shows up online....I can do one of two things, chase it or let it pass.  And there's nothing wrong with either choice.

Now back to this Cup card.  With this pickup, I have landed all 11 non 1/1 cards from the inaugural Linden Cup appearance.  There are also 7 1/1's and I own one of them.  And to be honest, I'm thrilled with that accomplishment.

Many of the cards were not picked up right off the bat.  Some took a while to obtain (mostly in the hopes of getting them for a cheaper price than the initial wave).  I even had the luck of tracking down a couple of them locally - something I definitely was not expecting.  This final Cup card /5 is a perfect example of all of that.

I really didn't know if I would ever have a chance at snagging this piece.  I knew of a couple other copies that have been tucked into collections so there were only 2-3 copies left out there.  When I saw this card go up for auction, the price was a little higher than I wanted to spend.  But some good communication with the seller and firm but honest approach on my part led to the sale.  When the card arrived Friday, I couldn't wait to rip open the bubble envelope.

I love the multi-colored patches in every window, the hard signed autograph and the low serial number.  Too bad Upper Deck couldn't match the patches in the card with the picture to the right.  But such is life.

Crossing it off the list really made me smile at the fact that I tackled The Cup the way I wanted to.  And there should always be satisfaction in that.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

HHOF AUTOS - Card Show Pickups

A gorgeous weekend (finally) in the city was an added bonus to a very successful card show.  The second last show of the season and I was very happy to see a couple new tables set up.

It's always fun to see new stuff strewn out on tables.  Even if I'm not buying, I can do some serious window shopping.  In this was a bit of trading that landed me three new cards for my HHOF Auto project.

Bill Gadsby
(Inducted in 1970)

This was a nice add to the collection.  One of the new tables set up had a few of these Panini Classics Signature cards.  Gadsby was the first card I saw that had me sifting through the list.

He was building the set and saw that I had an extra Linden in with my traders.  A simple and solid trade.

Once I got home I noticed that the card seems to be a bit off in the printing.  The white gradient where the signature sits seems to not blend properly at the bottom leaving what looks like an unfinished stripe.

I took a look at other Gadsby cards on ebay and it seems my copy is a bit of an anomaly.  Too's all I see now when looking at it.  Maybe down the road I'll trade for an upgrade.  Until then, it's another hard signed Hall of Famer.

Serge Savard
(Inducted in 1986)

I love the photo on this card.  And the autograph looks just as sharp.  This card didn't have as much weight to it in terms of what I had to give up.  An additional bonus.

Cards from this era of the HHOF list are the most fun for me.  They feature guys that I would have seen play as I was introduced to the game of hockey and the stars of the NHL.  And while it was the Islanders and Oilers of the 80's that really stood out for me, the Canadiens teams of the 70's are without a doubt the most impressive of them all.

Ted Lindsay
(Inducted in 1966)

This card came from a different table where I wasn't sure if a trade would even be possible.  He had a Johnny Bower as well but wasn't really looking to trade it.  Fair enough.  I'm glad we were able to work out a deal on the Lindsay.

Ted Lindsay is a player who's name is memorable not just for what he did on the ice, but for the sacrifices and efforts he made off it.  One of the leaders in the movement to bring a players union into the game - and in effect, the NHLPA, Lindsay saw that the owners were getting just a little too much of the money pie for his liking.

How much of his career was compromised or sacrificed as a result of his efforts?  Who knows.  But he earned the respect of a lot of his fellow peers.....and many in the generations who followed.

With these three cards, I'm already a third of the way to my goal.  And quite honestly....I haven't even really tried hard.  I can't wait for the next trade night coming up this week.  I'm hoping to add a few more cards to the mix.

Current Collection - 33 HOF Autos

Saturday, March 15, 2014

OUTSIDE THE BOX - Was 1974 Really A Highlight Year?

Geez........I really hope he's feeling better.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - Fleer....Let's Just Call It Yellow

Mailday!  Albeit a "one bubble envelope" haul.  But with a few new cards trickling in, it makes for a fun wrapper rip nonetheless.

I've been slowly knocking off some 1-2 year old mid-range Linden cards as the prices finally hit (what I consider to be) a reasonable amount.  My newest pc add is one that I'm really happy to knock off the list and snagged it for a fairly decent price.

2012/13 Fleer Retro
#24 1997/98 EX 2001 Essential Credentials Now  /24

DO NOT ask me where the heck that naming convention comes from.  I have absolutely no clue.  To's the yellow parallel and it's numbered to 24.

Not to be mistaken with it's pink counterpart.

This one is /19 and is called "Future" instead of "Now".  Again..... no clue.

But who am I to complain.  I actually like what Upper Deck did with this Fleer Retro product (from a player collector standpoint).  A base card (with one of the best photos I've seen on a Linden base), an autograph parallel (sadly.....a sticker auto), three EX inserts/parallels and a handful of other inserts (all on the lower-end/less expensive variety).

Nine cards in total (with one of them being a 1/1).  A reasonable wallet hit with some good chases.  What more can I ask for.

I'm down to just a couple cards to complete this product run.  I've seen many copies of each fly around but I'm playing the patience card.  Soon enough I'll do the final show & tell.

Really, if there's any beef to this product it's the off-the-wall names they give some of these cards.  I swear they just pull random names out of a hat and do a quick swip-swap and voila.

I prefer "yellow" and "pink".

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

RATE MY MASK - Roberto Luongo 2.0

Do you think Roberto is happy to be out of the disaster zone known as Vancouver right now?  Judging by the shutout he pitched in his first game as a Panther....I'd say so.

It's rare these days to see a goalie return to a team for a second stint in net.  Even more rare is when said goalie pulls out a goalie mask from the past.  But that's just what Roberto did when he hit the ice against the Sabres last week.

So I thought I'd take a moment to bask in the glory of the ol' Pink Panther mask and a time when the Canucks were a bit better team.

Lots of color, lots of images, lots of Florida and panthers going on here.  Roberto's mask parallels his own character of fun and "easy-going.....ness".

Roberto's mask designer of choice for the past decade or so has been Canadian Marlene Ross.  She was responsible not just for this Florida "Pink Panther" mask, but his Panther-inspired Olympic mask from 2006.  She also designed numerous Vancouver masks as well as his 2010 gold-medal winning lid.

She has been featured on Hockey Night In Canada a few times and has a solid pro clientele......or should I say "had".  Many of the goalies listed on her website have I'm not sure how much recent work she has going on.

The focus of the mask is most definitely the iconic image of the Pink Panther donning a vintage pretzel mask.  The cartoon is a little more aggressive than the cuddly Saturday morning / comic book offering but I like it.  I don't think a cuddly plush toy would work nearly as well on an NHL goalie mask.

Silhouette palm trees and crashing waves drape down each side of the mask which uses a gradient base of warm colors as a perfect background palette.  The contrasting blues down low and around the chin really pop out.

I'm still trying to figure out what those yellow and black triangles are on each side.  Is it beachfront property?  An homage to a mask from the past?  Or just simply a geometric pattern to fill space?  I have no I will go with beachfront property.

The backplate of his mask (at least back in 2006) had some initials on it.  When asked years ago about it, Roberto simply responded with "It's personal".  I can respect that.

Overall, Luongo's lid blends character and team about as well as you can.  I would have liked to have seen a little more personalization (as opposed to just a fun figurehead) or maybe even an update of some sort.  Who knows, maybe that'll come later this season or early next.

I gotta say, seeing Luongo in the new-old Florida getup is great.  Hearing him at the press conference to announce his return, he seems very happy about returning to a place he calls home (and I'm sure getting out of the situation in Vancouver).

I think he's been very professional about the whole situation over the past three years.  Sure, there have been times where he's shown his disappointment and has thrown out a humorous jab or two, but the flip-flopping of what Roberto's expectation was to be for Vancouver made a lot of coaches and head office folks looks bad - REALLY BAD.

But that chapter is now over.  Luongo is starting fresh (say for a stinky 8-year-old mask) and I'm looking forward to see what both teams do moving forward.

3.5 out of 5

Now it's your turn to RATE MY MASK!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Maybe it was the third period of the Canucks game last night?  Maybe it was the long day at work?  Maybe it was the alarm clock on my phone (in the voice of Louie CK......"Stupid phone!")?  Maybe it was the fact that I don't use sniping programs to do my ebay bidding?

At the end of the day's my dropping of the ball that cost me a chance to add another Linden card to the collection last night.

And it's still ticking me off.

It's a nice card......right?  Maybe not the best designed nameplate I've ever seen, but still.

So I had my eye on this card for the past few days leading up to the auction ending last night.  My habit these days has been to set the alarm on my phone for 5 minutes before the auction ends.  I then pop over to ebay and bid at the last moment (I don't bid early....I find I lose more than I win.....and on those that I do win, I pay more).

A solid system in my eyes.  That is until the alarm doesn't go off.

I knew this auction ended close to 10:00 last night.  I was watching the tail end of the Flames game and all of the sudden a jolt hit me.  I looked at my phone and had a bad feeling.  I zipped to the auction and noticed it had just ended.  It ended for the minimum bid (less than what I was willing to spend).


I even went so far as to e-mail the seller to apologize.  I had told him I was interested in the card and planned on bidding.

So the rest of the night I spent thinking about my auction bidding process.

Like I said, I don't use sniping programs.  I think it's just habit.  I also like to be in control of things.  I just don't trust a computer program to do my bidding for me.

But after last night's miss, I'm reconsidering.

I feel like there are a lot more bidders (especially in the card collecting hobby) using online sniping programs to do their last second bidding for them.  It eliminates having to keep a hawk's eye on each and every auction they want to bid on.

I don't bid on too many items (a few a week) and have never found the need for an assist.  That said, I can definitely recall a good 3-4 instances where "user error" has cost me a card for my collection.

Sniping programs just take an element of the chase out of the whole collecting process.  It would be as if somebody else is gathering cards for me.  What fun is that?  I like finding the items.  I like bidding on the items.  I like when I win the items.  And I like receiving the items.

I don't want this hobby to become any more automated than it is.

That said, it's going to sting a bit today knowing that I and I alone am responsible for letting a card slip by my grasp.

I blame John Tortorella and Mike Gillis.  Yeah.....that's it.

Do you use sniping programs?  What are your auction bidding methods?  Do they work for you?

Friday, March 7, 2014

HHOF AUTOS - One Big Haul

Tonight was the first trade night I have attended since my new HHOF auto project was started.  To say that I was anxious to see what I could find would be an understatement.  After's called trade night for a reason.

And tonight did not disappoint.

Simply put, it was the single biggest haul for a project I have ever had in one night.  And the best part is that the dollars out of pocket equaled ZERO.

What a great idea for a project if I do say so myself.

So would you like to see all the goodies I picked up?  I thought you would. Sit back and grab some popcorn.

First, I would like to announce a trade.  Last month I showed off a nice Marcel Pronovost card from the 06/07 Parkhurst set.  While it fits nicely into the collection, I knew of another Pronovost that I wanted to replace it with.
Marcel Pronovost
(Inducted in 1978)

I like this card for two reasons.  First, the signature is more centered on the card.  Once again Fung Shui.  Second, this card is unique to the collection so far.  I know I will have a number of 06/07 Parkhurst cards in this set so mixing it up a bit just makes the collection feel a bit more diverse.

Thanks Brian for making the trade a teeth-puller.

Jean Beliveau
(Inducted in 1972)

Wow!  I did not expect to come home with a card of this calibre tonight.  But in fact, this was the first card I traded for.  I like when word gets around that I'm looking for stuff.

I had my fingers crossed that there was a card in my trade box that would fit the bill.  Thankfully there was.

Jean frickin' Beliveau!  He epitomizes what a Hall of Fame autograph is all about.  Even in his older age, the signature is strong and written with care.  I love the photo and card design in general.  Another unique item.

Thanks Craig for helping me snag a huge name.

Milt Schmidt
(Inducted in 1961)

I was doing a mental fist pump when I found this card sitting in a trade binder.  Milt takes on the title of earliest inducted signature in my collection.  Beating out Red Kelly by almost a decade.

I love the flow of Schmidt's name.  He also took care to sign the card low allowing for the photo to really pop.  A tremendous pickup.

Marcel Dionne
(Inducted in 1992)

I'll say it again....Marcel Dionne gets no hobby love.  It's a shame too.  His statistics are incredible but lacks the Stanley Cup ring.  His signature is one of those that reeks of unique.

And this Legendary Signatures set is a stunner.  No doubt there will be others from this set to join in the fun down the road.

Borje Salming
(Inducted in 1996)

Talk about a gorgeous card.  This horizontal layout allows for a large signing space.  And Salming does a great job with a crisp auto.  I love the 70's vibe in the photo and the overall design is hard to beat.

There was an Andy Bathgate card from the same set in amongst the binders as well.  I nearly traded for it too as an upgrade.  I still might down the road.

Bernie Federko
(Inducted in 2002)

This was a name that I knew I would have in the collection before I even started searching.  Much like Bill Barber, Federko is about as 'common' a HOFer as you can get.  At least from a hobby standpoint.

There were a few different card designs I was hoping to land for the Federko (as I find them more interesting than this 06/07 Parkhurst) but again....I can upgrade down the road if I want to.  I call the shots here.

Ed Giacomin
(Inducted in 1987)

I love Eddie Giacomin's goalie mask.  For as simple a white fibreglass lid as he's's so cool.  The shape of it, the air holes....I love that it's on the card in this set.

Once again, the good ol' 06/07 Parkhurst rears its head.  No complaints here though.  It's the single best set to pull great Hall of Fame autos from and the design is spectacular.

Frank Mahovlich
(Inducted in 1981)

Any time I can add a Cup card to this project, I feel like I am adding some significant weight and reputation.  What a killer signature!

This card has it, design, autograph, rarity and most of all - ownership.  Next to the Beliveau, this might be the biggest snag of the evening.

Stan Mikita
(Inducted in 1983)

Another mental fist pump when this card showed up.  Love his auto and to get a new card design like Century Legends Epic Signatures just puts the icing on the cake.

seeing this card makes me want to do a bit of research for what some of the best sets to find HoF autos would be.  No doubt this release has some epic....signatures.

Gilbert Perreault
(Inducted in 1990)

Another tremendous autograph.  I love the penmanship on this card.  Add to that a great photo from the 70's and this card has high desirability.

Just a ton of vintage in this photo.  I'm going to sit for a second and simply look at it.

Luc Robitaille
(Inducted in 2009)

Lucky Luc is a card that when I first saw it I thought "Do I???"  I'll admit, this card (plus the Larry Murphy I picked up last month) have a bit of a different feel than all the others.  Being ITG products, team logos are not allowed.

But after a bit of weighing, I decided that these cards do work.  I know what team Luc is playing for in this card.  It's a hard signed autograph.  And the fact that I'm trading for it - well it just meets all of the criteria.

Why wouldn't I then........right?

Paul Coffey
(Inducted in 2004)

So when I saw this Coffey it was a no-brainer.  A great add to the project. Heck, any Oilers in this project will be a welcome one (yes......even Messier).

note to self: If I do get a Messier auto....he MUST be in an Oilers jersey.

Rod Langway
(Inducted in 2002)

It was a toss-up between this card and a Langway Masterpieces Brushstrokes card (the one that looks like it's painted on canvas and has the brown border).  I liked the uniqueness of this one.  You can see through it.

I am plesantly surprised at the quality of signature on this card.  Often, these Glacial Graphs (or any card on a clear surface) are a little suspect when it comes to the pen quality.  Streaking or bubbling, fading or shifting, these are not always the most quality of penstrokes.

But this card has it......and now so do I.

Scott Niedermayer
(Inducted in 2013)

Last card in the show and tell (you still with me?) is one that had/has me thinking.

When you think of Scott Niedermayer, what team do you associate?

Yeah, that's what I thought.  But a hard signed Scotty for a very reasonable trade price is tough to beat.  If I want to swap it out for a Devils card down the road - I can.  But for right now, I'm more than content with this copy.

After all, he did win a Cup with the team.  It's not like he had a cup of coffee with the club and then bolted.

The addition of Niedermayer also means that I now have a "most recently inducted" winner.

Now, all of the cards you have seen (minus the Pronovost and Beliveau at the start) came from one person.  To say that it was an epic trade would be an understatement.  At least on my end......I don't know if the other party can say they got a bunch of killer cards in return.  But it was what I would consider a fair trade and we both agreed on it.

And for that - I thank you very much Mikey.  What an incredible trade night.

That's right.  Let me say it again - TRADE night.  Every card I picked up in this post came via trade.  I was a busy boy and I'm looking forward to seeking out more Hall of Famers at the next trader night.

Current Collection - 30 HOF Autos

(are you kidding me???  I'm at 30 already???  Awesome!  But by no means do I expect the next 70 to come so easily)