Wednesday, December 31, 2014

OPINION - Time Flies's over.  2014 has come and gone.  And while it was a little quieter a year for me hobby-wise, I can still say I had a lot of fun and built my collection just a little bit more.

My blogging slowed down a bit (mostly due to a three-month hiatus during the summer) but I never really felt like I stepped away from the hobby.  And that's something I look back at with great joy.

I might try getting around to a "Best Of 2014" post in the next week or so....or I might not - we'll see.

As for any sort of New Year's Resolutions.....I think I'm done with those.  I think I'll just take a look at the big picture and stick with the "have fun" motto I've tried to go by for years now.  Seems to work.  As well, I need to make sure that the hobby never controls me as a collector.  I am the one in control of how much I spend and what I spend it on.

Case in point - the oversaturation of redemption cards littering the secondary market from this past Toronto Expo.  It's rather laughable that I've seen at least 20 cards pop up....most of which have ridiculous price tags attached to them.  My excitement towards them is now zero.  I've even passed on bidding on these cards when the price has been right.  They are starting to serve no real purpose in my collection.

I do plan on keeping track of the cards (listing them on my master list and capturing scans when I have the chance to), but as for obtaining them...not so much.

I haven't put too much thought into 2015 other than I have made one decision...

I enjoyed the summer hiatus so much that I'm doing it again.  June, July and August will be "no card" months.  It was nice to step away and give my wallet a breather, it was nice to focus on work during those months (as it gets really busy) and it was nice when I returned.  So why not do it again.

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read my blog over the years.  I'll be back with more in the new year.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


It's been a few days now since my last day of work and boy time has flown by.  Before I know it I'll be heading back to work (let's not think of that right now).

I've been busy.  I started my Christmas shopping a couple days ago.  Should be able to finish today....should.  Went to go see 'Whiplash' at the cheap theatre on Sunday - it was excellent.  JK Simmons is going to win an Oscar.  Awesome performance.

And I've been "binge-listening" to the Serial podcast.  I must have like free time or something.  It too is really well done.

I need to invest in something that sucks so I can bail on it.

Speaking of.....I got a Linden card in the mail today.

From last year's high-end release The Cup, this Brilliance auto is a neat concept.  The scan does not do it justice, but this super-thick card has a clear opening where the auto goes and the Cup logo, "Brilliance" and the Canucks emboss is sunk down to the back of the card.

It looks really good (although I think they should have done a silver or gold pen for the auto.  It's tough to make out sometimes.

Did any of you catch it?

This auto.

I know my guy has a less than desirable signature, but even he can't claim to scribble this bad.

This Brilliance auto is the second one in my collection.  I picked it up not because I'm starting to horde.

This is the first copy of the card I have.  I picked it up last May.

If you can barely make out Linden's signature on this offering, you'll notice it looks nothing like the top card.

So who HARD SIGNED Trev's card?


Guilty for being the league's top scorer...and guilty of not knowing that he does not play for the Vancouver Canucks nor does he look like Trevor Linden.


So what gives?

Clearly it was a case of a stray Linden card getting in the box of Seguin cards for him to sign.  And I'm assuming that when you're scribbling your name hundreds and thousands of tend to not look at what you're signing.

And of course Upper Deck and it's top notch "quality control" didn't catch it either.

When I first saw the card, I wasn't really interested in it, but I was able to trade for why not.

And besides, I missed out on the first goof made by Upper Deck with its Cup product.  (Yeah...that's right...this has happened before).


Hoo boy.  Dare I say......Brilliant.

Friday, December 19, 2014

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - The Colors Of Black Diamond

With a mighty exhale....I am finished my work for the 2014 season.  For the next three weeks I am going to be "king lounger".  Alright, maybe not. A little relaxing, a little organizing, some visiting and some looking ahead. It'll be a fun holiday season.

Last week was the final trade night of 2014.  I'm pretty fortunate that there are two monthly trade nights in my city that I can go to.  Both offer a great atmosphere and overall hobby enjoyment.  And every once in a while.....a Linden.

To wrap up the year, I managed to snag a pair - from Upper Deck's most recent product release, Black Diamond.

You may have seen this card from a previous post.  It's been a while since Trev's graced the Black Diamond product and I really like this year's offering.

This double diamond base (which does not scan well) utilizes a nice photo from early in Linden's playing days.  I love the Cooper helmet.

But what really drew me to BD is the manageable chase.  Five cards in total, with a tough parallel/auto /10 and a 1/1.  Challenging...but not bank breaking.

I grabbed this Ruby parallel /50 in a trade.  For some reason it scans much nicer than the regular base offering.  Funny story, I traded with the same guy a few weeks ago.  I had a Filip Forsberg auto and he had an Igor Larionov UD Anniversary buyback /25.  Easy trade.

I then go to the card show the following weekend and find the same Filip Forsberg card in the $5 bin.  I snag it in a heartbeat.

Fast forward to last week and he noticed the second Forsberg.  He asks if I'd be willing to trade for it - again.  I say sure (not knowing he had the Linden).  Sifting through his card, I was worried that I wouldn't find anything.  Then, in the last handful I find this gem.

I started ribbing him that he was holding out on me.  He knows I'm a Linden guy.  We chuckled and the trade was (once again) an easy one.

Earlier in the evening I made a trade for what be my favorite parallel in the set.

This orange offering comes from the bonus pack you get when buying a box.  And I really like the looks of 'em.  Especially with the vintage Canucks garb suited on the front.  It's not numbered, but it must be a tough pull considering you only get three cards in every box.

We were playing a couple rounds of Pack Wars and one of the guys pulled it.  He knew I was the guy for the trade.  He collected Avalanche cards and while it took a couple tries, we did finally come to an agreement.

I was able to get rid of a card that has literally been sitting in my trade box for the better part of a decade.  Can't go wrong with that.

So that leaves me with just the Emerald parallel/auto /10 and the 1/1.  I'm liking the progress on this one.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

PACK RIPPING - 2014 Canada Post Original Six Stamps

I was dropping off an envelope to be mailed out over at the post office yesterday and whatdya know......

I caved.

Yeah....caved at the post office.

For months Canada Post has been advertising a really nice looking stamp set commemorating the Original Six teams - specifically, it's defencemen. They caught my eye the moment I saw them but held off in picking up a pack.

Yeah, an actual pack.

These are definitely geared towards to the hockey card connoisseur.  Nice little 2.5x3.5 cards ( they just house a single stamp) with a front and back design.

The price per pack is $15 but I decided that there was absolutely zero risk involved in a purchase like this.


For $15 you get 6 stamps ($2.50 stamps each).  My math skills tell me that balances out.  The best part though is that in 1 of every 50 packs sits an autograph parallel.  Not all 6 defencemen get the auto treatment though (for obvious reasons).

So let's take a look to see if I landed one.

When I opened up the pack, I was taken aback by just how nice these cards/stamps look.  Vibrant colors, simple design and I've always loved the stamp motif used in hockey card collecting (maybe a subject for a future blog post).

The photo used for this Horton card is perfect.  I think the posed shots works much better than the action shot in this instance.

Gorgeous card.

The backs are good but not great.  They have an early-90's Parkhurst feel to them.

Some good information, not overwhelming but I would have liked something that would add a little character to the person on the front.  A comment or "fast fact" would've been nice.

Regardless, most people will just throw these away after they use the stamp.

Oh yeah.  This Bobby Orr is bang on.  I love the photo and it really works well with the rest of the card.

The '4' used in the background is a nice design.  Not a font but not a photo either.  Solid.  And I love the border.  A simple 2-color team issue feel with a bit of a glow or silver gradient to give it some depth.

We are officially on a roll.  Wow this card looks great.

The leather gloves Harvey is using just punch out of the photo.  Those things are massive.

Another great photo and beautiful overall design.

No auto yet, but I'm fine with that.

The beauty of this product is the consistency from player to player, card to card.  It feels like a well thought out set.

Howell looks so small with those tiny pads.  And no helmet on anyone.  Those were the days.

I must say that I like the player selection with this set.  Some teams have an obvious choice, but I think the best defenceman from those teams in that era got the nod.  Can't ask for anything more than that.

The silver border on the Chicago card was a bold move.  Every other card has the dark, rich color but I think this works because it gives a good contrast to the rest of the set.

Well, no autograph.  But I have zero complaints.

This set is really well done and anyone who is a fan of this era should put this on their "must have" list.

One pack guarantees you a complete set of six stamps and you never know if you're the lucky one to get a signed version (which look incredible...just check ebay if you don't believe me).

By the way.....don't plan on seeing these on any packages I send out anytime soon.  This set stays in the collection.  But I might buy more if I know I've got a big package to ship out.  How fun would it be to see one of these stars staring you in the face?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

RAISE THE CUP - A Carter Kiss

I've been slow on the draw when it comes to showing off this card.  I've had it now for a good 2-3 weeks and I'm tired of it sitting on my desk.

Actually, I'm tired of the 6 or 7 piles of cards sitting on my desk.  This one single piece of cardboard really doesn't bug me too much.

But it's been scanned and in draft mode here for far too long.  So let's end that.

Once again, Upper Deck has put a strong focus on photography when it comes to its flagship hockey product.  I've sifted through a number of cards from the set and I must say it's a little hit and miss.

A unique or new camera angle is always interesting (and appreciated), but when it's done to 3...4...5 players in the set, it grows old - quick.  That's the case with the 14/15 issue of UDI.

This Jeff Carter offering though does have a unique feel to it.  And the timing on the photo is about as good as it can get when snagging a pic of Carter with the Cup.

With a lot of cards in my Raise The Cup project, the shot is a little wider, more of a full body shot.  I like the closeup feel of this photo.  An intimate moment showing a true pinnacle moment.  Nice.

That logo on the bottom of the Cup is so perfect, I wonder if it was Photoshopped in after the fact?  I'll be honest, I've never noticed that logo on the bottom of the Cup before.  Is it there when the guys are parading around the ice?

I'll have to do some detective work.

Until then....into the binder you go.

Current Collection - 117 cards

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


This past weekend I received a package from a fellow collector.  In it was some Linden cards set aside for me over the past few weeks.  It's always great when a fellow Linden collector keeps an eye out for cards I might need.

And I was able to add no less than five new pieces to the pc because of him.  A few Artifacts (putting a small dent in the wantlist), a nice OPC parallel and this beauty...

2013/14 Panini Crown Royale
Pacific's Choice Award
#PC-TL Sapphire Auto  /50

These cards are a fantastic throwback to the Cramer's Choice Award cards produced by Pacific back in the late 90's/early 2000's.  Panini did a great job in capturing the authentic look and feel of the inserts.

In the 13/14 Crown Royale product, there are two Linden offerings.  The Sapphire auto /50 and the Holo-Sapphire auto parallel /10.  I passed on both when they first hit the open market as I thought I'd track them down at a little lower price.  I was starting to doubt my decision as the cards dried up pretty quick.

Thankfully an extra one popped up in the collection of a fellow Linden fanatic and it's now found a new home.

A great addition.....and one that I won't soon forget about.

Monday, December 8, 2014

1 vs. 100 - An Unexpected Surprise

I was surprised to see a package delivered for me Sunday afternoon.  First off....who gets mail on a Sunday?  Secondly, What's this big cardboard package coming from a guy who was just to send a few cards?

It was like Christmas coming early.

Sadly, I had to wait the entire day before I could crack open the box.  I was just on my way out to volunteer at the Calgary Hitmen Teddy Bear Toss game.  Quick story on that.

I was working near the entrance door and the deal is that when the Hitmen score their first goal, everyone throws their teddy bear that they brought with them (to be donated to the local Children's Hospital and other fine charities).

Not a minute and a half into the game and I hear the goal horn.  It was bedlam.  Not only were 25,000 stuffed toys being tossed on the ice, but numerous late-coming fans were sprinting through the concourse trying not to miss the event.

I saw kids crying and parents apologizing.  I had to snicker a bit.  What were you guys thinking?  The one game you can't afford to be late to.

Anyways, I got home around 9:00 and was welcomed by my mystery package.

I cracked open the one end and could see that it was a book.  I like books.

The spine said "Mr. Hockey" and I knew right away what it was.  The newest Gordie Howe story.  I was excited because it was a book I had on the radar and not yet purchased or read.

I was even more pumped when I saw the sticker on the cover saying "Signed by Gordie Howe".  Oh man.....I was jacked.  How cool is that.

I can't wait to read it.

In addition to the book, I received some cards (some of which I knew were coming).  There was an additional card that had me confused at first.

I only saw the back and it looked like a San Jose base card.  I thought "Oh, must be extra packing  for protection".  Not quite.

2013/14 Panini Titanium
#312 Eriah Hayes Rookie  /76

Someone really had a bead on what my projects are.  This is outstanding.

It's been months since I've done a 1 vs. 100 post.  With only five cards left on the wantlist (and a passive approach to tackling the final lot), the project hit a definite lull.  But that doesn't mean I'm not interested in picking up a new add.

And this is the perfect card to add to the collection.  No-name player, (I'm assuming) an inexpensive card, a unique product design when included into the project, and obviously the numbering is key.

I couldn't believe it when I saw it.

And stay tuned as I show off the rest of my goodies (that did not sound good).  I'm really getting into the Christmas season now.

Thanks Kevin!

96 out of 100  (96%)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

HHOF AUTOS - Yet Another Upgrade

Trade night last Thursday brought with it......a trade.  A trade for another hard-signed Hall of Fame autograph.  It's an upgrade....but a no-brainer in my opinion.

Back in March, I picked up a number of signatures is a wild trading frenzy. frenzy, how about a shuffle?  No?

Included in the mix was a very nice looking Milt Schmidt card.  It was (and still is) the earliest card in terms of player induction that I have in the collection.

The card comes from the very popular Panini Classics Signatures set, one that has a few other representations in my project.

So when I saw this "upgrade" (I use quotes only because both cards really are fantastic) I decided to trade for it.  I like having some variety in the design and product releases.

Milt Schmidt
(Inducted in 1961)

The signature is outstanding.  A definite eye-catcher.  Lots of white space for Milt to nicely scribe his name.  Not too shabby of a photo either although he does have that eye of "What are you doing here?".

The Private Signings multi-product release was a definite fave of mine when it came out.  Such a robust checklist, hard-signed and my guy has two cards in it.  A Montreal version and a Vancouver...both are SSP's.  I still need the Canucks version.

Anyways, back to Milt.  Awesome card...thrilled to add it to the collection.  Now I have another double.

Anyone wanna trade?

Current Collection - 61 HOF Autos

Friday, December 5, 2014

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - A Treasure And A Diamond

Wow.  It's been a while.  Time is definitely flying as I'm in the final days of my 2014 work season.  The Christmas break can't come soon enough.

Did I just say that????

Nonetheless, things have been pretty quiet over the past couple weeks in the hobby world for me.  I've slowly started to nibble at the Artifacts tree and should have a little show and tell before too long.  I also picked up some cheap mask cards on ebay and am expecting them any day.  Again...look for some scanning.

But tonight was the final trade night of the year for one of the two shops that hold the monthly event.  I knew that even though it's been busy....I needed to make the trek out there.

And I'm glad I did.  I grabbed two more Linden cards for the collection.  One was a nice trade and the other came as a big surprise.

2014/15 Upper Deck
Black Diamond
#129 Double Diamond the surprise.  Linden has made his way into Black Diamond for the first time in almost a decade.  I did not see that coming.  But I like it.

This.......scan is of the base card.  Horrible.  But they look great in person.  I really like the photo Upper Deck used say for the fact that it's the exact same one that they threw on the UD 25th Anniversary Redemption giveaway at the Toronto Fall Expo.  Still, vintage Linden pics are always welcome.  That Cooper helmet rocks!

So what's the Black Diamond damage you ask?  Or even if you didn't....I'm going to tell you.

Five cards.  Ba-da boom, ba-da bing.

The base card, an Orange "Bonus Pack" parallel, A Star Rubies parallel numbered /50, an Emerald Auto (sticker) parallel numbered /10 and a Sapphire Auto (I'm assuming sticker) 1/1 card.

That should make for a nice chase and I'm already 20% of the way there.

If it were only this easy for all the products.

2014/15 Upper Deck
#TS-TL Treasured Swatches Jersey/Patch  /36

Speak of the devil.

Artifacts has ruined my wantlist with 19......NINETEEN cards.  And I've been very slow at getting the ball rolling with it.  Call it a protest, call it patience, call it lazy, call it a guy who's waiting for prices to drop.  Whatever it is, I just haven't been motivated to chase this ridiculous product insertion.

But I'll trade.  It was a super simple transaction that landed me this jersey/patch card.  But I think there's something weird with the patch.  I have no idea where this white piece comes from.  It's hard as a rock and feels kind of like plaster cast material.  It could be a misplaced stick piece but I'm stumped.

But it was a trade....I've got the card....all is good.