Monday, October 31, 2016


You remember when the Canucks went retro for a game last season?  It was against Toronto.  I was pretty pumped to watch it as I lived and breathed the Canucks "skate logo".  And to see Ryan Miller come out with the full on V logo mask just brought back even more memories of the Canucks teams from the early 80's (and John Garrett).

So how did the hockey card world celebrate this great game, sweet uni and killer mask?  Well they had a beautiful shot of Miller stepping on the ice as the photo of choice for their Portfolio set.  Brutal.

Well this year Upper Deck looked to right that wrong by including Miller (in his retro garb) in their robust OPC set.  It was great to see.....almost.

Once again....close but no cigar.

So I guess I'll have to do things myself.

You know the saying, if you want something done right.......

There.  Now was that so hard?

Now while I'd love to see a little more of an action shot (yes, I'm picky), this card of Miller would be the Ace of Spades in anyone's retro collection.

Man that's a great looking mask.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

WALLET CARD - A Pretty Big One

What a great finish to the weekend.  I set up at my first card show in a year and it was tremendous.  Got rid of a lot of stuff (some of it I have had for a number of years), picked up a couple cards for different PCs (show & tells to come) and just the overall vibe and conversations were just what I want in a show.

I teamed up with Captain Canuck, splitting a table, and it was just right.  I was able to get around to the other tables, check out their wares and still feel comfortable with what I was leaving on my table.  It's totally the way to go.

Now in addition to the card show, it's been a great weekend for sports.  Football is in full swing, hockey is just ramping up and oh, by the way, the World Series is on.  I'm currently watching the Cubs trying to stave off elimination and they've just gone out in front.  I hope it's a 7-game series and that it's a crazy finish.  After the last couple games it's starting to feel a little anti-climatic.

So with the Indians and Cubs currently playing, I thought I'd share some of my #WalletCard pickups of late.  Did you know that Oscar played for both teams?  I wonder who he's rooting for this fall?

I've once again asked for the help of a fellow collector (who has a US address) to snag a few cards for me.  And I'm really glad he did.  The first one is a pretty big one for the collection.

2013 Panini Hometown Heroes
#HSOG Hometown Signatures Black  1/1

That's's a bonafide 1/1.  The first one to hit my collection (and the first one I've seen on the open market since I started collecting Oscar Gamble cards a couple years ago).

I was pretty excited when I saw it pop up on my daily eBay searches and was even more excited at the conservative starting price.  I quickly asked for help and may have come across a little giddy.  It was a good laugh and he prepped a bid.

Much to my shock, the opening bid was also the winning bid.  I've never experienced that before.  Throughout my Linden travels I have never seen a true 1/1 not get any sort of competition.

So a very inexpensive 1/1 was coming my way.

Here's the back of the card to savour the fine silver 1/1 foil stamp.  Very nice.

But that was not the only card to arrive in the package for my #WalletCard project.  And who am I to not give the other cards their proper due.

So without further ado....

1984 Nestle #512

This is the infamous "Richard Pryor" card as I so lovingly refer to it....but the food issue parallel.  This card was part of a 792 card promotional set that was only made available in uncut sheets.  Seeing the single cards mean that they were hand cut (professionally of course).

Regardless, I like the variation and am happy to knock off this inexpensive parallel.

1985 Topps Traded #37T

This is both a great looking card and a nasty one.  I loved this White Sox uniform as a kid but am bummed by the simple head shot.  You just don't get the full glory of the uni.

This Topps Traded card is designated as such by the card number on the back.  I was surprised to see the green back being so vibrant.  For a moment I thought I had the Tiffany version...but the front is not shiny.

1990 T/M Senior League #37

This piece of cardboard feels less like a baseball card and more like a bad family outing photo.  Is this guy really a baseball player?  Is this guy really Oscar Gamble?  It says so on the card but I'm not buying it.

The card is nicely miscut (cropping a little too much off the top) but it's par for the course as all the copies I've seen look the same.

The team depicted....the St. Lucie Legends.  The card lists some career stats on the back.

Games Played - 1584
Hits - 1195
Home Runs - 200
Average - .265

Nothing amazing, but Oscar carved out a nice 17-year playing career.

So that's them.  These cards push my #WalletCard collection to 49 (oh so close to the milestone).  And technically I have already surpassed it as I have a half dozen cards waiting for me on COMC.  I may have to get them delivered before Christmas.

Heck, the more I go through these cards, the more I feel like every addition is a pretty big one.  That's what I love about this project.  It's just sheer fun.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

RATE MY MASK - Robin Lehner

I was at the Calgary Flames game tonight and was struck by what I saw in the opposition net.

I usually am curious to see what goalie masks are being sported and if I like them or not.  To me, a good looking goalie mask should be one that can be appreciated both up close and from a distance.  But in Robin Lehner's case, I had to do a little more digging as you will soon realize.

No, I didn't desaturate the photo, this mask is completely black and white.  Can something so devoid of color be considered bold?  Possibly.

My first thought was that of another goalie who went sans color in their mask design...Tim Thomas.  In fact, he was my very first "Rate My Mask" card and a quick peek shows that I gave it a 4 out of 5.  But many of you didn't feel so kind to it at the time.

We'll see how you feel about Lehner's.

Drawn up by mask design guru David Gunnarsson, this creation is entitled "The Cradle of Creativity" and is inspired by Robin's favourite band - In Flames.  We will get to some of that detail in a moment.

You can clearly see the Buffalo text running down each side of the mask with the In Flames logo on top.  The Sabres logo is on each side of the chin with the number 40 smack dab in the middle.

On the left side around the ear you will see what looks like a crow.  That part is inspired from In Flames' album cover for 'Sounds of a Playground Fading'.  It's quite small and doesn't really have the killer detail that the album cover has.

I like the artwork of this album.  And seeing this makes me understand more why it would work on Lehner's mask as a sketch.  I just don't know if the mask detail is as solid as it should be.

Now before I go any further, can you guess what music genre In Flames belongs to?

I'll give you a're right.

It's kind of catchy but it doesn't really do it for me.  But then again I've only listened to about a minute of their stuff.  First impressions....they can be a killer.

Anyways, back to the mask at hand.

The right side design, again by the ear, guessed it, more album artwork inspiration.  This time from the 'Come Clarity' title.

Again, I can see why Gunnarsson went the sketch route.  But just like the other side, the detail of the album cover isn't quite as effective on the mask.  It just comes up short.

I don't know if that is because the artwork is so small (and actually pretty insignificant) in the overall design of the mask or that is really does look like a rough sketch drawing of it.  Regardless, it doesn't work for me.

Lastly, the rear panel sections of the mask showcase the mascot for In Flames.  This time, the detail is pretty effective.  It's got that maniacal laugh vibe that really puts some character into the mask.

While I enjoy masks that have an inspiration, theme or direct tribute, I do feel like there needs to be some character to the lid or it's nothing more than plain artwork.  And as detailed and impressive as it might be, if it lacks that really doesn't do anything.

The mascot depiction definitely adds to the mask.  In fact, I'd almost say that it saves it from really tanking in my overall rating.

So how did Gunnarsson and Lehner come to the decision to go with a sketch look?  It seems that the pair just got talking about how much they liked sketches and then Lehner mentioned that he wanted his mask to be like nothing ever done before.  He wanted to be completely unique.

He's got points in that category.

But is it enough to really impress?  When you pair it up with his dark jersey colours, the mask seems a little out of sorts.  Tonight when I saw him in net, the Sabres were wearing their road whites so it worked a little better.  That said, from a distance you couldn't really appreciate any of the design.  He looked more like a goalie who had to resort to the "I just got traded" white mask (now those are some sweet mask looks).

Overall, I like the attempt and the reasoning, but I just can't give it top marks.  It's not as detailed as I'd like in some areas and the "wow factor" is just not there when sitting in the stands.

2.5 out of 5

Now it's your turn to RATE MY MASK!!

BTW.....German Heavy Metal is the right answer.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

MY COLLECTION - 87/88 Canucks Puck...Candle

It was yet another trade night this past week (I always look forward to those) and while I wasn't too active a buyer I did walk away with a neat item.

The shop owner mentioned he had spotted this on his most recent trip out to BC and immediately thought of me. (Aw shucks)  He also noted that while it was not anything Linden related, I might just appreciate it.

He was right.

First off...hello yellow!!

I really think the NHL should use pucks like this all the time.  Could you imagine one of these flying into the crowd?  Now that would be a souvenir.

Now I'm sure you see it (as did I) - why isn't the puck quite round?

Well, this is the 87/88 edition of the puck candle.  I don't know if there are any 0other editions of it, but this one does the trick.

I'm choosing to not unwrap it in case it has some nasty 30-year-old wax stench.

Plus it is hard as a was dropped on more than one occasion and I can't believe it didn't break something - like my toe.

I can make out quite a few of the names like Stan Smyl, Petri Skriko, Jim Benning and good ol' Frank Caprice.

But one manufactured sig had me grinning.

If I'm not mistaken, that's Kirk McLean.

And I've got to think that it's one of his fist "appearances" on any sort of Canucks memorabilia.

That's pretty cool.

So a hearty 'Thank You' to Darren for thinking of me (he also included an old Linden food issue card). The puck candle is much appreciated.....and dare I say wick-ed.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

PACK RIPPING - 2016 Canada Post Souvenir Sheets Forwards

For the third year in a row, Canada Post got their hook in me.

Back in 2014 it was the Original Six stamp collection.  In 2015, the goalies took centre stage.

This year it's a great set of forwards that has me digging in the wallet for my extra change.

Canada Post has done a great job of putting together a progressive set - they work as individual products but marry well when you put them all together.  Six card-sized stamps of the best in the biz.

Let's stop with the chit chat and get to some scans.

I love the wrapper concept.  Makes it feel like there's an air of the unknown.  And actually ...there is.

Sure, you get six stamps (and you know which six you are getting since there are only six in the collection), but one in every 40 packs have a signed stamp.  Sah-wheet.

Sid the Kid is a great way to kick off this product.  Could you imagine hitting an auto of this gem?

Apparently the Crosby is a short surprise there.

I really have enjoyed the stamp design used each year.  Nothing groundbreaking, but that's what I want in a product like this where there should be a hint of tradition and simplicity.  And....well, it's a stamp. Stamps just look cool.

But I dare not peel these to expose the coolness.  These sets will stay intact.

Yes!!  Finally, a photo of Lafleur that is more in line with the guy I remember tearing up the league in the late 70's/early 80's.

No helmet, no Rangers jersey, nothing but simple Montreal greatness.

Hoo boy.  From the penthouse to the outhouse.

Thankfully he's in an Oilers jersey.  I really don't know if I could have supported a product with this guy in a Rangers jersey.

Would've been a cooler stamp if he was in his blues.

Fantastic Phil.  Same deal here.  Why not in the black and gold?

Still, a great selection.

Helmet fail!!!!

At least he's not wearing Cooperalls.

Last but definitely not least, Stevie Y.

A great collection of players - and an even more fantastic chase for those autos.  Any of those would be gems in a collection.

Gotta think the defencemen are next up in 2017.  I'll be looking forward to it.  But where to go after that?  Could you do expansion or defunct teams?  How tremendous would this be.....

I.  Am.  In.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

HHOF AUTOS - La La La LaFontaine

It has been nearly eight months since my last Hall Of Fame auto pickup.  Part of that is due to me not really chasing them, part of that is due to many of the local guys trading just don't have any (or they have a Gretzky that is way out of my range....remember, I have to trade for them).

But when I opened up a dynamite box of CFL football ( heard me right) recently, I thought I would have a good chance of turning some of my hits into some new signature additions.

And the online trading world just happened to be calling.

I don't normally go to the football section of the hobby board I frequent (judging by the lack of posts, neither do many others) but I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the thread title "WANTED: 2016 CFL Jonathon Jennings High Gloss /10".

Are you kidding me?

So I did the only thing I could and sent him a message.  It was a quick back & forth and within no time we had a deal finalized.

My card arrived in the mail today.

Pat LaFontaine
(Inducted in 2003)

I really like this add to the collection.  My memories of Pat pretty much start and end with his OT winner in the 90th overtime against Washington when hockey was everything.  Yes, he was a leading scorer in the league (say for some guy named Mario and his season for the ages) but those years get tainted in my brain by one unfortunate hit and his subsequent years dealing with concussion issues.

A 5-time All-Star, his career numbers are impressive...but deceiving.  He really could have...should have been a whole lot better.  Over a 15-year career, Pat finished with 468 goals and 1013 points (a 62-point output in his last season vaulted him over the thousand point plateau) but point totals of 27, 18 and 8 over his final few years really ended his chance of putting up numbers that would have had him amounts the all-time greats.  He didn't struggle it seemed when he was able to go....he was a point a game in those last few terms.

The autograph on the card is right down the middle for me.  Not slick and sleek like a Beliveau but certainly not a scribble-scrabble like today's marker masters.  It's got some style to it and I can make out his name.  It actually reminds me a bit of Linden's sig...messy legible.

With this card I can now long will it be before my next pickup?

I guess I should open more CFL.

(A kind thank you to Mark for the great trade...and for sending along a couple extras in the envelope).

Current Collection - 69 HHOF Autos

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

WALLET CARD - Cleveland...We Have A Problem

I've been building my Oscar Gamble player collection for a good year and a half now and it's been a really fun chase.  Most of the cards are cheap base cards and even the autos and tougher inserts are quite reasonable (compared to the Linden Tax I pay for my other pc).

Recently the challenge has been stamped redemption cards.  Tough to track and exciting to land.  I've gathered a good little collection of them and they've really filled in the bottom portion of my master checklist.

And while #WalletCard has been added in some new products this year it was my most recent discovery that has me pondering how I should move forward.

At first glance you might think this is the simple base card version of the Topps Archives Snapshots.  A nice photo on a simple card design.  Should be fun....right?

Well, this is the "digital card" version.  It's selling on eBay right now.

So what would I win?  A link or transfer of file I guess.  No shipping that's nice.

But could I really be happy with a digital card?

I knew of the digital card craze with the Star Wars releases and some sports stuff but never really had it on my radar (seeing as my players didn't have a digital card until now).  With this new revelation, I feel a little hesitant to jump in.

Yeah, on a 0.99 cent base card I'm fine chasing one or two of them, but what if there was a magical red and yellow polkadot version /2....would I go after that?  What would the asking price be?  What would the demand be?

After don't physically get anything.

Heck, this screenshot is no different from the "card" itself in my eyes.  What's to say I wouldn't be just as happy keeping this scan for all of eternity?  (ok....deep down...I would know that it wouldn't be the same).

It's definitely created a dilemma that many have already resolved.

Where do digital trading cards live in my hobby world?

Right now.....they don't.  But I have a good feeling that will change.

Monday, October 3, 2016

RAISE THE CUP - Stanley Cup Champs...Duh

More sorting of cards on my desk.  Finally getting to these Stanley Cup Champs cards (yet another insert set that is piggybacking off of my tremendous idea).

The more I think about the Cup raising concept, the more I'd like to see more retro cards in these inserts.  Imaging some great Original Six guys in their glory, or maybe the Broad Street Bullies celebrating their accomplishment.  How about some of the all-time greats hoisting the holy grail.

I wonder how many of those moments actually have a good photo to capture the moment?

Anyways, I digress.  On with the show.

Marty Brodeur with the big grin.  Really epitomizes what this project is all about.

By the way.....these cards scan like crap.  They are a nice shiny red foil background, die-cut on the right to outline the Stanley Cup.

Patrick Kane representing one of the great dynasties in our current era.

Yup....I said it.  The D word.

Chicago is just that good, and have found ways to continue winning even with the struggles against the cap and with player turnover.  Impressive.

Case in point.....Brandon Saad.

That's a moment he better remember for a lifetime.

I really liked the "That 70's Line" of Pearson, Carter and Toffoli.  They really injected the Kings with some energy and spunk.

And Tyler has a spunky look on his face to celebrate.


Marty.  It feels like so long ago (I guess it has now that I think of it).

Amazing how time flies.

This 20-card insert set from the 2014/15 OPC Platinum product should be one to chase.  Now I have to prep some checklists of all the ripoff sets I have to go after.

Before any more pop up this year.