Saturday, February 25, 2017

OUTSIDE THE BOX - Have A Drink On Me

It's been a very hectic week both at work and away from it.  I still feel like I'm trying to get my year started (as I had a bit of a hiccup due to having to buy a new vehicle last month).  But in spite of all the  busy hours I still managed to find some time today to go to the antique show with my mom and nephew.

I could go to this show with a completely empty wallet and have a blast.  I love the window shopping - and spending time with my mom and nephew is just flat out fun.  We had a great time and saw some neat stuff.  I'll share that with you all another time.

Tonight, I got home and was doing a little tidying up in my office and decided to pull out a collection that hardly ever gets any of my time anymore.  It's likely the most passive of pc's I have and the best part is that I don't have to spend a penny on it.

When I pulled the collection out of the closet I immediately saw a set that shot me back at least 2 decades.

Would anybody care for a refreshment?

Who remembers these Molson Canadian NHL beer coasters from the (I want to say) 1994 season?  I certainly do.

I was out of high school and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  I spent a lot of time hanging out with buddies at Don Cheery's Sports Bar in Calgary.  It was the first sports bar I went to on a regular basis and watched many....many hockey games there.

These beer coasters were released and I remember looking like a fool going from table to table, bar to bar at Don Cherry's looking to complete the 26-coaster set.

Took me just one evening to get them all.

It was the start of what has become a fun, inexpensive hobby for me....

Beer coasters.

I tend to snag a coaster at every bar or restaurant that has one (and normally grab two just in case the flip side is nice).  It's a great reminder of the places I've been and horrible beer I used to drink....Molson Dry was my beer back in the day.  Ouch.

After a number of years I decided to pick some coasters up when I saw them cheap at a garage sale or antique show (so I can't claim that this is a completely free excursion) but rarely do so now as it really isn't worth it.

That said, I keep an eye out when I'm at a place or event that might have them.  I definitely take advantage of it if the situation presents itself.

I did a count tonight (as it's been a few years since I organized them) and have 578 unique coasters.  I have an additional 196 doubles/extras for a grand total of 774 beer mats.

I remember seeing a cool bartop long ago....I can't remember where (some pub) and it had a glass top.  Underneath were what looked like hundreds of different coasters.  I thought it was a cool idea and still envision a final end spot for all of these.

Maybe one day.

Until then, I'll continue to have fun with this collection.

Now, let's take a closer look at some of these team logos.

Gotta start with my Canucks.  Oh do I ever remember those wonderful days in the mid-90's.  So many great memories.

Yeah.....this is one that takes me back.  Love this logo and wished the team never moved to Carolina.

Another iconic logo from days gone by.  This was just prior to the move to Colorado.

This Senators logo looks so old now.  But I remember when the team came into the league....and the Alexandre Daigle experiment.

Who can forget that??

Don't really need to say anything here.

The best of things never get old.

I never really cared for this Penguins logo.  I'm glad they didn't stick with it for too long.

That said, this logo definitely reminds me of their early 90's dominance.  Hard to forget that.

Hoo boy.....another great early version of a logo.

Those new logos at the time (Ottawa, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Florida) just seemed so out there in comparison to the simple 21-team league I grew up with as a kid.

Jets......version 1.0......awesome.

Having this set in my collection (hockey and beer coaster) really gives me great satisfaction - and a lot of great memories.  And at the end of the day, that's what these little nuggets of stuff we pick up or buy should do.

Spending time tonight going through all those old beer coasters really jolted my brain and got me pretty nostalgic.  Good stuff.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - You Never Know What You'll Come Across

It was local card show day today....and it just so happened to land on National Hockey Card Day.  I hope you all got your free pack of cards and are enjoying putting the set together.

I was hoping to find a few new Linden cards for the collection as it had been a couple months since making the trek out to the rec centre.  I was on the lookout for the new UD Series II Canvas card of his (I don't know why but I'm really excited about it) but no luck....nobody had one.  I feel though that it's a card I will be able to find locally.  There's a bigger show in a couple weeks that should up my chances.

While I didn't come home empty-handed I kept the buying to a minimum....just playing the patience card.  There were some nice cards that would look good in the trade box - but I've been playing that game a few times recently....I want some stuff I can shove into a box and store in the closet forever.

Speaking of....

When I got home this afternoon I decided to do a little organizing and documenting of things related to my collections.  So I pulled out a monster box of Lindens....

Now imagine holding onto this box and then dropping it.  Sucks eh?  Now imagine dropping it in a way where it's a slow, painful process....not a quick, fixer-upper.

Cards.....everywhere on the closet floor.  It was spectacular (and not in a good way).

The curse words were a flyin'.....I still know how to let the expletives roll it seems.

The photo above is the after in after THREE HOURS of checking for damage, replacing some toploaders and re-organizing.  I blew my afternoon.

But such is life.  I guess it could have been worse.  I could've damaged some of my cards (which thankfully I did not).

So......on with the show.

Only one Linden card was found on my card show spree today.  I went to a guy who knows I collect Linden (ok.....they ALL know I collect Linden) and he talked about how he was emptying some boxes to store some base cards.  You know....junky, not-going-to-get-anything-for-your-dollar cards.  And what do you think he finds?

2014/15 Upper Deck Artifacts
#TS-TL Treasured Swatches

It's not numbered, it's a couple years old - but I still needed it.

He let out a laugh when I told him.  He thought for sure I would have picked it up already.  I said that cards like these are best to find locally since the shipping normally outweighs the cost of the card itself.

Well.....almost (in this case).  He got very....very fair value on the card but I was happy to pay.  Nice to knock this off the list and with a pair of non-white jersey pieces to boot.

This next card is a pretty special one (and one that I will enjoy in my collection for many.....many years to come).

A few years ago In The Game released a product called Superlative III.  For some reason I was really excited about the release and there are some incredible looking cards in the product.  I decided to pursue it aggressively.

With 1/1s, there are 20 Linden cards to be had (not counting any show cards and such).  Many of them low numbered (9 or less).  I lucked out on a few pickups and was pretty reckless on others.  But after the initial wave of cards on the secondary market passed I was left with a good portion of the 20 cards in my collection.

I picked up any others I could find and was soon down to basically the tougher pieces of cardboard to add.

Two of the biggest (literally) were the Jumbo Patch cards (a silver /4 and the gold 1/1).  It took some effort - and some help from fellow hobbyists but I knocked them both off the list.  They're two of the top pieces in my collection.

Jumbo Silver

Jumbo Gold

And yes....they look just as good (even better) in person.

It was very soon after landing these cards that I decided to take a run at the complete rainbow....all 20 cards.

But there were some 1/1s that went places I was sure never to see again.  That was until late last year.

I was doing my hourly search of Linden stuff on eBay and saw not one....but two Linden 1/1 cards from the Superlative III set.

It.  Was.  On.

I let a couple Linden guys know that I was going to go after them pretty hard.  I was excited to see the auctions ending on a weekday afternoon (who does that?) which normally lends to a lower final price.  I was on red alert with just a few minutes left in the auctions (I like to bid live as opposed to using a sniping program) and was shocked to see what was happening.

The cards were skyrocketing in price.

I thought they'd go for a fair chunk....but 2x, 3x as much?  No way.

I was out before I was even in.

So I was a little bummed.....but such is life.  You can't win them all.

The a couple months back I got an e-mail from a fellow Linden collector letting me know that one of the cards found its way into his hands.  He knew I would immediately be interested.  And I was.

He sent it over last week.

2012/13 In The Game Superlative III
#SAP-TL Superlative Auto Plus Number Gold  1/1

This is a tremendous 4-color piece from a classic (in Linden terms) Canucks jersey.  A hard-signed auto to boot.....looks great.

I had been asking what would make a fair trade to land it and simply said he was looking for nothing in return.

Wow!!  I was floored.

We fired off a couple e-mails back and forth and I couldn't help but have a huge smile on my face.  Not because I had this wonderful card in my hand but because I just genuinely enjoyed (and always have) the great rapport I have had with this individual.

Make no mistake though.....there will be reciprocation.  I already know what I'm sending.  :)

Kevin.....a huge thank you - for everything.  This card will sit proudly (and with a great story) in my collection.  Cheers!

ps.  I'm down to just 3 cards for the rainbow.....all 1/1s.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

OPINION - Camaraderie

So I was just wrapping up watching a movie tonight - decided to skip the Grammy's - and decided to check out the hobby boards I attach myself to.  In there was a private message from a fellow hobbyist who just wanted to take the time to say how much he's enjoyed looking at some of the cards in my Trevor Linden collection.

I can't made me feel pretty good.

It also made me think about the long journey I've taken to build my Linden collection up from a handful of base cards back 20 years ago to where it is now.  The thought of that spurred on many memories of the great stories and episodes that I've encountered to obtain some of the cards.  But mostly I've thought about the great people I've dealt with and gotten to know over the years.

Camaraderie is a big part of my collecting world.

It's easy to find those who have a bone to pick or a chip on their shoulder or a sense of entitlement when it comes to cards.  I feel sorry for those who feel the need to spew negativity on a regular basis. It's not difficult to find them....but often hard to ignore.

So it's refreshing to hear some positive words....a simple compliment, maybe the start of a back and forth dialogue.

In this era of online buying, webcast box breaks and cutthroat competition for the rarest of the rares out there, it feels good to just sit back and chat or head over to the card shop and shoot the "preverbal poo" with others or shake hands with someone I haven't seen in a while at a show.

At the end of the day, we all collect - and shouldn't we feel free to celebrate that, scream at the top of our lungs about it (ok....maybe that's taking it a little too far), you get my drift.

But I also think part of that camaraderie is listening.  Hearing what the person across from you has to say about his/her collecting world and taking a genuine interest in them.  Sure, some of it might be nothing more than "filler" for discussion....being courteous, but I like to think that if I'm really interested in what the other person is up to.....I'll be the one asking more questions than he is.

At the end of the day, this hobby is about having fun and relieving some stresses in our lives.  I see a number of people who look like card collecting is just adding to their frustration.

Camaraderie can help that.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - 16/17 Trilogy Signature Puck

Over the past few weeks I've seen a number of new Trevor Linden cards pop up on the secondary market.  Black Diamond autos and manufactured patches, SP Game Used Draft Day Letter Marks and Trilogy Signature Pucks.  What do all of these cards have in common?

They are all Upper Deck releases.

For the past couple years Upper Deck has inserted Linden in to more of their products than the decade prior.  I must say that I quite enjoy the new adds.  Yes, there are some tough parallels in there but there are also some new looking cards or new looking concepts that Linden has finally been added into.  Upper Deck is really quenching my thirst for something exciting.

Now that said.....I'm not firing off shots at everything and anything new.  I'm staying pretty passive at hitting some of these cards.  I think that's just the new approach I'm taking these days.  In fact, it's funny to hear other saying that the Linden market has chilled off.

That makes me smile.  Cheaper is better.

But not every card has been going low.  Some of the Draft Day Letter Marks (a manufactured patch numbered to 10) have fetched more money than the actual game used Linden letters I chased a few years ago - and they were 1/1s.  Wow.

It goes to the popularity of the Upper Deck brand and them having the license to use logos and such.  You can't argue their success.  Money talks.

The card I'm sharing tonight is one that I snagged from a nice Buy It Now discovery.  I like the new look of these cards and the Linden offering is pretty wild.

2016/17 Upper Deck Trilogy
#SP-TL Signature Pucks Team Logo  /17

This hand numbered signature puck is the third time Linden has had these auto pucks in Trilogy.  Each time I have captured the retro auto.  But the 16/17 version is fresh, blue (in signature too) and uses the true retro logo that I've come to love.

They are a really sharp looking card.  In addition to the regular version (which has no team logo) there is an always difficult NHL shield logo /3.  Not holding my breath there.

But Upper Deck decided to up their game this year by adding dual autos on the puck.  Linden gets (once again) teamed up with the Russian Rocket, Pavel Bure.  As with the single autos there are three versions.  The toughest.....a 1/1, has already surfaced and has found a new home.  Sadly, not mine.

The price on that one was WAY over what I was looking to spend.  I know the new owner will be happy with it.

But it just really injects a fun, challenging element to my Linden collecting that I haven't felt in a number of months.  And even though I may not be crossing as many off the list as I maybe could be....I know that the ones I do snag will be at a price I'm happy with and a quality that I'll be thrilled to add to the collection.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

HHOF AUTOS - A Killer Addition

It's been almost 3 years to the day since I started my hard-signed Hall Of Fame autograph project.  While things may have slowed down a bit a lot in acquiring cards (only added 2 cards in 2016), my quest for sigs hasn't diminished.

This past week at one of the local trade nights I was able to pull the trigger on another signer and I'm excited to add this one to the lot.

Doug Gilmour
(Inducted in 2011)

"Killer" has been on the radar more than many as he was a big part of my hockey youth and hometown excitement as he was a key cog in the Flames' Stanley Cup win in 1989.  It was especially nice to get a card of his in a Calgary Flames uniform.

Many (or most) of you equate Gilmour with the Leafs of the early 90's and who can blame you.  Those were equally incredible times for a franchise that has struggled with any sort of post season success for decades.  The Flames sit in that same boat.

The trade I made was fair I felt but only time will tell if I pulled the right cost me a William Nylander Trilogy Ice Scripts.

Some new names have hit the list and one of those should be pretty easy to track down.  I know I've seen Rogie Vachon autos roaming the shows and on eBay and could be plucked for fairly little.  Sergei Makarov.....does he even have an auto?  Eric Lindros.....he's another tier up (didn't sign much early on).  Pat Quinn.....shame to see him get the call after he passed away...should've been there years earlier.

With this Gilmour card I've hit the 70% mark.  Not bad at all.  There's no doubt that getting to 100 cards will be an easy task as there are many names that should come with little resistance (Phil Housley, Adam Oates, Dino Ceccarelli, even Guy Lafleur is an easier auto to find).  Still having fun with this one.

Current Collection - 70 HOF Autos