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Group Break entries are now closed, the boxes have been ordered and secondary teams have been randomized. Follow THIS LINK for final team assignments.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Topps Redemption Redeemed: 2014 Triple Threads Mike Olt Future Phenom Sepia Parallel /75

I'm a bit more patient than most when it comes to the idea of redemption cards, so it wasn't a huge issue for me to purchase a redemption for a sepia parallel of Mike Olt's Future Phenom autographed triple relic card from 2014 Triple Threads.  It took about two months to get it in hand, but at last it has arrived, and here it is with an autograph, three jersey swatches, and is numbered 19/75.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Top 10 Pack Pulls of 2015

Here's a running tab of the top 10 cards I have been lucky enough to pull from packs during the 2015 calendar year.

Updated: 1/28/15

5. 2014-15 SP Game Used Mark Visentin Rookies Jersey /499

4. 2014-15 SP Game Used Darnell Nurse Rookies Jersey /499

3. 2014-15 SP Game Used Duncan Keith Stadium Series Jersey

2. 2014-15 SP Game Used Pekka Rinne Patch /50

1. 2014-15 SP Game Used Aaron Ekblad Draft Day Marks Autographed Patch /35

Monday, January 26, 2015

2014-15 SP Game Used Box Break

Admittedly, my card-buying has been rare as of late. Upper Deck is now the only hockey card on the market, so I haven't been flooded with Panini releases, and they seem to save their biggest products for the second half of the season, so there hasn't been a whole lot that I have gotten excited about.

One product that I was looking forward to, however, was SP Game Used. This year, Upper Deck completely re-tooled the brand, taking it from a regular base set brand with a few hits, to a hits-only product. Every single card is either a memorabilia card, an autographed card, or a "base" card that is serial numbered to a player's jersey number.

Each box contains one pack of five cards, with one of those five guaranteed to be autographed. Here's what my box got me.

Mark Visentin Rookies 2-Color Jersey  53/499
Visentin was the first round draft pick (27th overall) of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2010. The team appears to be giving him time to develop, as he has only made it up to the NHL for one game, which came during the 2013-14 season. He had been playing for the Portland Pirates of the AHL, but is now out for the season following ankle surgery.

Darnell Nurse Rookies jersey 288/499
Nurse is one of the big rookies in this year's product, having been selected seventh overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He also has an athletic pedigree, being the son of former CFL wide receiver Richard Nurse and a nephew of former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb. He played in 2 NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers at the beginning of the 2014-15 season, but was sent back to the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for another year of conditioning.

Duncan Keith Stadium Series Jersey
The cool thing with these Stadium Series cards is that the swatches were cut from the actual jerseys worn during the Stadium Series games. This one comes from Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith, who played against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Stadium Series game held at Chicago's Soldier Field. Keith went scoreless in the 5-1 Blackhawks win, but did get 4 PIMs.

Pekka Rinne Patch 20/50
Rinne may have been a late draft pick in 2004 (258th overall), but over the past decade, he has developed into one of the game's top goaltenders, being named a finalist for the Vaezina Trophy, awarded to the NHL's top goaltender, in 2011 and 2012. Rinne is having his best season yet in 2014-15, compiling a staggering record of 29-6-2, with a 1.96 goals against average and a .930 save percentage.

Aaron Ekblad Draft Day Marks autographed patch 1/35
So, far, this is only my second hobby box purchase of 2014-15, and already I pull an autograph of the year's top draft pick! The Florida Panthers picked him first overall this year, and already, Ekblad is making a name for himself. In 44 games, he has totaled 6 goals and 19 assists, for 25 points, putting him tied for fourth in scoring among rookies.

This product is definitely a risk, I will say. I did pretty well on my box, but I've also seen plenty of boxes with four plain jersey swatches and an autograph of some lower-level rookie. Still, with all the risk, there are plenty of great cards to be had, and I was lucky enough to pull one of them.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

From Santa Claus: A Box of 2012-13 Rookie Anthology

I know it has been a while since I have posted on here, but a lot of that has to do with the attention I have been giving my autographed memorabilia collection, which is written about on Not Pulled From Packs. I also spent Cristmas driving from Moorhead, MN to Houston, TX with my wife and three girls (ages 6, 3, and 3 months), so my attention (and money) has been focused elsewhere.

Still, I do like to pick up some cards every now and then, and received an assist under the Christmas tree from "Santa Claus" in the form of a hobby box of 2012-13 Rookie Anthology that he may or may not have found at my LCS for a discounted price.

Anyway, I've opened up plenty of boxes of this in the past, so I'll save you the full narrative of what comes in Rookie anthology and get right to it.

I'm not sure if there's a point to posting base cards, as I've pulled each Penguin multiple times, but this box gave me Marc-Andre Fleury and Brandon Sutter from my favorite team.

My bonus pack of Prizm gave me a Jarome Iginla, which is kind of a Penguin card, as well as a Torey Krug rookie and a Riley Sheahan rookie refractor.

I got mostly the same garden-variety inserts that I had in the past, with one exception, the Wendel Clark Intensity card, numbered 155/500. It's a great looking card, printed on acetate, and gives a close-up view of a player's face as he eyes down his opponent. It isn't the most rare of cards, but for some reason, I don't think I've ever pulled one.

The first of my hits is a Cameron Gaunce Titanium Metallic Marks Bronze card, which I'm pretty sure was a sticker dump. Gaunce played for the Colorado Avalanche for 11 games in 2010-11, and didn't get back to the NHL until 2013-14, when he played 9 games for the Dallas Stars.

Speaking of Titanium, I also pulled a Roberto Luongo Game-Worn Gear jersey card. I thought that I already had this card, but looking through what I have, I must have traded my old one away, so it's nice to have it again.

This Slava Voynov All the King's Men jersey card may have been cool at one point, but not so much anymore.

The one per-box-guarantee is a Rookie Treasures autographed dual jersey card, and I did pretty good here. I pulled one of Torey Krug, numbered 29/99, featuring two multi-colored patch pieces. Krug payed just 3 NHL games in total between the 2011-12 and 2012-13 NHL regular seasons, but made a name for himself in the 2012-13 playoffs, scoring 4 goals and 2 assists in 15 postseason games.

My last hit of the box is a big one, with this Crown Royale Rookie Silhouette card of Brandon Bollig. The card features a jumbo patch piece behind a cut-out of the player, right above an on-card autograph. Bollig is currently playing for the Calgary Flames, but made his mark in Chicago while he was there, winning the Stanley Cup with the team in 2013.

Overall, this was a pretty good box. There were plenty of great inserts and a total of five hits, including TWO autographed patch cards. Some boxes can be quite risky, but there have been very few boxes of this particular product that have left me disappointed.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Trade with 2x3 Heroes

This is a trade with Jeff from 2x3 Heroes that began so long ago, I can't even remember who really initiated it. One of us expressed interest in something, it took a couple weeks to iron out the details. Then, it took something like 3-4 weeks for me to get mine shipped out. Things just got busy and then I was just about to send an apology e-mail to let him know of my delay, only to find that he had already sent me one from his end, which made me feel much better. Anyway, eventually, the deal went through, and I now am happy to add the following cards to my collection.

2013-14 Prime Evgeni Malkin/Alex Ovechkin/Valeri Nichushkin Prime Trios "RUS" 96/100

2013-14 Titanium Eric Hartzell Titanium Reserve

2013-14SP Authentic Brian Dumoulin 1051/1299

2009-10 MVP Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin/Brandon Dubinsky/Marian Gaborik Two On Two

2014-15 Artifacts Marc-Andre Fleury Dual Jersey 55/125

2012-13 Certified Kris Letang
2009-10 O-Pee-Chee Mathieu Garon Foil Parallel
2008-09 Collector's Choice Alex Goligoski
2009-10 O-Pee-Chee Alex Goligoski

The first three were the cards we had actually agreed on in the trade, so those were the only three I was expecting. The last six, including the Crosby/Malkin and Fleury dual jersey were "throw-ins," which was quite a surprise. Seeing those made me wish I had waited just a bit longer to send my end of the trade so that I could have thrown a few extras his way, but don't worry Jeff. I'll be sure to hook you up on our next deal.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Bunch of Cards from Ebay Part 5: Trade Bait and a Texan

To close out this series of posts, we basically have the random singles that are left over, combined with cards I got for the sole purpose of trading.

The one "keeper" of this particular post is this 2008 Ultimate Collection Steve Slaton Ultimate Rookie Big Materials card, numbered 8/40. This piece is pretty different from a lot of what we see nowadays, in that they manage to put fabric on both sides of the card. On the front, there's a really nice three-colored patch piece, and the back contains a white jersey swatch. There was so much card surface taken up by fabric, that Upper Deck actually issued a separate companion card to this that contained all of the fine print and authenticity guarantee.


Lastly, we have all the traders. I won't go into any detail about who the players are, or what made me purchase them. Really, I purchased them because they were between $1-$2 each, and I figured there was a chance that I could trade some of them for cards that would better suit my collection.

2011-12 Ultimate Mark Scheifele Signatures

2011-12 Ultimate Brayden Schenn Signatures

2013 Tribute Brett Lawrie 9/35

2013 Tier One Zack Cozart On the Rise 167/399

2014 Triple Threads Enny Romero21/99

2014 Triple Threads Chris Owings 30/99

2013 Triple Threads Jedd Gyorko

2011 Triple Threads Tommy Hanson 19/99

2011 Triple Threads Justin Masterson 2/99

That's pretty much it for this group of cards. Like I said, most of these are up for trade, so if you see anything you like, be sure to let me know.

Also, if you haven't checked it out already, visit and follow/subscribe to my other blog Not Pulled From Packs. That one focuses on my autographed memorabilia collection, which contains quite a few really cool items, and I have a show coming up at the end of this month that will definitely be adding quite a few more to the collection.

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Bunch of Cards from Ebay Part 4: Celebrity Autos

While I usually don't stray very far at all away from sports when it comes to my card-buying, I did find a couple non-sports autographs at some pretty amazing prices. There are some pretty big names here, and each of them was purchased for a mere $2-$5 each.

2013 Leaf Mario Lopez
I may be dating myself here, but I mostly remember Lopez from an endless steam of "Saved By the Bell" reruns that I watched at home growing up. He's the one actor from that show who has really held on to a strong career, and is now currently hosting "Extra."

2013 Topps 75 Tyler Mane
This one comes from the guy who played Sabretooth in the original "X-Men" movie. He is a former professional wrestler, going under the name "Big Sky," while in WCW, and apart from Sabretooth, is mostly known for playing Michael Myers in the two Rob Zombie "Halloween" reboots.

2013 Leaf Pop Century Helen Reddy
Helen Reddy became a feminist icon with her song, "I Am Woman."  That song, along with "Delta Dawn" and "Angie Baby" all reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and she also had eight songs reach No. 1 in the adult contemporary category.

2012 Leaf Pop Century Kara Dioguardi
Dioguardi is an incredibly successful songwriter and producer, and has written songs with Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani, Pink, Meat Loaf, and Carrie Underwood, among others. For two years, she served as a judge on American Idol, seasons eight and nine, which saw victories by Kris Allen and Lee DeWyze.

I'm not sure if anyone else thinks these are cool in the least bit, but I think they are, and that's all that really matters to me. Next up, I'll close this group out with some trade bait and a Texan.

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Bunch of Cards from Ebay Part 3: Baseball HOF Autographs

Here are some REALLY cool cards that I picked up as part of my big Ebay lot. Now when you look at the number of cards for my Panguins collection, combined with the team affiliation of these three cards, you might notice a similarity. As it turns out, the seller is from Pennsylvania, which explains it. Anyway, here are three cards of two players, and they all look pretty amazing.

2005 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures Bill Mazeroski
2007 Sweet Spot Classic Bill Mazeroski Legendary Autograph 28/75
Mazeroski was a 2001 inductee, and is mostly remembered for his Game 7 series-ending home run in the bottom of the 9th inning. He finished his career with a .260 avg, 138 home runs and 853 RBIs

2001 Donruss Signature Series Ralph Kiner Milestone Marks 86/105
Kiner played just 10 years in the majors, but put up some astonishing numbers. In just a decade, he managed to get 1,451 hits, 1,015 RBIs and 369 home runs. He also had some amazing individual home-run-hitting years, knocking 51 in 1947 and 54 in 1949.

It's only two guys, but these are some great additions to my baseball card collection. Coming up next is some celebrity autographed cards.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Bunch of Cards from Ebay Part 2: Cubs

In my Ebay buying frenzy, I added quite a few new Penguins to my collection, and a few Cubs, as well, although there weren't a whole lot of options for my baseball team. Still, I was able to pick up a few, including one redemptions, so here's what I came away with.

2014 Triple Threads Mike Olt Sepia /75
While I'm not a huge fan of redemptions, I am a bit more patient than other collectors, especially when I know that the card has already been returned and begun shipping out. So, in a couple weeks or so, I should have this card in my hands.

2013 Elite Extra Edition Rock Shoulders 248/267
I don't love that Elite cards too much, since it's essentially a minor league set. It's really a crapshoot as to whether or not these players amount to anything on a professional level. I'm ok with it either way, though, because Rock Shoulders is such a great name, I'm happy to have this card in my collection no matter what. 

2012 Bowman Chrome Shawon Dunston Jr.
The son of a Cubs mainstay in the 80s and 90s, Shawon Dunston Jr. is hoping to break in with the team his father spent the majority of his career. He spent the 2014 season with the Kane County Cougars, the Cubs' Class A affiliate.

Not a whole lot of Cubs, but I got a couple decent ones. Tomorrow bringssome of the coolest cards I got from this group: baseball hall of famer autographs.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Bunch of Cards from Ebay Part 1: Penguins

So, here's what happens when you find an item you like on Ebay, and make the ill-guided decision to click on the "See Other Items" link on a listing. I had originally found a reasonably-priced Simon Despres rookies card from The Cup, and let my curiosity take over. One card turned in to 27, and $15 ended up turning into, well, a lot more than that.

Anyway, I've decided to break this up into six parts, mostly just to spread out the content, so without further ado, here's a quick look at the Penguins cards I purchased as a part of this group:

2011-12 The Cup Simon Despres Rookie Auto Patch 245/249
This is my very first Rookie Auto Patch card of anyone from the Pittsburgh Penguins, and considering that he's still with the team, and playing regularly at the pro level, it was definitely a cool one to get. 

2011-12 The Cup Auto Rookie Brian Strait 177/199
From the same year as Despres, the big difference is not only the lack of a patch, but the fact that Strait no longer plays for the team, after the New York Islanders picked him up off of waivers.

2012-13 SP Game Used James Neal Auto
Neal is another guy who no longer plays for the team, but was pretty productive in his tenure. Still, his absence isn't felt too much, as the players he was traded for, Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling, are more than making up for it. 

2010-11 SP Authentic Alexander Pechurski 131/999
Pechurski played just one game for the Penguins during the 2009-10 season, letting one goal in during 36 minutes of play. He is currently playing in the KHL.

2008-09 Upper Deck Sidney Crosby Game Jersey
I already have plenty of Crosby jersey cards, but it is always nice to add another. 

2005-06 Ultimate Marc-Andre Fleury Ultimate Signatures
He isn't always the most consistent goaltender, but I really love his signature. It's a bit of a scribble, but as long as there is at least a cool-looking design to it, I'm ok with that kind of scribble.

2006-07 Hot Prospects Kris Letang Prized Prospects Auto Patch Rookie 88/599
So, this is an autographed rookie patch card of Letang, and I think I only paid somewhere around $15 for it! A lot of that may have to do with the fact that there is some fading to the card, almost as if the card was left in a store-front window too long. Despite that, I think it was a fantastic price for this card.

Well, those are my new Penguins. Stay tuned tomorrow for my newest Chicago Cubs cards.