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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.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

New Collecting Goal - UND Alumni

I just wanted to make everyone aware of a new collecting goal of mine: University of North Dakota Alumni. Now living up here, I have the opportunity to see a few games from a top-notch program, but even before moving up here, I had strong family ties to the area, so I've always had an appreciations for players of the Fighting Sioux. I am off to a good start already, with some decent hits of these guys:

Jonathan Toews

Zach Parise

Ed Belfour

Matt Frattin

Chay Genoway

Other former Sioux include T.J. Oshie (how do I not have one of his already???), Travis Zajac, Drew Stafford, Matt Greene, Brian Lee, Chris VandeVelde, Joe Finley, Brad Malone, Brock Nelson, Chris Porter, Jason Blake, Brad Bombardir, Mike Commodore, Tony Hrkac, Craig Ludwig, and Dave Tippett, among many others.

So, if anyone has any cards of these UND alumni, or any other that I may have mentioned, that they are willing to trade, please let me know. Thanks!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Trade From Blog Reader Brandon L. (Featuring A LOT of Houston Hits)

A few weeks ago, Brandon L., a blog reader of mine, contacted me about making a trade. He asked me for a few cards of mine that I really didn't care about and offered me some hits for some of my player collections. What I did not realize until I looked at the loot, was that there were A LOT of cards of players from Houston-area teams. I used to live in Houston, so that's fine with me, plus it gives me some more trade bait to make some deals with The Dimwit.

Anyway, here's what I got:

2010 Plates & Patches Andre Johnson Jersey 151/299


2004 UD Vintage Jeff Bagwell Stellar Stat Men Jersey


2003 Flair Roy Oswalt Diamond Cuts Jersey


2003 Playoff Piece of the Game Lance Berkman Jersey


2003 Flair Diamond Cuts Alfonso Soriano Jersey


2002-03 Sweet Shot Steve Francis Jersey


2002-03 Upper Deck Steve Fancis Reel TIme Jersey


He also included a few hockey inserts that he had no use for from 2011-12 Between the Pipes. I got Masked Men 4 die-cut cards of Cam Ward and Craig Anderson, as well as a 10th Anniversary card of Tomas Vokoun.


There you have it. It was a quick and easy trade, and was able to add some great cards to my collection. Thanks, Brandon!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Trade With The Diamond King

After offering up a couple inserts from 2013 Topps Archives as trade bait, I asked my fellow bloggers to simply request what they were interested, give me their address, and then ship me anything that they feel would be a fair deal. I've always liked a good mystery trade, as it provides just a little bit more excitement when opening up that manilla envelope. Here's what Kevin from The Diamond King sent me in return for Gallery of Heroes cards of Cal Ripken and Mike Trout.

2009 Heritage Aramis Ramirez Clubhouse Collection Jersey


2008 Upper Deck 20th Anniversary Ryne Sandberg
2012 Archives Cloth Stickers Starlin Castro
2005 Donruss Leather & Lumber Mark Prior & Jim Thome Rivals
1986 Fleer Mini Ryne Sandberg
2005 Cracker Jack Ballpark Legends Roy Campanella


If anyone has a bunch of inserts or other cards you are wanting to get rid of, just post them up and let people claim them. This has been a great way for me to grab some really cool items for my collection. Thanks for the trade, Kevin!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Trade With 2 by 3 Heroes

After posting some trade bait from 2013 Archives, Jeff from 2 by 3 Heroes requested one of the cards, and in return sent me the following for my various team collections:

Penguins: 2008-09 Upper Deck Miroslav Satan, Ryan Whitney
Cubs: 1983 Fleer Lee Smith, 2008 Goudey Kosuke Fukudome
Texans: 2012 Topps Archives Matt Schaub, 2012 Prestige Owen Daniels


Thanks for the trade, Jeff!

Friday, August 23, 2013

2011-12 Dominion Jonathan Blum Autographed Patch Rookie /199

Adding to my  ever-growing collection of autographed patch rookie card from 2011-12 Panini Dominion, I picked up this great looking 3-colored autographed patch card of Jonathon Blum, numbered 155/199.


Even though Blum had rookie cards in 2011-12 products, he actually now has played in three NHL seasons, all with the Nashville Predators. Blum was a first-round selection (23rd overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Predators, and has seen plenty of time at the NHL level since making his debut during the 2010-11 season. During this past season, Blum was in action for 35 games scoring one goal and six assists. During the off-season, the Predators declined to offer him a new contact, making him a free agent, but he was soon signed to a two-way contract by the Minnesota Wild.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

2012-13 Rookie Anthology Case Break Loot (With Letang, Lemieux, and Jagr Hits)

After participating in a past case break with HockeyBreaks.com, i decided to try my hand at another. I've well-documented my fixation with 2012-13 Rookie Anthology, picking up four boxes, all of which have had more than the promised four hits, and pulling what currently ranks No. 1 on my Greatest Pulls of 2013. Out of the 25 hits pulled from those four boxes, my only Pittsburgh Penguin hit came in the form of a Titanium jersey card of Tomas Vokoun, which has him listed as a Penguin, but pictured as a Washington Capital. So, what I wanted to do was have a chance at more Penguins hits without having to buy another box of the product.

In order to fund my buy-in, I sold the following cards on Ebay:
2012-13 Limited Steve Yzerman Limited Duels 13/99
2012-13 Fleer Retro Jonathan Quick Precious Metal Gems Blue 29/50
2012-13 Rookie Anthology Brandon Dubinsky Crown Royale Lords of the NHL Prime Jersey 19/25
2013-14 Trilogy Mikhail Grigorenko Rookie Premieres Level 2 129/399
2013-14 Trilogy Ryan Murphy Rookie Premieres Level 2 145/399

Was the "swap" worth it?

Well, here's the math. My four boxes gave me 7, 7,  5, and 6 hits, respectively, giving me an average of 6.25 hits per box. Since there were 12 boxes in the case, that would work out, on average, to 75 hits. Each box contains one Rookie Treasures card, and since there were no Penguins rookies in 2012-13 products, 12 cards will not be a Penguin, leaving the possibility of 63 cards with the potential to come my way. I figured, with that possibility, combined with the star power in Pittsburgh, I would be sure to rake in the hits.

The break began, and I was beginning to get worried, going ELEVEN boxes without a single autograph or relic coming my way, when the first hit pulled out of box 12 eased my nerves quite a bit turned out to be a Titanium Silver autographed card of Penguins defenseman and 2013 Norris Trophy Finalist Kris Letang.


I also got a really cool card out of one of the Prizm box-topper packs, with a Jarome Iginla blue parallel, numbered 12/25. Not only is it super-rare, but I also get his jersey number in the serial numbering of the card, which should be worth a couple extra bucks when I flip this card on Ebay, right?


I also got a couple of inserts, including two copies of a Sidney Crosby Cup Contenders card I had not pulled, and an Evgeni Malkin Hart Contenders card. All are numbered /999.


I also ended up with a couple Penguins team sets that I will be able to try flip and recover a little bit of the funds I used.


What I liked about the first break I did with them is that they have a tendency to include a few bonus cards with the package. I only got two out of this one, but they were big ones.

The first is a Sidney Crosby All-Star Royalty card from 2008-09 Fleer Ultra. My Crosby collection is now at a solid 220 base and insert cards, along with 44 autos, relics, and case hits, so to find one that I don't have without even looking at my list, is pretty amazing.


This one really blew me away. It's a dual jersey card of Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr from 2012-13 Artifacts. This card spotlights the two biggest names of not only the franchise, but the entire league, during the 1990s, when I began following the team. Just to show how dominant these two were at scoring, for a 14-year stretch (1987-88 to 2000-01) one of these two players led the league in scoring 11 TIMES!!! Lemiuex won the Art Ross Trophy six times during that stretch, and Jagr five times. Wayne Gretzky was the only player to break through the Penguins dominance, picking up three during that span (of course, Gretzky also won the previous seven scoring titles before Lemieux picked up his first in 1987-88).



Was it worth it? I'd say so. I parted ways with a few cards I wasn't too particularly attached to, and in return, picked up quite a few awesome additions to my Penguins collection.  It was a very fun break, and I'm sure HockeyBreaks.comhttp://www.hockeybreaks.com/ will get some more of my business once Prime gets released later on this month.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

2013-14 Trilogy Beau Bennett Rookie Premieres Level 1 Auto /699

With 2013-14 products in circulation, I finally have the chance to get some Penguins rookie hits. With most products, the guaranteed hits are heavy with the league's youngest stars, but there were no Pittsburgh rookies in 2012-13 products, making it difficult to pull hits from my favorite team. Luckily for me, I now have something to look forward to with the new season, and Beau Bennett is the Penguin making the splash in 2013-14 early releases, like this Trilogy Rookie Premieres Level 1 autographed card.


This particular one is numbered 23/699 and is Bennett's first appearance in an Upper Deck product. With the Penguins being deep in defensive prospects, Bennett shows that the future is still bright on the front end of the ice as well. The highest-drafted California native in NHL history (20th overall in 2010), Bennett played in 26 games of the abbreviated 2012-13 NHL season, scoring 3 goals and 11 assists, and had one goal in 6 playoff games, as well.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cashing In My Ebay Bucks for a Few Penguins

Well, I had about 11 bucks worth of Ebay Bucks, so I decided to cash them in for a few cards for my Pittsburgh Penguins collection. 

-2013 Goodwin Champions Sidney Crosby
This card appears to be his senior picture from high school. Either that, or it's from draft night in 2005 when the Penguins selected him first overall. I'm usually buying a couple of boxes of Goodwin Champions each year, but so far this year, I haven't gotten my hands on any. Still, if I'm going to get one card, this is the one for me to get.


-1994-95 Flair Mario Lemieux
I remember Flair being one of the very first premium sets in the hobby. They were produced on thick cardboard, featured photos one every bit of the card surface, foil printing on both the front and back, and the cards came in cardboard boxes, not in foil packs. I got this card for a buck shipped, which is far cheaper than I would have gotten it for back when this issue came out.



-2012/13 Limited Evgeni Malkin Emerald 2/5
Last, but certainly not least is this super-rare card of Evgeni Malkin from this year's limited set. This particular one is the emerald parallel, numbered to JUST FIVE COPIES!!! It's a great looking card, even though the green clashes pretty fierce with the black and gold, but my favorite thing about it is that I got is for just $4.51 + shipping!!! That's insane!!!


There it is. Three cool cards of three hockey players that I really like. Not bad for essentially being free.

Monday, August 19, 2013

2013 Allen & Ginter Box Break #3

Here's a look at my third box of 2013 Allen & Ginter. I was hoping that this would be my last one, but with as many cards as I still need for my set, I'm sure I'll get another one or two at some point, and I might even stop by my LCS today and pick one up, as long as nothing else catches my eye. But that's ok with me. I love the set, as always, and the amount of high-quality non-baseball subjects makes this quite a fun product to open, so I'm looking forward to cracking open some more.

Anyway, here's what I got in Box #3:

SP: Henry Rollins, Russell Martin, Wade Miley, Kevin Youkilis, Brandon Phillips, Yadier Molina, Omar Infante, David Price, Adam Wainwright, Ruben Tejada, Tommy Milone, Alex Rios



Minis: Nolan Ryan, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Ryan Ludwick, Josh Beckett, Melky Cabrera, Matt Holliday, Johnny Cueto, Jim Abbott, Jake Peavy, Trevor Bauer


Mini A&G Back: Darryl Strawberry, Reggie Jackson, Robin Roberts, Corey Hart, Neil Walker


Mini Black-Border: Adam Jones, Dan Uggla


Mini A&G Back, No Number: Brandon Beachy


The First Americans: Cheyenne, Hopi
Famous Finds: The Cave of Altamira
Inquiring Minds: Socrates
Codes, Ciphers, & Cryptographs: Shugborough Hall Inscription


Across the Years: Anthony Rizzo, Derek Jeter, Brooks Robinson, Justin Upton, Carlos Beltran, Paul Goldschmidt, Cliff Lee, Dustin Pedroia, Curtis Granderson, Adam Jones, Johnny Cueto, Trevor Bauer



Martial Mastery: Aztecs, Romans, Knights
Civilizations of Ages Past: Ottoman, Hittites, Mesopotamians


Palaces & Strongholds: Topkapi Palace, Alhambra, Peterhof Palace
One Little Corner: Earth, Sun, Neptune


Hits: Albert Belle Framed Bat, Desmond Jennings Framed Jersey, Shaun Marcum Full-Sized Jersey


Surprisingly, despite having so many duplicates and triplicates in the base set, I only have TWO doubles out of 36 SPs, which is pretty awesome. I've collated my three boxes and updated my Needs List, so if anyone can help me out, just let me know.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Trade With Raz Card Blog

I just completed a trade with Cris at The Raz Card Blog. I offered up a bunch of inserts from 2013 Topps Archives up for trade, and there were a few inserts that he wanted. All I asked for was something in return. It could be one card, or it could be a bunch. I always like the mystery deals, and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised when I opened up the manilla envelope to find the following:

2012 Topps WWE Heritage Bich Show Wrestlemania XXVII mat relic


Six cards for my 2013 Heritage set


Five cards for my 2013 Gypsy Queen set


One card for my 2012 Allen & Ginter set


There were also a few assorted baseball cards for some of my player collections.

Thanks for the trade, Chris, and if anyone hasn't already, go and visit his blog. It's pretty new, and he needs followers!

Friday, August 16, 2013

2013 Bowman Sterling Steve Clevenger Autograph

For just $.49 + shipping, I was able to get my hands on this 2012 Bowman Sterling auto of former Chicago Cubs catcher Steve Clevenger.


Clevenger's Cubs time with the Cubs began in 2011, but he had his most productive year in 2012, playing in 69 games, with a .201 batting average, 40 hits, and one home run. Just last month, he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles with Scott Feldman for Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop. He was optioned to the Orioles' AAA squad after the trade and has been there since.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Gint-A-Cuffs V Box Break: Summary

Well, I enjoyed participating in Gint-A-Cuffs for the first time this year, but what I didn't realize, was, man, that's a lot of work.

It was a different kind of box-opening experience, as my usual m.o. is to plow right through it, with cellophane and wrappers flying all over the room, but this one required a little extra time. The usual card separation and organization would have to wait.

I'm not sure how everyone else does it. Some may open, scan, type, and score one pack at a time, but I simply don't have the patience for that. I opened all my packs at once, but placed the contents of each pack back in the wrapper, which went back into the box, so the order of pack opening may have changed but the contents of each pack did not. The only one I was careful to keep in the same pack-opening position was pack 24, which actually was the last pack I opened in the box. I just thought it was cool that the biggest pack of the break was actually saved until the very end, even for me when I broke the actual box.

Also, I wasnt to give a big thank you to Spankee at My Cardboard Mistress, who put together a Gint-A-Cuffs V Excel scoresheet. This was how I kept score while tabulating my points, and it allowed me to check my work after the full break was completed, to make sure I got all my points. (There were also a couple other GAC participants who pointed out some errors in my first-grade-level math skills as I went along, so thanks also to Greg Z. and Chris R.)

My box gave me 200 points, which I was VERY happy with. We'll have to see how everyone else's boxes turn out, before getting too excited. Last year's winner and runner-up had 209 and 207 points, respectively, so according to that scale, I would have gotten third place, at most. Still, I got some GREAT cards, and had a lot of fun, so regardless of what happens, it was a great experience overall.

Of course, the highlight for me was pulling the rip card. Up until this point, over the years, I have opened two hobby boxes of 2008, four of 2010, three of 2012, and one of 2013 earlier this month, without pulling a single one, so after all these years and dollars put into the product, it was nice to finally pull my first rip card.

Anyway, here's a proper box break summary, to give a comprehensive look at all the minis, inserts, and hits, just in case anybody is interested in anything:

SPS: Matt Kemp, Buster Posey, Stephen Strasburg, Justin Morneau, Nolan Ryan, Paul Molitor, John Kruk, Hal Hewhouser, Wilin Rosario, Brandon, McCarthy, Johan Santana, Chase Headley



Minis: Hanley Ramirez, Jose Fernandez, Kyle Seager, Olivia Culpo, Bill Mazeroski, Babe Ruth, Pedro Alvarez, Julia Mancuso, Coray Hart, Ken Griffey Jr., Marco Scutaro, Roy Halladay


A&G Back Minis: McKayla Maroney, Shawn Nadelen, Jayson Werth, Jason Motte


No-Number Mini: Dan Uggla


Black-Bordered Mini: Nick Swisher, Frank Robinson


Heavy Hangs the Head: Alexander I
Peacemakers: Jane Addams
Codes, Ciphers, & Cryptographs: Linear A, Kryptos


Across the Years: Ted Williams, Carlos Gonzalez, Roy Halladay, Jay Bruce, Jose Altuve, Tyler Skaggs, Willie Mays, Ryan Braun, Mariano Rivera, Evan Longoria, Cal Ripken Jr. R.A. Dickey



Civilizations of Ages Past: Byzantine, Greeks, Persians
Martial Mastery: Spartans, Samurai, Gladiators


Palaces & Strongholds: Alhambra, Topkapi Palace, Peterhof Palace
One Little Corner: Moon, Neptune, Scattered Disc


Hits: Cecil Fielder Bat, Jason Dufner Shirt, C.J. Wilson Rip Card 37/50 (Ripped), Roberto Clemente EXT SSP (Pulled From Rip Card)


That's it for this particular box. Of course, the thrill for me was to FINALLY pull a rip card after all these years, but even regardless of that, Allen & Ginter is always a fun product to open. As always, if anyone is interested in anything, just let me know, although I am going to wait until I collate my set before I put my SPs up for trade. The Puig mini and the Clemente are both on Ebay right now, but  are still up for trade, as well, by the way, just in case anyone has something really good to offer.