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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.

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.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What It Takes to Get Me to Trade a Sidney Crosby Autograph

So, if anyone was wondering what it would take for a Sidney Crosby collector to trade away one of his Crosby autographs, here's what it took to get me to part ways with one of mine: a Prime Signatures card of Crosby from 2013-14 Prime, numbered 6/50.


Now, before we begin, a couple tings to keep in mind:

-This was a redemption, and not only that, but one I purchased, so there isn't any sentimental attachment that goes along with pulling it fresh from a pack.
-I have the Prime Signatures cards from 2011-12 and 2012-13, but both of those are the /5 parallel, so I'd rather have the /5 from 2013-14 anyway.
-The card has been selling on Ebay for a very reasonable price, so I will have plenty of other opportunities to purchase another copy of this card.

With all that in mind, here's what it took to pry that card out of my hands:

 2008-09 Trilogy Jonathan Toews Young Star Scripts

2008-09 Trilogy Patrick Kane Young Star Scripts

2013-14 National Treasures Ron Francis/Keith Primeau/Eric Staal/Cam Ward Quad Auto 31/50

2013-14 National Treasures Aleksander Barkov Rookie Booklet 8/99

2013-14 National Treasures Jacob Trouba Rookie Booklet 41/99

2013-14 National Treasures Pat LaFontaine Dual Mem

2013-14 National Treasures Bryan Trottier Dual Mem

2012-13 Certified Tyler Seguin Fabric of the Game Jersey 14/75
2013-14 Totally Certified Carl Soderberg Rookie Roll Call Jersey
2013-14 National Treasures Joonas Rask Rookie Auto 11/99

Maybe it's all subjective, but I end up with autographs from three hall-of-famers, plus early-career autos from two of the game's hottest players, as well as a few cards for my trade bait that have the potential to get me a few really great cards for my collection. It allowed me to get my hands on some great cardboard of players I don't normally give a lot of hobby-related attention to, and all I had to do was send off a card that shouldn't be too difficult to get another copy of.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ted Lindsay Stanley Cup Signatures

The funny thing with Ebay, is that I get so conditioned with the idea of a BIN/OBO being overpriced in order to accept a lower offer, that when I just see a straight-up BIN, I'm not sure if it's at a good price, or if it's a little too high. That was the case with this one. I wasn't sure if the price was good or not, but either way, this card was worth it to me. I was more than willing to pay $20 for this Ted Lindsay Stanley Cup Signatures card from 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup, numbered 3/50.


Considering Lindsay's career accomplishments, I thought the price was more than reasonable. He had an amazing career, but is most remembered as one of the men responsible for forming the National Hockey League Players Association, and in recognition of that, the Lester B. Pearson award was renamed the Ted Lindsay Award in 2010. Lindsay played a total of 17 seasons in the NHL, 14 with the Detroit Red Wings and three with the Chicago Blackhawks, totaling 379 goals and 472 assists in 1,068 games. He won the Art Ross Trophy in 1950 as the league's leading scorer, and is a four-time Stanley Cup champion (1950, 1952, 1954, 1955). He is also credited as the man responsible for beginning the tradition of skating around the rink with the Cup, which he did in order for fans to see the trophy up close. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

2014 Stadium Club Mini Box Break

I really have strayed away from baseball cards over the past couple of years, but when I found out Topps was going to re-introduce Stadium Club, I knew that I would at least be dipping my toes in the water on this one. Stadium Club has always been one of the best-looking cards out there, with full-framed photography, minimal design on the card, and a high-gloss, high-quality card stock. 

Topps did things a little differently with this one, producing a box of 18 packs of five cards, but dividing each box into 3 mini-boxes of 6 packs. Each of those mini-boxes contains one on-card autograph, so you can still enjoy this product at an affordable price.

The base cards bring back a lot of what Stadium Club featured in the past, but there's significantly less gloss on the card surface, which is something I kind of miss with this one.  They still had the full-surface photo and minimal design, though, and I like how they included retired players in the set.


There are also parallels, like the Mike Napoli Rainbow Foil Parallel that I pulled, along with inserts, like this Justin Verlander Field Access card. My favorite one, though, is the Mike Trout Luminous card, which is both chrome and die-cut, and of a pretty good player, as well.


Lastly, my autograph was of Jake Marisnick. The card itself, appears to be identical to the base card, but with a, open space for the player's signature. Marisnick is featured as a member of the Miami Marlins, who he played for in 2013 and the beginning of 2014, but is now a member of the Houston Astros, after a six-player trade in July.


Stadium Club brings back a lot of the elements I missed in its absence, which is great for me. Not only that, but if you break up the full hobby boxes into the mini boxes, it can be a very affordable product, with potential for some pretty great pulls.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

2014-15 Artifacts Box Break

With the new hockey season well into gear, it's time for the new collecting season to begin. Of course, MVP, O-Pee-Chee, and Fleer Ultra have already been released, but I tend to stay away from the low-end products. I know there are some puritan collectors out there that hate the hit-centric guys like me, but it's tough for me to justify spending $65 on a box of cards, where my best case scenario is pulling a $5 Sidney Crosby insert that I could buy on Ebay for $2.

So for a collector with my interests and goals, Artifacts is usually the real "season opener" for me. Each box gives you 10 packs, and each pack will include something other than a base card. You'll usually get three memorabilia cards, one autograph, one rookie redemption, two serial-numbered SPs, and three serial-numbered parallels.

Here's what my box gave me:

The base cards, I would say, are typical of what we have seen from Artifacts over the past few years. There is a significant, yet simple use of foil, combined with an ice-looking background. You also get players falling into three categories: current players, retired players, and players featured in All-Star Game jerseys from past years.


The SPs are numbered /999 and fall into two categories: goaltenders (cards 101-120) and rookies (121-150). The rookies are all players from last year that didn't make it into 2013-14 products, so there aren't any major names of those 30 players. I got one each of the two SP tipes: Tony Esposito 531/999 and Tyler Wotherspoon 165/999


There are also a few parallels, which not only cover the SPs, but the regular base cards as well. Like most parallels these days, you're really just looking at an identical card, with a different color foil. My three were Dominik Hasek Ruby 292/499, Vladislav Namenstinkov Ruby 9/499, and Kyle Okposo Sapphire 11/85.


While, none of the rookies from this year are inserted into packs, due to the fact that they will have not made their NHL debut until after that cards were already produced, Upper Deck gets around this by including Rookie Redemption cards. Basically, you enter in the redemption, and after the season has progressed, and they are able to produce cards of this year's rookies, they will be made and sent out to collectors. Mine was for the New York Islanders, but it may be too early in the season to try and figure out who this might end up being.


The first of my four hits was a Brandon Gormley Rookie dual jersey card, numbered 17/399. As I said before, the rookie selection with such an early-season product is pretty slim, but at least with Gormley, I was able to pull someone who is getting some decent playing time at the pro level. He has seen ice time in 4 NHL games this year, and is on pace to far surpass the 5 he played in last year.


There can be some amazing autographs pulled from Artifacts, but there are also some pretty basic ones, like this Frazer McLaren Autofacts card. McLaren began his professional hockey career with the San Jose Sharks when they drafted him in the 7th round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, and was claimed off of waivers by the Toronto Maple Leafs in January of 2013. He is currently playing for the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.


This Gerry Cheevers/Phil Esposito Tundra Tandems dual jersey card is one that I absolutely love. For one thing, not only are there two different colored swatches, but the material itself is different, and is clearly from the fabric of an older jersey. They also did a great job of finding a picture of Cheevers that really shows his awesome stitched mask design. Also, is it just me, or is there any other hockey player who looked like an old man at such a young age as Phil Esposito? Stan Mikita, maybe?


While the best players out of the hits I pulled were Cheevers and Esposito, the best overall card goes to this Jonas Hiller jersey/patch card, numbered 61/75. Clearly, they were unable to update Hiller with his new team, the Calgary Flames, but I really don't mind in this instance. I'd much rather have the jersey, picture, and listed team coordinate, than have him listed as a Flame and pictured as a Duck. Let's also not forget just how amazing that patch piece looks. It clearly comes from the crest of the Ducks jersey and features four colors on the patch, along with the black of the jersey itself. It's pretty impressive to have that much activity on such a small piece of real estate.


That's it for box #1 of Artifacts. There wasn't anything earth-shattering, but overall, I got some pretty decent cards. By the way, I haven't bought any more, but say "Box #1," because I'm certain I will at some point. I love this product and I'm always good for a few boxes each year.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

2013-14 Prime Seth Jones Prime Time Rookie Autographed Jersey /25

I've done a little bit of secondary-market purchasing when it comes to 2013-14 Prime, but not a whole lot, which is a bit surprising, considering how much I love the high-end stuff. Still, I did manage to get my hands on this Seth Jones Prime Time Rookie autographed jersey card, numbered 13/25.



I'm not really sure why, but I always like to pick up a good Seth Jones card whenever I can. I think it may have to do with the storyline from the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, when he was being considered to go number one overall, to his hometown team, which would have been really cool. The Avalanche, though, decided to select Nathan MacKinnon, then Florida followed with Aleksander Barkov, and Tampa Bay picked up Jonathan Drouin, before the Nashville Predators got what they believed to be the steal of the draft when Jones fell to spot number 4. It may actually be the best thing for him, as he now gets to develop alongside one of the best defensemen in the game, Shea Weber.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tyler Seguin Booklet from 2013-14 National Treasures

I kind of go back and forth on booklets, but this is one that I just couldn't pass up on.


From 2013-14 National Treasures, this is a booklet featuring a jumbo jersey swatch of Tyler Seguin, numbered 97/99. The black jersey swatch, while it would match the old jerseys of the Stars, I'm pretty sure it comes from a Boston Bruins jersey, since Seguin didn't arrive in Dallas until after they switched to their greens. Still, it does kind of coordinate with the team colors, so it doesn't stick out too much.

Monday, November 3, 2014

2011-12 Limited Scott Gomez Stanley Cup Winners Autograph /99

While Scott Gomez's star has fallen over the past few years, this was a card that I just had to have.
2011-12 Limited Stanley Cup Winners 95/99


From 2011-12 Limited, This is an autographed parallel of the Stanley Cup Winners insert set. The card itself has a black background, with a bright, silver image of the Stanley Cup, surrounded by an image of the player, and the logo of the team he won it with. While Gomez won the Cup twice with the New Jersey Devils, but this card specifically focuses on his first Cup victory in 2000.

That is a particularly significant one for me, as my family and I just so happened to be visiting relatives in Anchorage, AK in the summer of 2000. Gomez, an Anchorage native, had his "Day with the Cup" while we were there, and he brought it to one of the local parks, where fans had the opportunity to have their picture taken with it.


That's why I'll always be a Gomez fan, especially if I can get my hands on something that commemorates that particular Stanley Cup victory.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Upper Deck Redemption Redeemed: Mikael Granlund Ultimate Rookies /299

After a couple months of waiting, the one high point of my two boxes of 2013-14 Ultimate arrived in my mailbox.


This is the Ultimate Rookies autographed card of Minnesota Wild center Mikael Granlund, numbered 233/299. One of the top rookies with the Minnesota Wild in 2013-14, Granlund proved to be huge with the helpers, scoring 8 goals and 33 assists in 63 games. He scored his first goal of the season Saturday night, ans the Wild went on to defeat the Dallas Stars 4-1, and seeing as though he has found himself on a line with Zach Parise and Jason Pominville, this should be a VERY productive year for the young Fin.