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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Facebook Trade #8: Patrick Kane Autograph

A month or so ago, I requested a replacement for a Vince Lecavalier 2013-14 Dominion Autographed Patch card. In return, I got an autographed Wendel Clark card from 2011-12 Limited. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed in the replacement. Both players are former first-overall draft picks, but the Lecavalier is from Dominion, has a patch, and is numbered /99. The Clark, on the other hand, not from Panini's high-end product, has no memorabilia piece, and is numbered /199.

The story does have a happy ending, though, as I was able to trade the Clark for this card:

After getting the Clark, I posted it on a Hockey Card Facebook Group that I am a part of. What I underestimated, though, was how much interest a Wendel Clark card would bring, as I had a number of offers for the card, but I agreed to trade it to Duane J., 1-for-1, for this card.

What we have here is a Patrick Kane autographed card from 2013-14 Score. I believe, though, that the card was actually one of the updates inserted into packs of 2013-14 Rookie Anthology. I'm not sure why something like this couldn't have made it in the original release, but hey, this way it was pulled by someone who was able to put it into my hands, so no complaints here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

2010-11 Dominion Sidney Crosby Championship Gear Auto/Patch /10

It's always nice when your fellow bloggers look out for you, and here is a perfect example. I'm usually pretty active on Ebay, but every now and then, something amazing slips through the cracks. Luckily for me, this time wouldn't be the case. Through Facebook, Greg from Plaschke, Thy Sweater is Argyle let me know of an autographed patch card of Sidney Crosby that was  nearing its end, with a low bidding price. I put my bid in, and waited until the end when I was declared the winner! I now have this amazing card to add to my Sidney Crosby Collection:

From 2010-11 Dominion, this Sidney Crosby card comes from the Championship Gear insert set. This version of the insert, though, is serial-numbered 2/10 and features not only an on-card autograph, but a great looking patch piece. The patch is two-colored, which leads me to believe that it comes from the jersey logo, specifically, the penguin's stick blade. I am always happy to pick up a new Sidney Crosby card, and when it can come from a high-end set, complete with all the bells and whistles, that's even better.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

2013-14 SP Authentic Olli Maatta Future Watch Autograph Redemption

Here's a quick look at a card that I now "kind of" have, thanks to a low winning bid on Ebay.

This redemption is good for an Olli Maatta autographed rookie card from 2013-14 Upper Deck SP Authentic. The card, once redeemed, will feature an on-card autograph, as well as a /999 serial number. Maybe it's just me, but when the cards are numbered that high, is there really even a point in stamping them? Either way, it will (eventually) be a great card. I now just have to play the waiting game.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Trade with Brandon L.

I just completed My second traded with blog-reader Brandon L., with this one being slightly different. The first trade netted me a few cards for the Houston-based teams that I like, but this one gave me some hockey cards. Here's a quick look at what I got in exchange for a few football and basketball cards that were sent his way.

2012 Goodwin Champions Larry Robinson Memorabilia

1998-99 Be A Player Alexei Morozov autograph

1996-97 Be A Player Tommy Salo autograph

 1997-98 Be A Player Chris Simon autograph

2013-14 In the Game Decades 1990s: Kevin Stevens base card, Mike Richter Mask

Thanks for the trade, Brandon. I'm always happy to make additions to my Pittsburgh Penguins Collection and my Hockey HOF Relic Project.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Autographs from the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks.

The Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks not only have their various souvenir-style promotions throughout the year, but they also have a theme to each day of the week. Every Wednesday is not only College Night (which, sadly, is a promotion that hasn't applied to me for a decade), but also features a "Post-Game Autograph Party." At the end of every Wednesday game, every player from the Redhawks lines up at the third-base-line fence and signs away for the fans.

Looking ahead at the team's schedule along with my own work schedule, I came to the realization that the July 9th home outing would be my last opportunity, so my wife & I arranged for a sitter and headed to the ballpark.

The game didn't turn out as well as we would like, as the Redhawks continued their slump with a 6-3 loss to the Gary SouthShore Railcats. The players were in good spirits after teh game though, and were very conversational with all the fans.

Here's a quick look at the autographs I was able to pick up.

Nic Jackson Autographed Bat
I actually purchased this game-used cracked bat at the season-opener, and was waiting for the chance to get it signed. Even though there were other items I would get signed as well, this was the real reason I wanted to be sure to attend one of the Wednesday games. Jackson is a former Chicago Cubs prospect, so if I was going to get a bat signed by any one of the Redhawks players, he would have to be it.

Team Autographed Ball
While I was there, and the whole team was available, I might as well get a ball signed of the entire team, right? Each player came equipped with a Sharpee, which doesn't always last too well on leather, so it was a good thing I brought a pen along. The autographs show up much better on a ball, and the thinner lines give room for more signatures to fit.

Baseball Cards
There are five players on the Redhawks who have MLB-licensed baseball cards. None of those players have played in the majors yet, but thanks to Bowman churning out their prospect sets, we did have a few cardboard appearances by eventual Redhawks players.

Nic Jackson - 2004 Donruss Diamond Kings (Chicago Cubs)

Sawyer Carroll 2009 Bowman Prospects (San Diego Padres)

Justin Erasmus - 2009 Bowman World Baseball Classic (South Africa/Boston Red Sox)

C.J. Retherford - 2010 Bowman Prospects (Chicago White Sox)

Petey Paramore - 2009 Bowman Sterling Prospects 27/199 (Oakland Athletics)

When my dad would take me to baseball games as a kid, one of my favorite things to do before a game was get autographs. I would always wait by the visitor's dugout before games since the traffic was lighter, and did pretty well, getting guys like Sammy Sosa, Mark Grace, Luis Gonzalez, Billy Wagner, and Jose Cruz. I haven't done much of it lately, with one reason being that the nearest MLB stadium is a 4-hour drive away in Minneapolis, but I almost forgot just home much fun it is. It's always great to be able to get that close to the action and meet the players who you watch so often. It's nice to get a good reminder of that every now and then.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Panini Redemption Redeemed: 2013-14 Domonion Beau Bennett Emerald Parallel /5

In the midst of giving up on a number of pending redemptions from Panini, there is one that I got recently that I would wait for as long as I needed to. 

Back in April, I took part in a Dominion case break, picking up my beloved Penguins and ended up with just two cards. The first was an on-card autographed rookie of Jeff Zatkoff, numbered /299, and the second was a redemption. It may have been a redemption, but it was a good one, as it would eventually net me a Beau Bennett autographed patch rookie, and it was the Emerald parallel numbered/5.

After just a couple month of waiting, the card made it to my house, and it is a beauty:

The one nervous thing about redemptions is that you never really know what kind of patch you will get. I'm happy with this one, though, as I get three different fabrics, with the black patch, white patch border, and white jersey. I also lucked out in getting the 1/5 serial-number, making this card the very first one produced (or at least, the very first one stamped). There was actually a small amount of chipping in the foil on the bottom of the card, but seeing as though I am not planning on selling this card anyway, I'm not going to complain too much about it. I'm just happy to have this card in my collection.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Couple More Redemption Replacements from Panini

Not too long after requesting a couple replacement that netted me some nice looking football cards, I also put in a couple other redemption replacement requests. Here's a quick look at what I gave up on, and what I got in return.

Redeemed: 2013-14 Dominion Lecavalier Autographed Patch /99

Replaced With: 2011-12 Limited Wendel Clark Men of Mayhem auto 159/199

Redeemed: 2012-13 Brilliance (Basketball) Dennis Scott Marks of Brilliance auto /199

Replaced With: 2012-13 Luxury Suite Philippe Cornet Rookie auto/jersey 77/99

Despite not collecting either player or the team they play for, I was ok with both of these. Initially, I was a little less than thrilled with giving up an autographed patch card of Lecavalier for just an autographed card of Clark. However, I have already traded the Clark for a MUCH better card than either that one or the Lecavalier, so it all turned out good in the end. (I'll post on that when I get it.) The Cornet is still in my possession, though, so if anyone is interested, please let me know.

Monday, July 7, 2014

2013-14 Contenders Box Break

With collectors getting a full range of products in 2013-14, one I was really looking forward to was Contenders. It took a one-year break last season, as it was one of the products cut when the lockout limited companies' releases, but it makes it's triumphant (and final) return this year, and is loaded with autographs.

Each box contains 18 packs of five cards. there are plenty of looking "awards" insert cards, which spotlight players who have the potential to earn a specific trophy, but what Contenders offers that no other product does, is that EVERY hit is an autograph. Three autographed cards are promised in each box, but Panini appears to have included more. I suppose with their license running out, they are trying to get rid of all their stock of stickers and cards. If that's the case, then it's great for collectors, as extra signatures are never a bad thing.

Anyway, here's a look at what my box gave me.

I almost got the Penguins team set out of this box, falling one Malkin short. Well, actually, two short when you consider that the Crosby will be going into my Sidney Crosby Collection, I will still need another one for the base set.

But there was one more Penguin to be had, as the one rookie I pulled from the box was defenseman Olli Maatta. The Penguins have a big rookie presence in this product, as Maatta is joined by Beau Bennett, Zach Sill, Brian Dumoulin, Jayson Megna, Eric Hartzell, Brian Gibbons, and Jeff Zatkoff, with the Bennett, Megna, Hartzell, and Zatkoff cards autographed.

There were three inserts in this box, and all of them look pretty fantastic. I got two trophy contenders cards, with a Jonathan Bernier Vzina Contenders 488/499 and a Dougie Hamilton Norris Contenders 487/499. The other insert I got was an Eric Lindros Contenders Legacies card numbered 427/499. One thing I noticed with these is they are more rare this year, as previous years have had these cards numbered /999. The other difference is that previous years had these cards as an extended part of the base set, while this year, these are strictly inserts.

My first hit appears to be a card leftover from the past with a Devin Setoguchi NHL ink autographed card. This one actually comes from 2011-12 Contenders, and I'm not sure is this card was one that was and unredeemed redemption, or if it was just simply a card they were in surplus of. Either way, this definitely looks like a product of Panini trying to get rid of their extra hockey supply, as their NHL/NHLPA license will be expiring at the end of the summer.

My NHL Ink card from this year's product is of Philadelphia Flyers right winger Jason Akeson. Like the Setoguchi, this card also features an on-card autograph, as do many of the autographs in Contenders, which is pretty impressive for a middle-end product. Akeson has played in just one game in each of the last two seasons, but the Flyers appear to see a future in him, as he just re-signed with the team.

The Rookie Ticket autographs can be a "high ticket" item if you get the right player. Unfortunately, I got Mark Cundari, who isn't quite there when it come to re-sale value. Cundari played in four games in each of the last two NHL seasons, but was held scoreless in his four 2013-14 NHL games. 

I did get one pretty major hit out of this box, with this Seth Jones Rookie Ticket Parallel. This is the black parallel of the base card,  numbered 14/100, which not only features an amazing patch piece, but a gold signature, which makes this card look extra special.  Jones was almost the first overall pick in the 2013 draft, but Jones's hometown Colorado Avalanche decided to go with Nathan MacKinnon instead, causing Jones to drop all the way to fourth overall, where Nashville snatched him up as quickly as they could. Nashville seems to be a great fit, though, as he is able to get seasoned alongside one of the best defensemen in the game with Shea Weber.

Contenders is a pretty loaded product, full of great autographed cards. You get at least three per box, and you don't have to worry about those pesky white jersey swatch cards, as every hit has ink on it. When you take all that into consideration, you really just can't beat that kind of product at this kind of price.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

An Interesting Pair of Redemption Replacements from Panini

I got a couple redemptions replaced by Panini a couple weeks ago, and was a bit puzzled by the contents of what I got. They did just fine in what they replaced the redemptions with, but you'll see what I mean by "puzzled:"

Redeemed: 2013 Limited Material Phenoms Montee Ball Patch/auto /299

Replaced With: 2013 Elite New Breed Stedman Bailey Patch/auto 16/49

Redeemed: 2012 Limited Material Phenoms Bernard Pierce Patch/auto /299

Replaced With: 2013 Select Montee Ball jersey/auto 499/499

Did you see that there? One of the replacements was for a Montee Ball card, but one of the cards sent to me was a Montee Ball card. Now, the first thought is, well, the Select card was a sticker, which they likely got signed at the NFL Rookie Showcase en masse, while the Limited card would be an on-card sig, and the card wasn't actually produced at the time. That wouldn't be the case though, as the Limited cards use sticker autos, too. The only other reason would be the release date. Maybe by the time they used all the stickers for an earlier product, they ran out before they could use them all on a later-released product. That doesn't appear to be the case either, as Limited was released on Nov. 13, 2013 and Select was released on Dec. 18, 2013.

Don't get me wrong. I though Panini did a good enough job replacing these cards, I just thought it was funny that I essentially asked for a replacement of a particular player, and received another card of that same player.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

NHL Free Agency Begins, with Six Penguins Leaving Pittsburgh

With NHL free agency starting Tuesday, fans of all teams were eager to see which star players their favorite teams would pick up. The big names were signed early on, like Ryan Miller with Vancouver, Paul Stastny with St. Louis, and Thomas Vanek with Minnesota, plus plenty more. Pittsburgh made some headlines Tuesday, too, though not for who came in, but for who exited.

After trading James Neal last Friday, six more Penguins found new homes. Here's a quick look at who will no longer be wearing the black and gold.

James Neal - Traded to the Nashville Predators for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling

Brooks Orpik - Signed by the Washington Capitals for 5 years/$27.5 mil.

Matt Niskanen - Signed by the Washington Capitals for 7 years/$40.25 mil.

Jussi Jokinen - Signed by the Florida Panthers for 4 years/$16 mil.

Joe Vitale - Signed by the Arizona Coyotes for 3 years/$3.51 mil.

Tanner Glass - Signed by the New York Rangers for 3 years/$4.35 mil.

Deryk Engelland - Signed by the Calgary Flames for 3 years/$8.7 mil.

There are definitely some players who will be missed, but while the defensive corps may appear to be depleted, the Penguins did sign Christian Ehrhoff, and they also have plenty of blue-liners waiting for their chance at the big time. The Penguins also needed to dump some salary, which they did, and make themselves into a tougher team, which they did with the Blake Comeau signing. Hornqvist and Spaling will help replenish their forwards, but with Neal and Jokinen gone, they still have a hole in their top six to fill on a line with Malkin and (presumably) Hornqvist.

Time will tell if this housecleaning will be a success or be a bust, but one thing is for sure: the old way wasn't working. Right now, any change is, at the very least, a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

2014 Tier One Box Break

I'm a little bit behind on my posts, but a couple weeks ago, I decided to finally spring for a box of baseball cards. As each year has gone by, I find my collecting interests shifting further away from baseball and closer to hockey, but I still do enjoy picking up the occasional product when I can. With baseball, I prefer to go a little bit more in a high-end direction (with the exception of Allen & Ginter), so with the recent release of Tier One, I figured it would be as good a time as any to jump in to the baseball season, even if the season is almost half done.

Tier one is a base-card-less set, as each box contains just three cards. Of those three, two will be on-card autographs and one will be a relic card, and every card is serial-numbered. Let's take a look at how I did:

John Smoltz Relic 108/254
If you're going to get a solid-colored relic, it may as well be of someone great. I was never a huge Braves fan, but considering that Smoltz is a Cy Young Award winner (1996), was named NLCS MVP in 1992, and finished his career with 3,084 stikeouts, I'd say I did pretty good.

Eric Davis Acclaimed Autographs 159/299
Like Smoltz, you have a retired player who may not be in the Hall of Fame, but when he was hot, he was one of the best in the game. Davis's best years were in the late-'80s, beginning in 1986, when he hit 27 home runs and stole 80 bases, and from 1986 to 1990, averaged 30 home runs and 40 stolen bases. He was a part of a World Series winner in 1990, but injuries limited his production beginning in 1991 and after being diagnosed with colon cancer in 1996, played a few more seasons, before hanging up the cleats in 2001.

Xander Bogaerts New Guard Autographs 288/399
When he debuted in 2013, Bogaerts became just the fifth Aruban to play in the major leagues, and tasted victory early on, as he would be a part of a World Series-winning team in his rookie season. He played in only 18 games during the 2013 season, but came up big for the Red Sox in October, and was in all six World Series games, going .238, with 5 hits and 2 RBIs in 21 at bats. His opportunities have increased this year, though, as he has played in 77 games so far, hitting .251 with 6 home runs and 19 RBIs.

AS I am becoming more and more of a "casual" baseball card collector, I personally like a product that just gets down to business and avoids all the other stuff. I don't necessarily need all the base cards, and I certainly don't need all the inserts that Topps puts in their flagship product. Tier One just gives you the hits, and they do a great job of making some clean-looking high-end cards.