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Saturday, November 28, 2015

2014-15 Upper Deck The Cup Box Break

My final box of cards in the lot purchased from Dave & Adam's Card World is a box of 2014-15 Upper Deck The Cup. This is the highest of the high end when it comes to Upper Deck, so each card not only packs a value, but a higher end look overall, with think card stock and plenty of autographs and memorabilia pieces.

Each box is supposed to come with 5 cards: 1 base, 1 rookie auto patch, 1 auto patch, and 2 other autograph or memorabilia cards. Mine came with six.

Here's what I pulled.

Vincent Damphousse 93/249
While he was a great player during his time, he never got the mainstream recognition of his contemporaries. He reached the 90-point mark four times in his career, and was selected to play in four All-Star Games, winning the game MVP in 1991. He would eventually win his only Stanley Cup in 1993, with the Montreal Canadiens. 

Klas Dahlbeck Rookie Auto 190/249
The Cup's bread and butter is the Rookie Auto Patches, but due to the sheer number of rookies throughout the year, not everyone gets that treatment, getting either just an autographed rookie, or an unsigned rookie card. Klas Dahlbeck is one with just an autograph. Although he is pictured here as a Blackhawk, Dahlbeck was traded to the Arizona Coyotes in a deal that sent Antoine Vermette to Chicago. I actually got a puck signed by Dahlbeck toward the end of last season before a Coyotes morning skate, so this card is my second autograph of his.

Andy Andreoff Rookie Auto Patch 28/249
As I said before, the Rookie Auto Patches are the big draw of this product, with cards of the top rookies sometimes selling in the thousands. Unfortunately, I did not get one of those top guys, and pulled Andy Andreoff of the Los Angeles Kings. This card features an on-card signature right below the player's image, and beneath that, is a piece of his jersey patch, which is mostly silver with a sliver of black on the right side.

Gustav Nyquist Scripted Swatches 10/35
So, this is the only time I can excuse a solid-colored patch on a card, especially in jumbo form. The whole idea of these, is not only to feature a premium swatch, but also to have the autograph be right on that material. Here, they take what is most likely the back jersey number from the away sweater, and have Nyquist sign the fabric in gold. The card looks fantastic, and the gold of the pen matches the gold foil very well. I know there are bigger names in this set, but it's such a great looking card, that I'm really just happy to have it.

Carey Price Signature Renditions
I got two pretty big autographs in this box, and this is the first one, of last year's Hart, Vezina, Lindsay, and Jennings Trophies winner, Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price.  Signature Renditions is a simple, clean design containing a photo that is shaded on the sides, and a nameplate on the bottom. The picture is taken from a specific game that is detailed on the card and this one spotlight's Price's 4-0 shutout over the Bruins in the 2014 Playoffs that would avoid elimination and force a game 7.

Ray Bourque/Glen Murray Dual Signature Patches 5/35
Now this one is really cool. It's a basic design, and similar to ones they used in the past, but if it isn't broke, there's no need to fix it. It's a low-numbered card, and features both on-card signatures and multi-colored patches of two Boston Bruins greats. Next to Bobby Orr Bourque is a one of the most beloved players in Boston Bruins history, and despite not being known as well nation-wide, Murray had some great years during his two stints in Boston, including a 92-point season (44G, 48A) in 2002-03. 

That's it for this break. Of course, this is an expensive box to open, and I'm really only able to pick one up every year or so, but it's nice to know you really get something for the money you spend. I'm sure there are better boxes out there, but overall, I'm very happy with what I pulled.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

2013-14 Panini Prime Box Break

So now that we got all of those smaller boxes out of the way, now is time for some BIG TIME box breaking! There are two boxes left to go in this purchase from Dave & Adam's Card World, and I certainly saved the best for last. Now, I am saving my other box for the end, mainly because it was the more expensive of the two, but I think this one might win out on simply having better hits.

Now each box of Prime is guaranteed to contain seven cards, which include the following: 2 base cards, 1 rookie quad memorabilia autograph, one autographed card, one memorabilia card, and two other autograph or memorabilia cards. As it turns out, my nine-card box also contained an additional base parallel and one additional hit.

Here's what I got.

Base: Dustin Byfuglien 295/299 & Sergei Bobrovsky 187/299. I've said it before in other box breaks of mine, but I really love these card. The overall darkness is really cool, as it better spotlights the full-color image of the player, and if you can get these autographed, either in silver or gold, they will look fantastic.

Patrick Kane Holo Silver Parallel 3/10. I was very happy with this one. Not only did I get a super-rare parallel, but it is of one of the game's premier players. Despite Kane's off-season issues, he hasn't lost a step at all, and is still one of the very best.

Aleksander Barkov/Mikael Granlund/Olli Maatta Prime Trios 85/100. This card features features three of 2013-14's top rookies, each of whom comes guessed it, Finland. For one, this card contains Maatta, a Penguin, which is awesome in itself, but not only that, each of the swatches comes from each of their team's colored home jerseys, which makes this card look so much better than it would with white swatches.

Cory Conacher Showase Patches 16/20. Conacher's NHL career was a promising one when he entered the league in 2013. The lit things up for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and was a key element in the trade that dealt Ben Bishop from the Ottawa Senators to the Lightning. Unfortunately, Conacher couldn't find that magic again in Ottawa, and after two more seasons in the NHL, with the Senators, Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders, Conacher left the NHL, and signed with a Swiss club, SC Bern, of the NLA.

Valeri Nichushkin Prime Rookies Quad /199. Here's where things start to get really good. This is one of the set's rookie cards, but in Prime, each of the rookies contain four pieces of memorabilia and an on-card autograph. This one is the base version, in which all four memorabilia pieces are plain jersey swatches. Still as a bit of a Stars fan, this was a great one to get. Nichushkin was their top rookie for 2013-14, and made a big splash in his rookie season. In 79 games, he scored 14 goals and 20 season, which is a pretty good start to one's career.

Olli Maatta Prime Rookies Quad 89/199. Even better than Nichushkin is Maatta, who is Penguins brightest young defensive prospect. In a 2013-14 season that saw Pittsburgh's defensive corps riddled with injuries, Maatta proved to be a constant, playing in all but 4 games that season, scoring 9 goals and 20 assists. Unfortunately for him, 2014-15 was a different story, as he was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and had to undergo surgery to remove the tumor. Soon after making a full recovery from that, he re-injured the shoulder he had surgery on in the off-season, and would miss the remainder of the season to have another surgery to repair the shoulder. Despite all that, Maatta was ready to go at the beginning of this season, and looks forward to being a defensive mainstay for years to come.

Bryan Trottier Prime colors 3/26. OK, this one is just plain awesome. This is my fifth box of Prime to open over the past couple of years (3 from 2012-13 & 2 from 2013-14), but this is the first time I have ever pulled a Prime Colors card. This set basically takes the patch card and completely blows it up to the extreme. You don't just get a window of a patch, the whole card is a patch. Now some are better than others, but this Bryan Trottier is about as good as it gets. Of course, it comes from a sweater he wore during his time with the New York Islanders, where he won for Stanley Cups (he also won 2 with the Pittsburgh Penguins). It comes from the bottom of the jersey crest, where you can see the corner of the white stick blade of the "Y" in "NY" and the "and" in the word "Islanders." The really cool thing with these, is that you can really see the intricacies of how these are put together, and when you compare it to more modern patches, it gives you a good look at how these things have changed over time. And as an added bonus, there's even a few puck marks, just to show you how tough Trottier was.

Now as good as that card is, for those of you keeping count, there is still one more card that is even better than that one. What could be better than that, you ask?


Gordie Howe/Steve Yzerman Prime Signatures Dual Gold /25. Easily the best card I've pulled all year, this card featuers on-card autographs of the two greatest Red Wings of all time, which is pretty impressive, considering the names that have work the red and white. Howe, of course, is a legend, and set most of the NHL records that Wayne Gretzky would eventually break. "Mr. Hockey" is royalty in this sport, and depending on who you ask, is in the list of top three hockey players of all time. Yzerman played a lot more recently, of course, but as far as hockey fans in the Motor City are concerned, holds a place right next to Howe. He won three Stanley Cups in Detroit, as well, as many other individual awards, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2009.

That's it for this box, and it was epic. There were two blockbusters, two really good rookies, and a few other great ones as well. I did get two redemptions, but an Ebay search revealed that live versions of these cards are out there, so I shouldn't have to wait long at all to get them in. Looking at the redemptions, I noticed that they will be expiring at the end of January, so if I wnt to get any more Prime boxes, I will need to hurry.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

2015-16 Artifacts Box Break

So, just a few short weeks ago, I posted a really cool Charlie Coyle jersey patch card from 2015-16 Artifacts, and made mention of my indecisiveness on whether or not I even was interested in purchasing a box of the product this year. Well, just days later, I placed an order for a few boxes of cards, one of which was 2015-16 Artifacts.

As far as my base Penguins go, I'd say I pulled one and a half Penguins. You have Malkin, obviously, and then you have Kessel, pictured in his Toronto Maple Leafs gear on the card, but is now a Penguin, after an off-season trade brought him to Pittsburgh.

Each box has eight cards, three of which will either be an autograph or memorabilia card. The five packs that do not contain a hit, will contain a serial-numbered SP or parallel. The four I pulled were Anze Kopitar SP 929/999, Ryan Hartman Rookie SP 870/999, Zemgus Girgensons Ruby Parallel 69/399, and Brian Elliot Sapphire 26/85.

Of the five serial-numbered cards, one is a rookie redemption. These basically take the place of this season's rookies, as Artifacts was produced before the season began, which limited who they were actually able to print cards of. Each tame gets one, plus there are "Wild Card" redemptions, which cover teams with more than one rookie. Only time will tell who this one will be.

My first memorabilia card is of Nashville Predators center Calle Jarnkrok. He is actually now in his third year with the team, and seems to be staying put. Not the greatest rookie to pull, but much better than the ones who play one game in the NHL, never to be heard from again.

A little bit os a bigger name is Victor Hedman, who is featured on this Treasured Swatches jersey card. Hedman was the 2nd overall selection in the 2009 NHL Entry draft (behind John Tavares), and this card features a nice blue swatch from his Tampa Bay Lightning jersey.

Lastly, was another redemption, but a pretty good one: a Rookie Relic Redemptions II. Any hits for the rookie redemptions are assigned a number to a corresponding player, and player II is Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings. He has had a great season so far, and started things off with a bang, netting his first assist in the first period of the season opener, and his first NHL goal in the second period of that game.

Well, I took a chance on Artifacts, and I'm glad I did. This product, admittedly, can be hit or miss, but no matter what, I've always found it to be a fun box to open.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

2015 Allen & Ginter 2-Box Break

Even though I'm mostly a hockey guy now when it comes to card collecting, I don't think I'll ever give up on Allen & Ginter. Truthfully, it's one of the set that got me back in to card collecting in 2010, and it is consistently not only one of the best looking sets as individual cards, but the absolute best when a complete set is presented in a 3-ring binder.

A few months have passed since its release and I hadn't picked any up yet, so when I had some money to spend on a big order, I decided to pick up two boxes of the product. Now, anyone who has ever busted open this product knows that it is chock full of inserts and minis. I simply don'e have the energy, nor the desire, to post up every single mini, insert, and parallel, so I'll just throw up here the things you all really want to see: the hits.

While not technically a "hit," I decided to show some of these off anyway. With this being Allen & Ginter's 10th year, Topps decided to insert cards from the past few years with a special "10th Anniversary" stamp. I neither love these or hate these, but I figure that somebody may be curious about them, so here you go:

There wasn't really anything too exciting hit-wise, so I'll just kind of breeze through these all with VERY short descriptions.

Joc Pederson Mini Jersey: 2015 All Star and Home Run Derby runner-up

Christian Yelich 10th Anniversary Jersey: Croatian immigrant & 2014 Gold Glove Winner

Jonah Keri Shirt(?): Writer. Podcaster. Canadian.

Dee Gordon Silk 6/10: Cool insert. Low numbering. Might not be considered a "hit," since I got 3 other relics in the same box.

Nick Castellanos 10th Anniversary Jersey: 2012 All-Star Futures Game MVP.

Julio Teheran Jersey: Columbian who signed with the Braves at the age of 16.

Henderson Alvarez Mini Jersey: Threw a no-hitter in 2013. Has two last names.

That's it for the hits. Nothing two spectacular, unless you're a fan of the Marlins. I haven't really sorted out my cards for my set needs, but if anyone is interested in these hits, or is wondering about the minis and inserts I might have up for trade, be sure to let me know.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Two Tins of 2015-16 Upper Deck (Connor McDavid!!!)

A couple weeks ago, I purchased a base set of 2015-16 Upper Deck Series 1. I mostly did it for TTM purposes, just to keep my stock up to date, but it was just the base set, and included none of the Young Guns SPs. These are the first big rookies that new players have each year, and the top draft pick's cards can command a high dollar amount in return. Luckily for me, I was able get a few of them for cheaper thatn what I would spend on a hobby box, when I found some tins at WalMart. The tins each contain 12 packs of 8 cards, and on average, 3 Young Guns, plus a few other inserts, and an occasional memorabilia card.

I bought two, figuring at $30 a piece, I wouldn't be out as much as I would for a hobby box, but still have the same amount of Young Guns cards. Well, about halfway through the first box, I hit the big one!

Connor McDavid, who is touted as the most promising young prospect since Sidney Crosby, and I was lucky enough to hit it on my first go! He is currently out for a couple of months with an injury, but the demand on anything with his name & number on it has not waned in the least. Most Ebay listings have this finishing out at around $200, which is not bad at all for a $30 box of retail.

I also was fortunate enough to pull one of my other favorite rookies from this year's class, Max Domi of the Arizona Coyotes. He has really become a scoring machine in Arizona, and with Anthony Duclair right beside him, and Dylan Strome just a year away from the NHL, Arizona's future is pretty bright.

I also pulled four other Young Guns: Evgeny Medvedev, Brett Kulak, Stanislav Galiev, and Colton Parayko. The only notable name out of the three is Medvedev, who is a 33-year-old "rookie" that came over from the KHL.

I think memorabilia cards fall at a rate of one in every other box. Well, I hit those odds, as two tins gave me one jersey card, of Vancouver Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller.

I also pulled two canvas cards out of each box. These are cards of players from Series 1, using alternate photographs, and on a rougher canvas-like cardstock. Mine were Aaron Ekblad, Ryan Miller, Niklas Kronwall, and Adam Henrique. They look fantastic autographed, but unfortunately for me, I don't think any of these four are great TTM signers.

My less-exciting inserts were Winter Classic Jumbo Box Toppers (Duncan Keith, John Carlson), Shining Stars (Devan Dubnyk, Braden Holtby), and UD Portraits (Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Pavel Datsyuk, Corey Perry).

That's it for the two tins. After pulling the big one, I highly doubt I'll be investing any more into these, although some extra money and a lack of new product may convince me otherwise in the near future. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

2013-14 Upper Deck AHL Box Break

Keeping along with the minor league focus of my last post, this is a box break of 2014 Upper Deck AHL. This product focuses squarely on the NHL's top farm system league, and comes in a complete set format. Each box will contain a full 100-card set, along with five autographs. Dave & Adam's had it marked down to $24.95 (from $59.95), and at an average of $5 per auto, it was a deal I simply could not pass up.

There are three Penguins in the set, Eric Hartzell, Harry Zolnierczyk, and Brian Gibbons. All three are currently in the AHL still, but are no longer with the Penguins organization. Zolnierczyk is signed to the Anaheim Ducks, Gibbons is signed to the New York Rangers, and Hartzell is with the Stockton Heat, on loan from the ECHL team he signed with.

All is not lost, though. Considering the players available, I think I did pretty well on the autographs I pulled.

Oscar Lindberg is up witht he New York Rangers full-time this season, and doing well, too. In just 18 games, he has notched 7 goals and 5 assists, and is currently third on the team in scoring

Another player who has found a permanent home in the NHL, Sceviour has spent 17 games with the Dallas Stars, scoring 1 goal and 5 assists.

Cousins is still in the AHL with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, where he is lighting it up with 5 goals and 10 assists in just 11 games.

Ortio made a big splash at the beginning of this season, performing so well in training camp, that the Flames decided to risk placing Karri Ramo on waivers to send him to the AHL, and left Ortio with the pro club.

Lastly, is Brandon Pirri. He bounced up and down between the AHL & NHL for a few years while with the Chicago Blackhawks organization. Ever since being traded to the Florida Panthers in 2014, he has stayed in the NHL, and this season has scored 3 goals and 4 assists in 14 games.

Overall, I was very happy with this product. Now that the price is so low, this is an absolute steal. You won't get any NHL superstars' autographs, of course, but as you can see from this box, you can get some very good players, and at an average of 5 bucks a piece, you can't do much better than that.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

2015 Onyx Platinum Elite Box Break

While 2015 hasn't been one of my most active years since getting back into card collecting, I have made some big purchases, most notably, my most recent one with Dave & Adam's Card World. I decided to go all out, both by picking up some major high-end products, and trying out some major discount deals. One of the lower-priced items on the bill was a box of 2015 Onyx Platinum Elite.

Originally retailing for $29.95, and discounted down to $17.99, one box of Platinum Elite contains just four cards, with one guaranteed autograph. Every other box will have two autographs, giving an extra bonus at some pretty good odds. This is a prospect release, which is a big part of the reason why the price is so low. My box was one of the lucky ones to contain two autographs, and here's a look at what I got.

Tyler Kolek base: Kolek was selected by the Miami Marlins with the second overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. He has been clocked at a 102 MPH fastball, and spent 2015 with the Marlins class A team, where he went 4-10, with 81 strikeouts and a 4.56 ERA

Avery Romero base: Another Marlins prospect, Romero was a third-round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. He spent 2015 with Miami's Class A+ team, where he batted .259, with 3 home runs and 42 RBIs.

Avery Romero autograph: I've already given you the rundown of him, but the fact that I got two cards of the same player in a 4card-per-pack product, doesn't say much for their collation.

Bradley Zimmer green autograph 38/50: Well, at least there's one player who isn't with the Marlins organization. Zimmer was drafted by the Cleveland Indians with the 21st overall pick in 2014. He spent 2015 with Cleveland's AA team, where he batted .219, with 6 home runs and 24 RBIs.

Like any prospect-related product, there's always a risk and a long waiting game, just to see if any of these players will be able to contribute at the Major League level. Still, it's worth somewhat of a risk, considering the price is so low, and for me, $18 for two autographs was a pretty good deal. I may have felt differently if I got one of those one-autograph boxes, but at least it worked out this time.

Friday, November 13, 2015

2015-16 Artifacts Charlie Coyle Jersey/Patch Card 32/75

Well, I haven't picked up any boxes of 2015-16 Artifacts, and I'm not sure if I will, but I did decide to dip my toes into that water, and picked up a really nice hit from one of Upper deck's latest sets.

This is a jersey/patch parallel of Charlie Coyle, numbered 32/75. The patch looks like it has only two colors, which is fine, but if you hold it at an angle and look into the bottom right corner of the swatch, you can see just a sliver of red. I like Coyle a lot, and he is well-known in the area for being one of Minnesota's brightest young stars. Across the rest of the hockey world, however, he is mostly known for this: where a simple pre-game hello put a big smile on a young fan's face:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

I Needed a Future Watch Patch Card, and Came Home With All of This

So, after trading away my Bo Horvat Future Watch autographed patch card from my box of 2014-15 SP Authentic, I felt like I wanted something to replace it. Of course, it was literally replaced by some Sidney Crosby printing plates, but still, as big of a pull as those patch cards are, I still wanted to have one in my collection, even if it is of a different player.

The advantage here, is that I can select the player and the patch, and be sure it's of a player from a team I really like. Of course, I'm a Penguins fan, but living in Minnesota, I have a certain affection for the Wild, and settled on this card of Justin Fontaine. It's numbered 37/100, is hard-signed, and features a nice three-colored patch. Of course, he's not as big of a name as Horvat, but that's just fine with me. It's a great new addition to my collection.

Of course, I just had to click on the link to see the seller's other items, and picked up the following six cards at some really good prices. The cheapest card was mine for $.99, and the most expensive was just $4.36.

2013-14 SP Authentic Sign of the Times Arturs Irbe

2014-15 SP Authentic Future Watch Auto Jiri Sekac 788/999

2014-15 SP Authentic Limited Johan Franzen 

2013-14 Titianium Antoine Roussel Rookie Gear Patch 25/25

2013-14 Dominion Time Warp Dual Patch Ron Francis/Ryan Murphy 30/50

2013-14 Dominion Social Signatures Matt Moulson

Not a bad bit of loot. Any of these cards, except for the Fontaine and Francis/Murphy are up for trade, so if anything entices you, be sure to let me know.