Wednesday, July 8, 2020

My first NHL Redemption card!

A while back my mom surprised me with a blaster of 2018-19 Artifacts, and I pulled a redemption card. When I turned it over, I was pleased to see that it didn't expire until 2021. I promptly logged in and redeemed it...amazingly, I remembered my username and password because the last time I redeemed a card via UD was all the way back in 2005! (Although it only shows two cards...when I know I redeemed several dozen via the website that are no longer listed. Maybe they age off after 17 years?)

It turned into this, which arrived on July 3rd:
So, not only is it my first successful NHL redemption, it's also my first card of Murphy! And I would not be surprised if it turns out to be my ONLY card of him ever. The 8 games he played in 2017-18 that got him this card is his only NHL experience. He spent all of 2018-19 in the AHL, with the Roadrunners and then the Gulls. He is currently playing for Kunlun Red Star in the KHL. While the KHL does issue cards, I don't have access to them. So this may be it...

I was surprised by the fact that the card was mailed out of North Carolina. Knowing UD is a west coast company, I expected it to be shipped out of California or Nevada...nope.

It wasn't the first redemption I pulled...but the first I was able to redeem. The first I pulled was from the 2014-15 Ultra set, but I didn't pull the card until 2019, so I was out of luck.
This is what the redemption looked like.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Cardboard History History of Cardboard: 1990-1999

Hands down, the best decade in history. If I could go back and live the 1990s all over again, I would do it. In a heartbeat. I'd change some of the things I did then if I could, but overall...there's nothing better. And that carries over into the cards as well, with specifically the time period of 1991-1998 being my favorite time in cardboard history.

1990
1990 Marvel Universe

1991
1991 Maxx

1992
1992 Muscle Cards II

1993
1993 Topps Star Wars Galaxies (Series 1)

1994

1995
1995 Dart Flipcards Hershey's

1996
1996-97 Ultra

1997
1997 Topps Widevision Special Edition

1998
1998 Maxx 10th Anniversary

1999
1999-00 Fleer Tradition


Every year here is great, and deserves a comment. Although I grew up as a DC Comics fan, the 1990 Marvel Universe set was possibly the first set I ever had completed- it was either that or the 1990 Classic Monster Trucks set, both were completed in 1990, and whichever came first is lost to history. NASCAR surprisingly makes it's first appearance on this countdown, and the 1991 Maxx set is one of my all-time favorites. I didn't actually get them new, but close to it. I became a NASCAR fan at Christmas 1992 and started buying 1991 Maxx cards very shortly after that...possibly even in the week between Christmas and New Year's 1993. That info is lost to history, but I know I got most of them from the comic shop we went to weekly, so it would not be a surprise. The Musclecards set of 1992 was the first street car set I experienced, getting them at the same comic shop that the 1991 Maxx and likely the Marvel cards came from as well. I eventually got all of them that they had...I distinctly remember that they were 50 cents a pack. 1992 saw a major development in the hobby, which I won't be covering here but deserves a mention for historical accuracy- it's when Pin up cards- going all the way up to full pornography- were reintroduced to the hobby...and still going strong today! 1993 saw new Star Wars cards for the first time in a decade, and they would become a staple of non-sports cards ever since.  1994 through 1996 is my favorite time period in the hobby, and I consider 1994 to be the best year for NASCAR cards ever, however, I had to go with Marvel Universe, as it's a set I have very fond memories of...and am so close to completing, too! The 1990s brought a wonderful world of wacky oddities to cards, like a set based on a chocolate company. (wish now I bought more than one pack!). The 1996-97 Ultra design should be no surprise to oust a non-sports set from this year...as I consider it my favorite card design ever. One of the things I would change, if I could live the 1990s again, is to not stop collecting non-sports cards once I discovered the NBA. Once I began collecting that sport in February 1996, I would focus almost solely on it until 2003...totally ignoring non-sports cards and mostly ignoring NASCAR...something I wish I could change. I believe 1997 would be the last time I purchased a new non-sports card until 2002, in fact. 1998 Maxx 10th Anniversary is a very important set because it was the first I ever created a paper listing for...today, my paper listing covers my entire NBA, NASCAR, NHL, Olympics, and most non-sports sets...it all started here! For some reason, the cards shifted in 1999...I don't know why, but it coincides with the NBA's first lockout. There were never as much fun to me after that...although I still enjoy the hobby immensely, it just wasn't the same. Non-sports cards- although I was no longer aware of what was being produced- also dropped off at this time.


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Cardboard History History of Cardboard: 1980-1989

The 1980s were a pretty great decade. After all, I was born in the 80s, and I began collecting cards in the 80s, 1988 to be specific. I've never left the hobby, in fact, by 1988, I was already established in three of the 5 main hobbies of my life. (besides cards, I was already collecting car stuff and comic books. Historical objects and plastic models would come later.). Non sports cards from the 1980s are pretty slim, let's hope I can resist the temptation for taking the "easy out" of using both Star Wars sets for 1980 and 1983...spoiler alert, I can.

1980
1980 Topps Empire Strikes Back

1981
1981 K.F. Byrnes Fire Department

1982
1982 Topps E.T.

1983
1983 Topps Perlorian Cats

1984
1984 Topps Supergirl

1985
1985 A & S Racing

1986
1986 K.F. Byrnes Fire Department

1987
1987 Comic Images G.I. Joe

1988
1988 Leesley Bigfoot

1989
1989 Micro Machines Microcards
What a fantastic decade! I should note, from 1988-current, all cards in the project will have been added to my collection the year they were issued, unless otherwise noted. 1985 is the only year that does not have a non-sport card in my collection this decade, although 1988 is limited to only two Alf cards. 1988, of course, the year I began collecting, it all started with the Leesley Bigfoot set. I was a huge fan of monster truck racing at the time- I'm not now- having discovered it and kicked off my lifelong love of auto racing in 1986. Empire Strikes back is my favorite Star Wars movie, so 1980 was never in question. Although the 1983 Return of the Jedi cards were part of the cornerstone of my collection, I could not pass up the Perlorian Cats card, one of my favorite sets ever. Unfortunately I have only one pack's worth. The K.F. Byrnes Fire Department cards came to my collection as freebies at a diecast car show, believe it or not. The Supergirl card set, representing the year I was born, was a gift from Dave & Adam's, and the GI Joe set came as a gift/trade from Jon of A Penny Sleeve for Your Thoughts, I think. (I didn't record where cards came from until 2016). This is the first decade where I have a complete set of any of the cards shown, with 1981, 1984, 1986, 1987 and 1989 all being completed. (I've made significant efforts towards completing the Bigfoot set, but no luck) And just think...with how great the 80s were...the best is yet to come.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Rodney Dangerfield of Basketball cards

This card gets no respect...no respect at all.

My dislike for 1980-81 Topps is fairly well known. It was a terrible idea and executed very poorly. Instead of giving each player their own, standard sized card, each card is 1/3rd of a standard sized card, perforated with the intent to split them up. They aren't in any sort of order, although there are repeating patterns- the middle card is always a subset card or the two end cards are subsets and the base veteran is in the middle. They don't vary from that at all. There are three subsets- checklists, of which there are 18, Team leaders, and Slam Dunk.

Because of the way Topps did things in that time, both Magic Johnson and Larry Bird appear on cards for the first time in this set. The key card- and the one that will sort of prevent me from completing the set- has Bird on one end, Magic on the other, and Dr. J. in the middle. (Actually 76ers Scoring Leaders, a team card) This is the only card that will prevent me from completing the entire Topps run from 1973-74 through 2008-09, although there were no Topps NBA cards issued between 1982-83 to 1991-92. Although I will never have the original, I do have the reprint from 1996-97 Topps Stars, when the first Topps card of each of the 50 Greatest Players was reproduced in original, Chrome and Refractor form.

Although it's not an exact reproduction, since the perforations are different. They also reprinted it twice, with the tiny reprint number on the back being the only difference. (If I had been in charge, only the actual card would have been reprinted, not the full panel.)

But...since the panels themselves generally don't matter to me...I still have Magic Johnson's Rookie card in my collection.

How, you may ask? Because there are several panels where two of the three cards don't change, but the third does. Because one of those versions is the Dr. J./Magic Johnson combo, but with Jan Van Breda Kolff instead of Larry Bird, I was able to add Magic's RC to my collection.
as you can see, the production quality itself isn't that high, either.

Yet, most people do not consider this to be Magic's RC. Even though, if you were to separate them, you would not be able to tell this #139 apart from the one that was originally stuck to Larry Bird via Dr. J. This card gets no respect...no respect at all.

I didn't separate my cards...I made that mistake with the 1996-97 Collector's Choice mini-cards, an homage to these. However, with the magic of Photoscape, I am actually able to see the cards in numerical order, something that's impossible to do in reality due to the way Topps made them.
There is a version where the Bird card is combined with two other cards, (Knicks Rebounding Leaders and Larry Drew) but I do not have it. Maybe some day.

So, while I won't ever have the Bird/Dr.J./Magic card, I do hope to someday have every number, if not every panel, and I will consider it a complete set when that happens...if that happens.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Surprising myself with what matters to me...and what doesn't

I actually have surprised myself with what matters to me, and what doesn't. When I started the Cardboard History Gallery, I expected that the part that shows how recently something had been updated would matter to me on everything...but it turns out, it doesn't. In actuality, it only matters to me on the sections by set.

For some reason, seeing how long ago I last updated a set's album is one of the most interesting aspects for me. Yet, for each person? I thought it would matter to me, but...it doesn't. Instead, the part for each person that matters to me is seeing where the newly scanned cards slot into that player's history. I suspect this may be because it's taking me so long to create each person's albums...it is going to take me about 2 years to create, whereas I was able to complete the "By Set" section in one month, so it's more of a barometer than an album that I may have created just a day or so before the monthly upload. I will be curious to see if that changes once the albums for each person get older...although I doubt it because the NASCAR albums are now well established and it doesn't matter to me there.
 Here's Larry Nance before the May 2020 Update. I actually pulled him up and uploaded him early specifically for this post- I'm only up to letter K for basketball otherwise.
And here he is after the upload. All the cards with the orange number were scanned and uploaded in the month of May, 2020. The two 1991-92 Skybox cards- base and mini- really illustrate it at this small scale, moving from 6th and 7th to 14th and 15th with the addition of the older cards. Seeing where the new cards slot in, like I said...THAT'S what I find the most interesting. The larger player pages are generally more interesting to me than those with under 10 cards scanned, although I do get a certain sense of joy if I am updating an album that only had one card scanned previously. Why that matters, and adding a third card to an album that has two doesn't "move the needle" the same way, I couldn't tell you. I don't understand the way my head works any more than you do. I went from 29 to 41 cards scanned of Larry Nance during the month of May, and I've already scanned one of his base cards from 1993-94 Hoops in June...so his album will be updated again on or shortly after July 1st. The orange "New" markers last for 6 days.

The fact that I have the website configured to put everything in place is really nice, too. I don't have to really do anything, other than of course create the scans, albums, and upload the pictures. I set the default setting to Title. Fotki, when you first sign up, the default is upload date. But you can change it for each album or the whole website. I went for the whole website, and it saves me from having to do so much more work. Every upload goes into place chronologically or alphabetically automatically...with one caveat. For names with apostrophes in them, it puts them first. I don't know why. So for example it puts O'Neal ahead of Oakley. That's a little disappointing, but overall, if that's the worst thing I'm dealing with in a day, that's OK. The other weird thing is that it doesn't really recognize how numbers work. If you label a card #2, it will put it AFTER card #111. That's why I use the 0 in the numbers. If you want them in number order, you have to put it as #002. If I forget how many cards are in a set and use the wrong code (02 when it should be 002, or 002 when it should be 02) it throws it off, but it's easy enough to fix using the bulk editor. I usually open up an album and just check when I'm labeling scans for sets I'm not sure on just to be sure and try to eliminate the problem, and I have to open each album to update them, but sometimes I still mess up. Nothing that can't be fixed later, but it can get frustrating if it requires  a lot of fixing.

For teams, I discovered two things that matter for me- the total number of images in each album (which tells me how many cards I have of each team- at least scanned) and also, surprisingly, seeing what it takes to get onto the first page of the album. For the NBA, it's pretty much settled out that other than the teams and names that came about later, a card basically has to be from 1992-93 or older to get onto the first page. In hockey it's much more wide open, since I'm still new to the sport really...some of the teams don't even have a second page yet, whereas some of the NBA teams are approaching 30 pages (of 108 scans per page).  I'm working on scanning a big batch of older cards as I type this, ranging in age from 1973-74 through 1994-95, for the NBA, so when I do this month's upload (May 2020) it may push the date required for making page one back even further. Time will tell...and once I take the screencaps to post in this post, you'll be able to tell as well.
After the uploads of what I scanned in May, all teams now need to be from 1991-92 or older, with the exception of the late 80s expansion teams which simply don't have enough cards to change that. Many are now to the point where they need to be from 1990-91 or older, and some teams, especially the long running teams, now need newly scanned cards to be from the 1980s to make it onto page one. That is generally only the case with teams that got cards all the way back to 1957-58 Topps but once I finish scanning the 70s and 80s cards more teams will probably be there as well.

As it turns out, something else I thought would matter to me on all the albums, also, doesn't. With Fotki, one of the options is to have the sample image for the album change with each refresh or each time you navigate to a page. I thought that would be really interesting, but in practicality, it just added more time and more scrolling, and I stopped caring by the second month of doing the uploads for each person. I still like seeing it on the teams, and I like seeing it on the years and subjects for non-sports, but for the people...one of things I looked most forward to creating...really didn't matter to me.

One thing I did NOT anticipate, but turned out to be interesting...on Fotki, the What's New page shows each album in reverse order of updating it...so if I go to the last page, I can see which albums have gone the longest without an update. Since I began with the NBA teams, which are generally the largest albums, that's quite interesting to me. Some of the teams I have more cards waiting to be scanned, but some of them are pretty rare, and I don't have any other cards of them, although they exist. For some, like the Chicago Zephyrs...that's all there is. They have only one card ever made, I have it, end of story...eventually that team will make it's way to the end of the list, and likely will be there forever, unless Panini starts actually covering NBA history...so like I say, forever.
This was the last page when I started the monthly upload.
notice how it's now 1590 pages, which when full show 10 albums each!

It's interesting how it's taken on a life of it's own...and how certain things matter to me on some aspects, and on some not at all, even though the process for creating each and every part is pretty much the same.

I doubt anyone else will really care, but I thought it was interesting enough to get a post out of it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Half Dollar

I don't really talk about coin collecting too much...I've been mostly forced out of the hobby due to my severe allergy to the metal nickel. However, it is something I enjoyed immensely when I was able to collect, and to be honest, when I was mostly away from the card hobby in 2008, it's because that was the year I really took up coin collecting, and it got most of my attention.

But, I still keep an eye on what's going on in the hobby. When I saw that the US Mint would be producing a series of Commemorative coins for the Basketball Hall of Fame, I knew I had to have one. It arrived to me on June 22nd, and it is very cool indeed!

I love the way it scanned! The coin is curved- a technology that the US Mint created for the Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative several years ago. Since I scanned it with my scanner lid open, and it was raised up off the tray due to the holder it comes in, it reflected color...in this case, the sunlight coming in my window, giving the scan an orange tinge. The real coin is not colorful at all, it's normal silver/gray of nickel.

It's funny, I'm not a NCLT collector- Non-Circulating Legal Tender- I generally only get them if they are a subject that's really important to me, or if they are too cheap not to pass up. Since I began collecting coins fully in 2008, I've only added three of the commemorative half dollars to my collection, and two of them are curved! (I also got the one for the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing last year.) For those of you who are not coin collectors, NCLT have become a major factor in the coin hobby. They are generally created solely to be sold to collectors, and some of them are very interesting...but it's not my thing as a general rule. They do have a monetary denomination- you could spend this coin for 50 cents at any store, but you'd have to be an idiot to...because it cost $41.95 to add this to my collection!

There are three coins in the series, each available in both basic and Proof versions. I chose the basic clad half dollar version, because it's the one I wanted...it's also the cheapest. The others are the silver dollar, which starts at $64 before tax and shipping, and the gold half eagle, which starts at $634.50....well out of my price range. All three denominations/sizes feature the exact same designs on both sides. (US Mint listing) While I would like to have the gold one since it was made at West Point, a building I've seen in person, there's no way I am going to spend that kind of money on anything that's not a car. The coins come from different mints- the uncirculated half, which I got, is made in Denver. The proof version is made in San Francisco, while both versions of the dollar were made in Philadelphia and both the gold versions at West Point. You can also get a uncirculated San Francisco version from the Kids set, and there may be more versions coming later...including possibly a colorized version. To be a coin completist is a very expensive proposition- it would cost someone $1533 before tax and shipping to get all the versions currently available, and they all have the same design. I'm happy with my one version.

You don't just get the coin though. Each item in the Commemorative series comes with some fancy packaging....

an outer slipcase, with a hardwood pattern.

 The coin itself comes in what looks like leather but is actually patterned paper, and when you open that up there is an info card and the coin itself in it's plastic case, inside a felt form, with a Red, White & Blue ribbon that is glued down at the top, and you use the bottom to pop the coin out- it's a tight fit.
I don't plan to ever take it out of the plastic case it came in, by the way.


The info card, which is folded to fit inside the case, has a textured basketball and info about it. The text in the black banner on the info bar is actually foil, but not mirror foil. It looks really nice in hand.

One thing about the US Commemorative coin program is that each issue helps a cause. Of my $41.95 spent, the Basketball Hall of Fame is going to get $5 of it. They get more from the more expensive coins. I certainly like that idea, and I can't wait to visit the Hall of Fame when the virus is done...it was on the list of places we were going to visit in 2020. It's literally 2 hours (to the minute) away from home so it's not a bad ride at all.

This also ended up being my first coin from 2020. I believe that's the latest in the year I've gotten my first of the year since I began collecting in 2008, but, due to my general state of despair, especially as related to having to essentially give up the hobby, I gave up on keeping records...so I can't be fully sure when I got things or even what I actually have anymore.

Now I have to decide...keep this with my coin collection, or keep it with my NBA card collection?

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

7 day Card Challenge Day 7: Favorite hobby trend of the year

So, we've reached the end. This was fun! I shouldn't have dragged my feet for so long. and it's nice to be able to bang out quick posts that don't require the long form historical essays I tend to write.

Best hobby trend to emerge this year....I'm going to have to modify it a little. Because 2020 is pretty crummy. (yes, that is meant to rhyme...humor me). We have sports on hiatus, although some are back now, all the events I look forward to cancelled or postponed indefinitely, and the ones that have come back I don't feel are safe enough for someone with my pre-existing health problems, and most importantly, we have people dying all over. Including some people I know. People being threatened or worse just because of their skin color...so yeah, not a great year so far, and it's probably going to get worse...let's just say, the old phrase about people ignoring history are doomed to repeat it, 2020 is your year folks. Of course, the people who are literally doomed, not just figuratively, it's not really going to matter too much, but I digress.

So for year I'm going to go to the year in two of my sports...both the NBA and NHL's year starts in October and goes to June...or whenever, this year. Cards on demand is not a new trend this year, but they have been very expensive and only came one card at a time. What I've chosen is the Topps Now NHL set. Because UD has the exclusive card license, they are stickers, but so what? And you get a whole week's worth, instead of a single card! For what Panini charges for one NBA or NASCAR card, you get 9 hockey stickers (cards). THAT is an awesome trend.
 They capture moments in time....
 give us unusual angles...
 document history (and those awesome chrome helmets!)
 get people onto cards for the first time...
 even get the whole team in on the action.
 Of course, they don't always proof read.
 There's even inserts...
 and parallels!

I discovered these totally by accident. when I saw some get posted to the Trading Card Database. If I had known they existed at the start of the year, I'd have been buying them all year long. This is probably my favorite set of 2019-20, even if I have less than half of it. Next year, I will be ready...and if this season ever gets going again, I will be ready then, too. I hope they keep it up for a long time.

Thanks for reading my entries in the 7 day challenge. I did, as I mentioned before, write them all up in one night. It was a fun diversion but now I have to go back to thinking up my own topics again. Not a problem, as I have a lot to post about, just have to find the motivation. Hopefully you enjoyed reading them as I much as I enjoyed writing them. And thanks to Tim of Cardpocalypse for the inspiration!