Monday, August 21, 2017

History of Press Pass Eclipse

As you may know, the USA is experiencing it's first total solar eclipse in 99 years, right this very moment if I set the timer right for this post's publication...(2:43 PM EST) I'm going to be sleeping unfortunately, seeing the total eclipse of my eyelids. I thought I would take this time to take a look at the history of Press Pass's Eclipse brand.

Debuting in 2002, the first set is a miniscule 50 cards, and features a subset for some of the pole winners from the previous season. The set also includes a parallel called Solar Eclipse.

2003 was more of the same but dropped the pole winners subset. The parallel returned but was now simply called Parallel. Very creative, huh? Everyone still calls it Solar Eclipse anyway.

2004 expanded up to a 90 card set and added a subset about the champions week in NYC. They also added variations, but they carry the same number and are so stupidly obscure I probably would never have noticed they existed if they weren't clearly differentiated on the Trading Card Database. There was no parallel starting this year, until 2008. Starting here until 2009 the cards do not carry a gloss finish, although they were spot coated, and the driver's car number was usually applied in clear gloss, which does not usually capture in scans. You can see the 6s going down the card in this scan.

2005 was the same as the year before, except the set was bumped to 100 cards, usually the most Press Pass would ever do. The 2005 set is actually my favorite Eclipse set design wise. I like the big foil signature on the left side of the base cards.

2006 was just like the previous two years. It was one of the last sets I actively collected before the down years of 2007-08.

2007 was the last year the cards featured a bright white theme. I have exactly two pack's worth of the set so I'm not overly familiar with it.

2008 was my worst year in the hobby and again I have only one pack's worth. The cards now feature a black theme. I only had three base cards to choose from, although I do have a couple of subset cards.

2009 is one of my favorite designs for Eclipse. The one and only year the set featured a space theme. This year also has a parallel for the first time since 2003. The text is silver foil on base cards and there is a blue retail parallel. I have chosen to show a blue parallel here. They were not one per pack, which is how Press Pass usually did parallels, not as easy to come by as the 2009 flagship's parallels.

2010 saw the set totally restructured, with the cards now having a canvas texture and some were filtered to look like paintings. I didn't like them when new, but they have grown on me over the years and now I like the set...I've completed it as well, first time since 2003 I completed the brand.

2011 was the final year for Eclipse. That may be considered merciful considering how bad the 11 set was. Each card was made to look like a painting. There was a subset for the Bud Shootout which was ok because it showed the cars and didn't mess with the images too much. The cards were semi-glossy this year, though the parallels were flat. This is the only year where the base cards did not have silver foil, but holofoil. The 2011 Eclipse set is tied as my least favorite NASCAR set ever.
 This Vickers card is the base card, but the car subset is even worse. I've shown it before.

Eclipse did not survive into 2012, as Press Pass was on their death spiral then, dropping the basic sets to be replaced by $200 for 5 cards boxes, which led to them closing their doors on January 2nd, 2016.

And that concludes my first brand history post. This is a series I have thought about starting for a while, and I needed a once in a lifetime event to kick me into gear and get it done.  I admit I kind of rushed it because I finished it after dinner and was rushing to get it done before I had to get a tooth drilled and filled...second of the I didn't put as much research into the post as I normally would.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Biggest of the Big Guns

the back of the card is just blank white cardboard
Of all the cards I've purchased on COMC over the past few years, this is right up at the top- if not the top- for most important. In the world of NASCAR cards, there are some people who are harder to get autographs of than others, and for me the hardest to add to my collection was 4 time Champion Jeff Gordon. It's not that he's a rare signer- he's just so popular that his autographs are usually more than I can afford to spend on a single card. For many years they were in the 3 digits, a place I just can't go for one card.

However, luck was on my side, as I was cruising through COMC during the Spring Cleaning Sale earlier in 2017. I saw this card...and it was only $13 and change. I didn't really believe my eyes...I thought there must have been some mistake. It was mislabeled at COMC, not listed as an autograph...(eventually corrected before I actually shipped it) I had never seen any cards from this five card insert before, but I know enough about cards, and although I did not possess one in my collection, I recognized Jeff's signature. I couldn't click "Buy Now" fast enough! It WAS labeled as having a bottom right corner ding...I was willing to risk it because it's not every day I can add Jeff's autograph to my collection- but it's really so minuscule that it wasn't really worth noting. Yes, it's there if you know where to look, but it's limited to the white border, and it's a JEFF GORDON AUTOGRAPH!

And when I say big gun...I mean it. This card is huge. It's 7 3/4th inches tall, and 5 and 5/8th inches wide, making it one of the largest cards in my collection- and quite probably the physically largest card in my NASCAR collection.

I have wanted an autograph of Jeff since 1994...that was the first year autograph cards became a big deal in NASCAR, though there might have been some previously...I don't actually remember. I got my first in 1994. The first lap of NASCAR racing I ever saw happened to be the first lap Jeff would ever lead...he would add 25,000 more over the next 23 years en route to 93 career wins, third all time.

Ironically, Jeff is my favorite of the Big 4...yet was the only one without an autograph in my collection. (Richard Petty, David Pearson, Dale Earnhardt). Not anymore!

Of the top 10 race winners in NASCAR history, I now have the autograph of six or possibly seven of them. I know I'm missing Darrell Waltrip (5th, 84 wins) and Cale Yarborough (7th, 83 wins) but I can't remember if I ever got Rusty Wallace's signature. I'm really slacking because I used to be able to remember everybody in my autograph collection. (UPDATE: No, I checked my records, I'm missing Rusty) 10th place Lee Petty is not available as he did not sign any cards before he passed away in 2000.  He might have a cut signature but no chance I could afford that.

Jeff was the key name missing from my collection...but I can finally, almost unbelievably even to myself, more!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Kindness of Strangers #2

I have said many times that the kindness of fellow collectors is over the top. The people in this hobby are top notch. This as-needed series takes a look at the cards people send me just because they are nice people.

I start with the now-legendary day of July 27th. It ended up being the third biggest day in my 29 years in the hobby, with 1,418 new cards showing up in one day! Two of the four packages were trades, the other two were gifts.

Douglas from Sportscards from the Dollar Store hit me first, with a box full of people for my NHL collection. My project of getting as many different people into my collection took a big boost from him as he went through my list of people IN my NHL collection and pulled out cards of people not on the list, and sent them south of the border. He also sent me some Rangers in the box.

The same day, I got a gigantic box of cards from a fellow named Rob, who read my introduction on a hockey card forum I joined on Facebook, and liked the fact that I am trying to learn as much about the history of the sport as possible from cards. memory is bad, and I got so many cards I got a little overwhelmed...and now I don't remember which person sent me which card, for the most part. I'm going to just show some highlights, which start with the relics...
 Holy mackerel! My first Stick relic, and a piece of jersey number!

There were two autographs...

And lots of Serially Numbered cards. I am really addicted to SN cards and really love to add them to my collection. In fact, a lot of times when I get some money on COMC, I will just go to the SN page and buy however many I can before I run out of money. It doesn't really matter who is on the card, as long as it's SN. (So far I have not purchased any duplicates inadvertently, but being SN, it wouldn't really matter if I did)

Douglas snuck in some NBA as well

Some of the above cards are numbered on the back.

Now, here are some non-SN highlights that mostly are cards that needed to be scanned for the Trading Card Database.

 My very first Golden Seals card! This one, which I am sure came from Douglas, is one of my favorites.

 1977-78 was the only year missing from my NHL collection from 1968-69 to current. Douglas sent me one each from O-Pee-Chee (shown) and Topps, solving that problem!

apparently an image variation

Douglas also sent me a handful of new Henrik Lundqvist cards, who has taken an early lead as my favorite player.

Whew! What a great day of cards. Naturally, I didn't scan all of them yet...because it will take me months to do all these cards.

Just two days later, I got two MORE packages of cards! This second day ended up being my 16th most new cards in a day all-time, which is pretty amazing to think about it. 7 of my 10 best days for new additions were gifts from fellow collectors. Two of the other days are Christmas Days. Only one day in my all-time top 10 best actually came from me purchasing cards.

Trading Card Database member Mihome316 sent me a big mailer of, surprisingly, baseball. He also stuck about 100 cards from 1990-91 Pro Set hockey into there, too. That set is turning out to be one of if not my favorite hockey set, and John sent me a bunch of them.
I only scanned the very first baseball card out of the package. These Bowman sets are confusing...thankfully the Trading Card Database has them all fully documented and I was actually able to figure out exactly what I had.

This Pro Set card is one of the people added to my collection from the mailer.

Next came a jam-packed small priority box from Joel Freedman, a frequent trading partner who I've mentioned several times in the past. He sent me cards from only two sets, but a whole bunch from both of them! 2005-06 Ultra had only one base card in my collection it has 132! 2005-06 MVP also took a big upgrade.
Here's a sample card from each set:

Since I got such a wide variety of cards, I decided to take a screen cap of my team listings on the Trading Card Database both before...
and after entry.
It's really small so I suggest clicking on them to make them bigger. I will say this though: Previously only 20 teams had hit the 100 cards in collection 27 do!

Whew! It took me more than a week to properly document all the new cards I was given and traded for. While I was working on them, I got a surprise package from Jason German of Jason's Sports Card Blog! It was a mixture of everything. NHL, NBA, Olympics and even historical, although technically counted as baseball.

I didn't scan them yet, but the NBA was mostly vintage! Three from 1974-75 and 1 one from 1973-74. One of the cards from 1974-75 is nearly perfectly pack fresh, something you rarely find with this set.

Not technically cards, but very much like them, comes a gift from Doe of Now and Zen. These are stamps, but they are really very card like. They are lenticular, and they are AWESOME!

I'm pretty sure the three F1 cars are actually plastic models, mixing several hobbies of mine. Cool!! Umm-Al-Qiwain became one of the United Arab Emirates and that is the extent of my knowledge of the country. There were some other stamps there as well, but these are far and away my favorites...not just of this mailing, but of my entire collection!

I got a single card from bkim on the Trading Card Database that wasn't new, but completed a set for me! 1993-94 Upper Deck was short one Michael Jordan and a friend had sent me one...but it didn't survive the trip cross country. Now, I've got one that's darn near perfect.

I feel like I'm forgetting something, so if you gave me a gift and it's not apologies. It's not a slight, it's my memory not working properly. 

Since there were so many new people added to my NHL collection- about 400 or more- I've decided to put my New People Added to my NHL Collection on hold for now...I will get back to it at some point but I am not sure when. I am having a hard enough time keeping my records straight, let alone taking the time to scan, edit, research and type each post...I simply don't have the time right now. 

One final bit of news....I fixed the "Followers" feature on here...I was pleasantly surprised to see my followers now total 30 people, when it quit working on me about a year ago I had only 17.

The next posts...many posts, with the exception of possibly one or two, will all be about my largest COMC haul ever.