Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Top 10: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

I decided to enter a post in the Collecting Cutch contest of top 10 favorite cards in my collection. Although I am not trying to win the prize (they are all baseball) I thought it would be fun to take a look at what I would consider my Top 10 list of the soon to retire Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Dale Jr. has been my all-time favorite driver for many years, and I suspect always will be. I have never really chased his cards though, because from 1999-2007 he was sponsored by Budweiser and all the cards have been censored. That stinks.Even so, I have nearly 1000 of him in my collection, according to the Trading Card Database.

Luckily, he joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2008 and was finally able to get some real cards.

 And now, the countdown....
#10 1998 Action
In 1998 and 1999, Dale Jr. ran the full Busch series schedule, and won the Championship both years. I was only a casual BGN watcher before then, but I began watching full time in late 1997. (I quit watching the series full time around 2010). This card, like all from Action, was released with the 1/64 die cast version of the car shown.

#9 1994 Optima XL
This is the first card ever issued for Dale Jr. At the time he was racing local-level late models, 2 years before his NASCAR debut. He did appear on some cards with his family previously but this is the first all his own. I bought it as a single a year or two after it came out.

#8 2012 Press Pass Burning Rubber
Dale Jr. had a long dry spell, winning at Michigan in 2008 and then nothing until 2011...when he won again at Michigan, in a special Batman one-off paint scheme. This card includes a piece of tire used on the #88 during that race. I pulled this one myself, it's SN 002/199.

#7 Dale Earnhardt The Artist's Series

As I mentioned the last time I talked about this set, I'm not sure it's 100% licensed, but who cares? It's actually a painting, not a photograph, and I hope I don't have to explain the significance of this card's image. From a factory set.

#6 2002 Sheet Metal card

I can't remember off the top of my head which set this came out of- VIP I think, maybe Premium. I took this image from my race used file so it was just labeled as Sheet Metal. Although the images have been censored, this is an actual piece of sheet metal from his car. My favorite kind of relic to get, I pulled this from a pack.

#5 2015 Press Pass Cup Chase Cuts
So what's better than a single relic of sheet metal? How about a dual relic? I pulled this one also. The blue is metallic which will eventually help me out when I build a replica of his 2nd Daytona 500 winner.

#4 2012 Showcase Green
Although it's nearly impossible to tell from this crappy scan, the foil is green and is SN to 5 copies. I couldn't afford a box of Showcase but I was thrilled to be able to add this one to my collection from Ebay.

#3 2012 Showcase Purple
But I was even more surprised and thrilled when I nabbed the 1/1 Purple on ebay as well! I didn't think I would be able to win it, and it is the most I've spent on a card of his- it cost me around $35 if I recall correctly. (I have gone over $20 for one card maybe three times in the last decade, including this one) The fact that I didn't pull it is why it's not ranked higher. I actually don't have the base version yet.

#2 2013 FanFare Magnificent Materials Dual
The added push of pulling this one myself gets it the nod over the 1/1 which I bought. I'm not sure if anyone else feels the same way as I do, but I always put more "collection weight" to a card I pulled over one I bought. The hat has a piece of the Chase Authentics logo.

#1 2003 Press Pass Signings
I've shown this card before, as recently as in the 30 Day Challenge. What can I say, this is my favorite NASCAR card in my collection! I pulled this from a single pack purchase from the Target in Kingston, NY, in late 2003. Even though at the time I considered NASCAR my favorite sport, I was not much of a NASCAR card collector. I'd get one pack or maybe two if I was lucky, of each set, while I was getting 2 boxes of every NBA set. After I pulled this one, I finally gave the NASCAR cards the attention they deserved, even going to the point of collecting NASCAR only from 2006-09, before adding non-sports back in and eventually, in 2012, going back to the NBA.

There's not many cards that I can truly say changed the course of my life but this one did.
It's my only autograph of his, and luckily it came before they started putting a sticker over the top of it. It's on-card, although I don't care about that like some people do.

Thanks for reading. Instead of just going with whatever I can get cheap I should look for a couple more premium cards of him, maybe I will do that soon.

Here are the two Previous Top 10 Lists I've done: Boxes I want to open  NHL Cards in my collection (as of 3/3/2015, now outdated)

If anyone would like to see more Top 10 lists, I could do them for each and every NASCAR driver...they are a lot of work though, this being my rarest series, only my third post in 3 years' time. I could do them for a handful of NBA players as well but I still have a lot of scanning to do before I could do it for the NBA. For the NHL I'm still so new to it I have only a couple of people clear the 10 card barrier at all yet and I don't think any of them have gotten that many scanned yet.

Monday, May 29, 2017

NASCAR Special Paint Scheme Project: 2001 Ken Schrader Flag car

Tonight, I watch my first ever Stanley Cup finals game...the Nashville Predators are who I want to win, but the terrible thing is that no matter what, there are at most only 7 games left of the season, and probably less.
While I'm watching the game, I'll post this NASCAR themed post in my highly unpopular series looking at special paint schemes to celebrate my 25th year as a NASCAR fan.

Today, considering it's Memorial Day, a patriotic scheme is in order. Run only once, the first race after September 11th, is this flag scheme run by Ken Schrader. His sponsor, M&Ms, removed all their logos from the car so it would just be the flag. He finished 18th, two laps down, in this car's only start.

Today is also his birthday. He was born in 1955.

This card, 2002 Wheels High Gear #52, also shows the normal paint scheme.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Surprise to the Maxx!

I got a large package in the mail today, and I was not expecting it. I get mail fairly regularly from the people who sent it to me as part of another hobby, but I wasn't expecting anything now...

but this showed up!

An uncut sheet of 1995 Maxx Series II hobby! WOW! Despite the fact that I've been collecting for 29 years now this is only my second uncut sheet, but this is the first one that is traditionally thought of when it comes to uncut sheets, as the first one I had was all one card. How awesome is this? I couldn't save this one for a Kindness of Strangers post as it came to me from friends I actually know in person.

And if you look close....

it's signed by Terry Labonte! My mom's all-time favorite driver, this is the first auto of Terry in my collection!

Thank you my friends! 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Finally, atlhetes with my body type!

Let's face it...thin and athletic are not terms used to describe me. When I say I'm someone's biggest fan, I mean that literally :) I don't have an athlete's build.

But there's one sport...one sport where that's not quite the case.

Sumo wresting!

I like to get different cards, from different subjects. I used to be an NBA and NASCAR only collector, but I've expanded my horizons and have had a lot of fun doing it.

Well, I had no idea that sumo wrestling got cards until I met Ryan Laughton, aka SumoMenkoMan, writer of the blog Japanese Sumo Wresting Cards and Menko. To be honest, I had never heard heard the word Menko before I began reading his blog. He helped me get boxes of both series of the BBM B-League basketball card set, and I had asked him at one point if he had a sumo card he could spare as I didn't have the sport represented in my collection.

Did he ever!

All the cards you see here are Sumo cards! Except the car cards, which are great...and from a set I can't identify. I had to recreate the picture as I can't find the original I took when the box first arrived-quite a while ago now, as I've been so very far behind/backlogged. Also included were some neat little Japanese car books but I forgot to include them in the photo.

I was hoping for 1 but as you can see it's far, far more than that!

Unfortunately for me, the cards are almost entirely in Japanese, which I cannot read, no matter how hard I try to match up letters to guides. So I can't really build checklists of these sets to post to the Database- I think I can get the names of the wrestlers, but since I'm not sure, I don't know how to proceed.
But here are 6 cards that I chose as a general overview of the very few I've taken out of the box so far.
 Odd how the label of the match is in English while the rest is in Japanese.
 If I'm reading the back of the card correctly, this man was the top wrestler from 1922-31.
 Interesting pattern on his uniform. I wonder what it looked like in color? Although labeled after WWII if I am reading the back correctly he was the top wrestler from 1944-51.
 I'm not sure why they do the salt thing, but it's iconic of the sport.
 I had no idea you could choke your opponent.
Isn't that Arnold from Happy Days?

Here's a card back:
I have no idea what it says, but this is the back of the Good Match of 1998. I don't even know if it lists his name somewhere or if that is a location or title in English, so I'm pretty clueless. Considering how happy he looks in the portrait on the back I'm assuming that he's the winner.

While I don't think I'm going to take up wresting Sumo, you will see some sumo cards again next year, I'm saving the rest of the box for a special project...

Thank you Ryan! Sorry it took me so long to get this posted, having to reshoot the photo really slowed me up.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sets in my Collection #25: 1949 Bowman Wild West Picture Card Gum

Another vintage non-sports set with only one card in my collection, this is a small card, as Bowman was using small cards at that time. This was a huge set, at 180 cards. It's the largest set I'm aware of from the 1940s. It is broken down into various subsets (each numbered differently, but part of a whole) which covered several different topics related to the Old West- which, at that time, wasn't all that old- topics in the set range in age from the 1700s to the early 1900s! Early cards in the set don't cover the Old West at all, and, not having seen the cards, I'm not sure exactly how they tied the War of 1812 to the narrative.

There was a subset of history, a subset for daily life at the time, a subset honoring famous Indians, non-Indians, and even outlaws.

The D-series cards, of which my only example is from, documents the wars with the Indians. At the time, popular media portrayed the Indians as the bad guys, but as we now know, that isn't entirely the case.

I believe, from the research I did when I got the card, that this version may have been a mail-away variation based on the red badge on the bottom left of the card back. I do not know for sure.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

NASCAR Box #2 Breakdown

I've finished going through the cards my friend sent me a couple of weeks ago, totally unexpectedly. And what a box it was! I ended up getting 1079 new cards, which is my 6th most all-time for one day. (the first box he sent me is in the top 5)
My records aren't matching up, and I hate when they don't match in the three places I store them. But it may really be off by a card or two, because the Database shows I have one card, while my paper records- which I based my collection on the Database off of- shows I don't. But I've long said the numbers are probably off and that I just use them as a baseline anyway.

While the first box had more cards in it, this one completed more sets- 8 of them, all from 1995-97. Also, I completed a parallel and three inserts, which is very rare for me to do so. The inserts I completed include 1996 Ultra Champion's Club (5 cards), 1996 Upper Deck Virtual Velocity (15 cards) and this one, from 1997 Upper Deck Victory Circle, at 10 cards...
It's as sparkly as it looks in hand. I pulled one of these when it was new and now, 20 years later, I've completed it.

While I didn't complete this set, the largest percentage of increase was 1996 Ultra. It is a 202 card set, and I previously had 11 of them. I now have 201 of them! I'm only missing one common card, #145, Joe Gibbs. Amazingly, despite Ultra being my favorite brand, I've NEVER completed an Ultra flagship. I have completed the Ultra Power Rangers movie set, and with this box I completed the Ultra Update, but standard Ultra still eludes me. I think I may have finished 1999-00 in my COMC pending shipment but until I get it in hand it doesn't count. Maybe someday I will finish one. Heck, maybe if I get more than 21 cents in my COMC account I will pick up the missing Gibbs and complete this one! Wait a minute, I just realized I completed 1992-93 Ultra on April 1st! I forgot when I typed this up. I remembered before publishing but I decided to leave the paragraph anyway. But I am going to have to rewrite some of my April trade recap before I publish it!

Here are an example of each of the sets I completed. The number listed is how many cards make up the set.
1996 SpeedFlix, 87 cards

1996 VIP, 54 cards

1995 Assets, 50 cards. Rare to see an uncensored Bud car.

1996 Finish Line, 100 cards

1996 Press Pass, 120 cards

1996 Maxx, 100 cards

1997 Ultra Update, 100 cards

1995 Optima XL, 60 cards. I had only 1 before the box arrived!
SpeedFlix is a set I loved since new and worked hard on completing from retail, but fell short. Assets was a set I never had much of. 1996 Press Pass was the one I was closest to, I needed only about 20 of 120 cards. The big one here is 1996 Maxx. Maxx was my favorite brand and was in operation from 1988-96. This was their final flagship. I have now completed 1989, 90, 91, 92, 94 and 96. And I have a factory sealed 1988 Factory set but I don't want to open it. Completing 1995 and 1993 are priorities. I really want to get a factory set of 1993, which I know are out there. 1995 was two series and does not have a factory set that I know of.

Unfortunately, they were double paged, and most of them got damaged, but 1996 Ultra Update took the most damage.
You can see where this card stuck to the other card and damaged both of them.Everything that looks like snow in the scan is damage.

Here's the parallel I completed, 1997 Race Sharks First Bite. (45 cards). This is only, off the top of my head, the third parallel I've ever completed, and one of those was a factory set exclusive, so that's a pretty rare accomplishment for me.
 Race Sharks was such a pointless set, photos of drivers superimposed in front of a picture of the shark, but it's late 1990s so I love it anyway.

Now, here's just some scans of cards from this box that needed to be posted to the Trading Card Database.

I even managed to get two new people for my collection, one who I was aware of the fact that I was missing him...
and one that slipped through the cracks and I didn't even know I should have been looking for! No matter how good I think my records are, there's still mistakes.

And, like the last box he sent me, I took screencaps of my collection totals on the Trading Card Database both before I entered the new cards...
and after. You can see that some drivers really went up by a large number!