Sunday, October 29, 2017

Serially Numbered Set Building: 2002-03 SPx

This is a set I know I can never complete. It has a Michael Jordan autograph/jersey card, and one for Kobe in the same Subset. I can't afford either of them.

What I can do, however, is go after the rookies. I probably can't complete them either, as I lack the Yao Ming autograph/jersey card, but none of the rest should be stoppers...and I was able to add 13 of them in this order from COMC, and I thought 14, accidentally buying a J.R. Bremer card I already had.

 UD was particularly bad with the autographs in this set. Many are obscured by the rest of the card, have glue seepage, or, like the Chris Jefferies card, both.

With these cards,  I now have 133 of 162 cards, bringing me to 82.1%. Not too bad, but like I said, actual completion is unlikely, just take a look at what remains on my wantlist:
Kareem, Kidd, Pierce, Garnett, Kobe, Jordan, Yao...probably all outside my price range. But I should be able to get the 4 veterans that aren't autographed jerseys, and I should be able to get the Salmons, Nene, Jay Williams and Tito Maddox at some point.

Only one more post left to fully document my largest COMC order ever!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Serially Numbered Set Building: 2002-03 Fleer Authentix

I really liked the four years of Fleer's Authentix. They were based around a ticket design. and while my thoughts on them have cooled a bit over the years, as I've refined what I prefer in cards, I still have very fond memories of the sets and am actively working on trying to complete them- especially the 2002-03 set. I was able to add 6 that I needed in this round from COMC.

 When I was pulling up the set, intending to go after the missing rookies, I found this card for less than the base cards were going for...
 so I snapped it right up. Club Box is the second tier parallel, with 100 copies produced. Balcony is the first level parallel, with 250 copies, and Standing Room Only is limited to 25. One of the first "rainbows" I ever completed was the Elton Brand card from this set, which I have posted in the past.

With these new additions, I now have 121 of 135 cards from the base set, or 89.6% according to the Trading Card Database. These are the cards I need, so this set should be doable at some point in the not too distant future. At one point the Amare Stoudamire would have been a bit of a stopper, but his decline and fall with the Knicks, Mavericks and Heat (and Israel) have lowered his prices immensely, now. In fact, lately I've had to pay more for Tayshaun Prince cards than Amare, and I need his here, too. Neither Drew Gooden nor Caron Butler is well loved in the hobby though both were good players, but none of them should prove outside my price range.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Serially Numbered Set Building through COMC- 2003-04 Bowman Signature

I have said many times I am a set builder at heart. Since the late 1990s, it has been a challenge to build a majority of sets that include SN cards...and some of them also have autographs and relics in the sets as well. Since that began in 1998-99, I've completed exactly 1 set that has a large SN portion.

I'm trying to change that, tackling some sets that have Serially Numbered cards...and in this case, autographs and relics- in the base set. I have only one parameter for this- I must have pulled the key cards from my box I opened. I can't/won't spend into the three digits for single cards, so you won't see me going after quite a few sets. (mostly). This one, from the amazing rookie class of 2003-04, I got very lucky on- my box gave me Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James, and I was able to add Carmelo Anthony easily. Aside from LeBron, they are all Triple Threat cards- autograph/relic/SN. LeBron was UD exclusive so did not sign autographs for Topps.

I added 10 more to my collection in this wave of COMC ordering...I expect to complete this set in 2018. Some of the cards I was missing were not available on COMC at this time or I would have had more than 10.

I added two that were auto/jersey
6 that are autograph only. Three of them were also people missing from my collection, so that worked out nicely!

 Only my second card of him. Both are SN.
 Tommy Smith, to my recollection, never played an NBA game, but this is my second autograph of him.
 My first card of Ime Udoka
 My first of Eric Chenowith. Check out that terrible airbrushing!
My first card of Paccelis Morlende.

and finally two of the rookies in the set who did not sign autograph for Topps.

Looking at my records while getting this post ready, I realize I am actually missing LeBron. That's bad. It'll probably keep me from completing the base set. I do have at least one of the parallels of LeBron.

I now have 87 of 118 cards in the set, or 73.7% according to the Trading Card Database.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Birthday Cards 2017 Part II AND Part III

Well, I've processed my birthday card additions from my Mom, and I got a ton of new family knows that there is no better gift than cards. And being as this is my first year as a hockey collector, it gave her a wide range of things to choose from.

I got, in total,  671 new cards and 88 new people, who I will list at the end after the photos. I completed the first series of 1992-93 Ultra and the second series of both 1990-91 and 1991-92 Upper Deck, as well as two complete promo sets- 1991-92 Score Young SuperStar and 1991 Ultimate, as well as adding to 1990-91 Pro Set, which is proving to be one of my favorite NHL sets.

First, a quintet of ageless Jaromir Jagr cards. How can you not like this guy? He's been playing professionally in the top levels since 1988! And still going! In 1988 I was 4 years old...
This one will go into the history books as the first hockey single my mom has bought me...following hundreds other cards over the past 29 years.

The Score Young SuperStar comes from the complete factory set I got. You also have an all-star subset from Upper Deck, an all-star insert from Ultra, and the base 1992-93 Ultra.

 I chose this card to represent the 1990-91 Pro Set cards, as it represents an all-time great, a hall of famer, and it shows the long-lost Quebec Nordiques uniform quite well. The back of the card talks about the fact that he had retired, and came back AFTER he had been inducted into the HOF!
 This one is #7000 for me NHL collection. I started 2017 with exactly 3000...and at least 3/4ths of the new additions have come from other people, sometimes in the single digits, sometimes in the hundreds, but all have found a good home with me!
I don't know what to make of this set. When we were looking over Ebay and I was pointing out cheap sets that would make good birthday presents, this is one I pointed out, thinking it was the Ultimate Original Six set. But, it's not...It appears, to me, that the company that made the cards (Ultimate) commissioned these custom uniforms, got all these players together, and got them on the ice to either play a game or simulate a game for the photographers. I thought at first they might have been "photoshopped" (predating the actual photoshop, but you know what I mean) but I don't think that's the case. Whatever the story might have been, these are NOT NHL cards. For now, I've counted them as part of my collection- and about a dozen of the new people listed below came from this set- but I've been a bit more open in my NHL collection than NBA, partly because I don't fully understand the relationships between all the lower levels that get cards. So for now they are counted in my collection which is called NHL but includes other leagues that aren't NHL...sort of like how I count the ARCA sets in my NASCAR collection. It's "close enough". The real test for me will be if I count the leagues that are not directly related to the NHL- like the various European leagues that get cards. All the other league cards I have currently are for leagues that are full of players who want to go to the NHL, but the top level leagues in Europe are more competitors than feeder leagues. I don't know if I should count them in the same collection numbering system, or count them separately as their own collection. Right now, it's purely speculative, but I know there are cards for several European leagues that I would add to my collection if I had the opportunity.

Finally, here is the list of all the new people I added to my collection. Some I've never heard of before, and some are legends making their first appearance in my collection. All are welcome additions!

Blaha, Michael
Brunet, Benoit
Bucher, Laurent
Celio, Nicola
Cherbayev, Alexander
Chitaroni, Terry
Chychrun, Jeff
Cirone, Jason
Corbet, René
Courtenay, Ed
Cousineau, Marcel
Daniels, Kimbi
Day, Joe
Doré, Daniel
Douris, Peter
Eagles, Mike
Ferraro, Peter
Fogarty, Bryan
Foster, Corey
Gianini, Tiziano
Groleau, Francois
Grönman, Tuomas
Grönvall, Janne
Gusarov, Alexei
Halverson, Trevor
Harlock, David
House, Bobby
Howell, Harry
Jaks, Pauli
Johnson, Greg
Karajalainen, Kyosti
Kiprusoff, Marko
Kuzminsky, Alexander
Lafayette, Nathan
Lambert, Dan
Lapointe, Claude
Lavigne, Eric
Lemieux, Jocelyn
Leveque, Guy
Lindquist, Frederik
Macoun, Jamie
Marshall, Jason
Mayer, Hans-Jörg
McLellan, Jamie
McNeill, Mike
Metlyuk, Denis
Mio, Ed
Moller, Randy
Morrison, Justin

Myllys, Jarmo
Naumann, Andreas
Nelson, Jeff
Nesterenko, Eric
Nilsson, Ulf
Nobili, Mario
Osiecki, Mark
Peacock, Shane
Pederson, Mark
Poulin, Patrick
Priestlay, Ken
Reaugh, Daryl
Reid, Grayden
Resch, Glenn
Rice, Steven
Sarault, Yves
Savard, Serge
Schubert, Thomas
Schümperli, Bernhard
Schwabe, Jens
Seliger, Marc
Sevigny, Pierre
Shank, Daniel
Snell, Chris
Staios, Steve
Sundblad, Niklas
Takko, Kari
Thompson, Brent
Thornton, Scott
Toporowski, Kerry
Torchia, Mike
Tuomainen, Marko
Verner, Andrew
Watson, Jimmy
Weber, Marc
Winnes, Chris
Ylönen, Juha
Zamboni, Frank J.
Ziesche, Steffen


On my birthday, my brother did not give me any cards. He gave me $100, but naturally, I used it to by cards. I didn't get a chance to get to the local Target until the 21st- yesterday, after my club's model show. I was pretty worn out but I knew I would not be physically able to go out to the store today or probably for the next few days, so we went to raid the card aisle after the show. It was the first time I had been there in a while, so long in fact that the NPN on one of the NASCAR sets had already expired two months ago...and this is the first time I was able get my hands on any, I got a mixture of all three sports that I collect this time, but hockey got the most new cards, followed by NASCAR, and only a little NBA- the new season has just begun and not much is out yet, though I did get my first 2017-18 NBA cards!

He got me blasters of 2016 Torque, 2017 Torque, 2017 Select, 2017 Absolute Racing and 2017-18 Artifacts, two fat packs of 2017-18 O-Pee-Chee, one fat pack of 2017-18 MVP, and 3 packs each of 2017-18 Panini Stickers for both NBA and NHL, as well as a an NBA pack repack that was not particularly successful. Here are some highlights of each, in random order (IE, whatever order they got scanned in) You're getting more scans here because a lot more needed to be posted to the Trading Card Database- the cards my mom got me were totally done already. 17-18 OPC and MVP are already done on there, which is why you're only seeing one card from them, that was scanned specifically for posting here. Eventually I will have my entire collection scanned but that's not going to be for a while!
 An insert parallel of my favorite NHL player...out of the first pack I!
 Action Packed was my favorite brand for a short time- they were only around a short time- and Panini ended up with the brand when they acquired the Pinnacle portfolio. Unfortunately, they did not make these cards embossed, which was Action Packed's trademark. That's kind of a fail on Panini's part. They did them as a 14 card insert in Absolute, so only 13 more to go. Even though they are not embossed, I still want to complete the set...and as it's unlikely I will get any more blasters of the set, I will probably go to COMC or eBay and pick them off later...hopefully they won't be priced very high. There are also parallels of them.
 Kind of a neat insert in MVP. It doesn't show but the entire right side of the card- all the white area, including the wording- is all shard holographics. You can sort of see it on the bar code. It looks much better in hand than in scan. Unfortunately Upper Deck didn't bother to number them, giving them letters.
 The repack promised three packs, a relic and an autograph. Unfortunately for me it was college. Most of the packs were sets I had extensively- 13-14 Panini flagship, which I've completed, 14-15 Prestige, 14-15 Threads, and the big surprise to me, 1994-95 Jam Session! I still need five cards from that set but none of them were in the pack. I did get some cards out of Threads, two out of Prestige, and one insert out of Panini, which is more than I expected as I completed that set when new.
 Artifacts cards aren't very exciting. It's basically all players superimposed over nothing, and not even full shots- I don't think any of the cards show the skates. Just thumbed through the cards and nope, not a single skate is shown. I don't regret getting them, but they (UD) kind of mailed it in with this set. I did pull this numbered parallel, and numbered cards are always a good thing. There was not a single insert in the box, but at least I did get about a third of the non-SP base cards, one of which appears down in the post.
 MVP was the first set of the year, and this year the Silver Script parallel is really more like Gray Script, but the black stripe across the card lets it be seen much more clearly than in some previous years.
 This multi-layer card from 2016 Torque is actually partially clear, the gray checkered flag pattern. It's neat.
 A Gold parallel out of 2017 Torque, showing the car in the garage...a rare sight on cards. Panini has already done a better job showing cars than Press Pass did.
 An insert in 2017 Torque, several crew chiefs got their first cards in this set. I was not lucky enough to pull anyone new, Chocolate Myers has been getting cards since the early 1990s, and continues to get them now in the Panini era.
 Second-Generation driver Harrison Burton won the Busch North series this year. I have no idea what they actually call it...K&N East I think...I call it Busch North because that's how I grew up with it. This is Jeff Burton's son, by the way.
 Cool to see this game get a subset in the Panini Stickers set, because I watched this game! That makes it the first hockey card in my collection to show a game that I'm 100% sure I saw. Cool!
 My first NBA Rookie of 2017-18, De'Aaron Fox is said to be the point guard of the future for the Kings. This is also the first NBA card in my collection to show a jersey ad. (It's Blue Diamond Almonds if it's too small to make out in the scan)
 This is the base design for the Panini Stickers. I chose his card to show because I also showed his subset card.
The Panini Stickers this year included coaches. This is the first set since 2012-13 Hoops to include coaches*, and there were 7 or 8 people who were making their first appearance on a card in this set. Several of whom have been around a while, and one is even a former player who never got a card during his playing career. I was really hoping to add some of them to my collection but no such luck. With only three packs though, the statistical odds were against me- it's a 448 card set, and there are only 7 per pack, after all. I hope to get more at some point. I've been complaining to Panini for years about the lack of coaches, and they finally listened. You may recall last year I was debating whether or not I should include the stickers are officially part of my collection, and now I do...if I hadn't already decided, this year's set with the coaches would have spurred me to finally do it anyway.
* They included some coaches in an autograph set, I think in 2014-15, but not all. And Steve Kerr got a card in the Instant NBA Champions set.

 1995 Select is one of my all-time favorite NASCAR sets. It was advertised as the "Inaugural Release"...but the second issue of the brand did not come out until 2017, 22 years later! Now under the Panini umbrella, Select has been transition to a premium, Chrome based set. it replaced Prizm on the 2017 schedule, for some reason. I managed to add two people to my collection from the blaster, and the car card is shown for good measure. While there are cars in the set, they are somewhat short printed. Matt Tifft, who was both the first person added to my collection from my brother's gift, and the first card from the set, is recovering from a brain tumor, that was discovered due to the mandatory health checks NASCAR makes all the drivers take. He missed most of 2016 but has made a full recovery.
 Here's the base card from Artifacts. Silver foil instead of the red of the Ruby version as shown above. They also have green, gold, orange, purple and black foil versions. I'd like to see the green ones because green is my favorite color.
 Speaking of green foil, here is one from 2016 Torque. It's also SN 10/25, and includes a piece of firesuit and sheet metal.
 This is the jersey card promised in my repack.
 It appears that my Target is a hot spot for Ricky Stenhouse Jr, as my "hit" from 2017 Absolute Racing was also of him. Panini doesn't bother to tell you what kind of material you get, and I'm not entirely sure what this is. It may be firesuit, but my gut feeling is that it is car cover. Either way, it's a new card for my collection!
My hit from Select, a dual tire relic. Kurt won this year's Daytona 500 and still ended up getting fired...probably. The tire piece from him shows some of the metal cording built into the tires to, in theory, prevent flats.  
 Here's the insert from 2013-14 Panini I mentioned earlier.
 Serially numbered parallel from 2016 Torque.
 Base card, and first card from the set in my collection, from 2017 Torque.

 I think my favorite cards out of the Select box were these Purple Pulsar Prizms. They look even better in hand! You get two per blaster, too!
 Mirror Blue parallel from Absolute. The base cards are not mirror foil, and this one is holofoil.
Base card 17-18 O-Pee-Chee. I really like this set. First, it's 600 cards long. Still too short to be fully all-encompassing of the entire league. (There are more than 700 players in the NHL at any given time) But it is the largest set of the year, and it also includes team cards. I really like Team cards even when they are simply team checklists here. That's kind of redundant as the set has actual checklists- something only UD is still doing, which I am thankful for. I'd rather have the back talk about the previous season, or the team's all-time leaders or history. But I don't think we will ever see that again, unfortunately. One thing I don't like about OPC is that it's put out so early in the year, it doesn't reflect any of the team changes, or in this case expansion, at all. Everyone is pictured with their teams from last year. The first ever Golden Knights card was issued in this set, but is in a hobby only insert. I will keep my eyes open for it because I do want to get it at some point, as I wouldn't be so crazy about the sport now if not for that new team. A series 2 encompassing all the player movement, expansion team and rookies would be nice, but UD does not seem to want to do that. There will probably be a 30 card update in Upper Deck series 2, but that's not anywhere near a proper series 2 for OPC. 

Finally, here is a list of all the NHL players added to my collection from my brother's gift to me. I've shown scans of both NASCAR drivers, for the NBA I added Fox, as shown, Willy Hernangomez and Jayson Tatum. 
Aho, Sebastian
Arvidsson, Viktor
Boeser, Brock
Brown, J.T.
Byron, Paul
Cole, Ian
Compher, J.T.
DiDomenico, Chris
Fiala, Kevin
Granlund, Markus
Karlsson, Melker
Kempe, Adrian
Marchessault, Jonathan
McGinn, Brock
Nylander, William
Provorov, Ivan
Puljujarvi, Jesse
Rasmussen, Dennis
Reaves, Ryan
Rieder, Tobias
Sheary, Conor
Slepyshev, Anton
Stecher, Troy
Tkachuk, Matthew
Wennberg, Alexander
Wiercioch, Patrik

Some of these are names I've been hearing often...some are guys I was not familiar with yet. I'm still at such early stages that I don't know who's on every team yet, like I do with the NBA. And I know I can easily go look it up online, but my preferred method to learn is via cards. It gives me more of a connection, if that makes any sense. For instance, I got these cards just after watching Adrian Kempe score his first career Hat Trick, Marchessault was a big surprise getting unprotected by the Panthers, I remember Fiala from the Stanley Cup finals, Tkachuk's battles with the Kings are already becoming stuff of legend etc. I had never heard of, for example, Melker Karlsson until I got the card of him, then I saw him be denied by Henrik Lundqvist vs. the Rangers, and I know who that is, and what team he plays for. A big thanks to my Mom and Brother for greatly expanding my card collection!