Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Meet Scanner #5

At this point, I think I should just tell people that I'm collecting scanners 😀 Scanner #4, which I got in 2016, is showing signs of age...well, not so much age, but use. To say I've run 10,000 scans through it is probably an underestimation. I use my scanners hard, and I use them every single day. (I don't just scan cards, but also comics, magazines, stamps, coins, historical documents, and all kinds of other stuff. Anything flat is likely to be scanned.)

So, I put up a thread on the Trading Card Database seeking advice on CCD scanners. I have not had a good CCD scanner for a while, I went with the cheapest ones available locally. The link posted by Finestkind showed me exactly what I needed- the Epson V600 was going to be my next scanner. I did a little price research and, low and behold, it was on sale...$50 off the normal $230 on Best Buy. I talk about it with my brother and he goes to order it for me...except Best Buy is sold out. Amazon had it, same price, so within a 20 minute span I went from figuring out which scanner I wanted to get, to having a copy of it on it's way to me! That was around Midnight on Thursday into Friday...we went with the cheapest shipping possible, which was free. it was due to get here around Thursday or Friday of this coming week, but I didn't waste much time- I started instantly going through my "To be scanned" boxes, which is everything that was already on the Database- and pulling out all the Finests, mirror foils and etched foils.

You probably remember me grumbling about scanning those kinds of cards, especially the mirror foils, which are annoying at best, soul-crushing at worst. I wanted to get them scanned before the scanner got full of dust. Of course, with this weekend being Daytona weekend, I didn't work on it all day every day, I watched the races, well, I watched the Truck and Cup races. The Xfinity race I mostly listened to and only looked up to watch the final few laps. (it was one of the most boring races ever) I don't know how many are left to do in each style, but not as many as I feared...still a few week's worth to get scanned. Or more, if I get too frustrated.

A massive 4-hour sorting session Sunday night got me finished- I think- (hopefully didn't miss any boxes) although I didn't finish until around 3AM. I ended the night sorting the cards out into stacks of type- Finest style was the largest, as I had most of the 1993-94, 1994-95, 1997-98 and 1999-00 Finest sets left to do, and almost all of 1997-98 Bowman's Best, a set I have completed, ahead of me as well. Foils were almost as high but thankfully not as many, and as I mentioned I also pulled Etched foil. Think the Metal and Black Diamond sets. I didn't have as many of them left ahead of me, and I really like that style of card. I also pulled Holograms, partial holograms (think the second and third year of SPx) and partial foil. (where half the card is foil and half is regular printed). 1999-00 Ovation and Hardcourt are the two big sets there. I realized, when doing that sort, that it is probably the last time I will sort through my yet-to-be-scanned cards. I've gone through them all at least 4 times previously, but now all the "special" cards have been pulled out meaning it's now just normal cards, nothing that needs to be scanned by itself. It's kind a strange feeling to realize how close I actually am to finishing the scanning project...while it will NOT be in 2019, it MIGHT be in 2020, or 2021 as I've been predicting for a while. (my original prediction was 2016)  I'm at or beyond the 3/4ths mark, but after I finish all these foils and finests, the hard stuff will be done and it will be a lot of smooth sailing, easy to do cards, and a lot of early 1990s NBA...an era that I favor heavily, so the scanning will be fun and fast.

I wake up Monday to the Scanner already being here! That is way faster than I expected! I got done just in the nick of time. I wasn't quite ready yet- I had a wave of scans already made and waiting to be edited- but I jumped right into the new scanner anyway!

It's pulling fantastic scans. I daresay this might be the best scanner I've owned. While my original- a birthday present from my brother in 2005- has always been my favorite, this one has the benefit of 14 years of technological advances, and is pulling great scans out of cards. Take a look:
Notice how you can even read the foil name! That's something that has always been hard to capture on scans. I chose a card from this set because it scans with terrible lines across it on most scanners. And it wasn't just a random fluke, either...
 Upper Deck's modern releases usually scan with lines over faces. Not here.

 I had to try out a card from my favorite NBA set, too, and it did fine!
Even pulled a good scan of the Bazooka card! They usually scan very badly.

Would you look at that, it can even handle neons!

Mirror foils are still not fun, though, at least I'm getting good scans out of them...with effort. No matter how hard I try they still have all kinds of dust on them that I have to remove with PhotoScape.

After making a few test scans, the first thing I did was tackle the clear plastic cards from UD Glass. They are too thick for the CIS scanner to get, but the CCD scanner? No problem.

These cards have all been waiting for scans for quite a while...we're talking years!

Here's a scan of the same McGrady clear card that I made with scanner #4 specifically for this post:
Note how it's blurry, appearing out of focus. That's because the image is printed on the back of the clear plastic, and it's too far away from the scanner tray on the CIS scanner. Scroll up and see it on the CCD scanner, which can handle depth. It's so much better!

I figured the best test for the new scanner would be a modern Prizm (Refractor) from Panini...just about the hardest cards to pull a decent scan from. This scan that comes next is from Scanner #4, which is the one that DOESN'T put lines on the Prizms...at least not as much as scanner #3.
Here is the same card, scanned on the new scanner...
MUCH, much better!

I've already made 66 scans with the new scanner, and by the time this goes live, I will surely have pushed it past 75. I am deviating from the norm, in that I decided to scan ALL the foils and Finests, etc. before I edit them. Normally I scan and edit three "pages", which is 9 cards per page, before I scan more. I have decided to scan them all now, and work on them as I feel like it. This allows me to get them scanned when the scanner is still new and as clean as it can possibly be, but it also allows me to maintain my sanity but not just editing mirror foils all day ever day. Although I will get them all scanned in a few days' time, I will be curious to find out how long it takes me to finish them. I know the plan is to work on them regularly, but it's very easy to get burned out on them, too. So I may move on and work on normal cards and then go back to the foils/finests. Time will tell.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

My second Rainbow completed

I completed my second NASCAR rainbow this month, with some help from a friend. Now, you might be saying "Second, what's the first?" and I will get to that in time...for years I've been trying to figure out which one of my scans corrupted. I knew I had lost exactly one scan to corruption but I didn't know which one. Well, I found out...when I went looking for it to post in a thread I began composing in August 2018. I knew which set it was, and, low and behold, it happens to be the one I completed the rainbow on. <audible sigh>. So, eventually, you will get to see my first completed NASCAR rainbow.

For now, you get to see my 2nd completed NASCAR rainbow, and one that I completed sort of by accident.

In COMC's 2018 Spring Cleaning event, I was just scrolling through the Serial Numbered NASCAR cards, and happened to come across the two you see in this thread- I actually purchased the lower numbered example first, then went back and got the higher numbered card. I thought to myself, hey, I can complete this rainbow- I had gotten the base card when the set was new. So I go to purchase the one-per-pack unnumbered parallel...and there are none for sale on COMC. I check Ebay, something I don't do too often...none there either. Disappointed, I thought to myself, "maybe someday" and that's the end of the action until January 2019.

It was during that month that I was finally able to get back onto NUTS- the NASCAR Underground Trading Society- the all-NASCAR card forum that I was active on from 2009 to whenever my laptop decided to not let me in to it. For several years now, my laptop that died in November would not let me log in. I would enter my username and password, it would let me see the home page, but click on any thread and it went straight back to the log in page, and entering the same password, it would just kick back to the log in page. I don't know what caused it, but on my new computer, I entered in the exact same username and password, and it worked the first time and has continued working ever since.

Anyway, I thought to put up a thread looking for a copy of the card, and within 24 hours I had one in the mail coming to me, with nothing asked for in return, because that's just how the NUTS members are. Showing up in the mail on February 5th, my second NASCAR rainbow was complete!

This is 2000 MVP #69- Base, Silver Script (the card that just arrived), Gold Script and Super Script, my first Super from NASCAR, which is numbered to the driver's car number.

Today Darrell Waltrip is mostly known as a goofball broadcaster, but people forget that he was, at the time of his retirement, the 4th-winningest driver ever, and still ranks 5th all time, with 84 wins. (behind only Richard Petty's 200, David Pearson's 105, Jeff Gordon's 92 and Bobby Allison's 85). 2000 was his final season, and the final season where NASCAR did not have an exclusive license. (Beginning in 2001, only Press Pass was allowed to make NASCAR cards). The photo, however, was taken in 1999, as all photos in the 2000 MVP set were. I know for a fact I watched every single race of the 1999 season, but unfortunately I don't really remember too much of the season.

It really is awesome to complete a NASCAR rainbow, and it's not very often I get a level 2 parallel, let alone a level 3 parallel, yet I did here. The first rainbow I completed only goes two levels of parallel.

Fun fact- these cards were scanned using two different scanners, on three different computers!

Big thanks to NUTS member Redwire for sending me the Silver Script!

The NASCAR season starts today...my 27th season watching the sport. I have been anxiously awaiting it's return since as soon as it ended in November.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

NBA Encyclopedia #5: Allen to Alston

Today, February 14th, is my 23rd anniversary of becoming an NBA fan. I've covered this before, but a brief recap- my mom, who worked in my school, saw that lots of kids collected cards but I was the only one collecting NASCAR and Non-Sports. Everybody else collected NBA. So, she gave me a pack of 1995-96 Fleer Series 2 for Valentine's Day, I found the Knicks-Hornets game on MSG that night, and I was hooked. 23 years later, I'm still collecting. So, to celebrate, it's time for another installment of the NBA Encyclopedia!

#41 Jerome Allen
1995-96 Fleer #281
 Philadelphia native Jerome Allen had a very brief NBA career- a total of 117 games over two seasons. While all his professional cards are with the T-Wolves, he actually played more games for Indiana in 1996-97, suiting up for 51 games as opposed to 41 with the Wolves as a rookie. He also got into 25 games with the Nuggets in 1996-97. After his brief NBA stint, he went to Europe and played until 2009, playing with teams in France, Turkey, Italy, Spain and Greece. He stepped into coaching immediately after his playing career, and is currently an assistant with the Celtics.

#42. Lavoy Allen
2016-17 Complete #235
 Sticking with Pennsylvania natives, Lavoy Allen hails from Morrisville, and began his NBA career with the Philadelphia 76ers in the lockout shortened 2011-12 season. He played his first two and a half years with the Sixers, before being traded to the Pacers. He would play with them from mid-2013-14 through 2016-17. That was the extent of his NBA career to date, but he has played in the D/G-League ever since, currently a member of the Capital City Go-Go, the Wizards' affiliate. He appeared in 388 NBA games.

#43 Lucius Allen
1975-76 Topps #52
 Kansas City native Lucius Allen had an impressive 10 year NBA career, from 1969-70 to 1978-79. He played for the SuperSonics, Bucks, Lakers, and Kansas City Kings. He appeared in 702 NBA games, and won a Championship with the Bucks in only his second season. He did not play any more basketball after he retired. He is the only player in NBA history to spell his first name this way.

#44 Malik Allen
2002-03 Hoops Stars #79
 Malik Allen was another player with a 10-year NBA career. He was not selected in the 2000 NBA Draft, and began his professional career with the ABA (second version), before catching on with the Heat in 2001-02. He would stay with the Heat from 2001 to 2005, before being traded to the Charlotte Bobcats, where he had a very short stay. (22 games). He then joined the Chicago Bulls, and then the New Jersey Nets, as a free agent, but his time with the Nets was short- he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks after only 48 games. He finished the 2007-08 season with the Mavs, then joined the Milwaukee Bucks, who traded him to the Denver Nuggets after one season. He played one final year with the Orlando Magic then retired, a veteran of 428 NBA games, including 125 starts. He is currently an assistant coach on the Minnesota Timberwolves, after previously being an assistant coach on the Detroit Pistons. Allen hails from Willingboro, New Jersey.

#45 Myron Allen
2005-06 Topps Chrome #251
I can find very, very little about Myron Allen online. He played 76 games for the Arkansas Rimrockers of the D-League across 2005-06 and 2006-07, and scored 803 points. The back of this card- it, and it's parallels, being the only cards he ever got- mentions that he is a native of Houston and played in the USBL, the 2nd ABA, the WBA and in Mexico, before joining the D-League. I do not know where, if any, he has played after 2006-07. He does not even have a Wikipedia page. This is my only card of him.

#46 Randy Allen
1990-91 Hoops #254
 Randy Allen had a very short NBA career, with it being already over by time his only non-promo cards were released. He played 70 games with the Kings in 1988-89 and 1989-90, and his two cards both came in 1990-91. (He does have a regional promo from 1989-90 and a card from Italy from 1994). He also played in the CBA and in Europe, playing in Italy, Spain and France. His last active season appears to be 1995-96. I do not know what he has done since his NBA career ended. One of his sons played minor league baseball in the Giants system, but does not appear to have gotten any cards. He is from Milton, Florida.

#47 Ray Allen
1999-00 Fleer Tradition #26
 Ray Allen is a legend. I suspect anyone who knows about the NBA likely doesn't need me to tell you this, but I will anyway. Allen is a Hall-of-Famer, class of 2018, 10-time All-Star, 2-time NBA champion, is the NBA's all-time leader in 3-pointers both made and attempted, ranks 22nd in games played and 24th all-time in points. In addition, he holds the record for most consecutive games played for the Bucks, at exactly 400. In all, he appeared in exactly 1300 games, (1149 starts), putting up 24,505 points. Part of the incredible 1996 draft class, he played for the Bucks, SuperSonics, Celtics and Heat, winning NBA Championships with the final 2 teams. Although he last took the court in 2013-14 many teams were pursuing him to keep playing, he officially retired in 2016. Oh, by the way, he also found time to win an Olympic Gold medal as well as turn in critically acclaimed acting roles!   After basketball, Allen has enjoyed retirement, including raising his children- one of whom was born Type1 Diabetic, a cause Allen has worked to bring attention to. Ray's parents were career military and he was born at an Air Force base in Merced, California.

#48 Tony Allen
2014-15 Hoops #168
 Nicknamed "The Grindfather", Tony Allen is a defensive specialist, called by Kobe Bryant "the toughest defender I've ever faced". Drafted by the Celtics in 2004, he played in Boston through 2009-10, winning the title in 2008 (as a teammate to Ray Allen, who is not related). He then joined the Memphis Grizzlies as a free agent and that is where his defense really shined- much of the success the Grizzlies achieved during the "Grit and Grind Era" is directly attributed to him. The Grizzlies decided not to bring him back and he played a partial season with the New Orleans Pelicans, before being traded to his hometown Chicago Bulls, who released him without ever playing a game for them. He has not played since then (this occurred last season) but he is not retired- he's hoping to get back to the NBA. He was named to the All-Defensive Team six times. He has appeared in 820 games to date. Eventually I plan to rescan this card as I got it before I had a scanner capable of doing Panini cards properly.

#49 Morris Almond
2006-07 Finest Silver Refractor #125
 Morris Almond is a player who's career was entirely while I was away from the game from 2006-12. (now considered one of my biggest regrets). He only got a chance to play in 38 NBA games- 34 with the Jazz in 07-08 and 08-09 and 4 with the Wizards in 2011-12. He spent much more time in the D-League, including at one point holding the record for highest scoring game, though it has since been surpassed. He led the D-League in scoring percentage in 2007-08 as a rookie. He also played in Spain, Italy, Ukraine and Serbia before finishing his career back in the D-League in 2013-14. He started a Non-Profit organization but the last post on their social media account was in 2013. I have only two cards of him. This card was actually issued as a redemption before he was even drafted.

#50 Derrick Alston
1995-96 Stadium Club #271
Bronx native Derrick Alston had only a brief NBA career- 149 games over the three seasons of 1994-95 through 1996-97, all but the final 2 games coming with the 76ers, those last two with the Hawks- but had an extensive career overseas, playing in Turkey, Spain, France, Russia, New Zealand and Argentina, with long stints in Spain (1997-98 through 2004-05) and Argentina (2008-12). As soon as he retired, he stepped into coaching, first as an assistant with the Rockets, currently as an assistant with the Westchester Knicks of the G-League.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

January 2019 Trade Recap

I was pretty active in trading in January, pulling off 7 trades that netted me exactly 200 cards...from a certain point of view.

One of the only things that even came close to a goal for me in 2019 was learning how to propose a trade on the Trading Card Database. I did that, proposing 4, and all were completely successful.

The first to arrive was from Database member BeChristensen and yielded 13 cards, of which I was only expecting 10.
Included was also the last two cards I needed to complete the 1990-91 Fleer All-Stars insert, and my 92,000th NBA card.

Miller was #92,000.

The second trade to arrive was also with a Database member, Karsal, and that reached me on January 13th- we actually began talking the trade on December 31st, but since the cards arrived to me in January (slowed down by Customs as he is in Canada) it counts for January. This was 6 cards.

The third trade to arrive was the first one I proposed- both Karsal's and BeChristensen's were proposed to me. It was also a large trade, as I took in 27 cards from AirPete, who, by the way, has joined the world of blogging (Pete's Card Habit) I specifically targeted cards I needed, and I was able to add 4 new sets and 5 new people to my collection. Once again, I traded for or bought a new card, and it came back to bite me- less than a week after the trade arrived, I bought a single pack of 2018-19 Donruss and got both the Nets rookies I had traded for. I make it a habit to not buy or trade for brand new stuff, but I did it here because  I didn't expect to get to the store and get any Donruss. Then, my brother treated me to a mall trip, and I got one pack (granted, a fatpack) and got the same two cards. It's almost laughable. That's not on Pete, our trade was excellent. I'm just chiding myself for doing something I said I would not do anymore. I ended up taking every Nets card I needed that Pete had available, and I think every Knicks card as well.
 My first sticker from the 1996-97 set! I bought quite a few stickers in 1995-96, but then didn't get any more after that. Something I now regret...but since 2016-17 I have been collecting them and counting them as part of my collection. The 1996-97 season is my favorite in NBA history, and this was the only set from the season I didn't have in my collection.
I did not get any of the 2017-18 Ascension set until I traded for a bunch from Pete.

The two Nets I mentioned above.

The fourth trade was with Shawn Norris, and gave me 2 cards. Shawn and I have an agreement where he sends me cards in ones or twos and I eventually send him a bubble mailer full. Shawn does not mind taking imperfect cards so I am happy to have someone to send the damaged cards I sometimes end up with who appreciates them. This two-card package from Shawn actually showed up unannounced, as sometimes happens when trading with him. Both this trade and the one with AirPete arrived January 14th.

The 5th trade was another one I proposed, with Database member IfbBirdsCards , and yielded 6 cards, even though I only asked for 4. Ian is, I believe, the youngest member of the Database. It was my first trade with him. The trade arrived January 22nd.

The 6th and final trade was not really a trade in the traditional sense. If you remember back a year or so ago, I gave away a bunch of pages. Well, some of them went to Matthew Prigge, who is a blogger and a Database member, (Summer of '74)  Well, he sent me a large box of cards and since they were a direct result of something I sent to him, I considered it a trade, even though it was more like mutual gifting. Semantics, really. I ended up getting 144 new cards from the box he sent me, here are just a couple samples. It arrived January 23rd.
Two cards from the 1996-97 Ultra set, my favorite NBA set ever. Besides this Gold Medallion there was a base card of Jazz starting center Greg Ostertag. 
 This SN parallel of Dirk is now the lowest condition SN card in my collection, all four corners are rough. He mentioned that most of what he sent me were Goodwill finds so who knows what kind of life it's led? It's got a good home now.
Even some multi-Sport cards, two from the 4th series of SO for Kids cards, both from 2009.

The final trade of the month was the smallest, with Soldan. I was able to complete his 2018 Donruss NASCAR set, but he only had two cards I needed. I was happy to get them, my first two cards from 2018 Allen & Ginter. He had gotten injured and was in the hospital when I sent the request so his trade was the last to arrive, on January 25th.

I've already completed a couple trades in February and have more in progress. I think 2019 might turn out to be my biggest year of trading in a long while. I can't say ever because I've never kept records, and I did so many back in the old Trader Retreat days that I was voted member of the month one time, but this feels like a lot by this time of the year. I only did 27 in all of 2018 and I've already completed 11 in 2019.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Pooped a Winner!

A few weeks back Paul over at Scribbled Ink ran a contest, and I won...in the most unique way possible! Make sure you watch the video to see exactly what I'm talking about...I've never been pooped a winner before, nor have I ever won any poop, in this case, I did. Dinosaur poop! Literally!
(borrowing Paul's picture here)
That is, by far, the most unique thing I've ever won. I mean that. Ever, in my life!

It wasn't all coprolite, there were cards as well. Lots and lots of cards! The first thing I saw when I opened the box was some really, really large hockey cards-

Two each from the Oilers and Flames team sets, and three of the postcard sized Canadiens set. The Flames cards are now the tallest cards in my collection, I think- they come in at 8  & 1/2 inches tall by 3 & 3/4th inches wide! The Oilers cards are also quite large but "only" 6 & 3/4ths by 3 & 3/4ths. I don't know the year they are from, unfortunately.

Standard sized cards were plenty as well, and covered a little bit of everything. All 5 major sports, plus soccer, are represented, although not a lot of the NBA was stuff I needed- there were some. Non-Sports probably saw the biggest boost for me, with 168 of 341 total new cards being of the Non-Sport variety, some of the sets I have not added to in many years- Several cards from the Topps Batman Returns set were in the box, and I had not gotten a new one of them since the set was new- 1992! That's 27 years between additions to a set, which I believe is a new record for me, not counting sets I've completed of course, because for them there's nothing more to add. The Spider-Man 30th Anniversary and Wolverine From then 'til Now II Set also had not seen any additions in many years- both sets were issued in 1992 but I'm not sure if I got them then. I did not begin to keep records of when I got any cards until 1998, and those were long present by then, so I would guess they were new when I got them.

The Comic Images Ghost Rider set was totally new to my collection, I now have 59 of 80 cards, or 73.8%!
I added a bunch of new sets to my collection, in addition to the three promos above:
  1. 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Decade of Supermodels (Non-Sport)
  2. 2010 Topps National Chicle (Baseball)
  3. 2018 Panini The National (Multi-Sport)
  4. 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition (baseball)
  5. 2005 Reflections (Football)
  6. 2002-03 Upper Deck Vintage (NHL)
  7. 1992 Ghost Rider II (Non-Sports) 
  8. 1993 The Valiant Era (Non-Sports)
  9. 1992 Savage Dragon (Non-Sports)
  10. 1993 WildC.A.T.S. (Non-Sports)
  11. 1993 Comics Future Stars (Non-Sports)
  12. 1994 Upper Deck World Cup '94 (Soccer)
  13. 1994 Coca Cola Monsters of the Gridiron (Football)
  14. 1993 The Lion King (Non-Sports) [how did I not have any from this set? It came out in the time period where non-sports was my main focus, and I saw the movie several times when new, but not in years now]
  15. 1995 Upper Deck Gridiron Fantasy Football (a trading card game)
  16. 2002 Topps American Pie (non-Sport, some people list as baseball)
  17. 2018 Certified (Football)
Did I mention there were some hits, too?

Here's just some random cool cards I happened to get scanned before I felt guilty for not posting this fast enough and just published as is...I told Paul I would get this published in January, and you see what day it is now, so...
 These O-Pee-Chee 25th Anniversary Series reprints from 1992-93 are cool. I am not sure what they are celebrating, as O-Pee-Chee was well over 25 years old at that point, but I'm not going to complain.
 I've been collecting these 1995 AMT cards since 1999 and he managed to find one I didn't have!
 This came with a diecast that looked a whole lot like the image.
A hockey insert that needed a scan on the Database. It's holofoil.