Friday, April 24, 2015

One Card Post - What the Hell is a Bubble Refractor?

What:  2014 Bowman Chrome Bubbles Refractor #130 - Jon Lester (#'d /99)
Where:  COMC
How Much?:  $1.75

:  I've never heard of Bubbles Refractors before, but all I know is that is one beautiful card.  Scans even better than it looks in person.  With just 99 copies floating around out there I was more than happy to fork over a buck seventy five for this one.  I'll be on the lookout for more of these for sure...

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Collection Cornerstones - Another Cracker Jack!

I've decided that, for as long as I can hold out with my car loan paid off, I'm going to save 2/3 of the money I was using for this monthly towards my next car. The other 1/3 will hopefully be used to add a significant new card to my collection.  Things started off well with a 1964 Topps Hank Aaron in my first month, but I got so busy in March that I never posted my pick-up last month.  Here it is, a few weeks delayed...

I've talked a few times before about my love for the 1914/1915 Cracker Jack sets.  These might be my favorite design out of all the pre-war baseball sets that exist out there.  Al Demaree here is the fourth authentic Cracker Jack card I've picked up so far.  Despite being the first non-Red Sox card in that small group, it might actually be my favorite of the bunch.  I really like that this one uses a horizontal layout, unlike the majority of the set.  Despite its worn corners and creases, the 100-year-old image of Al following through on his pitch still looks great.

Al actually became a successful sports cartoonist after his baseball days were done.  I wonder what he'd think of this work himself?

Here's the back, upside down as many of these are.  What a fantastic piece of cardboard.  There's something about acquiring a card this old that gives me a feeling of satisfaction that nothing from the 21st century seems to be able to replicate.  Here's hoping my car holds out at least a few more months!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

8-Spot from Mark Kaz!

Mark Kaz has to be one of the quickest mailers in the hobby.  Every time I send him a PWE and get comfortable thinking I temporarily have a leg up in our back and forth mailings, he fires right back!

At least this time I'm getting around to posting the cards a little quicker, as this latest PWE arrived in my mailbox late last week.  As usual, there were a wide variety of Red Sox to be found, including this 1983 Fleer Mike Torrez.  '83 Fleer is a set I've never really had many cards from for whatever reason.

Another new Koji card, this is the first one I've seen that uses this bizarre pointing image.

What a great Carlton Fisk from the 2003 Fleer Fall Classic set.  This will complement the Yaz he sent me from this set a month or so ago.

Here's a really slick card, from 2003 Fleer Avant.  This one's so thick that Mark could only fit 8 cards in the PWE as a result!  It's tough to tell from the scan, but the border is like a raised frame around the inset image.  Really has a high end feel to it, especially for 2003.

Mark knows I'm a huge fan of parallels, and the early Topps Gold cards are what started it all for me.  An awesome Ellis Burks, I think I'm going to have to get my want lists organized for those first few years of Topps Gold.

A couple of more modern parallels were in the envelope as well.  I will never get tired of accumulating these, in any color or style.

The Red Hot Foil parallels from 2014 are some of the nicest out there for a Red Sox collector like myself.  While Jackie Bradley Jr. has yet to appear with the big league club so far in 2015, I'm happy to have this Future Stars card.  Bradley's an amazing defensive player, but really struggled at the plate last year.

Finally, a brand new insert of the guy who's primarily responsible for displacing Bradley in the Red Sox outfield, everyone's favorite young player Mookie Betts.  Mookie has really shined in a couple of games this season, but when you look at his offensive numbers he's struggling overall.  As of this morning he's batting an even .200.  The season is young, so we'll see what happens.

Mark, thanks as always for the cards!  This package puts me on the cusp (about 50 cards away now) of 4,000 unique Boston Red Sox cards in my collection.  Not too bad given that I only crossed the 3,000 threshold late last year.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Claude Julien...with Hair!

Boston Bruins fans, and casual hockey fans alike, undoubtedly recognize the round, bald dome of current head coach Claude Julien.  We've cheered as he led the team to their only Stanley Cup championship of this era back in 2011.  We've screamed as he's consistently rolled four lines and given major ice time to guys like Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell in huge games losses.

For now, Julien's still at the helm with the B's, but his days as head coach are most likely numbered as the Bruins search for a new GM whose first significant duty may involve firing Claude.  Say what you want about the man, but "The Human Thumb" has been the most successful coach of my favorite team during my lifetime as a fan.  His failure to lead the Bruins into the playoffs this past season was the first of his tenure with Boston.

I've wanted to add a card of Julien to my hockey collection for some time now, but thanks to Upper Deck pretty much ignoring coaches nowadays I was forced to go all the way back to when Julien was a minor league player, and still had some hair left.  Behold!

This beauty is from the 1989-90 ProCards AHL set.  I only recently became aware that Claude was a somewhat successful professional player before entering into coaching.  He even logged 14 games at the NHL level with the Quebec Nordiques in the mid-'80s!  That may not be much, but it's 14 games more than your average hockey player ever gets to see at that level. 

By the time this card came out, his days in the NHL were behind him and he was clinging on as a defenseman with the Halifax Citadels.  They were affiliated with the Nordiques, and only existed in Nova Scotia for a five-year stretch between 1988 and 1993.  I love obscure teams, so I was as happy to add my first Halifax Citadels card to my collection as I was to finally add a Claude Julien.

There are a few more cards of Claude floating around out there, maybe I'll chase them down and become a Julien "supercollector"...

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Pair of Zistle Swaps

Recently I completed another pair of trades courtesy of Zistle.  In the first exchange, I received a nice chunk of 2015 Topps from olerud363.  I didn't realize until after accepting the trade that he lives up in Canada, so this one cost me about $7 at the post office.

In return I got 20+ base cards, which puts me at somewhere around 90 left to go to complete the set, until Series 2 comes out...

I'll be relying on trades from this point on as far as this set goes.

My favorite photograph of the bunch was this horizontal Longoria/blatant ad for GEICO.

There were a few other cards accompanying the 2015 Topps base in the bubble mailer...

...including one of the few inserts I was actually interested in, the Nolan Ryan Archetypes.

A new 2014 Topps Heritage.

A trio of 2013 Gypsy Queen Sox...

...and a pair of 1991 Classic II cards...

...with this one fitting both my Nolan Ryan and Boston Red Sox collections.

The other trade was with BucCollector, whom I've traded with once before.  This awesome Roberto Clemente puts me another card closer to finishing the 2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes set.

This package also resulted in a pair of new cards from 1987 Donruss Highlights.  One for my Red Sox collection...

...and one for my Nolan Ryan collection.

Another Red Sox need from the many small boxed sets released in the late '80s.

Finally, a 2008 Upper Deck First Edition card.

Nothing Earth-shattering here, but some cards I didn't want left my house and in return I got some cards I actually did want.  Nice and simple, as every exchange I've had on Zistle so far has been...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Now THAT was a Card Show - Part 5 - Batman & Count Carrigan!

I didn't set any official goals or bring any want lists to last weekend's card show. I get to them so infrequently that I just wanted to soak it all in and browse around.  Heading to the show, one of the things I knew I did want to look for was something oddball or out of left field.  With my final purchase of the day I think I succeeded:

I finally got around to picking up a few 1966 Topps Batman cards!  While the '60s TV show was before my time, I've been a fan of the franchise since I was a kid thanks to Tim Burton, Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson.  I've been meaning to pick up one of these cards for years but can never seem to find them at a decent price.  I found a vendor with a decent sized rubber-banded stack of these and picked out a handful.  There was no way I was leaving this bat signal card behind.

This one's from the "black bat" set, which has the best card back design in my opinion.  Clear card number, small summary, and of course the Caped Crusader himself at right.  Simple, but effective.

Probably my least favorite of the cards I ended up purchasing, but it's a small enough set that I might try to build it someday, and aside from a small surface crease just above Robin the condition is very solid for a card that's about to turn 50 years old.

I was attracted to this one for the robot, which looks like a child's toy from the '50s.

Of course I added this one to my stack.  I only wish we got to see a little more of the Batmobile, still an interesting card though.

Here's one from the red bat set.  Batman and the Statue of Liberty on one card, this one screams America.

My second favorite out of the few that I picked out was this Batman in Action card.  I love that it features the classic comic-book-style 'POW!'.  Finally, the clear cut winner for best of the lot...

Baseball and Batman (well, Robin anyway) combined on one card!  Robin's got a mean fastball, and pinpoint accuracy too I guess.  The ballpark background makes this card, with the flags and stadium bunting flapping in the breeze and even a ballplayer behind Robin.  This is definitely one of my favorite non-sports cards in my entire collection.

The red bat cards have a summary and a portion of a larger picture on the back that can be formed by putting multiple cards together.  A good chunk of The Joker's mug is visible on this one.  My price for 7 of these '66 Topps Batman cards in really great shape?  $12, more than reasonable as far as I'm concerned.

Alright, here's my final card from the show and my largest single purchase of the day:

This may not be the most recognizable, or expensive (I paid $50) card, but to me I was more excited to find it at the show than anything else I came home with.  I do not see these 1909 Philadelphia Caramel cards that often at all, whether in person or even online.  It's just a 24-card set, and Bill Carrigan represents one of three Red Sox on the checklist.

To me, the uniform style of the day almost makes Bill look like he keeps an off-season home in Transylvania.  These don't look a whole lot different than T206s, maybe a slightly larger white border.  This is exactly the type of rarer card that I was hoping I would find at a show this large, and honestly in my mind this alone (plus meeting Mark Hoyle!) made the two and a half hour round trip drive worth it.

A great experience for sure, hopefully I'll be able to hit up the next one in November...

Friday, April 17, 2015

Now THAT was a Card Show - Part 4 - Quarter Box Gretzkys & 100-Year-Old Cardboard

Time for the penultimate post covering last weekend's major card show.  As I was stumbling through the quarter box that I found some of the cards from yesterday's post in, I came upon an entire section of Wayne Gretzky cards.  The Great One in a quarter box?!?!  Yes please!

There weren't any super valuable or rare cards obviously, and nothing older than the '90s.  I was surprised, however, at some of the cards that were in there given what Gretzky cards typically go for.  For starters, how about this awesome shot of Wayne sporting the sweater from the 1979 WHA All-Star Game!  I can definitely say this is my one and only Gretzky card that features this obscure uniform.

There were half a dozen of these cards from the 1999-2000 Upper Deck Gretzky Living Legend set, and I grabbed all six.

I really liked this one in particular since it gives you an awesome look at an early '80s Campbell Conference All-Star jersey.  Great stuff!

On the other hand, I find it hard to believe there wasn't a better photograph to use than this one?  This might be the singles worst Gretzky card in my entire collection, but hey, for a quarter I'm still sold.

One last look at the Campbell Conference sweater.

Kind of a cool card paying homage to the 1987 "Rendez-vous" series, which pitted the Soviet national team against a team of All-Stars from the NHL.  Gretzky recorded four assists in the two-game series, with each team winning a game.

The majority of what I found were base cards from mid-'90s sets, which is great as that's just about the time where I started trailing off in my first go-round of collecting.

To me, junk wax era hockey cards are just fantastic, and to find all these cards of The Great One for just a quarter each is unheard of.  In my experience even the lowliest Gretzky commons are often dollar box material.

This '96-97 Leaf is actually a Rangers card despite Wayne being depicted with St. Louis.

Here's a set that is very foreign to me, 1995-96 Bowman.  Wayne gets card #1 on the checklist, which obviously happened quite often during his illustrious career.

Another card #1, this time from 1994-95 Upper Deck.  This is probably the one Upper Deck set from their first few releases that I have the fewest cards from, was very happy to pick up the first card in the set and a huge name for 25 cents.

Ultra Cool.  This is the epitome of junk wax era hockey cards right here.  Way too much going on with this design.

This Collector's Choice card is actually a Player's Club parallel, as noted on the left edge of the card.

Here's a great one from Upper Deck featuring two former teammates reunited.  A great photograph, and I love the added touch of the huge Rangers banner/flag serving as the background.

The next two were my favorite new Gretzky cards of the day.  I absolutely love the Metal/Metal Universe sets, and I've considered building either or both of them.  I would pick up a card of just about any player from either set for a quarter, forget Gretzky!

As it stands I was able to grab Wayne's cards from both sets out of this quarter box!  It's amazing how sometimes spending 25 cents on a card gives you just as much enjoyment as picking one up that costs $25.  That's one of the things I love most about this hobby, you can really enjoy it on just about any budget.

That's it for the Gretzky cards, 20 new additions for just a 5-spot.  I'll take those prices any day of the week, and this lot brings my Gretzky collection in total to over 150 unique cards.  Not bad for someone I don't actively collect.

Alright, to close out today's post I've got one of the two really big cards I was able to land at the show.  Combined, these two cards ate up 50% of my show budget, but I certainly have no regrets.  Here's the first one, my very first T205 Gold Border!

These cards are just awesome.  It seems many more folks collect the T206 set, but these T205s really are beautiful.  I'm a total sucker for just about any tobacco card, but to me these are just much more vibrant and colorful than their T206 counterparts.

I love the baseball diamond background, and having the player's portrait inset between the crossed bats is a great concept.  It's a small detail, but I do like that the card actually lists the Red Sox team name in the upper right corner as opposed to just "Boston baseball club" or Boston American League.

I'll always be enamored with cards that have existed for this long.  I mean Clyde Engle was around so long ago that he actually played in the Federal League for a couple of seasons!  I'm very pleased that this show afforded me the opportunity to add the first T205 to my collection.

I'll have my final show recap post up tomorrow, featuring an oddball item out of left field as well as my single greatest find of the show.  Thanks for reading as always!
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