Saturday, June 27, 2020

June Mailday Roundup

It only took me a month, but I was able to get through the 7 Day Trading Card challenge. I had a lot of fun working through challenge and it reconnected me with some cards in my collection that I hadn't seen in a long time. I'll take a second to pat myself on the back, because I'm proud of myself for staying consistent and getting the posts up. Posting consistently has been tough for me since starting the blog, but I've been going strong with 5+ posts per month for almost a year.

Anyhow, we're back to the regularly scheduled programming which consists of lots of Pirates cards and a slight obsession hoarding Bryan Reynolds cards. 

(Top) Austin Meadows - 2018 Topps Chrome Update 
(Bottom) Austin Meadows - 2018 Topps Update

Despite the fact that Topps Update has only 100 cards in the base set, Austin Meadows managed to get himself two cards in the 2018 set. I guess it's a strong possibility when you get traded at the deadline. Both cards above came my via trade on TCDB.

I'm really excited to add the Rookie Debut card to my collection because I was at PNC Park   for Meadow's debut on 5/18/18. It was a pleasant Friday night with an early-summer feel. It was a nice debut for Meadows as he went 2-4. His first ever hit was a single to right field in his second AB, and then he quickly stole second, bring the crowd to a standing applause.

Bryan Reynolds - 2019 Topps Update Gold Parallel #/2019

I've chased every parallel of the card above in the chrome version, but this is my first pick up of a "paper" version parallel. It runs about $10-$12 on eBay, which is a small ripoff but I really wanted it for my PC.

Bryan Reynolds - 2016 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects Chrome Gold Refractor #/10 PSA 10

I already own a copy of this card. This surfaced on eBay recently for about the same price as a raw copy so I decided to grab it. Nothing wrong with a PSA 10!

Bryan Reynolds - 2019 Topps Chrome Update Gold Auto #/50 PSA 10

I significantly overpaid for this card, but what the heck. There's only 50 copies of it and many of them probably still live in packs. Not only that - how many of them will show up as PSA 10's? I'll never know, but I didn't want to risk this slipping by. It's a welcome addition to the Pirates Gold Room and my rapidly-growing Bryan Reynolds PC. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 22, 2020

7 Day Trading Card Challenge: Day Seven

Today’s challenge: Best hobby trend to emerge this year

As much as I’ve enjoyed showing off many of my favorite cards, I’m equally excited to get into a philosophical discussion that I imagine will vary greatly from blog to blog. I feel like my selection might be very polarizing and I’m hoping it sparks some conversation. 

My favorite hobby trend to emerge in the past 12 months is the re-emergence of the valuable rookie base card.

I have been collecting as an adult since 2013. In the 6+ years of collecting, I have not seen nearly the demand for base rookie cards that I have witnessed in 2019-2020.  The two easy examples that come to mind are the Zion Williamson base card in 2019-20 Panini Prizm, and the Jasson Dominguez base cards in 2020 Bowman. 

What this craze has created, in my opinion, is an added value when purchasing retail products. It’s also made them much harder to find, which is a negative side effect, and I think the reason that some may disagree with my choice. To me, it’s worth it. For years, I was buying retail products with the hope of pulling some Pirates, some cards to trade, and in a perfect world, a nice hit or some young rookies that have promise and could develop into stars.  

Keep in mind that I’m not a set-builder. I think many of us buy packs in order to get a nice start on building a set. I am devoid of that motivation, but I still love ripping packs, and having the chance to pull some instant value out of a blaster box is pretty damn appealing to me. And the best part is, we’re talking about base cards here! These cards are no more rare or difficult to find than other card in the set. 

I know the love for the rookie card has always been there, but I think it’s near an all-time high. I also think this is a sign of the beginning of the decline of a trend that was huge over the past ten years – the trend of “hit” based products. i.e. products that offered autographs and memorabilia cards with few base cards.  I’m as guily as anyone of having fell victim to the trend. I purchased many of those products and chased many autographs. I still do, to a degree, but not like I used to.

Anyhow, I’m hoping I’m onto something here. I hope hit-based collecting trends decline in favor of more traditional products. It seems like many of the most valuable cards being put out there recently are rookie base cards, not “hits,” and that's pretty cool to me. 

I’m really curious to hear others and I’m hoping to hear your thoughts in the comments. Have you enjoyed seeing the rebound is rookie base card value? Do you love it like me? Do you hate it? Have you not noticed? Let’s hear it!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

7 Day Trading Card Challenge: Day Six

Today’s Challenge: Favorite non-sports card in my collection

Today’s card selection was the easiest selection for me during this challenge.  The reason behind that is simple. I own very, very few non-sports cards. Almost none. 

Around 2013, I binge watched a ton of Parks and Recreation on Netflix. I gave it a shot because I had heard that it was created by the same people that created The Office. As an Office fan, I was excited to hear that I could consume more of the same humor and absurdity. I ended up loving Parks and Rec – so much so that I’d probably put it above The Office if I were forced to rank them. Hopefully no one forces me to do that! It would be close.  

Around the same time I was watching Parks and Rec, I was super into sampling hobby boxes. Press Pass had recently released a Parks and Rec product and it was really affordable at only $55.  I grabbed a box and it was one of the most fun box breaks I’ve ever done. [Side note – I just cheked Ebay and a sealed box would run you $400+ now, go figure.]

The box promised two autographs and one relic card. The autographs in my box were from two “b-listers,” who were recurring characters on the show but not every-episode actors. The box also promised a relic card, and I was much more fortunate there:

Yeah, this card is awesome. I’ve been a fan of Rob Lowe since The Outsiders. His introduction to Parks and Rec in Season 3 was an excellent shot-in-the-arm for the show and he quickly became one of my favorite characters. 

The best part of the card is on the back:

Check it out! A detailed description of exactly WHEN this square inch of fabric made it’s debut on the big screen! Season 3, Episode 16. Even better, it includes an image of the full suit coat before it was chopped to pieces. I guess it technically doesn’t say that Rob Lowe wore this jacket on the screen – but I’ve got to believe he did. Press Pass sure went through a lot of work to highlight the origin of the swatch.  Sports cards manufacturers could certainly take a page from this book.

Thanks for reading!

Edit: In an effort to space out my posts, I usually write my posts several days before publishing them. Writing about the Parks and Rec cards has me feeling nostalgic about my only non-sports card purchase. Since the time I wrote the post above, I purchased a hobby box of Topps 2018 Stranger Things cards to try out another non-sports product. Who knew this trading card challenge could be so inspiring. More to come on that! 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

7 Day Trading Card Challenge: Day Five

Today's subject: Favorite "other" card in my collection - hockey, soccer, wrestling, etc.

My Columbus Blue Jackets collection is still very small and consists only of cards that I've acquired through trade. I don't have it in me to spring for a blaster or a hobby box yet. I just don't know enough about the league as a whole to really know what to look for. I know the Blue Jackets roster up and down - I almost never miss a game on TV and I've now attended dozens of games in person - but outside of CBJ, I could probably name you 25 other players around the league. I know the perennial all-stars and some of the young stars, and that's about it.

I'm really excited for the NHL Playoff to launch with the 24-team tournament. As a country we're so starved for sports that I think these games will receive record viewership. It will also be a great chance for casual NHL fans like me to watch other teams and learn more about the league as whole. Who knows, maybe I'll come out of it and pick up a blaster of Upper Deck Hockey. Lord knows it's the only retail product you can on the shelves find these days.

The card for today's selectiomade it's debut on the blog back in December when I acquired it via trade with Doug at Sports Cards from the Dollar Store. The trade ended up being a big one and involved over a dozen cards from each of us.

This was the card that started it all:

Pierre-Luc DuBois - 2016 Upper Deck Team Canada Juniors #/175

Pierre-Luc Dubois, or PLD as he's affectionately known in Columbus, is one the game's most promising young centers in the league. He'll be 22 in two weeks and he's already put together three solid seasons in a row. 

After seeing this card posted in a box break recap on Doug's blog, I knew I wanted it. I shot him a note asking if it was available and it sparked our first trade, and a rare exchange with a trade partner north of the border. It's fitting that my only hockey-centric trade was with a partner in Canada!

I love this card for a lot of reasons. Aside from alternate home/away jerseys, it's not often that you get your favorite players in unique uniforms. I'm betting hockey cards have a big advantage there. I suppose Topps makes a point of capturing unique jerseys in baseballl with Father's day camo, Mother's Day pink, World Baseball Classic, etc. I would think Soccer cards also feature National team jerseys when possible. Anyhow - my point is, PLD is wearing a Team Canada jersey and it's badass. 

My absolute favorite feature on this card is the serial number. Not just the existence of a serial number, nor the number itself. The red color of the stamp is what makes this card so fantastic to me. It's in the same red foil as PLD's name and the Upper Deck logo. Three cheers for matching color schemes! Serial numbers are always sweet and I have no complaints about any of them. Except the ones that are just printed on the card and not stamped in. Those are lame. Card manufacturers, take note. If you're going to stamp a serial number of the front of a card, THIS is how you do it!

Monday, June 8, 2020

7 Day Trading Card Challenge: Day Four

Today's subject: Favorite basketball card in my collection

I collect basketball nearly as much as I do baseball so there were plenty of options here. After narrowing it down to a few finalists, this will take the cake:

Kobe Bryant – 2008-09 Topps 

In my mind, I always think of this card as the “Kobe/LeBron card” and I often forget that it’s actually just Kobe’s base card, not an insert. The card is number 24 in the set which is a really cool touch. Topps assigned card numbers based on jersey number on many occasions in this set. Allen Iverson has card #3, Carmelo has #15, Dirk #41, and so on.  I’m not sure if that’s unique to this set, of if that’s a trend that Topps uses often.

A few months back I purchased a whole box of 2008-09 Topps basketball. I had a few “hopes” with the purchase, and my primary desire was to pull this card (I dedicated a whole post to the box break if you're curious).

The photograph on this card is perfect. I may be looking too deep, but I like to think this is a symbolic “passing of the torch.” The ball represents the most dominant player in the NBA and LeBron is reaching to take that moniker from Kobe. 

I’m simply in love with this card. It might be a pipe deam but I'd love to get my hands on the chrome version of this card as well as the gold parallel numbered to 2009. Some day…

7 Day Trading Card Challenge: Day Three

Today's Challenge: Favorite football card in your collection.

My pace is certainly going a bit slower on this challenge than I anticipated at the start. I've had lots of other fun things to write about and I don't want to rush and put junk into the blogosphere.

Today's challenge was tough for me, initially because my football collection is pretty small. When I began pulling some favorite cards I realized that picking one was going to be tough. I was finally able to nail down a favorite, but this post also features a couple of runner-ups. My blog, my rules!

Peyton Manning - 1998 Topps Stadium Club Rookie

And here she is - my favorite football card my collection. The selection has little to do with the player, and everything to do with what the card means to me. The emotional significance, if you will. I began collecting cards in the 90's with my dad. I'm not sure why he got back into collecting - probably the same reason as so many others in the 90's. I think it was also a great way for him to connect with me and share a hobby. He stopped collecting shortly thereafter but that time together built the foundation for the collector that I am today. 

My grandmother was a legendary gift-giver. She took great pride in her ability to find meaningful gifts. We all know someone who claims to not want/need a gift for their birthday or for the holidays - and we all know people that just ask for cash. Grandma quickly rejected both of those notions. "Everyone gets a gift on their birthday, period."

She heard that I was really into cards and she bought me some complete sets as a gift one year. I was just a kid, and I did what kids do. I tore into the set, organized the cards a million different ways, traded them with my friends, and so forth. I don't specifically remember her giving me the 1998 Stadium Club set, but I don't think she gave me any loose packs, so I'm pretty certain I pulled the Peyton Manning Rookie out of there. Even when he was a rookie people knew the level of greatness we were witnessing, me included. This card was my prized possession. I put it in different cases and displayed it in different ways. I think at one point I even put it in TWO penny sleeves. Considering how much I handled the card, it's actually in pretty decent shape. It has wear, but nothing like many of my other childhood cards. My dad must have stressed the importance of condition and value at some point. 

My grandma passed several years ago, but I'll always remember her when I see this card. 

Benny Snell Jr. - 2019 Panini Flawless Collegiate Patch/Auto

Runner-up #1 is this superb Benny Snell patch/auto that I acquired last year. I HAD to pick a favorite NFL player, Benny's my guy. My love for this card is well documented. 

Ryan Shazier - 2014 Bowman Chrome Blue Refractors #/199

Runner-up #2 is special to me because I pulled it straight from a retail pack. It's a rare occasion when you pull a "hit" for your PC out of a pack, let alone a retail pack. I snagged some Bowman football retail backs in 2014, and I was lucky enough to pull this. I was really excited about Shazier when the Steelers drafted him. It took a few years for him to get going but he was developing into a perennial Pro Bowler. We all know the tragedy that stuck a few years later. He's still one of my favorite Steelers all-time.

Thanks for stopping by. Maybe I'll finish this challenge before 2021. 

Friday, June 5, 2020

Mailday: Bump and Run

In April I posted about joining TCDB and how I've been having a lot of fun with it early on. I've been a member for about two months now and I've already completed eight trades. All of the trades were PWE swaps and almost all of them consist of me sending a set-builder some set needs, and them sending me Pirates rookies in return. In a nutshell, TCDB has become a way for me to hoard Pirates rookie cards via trade and I'm totally cool with that.

After seeing my April post, Trevor at Bump and Run Cards shot me a note about trading for some of my 2020 Opening Day cards. He came across me on TCDB and we worked out the trade through there, which saves us a ton of back-and-forth emailing. He helped me continue my journey in hoarding Pirates rookies but moreso helped me add to my Steelers PC.

(L) Le'Veon Bell - 2016 Score
(C) Le'Veon Bell - 2017 Panini Prestige Phenomenal Athletes Insert
(R) Le'Veon Bell - 2013 Panini Prizm RC

Lots of great to stuff to unpack from the cards above. I'm still a Le'Veon Bell fan and I still collect him. I'll admit that I was annoyed by his contract shenanigans two years ago... then Antonio Brown happened and it made Le'Veon look like saint. How quickly we forget. I was shocked to see that his Prizm rookie card was from 2013 - I can't believe that he'll be going into his seventh year in the league this year. That flew by. I think he still has some juice left in the tank but he plays for Jets, where careers go to die.

(L) T.J. Watt - 2018 Panini Rookies and Stars RC
(C) Terrel Edmunds - 2018 Donruss Elite Terrell Edmunds RC #/699
(R) Bud Dupree - 2015 Donruss RC

I picked off another three rookies from Trevor's For Trade list. While Watt and Dupree are the stars, my favorite card here is the Edmunds card. It's short printed to 699 and has a really nice foil finish to it. I'm still high on Edmunds, although after two years of mediocre-at-best performance, he's entering potential bust territory.

Trevor is the opposite of most of us: A football collector with a side collection of baseball. It seems that it's usually the other way around. Judging by these two cards, he still rips some modern baseball products and I'm happy to be on the receiving end of another pair of Pirates rookies.

Thanks for the trade, Trevor!