Thursday, February 3, 2022

Five Months of Mail Roundup!

2021 and the start of 2022 has been busy for me and I've once again neglected the blog. I've still been buying, selling, and collecting, and I've got some fun stuff to show off from recent pick ups. Let's get right to it:

Henry Davis - 2021 Bowman Draft Refractor
Baseball America released it's farm system rankings recently, and the Pirates are back near the top of the league at #3. That's what you'd expect out of a rebuild. GM Ben Cherington has depleted nearly the entire Major League roster in favor of prospects, and we're seeing the result in the cardboard world with lots of Pirates prospect cards. 2021 #1 overall pick Henry Davis is certainly part of that, and he's one of the blue chip prospects in 2021 Bowman Draft. Thanks to a TCDB trade, I was able to grab this as well as a regular base chrome.
Ke"Bryan Hayes - 2021 Topps Chrome RC
I've been collecting as many of Ke'Bryan Hayes' rookies as I can, both from flagship and chrome. I've got 5-6 of each so far through TCDB trades. If you've got any, send them my way! 

Ke"Bryan Hayes - 2021 Topps Rookie Cup RC Auto - Foil /90
This is the only Hayes autograph that I have in my collection at the moment since his prices have skyrocketed. For some reason, his 2021 Rookie Cup autographs are very affordable compared to other products. I am absolutely obsessed with this card - the horizonal style is perfect and it has a clean, on-card signature. The foilboard looks great. I'm still hunting a good price on the same card, gold #/50. 

2016 Bowman Draft - Bryan Reynolds Auto Refractor /499
While this may seem like an unassming Bryan Reynolds Bowman First autograph, there's something very speical about this particular card...

Ebay 1/1!!! Serial #10, Reynolds jersey number. I'm usually not one to caresabout these types of things, but as a Reynolds "super collector" of sorts, this was a special find for me. It truly does it make it one-of-a-kind for me, and I was willing to pay a little over value for the "ebay 1/1."
Bryan Reynolds - 2020 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor /50
I'm getting a little closer to my 2020 Topps Chrome Bryan Reynolds rainbow. Today's mail included the gold #/50, which had been on my wish list for a few months. Annoyingly, for several of the parallel colors, Topps did both a "gold /50" and "gold wave #/50," or "green /99" and "green wave /99." This is creating a little extra work for me, but I guess I could look at it glass-half-full because it's more for me to chase. Not counting the Superfractor, the complete rainbow is 17 cards, and I'm sitting at 11. I still need:
  • Green /99
  • Blue wave /75
  • Orange /25
  • Orange wave /25
  • Red /5
  • Red wave /5
Any leads on those are appreciated. Moving on to basketball:

Anthony Edwards - 2020-21 Panini Mosaic RC
Immanuel Quickley - 2020-21 Panini Przim Red Cracked Ice  

Obi Toppin - 2020-21 Panini Przim  

LeBron James - 2014-15 Panini NBA Hoops Silver #/399 

LeBron James - 2018-19 Panini NBA Hoops Silver #/199

 I've been lucky to pick up some basketball retail through Target online, which is a nice change of pace from never finding retail for the last two years. I was able to get a few Mosaic blasters, and I was happy to find the Edwards rookie, although my other breaks were largely duds. 

The Quickley cracked ice was an eBay purchase under $10, and Toppin was pulled from a pack. I'm a huge fan of this year's Prizm design and an even bigger fan of the photo on Toppin's card. If you've watched a Knicks game this year, you'll recognize that as as his post-dunk celebration.

As for the two LeBrons, those were two needed additons to a small LeBron project that I'm working on. The goal is to get my hands on a silver parallel from every year of Panini NBA Hoops in whoch Silver parallels were printed. After a hiatius, Hoops returned in 2011-12, and Silver parallels began to emerge three years later in 2014-15. With the addition of the two above, I am just two away from completing the "set" of eight cards - I need 2015-16 and 2021-22. 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Cheap Fun Breaks Mystery Box Break

For the second month in a row, I decided to purchase a Mystery Box from Cheap Fun Breaks:

Despite getting close many times in the past, I’ve never actually dabbled with mystery boxes. Many collectors/breakers have tried to create them and sell them over the years, but I can’t recall any that any have had lasting success. I think the biggest issue with these products is that you rarely have an accurate idea of what types of packs you’ll be getting, so there’s always the risk of lots of junk packs and non-licensed brands. It also seems like mystery boxes rarely include hobby packs. Couple these factors with trepidation over legitimacy and trustworthiness, and it’s usually best to stay away.


I have been ordering hobby boxes from Blowout Cards since 2013, and on the rare occasion I join a group break, I usually use Cheap Fun Breaks, run by JBrooks and Houdini who are affiliated with Blowout. All experiences with Blowout have been great, so I took a stab at a Mystery Box in July, and I was very happy with the contents. I ordered again for August and decided to recap on the blog.


Each box is $200, which is in the ballpark of what you’ll fork over for a hobby box these days. The mystery boxes typically contain an assortment of hobby packs from very recent releases. You are promised at least $200 in “sealed” value, and you will have a good idea of what types of products will be included, so there’s no real surprises. For August, potential packs included: 2021 Topps Chrome, box hobby and jumbo, 2021 A&G, 2021 GQ, 2021 Museum Collection, 2021 Bowman Sapphire, 2021 S2 Jumbo, 2021 Bowman hobby and jumbo, 2021 Heritage, and a few other older releases. 


Here's what I ended up with:


Not a bad mix! There were a few certain packs that I hoped to see, and I was perfectly fine with a big chunk of Topps Chrome.


I did some math (cross multiplying is sweet) to calculate my odds of getting some hits. Topps Chrome hobby has an autograph in every 12 packs, so with seven packs, I could expect .6 hits, if you will. In TC jumbo, you’ll find five autographs in each 12 pack box, so three packs should yield me 1.25 hits.


Allen & Ginter has three hits in each hobby box of 24 packs. With four packs, I should expect .5 hits, so it would be fair to expect a 50/50 shot at a hit.


Here’s how it went:

As you can see, I was very lucky and beat the odds big time with both Topps Chrome and Ginter. Nothing here is too spectacular, and none of the rookies are big names. Regardless, it’s always fun to pull some rookie autographs as you never know where these guys careers may take them. It’s also nice to pull some hits out of a mystery box. I have full trust in the product, but it never hurts to have some reassurance that there’s no funny business with pack searching, or something of the like.


The 2021 Topps design works much better with Chrome than it did on the paper cards, in my opinion. The silver borders are clean. On card autographs are also a big plus. The Ginter hits are underwhelming, although the Chapman relic does have a pinstripe, if you look closely. Always nice to get more than just a white patch on a relic. Aside from hits, I also pulled a few other noteworthy cards:


Some refractors from some “veterans,” including a Pirate who is having *abysmal* season.

A few noteworthy rookies.



These two cards may very well be the best pulls from the box. Both players have showed flashes of excellence this year, albeit very inconsistent. Bohm has been terrible defensively and the Phillies have had a hard time justifying keeping him on the hot corner. His power has also been down, but he’s made a ton of hard contact and by no means has been an easy out. It’s always exciting to pull some rookie parallels, so I’ll be stashing these away.


To wrap it up, this was a really fun rip. I’m well aware that I got lucky and beat the odds with hits. I’ll do my best to prevent that from creating a bias. Bottom line, there are less fun ways to burn through $200 in this hobby and I fully endorse grabbing Cheap Fun Breaks Mystery Box. Thanks to JBrooks and Houdini for creating the opportunity to purchase and enjoy these boxes.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

June and July Mail Roundup

At this rate, this blog is amounting to monthly "Mail Roundup" posts, which will have to do for now. Life is getting very busy, and I'm starting to learn how much free time I was granted during my quarantine-life. Life is back to normal (for now) and it really has been tough to sit down and write.

It's still better than the blog dying all together.  I think writers in the blogging community put a lot of pressure on themselves to write consistently and often. Two years ago I made the commitment to write one post a month, and I've more or less stayed true to that, and frankly it's something I'm proud of. 

The other good news is, while I'm having a hard time getting in front of the computer to write, I'm still collecting at a decent pace and I'm making it a point to carve out time for my hobbies, and I've had some fun maildays that are worth showing off here. And, since I missed a post in June, I'm back to round up two months worth of card mail.

Bryan Reynolds - 2020 Topps Chrome
(L) Sepia
(R) Negative

Some exciting news, I've decided to chase after the 2020 Topps Chrome Bryan Reynolds rainbow, and I've gotten off to a nice start. I did the same for Reynold's 2019 Topps Chrome Rookie Card (and since that post, I landed the super), and I'm still one card away from wrapping up that rainbow. 

It's been about a year since the release of 2020 Topps Chrome, and I certainly did not help myself by waiting. I haven't seen anything lower than the gold #/50 listed on eBay or COMC. Aside from two Pirates collectors who each have one of the Orange #/25, there is no trace of anything out there that I need. At this point I'll just hope that a big breaker does a 100 case break of 2020 Topps Chrome and maybe some of these will surface...

Until then, here's what I've got so far:

(L) X-Fractor
(C) Prism Refractor
(R) Refractor

(L) Blue #/299
(C) Purple #/199
(R) Pink

(L) Gold Wave #/50
(R) Green Wave #/99

The best part about building this rainbow: Bryan Reynolds cards are pretty dang affordable. Don't forget that this dude was the starting Center Fielder  for the National League All-Star team this year. 

Some more Buccos:
Nick Gonzales - 2020 Bowman Draft Refractor

I'll wager that you'll see a lot more of Nick Gonzales on this blog in the future. Since last posted about him in May, he has moved from the #32 prospect in baseball to #29.  This is my second copy of this card, and I'll likely grab a few more. He has been playing this season in High-A, and I imagine we'll see him rise through the ranks quickly next year. 

Travis Swaggerty - 2018 Bowman Draft Gold Refactor #/50

Another top prospect in the Pirates system, Travis Swaggerty. Excited to pick up my first gold refractor of his. 

Elijah Hughes - 2020 Panini Contenders Draft Picks Autograph #89
Elijah Hughes - 2020 Panini Contenders Draft Picks Autograph Variation #89 

Grabbed a two autos from Elijah Hughes, one of the best Syracuse guards in recent memory. These were a few bucks apiece. Both cards are #89 on the checklist, so one of these is a variation but I honestly don't know which is which. 

A few more hoops cards:

(L) LeBron James - 2009-10 Panini "The Franchise" Insert, Artist Proof #/199
(R) Kobe Bryant - 2009-10 Panini Artist Proof #/199

The two cards above actually came as a lot, and therefore I think I got a fair deal on them. Lots are typically not advised for sellers hoping to maximize profit, so I feel good about snagging these as a package.

(L) Kobe Bryant - 2018-19 NBA Hoops Silver #/199
(C) LeBron James 2016-17 NBA Hoops Silver #/99
(R) LeBron James 2017-18 NBA Hoops Silver #/199

In the May Mail Roundup, I talked about how I'm hoarding LeBron serial numbered cards. I'm doing the same with Kobe. There's not a specific strategy behind this. Both of these guys are legends, and some day I'd love to have a box full of short printed cards of two of the best players of all time. Maybe it will bring back great memories. Maybe it will pay for my kid's tuition. Who knows. 

That's it for this month. It was another great month of card mail. Thanks for following along.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

May Mail Roundup

Hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day Weekend. I've been enjoying some quiet time off of work. I'm able to do that thanks to the brave men and women who fight to keep us safe, and I'm very grateful for that. 

With a quiet Sunday at home, I was able to get catalogue all of the cards I acquired in May - let's take a look:

Christian Pache - 2021 Bowman 1991 Chrome Throwback - Gold #/50

Readers of the blog know I have a soft spot for gold refractors. I'm also a huge fan of the 1991 bowman throwbacks, which I personally think look great in chrome. I picked this up through a Twitter sale. Christian Pache has the tools to be a star, but he's got a a long way to go to get there.

(L) Nick Gonzales - 2020 Bowman's Best Autograph
(R) Quinn Priester - 2019 Bowman's Best Autograph

In another Twitter purchase, I grabbed two Pirates prospect autographs in one deal. I haven't been collecting many autographs these days, so it was nice to pick up two top prospects at a reasonable price. This is my first auto from Gonzales - more to come on him...

Bryan Reynolds - 2016 Bowman Draft
Mitch Keller - 2019 Topps - Gold #/2019

I have several copies of Bryan Reynold's first Bowman card from 2016, and I'll take even more copies when I see them on TCDB. I might be weird, but I love having multiple copies of my favorite cards.

(L) Wil Crowe - 2017 Bowman Draft
(C) Travis Swaggerty - 2018 Bowman Draft
(R) Quinn Priester - 2019 Bowman Draft 

On the subject of first Bowman cards, I grabbed a several from the same TCDB trade in which I acquired the Reynolds and Keller cards. Wil Crowe is enjoying his first season in the majors as we speak. Several injuries in the rotation at the big league level expedited Crowe's timeline, and he's been so-so. The arm talent is there, but he's struggled with efficiency. 

(L) Nick Gonzales - 2020 Bowman Draft
(R) Nick Gonzales - 2020 Bowman Draft Chrome Refractor

Nick Gonzales, the #7 overall pick in the 2020 draft, is the Pirates top prospect. He currently sits as the #32 prospect in the MLB. It will be a another year or two before we see him, but his elite hands and bat speed have generated plenty of excitement among scouts and Pirates fans alike. 

I acquired the paper base card on the left from a TCDB trade, and the chrome refractor was another Twitter sale. The refractor scanned in a really cool way with that shimmer look - but it's just a standard base refractor.

Luka Doncic - 2017-18 NBA Hoops RC

Believe it or not, I actually pulled off a TCDB trade for this Luka rookie. I was sent a trade by a gentleman in Texas for a few Astros cards. I noticed he had this for trade (a rare sight) and we negotiated for a bit. I ended up sending him a great haul, including two Altuve rookies. It was a win-win, and by far by highest value TCDB trade. I'm really, really stoked to add this to my collection.

2019-20 NBA Hoops - Darius Bazley RC

My last TCDB trade piece is this Darius Bazley rookie. Bazley and I have a very rocky past, but we're on better terms now. He was committed to Syracuse back in 2018, and would have been one of our most highly-touted recruits since Carmelo Anthony. I believe he was #9 recruit in the country. 

Several months after his commitment, he decided to skip college and play a year in the G-League. He was one of the first players to do so, and blazed a trail for many young amateurs who are doing the same in his wake. It's been a few years and I'm finally starting to allow some forgiveness. Bazley has found a nice little role with OKC, and I'm happy for him. Maybe soon I can forgive him for good. 

2020-21 NBA Hoops - LeBron James Premium Stock #/199

2019-20 NBA Hoops - LeBron James Premium Stock #/199

LeBron James - 2009-10 Panini Studio Masterstrokes - Proof #/199

I've developed somewhat of a LeBron James PC of late - I've been trying to grab as many short printed cards of his as I can. After watching the boom of Jordan cards earlier this year, I started to wonder if the same thing will happen with LeBron in 20 years. If it does, it would be really cool to have a bunch of short printed, serial numbered cards in a dusty old box somewhere. 

Not to mention, I'm a closet LeBron fan. I say "closet" because I sort of just... admire him from afar. I was definitely annoyed by his move to Miami in 2012, but that was a long time ago, and we all would have done the same thing in his shoes. The number of LeBron haters that exist present day really surprises me. Then again, I think Jordan had his fair share of haters in the 90's too. LeBron, to me, is the ideal role model. The dude is seriously squeaky clean. He's not a criminal and he's not a cheater. He's a great teammate, a great family man, and he's done a ton for his community. He's also a winner.

Anyhow - about the cards -  I grabbed three LeBron cards, all numbered to 199. Anything that's a shorter print is likely out of my price range. All were bought on eBay. I'm not being too picky about the product or the year, I'd love to get a variety. I don't have a specific number of cards or a target I'm shooting for - I'll just keep grabbing these until I get bored with it. It's been a fun chase so far. 

Thanks for stopping by, Happy MDW!

Monday, May 24, 2021

The Knicks are in the Playoffs

It's been eight years since I've been able to say those words. It feels great. I was hoping to get this post up prior to the series start, but I'm a little late and the Hawks already have a 1-0 lead. Last night's loss was brutal, it really felt like the Knicks were in control starting in the middle of the third quarter. A would-be turnover eluded R.J. Barrett, and it turned into a momentum-swinging three pointer by Bogdan Bogdanovic with 55 seconds remaining. 

Despite the loss, it was still thrilling to watch the Knicks in the postseason. No one, myself included, expected the Knicks to finish over .500 or contend for a playoff spot. The Knicks truly are playing with house money, and I keep reminding myself of that. I'm also very optimistic about Game Two at MSG on Wednesday night. The home court advantage is very real, and I don't see them losing two straight at home. 

The blog crowd seems to be 75% baseball fans, so I try to keep my basketball posting to a minimum. This is a special occasion. My Knicks PC is pretty small, mostly because we haven't many players worth collecting. It seems like the leadership in place has a plan to win, and the team is becoming more collectible.

My scanner is jacked up, so we'll have to settle for cell phone photos today:

R.J. Barrett - 2019-20 NBA Hoops RC

Julius Randle is undoubtedly the star and the leader of the team, but I believe that the team goes as R.J. goes. Randle has been attracting a ton of attention from opposing defenses and it frees up a lot of space for other scorers. There are plenty of solid role players, but R.J. has star potential. 

The remainder of my R.J. rookie cards - I have at least one copy from most major releases, aside from Prizm.

I also have a few R.J. cards from 2019-20 Prizm Draft. The middle card is a Purple Refractor, and the card on the right is a Green and Yellow Prizm, #/249.

Immanuel Quickley - 2020-21 NBA Hoops RC

The jury is still out on the the Knicks first first-round pick in the 2020 draft - Obi Toppin - but it certainly looks like they hit on their second first-round pick, Immanuel Quickley. I watched every game this dude played in at Kentucky, and I was hyped when the Knicks grabbed him. He put together a stellar rookie year and finished fifth amongst rookies in scoring. 

There's no rhyme or reason from here on out - I'm just going to show off some cards at random. Alonzo Trier is out of the league, but he made a nice little splash with the Knicks in 2018-19, and Panini printed the sh*t out of his rookie cards. The Randle and Mitch-Rob cards are blue velocity parallels from 2019-20 Donruss Optic. They are sweet looking with the matching team colors. 

Some random rookies - the Shumpert is #/599. The Gallo card is cool - he got a nice start to his career with the Knicks, but he's made more of a name for himself elsewhere.

I pulled the Kadeem Allen autograph out of a retail pack last year, which was cool. I didn't love him as a player - he was one of those guys that probably belonged in the G-League, but stuck around the big league roster to help with the tank. 

I traded for the Toppin rookie on TCDB, and I've had the David Lee auto in my PC for a long time. He was a favorite of mine back in the late 2000's when he was a lone bright spot for the Knicks. One year, he averaged 20 ppg and earned himself an All-Star nod. I was happy for him when had sustained success with the Warriors and went on to win a ring in 2015. 

A selection of my childhood heroes - all of those are pack-pulled by me in the 90's. Gotta love the Allan Houston insert. 

I don't have much 'Melo - but here are a few. 

Finishing up with some more randoms. Looks like I got the wrong Antetokounmpo, but still fun to see that name on a card. 

Thanks for stopping by. Here's to hoping that the Knicks can bounce back on Wednesday night and make a series out of it.