Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2012-13 Panini Timeless Treasures Hobby Box Break and Review

Merry Christmas eve! I decided to treat myself to a small hobby purchase this Christmas. The decision was made primarily because dacardworld was nice enough to send me a coupon for $10 off a purchase of $50 or more. There was also free shipping for all orders over $50, so I was able to get this nice little tin for around $40 shipped. A steal, if you ask me.

Here's the box, which is actually a tin. Panini has switched away from the tin for the 2013-14 set, which has disappointed many collectors. It is a nice bonus.

Although the box states that you get a total of five cards, I received seven including a redemption. Three of the cards are hits- auto or memorabilia. Above are the four base cards. Nothing too special to see here. I was annoyed to see J.R. Smith here, because he shot 17 three's the other night. In one game. He missed the vast majority of them, of course. He's a big reason that the Knicks are so dismal this year.

Here's my first hit, a Nikola Vucevic Rookie Glass Auto, numbered to 499. I really like the look of these cards. I think the glass works well in this set. Nikola has developed into a dependable big man this year, although he plays for an awful team. Very happy with this pull.

Next hit was also an auto, a Jeff Teague "Validating Marks" numbered to 199. This card isn't bad looking, but it's certainly bot attractive as the previous. Like Vucevic, Teague is having the best year of his career right now and developing well. Another solid pull.

My final hit was a third auto, albeit a redemption. This Tony Wroten card will be the same exact as the Vucevic card. So overall, all three of hits were autos, all numbered, and no memorabilia cards. I'm more than okay with that! Wroten has broken out Philly over the past few weeks, here's to hoping he breaks out! 


Overall design: The base cards are above average in design, although no one cares about them. And why would they? This is clearly a hit-based product. The base set consist of 150 cards, but I don't see many collectors chasing it. The glass rookie autos work well. Flashy, but not overdone.

Box contents: Again, this a hit based product. There are three hits per box, two of which will be autos, and one of those autos will be a rookie glass card. You'll get 3 or 4 base cards as well.

The Hits: This product seems to come through with the hits, at least in my case. I was VERY happy that all three of my autos are from guys that are still in the NBA. Not only that, but they're all young guys that are really producing. I feel very lucky in that respect. The auto and memorabilia checklists are pretty solid, and they feature a good mix of vets and rookies. This set is affected by the double rookie class, which really waters down the talent pool, in my opinion. In other words, it just creates more cards of guys who are/will be in the D-league or Europe.

Positives: Rookie Glass autos, on card autos, availability of rookies, serial numbered autos, mix of vets/rookies.

Negatives: Lack of base cards, double rookie class

Rating: 7.5 out of 10. Very happy with this product. It's nothing outstanding, but definitely worth a shot at a discounted price.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Early Present to Myself, Some Retail

During today's last minute holdiay shopping run, I had that itch to grab some repacks. I was browsing the card isle in Target, but just couldn't find anything that my head and wallet could agree on. I remembered a recent blog post that I read which highlighted some discounted repacks bought from K-Mart. I can't remember who's blog it was, but whoever you are, thank you for the inspiration!

There was K-Mart on my way home, so I stopped in for a peek. I was happy with what I saw:

Discounts indeed! It seems that baseball cards are generally one of those things that are very inflexible with their prices. It's rare to find sales or discounts on good cards, so these big red stickers instantly caught my eye. 

Small note about K-Mart's normal pricing: They're actually higher across the board, with  slight, consistent inflation. Single repacks were $2.29 rather than $2, jumbo packs were $5.79 rather than $5, blasters $21.49 rather than $20, etc etc. It seems K-Mart is the place to go for discount, but not much else.

Here's what I pulled from 2010 Topps S1 Jumbo:

Three inserts, all unique. I love the Bo Jackson reprint. I love all things Bo Jackson, really. What a freakish athlete. I also enjoyed the humor in A-Rod appearing on a "Peak Performance" insert. The phrase "peak performance" almost sounds like a steroid joke.

I was fortunate enough to pull the one card I really wanted, the Cutch RC. Next to him is a Kyle Phillips gold parallel /2010. Phillips is lifetime minor leaguer. To the right is Johnny Bench appearing on a nice turkey red insert.

On to the bonus box of 2008 Topps S1:

The box promises three gold bordered cards in a bonus pack, exclusive to K-Mart. While I haven't heard anything about  any of these guys in a while, these are still nice cards. I'm reallllyyy not a fan of the design of 2008 Topps, but the gold borders somewhat save it. All three cards are rookies, so no complaints here.

To the left is a mediocre looking Fausto Carmona insert. Carmona, now named Roberto Hernandez, signed a 1-year, 4.5 million dollar deal with the Phils last week. Honestly I had no idea this guy is still in the league until I looked him up. Once a 19 game winner, his lifetime record sits at a paltry 59-82.

Next to Mr. CarmonaHernandez is politician John Edwards... pre-sex tape. I literally laughed out loud when I saw this guy's face in a pack of baseball cards. Just look at that creepy "I just had sex" grin...

Rounding out the fun is two Buccos, of course. This Clint Hurdle base card actually marks the first of any sort of memorabilia I own of his. Although I'm not a fan of 2008 Topps, I've got to hand it to them for including the managers in the set, as these guys often go unappreciated.

So overall, nothing too crazy in these breaks. The jumbo pack was more rewarding than the more expensive box, interestingly. Some good PC additions for sure though, and for 9 bucks, certainlu can't complain!

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

An Ambitious Set - Call Me Crazy

Thoreau once said,

"We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.” 

I'm not really sure what the hell that means, and I know he wasn't referring to collecting cardboard. Nevertheless, I'm going to leap into the dark and try to complete a set of 2013 Topps Chrome Sapphire Blue Parallels. Why these specific cards, you ask? Here's my reasoning:

1) Topps Chrome is my favorite set of the year. I love everything about these cards.
2) 2013 has been the most significant and exciting baseball year of my life and I'd like to commemorate it.
3) These cards are numbered to 199, and I have a fetish for numbered cards. 199 is high enough that the cards are affordable and attainable... in most cases.

I want to shoot high here and go beyond the regular base set. I've already got 31 cards, which brings me to a whopping 14% completed.

I know that I'm going to face some serious challenges here, the main one being the "prodigy" himself, Yasiel Puig. Puig has been a pain in the ass for set collectors and this situation is no different. The cheapest Puigs on eBay range from 45-60 bucks, although some have gone for as low as $25 in .99 cent auctions. Thankfully I already own the Jose Fernandez card, which is a big plus. Manny Machado will likely be the other wallet-breaker.

Call me crazy, but this is my new project... and I would LOVE YOUR HELP! If you see any good auctions or better yet want to trade, give me a shout. I've got tons of stuff up on my Trade Bait page so please check it out. I'm willing to be generous and creative here. PWE's, bulk trades... you name it, I'm game. Drop a comment or shoot me an e-mail at nsbell440@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Trade with Alex of Chavez Ravining

Happy Holidays everyone. Between all the stress of the holidays, I'm happy to say that I've been able to balance things well this year and not drive myself too insane. I've luckily had some spare time, which I've spent organizing my collection and setting up trades.

Two weeks ago, a guy by the name of Alex contacted me because he was interested in a 2013 Topps Chrome Adrian Beltre Camo parallel that I had, #'d to 15. It's a gorgeous card, really. I have no affection towards Beltre however, hence it's placement on my trade bait. 

Before I get into the cards: If you haven't already checked out Alex's blog, titled Chavez Ravining, you must. It's an incredibly interactive blog and has quickly become one of my favorites. 

We'll kick it off with two Target red parallels. I was very pleased with all of the love that the Buccos received in 2013 Update, as well as the All-Star weekend. 

Another Alvarez Parallel from update. Seems like Alex has a knack for pulling Pirates! I was really excited about the Cutch parallel on the right, for two reasons: A. It's nearly impossible to get your hands on fairly priced Cutch cards, and B. I didn't purchase any regular Bowman this year, only Chrome.

To the left we've got a very nice David Price camo parallel, also from Update. I figured I'd lump him in with the Pirates because he'll definitely be signing with Pittsburgh by next week.

Just kidding. But I can dream. The Pirates have actually been mentioned as a "contender"for DP... where they'll get that kind of money remains to be seen. 

On the right is a Barrett Barnes auto from 2013 Bowman Inception.  Barnes is currently pegged as the Pirates #10 prospect. He's stuck behind some great talent, but he's only 22. It'll definitely be an uphill battle for Mr. Barnes to reach the show.

Finishing out the baseball cards are a Vlad jersey and a nice Will Middlebrooks parallel. I'm not necessarily a fan of Middlebrooks, but this is one of the sickest cards in all of 2013 Topps. 

I've always been a fan of Vlad, simply because he has no right arm but rather a cannon. He also opted against batting gloves which is nicely captured on the card.

 Finally, A nice big ol' Marc Gasol Jersey. I've mostly connected with baseball collectors, but basketball cards are a big part of my collection, so this was very welcome. The card isn't too special, except the fact that Marc seems to be doing some odd dance move with a basketball photoshopped in. It's a shame he's out this year, as one of the more exciting big men in the league.

Thanks again to Alex for the trade, and thanks for reading!

Monday, December 9, 2013

My Best Trade Yet, with ARPSmith

Back in October, I stumbled across an awesome blog - ARPSmith's Sportscard Obsession - run by an awesome blogger, Adam.

I eagerly scanned his want list, and luckily I had a few goodies for him. I shot him an e-mail and before long, a trade was born. I sent off some SF Giants for him, and asked for anything he could spare in return. The first bullet in his wantlist states, "Those who fill one of these needs will be greatly rewarded!"

..and let me assure you, this guy is not kidding.

I found myself with a stack of Pirates, and I could immediately tell that this collection was loaded with color! Parallels. Yes.

First off is a nice Jeanmar Gomez parallel from 2013 Update. I already have the emerald, but not the gold. Perfect. In the center is former 1B/3B Casey Mcgehee, from 2012 Update. To his right is his successor, looking lovely on that Emerald background. After two great years with the Brewers (and then one really bad one), he got a shot with the Pirates. It was more a less a disaster. 

Next up is a nice horizontal from 2011 Topps Diamond. I really like the look of the these cards, and specifically this very card. A great shot of Cutch, Garrett Jones, and Ryan Doumit. Any card with Cutch on it is gold to me. Doumit's Pirate career is comparable to Mcgehee's... no need to trash him too.   Garrett Jones just signed with Miami after the Pirates decided not to pay him. I'd be lying if I said I won't miss him. My favorite memory of him was back in June when he blasted one straight into the Allegheny. It was only the second time a homer went into the river on a fly. Quite impressive.

To the left is a Starling Marte RC from 2012 Topps. Just a gorgeous card. The gold sparkle bodes so well with the Pirates black and gold jerseys. To the right is Cutch from 2013 GQ with a nice white border. 

In the center is, allegedly, a Jose Tabata "Future Stars" Insert. There are several strange things going on here:

1) Is "Future Stars" not the most played out term for inserts? Ever!?
2) Jose Tabata will most likely never come close to star status
3) ...that's Ronny Cedeno.

I poked around the internet, and I don't think Ronny Cedeno had card in 2011 GQ. A very interest error card. Cedeno's a short stop, Tabata a right fielder. Poor editorial work here, but a cool card nonetheless!

Lastly, a nice 2013 Topps Chome orange parallel of Mr. Russel Martin. I already have the Sepia and Black Parallels... do I see a rainbow in the future?

Below it is a wonderful bonus that Adam was willing to send my way. I'm actually a big fan of Jonathan Dwyer. He was drafted by Pittsburgh, and he's been with the team for three years now. He was actually cut during pre-season cuts, but then re-signed after several injuries at the runningback position. He's a power back, something that the Steelers have been lacking lately. My favorite aspect of this card is Dwyer's number. He wore 21 in college, and wears 27 now. Not sure where the 41 came from.

Adam, thanks so much these awesome cards. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined such a complete and exciting package.

If you'd like to check out more of my Pirates PC, it can be seen HERE!

Thanks for reading!