Saturday, February 27, 2021

February Mail Roundup

I feel like the sports card trading hobby is in a great place right now. It's not perfect (it never will be) and I know a lot of collectors have their gripes. Prices are on the rise, and you can't find retail. And yes, that sucks. 

But lot of great things are happening too:

  • TCDB trades have picked up
  • The market has more buyers than ever, and I've been able to sell cards that have no place in my collection - and historically had few buyers.
  • One of my friends who hasn't collected since he was a child is getting back into cards and it's been fun to chat with someone about cards without using the internet as a medium.
  • I believe many "dormant" collectors are resurfacing to sell some old cards that are becoming valuable again, and that means options for buyers.
  • With all the activity surrounding the hobby, I've also felt more engaged than usual. In the past, it was just us bloggers in our little corner of the internet - some us just writing, some doing some trades, and maybe some buying and selling on eBay, COMC, and SportsLots. It seems like the hobby is more integrated with society now, if that makes any sense.

I think my February Mail Roundup is a great representation of these trends. I bought some singles on eBay, traded on TCDB, traded with a blogger, and even traded with a non-blogger who contacted me because of my blog - miracles do happen!

Let's start with eBay pickups: 

Andrew McCutchen - 2010 Topps Chrome Refractor

Starting off with my favorite pickup of the month. I'm no Collecting Cutch, but I do have a nice little stash of Cutch cards. His 2010 card is one of my favorites, and there are still several variations of this card that I'd like to get my hands on. This purchase ran me a whopping $4, and if you're asking me, that's absurdly low for a second year refractor of a player of his calibur. Lately, I'm really loving the Topps All-Star Rookie cards with the gold cup. More on that to follow.

Stan Lee - 2015 Topps

Although it's technically a sports card since it's part of the Flagship set, here's a rare non-sports add for me. This card is a must-have for any Marvel fan.

Juan Soto - 2019 Topps

As I write this post, I'm learning that I'm becoming more and more of a fan of the Topps Rookie Cup. It's a classic logo, and like the "RC" logo, I think it does add some value to the card. As card prices soar, the price of star rookies are soaring as well. I'm fine with that trend, but it means I seldom own any star rookie cards. Second year cards are the next best thing. I grabbed a few of these for $2 each. I guess that's my version of "investing."

Alexandre Texier - 2019-20 Upper Deck Artifacts RC #/999

A small pickup for the Blue Jackets PC.

Trade with TCDB member Leftydunc:

Josh Anderson - 2015-16 Upper Deck Young Guns

A small PWE trade through TCDB netted me this Josh Anderson Young Guns. I sent off two 2020 Bowman prospect cards, and in return I was fortunate to see this in my mailbox. Anderson was one of my favorite Blue Jackets over the past two years. Sadly he was dealt this offseason, but I still plan on collecting him. Young Guns cards can be tough to come by, so this was an exciting add for me.

Liam Foudy - 2020-21 Upper Deck Artifacts #/999

(L) Seth Jones - 2018-19 Upper Deck Ice Green
(R) Sergei Bobrovsky - 2020-21 Upper Deck Artifacts - Threads of Time Relic

A pattern is developing where I see a nice Blue Jackets card on Doug's blog, I inquire about it, and then he sends me the card along with some other awesome stuff. That was the case here, with me inquiring about the Foudy card. The Jones parallel and the Bobrovsky relic were bonuses as well as some other base card that I didn't photograph.

 Thankfully I had a good handful of Raptors cards to send Doug's way to return the favor. Thanks, Doug!

Trade with Oren, a nice man who reads my blog:

Seth Jones - 2014-15 Upper Deck Canvas
Sergei Bobrovsky - 2017-18 O-Pee-Chee OPC Mini 

Malachi Richardson - 2016-17 Donruss Optic Orange #/199
Michael Carter Williams - 2014-15 Panini NBA Hoops Blue #/349

(L) Jerome Bettis - 2015 Donruss 
(R) Trevor Williams - 2021 Topps Gold Foil

I had the rare opportunity to trade with a blog-reader who does not have a blog himself. I got a nice email from Oren, who had some cards that he thought I might like. He had a great assortment of items for my PC, sending something for my Blue Jackets, Syracuse Alum, Steelers, and Pirates PCs. He sent me a list of players he collects, and we were able to work out a PWE swap. Thanks for the trade, Oren. It's nice to know someone out there reads the blog!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

2021 Topps Series 1 Blaster Box Break

Baseball season is around the corner, and that means Topps Series 1 is beginning to hit (and hopefully stay on) the shelves.

Last week I randomly logged on to Twitter at about 8:30 AM for absolutely no good reason. I saw two posts announcing that Target had 2021 Series 1 Blasters on their website, and I was lucky to grab a few. I think they were live for about 20-30 minutes before selling out. Considering the state of the card market that's basically an eternity. I don't make a habit out of getting on Twitter early in the morning so I feel lucky to have seen the deal. I've noticed some other collectors have had luck finding some on shelves, so hopefully this is not a product that retail flippers will target. I don't know why they would. 

The package arrived to me yesterday and I busted open a blaster.

Here's the base design. The tiny nameplate is catching a ton of heat and rightfully so. I don't love the diagonal name, and I really don't like the blue graphic coming from the left side of the card. I have no problem with the logo and accompanying banner in the bottom right, but the addition of the nonsense on the left side is totally unnecessary. 

On the plus side, I really like the white border. I'm a BIG border guy. I also like the Topps silver 70th anniversary stamp. 

To conclude my thoughts on this year's design: It's more of the same from Topps. Some good, some bad. 

A quick look at the backs.

Now on to the packs. 7 Packs, 14 cards in each: 

Pack One

The first card I pulled in 2021 is a Pirate! Maybe it's a World Series omen. Highlights in this pack are the Luis Robert Rookie Cup and the Buster Posey 1952 Insert. Based on this box, you're going to find two inserts per pack. 

Pack Two

This pack opened up with yet another Bucco, so this is an undeniable sign that the Pirates will in the World Series this year. Jokes aside, this was a great start to a team set. This was a great pack. The Mattingly 1986 design is a beautiful card. I love the black and white theme. Joey Bart is a bigger-name Rookie, and the Deivi Garcia rookie is a great pull too. 

The Bucco streak ends, but this packed yielded another three rookies, as well as an Acuna Home Run Challenge card. I've never actually submitted one. Maybe this will be the year.

Pack Four

The (former) Buccos return with both a Josh Bell base card and a 1952 insert. I'm sad to see Josh leave Pittsburgh, but I am fully onboard with the rebuild. His best years could have been wasted in Pittsburgh. I will continue to collect him, even in Nats gear.

The other insert is part of the "70 Years of Topps" set. This pack also had a Joey Bart base rookie. 

Pack Five

Pack five contains my favorite insert that I've seen in Topps flagship in quite some time: Chrome 1952 Topps Redux. In terms of blogger-collectors, I think I'm in the minority here - but I love retro designs redone in chrome. Turkey Red Chrome, Allen and Ginter Chrome, give me all of the chrome.

I pulled one 1952 Chrome, and it's Max Scherzer. I don't think my picture does it justice. It's pretty. It has the refractor-shine, but it isn't overdone. 

Pack Six

Another Pirate, Colin Moran makes an appearance. Another 1986 insert with Christian Yelich, and a 1952 insert of Javy Baez. 

Pack Seven

One last (former) Pirate, Chris Archer. I was excited to pull a Rainbow parallel of Rookie Jesus Sanchez. I don't know a ton about him, but I do know that he has been in the Marlins top prospect rankings for a few years. I didn't realize he had debuted in the majors. It looks like he had only 25 ABs last year. Maybe he'll be a bigger part of the Marlins outfield this year. I'll definitely be holding this one in hopes he takes off soon.

Commemorative 70th Anniversary Patch Pack

Each blaster guarantees one of these. There are only 25 in the set. The whole set consists of Hall of Famers and a few soon-to-be HOFers (Kershaw, Trout, Miggy, etc.). I loathe manufactured patch cards for several reasons - the main reason being that they're a pain to store. I don't have any toploaders that fit them naturally and you can't squeeze them into a penny sleeve. I usually just list my patch cards on eBay right after getting them and consider it a $5 rebate on the box. It's always great to see Ken Griffey Jr., but his fate will likely be the same as his predecessors. 

I'll be cataloguing these into TCDB today, and aside from the rookies everything here is for trade. 

Thanks for reading.


Monday, February 8, 2021

2017-18 Upper Deck Hockey Series 1 and Series 2 Blaster Box Break

I don't think I can classify myself as an NHL fan just yet. It's not that I don't like the league or the sport (I love it) but I don't watch enough hockey outside of the Blue Jackets. Aside from CBJ and the perennial All-Stars, I couldn't name you more than 25 hockey players in the NHL. 

I didn't grow up watching hockey. Baseball, basketball, and football were always on the TV. But never hockey. It's funny how much of an impact that's had on me as a fan. I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's really tough to "get into" a new sport as a adult. When you're a kid, you play the video games, you collect the cards, and you watch the games. Your appetite is for sport is enormous and you can never consume enough.

With that said, I'm trying to get into the league as a whole. I know the Blue Jackets up and down, inside and out. But I want to be a fan of the NHL. I'm hoping that collecting hockey cards and studying them will help me learn. In a rare trip to Wal-Mart back in the fall I stumbled upon some 2017-18 Series 1 and Series 2 blasters on clearance. I'm not even sure what Walmart's clearance discount is, but it's less than MSRP so that's a win! Hockey products were the only ones on the shelves, and seem to be immune to retail flippers (for now). 

I've been sitting on these boxes for a while, just waiting for the right opportunity to open them. The recent start of hockey season got me anxious, and I've begun to update my wantlist on TCDB to reflect the Blue Jackets cards that I'm looking for. I tried to drum up some trades, and I quickly realized that my tiny hockey collection offers little-to-no trade bait for others. Remembering that I had these two blasters stashed away, I tore them open. 

Let's start with Series 1 and check out the base cards:

I pulled one Blue Jacket in uniform, and one current Blue Jacket not in uniform. Brandon Dubinsky hasn't played in over a year, and the belief in Columbus is that his career is likely over. A chronic wrist injury has kept him on long-term IR, and he's become an afterthought in Columbus. It's a shame. Although he's not a star, he's been an integral part of the Jackets transition from consistent losing to winning. He was also a great instigator, which peaked in 2015 when he got Sydney Crosby to drop the gloves.

Max Domi is one of many new faces this year, and this is a great photo of him during his time in Arizona.

Each blaster box offers an oversized Young Guns card - I landed Tage Thompson.

The 2017-18 Young Guns group isn't super loaded, but I think I made out well. Filip Chytil is only 22, and he's shown some flashes for the Rangers at the center position. He's a former first rounder draft pick with upside. Evgeny Svechnikov, maybe best known as the older brother of Andrei Svechnikov, is still waiting to catch his stride in the big leagues, as is Lucas Wallmark.

Above is a look at the other inserts that I pulled. I like the UD Canvas cards, and I think Upper deck does a fantastic job with the photography. 

On to the box of Series 2: 

The Series 2 box was more generous with Blue Jackets. Cam Atkinson makes an appearance here, who has been a consistent top-liner in Columbus for almost a decade. 

Ryan Murray was traded this offseason, and Mikko Koivu is another new face in Columbus. 

Here's the oversized Young Guns that was living in the S2 box. For whatever reason, this card didn't come wrapped and was just floating around the inside of the box. The corners are a bit soft due to the lack of protection. 

Young Guns - Tim Heed and Samuel Blais.

To close it out, here's a look at the three inserts that I pulled. I was surprised to see an O-Pee-Chee card in show up here, so I did some digging and learned that OPC Update cards are only inserted into UD Series 2. Being so new to hockey cards, this was new to me. It's a cool concept, although I imagine that could be frustrating for those who are building OPC sets.

There we have have it. A fun little retail break and nice beginning to my hockey collection. 

For the few hockey traders out there in the blogosphere that stopped by - everything here is for trade.