Saturday, December 31, 2016

Zap you, Santa Claus?

I got a nice Priority box of cards n' stuff the week before Christmas. A case of the flu and normal mid-December craziness prevented me from really delving into it much until now. Some pretty sweet stuff in here! The sender fiercely values their privacy, so I will keep them anonymous in this post. Sort of like a Secret Santa.

This pair of cards kicked off the festivities. A surprise attack, indeed! As a Padres fan, I'm excited to see what happens with Rule 5 pickup, Luis Torrens.

A couple of nice Trea Turner cards for the PC. Bummer the Padres let him get away.

Ooh, very cool! Some autographs by way of the Big Apple.

Some Asia-exclusive parallels of Bowman prospects, including 3 shiny ones from a guy named Ryan McMahon whom I'm suddenly a big fan of for the simple reason that I love those wave refractors!

Hyped Yankees. I wonder how Gary Sanchez is going to follow up the red hot start to his MLB career.

Shiny Padres! Especially happy for the Hunter Renfroe.

Awesome! I needed these for my Trevor Story PC.

The man or woman who sent me these cards included a whole mess of Reds for whatever reason. Well, hey, I was able to pick out a bunch for my collection!

Here are some more cool random cards that this person was kind enough to share with me. Even a 2011 Topps parallel for the frankenset.

Some neat stuff from Japan, including a couple UD/Kellogg's cards and a little box.

The little box contains a little book featuring photos of a lovey young lady.

It's a cute, tiny book!

Very cool! Star Wars treats and stickers!

The person who sent this package included a sticky note discouraging me from eating the treats as they're kinda old, and instead suggested I just take the prize sticker inside and run. But hey, looks like the expiration date was just back in October.. not too bad. I'll probably brave a stale wafer and chomp 'em down anyway.

And there was a bunch of other stuff like programs and schedules. Pretty neat.

Ok, I thought I could end the post here, but I forgot about another stack of cards from the box, so here's some more stuff.


Additional Japanese cards!

And there were plenty more cards to mention but let's wrap this post up.

Super big thanks to the kind, anonymous soul who sent me this awesome stuff!! Very appreciated, whoever you are.

Happy New Year, all!

Friday, December 30, 2016

"Sign Here" cards

I was checking out Gavin Lux 2016 Bowman Draft autos the other day (still too pricey for me.. yikes. Too bad his pre-Dodgers cards haven't appreciated in value much yet, as I've got a bunch of those) and came across this one:

I always assumed the card company representatives probably provided an example card like this just to remove any question the signer might have as to where to sign, but this was the first time I actually saw one.

Then I checked around and found a few more examples... (I don't own any of the cards in this post; just snagged pics off eBay.)

This "signature" got kinda cut off somehow.. weird.
While it seems the Gavin Lux card up top accidentally got packed out (pulled from a pack, according to the seller), the other three apparently slipped into circulation by a Topps representative looking to make a few extra bucks ("backdoored" is the term, I believe).

These are kinda neat. I don't think I'd pay a ton for one of these, but I could see myself throwing in a reasonable bid for such a card of a guy I collect.

Any of you have a "Sign Here" card of anyone?

Circling back to Gavin Lux, another thing I noticed when looking at his recent auto cards, sometimes he only signs his last name.

The first card in this lot, you can tell he signed "Gavin Lux" but then by the next two, looks like he got lazy and just signed an approximation of "Lux". Hard to blame the guy, chugging through probably at least a couple thousand or so cards to sign, though obviously I'd prefer to get the Gavin in there. Looks like all of his 2016 Bowman Draft auto cards feature the abbreviated signature, while about 20% of his 2016 Bowman's Best autos include the Gavin. Kind of interesting!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

No place like cards for the holidays (Fuji, gcrl, JediJeff, and the best Star Wars song ever)

Here are a few little holiday card packages I got in the past few days (and then some Star Wars talk at the end).

Fuji has been posting about how he doesn't have much time (or available cards) for trading these days, so when I included him in my holiday blast mailings, I even included a note making it clear that he didn't need to sweat over sending me anything back and it was just a gift. So it was a pleasant surprise when a week or so later, a package from him arrived at my door.

Ooh, a new Gavin Floyd auto. It's diecut, with a rounded bottom. It's a stickergraph, but that's gotta be the biggest auto sticker I've seen on a card, and Gavin takes advantage and gets his nice, tall signature all over it.

Fuji is a big Gwynn collector like myself, and apparently had a couple dupes to throw in. I needed that blue coin thing, so that's cool.

And finally a neat Padres cloth sticker from Fleer. Never seen one of these before.

Thanks, Fuji!

 - - - - ---o

Next up is a Christmas greeting card that contained a Christmas football card, courtesy of gcrl.

Very shiny!

And the back, featuring the sweet 12/25 serial number. Jason Hill broke some school records during his collegiate career at Washington State University, but that didn't translate to lasting success in the NFL, though he played from 2007-2012, spending time with the 49ers, Jaguars, Broncos, and Jets.

Awesome.. thanks, Jim! I'll hopefully have a nice package of stuff ready to send out to you before long.

- - - - ---o

Next up is a Christmas mailing from Jedi Jeff of 2x3 Heroes that just missed arriving up in time for Xmas, showing up the mailday after. I know how it goes; a couple of the Holiday Blast mailings I sent didn't show up in time (though I mailed all 25 on the same day). One showed up the 27th, and one is still MIA, unfortunately. Anyways, I thought maybe Jeff got my Tis the Season request out super fast (I called dibs on a stack of random 2016 Star Wars cards), but nope, it was a surprise assortment of cards for me.

Jeff is going after 1964 Topps too, and looks like he had some dupes to share with me. Always appreciated! I'm just about at 40% with this set, and hope to knock it out around 2018 or thereabouts.

And here's a sweet addition to my Wil Myers PC, a sparkly emerald parallel RC.

Some more sparkly cards along for the ride plus a Gavin LaValley. Very nice.

And wow, here's a hell of a card to go out on. Stephen Curry might be the biggest name in basketball these days, and this is a gorgeous cracked ice Christmas Card that Jeff was lucky enough to pull from one of those Black Friday packs from Panini.

Quite generous of Jeff to think of me and surprise me with this!
Big thanks, man!

- - ---o

Jeff's obviously a big Star Wars fan, so it's a good segue to briefly mention that, like millions out there, I was extremely saddened by the passing of Carrie Fisher yesterday, drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra. She was the best.

The Festival of Lightsabers is a bit more emotionally charged this year. It just happens that Empire Strikes Back was scheduled for last night, which I suppose was a nice way to remember her, though sad to be reminded she's gone. Now it's time to machete backwards to the last two prequels.

This below might be my favorite Star Wars-inspired song, and I love to jam out to it this time of year. It's a catchy indie rock tune called "Death Star" by the obscure band The Piltones, released circa 2003. It's a crime the song isn't more well-known, as it should be beloved by all the world, not just a handful of freaks like myself. I couldn't even find it on YouTube, so I whipped up a little video myself using various Star Wars pictures from the web so I could share it with you guys here.

Go on and give a listen or two. Hope you like.

Do you have any favorite Star Wars tribute songs? Let's hear about them in the comments. I also like Weird Al's songs "Yoda" (Lola) and the American Pie one about the Phantom Menace. Fett's Vett by MC Chris is another good one. Oh No Oh My is one of my favorite bands, though the "Oh Be One" song at the top of this post isn't necessarily among their best.. still worth a listen, though.

And finally for today, let's revisit one of my favorite TTM successes ever, which I've got framed up on my wall...

Got this custom back earlier this year. It probably wasn't really signed by her, as word is her mom Debbie Reynolds handled all Carrie's fanmail (Update: now Debbie Reynolds was just rushed to the hospital too?! Update 2: And now she passed too. Ugh. Man, that is brutally sad), but I'm still very happy with this and it always makes me smile.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, December 26, 2016

2016 Topps Triple Threads box break

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas Day. Mine was very nice. Finally saw Rogue One.. I really liked it. Then a great dinner with the in-laws and popped in Scrooged on dvd.. classic. I got some awesome gifts including my first smartphone (Google Pixel), nice noise-canceling headphones, and of course cards.

This post wraps up my trilogy of holiday box breaks. First there was 2016 The Mint (including an incredible pair of Trouts), then 2015 Tier One (with a David Wright /5 auto), and now we close with 2016 Triple Threads.

This is my first time breaking any Triple Threads. The fact the autos are mostly stickergraphs is a turnoff for me. If I'm spending a lot on a box of cards, those autos better be on-card. But this showed up in Dave & Adam's Black Friday sale at a decent price, and I thought it could be a fun break, so I went ahead and added it to my xmas wishlist.

My in-laws were nice enough to put it under the tree for me. So here we are. Let's see what I got!

Mini-box #1 had some solid base cards. David Wright on the blog back-to-back days.

Ooh, here's a nice hit. Jorge Soler triple relic auto. And the signature is on-card! And all 3 relics swatches look different, too, which is a definite plus. It's #'d 40/99. Soler was a key role-player on the WS Champion Cubs team this year, though earlier this month he was traded to the Royals for Wade Davis, as Chicago needed to fill their closer vacancy with Chapman defecting back to New York. Here's hoping Jorge flourishes down in KC.

Speaking of switching teams, Taijuan Walker was sent to the Diamondbacks in the Jean Segura trade last month. This is a decent looking relic, #'d 32/36.

The parallels in the first minibox were excellent and both dudes I collect. Kris Bryant #/250 and Ted Williams #/150.

Mini-box #2 had base cards of a couple guys I collect, Big Unit and Pooh Holes.

Again, I did well with the parallels. Mike Trout #/340 and Freddie Freeman #/250.

Oh, for fuck's sake! If you remember my break yesterday of Tier One, I pulled a 1/1 auto of busted pitcher Alex Cobb. Well, now here's a 1/25 relic/stickergraph to go with it. Looks like I'm being forced into becoming an Alex Cobb supercollector. Though honestly I'd be fine going the rest of my life without ever pulling another Alex Cobb card.

Boom.. here's the hit of the box (or at least right up there with the Soler auto), a triple relic of 3 HOF Orioles: Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken, and Jim Palmer. The swatches aren't too exciting in their plainness, but it's fine. Numbered 25/36, this will likely go in the Steady Eddie PC, with all due respect to Cal and Jim.

So there was that box. Not too shabby.. though if it was my hard-earned $150 on the line rather than a gift, I might be a bit let down by it. But yeah, some #'d parallels of guys I collect, a hell of a Jorge Soler card, and a HOF triple relic.. solid box. But now my high-end box breaking days are over, for about 12 months, anyways.

The day after Christmas is an exciting day in our house because it marks the beginning of The Festival of Lightsabers, which is where we watch a Star Wars movie every day between Christmas and New Years. Got an early start this year with Rogue One in 3D on Christmas, and will slide right into A New Hope tonight, then maybe "flashback" to Attack of the Clones tomorrow, followed by Revenge of the Sith (skipping Phantom Menace this year), before jumping back to Empire, Jedi, and the Force Awakens (which I just got on BluRay for xmas). (Update: RIP Carrie Fisher.. that fuckin sucks!) Speaking of Disney, I also got the DuckTales redux PlayStation 3 game which I'm excited about, as the NES original is an all-time favorite of mine. Fun times.

Thanks for stopping by! And to paraphrase Tiny Tim, may the force be with us, everyone.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Xmas box of 2015 Tier One

Merry Christmas, everybody!

I had an epic box break yesterday, but the high-end holiday breaks aren't over for me quite yet!

I got a box of 2015 Topps Tier One from the in-laws for Christmas. Nice!
Let's check out the 3 cards in the box.

Cool.. I collect fellow SDSU Aztec alum Stephen Strasburg. I think this is my first relic of him.

Wow, this is a pretty nice hit. Or at least it would have been back when David Wright was among the best players in the game. He's still a big fan favorite for Mets fans. The red ink is a nice change of pace! It's hard to tell, but up in the left corner, it's numbered 5/5.. and from the inscription, you can see 5 is also his jersey number. So that's a nice "eBay 1/1" if you're into that sort of thing.
Or maybe you're more traditional with your one-of-ones. Well..

Alex Cobb might not be the best name you could pull, but that's a fine looking card. And it's a 1/1!
He was out all 2015 and much of 2016 recovering from Tommy John. Hopefully he comes back strong in 2017 and makes this auto a sweet pull for me.

So there's the box. Nothing to knock your socks off, but not too bad. A relic of Stephen Strasburg, a 5/5 David Wright auto, and a 1/1 Alex Cobb auto. Definitely could do worse than that!

I also got 1 more box of cards for Christmas, but we'll save that for tomorrow's post.
Take care, guys.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

2016 The Mint (High-End Birthday Box Break!)

I was able to talk my mom into buying me a box of The Mint for my birthday, a product from Topps with a $999.99 MSRP. There was a brief period where collectors marveled at the excess and extravagance, but then Topps promptly came out with the even way more ridiculous Transcendent, that cost more than a house in some areas, and The Mint sort of faded away from thought, with really its only claim to fame being the Topps debut of Vin Scully autographs on the market.

Then it started popping up in Black Friday sales from card webstores at around half the original $1k price. Without any other ideas to ask for from my mom this year, I went ahead and hit her with a link and a little plea about how cool it would be for me to bust this crazy box of cards. God bless her, she went for it, though she was never 100% onboard with my baseball card collecting. Thanks, Mom!

So now I get the thrill of opening a very expensive box of cards, without the anxiety of having my money on the line. I'm very EXCITED!! I've gotten some great gifts in my life, but I don't think I've ever gotten anything that brought such a nice extended period of anticipation with it. Maybe like a big concert ticket or something.

There are just 5 cards in a box, all autographs, as is my understanding (Update: 5 autos and 1 relic). There are plenty of big name baseball guys in it, plus a few stinkers (damn you, Henry Owens, stay out of my box!). I think even Sylvester Stallone has a Rocky auto in there. And the aforementioned Vin Scully autos, which are all unfortunately redemptions, but they are apparently live now.

Fingers crossed for a nice hit or two!

I've drafted this intro part before opening the box, but now let's do it!


Oh, man. This box did not let me down. Do you like Mike Trout? I like Mike Trout.

I was very happy to pull this gorgeous Trout auto #'d 44/50. He's the best player in the game and only 25. I bought a Trout auto a couple years back, but that's a stickergraph, and I had been hoping to one day be able to land one that was on-card to really help kick my Trout PC up a notch. This card definitely does just that. You know what card also does that?

THIS ONE! Yep, back-to-back Mike Trout autos. Now that's something you don't pull everyday! This one is #'d 16/75 and includes a nice piece of jersey with a patch stripe thing (whatever you call that; hey, I'm no seamstress). Great looking card! Normally, 2 autos of the same guy in a pack would be something to roll your eyes at, but a double dose of Mike Trout? You jump at that 100 times out of 100. A terrific pair or pulls for me here.

This was actually the first card showing when I opened up the inner box, right before the pair of Trouts. Jason Varitek is no slouch, but when I saw this card, I briefly panicked that I was in for a bunch of cards like this.. not bad, but not justifying the crazy price tag. This one is #'d 95/99 and includes a little jersey number inscription. A key member of bringing multiple World Championships back to Boston, he's a bigtime Red Sox fan favorite. Pretty cool pull.

Ha, man, I sure to seem to pull Piscotty autographs frequently. I had just recently traded a couple away, but I had a feeling I'd be reunited with his ink again before long. And here we are. I might have to hang onto this one, a birthday gift, after all. It's #'d 45/50 and has been inscribed with the date of his MLB debut. At first I figured he was dating the signature, I guess just for the heck of it. But no, as you can sorta see at the bottom of the card, it's calling out his rookie debut, which was July 21, 2015. He had a very solid first full season in 2016 and looks to be an important part of the Cardinals' lineup for the long haul. (What's crazy is that Mike Trout is younger.)

And here's another guy whose autographs keep finding their way to me in recent months, 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel. This one is #'d 80/99. Nice enough looking card, but can't get too excited about it after the down 2016 season he had. Hopefully he bounces back next year.

With the 5 autos out of the way, there was one non-auto relic card left to finish off the box...

It's a David Ortiz relic #'d 245/250. The plain grey swatch isn't too exciting, but as the card mentions (and authentication sticker corroborates), this is from his uniform worn on Mother's Day 2016, a very big day for him. May 8, 2016, he "unloaded for his 453rd and 454th homers with Boston, towering solo shots to right-center in the fourth and seventh innings of the Red Sox's 5-1 win at Yankee Stadium ... Big Papi's first blast on the night allowed him to pass Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski for second on the team's all-time list. With 512 home runs in his career, Ortiz also passed Mel Ott and is tied with Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews for 22nd on MLB's all-time list." (source)

So that's a nice piece of history in that card. A silver-ink autograph on the card would really have taken it to incredible heights, but I can't really complain. It's a heck of an addition to my Big Papi PC.

And there you have it, the most expensive box of cards I've ever opened. The pair of Trout autos were clearly the highlights. If I were inclined to sell all these cards, I could likely make my (mom's) money back on the box without too much trouble. So it's definitely a relief not to have gotten a dud of a box. It would have been a particularly nice box for a Sox fan, with the Varitek auto and Ortiz relic... but thankfully no Henry Owens, the crappy young pitcher who somehow got an autograph included in this product.

The anticipation was a lot of fun, and I'm ecstatic that there was a nice payoff. While it would have been cool to pull maybe a Vin Scully auto, or like Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax, or Kris Bryant in there, too.. definitely no complaints about a Mike Trout auto.. much less TWO Mike Trout autos! Wow.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!