Thursday, February 13, 2014

2014 Leaf Legends of the Diamond Case Break

This product intrigued me.

2014 Leaf Legends of the Diamond contains 4 boxes per case with 2 cards in each box. Each box contains one 1/1 sketch card of a Hall of Fame baseball player and one pre-1970 graded card of a Hall of Fame baseball player (or a player who could be argued should be there).

With only 250 cases, I thought what the heck. It's fun to take a chance on a risky product now and then. Also, being a fan of vintage cards, it was a chance to get some unique cards in my collection.

My sketch cards were:

1. Martin Dihigo (inducted 1977) - sketched by Matthew Amor


According to Wikipedia, Dihigo's combined Dominican, American, Cuban, and Mexican statistics resulted in a lifetime .302 career batting average with 130 home runs (eleven seasons worth of home run totals are missing) and a 252-132 pitching record.

2. Jim Palmer (inducted 1990) - sketched by Daniel Gorman


Jim Palmer (268-152 with 2,212 Ks) has been considered one of the best pitchers in major-league history. Palmer is the only pitcher in big-league history to win World Series games in three decades.

3. Cool Papa Bell (inducted 1974) - sketched by Jay Pangan


Bell is considered by many baseball observers to have been one of the fastest men ever to play the game.  He ranked 66th on a list of the greatest baseball players published by The Sporting News in 1999.

4. Miller Huggins (inducted 1964) - sketched by Brian Kong


Huggins played second base for the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals. He managed the Cardinals and New York Yankees (1918–1929), including the Murderers' Row teams of the 1920's that won six American League (AL) pennants and three World Series championships.

My favourite sketch card is the Huggins. I have a few Brian Kong sketches which he did for 2013 Leaf Best of Hockey and I really like his black-and-white style.

As for the four pre-1970's cards, I didn't hit the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle but I did get some really impressive pieces to add to my personal collection.

1. Pete Rose - 1967 Topps #430 (PSA/DNA certified autograph)


This would be one of the cards mentioned in Leaf's advertising caveats... it could be argued that he should be in the Hall of Fame. Of course, despite his impressive MLB stats, Pete Rose will probably never be elected to Cooperstown regardless of his 4,256 hits. As a nice added surprise, this Pete Rose slabbed card has his certified autograph.

2. Jim Bottomley - 1933 Goudey RC #44 (SGC 55 Grade)


Inducted to Cooperstown in 1974, Bottomley set the major league record with 12 RBIs in a single game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1924 (since tied by Mark Whiten in 1993). In 1928, he hit .325 with 31 home runs and 136 RBIs, leading the league in home runs and RBIs. He also became the second MLB player in history to join the 20–20–20 club. That year, he won the League Award, given to the MVP of the National League.

3. Duke Snider - 1951 Bowman #32 (PSA 5 Grade)


In Snider's 18-year career he batted .295 with 407 home runs and 1,333 RBI in 2,143 games. Inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1980, Snider was also known as a popular and respected TV/radio analyst and play-by-play announcer for the San Diego Padres from 1969 to 1971 and for the Montreal Expos from 1973 to 1986.

4. Mel Ott - 1933 Goudey RC #207 (PSA 3 Grade)


In his 22-season career with the New York Giants, Ott batted .304 with 511 home runs, 1,860 RBIs, 1,859 runs, 2,876 hits, 488 doubles, 72 triples, 89 stolen bases, a .414 on-base percentage, and a .533 slugging average. He passed Rogers Hornsby to become the all-time NL home run leader in 1937 and held that title until Willie Mays passed him in 1966. Inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1951, Ott also has the distinction of being the first manager to be ejected from both games of a doubleheader, when the Giants lost both games to the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 9, 1946.

So those are my eight cards.

I was quite pleased to get two graded 1933 Goudey rookie cards. The Mel Ott RC shows a Beckett value of about $400 so it is definitely the 'hit' of the case. Being a Canadian and growing up watching the Expos, it was great to see the Duke Snider card from one of his first seasons too. The Pete Rose autograph was a great bonus as well.

2014 Leaf Legends of the Diamond is not for everyone and is probably 'hit or miss' depending on the box or case. However, I'm quite pleased with my results.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Things I like... things I don't...

The more you collect, the more you learn about your tastes.

I've been collecting sports cards since I was six years old. I still collect and I always will.

But as the years have passed and many collecting options have appeared, I've learned what I enjoy and what I just don't care about.

I like:

  • Cards with hard-signed autographs
    • The person actually held the card and signed it
  • Autographed baseballs
    • I love the feel of an official MLB ball with an auto on it
  • Collecting an old set
    • I always loved the 1956 Topps Baseball design and now I'm putting it together
  • Non-sport/celebrity autographs
    • Actors, actresses, and celebrities from shows and events I've enjoyed... and of course, as noted above, hard-signed.
  • Team collecting
    • Go Habs Go!
  • Player collecting
    • Choose a player and go all-in... although it's easier when they're not a superstar.

I dislike:

  • Cards with sticker autographs
    • I have yet to see a sticker autograph on a card that looks nice.
  • Group breaks
    • When a box is opened, I want all the cards for myself... and group breaks have increased the availability of rare cards therefore decreasing their value. They cause a glut of cards to just be dropped into the market place.
  • Tape on top-loaders
    • Put the top-loaders in a team bag if you're shipping cards! Stop ruining top-loaders!
  • Cards with signed fabric
    • Sooner or later the ink will bleed into the fabric
  • Most cut-autograph cards
    • It's possible to collect some impressive autographs thru cut-autographs products but so often the design is lacking.
These are the first things which come to mind.

How about you?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

321/342

And a little bit closer!

With an additional 11 cards, I am now 93.9% complete of my 1956 Topps Baseball set.

To get from 310 to 321, I made my first purchase from the Check Out My Cards website.



Although I had known of this site for years, it was my first order from the site. A place where you can acquire many items from many different sellers yet pay only one shipping price, it was a simple way to acquire more of the low-grade 1956 Topps Baseball cards that I needed.

With only 21 cards remaining, it feels pretty darn cool getting this close. Although there are some commons remaining, there are also some important cards remaining too, including Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Yogi Berra, and Warren Spahn.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Hit of the Year!

I purchased a box of ITG Ultimate Hockey recently and opened it as an early Xmas present. Luckily for me, Santa Claus must have put me on the nice list this year.

I'll let the picture do the talking...

From 2012-13 In The Game Ultimate:



It's hard to top a pull like this any year!

Thanks Santa!

Monday, December 9, 2013

310/342

With the acquisition of 9 more 1956 Topps Baseball cards, I've now completed 90.6% of the set (including two checklist cards)

Although none of the 9 cards which I acquired are high-end players, they had eluded me nonetheless until now. Most of the cards are in quite good shape (as shown in four of the cards below) and would grade quite well except for being off-centre.



With only 32 cards remaining, I've decided to test my luck with the Check Out My Cards website. I've selected some cards that I need and we'll see what I end up with. The cost of the cards were quite reasonable and it's handy to be able to get cards from different sellers in one single shipment.

I'll update my set progression in the next few weeks when the package arrives.

It's exciting that I'm getting so close and it's fun to try to build an older set.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Trading Up.... (By Selling and Buying)

When collecting trading cards, trading is a great way to get rid of cards that you don't want and acquire cards that you need. Unfortunately, trading isn't always as easy as it seems. Some collectors are difficult to trade with, it's not always possible to find you need, and you may not have what other collectors need. While the internet has given rise to the number of possible traders out there, trust can also be an issue with someone that you've never met.

To upgrade my collection, I sell on eBay. When buyers pay me through PayPal, I use that cash (and only that cash) to acquire new cards for my collection. By only using that money, it's as if I've traded my sold cards for the purchased cards.

With eBay's 50 free listings per month, it's a great opportunity to list some cards which have no place in my collection. It's surprising to see what you can sell and then buy at virtually the same price.

My past 10 sales on eBay have been:
2011 Paini Prime Cuts Kevin Matthew Auto - $2.79
12-13 Fleer Retro Chet Pickard Autograph - $2.29
2009 Panini Contenders Kory Sheets Auto - $11.83
08-09 ITG BTP Brian Elliot Autograph - $1.99
07-08 UD McDonald's Joe Sakic Insert - $1.69
06-07 UD SPA Ryan Shannon FW Auto - $1.49
09-10 UD SPA SOTT Andrew Cogliano Auto - $1.89
12-13 ITG H&P Daniel Altshuller Jersey - $1.89
09-10 UD Young Guns RC Lot (7) - $3.99
07-08 ITG H&P Cody Franson Auto - $1.79

Total sales - $31.64

My past 10 purchases on eBay have been:
11-12 Parkhurst Champions Pat Stapleton Auto - $3.13
11-12 Parkhurst Champions Doug Wilson Auto - $3.03
11-12 Parkhurst Champions Steve Larmer Auto - $3.55
11-12 Parkhurst Champions Rick MacLeish Auto - $2.53
00-01 UD Retro Epic Signatures Pat Verbeek Auto - $3.01
00-01 UD Retro Epic Signatures Keith Tkachuk Auto - $1.85
00-01 UD Retro Epic Signatures Denis Potvin Auto - $2.30
10-11 Donruss Tough Times Ron Hextall Auto - $3.50
04-05 UD Legendary Signatures Ted Lindsay Auto - $6.59
11-12 Panini Prime Signatures Mark Scheifele Auto - $4.03

Total Purchases - $33.52

There's always a little give and take on shipping charges but, on this occasion, I was on the good side of about two dollars.

When I look at what I sold on eBay, I see some autographs of rookies who never made it, some rookie cards of average players, an insert of a star, and some sticker autographs. Nothing which really fits into my collection.

When I look at what I purchased on eBay for basically the same amount of money, I see 10 hard-signed autographs of stars and minor stars from the past few decades, multiple 1,000 point scorers, multiple Hall of Famers, and an autographed rookie card of a highly-rated young player.

If I placed my ten (sold) cards in front of another collector do you think I'd be able to acquire the ten (purchased) cards. In my opinion, I think I'd be lucky to acquire 2 or 3 of the cards which I bought.

I still enjoy trading. It's nice to make a deal. However, by selling my cards for $30+ dollars and then buying the others for $30+ dollars, it's a way to upgrade my collection with a little more ease.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Hockey Hall of Fame - Collector's Corner

The Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario has a Collector's Corner sponsored by Upper Deck. The walls in the back corner showcase a wide array of tickets, coins, games, dolls, apparel, pennants, and food items from around the world. In addition, there is an Island of Cards.




Although it's great to see a tribute to hockey cards and collectibles in the Hockey Hall of Fame, it was somewhat disjointed and without much detailed information. On the Island of Cards, hockey cards seemed mostly just randomly dropped into slots. There was no description of what or why these particular cards were chosen.

As a fan of the hobby, it would be nice to see the whole area revamped. I'd love to get to Cooperstown and see how it compares to the baseball card collection there.