Friday, June 5, 2020

Take It As It Is

*sits down with cup of coffee, takes a sip and realizes how good it tastes this morning*

Have you ever just said thank you for something you didn't really like because it was a gift and you know they meant well by it? Yeah, I totally get its hard to admit, but admit it. You have done it. I  have done it. The whole world has done it.

I have even done it with coffee.

Every year my wife and I went to the same vacation spot, rented the same room and for those many years became friends with the same owners. They are an older couple that are as nice as anything but don't have the best coffee ever. It's that kind of coffee you would expect from a small time hotel.

The owner every morning from the office porch on our way to head to the beach would say, coffee's hot, come on in. And we couldn't just say no. Could we? No. We would go in, pour a cup in a small Styrofoam cup, add in the powdered creamer and be on our way.

Of course we would drink a few sips and say thank you before leaving.

*takes a sip of real coffee*

At home I have gotten many gifts over the years from family members, especially my mother-in-law that was card related.

But, it wasn't always something I wanted especially in recent years.

In the first few years of marriage, my mother-in-law gave me the usual gifts a man would expect. Socks (which in the summer I wear a lot of sandals), tools (if you know me personally, you would know I don't even hammer a nail in the wall straight. My father raised/taught me sports not how to use a wrench and I have zero interest in using tools),  and T-shirts with writing/sayings on them or dress shirts. Most of which I didn't wear because it either didn't fit or I didn't like the shirts with the big words all over it. Not to mention, I am a plain T-shirt kinda guy.

I guess my dropped hints of sports cards or even sports team apparel didn't get to her then.

In the last 10 years though, I think she finally got the hint and started giving me sports cards for gifts. At first, she hit up the Walmart aisle and grabbed hanger packs. From there, it moved to yard sale pickups where I scored some amazing stuff in that time frame, however as of recent, she is basically getting me those tools again when she is buying complete sets of "junk wax" from local thrift stores.

Out of all of the cards out there, she chooses to pick up the least interesting stuff to me. I would take newer non licensed cards over junk wax. I just don't have the connection to it like many collectors do. I didn't collect in that era, I was brought into the hobby end of 1993/beginning of 1994 and really didn't dig deep into collecting til 1995. So anything 1995-1999 is where I sink my teeth into. That's the stuff I like to see and collect.

The problem is, I don't have the heart to tell her "please no more". Just like with the owners of that hotel with their coffee.

Here's the last couple sets I got as gifts. One for Christmas, one for my birthday which was back in March,

1990 Topps (one of these on June 4th sold for $2.99 minus the shipping on eBay and I can only imagine she probably spent $10+)

I sadly didn't even check to see if it's all there, but it's pretty packed in so you have to assume so.

Some of the cards, in case you lived under a rock then. Sorry. That was meant to come across as a joke but can be read as rude.

1988 Topps. Only $10 for the whole box! (yes, that's sarcasm since one of these on June 4th sold for .99 minus the shipping)

Assuming the set is there again

A few of the cards to show off. Once again, I would really be surprised if you haven't seen this stuff before.

*getting up, grabbing a slice of my homemade banana bread to go with this great cup of coffee*

So I continue to act excited when she has me open up that junk wax set at every holiday even though it burns me up on the inside. That 1988 Topps set is actually the third one she has gotten for me. And I always expect that call or check in of, "how did I do? You find any good cards in there? Looks like it had lots of cards for you to sort through."

And my usual response comes out, "it was fun, I found a few rookies I can use and a couple of players I collect." when on the inside it wants me to say, "I have these sets already, it's the same cards over and over again, please go back to grabbing some unopened packs from Walmart."

But, I don't. I have a heart and take it as it is. I even hold onto them, though under my desk, but I still appreciate her thinking of me. They are a gift from her heart and she does her best for me. 

In the end, that's all I can ask for. Well, maybe some coffee would be nice as well.

*finishes post, finishes an excellent cup of coffee*

Monday, June 1, 2020

A Little Positivity

*takes a sip of coffee, gets ready to dive in on some topics of 2020 and go offbeat from cards for a little bit*

*another sip before the dive it*

2020 has been a really bad cup of coffee, my internet has been awful with so many using it do to Covid-19, oh yeah, we have Covid-19, riots and acts of violence spreading like wildfires, we had actual wildfires, killer bees, plane crashes, death tolls and so on and so forth.

But to me, one thing is clear, it's one simple person/act that has spread all of these issues. Have we ever wondered what it would be like to have the opposite of that? What happens if one person was to give to someone, say a kind word to someone and then that person feeling good about themselves passes that along to somebody else who is feeling good about themselves and then passes that along to two people and then that continues to move on. Imagine that, a world of positivity.

I was raised to have good manners mostly by my grandmother. I say please and thank you. I hold the door for anyone behind me. I compliment someone when the moment strikes. I push the shopping cart back to the store. I say good morning to anyone I pass. If I see someone on Twitter who needs a encouraging word or message of hope, I let them know that someone is there for them. I like to make people laugh, hopefully at my jokes and quick wit and not myself, but either way it helps to make someone smile. My wife and I have even bought lunch a few times for an unsuspecting group of people. It doesn't take any effort and comes out naturally and I feel good about it. It would be amazing to see others be like this as well especially during these times where we all could use some lifting up.

I am not saying be like me, but even a small bit of effort, can change the world.

 *takes another sip of coffee, steps off the soap box and moves onto some cardboard*

During these times, I have found some comfort in being nostalgic in the hobby. I think others have as well with players like Michael Jordan, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Ken Griffey Jr, Dan Marino and products like Spx, Topps Chrome and Fleer Metal being put back in the spotlight again.

Some of the hype I fell for, but not all. Some I didn't need to as I already had the hype in me and some of the cards especially Fleer Metal. That was one of my favorites especially when it turned to Metal Universe later in the 90's.

It had some wacky, but incredible background designs especially for 1997 and 1998 with volcanoes, city highlights, etc. The 1999 version I didn't remember much about as it was around the time where girls became more important than cards.

It got me wanting to open some, as along as the prices weren't insane like the other releases of it, and I found packs for less than the advertised price on the package.

So I grabbed four packs. Three to rip, one to keep. It's been a tradition in the last year when I bought nostalgic cards that I keep at least one sealed. Sort of like a time capsule later on in life when I may not be able to find some of these.

It's time to give these a rip.

There are 6 cards per retail pack and I paid $2.25 per pack. There are chances at plenty of great inserts including PMG cards which I was really hoping for. Precious Metal Gem cards of the 90's were some of the best/rare parallels. Never once did I pull one despite plenty of my metal pack ripping. Guess you could say I was a metal head.

Will today be the day I find a PMG? Its time to see (unintended Dr.Seuss rhyme)


Not a bad start to find Brett Favre as the first card. The card is covered in metal foil with a steelworks kinda headline with the players last name embossed.

Back of the card, you can see the embossing behind the players head. It's an okay design, but definitely not as good as 1997 and 1998. I think it actually would have looked better without the last name header.

Rest of pack one landed me a PC card with Gary Brown and a player PC card in Jake Plummer.

In this pack we find Keyshawn, Marshall Faulk and two NFLPD subsets. Also found a Amos Zereoue rookie card.

Corey Dillion, Rod Smith, and Antonio Freeman headline the final pack. Also found a Matt Stinchcomb rookie card.

Not a lot of big hits, but didn't matter. Nostalgia rules! It left me wanting more and wanting to open up that final pack. Which, I didn't. Maybe instead I will find a couple more later on to open online. Seller had a ton.

**finishes first cup, moves onto the second**

So today, I ask you to take a minute out and say hi to someone, hold a door, show a smile, ask how someone is doing, buy that coffee (I know your in line somewhere to get one) for the person in front or back of you, and even return that shopping cart. The walk isn't that far, I promise. It will make you feel good and the person you are doing it to as well.

And who knows, that could start the next up-rise.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

A Mystery

*sun is already shining, heat/mugginess is building, and here I am sitting down with my first cup of joe to type this*
I love a good mystery.

Well, except for my coffee. Don't mess with my coffee. I have one way of liking it so don't mess with it and add some flavored mumbo jumbo or replace it with tea. 

Don't you dare.

Otherwise a good mystery is fun. Whether it's a mystery book, mystery movie, mystery mail day or mystery packs that you can buy. A good mystery keeps us on the edge of our seats.

Just like recently, when I tried my very first mystery pack.

Why is it my first? Well that's not a mystery I will leave you hanging on.

I always worry about buying them not knowing what kind of junk could be within. I assume in order to get the money the sellers are seeking, that the "chase" cards are impossible to find and a lot of it is what we could find in nickel and dime boxes. Which I am running out of places to store that kind of stuff. Yes, I have gotten to the point of collecting where space is becoming an issue. Mainly because my boxes to store stuff in are running low.

Another point to make about these mystery packs is most of these packs cost $10 when I could have turned that into a card or even two for my PC instead of possible junk.

But, this mystery pack was different than the rest I found. It was focused on my favorite era of collecting, late 90's and early 2000's. What made this pack even better, it was cheap. It had my attention.

So for $2.25 plus shipping, you get 30 cards. There are "25 cards" plus 5 cards that are Inserts/Parallels/RC cards. Intriguing.

All of the cards are NBA cards from the late 1990's through early 2000's. The seller put the Inserts/RC's/Parallels/#'d cards in plastic sleeves and each pack was wrapped like the above example.

Here's an example of some of the sets that were to be included into these mystery packs,
  • 1997-1998 Topps Chrome
  • 1997-1998 Bowman's Best
  • 1998-1999 Fleer Mystique
  • 1998-1999 Fleer Brilliants
  • 1998-1999 Topps Finest
  • 1998-1999 Skybox Thunder
  • 1998-1999 Fleer Ultra
  • 1998-1999 Upper Deck Black Diamond
  • 1998-1999 Upper Deck Ionix
  • 1999-2000 Skybox EX
  • 1999-2000 Topps Gold Label
And the list of players that are in it as well,
  • Kevin Garnett
  • Vince Carter
  • Grant Hill
  • Shaquille O'Neal
  • Anfernee Hardaway
  • Tim Duncan
  • David Robinson
  • Jason Kidd
  • Steve Nash
  • Paul Pierce
  • Dirk Nowitzki
  • Richard Hamilton
  • Chris Webber
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Michael Jordan
  • Scottie Pippen
  • Reggie Miller
  • Karl Malone
Combine all of that with the price, the BIG NOSTALGIA FACTOR, how could I say no? So I grabbed two of these packs and paid under $10 for them both. After getting the packs and seeing how I did, I wished I had gotten more as they sold out almost immediately.

*smiles during my next sip*

Time to show you why they sold out so fast after opening them,

We kick off the pack with a Topps Finest Felipe Lopez rookie card in old school Grizz uni. I would love a pair of those shorts to wear.

(no that's not an extra Lopez, that's the same one) I found John Stockton and a Karl Malone. Man I wished that Jazz team could had won a title. But, those darn Bulls...

Tim Hardaway, Payton, Garrity Finest rookie

Marbury (I wonder if my buddy still collects anymore who was a big time fan), another Payton and a Barkley

Shaq, Garnett, Penny Hardaway (forgot he played for the Suns)

And now onto what's supposed to be the good stuff. I thought I had already seen all of that up to this point.
Grant Hill Wing Men

Charles Barkley NBA All Stars

Elton Brand Topps Gold Label rookie. Imagine how hot this card must have been back then? For me it's about the Gold Label

Kobe! Great photo to. I never busted any of this Fleer Genuine

Cummings Topps Chrome rookie

And a Larry Hughes Black Diamond rookie. If I remember right, the rookies in this product were Sp's.

That was just pack number one folks. I was feeling like I had drank the best cup of coffee I had ever had after opening that one. Well, the cup I have right now isn't too shabby either nor is Pack 2.

*takes another sip*

I remember Mcleod and how hot his cards were supposed to be.....

Here we go some more. Fleer Mystique was another great looking product, PC guy Allan Houston Topps Chrome, Shawn Kemp, Spreeeeeeeeeeewelllll or as MSG called it out

Jamal Mashburn, Ewing, my first dupe with the Stockton, Kittles

A few Gary Paytons, Barkley another Hakeem Olajuwon

Marbury peeled Finest parallel, The Admiral, Hakeem again, Ray Allen

The sleeved cards including Webber, Tom Gugliotta nice die cut insert

Tim Duncan insert. I think it's either rookie year or year after. I can't remember now. I opened this awhile back.

And I believe I can fllllllllllllllllyyyyyyyyy wooooooooooooo. An MJ spotting. Very cool especially being a side PC card and the way his cards have been moving. Fleer Ultra was also the bomb back then

It was the back of the card that caught my attention. I am not sure if you can read it, but the Did You Know? was "four hours before every game, Michael eats a 23-ounce New York Steak, either a baked potato or mashed potatoes, a salad and ginger ale."

That's crazy. Can you imagine running around for three hours with that in your system? That's just another reason why he is the GOAT.

*cup one down, next one coming up*

I contacted the seller afterwards and thanked them for a trip back in time and told them how much I enjoyed their mystery pack. They mentioned to me that they may make a second series seeing how this one went, if they could find the rest of their cards.

A week later, guess what they found and made and even contacted me about.

And guess what I did

And guess how I did...

A mystery isn't it....

Too bad that's for another cup of coffee, or two, another day.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Not Vintage

*pours a cup from the freshly brewed pot*

Vintage is a word that gets thrown around out there loosely when it comes to older items and sometimes not used in the right context in my opinion when it comes to sport cards.

Here's a few examples of the definition of Vintage.
  • The definition for vintage for clothing is something that is at least 20 years old.
  • The definition for wine is 50 years or older.
  • If the item is no older than an antique which is 100 years or older, but not less than 20 years, it falls under the term vintage.
So where do we draw the line with sport cards?

To me, "vintage" in the sport card world is any card older than 1970. Which falls under the wine and final definition examples I gave above.

However, some believe, that cards from 1990's are vintage.


That's very misleading to me. Cards from the 1990's are NOT vintage they are RETRO folks. Anything over 10 years old to 30 years old is considered retro. DO NOT USE THE WORD VINTAGE for cards back in the 1990's. Not even cards in the 1980s'.

*ranting makes me drink coffee faster, time for cup number two!*

Is this coffee mug that I am using this morning vintage because my wife has owned it close to 20 years? No. No it's not should be your answer (I like to use this mug as it's the bigger ones we have not that I don't have a sister)

Or how about this coffee, if I was to let this sit here for an hour per say, does that make this vintage coffee that I poured a long time ago? (by the way no plans to do try that)

But I bet some would consider both of those scenarios as vintage.

*quick sip*

For Christmas this past year, my sister-in-law grabbed me a box of "vintage" cards online. She knows I love to collect so she was trying to find a unique item for myself. Which she did, as I hadn't seen one of these before. So I expected the unexpected but seeing the word vintage I was drawn in and was excited to rip into it.

Until I found out that the wrong term was used for the product.

I didn't find vintage, I found retro packs. Not just any retro packs, but "junk wax" retro packs.

Those kind of packs I don't really ever open. They are more valuable to me being sealed than to be opened and trying to find a place to store them since most cards would be duplicate cards and I don't keep dupes in my collection.

Here is the pack variety I found in this box. There are 20 packs in every one of these boxes with some packs, the most common ones, having multiples of the same pack.

not the ugly yellow baseball, but still....

I have three base sets of these and close to 100 Hampton rookies
6 packs of these!
Could be a Favre rookie in here I guess
The final pack I was most excited about....
There you have the box breakdown of these "vintage"packs.

Did you see any from 1970?....I didn't.....

*Halfway through cup numero uno, time to weigh my breakfast options. I did make chocolate no bake cookies yesterday....*

I was curious what my sister-in-law dished out for one of these boxes and it appears they go for $35-$40 each. 😒😒😒😒😒😒😒😒😒😒

That's saying each pack would go for $2 each. I am sure you could buy multiples of some of these packs for $2. It's tough for me to see and definitely not something I would have grabbed for that cost.

I never told my sister-in-law anything negative about the cards because she bought them for me. I just opened the box in front of her, smiled and thanked her. She gave them to me as a gift she thought I would enjoy. So I will and will find a way to do so.

So my rant is over for the term vintage. I think I made my point. Now I better go eat my breakfast and pour cup number three before both of those and maybe even myself become vintage sitting in front of this computer.