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.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Perfect Pairing

*coffee in hand, good to go*

Every morning my routine is pretty much the same. I get up, grab my glasses, make a quick bathroom trip and head to the coffee maker for my first cup of fresh brew. Once that first cup is in hand, I sit, catch up on Twitter/Facebook then it's either to the computer I go to be here with you guys or off to start the day depending on what time I have left.

Today is Sunday, a day off, so here I am.

*half way through first cup, yeah, one of those mornings*

Usually half way through my second cup I am looking for a breakfast pairing to go along with my coffee. What that pairing may be, depends on the day and what I have in the house.

Some days, it's a muffin (I prefer berry ones or pistachio).

Some days, it's an English muffin (only with butter on it).

Some days, it's a piece of cheesecake.

Some days, it's a cookie (or multiple ones)

But most days, it's a bagel. My perfect pairing.

I eat a variety of bagels, mainly with butter but sometimes with veggie cream cheese, but my top two favorites are Asiago and today's flavor, cinnamon/raisin. I don't toast my bagel a ton, just crisp enough unlike my wife who likes it borderline rock, and add just enough butter so I am not clogging the ole arteries faster than they need to be. And it's butter to, not margarine. I grew up hating butter and loving margarine, but as I have gotten older, butter tastes so much better. It's amazing how your tastes change over time.

My tastes have changed for both food and the hobby over time.

Another perfect pairing that I feel got better over time, was Upper Deck getting chromed with its card line of UD Ionix.

I didn't quite fall in love with the product back in 1999, but since then, I have traded for quite a few singles and felt it was time I re-opened a pack of the cards to see how I felt about it now.
So I searched eBay for a cheap one, and found one for $2.50 and .85 shipped. For that price, I figured it was worth the rip. Each of these packs come with four cards. So as long as each card is worth at least .84, it's worth the gamble. Once again, I am not a guy about value and I prefer the fun aspect a lot more.

There are a variety of fun and shiny inserts to find along with a chance at autographs. But, as you can see, the odds are ever not in my favor.

*first cup down, next one up. Also half way through my bagel*

Let's see if this pack had anything worthwhile in it. My one fear with opening up older product is the cards sticking together, fortunately, I didn't have any issue with these and I think it's because of the technology.

First card, Elvis Grbac. Played for three times, went to the Pro Bowl twice and even won a Super Bowl. He was one of those halfway decent forgotten quarterbacks of his time.

Antowain was one of my first big autograph rookie card pulls of the 90's, but he didn't quite pan out as well as I had hoped. But even still, he played for the Patriots which made him a two time Super Bowl champion.

Eddie was a big time running back for the Oilers/Titans. Four time Pro Bowler, jersey number retired for Titans and Ohio State, ROY in 1996, and a few other accolades. I just feel bad that he was another one of those players that went on too long for his career and played one forgettable year for the Cowboys. I wished these guys would just play for the one team for their whole career.

And the final card....what's insert?!
1:6 odds of pulling this Electric Forces John Elway. This card alone made the pack. I enjoyed watching John towards the end of his career even though I was excited when my Giants beat their undefeated team and when the Jags beat them in the playoffs.

It's a win/win for me.

That was a lot of fun to open and was exactly what I had hoped for.

*finishes up bagel and second cup of coffee*

Just like my bagel and coffee this morning, Upper Deck having its own line of chromed cards really pairs up well. I may have to grab another pack or two just to open another and maybe keep one sealed for a rainy day. It's just too bad Upper Deck didn't have more to offer me nowadays since it only has a hockey license and I am not a hockey guy.

Someday I hope they will dominate again.

Before I close today's post, I wanted to let you know of another perfect pair I hope you already experience, cards and coffee. And no, that's not my subtle way of promoting this blog more. Well, maybe.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

My Dream Card Has Arrived!

*finally bought some coffee, it's brewed and ready for a new post*
I have something to admit, I make a lot of lists.

A LOT. As in the two words A LOT. Not the alot you tried to pull off in graded school, this is the highest grade of A LOT.

Here's just an example of some I make,
  • I make grocery lists so I don't forget something, while also saving myself from getting in trouble when I get home ;)
  • I make lists of my favorite movies, I guess so I don't forget when I get older. Sadly at 37 the grays are really showing
  • I make set lists to show which cards I am missing from a set. 
  • I have a list of my favorite collectors to trade with
  • I have a list of addresses to ship my favorite traders/RAKers
  • I have a list of my PC cards and which ones I am missing
  • I have a list of my favorite sport card blogs to read, not that I don't read all that I can and enjoy them, but some I prefer more
  • I have a list of things I want to do around the house
  • A bucket list
  • A hobby bucket list
  • My favorite Coffee Mate Creamer for my Coffee List
  • And even a list of my favorite Chobani Flip Yogurts I made just the other day. And yes, Peanut Butter dream reigns supreme over all.
Another important list I have is my all-time Dream Card Want List. These are cards I really want, but will most likely never be able to land. They are priced out of my range.

Here is that Top 20 on my Mount Rushmore,
  1. 1975 Topps George Brett
  2. 1977 Topps Andre Dawson
  3. 1977 Topps Dale Murphy
  4. 1988 Salt Lake Trappers Bill Murray
  5. 1992 Bowman Mariano Rivera Rookie Card
  6. 2011 Mike Trout Topps Update Rookie
  7. 1993 Sp Derek Jeter Rookie Card
  8. 1986-1987 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie Card (I mean who doesn't want one?)
  9. 1998-1999 Topps Chrome Vince Carter RC
  10. 1976 Topps Walter Payton RC
  11. Tom Brady Autograph Card 
  12. Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card
  13. Wayne Gretzky Autograph Card
  14. Mario Lemieux Rookie Card
  15. Mario Lemieux Autograph Card
  16. Mark Hammil Autograph Card
  17. Carrie Fisher Autograph Card
  18. Harrison Ford Autograph Card 
  19. Jennifer Lopez Autograph Card
  20. Britney Spears Autograph Card
*first cup of coffee is a go. I probably should had made my cup already before I sat down to type. I won't make that mistake again*

And those are spread across multiple sports/non sports. They are completely out of my range and I can't ever find a collector who has one for trade.

Well, until recently.

I saw that a good friend of mine had a 1993 Sp Derek Jeter up for sale on Twitter. Once again, I can't afford the prices on those things,especially in these times. Or at any time actually. So I sat back for awhile and window shopped-dreamed of it. The thing with that, it doesn't help ease your mind of actually wanting to hold/own the card. I had to at least inquire about a trade right? He has surprised me in the past with saying yes.

So I did.

And he said yes. I felt like one of those girls on the Jared commercials.

However, that was only part of the step. I would have to find something he would be interested. Sometimes that isn't easy, but this time it was. I was sitting on some Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes relics and a few other cards I was sort of "prospecting". But, just like those girls who see that shiny ring from Jared I couldn't just prospect a couple of guys when the right one was right in front of me. I had to say yes.

*first cup of coffee down the hatch!*
A few days later, the 1993 Upper Deck Sp Derek Jeter was in my hands. It is no PSA 10-more like a 6 or 7-but it's still a beauty and a Dream List item acquired. These Sp foil cards were so hard to keep in mint condition to begin with. But, even the lower graded cards are still in triple digits in value.

*second cup of coffee to celebrate*

The card back is just as sharp as the front.

Still can't believe I have this card now.

And now an updated look at my Top 20 Mount Rushmore Dream Cards,
  1. 1975 Topps George Brett
  2. 1977 Topps Andre Dawson
  3. 1977 Topps Dale Murphy
  4. 1988 Salt Lake Trappers Bill Murray
  5. 1992 Bowman Mariano Rivera Rookie Card
  6. 2011 Mike Trout Topps Update Rookie
  7. 1993 Sp Derek Jeter Rookie Card
  8. 1986-1987 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie Card (I mean who doesn't want one?)
  9. 1998-1999 Topps Chrome Vince Carter RC
  10. 1976 Topps Walter Payton RC
  11. Tom Brady Auto Card 
  12. Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card
  13. Wayne Gretzky Autograph Card
  14. Mario Lemiuex Rookie Card
  15. Mario Lemiuex Autograph Card
  16. Mark Hammil Autograph Card
  17. Carrie Fisher Autograph Card
  18. Harrison Ford Autograph Card 
  19. Jennifer Lopez Autograph Card
  20. Britney Spears Autograph Card
 *a soothing sip*

Lists are great to have especially if its one when you are able to cross things off from like the one today. It's an accomplishment, one that deserves a pat on the back. I can picture the confetti falling on me right now as I type. It better not get in my coffee though. Nobody touches my coffee.

The only issue I have found with making lists and having so many of them is keeping track of where I put them. Maybe I should make a list for that......

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Falling To The Hobby Trend

*Brews a cup of late morning coffee*

I wasn't intending to post on here today, but, after finding out that The Last Dance finale is on tonight, I had to.

*adds creamer and is ready to go*

I haven't watched one episode of The Last Dance honestly, but I have witnessed what its been doing to the hobby. Which right there leads you guys to two questions I bet.

One, why haven't I watched any of The Last Dance? Well, I hated the 90's Bulls, couldn't stand Michael Jordan (at that time) and I didn't want to re-live my Knicks losing to the Bulls time and time again. Which is what I saw a lot of in the 90's not that other teams weren't tortured as well. They were the Patriots of that era, pretty much unbeatable and I hated it.

Second, the hobby has been taken over by inflated values on many of the Michael Jordan cards including Fleer Metal base cards that were pushing the $300 threshold. FOR A STINKIN' BASE CARD. One thing that has been interesting to watch is what cards collectors are targeting and which cards are being driven up because of the show.

Not all Jordans in this price jump have been created equal.

For the fun of it, I recently went through my MJ collection to see what I had, which was nothing special. I think only one card I had was over $25. Not that values mean much to me other than a fun number.

*takes gulp*

In the past year or so, I started to add a few MJ's to my collection, nothing big, mainly base and a few small inserts, because I started to realize how much he meant to the game of basketball. Not because of a TV show. As I said above, I couldn't stand him in the 90's but it doesn't mean I didn't respect his game. He was and always will be the best. Sorry Lebron and for those who think he is the best. He's good, but he's no MJ.  Just watch The Last Dance, you will see it.

*another sip*

I try not to fall into what I call "the hobby trends", you know the hottest players-cards-products, but occasionally I do and I did this time.

I started to look for MJ cards in trades and eBay.

Which I was okay with. He played in an era I love to collect in. He is needed in some of my insert and base sets I am building from that era and his cards won't ever flop. I don't see the gamble there for myself unlike the times I tried prospecting. I won't ever go back down that trail.

I do find funny that a lot of MJ listings are calling him an "investment". Shouldn't he had always been one? SMH. Investments to me are up-and-coming players you believe could turn out to be the next big superstar. Not a player that is already an established one.

So I started looking at some of those nostalgic cards and his listings like......

But ended up feeling like Clarence Weatherspoon here. His prices are nuts and too nuts for my low budget.

So I kept looking for any kind of deal. ANY. Just to add a few more MJ's

Then a $12 lot was just sitting there with 49 seconds left and no bids........

except my one bid.......

and I won it. Hey, not the greatest lot but I think it was pretty solid.

And it was MJ so that makes me cool now right?

6 Black Diamond. The year Michael retired they dedicated a ton of sets to him and included him as much as possible. You will see some of those below.

Always love Provisions art. This was a cool looking one with Jordan taking a flight out of this world. It is as close as it gets to a comparison to his game.

Upper Deck Century Legends subset. Great angles of these photos.

This one really caught my eye with Encore. Always enjoyed that product and it was why I hit the bid submit button

Ovation. Which I showed earlier. Look at that photo, classic MJ

 Upper Deck again, this time an older one and again Upper Deck shines through with its photography

Fleer subset I don't remember much and I bought a lot of Fleer.

And the final card from the lot, was this card of him in a Wizards uniform. I can't believe he came back after two years to play again. He wasn't quite the same player and it was so odd to see him in a new uniform. This was like the Emmitt Smith in a Cardinals uniform/Brett Favre in Jets/Jerry Rice in Raiders kinda feel thing. It wasn't good.

But, I wasn't done there. I went and found a few more cheap singles.
Like this insert

And this one.

The next card I have been desperately wanting for my set chase
And thanks to @Jake1725 I was able to trade for it. Biggest card in the set now done, just need to find the other 20 cards.

If only now I can land that 1996 Spx MJ to complete my Spx base set.

*final few sips of my cup of coffee*

I think my chase of MJ won't really ever end, I will take whatever I can when I can, but it's not something I will seek out as much now that the trend will be on the downside once the final episode airs tonight. At least that's the way I feel it will happen.

Hobby trends come and go. It's whether you can stay away from the hype or buy into it. I have been on both sides and both sides as of recent. I rode the MJ train home but stayed away from Topps Project 2020 that doesn't interest me whatsoever. Usually when it's a trend, I try to stick with the things that fit within my collecting.

So who knows what the next trend will be.
I just hope the next one isn't drinking my coffee while wearing my underwear like this.