Category Archives: Upper Deck

Monopoly Jr.

The NBA has extended Panini’s exclusive right to produce NBA cards.  This is awful news.  First and foremost, Upper Deck has always been the king of NBA cards.  They just did it right and the last few years without them has been rough.  Secondly, Panini produces ugly cards, so this is much worse than Topps being the exclusive manufacturers of MLB cards.  At least Topps, and the Bowman imprint, produce solid designs.  Finally, with no competition there is no reason for Panini to improve their products, to create classic designs, and move away from the lazy sticker autos and non-sense insert sets.  The scary part is that details of the deal are sparse and we don’t know how long this arrangement will last.

More details here and here.

Very nice.

Hideous.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

Weekend Pickup

What do Greg Maddux playing wiffle ball, Jim Kelly dressed as Tony Montana, William Tecumseh Sherman, a golfer who wears two gloves, and the single season NCAA women’s basketball scoring record holder have in common?  The answer: nothing except the fact that they were all in my pack of 2012 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions.

Wiffleball hall of famer, Greg Maddux?

WTF?

Histories.

“Derek doesn’t know who I am.”

This portrait was brought to you by a fourth grader. Sorry Jackie.

I can say with some certainty that this is the first pack of Goodwin that I’ve ever purchased.  I normally don’t go for the non-licensed, multi-sport stuff, but this was the only thing at the local shop that I hadn’t opened yet, so I thought I’d give it a try.  Firstly, I’m going to review this not based on my pack, which was awful, but on the design of the product.  I’m doing my best here not to let my disappointment in a single pack bias my post.  However, the design itself is too generic for my liking.  It is basically the stock “vintage” card design, which we have all seen quite a few times.  It does include painted portraits instead of photographs, which I appreciate if done well but, as seen on the Jackie Stiles card, these portraits are not top notch.  Black borders are a plus in my book, but otherwise the design is a bit of yawner.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not offensive to my eyes but it’s just not much to talk about.

The actual portraits on the other hand, they are something to talk about.  Since Upper Deck lacks a baseball license we can’t expect Greg Maddux in a proper uniform, but wiffleball?  Kudos I say, wiffleball is underappreciated and I believe an Upper Deck and Greg Maddux team up can bring it to the forefront of American culture.  Who doesn’t love crazy screwballs and 53′ home runs.  Truly the sport of kings.  Jim Kelly, WTF, why buddy?  I know the movie was big and all, but try to maintain a little bit, ok?

Jim Kelly or Al Pacino? I just don’t know.

Another kudos to Upper Deck for drawing our attention to what can only be a ‘separated at birth’ situation.  Not much to say about Tommy Gainey (other than who is Tommy Gainey?) and William Tecumseh Sherman, but someone owes Jackie Stiles an apology.  I googled her and that portrait should offend her.

I suppose the draw of Goodwin Champions is a stacked autograph checklist.  Upper Deck’s stable of stars, including Lebron, MJ, and Tiger, are all accounted for, as well as some other interesting signers like Mike Tyson, Arnold Palmer, and Nolan Ryan.  There are also relic cards including JFK, Eisenhower, and Joe Jackson.  This is obviously a hit based product, so I recommend buying a box if you’re at all interested (three guaranteed per box).  Buying single packs puts you at risk for what is shown above.  Design 2.5/5, auto and relic checklist 5/5.

My local card dealer also threw in a pack of 1991-92 McDonalds edition Hoops.  These were the packs that included the Dream Team cards.  I got a Magic Johnson.  See for yourself.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Needed!

I’m currently in the process of putting together the entire master set of 1992-93 Upper Deck Basketball.  At some point in the future you will be subjected to a long post about the beauty and wonder of this set.  In the meantime I need your help.

I currently have every card, including inserts, that could be pulled out of packs except for one.  I also have a complete set of the McDonald’s cards and the factory hologram and all-star sets.

This is the card I’m missing:

Card #100, Tyrone Corbin error.  Card front says Heat instead of Jazz.  This is my white whale and now I’m turning to you, how many ever of ‘you’ there are, to help me.  I am willing to purchase this card or trade with anyone who has it.  I will make it worth your while (but not in a creepy way).

Please comment or email if you have the card.  You would really make my day.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Be Wary, Part II…

Beckett, utilizing their journalistic prowess, covered the fake “game-used” items story.  Much like most of the industry, however, they are too invested in these cards to really shed light on the implications of this story.  They want us to continue to trust the card manufacturers and their claims that certain items are game-used.  Why?  I have no reason to trust companies like Upper Deck or Panini, or Topps for that matter.  These are businesses who are trying to make buck, their main concern is not the viability of these cards on the secondary market.  To the extent that Topps has the MLB license, and can utilize the MLB’s authentication program, they may be the best bet, but even they may be going to third parties who, if they are anything like a large portion of the dirtbags who deal in high-end sports memorabilia, may not be portraying their products accurately.

I understand that all collectors want to protect their investments and, therefore, want to have faith that their game-used memorabilia is the real deal, but we need to be cautious here.  As the Beckett article alluded to, we have been dealing with these issues since 2000 at least and they are not bound to go away.  A safer investment is probably autographs where the companies can guarantee their authenticity or full game-used jerseys or bats that are authenticated by the MLB.

Tagged ,

Gem-sanity

$20,000.  $9,999.  $7,999.  $5,623.  These are prices paid for UD Fleer Retro Precious Metal Gems Blue Michael Jordan cards on eBay.

YOU HAVE TOO MUCH MONEY!  Give money to charity.  Please, this is insanity.  These cards have no intrinsic value.  They aren’t old, but well preserved, cards.  They don’t have a rare autograph on them.  They don’t even have part of a jersey that a famous person wore.  They are cards that were printed in limited supply specifically for the purpose of eliciting this reaction from the too-rich collector.  Do I think that it’s nice that cards, which are simply cards and not vehicles for jerseys or autographs, are generating big excitement.  Of course.  But this is too much.  They aren’t even 1/1’s.  There are 50 of these.  I repeat: 50.

Context:  Andy Warhol is a famous American painter.  One of the most famous.  He creates works of art.  This work of art is limited to 20 copies, 30 less than that Michael Jordan card, and sold for $15,500.  It is also signed by Andy.

That Jordan card is not a work of art, but rather a rehash of an ugly, but rare, card from the nineties.  Nor is it signed by Jordan.

Rich collectors, please stop.  There are needy kids out there, help them.

BTW, I really wish I could afford a box of Fleer Retro.  It looks super cool.  Other than those hideous Precious Metal Gems.

Tagged , , , , ,

The Show. Or, go to hell Topps.

Card show today.  Card show today.  So excited.

That was the reaction I had to card shows as a kid.  There were regular sports card shows at the El Con Mall in Tucson from my age 8 until I was about 12.  I loved them.  They were big shows by midsize city standards, with about 15-20 tables and plenty of oppotunities to buy packs and singles.  I generally had about $20 to spend at shows as a kid, and most of that was spent on packs.  None of this is particularly interesting to any audience but it sets up two things.  The first is that the communal experience and the build up to shows is what fed my love for sports cards.  It is those memories, primarily, that fuel my collecting to this day.  The second, is that it stands in stark contrast to the lame state of card shows today.

I went to a card show with my dad today.  I’ve always collected with my dad, so we still make it a habit to go to card shows when they are in town.  There are currently semi-regular card shows at the mall that is really far from my house.  These happen about 6 times a year and generally consist of about 6 tables.  Most of the tables are selling lower end autograph and relic singles and one table sells boxes.  No packs to speak of, which is a bummer, because I still love to buy random assortments of packs (which is my usual card shop fare).  I believe me and my dad are the only regular attendees of this semi-regular event and the sellers now lick their chops when they see us.  How else would they unload their Nick Swisher relics and Ian Desmond autographs?

Today saw the arrival of some new sellers.  Excitement ensued.  Then died.  They were selling vintage commons and semi-stars and an unholy amount of “in-person” autographs.  As an aside, I do like vintage cards…theoretically.  There are some fantastic designs (1956 Topps, 1961 Topps for instance) and a lot of history.  But the only cards I really want (Mantle, Clemente, Mays) are out of my price range, so I usually find myself admiring them then moving on.  I turned my attention to the tried and true guys, who I will refer to lovingly as “nice asian guy,” “fatty mcslob,” “long hair,” “nothing less than book,” and “the mogul.”  The mogul runs the show and sells the boxes, he is also and huge pain in the ass, more on that later, and got his nickname because his attitude reminds me of Dave Hester from Storage Wars.

Nice Asian Guy  is always my go-to.  He has a decent assortment of $3 autos and relics and will negotiate on some of his higher-end stuff.  Also, he is nice.  I mention this because some card guys, like comic book guys, can be a little hostile about their hobby, more on that later.  Nice Asian Guy didn’t disappoint, I picked up a 2010 Allen & Ginter Jeff Samardzija Relic (a guy I’m high on because of his apparent skill and his fortunate team association, Cubs fans will spend on their guys) and a 2012 Topps Museum Collection Alexi Ogando autograph (same reasons as Samardzija) for $5 total.  I’ll hold on to these for a while, the hobby upside on both guys is high.  Pops also picked up a Nick Swisher relic from Nice Asian Guy for three bucks. This is the second show in a row that he has purchased a Swisher relic.  I think Chris Olds at Beckett has some competition in the Swisher fandom department.

Fatty McSlob and Long Hair are usually busts and this show was no different.  Their inventory generally consists of late 80’s and early 90’s packs, along with team sets, and miscellaneous brick-a-brack like pennants.  These guys are for the casual collectors, not for seasoned collectors like myself (dismounts horse).   Nothing Less Than Book never sells anything for less than book value.  He has nice stuff, including the Bowman Albert Pujols rookie that I’ve been hunting for a good price.  But I never buy anything from him, because buying stuff for book value is not a good strategy.  At the last show he offered to trade, but I think he might be setting me up for one of those situations, as Mike Birbiglia described, where I end with less cards worth less money than when I started.  There is another dealer who is usually present, but noticeably absent this time, her name is “nerdy lady.”  Nerdy Lady sells cards and also Russian Nesting Dolls.  She usually has some good foot traffic for the dolls, but not for the cards.  Like Nice Asian Guy, Nerdy Lady has a good assortment of $3.00 autos and relics.  Sometime last year I got a Matt Cain auto for $3 from her that I turned around for a nice profit after his perfect game.  Who’s the mogul now?

Speaking of The Mogul, he is usually who gets most of my moneys.  He sells boxes at the show and has a monopoly on that.  He’s usually about $20 higher on the boxes than you can get on-line, but I can usually negotiate down about $15, so his prices end up nearly reasonable.  Notably, today he was selling a box of Topps Mini, see previous post, for $95.  This product is available, currently, on the Topps website for $50 a box.  That is ridiculous markup and I hate seeing people prey on the ignorant.  Shit like that is why people have such a hard time getting into the hobby.  He was also selling Topps Archive boxes for $99, which is almost $30 more than they go on-line, lame.  He sells singles for about half book price, which, to his credit, is fair.

I spent the bulk of my time today at the mogul’s table.  I bought six singles and a box from him.  The singles: 2007 SP Legendary cuts Paul O’Neill jersey card for $3 (I’ve always wanted more O’Neill memorabilia, he was one of my favority Yankees growing up and a woefully under-appreciated by the baseball loving community), two 2009 Bowman World Baseball Classic gold Aroldis Chapman cards for $4 each,  a 2001 Upper Deck Vintage Ichiro rookie card (very nice retro design) for $4, a 2005 Bowman Heritage Adrew McCutchen rookie card for $3, and 2005 Bowman Heritage Mahogany Andrew McCutchen for $3.  McCutchen is a beast, but you already knew that.  Odds that he plays his whole career with the Pirates? 1000:1? 10000:1? A million to one.

Now to the box.  The f***ing box. I decided that I wanted to make my first foray into the world of high-end cards today.  For reference I’ve never spent more than $20 on a single pack of cards.  I noticed that The Mogul had a box of 2011 Topps Tier One for $95.  I felt like this would be the right product to initiate myself into this world of caviar and champagne.  As usual, I refused to pay The Mogul’s full price for the box, knowing full well that it is $20 than on-line price.  So I offer The Mogul’s assitant $100 for my six singles ($21 total) and the box.  The assistant is not permitted to make this deal, appartently.  He finds The Mogul and conveys my offer.  The mogul inspects my six singles, twice, then references his price sheet.  Then a man walks up and asks The Mogul if he has any Peyton Manning cards.  The Mogul puts down my box and singles and begins helping the man find Peyton Manning cards.  Now, in general, Peyton Manning cards, with the exception of autos, are under $10 affairs, so at best the mogul stands to make $10-$20 off the new guy.  I still have a $100 offer on the table.  (Gets back on horse) You’d think he’d prioritize me?  Nope. (Dismounts).  He spends a full five minutes helping this guy sort through the Colts cards.  It’s worth noting that he is not particularly nice to new guy, so this is not one of those situations where he is an ambassador for the hobby, he is actually a bit annoyed to be taking on the task.  I look at the assistant, he looks back uncomfortably.  Finally the assistant clears his throat and reminds The Mogul about me.  The Mogul is annoyed.  This is weird, but reminds me again why “card guys” are not helping to expand the hobby.  We need to band together for civility, or something.  The Mogul looks at my singles two more times, says something to the assistant, who then comes over and says “how about $105.”  To which I respond, “he just made me wait 5 minutes and now he wants five extra dollars?”  Assistant goes back to The Mogul and returns to accept my original offer.  /End Rant.

Excitedly, pops and I return to my house.  I extract the single pack from the double box.  I slowly tear into it.  Mel Ott. Justin Upton. Ozzie Smith. Umm…Adam Lind autograph.  This has to get better.  WTF…Brad Hand autograph.  Who the hell is Brad Hand.  No one knows who Brad Hand is.  Why is his autograph in a high-end product.  Nooooooooooooooooo.  Roberto Alomar relic.  Joe Morgan blue parallel.  Book value of my $80 pack, $35.  Expected realized value, when I try to resell this awful haul that I never want to think about again, $15.  Go to hell Topps.  Adam Lind, I can accept that, he seemed like he might have a nice career at a time.  Robbie Alomar is a hall of famer.  But Brad Hand.  In a high-end product.  Go to hell.  This is not right.  He wasn’t even a true prospect.  The cards themselves are printed on thick stock and have a simple, pleasing design.  The autographs are on-card and the relic is neither big nor small.  I just wish the players on the cards were as nice.  Product Design 4/5.  My Box -1000000/5.

Who?

I’m sticking to mid and low-end stuff.  At least when I get Brad Hand in those packs I didn’t spend $80 on it.  BTW, to all those people who consistently pull 1/1 and Ty Cobb cut autos and all that stuff.  Go to hell.  Just kidding, I’m not a hater.  But please, start telling me where you’re buying your boxes, because it’s certainly not at the Tucson card show.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Left Field Cards

Letterpress baseball cards, postcard-size.

Bad Wax

Musings of a Card Collector

realhousewivesrealprofessor

Analyzing reality TV, and the world, at the same time