Tag Archives: Autograph

Prizm…Yawn

I picked up a couple of packs of Prizm basketball and…well…I don’t have much to say.  As has been made clear I’m not a fan of chrome cards and this doesn’t change when you call them Prizm.  I find the design to be boring at best and kind of ugly at worst.  I believe it was Mojo Beardy who mentioned that they have a Topps Finest vibe, and I would agree.  However, my nostalgia for Finest, which I loved as a 9 year old precisely because it was shiny and new, is lost here.  Making a card shiny shouldn’t obviate the need for good design, but in most instances I think that card manufacturers thinks it does.

I do appreciate Panini limiting the number of inserts in the set and providing a solid checklist of on-card autographs which have a good mix of rookies, legends, and current stars.  However, the design is so boring and lazy that I can’t see picking this over Panini Threads.

As for my packs themselves I pulled a Kyrie Irving rookie and legends cards of Isaiah Thomas and Wilt Chamberlain.  I didn’t pull any inserts or autos and the rest of my cards were commons.

Recommended for chromies and auto chasers but no one else.  1.5/5 (almost completely because of a solid autograph checklist).

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

2012: Best Of.

I love lists.  That may be an admission of sloth or my simple nature, but I love lists.  They are so easy to digest and they save me from reading a lot of “words.”  Therefore, without further ado (adieu?), here are a few Pack a Week year end lists for your enjoyment.

Pack a Week Hits of the Year (aka my best pack pulls):

1.  2012-13 Panini Threads Anthony Davis Autograph

2012-13 Panini Threads Anthony Davis Autograph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  2012 Topps Archives Yu Darvish Autograph

2012 Topps Archive Yu Darvish Autograph

3.  2012 Topps Target Exclusive Red No-Name Error Mickey Mantle

2012 Topps Target Exclusive Red Mickey Mantle No-name Error

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  2012 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects Black Michael Wacha Autograph

Bowman Black.

5.  2012 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects Aflac All-American Michael Zunino Autograph

Aflac.

Honorable Mention (not a pack pull but I love it):

1997 Bowman Derek Jeter Autograph

The best player. The best company.  The best autograph.  Definitive.

As you can see, my year was back loaded with hits.  Other than the Mickey Mantle error, all of my best pulls came in the last two months of the year.  That is not to say that I didn’t have fun the rest of the year, but the last two months reaffirmed my love of busting boxes.

Tops 5 Products of the Year:

1.  2012 Topps Mini Baseball

2012 Topps Mini Bryce Harper

Mini baseball, from a design perspective, is no different than the Topps base set this year other than the fact that they are about 1/3 smaller.  While I thought that the Topps base was fine this year, the design is not the reason that I give Mini the product of the year honors, it is the restraint, value, and fun that give it the top spot.  This product, reviewed here, contained a limited number of inserts and the parallels had very limited print runs, meaning that when you pulled an insert or a paralell it felt special, which is something that many products lack: a feeling that you pulled something special.  The product was also limited to, apparently, a few thousand boxes, making everything more valuable on the secondary market.  The limited print run also made pulling printing plates, numbered 1/1, a much easier task.  Boxes were available only through the Topps on-line store and cost, a reasonable, $50.  Mini seemed like a reward to the fans and the collectors and it was fun; I appreciate Topps for doing it.

IMG_1139IMG_1141

2.  2012 Topps Archives

1984

Archives is all about nostalgia and it delivered on nostalgia.  Topps split the base set into four separate, classic designs (the most pleasing, if you ask me, is the 1984), they brought back the fan-favorite autographs, including autos of super-hyped, super rookies Bryce Harper and Yu Darvish, and gave us box-toppers of Billy Zabka (sweep the leg!!!!!) and cut-autos of Vanna White.  What more do you want you greedy jerk?

2012 Topps Archives Oscar Gamble Fan Favorites Autograph2012 Topps Archives Carl Yastrmzeski

3.  2012-13 Panini Threads Basketball

2012-13 Panini Threads Blake Griffin

I’m a notorious Panini hater,  I usually think their designs are busy, the inserts are ridiculous and ugly, and the autos are sticker drops.  Threads fixed most of this.  The design was solid and harkened back to the classic Upper Deck designs of the mid-90’s and the autos were on-card (wood cards for that matter).  The inserts still suck (you can’t win them all).  The set also includes rookie cards from the last two draft classes due to the lock out, however all the rookie cards are autos and therefore super, ultra, mega chase cards (see Anthony Davis above).  While I haven’t had much of a return on these cards on the secondary market (sans Anthony Davis), I like these cards enough just to keep them.  Collecting for the sake of collectin, go figure.

2012-13 Panini Threads Bismack Biyombo Autograph2012-13 Panini Threads Kyrie Irving Floor Generals

4.  Left Field Cards

IMG_1361

Design-wise, this is my favorite product of the year.  These are hand made, letter-press printed baseball cards (though they double as postcards).  My review can be read here.  They can be ordered here.  Since it is my favorite design, you may be asking why they are fourth?  It is really only because they lack the chase aspect of normal cards because they are purchased in series and you know what you are getting ahead of time. (I’m a gambler at heart and love the thrill of the chase).  But don’t get me wrong, I’m still excited about these cards, especially to see what future series have in store.

IMG_1362

5.  2012 Bowman Baseball (+Draft Picks and Prospects)

2012 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects Bryce Harper

What can I say: prospects, prospects, prospects.  Bowman delivers with another solid design, good crop of autographs, and some good inserts and paralells.  Nothing sets this apart from years past, but the product continues to be one of my favorites every year.  Kudos.

IMG_0669  IMG_0674

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Christmas 2012: Just the hits please.

Another year, another Christmas box opened with my pop.  This is year 19 of our Christmas tradition and since we are a family of few traditions this is my favorite.  This years box: 2012 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects.  DP&P is always a must buy, while I don’t recognize a lot of the names the prospector in me knows how important this product will be down the line if any of these guys turn into Pujols, Trout, or Harper since these are the first cards and autographs for many young players.  DP&P is essentially Bowman’s version of Update, so the design is identical to this years Bowman base, which  I find appealing with it’s large pictures, team coordinated borders and simple, silver foil text.

2012 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects Bryce Harper

Valdespin, again.  If Valdespin becomes the next Jeter then I'm in the money with all Jordany RC's I've pulled this year.

Valdespin, again. If Valdespin becomes the next Jeter then I’m in the money with all the Jordany RC’s I’ve pulled this year.

Jeter's successor?  Probably not but a fella can hope.

Jeter’s successor? Probably not, but a fella can hope.

 

The Chrome cards, as is well known, are not my favorite but they are a good investment as they are generally worth 50% more than their non-metallic counterparts.  I’ve actually learned to love Chrome recently, as I’ve realized that reselling my Chrome pulls allows me to recoup some of my cost and keep my favorite players around in all their non-Chrome glory.

2012 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks & Prospects Yoenis Cespedes

Jesmuel.  I can't say it, but I like it.

Jesmuel. I can’t say it, but I like it.

We can’t forget abou the ever-present parallels, which also help increase the value of the product.  No big parallel pulls this time around.  (Don’t worry, there were hits…boy were there hits).

2012 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Blue Abe Ruiz

Blue Refractor

Blue Refractor

Silver Ice

Silver Ice

There is also a solid insert pairing old and new top draft picks, cleverly enough it is called Top Picks.  The cards are nice, featuring consitent black borders with silver and gold accents and blurbs on the back detailing the players as a pair.  These fall 1 in 6, so they are not tough pulls by any means but they do feature some bigger names and could get a few dollars on the secondary market.

2012 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Top Picks Jeter & Almora2012 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Harper & Hamilton

The hits, you say? The hits:

Bowman Black.

Bowman Black.

It took the whole Bowman season, but I finally pulled a Bowman Black Autograph.  I’m not familiar with Michael Wacha, but I do know what /25 means, so Merry Christmas to me.  The card itself is very thick, about 4x thicker than a normal card and is as clean and simple as what you see above.  I really love the silver ink autograph and the simplicity of the card, but there is a pretty big drawback: the condition.  The card has quite a bit of chipping on the edges which I would attribute to the black border and extreme thickness of the card.  I would say this grades an 8 out of the pack, which is unacceptable.  If anyone else had this problem leave a comment, I’d like to know how widespread this issue is.

I would have been satisfied with a single Bowman Black hit, but this was a bonus box, giving me this surprise:

Aflac.

Aflac.

High School All-American autos are a bit of a holy grail for me, there is no auto before these for most of these players and you often get a super cheesy photo out of the deal.  This is actually a 2008 Aflac All-American card, so the design is obviously different than the base set.  As you can see this was serial numbered out of 225, so they are relatively rare.  Zunino had a solid first season, hitting over .300 with 15 homes in 63 games between rookie ball, single A, and double A.

I also pulled a few codes for the Bowman Prospect Challenge.  This is basically a fantasy baseball game where you collect codes which gives you the opportunity to select players who will then accumulate stats over the course of next season.  All the players are prospects and it appears that bonus points will be given, in addition to normal stats based points, when players are promoted.  I’m a fantasy player and a card collector, so this is right up my alley.  Prizes are detailed on the game site.

Based on hits alone, I give this a 5/5.  Factoring in the design, inserts, and new-fangled Bowman fantasy baseball it is a 4.5/5, a worthy purchase for any prospector or autograph hound.

 

 

 

 

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

The Best: In Hand.

I am now the proud owner of the greatest card that I’ve ever seen.  Yes, I finally purchased a 1997 Bowman Derek Jeter Autograph card.

It is a thing of beauty.  The card is so simple, so perfect.  The autograph itself is worthy of the player who signed it.  Rarely do I say this, but it will never be for sale.  Behold:

The best player. The best brand. The best autograph. Definitive.

Tagged , , ,

Threads, success!

Here comes Panini again.  It’s Threads this time.  This is a product I’m usually not a big fan of, but I had to do my duty and pick up a few packs.

First a few interesting things to mention before getting into my packs.  First, all the rookie cards are autos in this set and I’m reading that they are on-card autos. Nice one Panini, you are continuing to move in the right direction.  Second, the rookies are all printed on “wood card stock,” I don’t what that is exactly but hopefully it’s not made from this:

Get it? Woodstock

Third, you get three autos and one memorabilia card per box.  Maybe a name change is in order: Panini Signature Edition?  Finally, following in the footsteps of the prior Threads issue, there are cards shaped like jerseys, which are a cool little touch.  They come in auto and non-auto versions. On to the packs. I will start off by saying that this is the best Panini base design of the year.  The cards have fantastic photography.  The pictures are big and unaltered.  The bottom border is made from copper foil, which is used subtly and adds a nice flourish.  The Panini logo is minimal and not intrusive.  The only complaint I have is the left border, which has a splotchy, faux wall design.  This is by far the nicest, most classic design of the year for Panini.

I absolutely love that angle with the arena as a backdrop. Need more of that.

While I like the idea of doing an all autograph rookie set, I did miss pulling rookies.  My two packs, not suprisingly, did not have any rookie autos, so all I got were a bunch of veteran cards and one insert (more on that in a second).  While making the rookie cards chase cards produces added value and excitement when you pull them, it also makes this a hard product to want to buy individual packs of.  Odds are that most packs from your local retail outlet will not have a rookie, so buying a box seems to be the only reasonable way to excited about opening the product.  With that said, I probably will buy a box of Threads; as I said it has the best base design this season, on-card rookie autos, multiple hits per box, and it costs less than $100 on eBay. Similar to the rookies, the inserts are tougher pulls in this product.  Threads shys away from the one insert per pack standard.  Out of my two packs I pulled only one insert: a Team Threads Jeff Teague card.  This is one of those forementioned jersey shaped cards that are returning.  While I’m not a fan of die cuts I do like these because they are not just a random shape, they actually represent something.  I also like basketball jerseys in general, especially classic designs like old Blazers jerseys or even the new Nets jerseys.

Overall, I think this is a solid product.  The base design is pleasing, on-card autos is a plus (but should be standard), four hits per box is a good thing, and there will be a lot of value on the secondary market because of all the chase cards.  On the down side the base checklist is all vets and some of the inserts reek of Panini trash (Floor Generals, High Flyers, etc.) This is probably a box buy for me and I’ll be generous and give it a 4/5 (subject to change after I see all there is to see).

See checklist here.

    

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

Cards for Sale

I try not to make my blog too commercial, but I’d feel a bit remiss if I didn’t try to help myself here.

Please check out my eBay auctions.  I recently had a bunch of Mike Trout stuff graded and am now selling a bit of it.  There is also quite a few other items for sale at the moment.

Check it out.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

The Best: The Captain

Baseball began for me in the early nineties.  You can look at my previous post about 1991 Topps Baseball for more on that.  When I began caring about baseball my favorite players were already established, guys like Griffey, Strawberry, Nolan Ryan, and Frank Thomas were established and, for the most part, had already had most of their great moments.  Griffey’s meteoric rise had already happened.  Ryan had already pitched all of his no-hitters, and Strawberry’s glory days were behind him.  These weren’t guys I grew up with, these were guys who defined the game before I was even interested in it.  I still loved watching their highlights and, even more, I loved chasing their cards, but they weren’t “my” guys.

All my favorite baseball players from 1992 in one place.

Around 1995 I started rooting for the Yankees above all else.  I no longer identified Ken Griffey, Jr. as my favorite player because he was not a Yankee.  I was true fan.  This was the influence of my dad.  He was always a Yankee fan and he made sure I became one too.  That season was a defining season for me and it was for the modern Yankees.  Though I watched in despair as the Yankees lost to my former favorite player in the ALDS, I also caught a glimpse of the future in the form of Derek Jeter.  The future captain got called up that season to play 15 games.  He hit .250 and I had no idea what was about to happen.

The next season Jeter became a regular, the Yankees hired Joe Torre, and the Yankees won the first of four championships with a Jeter/Torre combination.  I became all to used to October/November baseball and I got to witness the beginning of a career for one of the all-time greatest Yankees and my favorite player.  Since that time my dad and I have collected all-things Jeter, cards, coins, Starting Lineups, and miscelleaneous memorabilia.  He is one of the modern greats, a player with no ties to steroids (unless you talk to the skeptics and the Yankee haters), who played hard day in and day out and did it with one team.  His exploits don’t need to be recounted here, we all know them (first Yankee with 3000 hits, a .313 career average, five rings, and lots of unforgettable playoff moments).  Jeter is more than a great player for me, he is the one truly great player that I’ve been able to follow for his whole career and he has represented the last 16 years of baseball for me.

I own quite a few Jeter cards, including his Topps, Upper Deck, and Bowman rookie cards.  No matter the product, good, bad, valuable or worthless, I save the Jeters.  I know it’s funner to hear about the guys who collect the underdogs or the kooks, but I’m a Jeter guy, like a lot of other collectors, and there’s not much I can do about it.  We share a name and he’s the best player of the last 16 years (disagree with me if you want, but I think the arguments are pretty strong for him), he plays for my favorite team, and he’s the first guy in 25 years with even a plausible shot of breaking Pete Rose’s record.  I’m a Jeter guy and I’m not ashamed of it.  When he retires I’ll miss his sweet swing, his (unnecessary) jumping throws at short, and his diplomatic approach.  He has his flaws (most definitely a liability at SS for a while, doesn’t walk enough), but he’ll be remembered as a great and he should be.

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite Jeter card.  All of his rookie cards are solid choices (the Bowman is my favorite, but I’m a Bowman apologist), though the Topps card has always seemed a bit ugly to me (the background is plain stupid).  But if pressed I would have to pick the only Jeter autograph I own.  Let it be known that my Jeter autograph is the only card I’ve spent more than $100 on.  It is the only one I can imagine dropping that much coin on.  Also, let it be known that there is a Jeter autograph that I covet more than the one I own.  My most wanted card (in the world) is this:

1997 Bowman Autograph Derek Jeter. It’s so clean, the photo is perfect and the signature is immaculate. I will possess it someday.

This is the one that I own:

Forgive the dimness of the photo.

A 1997 Bowman’s Best Derek Jeter autograph.  Graded a 9 by BGS.  While I don’t love shiny cards, I love this one.  The autograph is perfect.  The photo is classic Jeter. And it is my most valuable card.  This will be my favorite card until I get the card mentioned above.

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

The Best: Awww Yeah

I finally got my Derrick Williams autograph.  Awww yeah.

Derrick Williams

2012-13 Panini Prestige Derrick Williams Autograph

I’ve been after his Hoops auto since it released, but the cards were selling for a bit more than I was comfortable paying.  In the meantime, Prestige released and with it, the above pictured card.  I ended up winning this card for less than any of the Hoops autos that I bid on, which was a bit suprising but made me quite happy.  It arrived yesterday and I was like a kid at Christmas.

The card features a decent photo on a shiny background on the top 2/3 of the card. The bottom 1/3 is white with Prestigious Picks in gold lettering and the autograph itself.  I’ll be honest the design is nothing special, my dislike for shiny cards is well-known and the white space is a little too much.  Furthermore, the auto is a sticker drop, which I usually loathe.  But this card is different.  This is the best sticker drop I’ve ever seen.  First, the sticker is not too obvious, it has a very faint hologram on it but otherwise is almost completely clear.  Second, and most importantly, there is a shadowed border around the sticker, giving it the effect of a cut auto bordered by the card.  I think all manufacturers need to adopt this for their sticker autos, it helps hide the fact that it is a sticker and is visually pleasing.  Though I’m not a Panini fan, I will give credit where credit is due and admit that Panini has at least figured out how to make sticker autos more palatable. However, Panini could just do more on-card autos and avoid this all together.  Que sera sera, I guess.

I should admit that I would have loved this card no matter what it loooked like.  It’s one of Derrick Williams first autographs, and it is a fine autograph at that.  I’ve been waiting for his autos to drop since he was drafted, and I’ve had to wait too long because of the lockout.  Williams is one of my top five all-time favorite Arizona basketball players.  His dunks in college, and the pros, were ridiculous and his skills around the hoop, finishing and drawing fouls, were without compare.  He is a beast on offense when he is given an opportunity, we have to remember that led the nation in free throw attempts in his final year at Arizona, evidencing his ability to draw contact, and was one of the leaders in true shooting percentage, which includes free throws and adjusts for the type of shot taken.   I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I hope Minnesota either gives him substantial minutes or trades him.  He deserves a chance on the big stage, he has the athleticism and skills to be a star.

I can legitimately say that I have not been as excited for an Arizona player in the NBA since Damon Stoudamire.  I also have not been as excited for any Arizona players cards since Damon Stoudamire.  Hopefully I can get a few more D-Will autos to go with my Stoudamire collection.  Maybe on-card next time.  You hear me, Panini?

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