Tuesday, December 28, 2010

First Day Issues Top 5 Pulls of 2010

Two thousand and ten was a banner year for me in terms of card collecting with a bevy of big money hits and rare pulls. Of course I also spent a boatload of money, but in the end, I'd say I did pretty well. Judge for yourself:

#5) 2008 Bowman Draft Gordon Beckham RC Auto Refractor #/500: This might not be the biggest pull in terms of monetary value after Beckham's stinker of a season, but considering I pulled it from two packs at a gas station, I feel it deserves to make the list. The card is in great condition and I might send it in to BGS or PSA if I ever work up the energy. It'll be tough to pull a better card from a gas station, but I'll never rule it out...

#4) 2010 Topps Chrome Awkwasi Owusu-Ansah Superfractor RC #1/1: I thought I might go my whole collecting career without pulling a superfractor but in my second ever hobby box of football cards I pulled this beauty. Now, Akwasi Owusa-Ansah (henceforth referred to as AOA) isn't exactly a household name, but anybody in a Cowboys uniform is a potential hobby star and I can't complain about an amazing looking card that was 1:2,500+ packs.

#3) 2009 Bowman Draft Jared Mitchell Gold Refractor #37/50: With some of the proceeds of the sale from card number one on this list (you won't want to miss that) I purchased a box of 2009 Bowman Draft from Atlanta Sports Cards and pulled a Mike Minor RC Auto and this Jared Mitchell Gold Refractor RC Auto which sold for $150. It was tough to part with because I love the design of 2009 Bowman, but I don't have the courage for high stakes prospecting, so I dropped it like it was hot.

#2) 2010 Topps Platinum Sam Bradford/Colt McCoy Dual Auto #13/25: This card came from my very first hobby box of football cards after the frustration of not pulling a patch/auto out of countless retail blasters reached it's boiling point. I ordered this box from Blowout Cards and although it didn't contain a patch auto (Topps rectified the situation later) I was awfully happy to pull a dual auto of the top rookie quarterbacks. With Bradford's strong season and McCoy's late season emergence, I was able to sell this on eBay for a cool $150. If only every box was so fruitful...

#1) 2008 Bowman Draft Jason Heyward Aflac Auto SP: Early on in 2010 I was hooked on Bowman Draft after pulling a few autos from a box of the 2009 variety. I decided to go after a box of 2008 Draft but finding one at the right price (less than $100) proved elusive. I finally gambled on a box from eBay even though I didn't really have the money for it at the time...call it hunch. About 2/3 thirds of the way through the box I hadn't pulled a single card of note until this jawdropper emerged. With Heyward's hobby star rising and the extreme rarity of this card, I was able to sell it for an unbelievable $500 dollars. The pull of a lifetime? Maybe...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bunch O' Bowman Platinum (Shiny Goodness)

I won't say exactly how much money I've spent on the retail variety of 2010 Bowman Platinum but I've been well rewarded with plenty of shine and some on-card autos of up-and-coming stars. This is an extremely feast or famine product with some blasters containing absolutely nothing but base while other blasters produce an autograph and an auto/jersey. It's a fun break but the time to buy is now as Topps generally front loads blasters to build up buzz only to send out duds later on. I bought my brother a blaster for Christmas and he pulled a Jonathan Singleton autograph (the best in the set, selling for over $40 on eBay) and I didn't do too bad with my breaks either. Here's the goods:
J.P Arencibia RC Refractor #/999

Steven Hensley #25/99

Mike Trout Purple Refractor

Jake McGee Refractor Auto

Jiovanni Mier Blue Refractor #77/99

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Box Break: 2009 Bowman Chrome (Rare Hit!)

This is the last of three boxes I purchased from Atlanta Sports Cards on their Black Friday sale--yes I know I'm very slow at posting. Without a doubt 2009 Bowman Chrome is my favorite product of the last few years (Ginter is of course excluded from this ranking--it's untouchable). I love the look of the base and prospect cards and with 10 or so refractors per box, it's a very fun break. The autograph checklist is average (which can always change from year to year) but are well designed so that the signatures really "pop" from the white box behind them. I ended up with a pretty good box, depending on how well the prospect I pulled pans out. Here's the goods:

Chase Utley/Some WBC Guy/Zack Grienke Refractors: As always, Bowman Chrome refractors look great and make a good looking set even better. The only downside to 2009 Bowman Chrome is the inclusion of WBC players. The Watanabe is numbered to 500 and I would have much preferred a prospect. No such thing as perfect I suppose.

Dan Haren/Ryan Zimmerman X-Fractors #/250: Everyone loves x-fractors so why did Topps decide to do away with them for 2010 Bowman? The world will never know, but I didn't have to worry about that because 2009 Bowman Chrome delivers two per box. I was happy with the players I pulled, although now that Haren is in the AL West I wish bad things would happen to his pitching arm. I'm a terrible person.

Ryan Ludwick Blue Refractor #/150: These blue refractors are absolutely breathtaking (and I don't throw around that term like that doctor in the Hamptons on Seinfeld) and if I had the money and the diligence I would seriously consider putting together the full set. Since I don't, I'll probably just send this to Kerry at Cards on Cards (of amazing Albert Pujols 1/1 fame).

Kyle Weiland Orange Refractor Auto #8/25: I'd never pulled an orange refractor (a real orange refractor, not the value-pack variety) so I was very excited when I saw the orange sheen of this card as I opened the pack. I was thrilled when I found out it was an orange autograph (1:1,500 packs) of Red Sox farmhand Kyle Weiland. The 6'4" right hander was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2008 draft and posted a 5-9 record with a 4.42 ERA and 120 K's in 128 innings. Hopefully, he has a break out season in 2011 and I can cash this in for a nice Griffey.

Overall Thoughts: Love the product, loved this box. What more I can I ask for?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Card of the Week: 2010 Topps Sterling Stan Musial Mystery Pack Gold #2/5

Since I would never buy a box of the colossal money bonfire that is Topps Sterling (if you like 10% ROI this is your set) I had to turn to eBay to pick up this slick looking card of one of my favorite players. The gold parallel looks great in person and is about as thick as most standard jersey cards. I scored a bit of a deal because the card was listed in the football rather than the baseball card section, and while I'm sure Stan the Man was talented enough to play any sport, he definitely played for the Cardinals and not the Rams. Very happy to add this card to my collection and I will certainly look to add some more Sterling to my collection. Thanks for looking!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Box Break: 2006 UD Artifacts (Not Bad)

This is the second of three boxes I got from Atlanta Sports Cards on Black Friday. 2006 UD Artifacts has 3-4 hits per box in just 10 packs so there isn't a lot of wasted base cards (which is good, because they are kind of boring). The autograph checklist is pretty strong, so I was hoping to pull a big name, and this box was definitely better than Fleer Platinum. Here's the goods:

Derek Jeter Base Card: Pretty standard, but better than later years of Artifacts. That does not look like a Gold Glove shortstop to me. Just saying.

Mark Loretta AL Artifacts Jersey #317/325: I don't know if there is a more boring player to pull from a pack than Mark Loretta. Jose Lopez? Don't get me wrong, he's not a bad player, just not one I ever want to pull a jersey card of again.

Huston Street MLB Game-Used Apparel Jersey #193/250: Another yawn.

Graig Nettles Auto-Facts Autograph #75/300: While I didn't pull an autograph of a Hall-of-Famer, Graig Nettles and his 390 career HR's is a pretty nice consolation price. Please take notes Topps and Panini, this is how you should design a sticker autograph card. A very slick looking card that hides the sticker well.

Overall Thoughts: For 30 bucks this is a pretty fun box to open, although I wouldn't pay much more than that. The jerseys are kind of boring but the autographs look good and there are plenty of star players to pull. I would be willing to trade the jerseys if anyone wants them but I think I will hang on to the auto for a while. Thanks for looking! Stay tuned for box number three!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Double Rainbow!!

Alright it's just one rainbow but it's my second in the past month so that's got to count for something (so many apostrophes in that sentence). I realize that most people have never heard of Akwasi-Owusu Ansah, but since I pulled the superfractor I was legally obligated to complete the rest of the set after starting with the most difficult card. I was actually able to track down all the cards in about two weeks thanks to some friendly eBay sellers (goodness does still exist in the heart of man--at times) and a little good luck. I think it looks pretty wicked cool altogether--now I just need AOA to turn into a superstar kick returner ala Dante Hall, or a rapper. I would listen to a rapper named AOA and I don't even like rap. Here be rainbows:

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Box Break: 2004 Fleer Platinum Rack Pack (OUCH)

This was the first of three Black Friday boxes I ordered from Atlanta Sports Cards (all for around $33 bucks) and this was by far the worst. The box was advertised as having four packs with an "Inscribed" auto in each pack. The site warned that there were redemptions in the product, although the autos of Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard were both pack inserted, so I wouldn't have to worry about missing out on a big hit to passed deadline. I figured I might pull a redemption, but I certainly wasn't prepared for what happened:

Billy Wagner Auto Redemption (x2) and Ryan Wagner Auto Redemption (x1): That's right, out of four packs I pulled three redemptions all of players with the last name Wagner (better than running into a Baldwin brothers box but still...) Technically these redemptions never expire but since Fleer went out of business I might have a tough time getting the cards in hand. I'm thinking of sending one of the Billy Wagner redemptions for a TTM. How cool would that be?

Laynce Nix Inscribed Auto #156/200: The last pack in the box finally delivered an auto, although not the Albert Pujols I had been dreaming of. Nix has carved out a career as 4th outfielder but never quite lived up to his enormous potential. Apparently the Mariners are looking to sign Nix to provide some depth of thier bench, so expect a terrible year from him in 2011. It's the Mariner way. On a side note the autos are well designed, though that doesn't really ease the sting of going one for four, and yes I know I should be used to that after my high school baseball career.

Hit of the box: Double Pujols. I'm just going to leave that one alone.

Overall Thoughts: As a riverboat gambler (I've wanted all my life to have this title despite the fact that I take very few risks. I'm also hoping I can get the nickname "Night Train" to stick) I'm used to big wins and stinging defeats. This was definitely the latter and is a good reminder of the dangers of buying old wax. Of course most new products stink so collectors are really caught between a rock and a hard place. The box was pretty boring to open because there weren't any inserts other than the autos and the collation was terrible. I probably will steer clear of this in the future, but then again, how could I possibly do worse? Stay tuned for the next two boxes; I promise they won't be this bad.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pack Attack: Topps Chrome Wrapper Redemptions

Here's what Brian and I got from our wrapper left over from the box busting bonanza. I was a little disappointed we didn't receive a Strasburg or Posey, but it was a solid group of players overall. The cards look great in person and don't seem to have any of the quality control issues that the regular Topps Chrome set had. Thanks for looking!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Card of the Week: 2009 Topps Platinum Dwayne Bowe 3-Color Patch/Autograph #21/150

I actually pulled this from a blaster of Platinum last year but didn't post it because Dwayne Bowe was playing awful and I'm fairly lazy (at least when it comes to blogging). This season has been a completely different story as Dwayne Bowe has become a fantasy monster, scoring touchdowns in seven straight games including three against the Seahawks over the weekend. He's the major reason why my fantasy team (Vick's Vapor Rubs formerly known as Korn on the Kolb) has turned an 0-4 start into a 7-5 record and a shot at a first round bye in the make believe playoffs (depending on this weekend's outcome). The least I could do to thank Mr. Bowe for his contributions to my team is show off this great looking card:

Let's go Vick's Vapor Rubs!

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Rainbow of Griffeys on a Black Friday

Yes, I realize that this is two Fridays in a row that I've used color(s) in the title of my post...is that a crime? Anyway, I recently finished a project I've been working on for close to a year--the 2008 UD Heroes Ken Griffey Jr. rainbow. It's the first rainbow I've completed (two more are in the works) and it's fitting that it would be of my favorite player. It looks great in person (you can get a better look at it by enlarging the picture) and I've got to give a big shout out to Ed at Roll out the Barrel who traded me the purple variation (I haven't seen a single one on eBay since) way back when. Thanks Ed! Now, marvel in beauty of a Griffey rainbow:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bowman: A Colorful Cure for a Case of the Fridays

In an earlier post I said I wasn't going buy anymore 2010 Bowman Chrome but for just $8.99 those value packs are tough to say no to. I'm glad I caved--this one turned out pretty well:

Armando Rodriguez Green X-Fractor RC

Graham Stoneburner Green X-Fractor RC

Bryan Mitchell Purple Refractor RC #/899
Matt Davidson Green X-Fractor RC
Aroldis Chapman Purple Refractor #876/899

Thanks for the look! None of the cards are for trade right now.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

King Felix Captures the AL Cy Young Award

Two thousand and ten was an absolutely terrible year to be a Mariners fan (which was compounded by the loss of Dave Niehaus). Thankfully, we got to witness brilliance every fifth day when Felix Hernandez took the mound. Despite winning only 13 games (he was supported by one horrendous offense) he led the league in nearly every other statistical category and sabermetricians (different from the people who study Wolverine) everywhere can celebrate the voters getting it right. Congrats Felix! The King finally gets his crown.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Box Break: 2010 Topps Chrome Football (Super!)

I was looking to add an inexpensive box to the order for Brian and Bud's Box Busting Bonanza (stay tuned for the sequel sometime in the future) to get free shipping from Blowout and after some substantial hemming and hawing, decided on a box of 2010 Topps Chrome Football. I wasn't counting on much, but as it turned out, I pulled what will probably be a once in a lifetime hit. Here are the two cards worth mentioning:

Rob Gronkowski Rookie Auto: Though I didn't hit an auto from the scarce Group A I was still lucky enough to pull one of the better autos from Group B. Rob Gronkowski was the Patriots second round pick and had a monster game last night, hauling in three touchdown passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not bad, but not nearly as a cool as...

Akwasi Owusu-Ansah SUPERFRACTOR Rookie: I thought I might go my entire collecting lifetime without ever pulling a superfractor, and that scared me (not really). Considering how difficult they are to pull, and how few products they are in, it was a very real possibility. But then, in the third pack of my second football box ever, I saw Akwasi Owusu-Ansah glaring at me from this gold-bordered beauty. The card looks amazing in person and is one of the few one-of-ones that lives up to the hype. I realize that Akwasi Owusu-Ansah isn't the most highly collected player out there, but it doesn't diminish the value of this card to me, and makes it easier to keep it in my personal collection indefinitely.

Note the numbering: 1 of 1!

Overall Thoughts: Well, anytime you pull a superfractor, I think you are legally obligated to give the box a thumbs up. 2010 Topps Chrome football definitely looks better than the baseball edition and at only $40 a box, it's not a bad gamble for a chance at a Bradford, Tebow or in this case, superfractor. Thanks to this box, I can cross another collecting goal of my list. Next up: a cut autograph!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Card of the Week: 2010 Topps Chrome Dexter "Run DMC" McCluster Rookie Autograph

I've busted a boatload of 2010 Topps Chrome Football retail this year and done awfully well. My top pulls include a Ndamukong Suh SP Variation (sold for $16), Sam Bradford X-Fractor (sold for $11) and a Dez Bryant Orange Refractor (sold for $7) in addition to a bevy of rookies and refractors (which will sell nicely as a lot). Sure I'm not making money, but anytime you can break close to even on retail is a victory, and I've got lots of nice cards for my PC to boot. Last week I grabbed a blaster and promised myself I would stop buying Chrome retail if I pulled an auto (like that would happen). Sure enough, I did, and a good one too. While Dexter McCluster is hurt right now, he flashed some exciting potential during his time on the field, and looks like a big part of the Chiefs turnaround. I was awfully happy with my Run DMC auto but it doesn't compare to what I pulled from my hobby box of Chrome--stay tuned for that!

2010 Topps Chrome Dexter McCluster Rookie Auto

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Brian and Bud's Box Busting Bonanza: Results!

I busted the two boxes of 2010 Topps Chrome for Brian and I today and was fairly pleased with the results. We received the promised number of autographs with two decent prospects (Wilson Ramos and Jon Jay) and a very tough to pull red refractor (1:370 packs). The cards were in pretty good shape, but the base cards had some centering issues and the some of the refractors had a strange thin powder coating on them. At only $35 a box, 2010 Topps Chrome isn't a bad gamble, although the autograph checklist is weak and colored refractors are hard to find. Still, I had a lot of fun busting the boxes, and I hope that the Killer B's (Brian and Bud) will reunite soon for some more box breaks.
Brian's Spoils:
--> Refractors (9): Wandy Rodriguez Red Refractor #21/25,
--> Inserts (3): Dustin Pedroia Heritage Chrome #/1961, Martin Prado Heritage Chrome #/1961, Pablo Sandoval t206 Chrome #/999
--> Autos (2): Wilson Ramos and Cole Gillespie


Pedroia Heritage Chrome, Kung Fu Panda t206, Martin Prado Heritage Chrome

Cole Gillespie RC Auto

Wilson Ramos RC Auto

Wandy Rodriguez Red Refractor #21/25

Bud's Spoils:
--> Refractors (8): Stephen Strasburg RC, Ken Griffey Jr., Jay Bruce, Brandon Webb, Rick Porcello, Adam Jones, Hiroki Kuroda, Akinori Iwamura
--> Inserts (3): Phil Hughes Chicle Refractor #/499, Hanley Ramirez t206 Chrome #/999, Wandy Rodriguez Heritage Refractor #/561
--> Autos (2): Jon Jay Refractor #/499 and Drew Butera

Base Refractors

Hughes Chicle, Hanley t206, Wandy Heritage Chrome
Drew Butera RC Auto

Jon Jay RC Refractor Auto #/499

Friday, November 5, 2010

Brian and Bud's Box Busting Bonanza: Coming Soon!

Monday! Monday! Monday! Brian from Play at the Plate and I will be splitting two boxes of 2010 Topps Chrome Baseball--stay tuned for results and possible video of the breaks. You don't wanna miss it!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pack Attack: 2010 Bowman Chrome Valu-Pak

Against my better judgment I grabbed a value pack of 2010 Bowman Chrome (3 packs plus 3 green xfractors) and another lone pack for a look at the retail exclusive green xfractors. They look great, but the rest of the cards leave something to be desired. Out of four packs I didn't pull another refractor, even of a veteran, and the odds on this product are astronomical. With Stras-mania in a full-blown recession, this product is going to bottom out in a hurry. I think I'll stick to singles from here on out. Let me know if you see anything you like. Thanks!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Card of the Week: 2009 Bowman Sterling Alex White Cyan Printing Plate Auto #1/1

I had been trying to add a printing plate to my collection for quite some time but just never found the right player at a reasonable price until just a few weeks ago. I was thrilled to win this card for less than the cost of a blaster (why don't I spend more money on singles?) especially since Alex White looks like he might be in Cleveland as soon as 2011 (he went 10-10 with a 2.45 ERA in 2010 between Single and Double-A) and the card is autographed in addition to being a one-of-one. The printing plate is a lot lighter than I thought it would be considering it's made of metal. A very cool card and one that has a chance to take off if White makes a splash next season.



Thanks for the look!