Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Trade Package from a fan of the NL Champs

Finally!  We've arrived at the last trade post from September!  The below cards are courtesy Dayton of the newer blog Retro Cub.  Dayton has been posting quality stuff for two months now and has also featured a couple really nice pulls.  Go check it out when you have the chance!

Aside from being yet another Cubs fan (and Cubs collector) to start blogging, I'm not entirely sure of Dayton's collecting niche yet.  However, I do know that he opened up quite a lot of Allen & Ginter from 2012 and that had me interested!  Of the six 'normal' mini inserts from 2012, Dayton was able to help fill in my want list for five of them!

I promise, I'll get back to reviewing Allen & Ginter insert sets in due time... and none of these have been featured in the countdown yet, but they are all solidly in the top half of the list.  2012 was a good year for inserts.

I do think my favorite insert from this trade package was Beethoven's stink/serious face.  His story (and music) always impress me, and I feel every time I read or listen about who he was, I learn some new or crazy fact about his life.

I will always add cards like these to my collection.  I have no particular great affection towards either subject (although traitor Yunel did play very well for my Bravos for a couple years), but I enjoy simply having more rare minis in my collection in general.  Google has learned that I do sometimes play golf in my downtime, so occasionally a targeted ad pops up featuring "the legend" Hank Haney.  Meh.  No interest.  I will not show your face on this blog sir. 

Speaking of more rare minis!  Two framed minis with subjects whose faces I will show!  I've mentioned before that, while I don't particularly follow tennis, I am extremely impressed by what tennis players can do.  Roger Federer is one of the biggest tennis names out there and I'm proud to add this piece to my collection.

Greg Gumbel will forever be linked in my brain as the host of March Madness.  He is so ingrained, that his other accomplishments (whatever they may be are completely irrelevant to me).  This is similar to Bob Costas and Olympic coverage, and more recently, Rebecca Lowe with Premier League coverage.  I enjoy all three of those hosts when they are doing that job.  Actually, I truly believe that Rebecca Lowe is an absolute master of her craft.  Many of you who don't watch the Premier League should have recently seen her help cover the Rio Olympics.

It's a shame that ESPN doesn't have anyone I can immediately point to like this.  Perhaps the closest talent they have at this level is Scott Van Pelt (who I usually enjoy, but whose niche is unfortunately golf) and maybe Bob Ley with his older work.

Dayton didn't forget I was a Braves fan either, sending me two retail only parallels.  The Freeman gold mini is obviously a welcome addition, as he might be the only position playing Bravo that has been with the team for at least a year and is collectible on a long term basis.  Sigh.

Tyrell Jenkins has been in the minors since late 2010 and actually made the move up to the big-leagues this year.  He made 14 appearances (8 starts) and going 6 innings for half of those starts.  His low inning count and a couple really bad starts have really inflated his current MLB ERA.  Hopefully this will be a guy that will step up for us next year.

Unfortunately, this package contained no Cubs or Indians so it didn't allow me talk much about the Series that started last night.  I don't particularly have a rooting interest, but I suppose if I was pressed for a decision, I would be rooting for the Cubs.  I just enjoy good baseball, and mostly good pitching.  Kluber's performance last night.  That's what I like.

Thanks for all the great cards Dayton!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Wild Mr. Haverkamp Appears!

Someone I have only ever heard about via the grapevine e-mailed me back in September (yes... this blog is still living a month behind reality).  I'm accustomed to seeing his name pop up on blogs from time-to-time associated with generous and vintage-filled trade packages.  I apologize in advance if you attempt to scroll down this post prematurely as you will find no vintage here today.

Instead, Mr. Haverkamp reached out to me about how he has been collecting Allen & Ginter minis since 2012 when he discovered Mike Schmidt was included in the checklist.  What followed was a fairly straightforward swap of minis in which Mr. Haverkamp hit my wantlist in the years that I simply wasn't collecting.

2008: I graduated high school in this year; holy crap, that's scary.  I had already started working at my LCS at this point so I was able to get some 2007 Ginter, but not much (since high schoolers tend to be poor).  I had almost no access to 2008 Ginter when it first came out as that would have been just as I was heading off for my first year of college.

When I got what I have: I purchased 2 or 3 hobby boxes of 2008 Allen & Ginter in 2011.  The rest of the set I have obtained solely through trades/single card purchases.

2009: I honestly don't remember much that happened in this year of my life; it is not one I particularly recall with too much fondness.  I do know for sure that I was not collecting baseball cards.

When I got what I have: I have only ever purchased a single hobby box of 2009 Allen & Ginter.  I did, however, obtain a handful of discounted blasters over the years.  Again, most of my acquisitions have been through trades.

2010: The start of my junior (and also my favorite) year of college came with a ton of life changes as well.  I worked a lot within the school-year and had an internship over the summer as well.  This was the year that I really learned that I had, what many would call, "disposable income".  For the most part, I was responsible with it and put the majority of it towards my schooling, but this would also be the first year where I starting poking around the baseball card hobby.  It just so happened to coincide with the year that the Braves started to nose-dive into irrelevance.  Perhaps the start of me collecting was a subconscious way to deal with the Braves being bad.

When I got what I have: There are only two years of Allen & Ginter of which I have never opened a hobby box: 2006 and 2010.  The reason for 2006 is probably fairly obvious... I started aggressively collecting this product between 2011 and 2012, and even just by that time hobby boxes from 2006 were out-of-this world expensive.  While they weren't $350 back then, they were still far more than I was willing to pay (probably in the $250 range).

As for 2010, I had a bit of a misunderstanding.  I've posted about the "World's Most Obnoxious Set" before and I knew I wanted to acquire some of it.  I had set aside some money to spend on 2010 Allen & Ginter, and had enough to either buy 2-3 hobby boxes or a bunch of retail.  I thought retail would be the way to go since I could get some of those retail-only World's Biggest cards.

I bought blasters... a lot of them.

I unfortunately got none of the cards I was looking for, but later found out that the special insert set only came in gravity feed retail packs.  It was certainly a bummer, but I also got the blasters for $10-$11 a pop since I bought them in bulk.

Those were the years that Mr. Haverkamp decided to tackle my mini want lists.  He especially loaded me up with minis from 2008, which happens to still be my favorite year for Allen & Ginter, so I greatly appreciate that!

In some other news this week, it has been announced that Beckett has acquired Zistle, an online card organizing/trading tool that I frequently use.  While one could see the writing on the wall from as long as a year ago, I'm still fairly upset hearing this news.  I used the site mainly to attempt to keep myself organized and help keep my want lists up to date.  I've even used the site to trade with other non-bloggers.  While I certainly don't have my whole collection cataloged in their database, I pretty much had every Allen & Ginter card I owned in there.  15,401 unique entries.

I have no idea what Beckett's plans for the website's future are going to be, but their track record isn't all that good in cases like these.  The above Benjamin Franklin was probably the last card I'll have ever updated on that site.

Perhaps I'm being pessimistic... if someone out there used/uses a site similar to Zistle and has had success with it, I'd love to hear it!  In the meantime, thanks for the trade and checking out my blog Mr. Haverkamp!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Small-Sized September Swap

The third of my September trades was inevitable.  If you mention Allen & Ginter and read blogs at all, I would hope you would think of three people: myself, Democratic Roadkill, and Nachos Grande.  If I'm missing someone who has that same passion for Ginter as we do, please let me know... because it probably means I haven't talked to him/her and I'd definitely want to!

In any case, this trade features cards from Chris of Nachos Grande.  He always opens a decent number of hobby boxes every year of this product and will chase the complete set down in addition to sometimes adding some extraneous subsets to his goals.

I usually do something very similar, so its a natural fit that we trade with each other two or three times a year.  Chris was kind enough to send me a good number of regular backed minis inching me closer to my goal of completing the set.

He also sent me a smattering of black bordered minis which are going towards an "Across the Years" frankenset of black bordered minis.  I'm still slowly working on exactly what that will look like, so I'm not going to explain any further at the moment.

Both of these black border designs feature that artistic design I learned about way back in 4th grade... tiling or tessellations.  I don't remember.  All I know is that when you scan the cards next to each other on the scanner bed, they come out matching almost like puzzle pieces.

The real gem of the package however, were these minis.  2008 Topps Allen & Ginter's minis.  McCutchen... in 2008 you ask?  Well... no, these are not actual Topps products.  These are custom minis from the Munnatawket Bat Company, and Chris overloaded me with a huge stack of these!

I have received a few of these from Chris in the past as he usually uses them a fillers or bonuses in his trades.  I actually requested a few of these in this trade because I enjoy them so much.  The maker of these cards includes modern baseball players (mostly super-stars) along with a plethora of non-sports figures like the above.  If it were up to me, this is the kind of thing I wish Topps would feature more often instead of the recent trend towards comedians and actors.

A recently inducted Hall of Famer next to a future Hall of Famer... yes please.  I actually received so many of these cards from Chris that I think I'm going to need to put together a want list for the whole set.  Just from some of the cards I've received recently, I think the creator of these cards is constantly adding to the set, so it might be a somewhat difficult set build.

Chris didn't stop there though!  He sent me four numbered minis as well!  To be honest, I think its a bit gimmicky to number a custom created set like this, but I appreciate the effort and the alternate back is pretty cool too.  

I'm honestly not too sure how widespread these customs really are.  I know (or at least I'm pretty sure) Chris gets them direct from the creator, and he seems to be the one that spreads these cards around the blogging world, but I also used to see these fairly frequently on eBay or other such outlets.  Its very possible that Topps shut this production down similar to how they recently reached out to defgav and shut his customs down.  That would make me sad... heck, it already makes me sad.

Thanks for the great trade Chris!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Kerry Kauses Kollection to Koruscate

I've been extremely active on the cardboard battlelines this month.  By my count, I've made two COMC purchases, three eBay purchases, and have made multiple trades over a variety of platforms (three on Zistle, two on TheBench, and four via this blog).  That number of transactions may not be a lot for some people, but I feel like I set some kind of record for myself.  I felt like I was getting a new package everyday!

Kerry, from Cards on Cards was one of the first to shoot me an envelope near the beginning of September.  While the trade itself wasn't massive, it was inspiring.

Kerry and I have traded a few times now, and I think a lot of the reason why is because our collection interests are fairly similar.  Both of us seem to chase the Allen & Ginter set each year which helps us both come up with trade bait.  In addition, Kerry has always chased the Topps Heritage set, and this year, I finally decided to do the same.  Kerry kindly sent me his duplicate short prints which are super annoying to find.

The actual inspiration for the trade came when I commented on his blog asking for this card.  In general, I would call myself a fan of country music.  I'm pretty much a fan of any music in which the singer is good and I can understand the words.  Tim McGraw was actually one of my first concerts, so he brings back enough memories that I was willing to trade for this card.

From the McGraw card, Kerry had obviously opened some Topps Chrome from this year.  He's opened some from the past as well, helping me inch closer to my 2014 Topps Chrome set build with this card.

The last card in the package was the above card of Julio Teheran.  Pretty much on its own, this card inspired me to do two things.  One of them I've already mentioned in a past post... and that was to start a PC of Braves pitcher Julio Teheran.  This was the first card that went into that PC!

The second was to go and make a senseless purchase off eBay.  After I saw the Teheran card (the first 2016 Chrome card I had seen), I immediately went to eBay and bought the lowest Buy It Now complete set of 2016 Topps Chrome that I could find.

I had $20 in PayPal credit stored up so I rationalized this purchase as a $35 one.  Shhhh, don't argue with my brain.  

I almost never do this kind of thing, because I like chasing a set and the thrill that the chase brings.  The problem was that I really liked 2016 Chrome... and I would've had to chase it.  I already have enough on my plate right now with Ginter and the silly Heritage SP's, so I decided just to outright buy the set so I wouldn't be tempted by any hobby boxes of the product.

I think it was a good choice.  I got the inserts too!  Thanks Kerry for the trade and boo you for making me spend $55.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ginter Case Baseball Hits

I have quite a few trades I need to post this week, but I figured I would first round up my case of Allen & Ginter I busted almost two months ago now.  I completely forgot that I hadn't done this last post until I saw these scans sitting in my "to blog" folder.  So, without further blabbing, below you will find all my baseball hits from my 2016 Allen & Ginter case break.

This year, you were pretty much guaranteed two RIP cards instead of the normal one.  My first was a beautiful single subject card numbered to 25.  This one still resides unripped in my box of never-never land cards.

The second RIP card was this dual-subject rip numbered to 50.  I actually ended up ripping this card just the other day.  The post on that is here if you care to check it out.  I ended up with a Trout and Encarnacion extension mini which I was fairly happy with.

Here's a few of the baseball framed relics I received.  They were actually incredibly hard pulls this year.  My case yielded only four of them.  For the most part, the vast majority of boxes contained two full-sized relics and then either a framed relic or framed auto.  Clearly, the autograph rate was up this year as I received more autos than I did of these relics. 

These relic subjects certainly didn't disappoint though!  Two of the league's best hitters, a top tier pitcher, and a media icon that can't get his head out of his own ass.  I'm happy with them all!

The last few baseball hits are of the blue ink variety.  Year in and year out, Allen & Ginter always has an interesting auto list.  The non-sport subjects (most of which are usually short printed) tend to be all over the map and far as notoriety, and then the baseball subjects seem to be very random as well.  All of the baseball autos tend to be extremely hit or miss as, for some reason, Topps tends to shy away from getting auto subjects from your 2nd tier star list for this set.

Instead, they choose to short print baseball auto subjects of old-timers and superstars like Trout, Harper, Kershaw, and Bryant, and then throw in a bunch of rookie and sophomore year guys like the above.

Another rookie prospect found in the case.  This one came from the infamous #Box9.  Back when I pulled it, Peraza really hadn't seen all that much play.  He now is batting .326 in 66 games played this year.  I'd say that's doing pretty good!

The last baseball auto I received was this black framed parallel numbered 11/25 of Mets rookie Matt Reynolds.  While I'll admit I love the black frame, the auto subject doesn't do a ton for me.  As a Braves fan, I'm as close to a "Mets hater" as you can get especially since I live up in the Northeast.  I certainly don't know much about Reynolds either other than briefly looking up his stats online (hint: they aren't spectacular).

I'd be remiss if I left this last card off this post.  While I've shown it already, and it isn't exactly a hit, it seems to be a decently rare SSP that I'm going to consider part of the base set since I have it.  Honestly, if I hadn't pulled the card, I don't think I'd actively go chasing this card down, as it's a bit gimmicky to me.  I suppose if Topps feels that they have to print SSP's, then this is the way to do them.  No errors, photo variations, or a base card numbered 351 (at the end of the set).  No, make the card somewhat unique... make it feel like its not part of the base set at all, and make it a unique or differentiating subject.  I approve of this.  Not saying I'd go buy these cards, but I'm okay with it existing.

Long story short... all of the cards above are still in my possession except for two:  The double rip card has been ripped and made its way to Duane, while the Blake Snell auto went out in my Ginter Contests.

The Urias SSP is tucked neatly away in my master set binder, but everything else you see here is free game.  Give me a shout if you're looking to trade!