Friday, June 30, 2017

The 2017 Contest of Gintery Goodness - Part One

Woo!  Allen & Ginter is around the corner... and you know what that means for this little blog!  

I'm holding contests.  Yes plural. 

The prize structure is roughly the same from past year, though I cut out the option of getting the entire set because that's basically what everyone seemed to want.  I wanted to be able to offer this prize to more people so now you get the base set plus 20 random SP's and will have the great privilege of chasing down the remaining 30!  Depending on how many people end up choosing this, I may increase the number of random SP's.  My plan is to have zero extra SP's in my collection after awarding these prizes.

Otherwise, if you are lucky enough to win one of these contests over the next couple weeks you will get to choose your prize from the following:

  • complete base set plus 20 random SP's of 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter
  • A selected 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter relic/autograph or two (2) full sized relics (by you) from those I pull (there will be a minor number of disqualifications, but you'll get to see the full list before choosing this option)
  • Your choice of six (6) 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter base baseball box toppers I pull
  • Your choice of 20 A&G back minis
  • A copy of every duplicate I pull from the 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter What A Day! set (on average this should be about 3/4 of the set)
  • Your choice of 30 duplicate inserts (mini or regular sized, minis count as 2)

I would note that these are all limited by who ends up wanting what.  Obviously, I will only pull so many inserts/minis/ect.  If needed, I'll have a drawing to see who will get to pick their prize first.  Regardless, everyone should come away happy.  I'll probably throw in some random goodies just because I feel like it as well!

Your first avenue to entry is simple, and is identical to last year!  Simply comment on this post!  So easy!

All commenteers will be thrown headlong into a random drawing.  Last one standing will get a prize of their choice (see above).

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

2009 Upper Deck Goudey - A Single Pack

A while ago I busted a single pack of 2009 Upper Deck Goudey.  It's been sitting next to my scanner for months now and I'm just now getting around to writing about it.  Let's take a quick peek.

Each box of 2009 Upper Deck Goudey contained 18 packs with 8 cards per pack.  This was really my first real look at this product as I wasn't collecting until after Upper Deck lost its license in 2010.  I think I may have gotten one or two of these cards as throw-ins in a trade package, but I don't recall any with this exact design so they were probably from a different year.

The design really doesn't do it for me.  While I will say these cards look better in-hand than on the scanner bed, the background colors really are a bit vomit inducing.

The art styling here seems a bit odd to me as well.  There are certain cards like the Utley above that look completely hand-drawn, while others, like this Drew here, seem to be a photograph with a filter.  The change in detail level between cards confuses me.

I don't mind these card backs.  They're fairly simple and get across what they need to, while choosing to feature (and highlight) a short write-up on each player.  They're legible and fairly informative.

 I did get a Brave from the pack which was nice.  Not really a great looking card though.  I always hated Andy Pettitte growing up.  He pitched a decent number of games against the Braves in the World Series and seemed to always get out of hot water even though we hit him fairly well.  Super frustrating.

This Kinsler card is weird... almost square.  It's like they cut an inch off the top of a normal baseball card.  Small boy instead of tall boy?  In any case, I don't like them.  I'll stick to my tobacco cards.  This last card featuring Yankee greats is pretty darn cool.  The red frame makes it stand out a bit too, and even though there still exists some of that strange background coloring, there's much less of it so it's almost a decent card! 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

2017 Allen & Ginter Preview - Evaluating Inserts

You all know I'm an Allen & Ginter set collector above all else by now.  As has been customary for me the last few years, I ordered myself a case of the product... and paid for it long before Judge and Bellinger mania began.  The release date this year is Wednesday, July 19th which is almost exactly three weeks away!  If you can't already tell, I'm pretty excited.

The sell sheet for the product has been out for quite some time, but I figured I'd go over it and highlight what I like/don't like about what I'm seeing.  I'm pulling this info from Cardboard Connection and you can find it here too if you're curious.

I'm not going to say a whole heck of a lot about card design because a picture can really only tell you so much.  I will be perfectly honest and say that I wasn't overly impressed with the direction they are taking with the base card design this year.  I'm actually really curious how this design is going to implement non-baseball subjects.  I do think there are ways that this design could actually work, so I will reserve further judgement.

Same with the minis... can't really say too much about them yet.  I am excited they are going back to full black minis instead of speckled black borders.  This may mean the end of Allen & Ginter X as we know it, but I might be okay with that seeing as it was just another money sink for me.

The autographs are interesting.  I will say this frame looks awesome, but I've come to expect that.  Another thing I think I like is the fonting they've chose for the "Allen & Ginter" text.  It's more blocky and less scripty than the past.  Different, but I like it.

It appears as if Topps has kept the same configuration on the product (same 50 SP's with 12 expected per box, same 3 hits per box as well).

Finally the insert sets... which are always my favorite.  Here's what's been announced thus far with a few predictions/opinions:

What a Day! (above): This is your annual 100 card baseball themed insert set.  I actually really like this and it looks like its designed fairly well.  I'm excited to see if they'll use dates not just from last year and if they'll use pictures from the games in which the player actually "went off".  This could really be an awesome set depending on both those things.  Reminds me of the Baseball Highlights Sketches from 2009-2012... sets that I tended to enjoy.
Revolutionary Battles: Super, SUPER excited for this set.  I hope it's not just 10 cards.  I've always loved historically based cards and this set could potentially be awesome. 
Sport Fish & Fishing Lures: This set somewhat intrigues me... but I also have zero faith in it.  I'm not big into fishing at all, so I also really don't think I will understand it.  Probably doesn't have much potential to really be all that good looking either... we shall see.  
World's Fair: I feel like A&G has already done something like this before.  I don't know what direction they will take it.  I think they could probably come away with a halfway decent set if they highlight locations the World's Fair has been at.  Not expecting much here.

Mini Inserts
World's Dudes (above): The sell sheet states that this is going to be a 40-card set. Woah... that's going to be a lot of ugly red.  The set itself *could* be okay I suppose.  It's certainly immediately better than last years big mini set of US Mayors, and the year before featured First Ladies which was a bit of a snooze-fest as well.  So that's something to be happy about.  These could at least be entertaining.
Bust a Move!: This is a complete crap-shoot for me.  I have zero clue about dancing, though I still see possible potential here.  I think it would be pretty cool if they highlighted dancing athletes (i.e. Cam Newton dab, Jose Bautista bat flip, Chicago Cubs dancing in the bullpen, ect.), but I doubt that's what they're going for here.
Constellations: Pretty excited about this set.  Space on cardboard always gets me... and its pretty hard to do wrong.  Big expectations here.
Required Reading: I'm actually surprisingly looking forward to this set.  I wouldn't call myself a huge reader, but I think this is exactly what these insert minis should be focused on.  Highly recognizable odd-ball stuff.  I don't expect a beautiful insert set here, but I definitely expect to learn something.  B+:
Magicians & Illusionists: I'm not expecting a whole lot here.  While I'm somewhat intrigued by magicians, I don't think cardboard can really do them justice.  Magic is all about presentation, and I truly don't think there is a good way to represent magic on a piece of cardboard.  I'd love to be proved wrong though!  Topps, impress me!

Obviously, there's more than just those inserts.  Topps never fully spoils the A&G checklist until release day.  There's always surprises to be found which is part of the fun of the product.  I'm still as excited as ever to dive into my case in three weeks!

Also, if you've been around my blog in the past, you'll know I do a contest on the release of Allen & Ginter.  That's not stopping this year!  Look for posts on that starting later this week!

Monday, June 26, 2017

I Didn't Truly Realize How Far $80 Goes.

A few days ago I started a post with some recent Teheran pick-ups from eBay.  Those cards were part of a much larger purchase where I had to eclipse $80 to get 15% off the entire purchase.  I thought of it like grabbing a discounted hobby box.

I started off with a bunch of BIG cards.  I'm trying to chase all the non-baseball boxloader sets that Allen & Ginter has put out.  There's not a whole lot of them and they don't tend to be too pricey, its just that no one really wants to send them because they are so big and awkward.

This Pride of the People set from two years ago happens to be one of my favorite boxloader sets.  I was actually pretty disappointed when last year's Ginter boxloaders only featured baseball players.  According to the sell sheet, it looks as if that is going to be the case this year as well.

2013 had this massive 21 card set featuring wonders (ancient, natural, and modern).  If you've never seen these old style boxloaders (before 2014), they're enormous and actually quite hard to find in decent condition because of how clunky they are to store.  These babies take up the entire scanner bed by themselves.

I was also lucky enough to find one of these boxloaders from 2008 in my price range which was around $2-3 a card.  I was happy to cross a number of these off my list and throw them into proper storage, which for these is a small plastic filing 'cabinet' (but really... it's just a box).

These are some cool ones.  Even though I already had all three, I was happy to nab all three of these for a buck as they are somewhat rare minis seeded one per half-case.  You also don't see them all that often, so I figured I would pick them up as a bit of trade bait.

Who doesn't like planes on one of the better Allen & Ginter designs??

...or sharks for that matter!

Back to cards I actually needed... these are mini inserts called Baseball Icons.  They were seeded in every other hobby box, and these last three finally saw me complete the 17 card set!

This Thurman Munson might have been my favorite card from that entire set.  Lookin' mean after just finishing his swing.  Hey Panini, I don't see a logo on this card... you could probably do something like this.

Fast forwarding to a bit more of the modern side of Ginter.  I'm still working on this framed relic set from two years ago.  I've put quite a good chunk into it and am now almost two thirds complete.

This particular relic might have dropped down to the cheaper end of spectrum after seeing the subject get suspended this season.  I don't mind.  I'm happy to add it to the set build!

Finally, I dropped some money into cards I'd probably never get in trades.  The above Gymnasticon plus all the other minis below are cards I needed from case hit mini insert sets.  

They all tend to be quirky or odd (like the above very gross cockroach), but I must have all the minis, so they all get bindered away.

One of my favorites of these pickups was the above Shovel Racing card.  I remember attempting to do this type of thing as a kid, but I can't say I ever really got above 10mph... let alone 70mph.  Wow!

The final two case hit pickups come from sets I've barely put a dent in.  For whatever reason, these two sets plus the Fashionable Ladies sets always seem scare and tend to command a higher price-point.  $8.25 for that guy in a Fedora... seemed like a good deal at the time.

Even with all the Teheran's plus all of the above, I had yet to hit my $80 mark.  I thought about adding some more (even pricier) case hit inserts, but they all seemed a bit too ridiculous for my liking.  No, instead I went with something that I don't usually collect.

I was in the Ginter section of eBay, so it was inevitable that their algorithms would start understanding what I was after.  

Silks started catching my eye and the fact that both of these were pretty steeply discounted from their original list price helped out a lot as well.  Braves pitching... right up my alley.  I've always wanted a few more of these silks to add to my collection.  They are A&G cards after all!

Those two ended up putting me quite a bit over that $80 budget, but with the 15% off I figured I had walked away with that Glavine almost for free... almost.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Allen & Ginter Insert Overview Series #78

Set: 2011 Allen & Ginter World's Most Mysterious Figures
            Total Cards: 10
            Stated Odds: 1:15

Bubba’s Derived Odds: 1:15
           # of Hobby Boxes Needed to Obtain Set: 6.25

If you've been following these from the beginning, then you'll know the only mini sets we've gotten to so far have been from 2011.  Obviously, this post is no exception.  Since this is the last mini set we'll see in quite some time in this series, I wanted to briefly touch on why this is the case.

If you open up a modern hobby box of Allen & Ginter (2012-current) you can generally expect roughly 5 mini inserts per box.  Based on the year, these numbers may vary slighty, but this is generally going to be the case.  In the early days of Topps Allen & Ginter (2006-2009), there simply weren't all that many mini inserts printed so you generally pulled less of them anyways.  In fact, Topps really didn't start pursuing mini inserts until 2008-09, and when they saw how well they were received printing exploded.

In 2010, if you bought a hobby box, you could expect to pull 9-10 mini inserts per box.  To this day finding specific 2010 regular non-insert (base set) minis can be quite difficult as the overall print run wasn't very high and they were seeded so much lower per box.  What 2010 did have going for it was the sheer number of mini insert sets.  If we forgo the two case hit sets, there were six different mini sets to chase all with a fairly high quantity of cards; 134 total cards.

Fast forward to 2011 and we were still expected to pull roughly nine mini inserts per hobby box.  The difference this year was that, not only was there one less non-case hit insert set to chase (5 instead of 6), but the sets overall were much smaller (most of them being only 10 cards).  There are only 70 minis in these sets... just over half of 2010!  This is part of the reason that 2011 Allen & Ginter sealed product is so cheap to this day; a third of the minis you pull are borderline worthless.

Not to mention... most of these minis didn't look very good.  Case and point below...

Favorite (Owned) Card:

I don't know... I just don't really enjoy how this set presents itself.  D.B. Cooper and Rasputin were probably the only two individuals I recognized off the bat... and that's usually a good thing.  I tend to like Allen & Ginter insert sets because they teach me something new and unique.

Notes and Comments:
For some reason I simply wasn't interested in the content this set had to offer.  Mysterious figures that I've never heard of before... simply aren't mysterious.  I've read a little of the D.B. Cooper incident and everyone seems to have their own opinion on what occurred.  It intrigues me a little, but my mind works in a fashion that tells me everything (or at least most things) has a logical explanation.  When you read a mystery novel the protagonist solves the mystery by the end of the book.  I like mysteries, but I like them in a sense that they are solvable.

The biggest problem with this set is unrecognizable aspect of the subjects.  No one really knows who these people were/are.  D.B. Cooper... who's seen his face?  Rasputin... nobody recognizes him outside of the movie Anastasia.  Other subjects include The Count of St. Germain, The Man in the Iron Mask, and Nostradamus.  They all suffer from the same problem.  I've heard of them in the past, but there's no chance I'd recognize them from a picture.  Ultimately, the picture/photo/drawing/what have you is the most important aspect of a card, and in this vein the set fails.

While I don't mind the design of the set overall (it's alright), I can't give it anywhere near a passing grade.

Arbitrary Rating (out of 100): 46
Click link above for complete up-to-date ratings

% of Set Completed: 100%

Missing Cards: NONE!!!

Extra Cards: WMF1, WMF2, WMF3, WMF7, WMF8, WMF10

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

When eBay Gives Me 15% Off

Every once in a while eBay throws a promotion out there to provide an incentive for buyers to pull the trigger.  15% off your purchase of $80 or more is a common one, but I've seen others as well.  I've used these to my advantage in the past, but mainly for investments.  

Something I rarely talk about on this blog is my love for gaming... and by gaming I mean board and card games.  One particular interest of mine is Magic the Gathering, not so much playing the game itself but rather investing in it.  In the past two years I've built a pretty sizable collection of MTG sealed product, and these flash sales are part of the reason for it.

The other day I finally decided to utilize one of these flash sales towards baseball cards.  Ironically, 60% of the cards I picked up came from COMC's eBay account, so I could've just went straight to their site and done the same thing.  Oh well, there were a handful non-COMC cards in the order plus I got that sweet 15% off deal.  I recently(ish) showed off these first five cards in my trip to Citi Field post, but I thought I'd go over them in a bit more detail.

There were two things I was going after in the order, the second of which you'll see on a later post.  Today's post features the first of the tasks I wanted to accomplish: broaden and colorize my Julio Teheran PC for under a dollar.  First up a purple parallel of Julio 2016 Bowman card numbered out of 299.  I thought last year's Bowman design was excellent and this card would be perfect if they hadn't cut off Julio's hand.  So close!  I love the effect of the right foot overlapping the border of the card and if they had used the same effect with the hand... well, they didn't.  The second card is the red (Wal-Mart???) parallel from 2014 Topps flagship.  I picked it up cause it was cheap.

This 2014 Bowman Chrome purple refractor is butt-ugly.  I hate this design and I'm not a huge fan of this hue of purple.... but it was under a buck, numbered out of 150, and it is purple!  How could I pass?  I like this second card quite a lot.  Ever since the Bowman brand rekindled its way into modern cards, they've been known for two things: prospecting and horrible ass card design.  I truly believe that 2015 is the year that righted the ship for Bowman.  While I don't think the 2015 design was anything super special, I think it paved the way for two excellent designs in the past two years.  This particular card is yet another Chrome purple refractor this time out of 250.

A 2015 Finest purple parallel rounds out the COMC store purchases.  Again, the cropping is slightly annoying (can I just have the ball please?), but it is purple... MUST HAVE.

The final two Julio's that came with this order were of the non-COMC variety.  I had to grab this 2014 blue chrome parallel mostly because I loved the blue.  Doing funky things to my scanner is just an added bonus.  ...and yes, that 2014 Gypsy Queen auto was not under a buck, but it was under $5 so I thought it was a bargain.

Seven mid-level cards that I'd probably never receive in trades for a price substantially less than a blaster.  Yes please!  Hopefully Julio ups his game a bit over the next couple of months.  His outings have been somewhat roller-coaster like and he is getting absolutely clocked by Bryce Harper... oh how I hate the Nationals.