Cardboard Icons author in video interview about hobby, collection

Posted in Commentary, Misc. with tags , , , , , on August 26, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

Late last week Patrick at Radicards.com hit me up about doing an “on-camera” interview with him about the hobby. I paused initially because for years I was the one asking questions, not the one answering them. And for so long I had this phobia of being in front of the camera. But after some thought I decided to do the interview. And I’m glad I did.

It’s a 30-minute video, edited down from our hour-long discussion,  The audio on my end starts out low but does get better. We touch on my history in the hobby, why I collect what I do, some discussion about the state of our hobby and so forth.  Give it a watch (or listen) at your leisure. It was a lot of fun to do.

And if you’ve never seen Radicards, take an opportunity to check it out.  There are dozens of interviews like mine sitting there waiting to be watched, which is somewhat unique because we don’t often get to see people talking about the hobby other than when they are busting wax.

Thanks for reading (or in this case watching),

Ben, Cardboard Icons.

Reach me via e-mail at cardboardicons@yahoo.com; on Twitter at @cardboardicons, and LIKE the new Cardboard Icons FACEBOOK page

 

Cardboard Icons has a new home on Facebook

Posted in Misc. on August 25, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

If you didn’t know, I am in the process of increasing Cardboard Icons presence on Facebook. A few years ago I created a generic Facebook account for Cardboard Icons. It’s just become too much to deal with that account as it requires constant maintenance and really serves no purpose other than to be there.  So what I have decided to do is create a PAGE in lieu of a “person” type account.  This will allow me to share photos and posts, and allow all of you to comment there whenever you wish.  So if you haven’t already, give the PAGE a “like” and in the future I’ll be cross-posting all content, thereby making it easier to interact with all of you.

Thanks for reading,

Ben Aguirre, Cardboard Icons.

 

Lifetime of memories made during National Baseball Card Day 2016

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

I decided to take my kids to the National Baseball Card Day event at South Bay Sports Cards (Sunnyvale, Calif.), where the shop — like many others across the country — was giving out packs to customers on this special day. What wound up happening was something that will never be forgotten.

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This story doesn’t end with some card worth a small fortune. But it does end with smiles.

I told the kids about the day and how they were giving away packs at the shop to promote the hobby, a fantastic move by the way. Topps is the company with the exclusive Major League Baseball license so they are the makers of the cards given away on this day. Such events have been around for at least a decade, and have over the years included cards from other companies, including Fleer, which is now an Upper Deck brand.

My son’s comment: “I LOVE opening packs!”

For the record, neither of my kids have been completely bitten by the  card collecting bug.  I actually didn’t start collecting until I was 7, almost three decades ago, so it’s still early.  My daughter collects American Girl dolls and Shopkins. My son has learned the joy of opening packs from sharing in the ripping of my packs when I buy them, and his own Skylanders Battle Cast cards. Gotta start somewhere, I suppose.

So we went and along the way we started talking about baseball cards, and even some Olympic cards, which I had recently purchased from Target. I told them that we might buy some more at the store, it just depends on how much they were.

Personally, I didn’t “need” anything. But I’m always down to see my buddy at the card shop — for the record he wasn’t there today, which I didn’t know until we got there — and I wanted the kids to get their free packs. That was what this trip was really all about.

I checked out the stuff at the shop and decided on three baseball packs and then opted for a “blaster” box of Topps Olympics cards. These “blaster” boxes are the same as those sold at Target and Walmart, 8 packs for $19.99. I figured let’s have a little fun. The kids were talking about Gabby Douglas in the car anyway.

So I made the purchase and the guy at the shop — whom I do not know on any level other than being a repeat customer — grabs three random packs from his stash of Topps National Baseball Card Day packs, and then grabs three of the Kris Bryant cards — which appears to be the last card in the set — and puts the Bryant cards into magnetic holders for us, all free of charge.

Outside the shop I snap a quick selfie of the three of us in front of the store with our free packs. I wanted to tweet at Topps and subsequently enter the MLBPA Twitter contest for additional stuff.

My daughter grabbed a pack with Nolan Arenado on top, my son snatched up the one with Joe Mauer on top, which left me with Clayton Kershaw, which was the one i was hoping the kids would leave me. Kershaw is my favorite active player; he’s No. 2 all-time behind Roger Clemens on my list of favorites.

My son ripped his:

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His cards: Joe Mauer, Ichiro, Sonny Gray, Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Joe Abreu

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My daughter then ripped hers and immediately says, “Oooh, Daddy!”

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You see, during our conversation about Olympic cards in the car I was telling them about game-used cards — those containing pieces of shirts, uniforms, caps, etc., worn or used by players and athletes.  I also told them about autograph cards.

Out of the middle of her stack of six cards was one with ink. She spotted it instantly.

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That’s injured Yankee Greg Bird’s autograph, serial numbered 062/165. The rest of her cards: Bryce Harper, David Price, Yadier Molina, Luis Severino and Nolan Arenado.

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She was so pumped that I was super happy for her. It really didn’t really matter who the autograph was, but she was so surprised that she actually pulled an autograph.

“It’s like everything we talk about comes true,” she said.

My day was already made. The Kershaw card already made my pack a winner, but now I was curious if more ink would be found. There was none in mine, but it was a solid pack: Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Zack Greinke, Salvador Perez, Andrew McCutchen and Francisco Lindor.

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I purchased three loose Topps Chrome baseball packs in addition to the blaster.  Shiny, yet fairly uneventful.  I did pull the Kent Maeda rookie, which is a plus.

We decided to open the Olympics blaster box at home.  There was some discussion about doing a video, and we agreed to do it for fun but my phone ran out of memory. As we got through the first six packs, there was nothing of significance. We pulled three Aly Raisman cards — which my daughter liked — but still no Gabby Douglas.  And then it happened.

In pack seven, a base card of Gabby Douglas.

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About two minutes before we got to Pack 8 I told the kids about the memorabilia cards in this product and how they were worn by the athletes and then cut and placed into the cards. I also explained how the cards were a little thicker than the others.

My son opens Pack 8, the last one in the box and says, “Dadddddddy!”

Boom.

Ryan Lochte memorabilia card.

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“Oh my god, Daddy, it really is like everything we talk about comes true,” my daughter said again.

I realize these cards aren’t worth a fortune in terms of money, but the memories of how they were acquired are priceless. And before you start asking, neither the Bird autograph or Lochte memorabilia card are for trade. They belong to the kids.

This card adventure ranks right up there with the memory of my daughter’s first baseball game, which I wrote about here almost five years ago.

Thrift Treasures 107: Serial Number Slayer

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

So the National Sports Collectors Convention is under way Atlantic City and like many others I wish I was there.  I’ve been to the annual event twice, both times as peripheral member of the Beckett Media team. But this year I couldn’t make it for several reasons as I IMG_0401I have a lot going on in my real life.  I may try for next year.  We’ll see.

On Wednesday I took my kids out to do a little thrift shopping. And what do you know, I find a massive amount of cards. So many that I was only able to get through a little of it before the kids got restless. Nonetheless, I got a good 15 minutes of digging in and with the cards priced at 5 for $1, I was able to snatch up a few treasures before I had to hit the road. It was a small sampling of what I would’ve been doing at The National anyway.

It’s not uncommon for me to run into such deals as 5 cards for $1, or even more.  But they’ve gotten a little harder to find lately.  And truth be told, I haven’t been out looking as hard as I had once been doing. It’s just a time issue.

Anyhow, I left some decent stuff behind, but I would up selecting 30 cards during this trip. And as the title of this blog post suggests, there were a good number of low serial numbered cards.

Let’s kick things off with three 2013 Topps Chrome football black refractors numbered /299 and a a 2014 Topps Chrome Bliue Refractor /199 of DeAndre Hopkins.

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Speaking of Refractors, here are  few more.  A shimmer silver 2013 RGIII /260 and a basic 2015 Topps Chrome Peyton Manning. The Manning will be a nice Christmas gift for my cousin’s son who just got into collecting.  I’ve already sent him every Manning I own, and about 5,000 other football cards.  His face when they arrived was priceless.

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Staying on the flashy subject. Here are three 2011 Leaf Limited parallels. The front of these are shiny foilboard. But I’m showing the backs because look at those serial numbers.  Hall of Famers Derrick Thomas /50 and Sam Huff /25.

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And some more Leaf Limited. These are from 2010 and they’re all rookies.  The base rookies are /499, but that Riley Cooper rookie is /25. Solid.

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How about some more serial rookies? Marcus Gilbert 2011 Absolute /50, 2010 Epix Ricky Sapp /50 and 2008 Prestige Chris Long serial 001/300. Gotta love those first-stamped cards.

IMG_0442A few random serial numbered cards. 1999 Paramount RW McQuarters /62, 2013 Absolute Boss Hoggs Julio Jones /99 and 2008 Icons die cut Mike Hart /150.

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Growing up in the Bay Area it’s almost a disgrace to see serial numbered cards of these two guys sitting in a thrift store. These are 2009 Leaf Limited Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, both serial numbered /399.

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Speaking of legends, I could not let a Barry Sanders (/1449) and Bart Starr (/639) from high-end 2007 Triple Threads sit on the shelf to collect dust.

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Johnny Manziel is pretty much a laughing stock at this point, but I still found some value – in terms of comic relief anyway – in finding his 2014 Topps Platinum rookie card.

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Here are a few basketball parallels from 2010-2011 Contenders, Caron Butler and Samuel Dalembert, both /99.

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Whatdya know, I found an autograph in the boxes. Sure, it’s Jamal Faulkner, a common. But this is an Alabama alumnus — I’ve already found a new home for this card.

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And let’s finish things off with a mixed group of four cards: 1999 Paramound Team Checklist Barry Sanders, a 1996-97 Topps Allen Iverson rookie card, a 1994-95 Collector’s Choice French GOLD signature Charles Barkley subset, and a 2012 Bowman Platinum Purple Refractor Javier Baez.

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Nothing here is going to make me a small fortune, but  all in all, still not a bad stack of cards for about the price of two retail packs,.

Total cost of these Treasures: $6

You can see more Thrift Treasures posts Here.

Blaster Break: 2016 Topps Olympics/Paralympic hopefuls (2 hits)

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

IMG_0351Topps Allen & Ginter baseball has been out for nearly two weeks, however I have not seen a single pack of it at retail. What I did find, however, was a single blaster of Topps Olympic and Paralympic Team Hopefuls. With the Olympics kicking off this week in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, I figured now was as good a time as any to bust one of these blasters. And as it turned out, I defied the odds greatly with two hits in just eight packs.

Here’s a breakdown of each pack with a few takeaways at the end.

 

Pack 1

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Parallel: Bronze Kami Craig; Insert: Kim Rhode

Base: Gabby Douglas (Gymnastics), Claressa Shields (Boxing), Nathan Adrian (Swimming), April Vioss (Volleyball), Adeline Gray (Wrestling), Diana Taurasi (Basketball), Sam Mikulak (Gymnastics), Candace Parker (Basketball)

Pack 2

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Parallels: Silver Candace Parker (Basketball), Bronze Perry Baker (Rugby)

Hit: Bronze Relic Paige Selenski (Field Hockey) 64/75 (odds: 1:132 packs)

Pack 3

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Parallels: Silver Phil Dalhausser (Volleyball), Bronze Leo Manzano (Track & Field)

Base: Matt Stutzman (Archery), Jake Dalton (Gymnastics), Claressa Shields (Boxing), Danell Leyva (Gymnastics), Tatyana McFadden (Track & Field), Summer Ross (Volleyball), Kim Rhode (Shooting), Ryan Lochte (Swimming)

Pack 4

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Parallels: Gold Sam Mikulak (Gymnastics), Bronze Brittney Griner (Basketball)

Base: Alana Nichols (Para-Canoe), Lex Gillette (Track & Field), Cullen Jones (Swimming), Nathan Schrimsher (Modern Pentathlon), Bob Beamon (Track & Field), Madison Hughes (Rugby), Jenny Thompson (Swimming), Carly Patterson (Gymnastics)

Pack 5

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Parallels: Silver Tom Shields (Swimming), Bronze LaShawn Merritt (Track & Field)

Hit: Bronze Commemorative Olympic Medal (1:122 packs)

Base: Conor Dwyer (Swimming), Brad Snyder (Swimming), Margaux Isaksen (Modern Pentathlon)

Pack 6

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Parallel: Bronze Jake Gibb (Volleyball) Insert: Sam Mikulak (Gymnastics)

Base: David Boudia (Diving), Brady Ellison (Archery), McLain Ward (Equestrian), Haley Anderson (Swimming), Joe Kovacs (Track & Field), Merrill Moses (Water Polo), Galen Rupp (Track & Field), Courtney Mathewson (Water Polo)

Pack 7

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Parallels: Gold Nathan Adrian (Swimming), Bronze Emily Day (Volleyball)

Base: Aly Raisman (Gymnastics), Missy Franklin (Swimming), Ryan Lochte (Swimming), Megan Rapinoe (Soccer), Abby Wambach (Soccer), Carlin Isles (Rugby), Elena Delle Donne (Basketball), Sue Bird (Basketball)

Pack 8

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Parallels: Silver Abby Wambach (Soccer), Bronze Gary Hall Jr. (Swimming)

Base: Steven Lopez (Taekwondo), Simone Biles (Gymnastics), Jake Dalton (Gymnastics), Natalie Coughlin (Swimming), Mariel Zagunis (Fencing), Kayla Harrison (Judo), Paige Selenski (Field Hockey), Rulon Gardner (Wrestling)

Takeaways:  It’s not every day you nail two hits in a single blaster. This feat seems even more improbable since you are not “guaranteed” even a single hit. What’s interesting to note is that the relic card of the Field Hockey player is like twice as thick as the Bronze Medal card.  It just seems like it would have been the other way around since the medallion is heavy and the relic seems to be a piece of a T-shirt.

Also, look at the star power in pack No. 7. That’s a star-studded Olympic lineup right there from across all sports at the Olympics.

I posted briefly on Twitter about this blaster and someone wrote back they they didn’t have much luck in theirs. My response bears repeating: The product is always hit or miss. The key is to limit how much you buy. Even though it’s not mainstream sports cards, it’s enjoyable in small portions.

In case you’re wondering, here are the posted odds for these blasters:

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A dozen new HOF relics added to collection; Jackie Robinson for trade/sale

Posted in Hall of Famers, Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on August 2, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

Yesterday I stated a new page on this site called the “Hall of Fame Hits.” The page is designed to house the relics and autos of baseball hall of famers in my collection.  One reason is to show them off; another reason is so that I don’t obtain too many duplicates.  RobinsonJackieNTUNISome sets I really like and will acquire the relics from that set regardless of whether of not I already have a game-used card of that player. The same goes for cool-looking swatches. I added another dozen to the site this morning — highlighted by 2001 UD HOFers Frank Robinson auto relics and a sweet National Treasures Carl Yastrzemski swatch featuring stitch holes from what looks like his jersey number — and I should be all caught up until my newest shipment from CheckOutMyCards arrives. As the title of the page suggests, autographs will also be shown here, but they are not ready to be uploaded quite yet.

On a side note, while uploading I realized I have a second Jackie Robinson relic card that I’d be willing to move for something nice for my collection.  The one for trade hails from 2015 National Treasures and is serial numbered 25/99.  The card is somewhat unique because it features a swatch of flannel whereas most of the other Robinson’s feature a slick blue fabric presumably from a jacket worn by Robinson.

Have something to offer? You can reach me via e-mail at cardboardicons@yahoo.com or on Twitter @cardboardicons

A Flawless Diamond added to my collection

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

Gem stones and baseball cards. This is hardly a new concept.

There were some “24 karat gold” cards (made my Bleacher if I remember correctly) sold via television home shopping channels during the 1990s that also had stones — rubies if I remember correctly — but as clear as I can remember, Pinnacle Brands was the first company to incorporate actual pieces of stones (diamonds) into mainstream baseball cards when they brought us The Diamond Club inserts in 1996 Pinnacle Zenith.

It was cool in theory. I mean aside from putting cash into cards, actual gem stones are the only other way to ensure that a card in your collection has some real value outside of just this hobby. But those early cards were poorly produced.  They were the same thickness as regular cards and the stone was in a small metal mount that easily came off some of the cards. Furthermore, the size of the stones was tiny. Think smaller baby earrings.

Fast forward a decade and a half and Topps brought us some special 1/1 Diamond parallels with gem stones to coincide with the company’s 60-year anniversary. The design was much approved over one of the rival companies from 15 years earlier. But they were 1/1’s Good luck finding a card of your guy.

And then in recent years, Panini America seems to have taken a liking to the idea of gem stones and cards and the company has used diamonds and what appear to be rubies in some of its higher-end brands.

Watching from a distance, I really wasn’t overly impressed with the cards, or really the notion of the gem stones in the cards. Truth be told, my sour experience with the inserts from 1996 and the difficulty actually obtaining one of the 2011 Topps cards really put me in a negative mindset as it pertains to such cards.

And the more recent Panini cards to me looked more like a way for the company to justify the price point at which the MSRP was being set rather than something collectors actually wanted. While it’s completely unfair of me to make such a broad assumption, it’s pretty clear that there is at least some truth to my thought as the secondary market on these cards remains relatively soft given the quality of card, the fact they contain actual stones, and the limited serial number nature of the cards.

Side note: I’m assuming these stones are real as there is a statement of guarantee on the reverse of the cards. And yes, I have seen some of the videos on YouTube calling their legitimacy into question. But it should be noted that while some didn’t pass the test of jewelers reviewing the cards, many did.

That said, I decided to buy one. Why? Because I found one of my all-time favorite player, Roger Clemens, … and the price seemed cheap.

This 2015 Panini National Treasures Multi-Sport Flawless Diamond card shown above is limited to 20 copies and shows Clemens in his University of Texas Longhorns garb. It has a few factors that might keep it out of the hardcore Clemens collectors, which kept the price low I think, but for $30 it seemed like a good addition to my collection.

So, do I feel any differently now that I have one of these nice, shiny Flawless Diamond cards in hand?

Yes and no. The quality on these cards is fantastic. Thick card stock and flashy foil help the “bling” factor if you will. I do think this one is a cool addition to my collection. But are they for everyone? No.

For the rippers and flippers, these are merely the equivalent of pocket change — nice to have as they are better than a pocket full of lint, or premium base cards, because they’ll eventually decrease the net cost of your break. But they are hardly the chase cards that collectors will hunt with an open wallet, which in turn would make a flipper a small fortune.

For player collectors, I think they present an interesting opportunity especially with prices for most guys being relatively cheap. And by relatively cheap I mean in the $20-$60 range for a hit that hails from a product that commands several hundred dollars sight unseen.

For everyone else it just depends if you want to spend your money on a piece of cardboard with a small diamond. Bottom line, that’s all this really is. There is no significance to the stone, or the paper in which it has been embedded.

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