Archive for Hockey

Thrift Treasures 109: An impossible pull from a sealed junk wax box (1990-91 Pro Set NHL Stanley Cup Hologram)

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on October 12, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

img_0970So there I was stopping at one Goodwill on the way home from work on Oct. 12, 2016, when I saw in the showcase a sealed 1990-91 Pro Set Series One NHL box of cards. Typically these boxes get left at thrift stores and they have already been pilfered of anything of value, OR they are priced in such a fashion they are not worth the gamble.

And what gamble is there, you might ask? A long shot at hitting a winning lottery ticket in the form of a Stanley Cup hologram limited to 5,000 copies.

We have to set the scene with Pro Set before we go any further. Long before there were autographs and relics cards that we see today, chase cards from the early 1990s usually meant the cards were glossy as compared to your typical matte finish, or they had some sort of flashy foil to make it obvious that you had something special.  With Pro Set they made holograms, and they were an absolutely needle in a haystack to find.

Perhaps the most famous Pro Set hologram is the Lombardi Trophy hologram that was inserted into the NFL product of 1990.  But more valuable is the Stanley Cup version inserted randomly into Series One packs of 1990-91 Pro Set hockey.

If you think they’re easy to pull because there are 5,000 of them guess again. There literally are close to — if not more than — a million produced of each base card in most brands these years, rendering them worthless. The shiny holograms that were impossible to pull have held their value. The Lombardi hologram usually fetches between $40-$100 in raw condition and much more if graded. And a quick check of eBay while I was in the store Wednesday night showed that the Stanley Cup holograms were selling upward of $125 in raw condition.

img_0971I looked at the box through the locked case and was able to see the $6.14 price tag. I figured the box was worth the price of two cups of Starbucks coffee.  After all, 10/12/16 was the Opening Night of the NHL season and it gave me something to open while I was watching the San Jose Sharks defeat the Los Angeles Kings.

So I paid for it, drove home, ate dinner, turned on the game and opened pack by pack slowly looking not only for the hologram, but also any errors/variations which also have a following.

I got 35 packs deep into the box with nothing really special when this happened:


The third or fourth card in that stack isn’t like the others because … it’s a HOLOGRAM!

You newer collectors might night be laughing at this pull because by today’s standards because unless anything is numbered to like 50 copies you don’t consider it rare.  But for us who grew up in the junk wax era, finding something like this is insane. And to make this case even more impossible it comes from an abandoned g box located at a thrift store.

Anyhow, when I saw the shiny hologram the first thing I did was pulled out my phone and take the aforementioned picture and then record this video.

The card isn’t mint, which is crazy since this was a sealed box, but it’s probably going to stay in my collection as this is an epic pull given the circumstances.

Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $6.14.

You can see more Thrift Treasures posts Here.


Thrift Treasures 61: DuFex! DuFex! DuFex!

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

ThriftTreasuresLogoAbout four years ago when my Thrift Treasures series began I discovered a local thrift shop that often sold cards 10 or 20 at a time for $1.  Usually the store would receive boxes of cards and they’d dump them into some large plastic container.  The price varied — as I noted earlier — depending on the cashier.  Either way, the price was hardly something to quibble over.  I mean where can you select the cards you want and pay either a nickle or a dime a piece?

Anyhow, that store is still there.  It’s still open.  It still has bins of cards.  Problem is they have not had anything new in the boxes in almost a year.  Every time I’d returned to the bin, I’d see the same stacks of 1986 Topps football and 1991-1992 Pro Set Hockey that’d been pilfered dozens of times over.

But that changed this week.  I stopped in and it appears that someone dumped a small collection of hockey cards (not my forte) and some random 1996 football stuff.  Go figure.

I dove into the bins and spent about 30 minutes shuffling through thousands of commons — including a large majority of which were the aforementioned Topps football and Pro Set hockey. All I came out with was 20 cards that I purchased for a single dollar.  And even though hockey isn’t what I collect, I figure I should be able to flip them for something else that I might actually want.  And it that fails, then at least I saved these from getting scrapped. Yep, I’m a hero like that.

So, without further adieu, here they are, the 20 cards that Cardboard Icons saved from the landfill!

Lets get these out of the way:  I didn’t Neid these … (knee slapper!)


The great thing (I’m kidding) about the 1990s was the abundance of unlicensed cards.  Actually, in their own way they were kind of fun.  For team and player collectors who were about a decade away from seeing the world of parallels upon parallels and hits, they liked to have new issues to chase.  Well, collectors of then super prospect David Neid of the newborn Colorado Rockies had a limited release to chase in this small Pro Motion set of what appears to be composed of four cards.  The cool part:  they’re serial numbered to just 10,000 copies!  I guess that was a magic number in the early 1990s,  that’s what all the Donruss “Elite Series” inserts were limited to.


I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, 1991 Topps may have had the best photographs in recently memory of any base set.  That said, this Oscar Azocar image featuring him supposedly balancing a baseball between two bats always captivated me.  Funny thing is I look at this card now and I can clearly see the dowel that holds that ball to the bat.  It should be noted that this card would be even greater if it were his rookie card.  It is his first Topps card, but Azocar had rookie cards in 1990 Fleer Update and Score Traded. Grrrr.


Quick hitter:  remember these throw away offer cards?  I actually like them because when I was a kid I never took the time to look at them.  Now I continue to hope that I find weird Topps items like this hat in a local thrift store.  I actually wonder if anyone actually ordered these …


Moving onto a pair of football cards:

Can’t leave this 1995 Action Packed Steve McNair rookie card behind, right?


And this 1996 Score “Field Force” parallel (feels like paper, not glossy) Jay Novacek had to come home with me.


It should be noted that the reason I kept digging through these boxes was the abundance of 1996 football cards.  Why you ask?  Well, I was hoping there was  Ray Lewis rookie card just sitting there.  Clearly there wasn’t.

And now onto the hockey portion of the post … where, oddly enough, is where I spent the majority of my 100 pennies!

Rookie cards.  Who needs a 1990-1991 Upper Deck (American) Owen Nolan or a 1997-1998 Olli Jokinen?!  Love that Nordiques logo by the way.


How about a 199601997 Starting Line-Up Peter Forsberg?


So, the title of this post is “DuFex! Dufex! DuFex!”  Here’s Why!  Nine 1994-1995 Pinnacle “Rink Collection” DuFex parallel cards.  No big names here, but check out that badass redemption cards.  Possibly the best-looking redemption card I’ve ever seen.



Total cost for these Treasures:  $1

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

Thrift Treasures 54: Is that `Mr. Hockey’ Gordie Howe’s signature?!

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , on October 8, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

For the first time in nearly half a year, I was able to get to the monthly community college flea market with my family. And, the wait was well worth it.

This particular flea market is really hit and miss for my collecting purposes.  I’ve found some pretty cool sports items here before.  Probably the most notable being a 1964 Topps Giants Sandy Koufax SP for $1, or perhaps the 1957 Gillette Baseball Encyclopedia I snagged for a buck a few years back.

But I think I may have trumped both of those this weekend.

There is a dealer at this flea market who sells sports and non-sports cards.  I’ve seen him before.  Most of his inventory is stuff from the mid 1990s, no joke.  Well, today he was blowing stuff out like crazy.

I dug through a bunch of stuff, and while things were cheap, I managed to stay focused and bought only items I felt I “needed” to own at his discount prices.

We’ll start with a pair of uncut promo Topps baseball sheets from 1992 and 1993.  These were a quarter each.

Sticking with the promo these, I saw this case and figured I had to own the cards for the $4 price tag.

There was a mix of Topps, Upper Deck, Donruss, and Pinnacle brand promo cards for football, baseball and basketball.   See images of them below:

But of course that was not all.  Did you miss the title of this hear post?!

So just as I was ready to walk away with my small haul, I checked one final area that seemed to have non-sport items.  The first thing I saw was a San Jose Sharks Commemorative hockey puck in a display case for $10.  PASS.  But next to it was a Detroit Red Wings puck with some silver ink on top, a looping signature that was instantly identifiable as none other than “Mr. Hockey,” Gordie Howe! Oh, and it had a post-it attached to it with an $8 price tag.

W …. T…. F…?????!!!!!!!!!

For a second I thought I was holding a forgery, or another crappy commemorative puck.  I mean it’s just in this plastic case.  No box.  No certificate of authenticity.

Then I flipped it over …

That shiny silver thing is indeed an”old school” Upper Deck Authenticated hologram. The signature is real, boys! That’s a hell of a score for under $10.

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

Thrift Treasures Part XXII: Card Show Bargain Bins

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

I’m kind of cheating here with this post by labeling it under Thrift Treasures, but given the prices I paid for the items within, I certainly felt like I was thrift shopping.

I woke up Sunday morning not expecting to go to a card show, but half way through the morning I remembered there was one scheduled for at a local mall, so I spoke to my wife and we decided to go as a family. Normally it’s not a good idea to take the entire family to a show. For collectors, time easily gets sucked away digging through boxes for bargains. For companions who are not into cards, this time can feel like eternity — alone. Nonetheless, we went together. I figured we could get some lunch and knock out some Christmas shopping if the show was a dud. As it turned out, the show turned out pretty awesome, for me, anyway.

The show was advertised as having 40 tables, which is pretty small. In all there were probably about a dozen booths located sporadically throughout the mall, dumb idea if you ask me. The first one I stopped at was a major no-no in my eyes. On one table were two boxes full of cards from all sports with the price “50 cents and up” written on the front. When I inquired how much a certain card was (I was looking at a neat EX 2000 Barry Bonds acetate die-cut insert) the dealer told me to pull out what i wanted and, “I’ll give you a good deal.” That prompted this somewhat vulgar Tweet. (link)  I just walked away. I don’t screw around when I am at shows. Dear dealers: Price your shit!

Not too far around the corner I found another booth run by some teenager. From what I gather, his father owns a shop (mainly toys and memorabilia) in the mall. I dug through the autos and game jerseys (priced at $4 each or 3 for $10) and half contemplated buying a 2009 UD Icons Dexter Fowler auto, but decided not to once I saw what was in the dollar bins. For the next 30 minutes I thumbed through every card in the four boxes. I wound up with 14 cards for $14. I could have done more damage, but after a while a deal doesn’t seem like such a deal when the dollar amount keeps rising. I stuck to 12 cards for myself and two that are definitely spoken for by Houston Collector, who is on the verge of launching a new blog.

I’m usually not a fan of buying stuff at shows for other people. Why? Because we deal in cash at shows and any time I spend a buck for someone else, that is one less buck I have to spend on myself. Sounds selfish, but I’m sure it makes sense to some of you. Anyway, I put my feelings aside for these two Lance Berkman 2005 Donruss State Line parallel cards. Why? Because they are low numbered (DK is 07/30; base is 11/40) . They should fetch me some sweet Red Sox … I hope.

I passed on that Dexter Fowler auto (sticker auto, $4) and opted to go with a less expensive signature of the newest old Yankee, Nick Johnson. It’s not a rookie-year autograph, but this 2000 Just 2K Auto will fit nicely in my collection. For a buck? C’mon. I saw common signatures selling for four times as much, I’ll take this solid hitter at that price.

Here’s a super exciting Melvin Mora 2000 Pacific Omega rookie card that is sure to make you guys jealous. OK, I’m joking. I actually bought this for my rookie card collection. I was missing a Mora, and this one I always felt was his best because it is serial numbered to 999 copies.

Bored? I promise things will pick up.

Now we’re talking. A rookie card of the newly crowned American League Cy Young Award winner. I love it. It’s no chrome, but I’ll buy this for a buck, and I am sure many of you would as well. How was this in the box? Oddly enough that same question went through my head as I pulled the next NINE cards …

I know some people really hate Roger Clemens, but this is a joke, right? As a Clemens (and Red Sox) collector, I took this as a slap in the face. The left edge is a bit rough, but overall it’s pretty good shape.

Let’s take a quick break from baseball and honor some awesome hockey cards. Here we’ve got 1972-1973 Topps cards of Guy LaFleur and Bobby Orr. Are you F’n kidding me? I turned the LaFleur over and nearly crapped myself (not really, but you get me, right?) when I saw that there was only ONE year of stats listed — I thought it was his rookie. Turns out it is his second year card. Still cool, right? And the Orr? C’mon. Seriously? Neither of these cards are going to be slabbed anytime soon, but they are great finds for these prices. I don’t even collect hockey, but I might keep these as bargain hunting trophies.

From Hockey we move straight to vintage baseball. These boxes were filled to the max with serial numbered cards. In another time I would have bought lots of them. But when I found the hockey cards above, and these following vintage, all of that serial numbered stuff just seemed pointless.

1941 Double Play Gerald Walker and Joe Heving. Yes, those are holes in the card. Yes, that makes the card damn near worthless. And yes, those players are not stars. But this is the first 1941 Double Play card I’ve ever had a chance to own. Can you say you own one? The card is badass. Period. Admit it.

Um, is that a real 1952 Topps card? Sure is. A low-number, red back at that. Eddie Robinson isn’t exactly a household name, but in my home, he will forever be known as the man pictured on my good condition 1952 Topps card that I found for a buck. I’ve run across some other 1952s during other thrift hunts, but they were all in real bad shape. This one is pretty awesome, clean front and back.

You might have heard of this guy. This is not one of his true vintage card, but this 1960 Fleer is my first Cy Young. Actually, if you want one, you can get them on eBay for about a buck, only you’re going to have to pay shipping. Not a bad purchase if you ask me.

Anyone ever heard of that guy in the Dodger uniform? I think he’s pretty good. In 1965 he led the National League with a 2.04 ERA. This certainly isn’t one of Koufax’s most expensive cards, but I’m not complaining.

So, yeah, that’s a real 1933 Goudey card, one depicting Hall of Fame outfielder Sam Rice. Did I mention this is classified as Rice’s rookie? Guess who will be my next installment in the Rookie Card Showcase …<<insert big grin here>>

And the last card purchased from this particular dealer is now perhaps one of the coolest cards I own, a 1935 Goudey 4-In-One card featuring Hall of Famers Frank Frisch and Dizzy Dean. Seriously, this card cost me a buck. Can you think of a better way to spend a buck?

After paying for those cards, I pretty much felt on top of the collecting world. But I stopped at two more booths. At one I bought three packs of tobacco-size (A&G/T-206 minis) top loaders (price was $1.10 per 10; by comparison my local card shop wants nearly $3 for the same thing). And at the last, I spent a whopping $2 (3 cards for $1) on three Adam Wainwright rookies and three 2007 Allen & Ginter Mini cards, Jack the Ripper (regular back), Ichiro (A&G back) and Dwight Eisenhower (No Number on Back /50) That’s a hell of a haul for a total of $19.30.

Thrift Treasures Part XV: Bo Knows A Bargain

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

TTXV2Who doesn’t love a good bargain. Whether it’s a legitimate bargain, or merely some sort of perceived bargain matters not. If I spend 50 cents and theoretically got just a few dollars in book value in return, does that constitute a bargain? It does when the loot evokes certain memories of card collecting days past.

Such was the case on Saturday when I stopped at a local comic/video game/card/junk shop. This place used to have bargain wax boxes, but they’ve ditched just about everything sports related. The only things remaining are some boxes of 2008 Topps baseball, some graded junk that is overpriced and two 3,500 count boxes of cards that are selling for a dime each.

I stuck to the bargain boxes and had a hard time spending a dollar. I know you’re thinking I’m a cheap bastard, but fact is I could not find more than five cards that were worth 10 cents each to me. But the five cards I did purchase are awesome.

Looks like Spree has THAT look in his eye.

Looks like Spree has THAT look in his eye.

One of the must-have cards I spotted in this box is this Latrell Sprewell rookie. Do you now hard these were to find back in the day, especially here in the San Francisco Bay Area. It almost seemed as if the Shaquille O’Neal parallel rookies were easier to find that these. This one is likely headed to my cousin as he was a huge Spree fan.

I feel the Earth move under my feet ...

I feel the Earth move under my feet ...

I’ve written about this card already this weekend and found it very fitting that I found this copy on Saturday, the 20th anniversary of the pictured event. To read more, click HERE.

Beltran wishes his name were LeBron

Beltran wishes his name were LeBron

The Juan LeBron/Carlos Beltran error rookie card — a classic. Book says $6, I paid 10 cents — You tell me what it is worth. By the way, this one came in a top loader, so I guess I kind of got the card for free. 🙂

Looks like an old school card show

Looks like an old school card show

Here is a 1991 Pro Set hockey Draft Pick insert/short print card. When this card came out, it was one of a handful of inserts that actually had me interested in hockey — the others being that cool 75th anniversary hologram and the Patrick Roy mask card. The San Jose Sharks were in their inaugural season when this set was released. Take a look at the back of this card, which clearly is in French. Look at the Top two picks. (Read here for more on that draft.)

With the No. 2 overall pick in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, the San Jose Sharks select ... Pat Falloon. <insert groan>

With the No. 2 overall pick in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, the San Jose Sharks select ... Pat Falloon. <insert loud groan from Sharks fans here>

And lastly we have one of the most iconic cards of our generation. The 1990 Score Bo Jackson football/baseball card.

Bo knows you STILL want this card ...

Bo knows you STILL want this card ...

... eventhough it is creased.

... even though it is creased.

2009 Goodwin Champions Blaster Break

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

Stumbled into a local Target and what do I see? A small stack of 2009 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions staring at me. Yes, the retail version of this product is live. Not only were there a handful of blasters, but also a gravity feeder, which someone apparently rifled through before I got there. Someone remind me why Upper Deck is using nearly transparent wrappers for the retail product? Gah. Anyway, here is the break of my one and ONLY blaster — 12 packs, 4 cards per pack. All will be for trade except for any Red Sox.

Pack 1: Phil Hellmuth, Hunter Pence, Ryan Braun, Jonathan Toews

The very first Goodwin card I see is Hellmuth. Hmm ...

The very first Goodwin card I see is Hellmuth. Hmm ...

Pack 2: Alex Rodriguez, Carl Yastrzemski, David Ortiz MINI, Phil Niekro


Pack 3: Matt Cain, Lyndon Johnson, Nate McLouth AUTO, Stephen Drew

Happy to have pulled an auto, but my luck has been off. That's topin for another post soon ...

Happy to have pulled an auto, but my luck has been off. That's a topic for another post soon ...

Pack 4: Curtis Granderson, Bill Rodgers, Rollie Fingers MINI, Matt Ryan (college)

Pack 5: Nick Markakis, Carlton Fisk, Josh Johnson, Carlos Delgado


Is UD going to use the same shot of Fisk in every release? This is a repeat of Goudey.

Pack 6: Derrick Rose, Grady Sizemore, Derek Jeter MINI, Robin Roberts

Can't go wrong with Jeter

Can't go wrong with Jeter

Pack 7: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Chien Ming Wang, Alexander Ovechkin BLACK MINI, CC Sabathia

I'm not a hockey guy, but I believe Crosy and Ovehckin are Nos. 1 and 2 in the sport.

I'm not a hockey guy, but I believe Crosby and Ovechkin are Nos. 1 and 2 in the sport.

Pack 8: Kristi Yamaguchi, Ben Roethlisberger (college) mini, Great White Shark ANIMAL SERIES, Ken Griffey Jr.

This is what happens when the sports leagues go with exclusive contracts.

This is what happens when the sports leagues go with exclusive contracts. Barf.

Not sure if I like this one better than the Allen & Ginter Great White Shark card.

Not sure if I like this one better than the Allen & Ginter Great White Shark card. /sarcasm

Pack 9: Michael Beasley, Todd Helton, Akinori Iwamura, Koji Uehara

Pack 10: Vlad Guerrero, Jeff Samardzija, Adrian Gonzalez MINI, Alexander Ovechkin

Pack 11: Kevin Garnett, Roy Oswalt, Al Gore Nobel Peace Prize Anniversay card, Joey Votto

For a split second, I thought this was a instant-win scratcher card of some sort. Nope.

For a split second, I thought this was a instant-win scratcher card of some sort. Nope.

Pack 12: Chad Reed, Brooks Robinson, Jake Peavey MINI, Joe Dimaggio


Comments: From the first card (Hellmuth) to the last (DiMaggio) this blaster of Goodwin Champions was entertaining. Can’t argue with an on-card auto of a Major League star — even if he is is pictured in the uniform of his former team.

From a broader perspective, Goodwin Champions is indeed UD’s answer to the wildly popular Topps Allen & Ginter set, but it does feel like a slight variation on Goudey — which really was not that impressive. As is the case with A&G, the minis are pretty neat, but hard to store.

As far as people represented in the set, it is refreshing to see a set where Micket Mantle IS NOT a big draw. Not to hate on Mickey, but Topps really has harmed his cardboard legacy. As collectors, we shouldn’t groan every time we see a card of one of the game’s greatest stars, but that seems to be the case these days. I was more than happy to see Mr. DiMaggio though.

Card of the Day: 1997 Bowman Joe Young

Posted in Card of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2008 by Cardboard Icons

Meet Joe Young. He is a Canadian-born former baseball player who apparently ditched a possible professional hockey career (what Canadian-born baseball player doesn’t do this?) to play America’s Pastime. He was drafted in 1993 by the Blue Jays, which I suppose is a good thing since he is from Canada. And according to the Bowman Scouts, he possessed a hell of a fastball, so good in fact that he averaged upward of 11 strikeouts per 9 innings. Continue reading