Archive for Panini America

Another iconic card added to the Icons collection

Posted in New Addition with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

Additions to my personal collection have slowed down in recent months, so when I make an acquisition that fits into that “PC” category, I shall share it.

Like many of you I have an addiction, a true sickness for cardboard. I say this somewhat in jest, but there is some truth to it. I spend more money on cards than I should; I even find myself buying stuff just for the sake of buying. Don’t laugh, you might be in the same boat but just not willing to admit it.

But rather than walk away from the hobby that has been a part of my life since I was 7 years old, the way I “right the ship” so to say is to find one card to add to my collection; one that i can point to and say, “THAT is why I collect.”

img_0879And today that card is the 2001 SP Legendary Cuts Game-Used bat card of the one and only “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.

When it comes to memorabilia cards I have many of the greats.

I have Mantle. I have Mays. I have Aaron.

I have Ruth. I have Gehrig. I have DiMaggio.

I have Mathewson. I have Cobb. I have Wagner.

And the list goes on …

But there has always been one player whose memorabilia card that has taunted me from a  distance. And now I can look at Joe Jackson eye to eye and clutch his card between my thumb and index finger like it were a big ol’ bass and say, “Gotcha!”

For a long time Jackson, the controversial baseball player whose legendary playing career is forever tied to the gambling scandal of the “Black Sox,” really only had one licensed memorabilia card, this 2001 Upper Deck release. More than a half-decade after the card’s release, Donruss (then owned by the company known as Donruss Playoff) lost its MLB license and with that came the release of various logo-less products. This “free reign” seemingly allowed them to produce cards of Jackson, base and insert cards, as well as memorabilia cards. Panini America, who now owns the Donruss name, continues to produce Jackson cards in all forms under various brand names.There now are several options for collectors when it comes to Jackson memorabilia cards.

Meanwhile, Topps, the only company with the MLB license, has not produced any cards, likely because Jackson has been blackballed — not unlike Pete Rose — from licensed products. His name is often met with a head tilt and a grimace as Jackson’s actions in the gambling scandal are still somewhat debatable, although time has shown that he may have been the good guy in all of it.

Nonetheless, Jackson is still a baseball icon. Over his 13-year career he notched a .356 batting average and tallied 1,772 hits. And while I don’t own any of his older cards, at least I can say that I now own a piece of Jackson’s bat and it’s not just on any card. It’s THE Jackson memorabilia card, which is one of the most recognizable in our hobby.

A few CARDS from the toy show

Posted in New Addition with tags , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

This weekend we celebrated my son’s sixth birthday with a trip to a place he chose — the toy show. He’d never been to a toy show — and for that matter neither had I — but he wanted to go so we took the family and a bunch of his cousins and gave them money to pretty much buy whatever they wanted.

While this was a toy show, I held out hope that I might find a few card/sports-related items for myself.  And that I did, while spending a grand total of $10.

What did I find?  Here ya go.

img_0458One seller had a cigar box with vintage cards in warped top loaders.  His prices weren’t bad … just not at the level that I wanted. And almost every card in the box that appealed to me — major stars from the 1960s — were ones I already owned. But he had one item I did want. This 1972 Topps Baseball wrapper. The wrapper is not in perfect shape, and from what i can tell it was folded down flat and then sealed again with wax.  It now fits in a top loader. And while the “value” of said wrapper may be diminished by the fact that it is not in its original state, I have three words that best describe my feelings on that: I Don’t Care. I just think it’s a cool-ass item to have in my collection. Would I buy another at $4? Probably not.  But I’d be open to owning other wrappers.

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Another seller at the show is actually a tandem whom I see quite often at one of the local flea markets.  And his items are usually priced really well.  He had a slew of toys and a few cases of sports cards, some high-end.  Then he also has these boxes of cards that he sells for $1 each and others that are $2 or three for $5.

There were quite a few cards I wanted to buy but I decided to harness my impulse and opt for just a few.

I purchased ONE card from the $1 box, this 2016 Topps Gold Jose Bautista. That bat flip is still amazing. And the price for this card was HALF of the price of a pack of cards.  That’s a win.

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And from the $2 each/ three for $5 boxes I selected these three:

2015 Topps Allen &Ginter Mini No Number on Back /50 Nolan Arenado, 2016 Donruss Signature Series Elias Diaz and 2016 Stadium Club Kole Calhoun autograph.

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Two of the three will be headed to COMC with my next submission, but the Calhoun is a card that I really like.  Good (not great) player, fantastic image and a clean, loopy signature. For $1.66 that’s a nice addition to my collection.

 

 

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.

’16 Stadium Club & ’15 Prism box breaks

Posted in Box / Pack Break, Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

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I won a gift certificate from Blowout Cards earlier this year and it’d been sitting in my account for months.  I decided to use it last week and just a few days ago the boxes arrived. I love Stadium Club and Prizm offered two autos per box at a discounted price so it seemed like a decent buy.  Here are the results.

I’ll say this upfront. Panini America’s Prism is always fun to open, although I think we’d all like it more if the cards had logos. I like the design,  the quality of the cards and I the parallels. These boxes have two autos and four numbered parallels per box.  I did OK given the price point.  My autos were James McCann and Addison Russell, which was a parallel. My parallels included a Barry Bonds /125, Stephen Strasburg /99 and Cole Hamels /42.

 photo 1FDB2955-9BBF-4EA4-835C-9DC814AC92ED_zpsey0opswu.jpgThe real reason I decided to order the cards was because I really like Stadium Club. I love the photos, which is what brings be back to the product every year that Topps decides to bring it back.  As you know, each box contains two autographs and a slew of parallels and inserts.  My haul wasn’t half bad.  The autos included one of a young Mets pitcher Steven Matz whose signature I didn’t already own, and my parallels were solid — black parallels of Corey Seager and Babe Ruth, gold Mike Trout.  And I pulled one of those tough (1:256 packs) Triumvirate Illuminators (Prince Fielder) and a photo variation of Greg Maddux.

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Another case of a missing Rookie Card Logo

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

A decade ago, the official “rookie logo” was instilled into the baseball card world following a rule change that no longer allowed card companies to create cards of players who had yet to serve time in the Major Leagues.  Topps’ rules were slightly different as they were grandfathered into the hobby and via various Bowman branded products could produce “prospect” cards. This changed the definition of a “rookie card” for many people as some saw the prospect cards as nothing more than an insert, or pre-rookie card, akin to a minor league issue. The debate over what collectors really want continues to this day.

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But the Rookie Card Logo was also designed to make it easier for collectors, especially novice ones, to easily identify a real rookie card from a player’s second- or third-year card.For the most part Topps, the only company with a Major League Baseball Properties license, has done a good job using the logo when needed.  However, it has been abused in the sense that the logo has basically been slapped on ever rookie player’s non-rookie cards — like subsets, inserts and checklists bearing their photo and name.

But there have been instances where the company seemingly has flat out missed the opportunity to correctly use the Logo.

In 2015, Giants utility man/third baseman, and eventual runner up for National League Rookie of the Year, Matt Duffy was added to the Topps Update Series without a Rookie Card Logo. And to make that worse, they have added the Logo to his 2016 Gypsy Queen card.

It should be noted that Panini has a license to create baseball cards through the Majoe League Players Association and uses a variation of the Rookie Logo on their cards. The 2015 Duffy cards created by Panini in fact have the Panini version of the Rookie Logo.

The reason this comes to mind today is I pulled a 2016 Topps Gypsy Queen Byung-Ho Park rookie card this morning and guess what … it’s missing a logo.Park signed with the Twins in November and to date is his only Major League card.

Cardboard Icons’ celebrates 5 years of “blogging”

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , on July 3, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

It’s a milestone day. Today is indeed the fifth anniversary of this blog. And what better way to celebrate the day than to give you a very short update. I’ve been rather infrequent in posting over the last month or two; time flies. A day turns into a week, a week into a month, etc.

I’ve found that at this point, there are so many ways to express my thoughts or show my creativity, which essentially has been my objective of this blog. When I started, I tried to post something — anything — every day and it was fun. Then we had the addition of Twitter and Instagram to our collecting worlds. I tell you, its a lot easier to hammer out a few 140-character tweets from anywhere than it is to sit in front of a computer, write out a concise piece and then add pictures. Believe me, I’ve spent hours laboring over some of my posts in the past. (Like this one from earlier this week: The World is Your’s: The Life and Times of Lil B Weezy)

And personally, Instagram has been a God-send. I’ve always sought ways to show off my cards; using the Instagram app has made it fun and allowed for some interesting images.

Anyhow, I’ll wrap up this officially brief anniversary piece by saying that I plan to write more in the near future — perhaps this weekend? — but as is the case with everything, only if time permits.

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Beckett’s $10 Card Shop Challenge leads to seven hits for $44

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , on January 15, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

challenge.jpg largeChris Olds, editor and writer of damn near all things Beckett, threw down the first “$10 Card Shop Challenge” of 2013.  You can see the rules and history on the site.  Olds is giving away a prize to the person who is voted to have had the best purchase for the price point.  I feel I should disqualify myself for any prizes due to my affiliation with the magazine, but that doesn’t mean I can’t play along for fun.  I mean I am a collector.

Anyway, I set out to Belmont, Calif., on Monday afternoon to participate in the challenge.  I went to Peninsula Sports Cards, which is roughly 40 miles from my house.  It’s a trek for sure, but worth it since I only make the jaunt every three to six months.  The shop owns two other stores that are closer to my house, but each store has a vastly different  selection of cards.  I love this.

The price point for the challenge was $10, as noted above, but what I ended up with was seven hits for $44.  There are a few binders of autographs and relics in one of the showcases.  The cards in the binders are priced $4.95 each, or five for $20.  I wound up buying six cards from these binders. And then I located one card in another showcase in which everything was marked 50 % off.

My Challenge entry are the two cards shown in the picture above.  They are a 1998 Press Pass Jason Williams autograph and a 2009 Press Pass Authentics James Laurinaitis.  The Williams was a sweet find because in 1998 I was still collecting basketball cards and he and Vince Carter were two guys I was really into at the time — as were many other people.  And the Laurinaitis?  Well, he IS the son of wrestling legend Road Warrior Animal.  That in and of itself makes the card awesome.  Also adding to the cool factor is that it’s a college on-card autograph.  It’s just neat in my opinion.  Both were worth the $4 each that I paid for them.

Other cards I purchased from the binders; remember these were $4 each:

2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Relic Jackie Joyner Kersee

2012 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Relics Byron Nelson

2012 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Autographs Bryan Clay

2009-10 Panini Basketball Hall of Fame Autographs Orsten Artis 125/899

And from the 50 % off showcase:

2012 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Autographs Natalie Gulbis