Archive for Upper Deck

Collecting Kershaw: Of course this happened… and that’s why we don’t make definitive statements

Posted in Collecting Kershaw with tags , , , , on February 29, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

About a week and a half ago I sent out a tweet mentioning that I planned to write a piece about how I generally no longer chase autographs of the guys I personally collect. In my case that’s Roger Clemens and Clayton Kershaw.

No less than 24 hours I sent the tweet, and much before I sat down to write anything, I received a message from my Good Friend Tom out of Las Vegas.

Of course he hit area of my Kershaw collection I had failed to cover: a 2005 Team USA autograph.

The price tag said $75, and before I could even really respond, Tom said he’d already worked the shop down to $60.

Of course I had to own it at that price.

I would have preferred a single-signed Team USA Kershaw autograph but for the price It was good — and it doesn’t exactly hurt that the other player on the card is an all-star, Yankees reliever Dellin Betances.

I’ve still not written my autograph piece, and I will cover all of my philosophical thoughts here, but even though I feel somewhat hypocritical based on my tweet, I’m happy to have added this one to my collection — and really happiness is all that matters.

It’s now one of three Kershaw autos that I consider to be head and shoulders above the rest.

The others?

The 2006 Bowman Chrome Draft Refractor /500 that I personally pulled from a blaster at WalMart that year, and the 2016 Stadium Club because the moment depicted in that autograph card is one I experienced in person — I was there the night Kershaw tossed a 1-hitter in San Francisco in 2015 to clinch the National League West title.

Original artwork used on 1990 Upper Deck Roger Clemens card acquired

Posted in Collcting Clemens with tags , , , , on February 6, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

Sometime last summer one of my friends brought to my attention that Dave and Adam’s Card World was selling original artwork used to create some iconic Upper Deck cards from the early 1990s.

The pieces were used on the Heroes inserts and the team checklist subsets. Among the artwork available was that of Vernon Wells — renowned sports artist and father of the professional baseball player — who’d created a single piece that depicted Roger Clemens in two different poses. The image is one that I remember vividly from my youth as a collector of 1990 Upper Deck cards.

I first saw the piece on the Web site over the summer but did not buy it. Around that same time Ryan Cracknell of Beckett Media wrote about his acquisition of the Joe Montana “Football Heroes” piece, which is gorgeous.

I wanted the Clemens but really wasn’t in a position to acquire it. Then recently former Beckett Media editor Chris Olds, the one who first alerted me to the piece, told me the Clemens was now on sale, for 50% off. I toyed with the idea of owning it and even checked with Ryan about whether he ever regretted buying his Montana. (hint: He still loves it.)

So after about 12 hours of debate — and making a sale on eBay to free up some funds — I took the plunge and made the purchase using the profits from a thrift flip.

And no less than five days later the piece arrived, professionally framed as it likely had been so that the art work could hang in the Upper Deck offices.

I was excited to receive the piece and actually had my son record my unboxing because that’s what we do when we make big acquisitions for our personal collections. (https://youtu.be/7aRJ-12pRJc)

Thanks Chris for the heads up, and Ryan for offering insight.

It took 27 years to see the sexual innuendo on this 1992 Upper Deck Card

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , on March 27, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I was poking around COMC on Wednesday and I spied a 1992 Upper Deck Cecil Fielder Card, a single I had seen many times over the last 27 years. But it was not u til today that I realized the unintentional sexual innuendo here.

Cecil Fielder seated, with a water bottle between his legs and a chicken on its knees before him, and of course the cropping doesn’t help.

Yeah, it’s a bit immature, but it is what it is. Is it not?

That one time we all bought shirts, underwear with our card money

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , on March 12, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

One day we’re all going to laugh at what has transpired over the last week — Us card collectors venturing past checkout lanes, where the cards are usually sold, and speed walking to the clothing department to hunt our wears.

I laughed last week when I saw people on Twitter filling shopping cards with new packages of Hanes underwear and shirts, most of which were solely purchased for the bonus item — a pack of five Fleer Michael Jordan cards with a 1 in a 100,000 chance at obtaining his autograph.

When I saw the cards were live and there was a frenzy, I immediately figured people would go into stores and find a way to rip the card packs off the packages or buy the item and then return the clothing without the cards. Sadly, I did not buy the notion that so many folks were actually going to donate any of the clothing to persons in need.

I digress, I managed to stay away from the stores this weekend, so I didn’t partake in the first rush that seemed to be taking place at the end of last week. But then Monday rolled around and there I was doing groceries at Target … and I decided “just to see” if any of the Jordan cards had made it to the store.

Sure enough there were a few mixed in among the standard Hanes merchandise. While I didn’t need any of the wears for myself — I did just buy new undergarments about a month ago — I was faced with a decision: Does my SON need any new underwear or shirts?

The answer, of course, was yes. On both. And truthfully, I would have just bought one package, but the wrapper said to buy a red pack and a blue pack to complete the set.

And the smirk on Mike’s face here says it all. Because little did I know that we’d need much more than just a red and a blue pack to complete this set …

I bought a pack of underwear and shirts for my son and then ripped the card packs open in the car. The very first card front I laid eye upon was this glorious screen grab from a commercial. The picture was apropos as it looks like Mike just got a whiff of some rancid milk — or in my case, a brilliant marketing scheme to sell more undergarments.

Because we all know that we needed cards of Michael Jordan palming a football helmet …

And palming a pumpkin …

And wearing a bright white Hanes t-shirt, probably tagless for comfort, under a black vest — all presented within a holofoil insert to make us feel like we got something special.

This whole Jordan-Hanes-Upper Deck campaign is magnificent. It got us talking about undergarments; it got us collectors who would rather spend money on cards than lunch to go buy clothes. It got us to again talk about a company without a basketball card license. And they seem to have done it without even showing the greatest basketball player in history doing anything basketball related. Hell, the closest I got in my packs was him carrying golf clubs.

Damn, I wanna be like Mike.

Everyone remember’s their first …

Posted in Collcting Clemens with tags , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

If you started collecting cards before the late 1990s, there is a good chance you remember the first autograph or relic card you obtained featuring a player you really liked.

Certified autographs started hitting the hobby in the early 1990s and really became more prevalent in the middle of the decade with a slew of Donruss releases featuring not only the major stars, but also a bunch of others. Of course these came on the heels of the Upper Deck releases featuring Reggie Jackson, Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan, Hank Aaron, Nolan Ryan and Ted Williams.

But there was a time when as a teenager I would have given anything to own a certified autograph card of my favorite player, Roger Clemens.

In 1995, Upper Deck ran a promotion in which you could get an autograph of the Rocket by sending in 36 empty packs and they’d mail one back to you. I was 15 at the time and it took be a little while to accumulate the required number of packs. When I met the quota, I mailed the wrappers off in a PWE. I couldn’t wait to get my first Clemens autograph. As fate would have it, no such card would arrive for me. My envelope with all of the wrappers was returned and the outside of the envelope stamped with something along the lines of “Promotion Expired.” What I think really happened is they had run out of autographs.

And so for three more years I went without owning a Clemens auto. There were releases in 1996 and 1997 Donruss brands, but they were too expensive for me. But in 1998, I would get my very first.

At the time I was a member of the America Online message boards and at the time I was a heavy buyer of football products. Hell, I had just gotten my first job at Target and a lot of my income was being out toward cards of all brands. In a Donruss pack I received a redemption card for some NFL Europe guy. I mailed it off and several months passed and nothing came back — remember, we didn’t understand how long redemption cards would take at the time.

While checking the message boards one night I came upon a thread in which folks were complaining about redemption cards, and I got a message from a guy who supposedly worked for Donruss, Leaf, Playoff (DLP) at the time. The guy asked what sport, team or players I liked. Of course I shot for the moon and said “Roger Clemens.”

About a week passed and lo and behold in my mailbox I received a small padded envelope sent from some place in Texas. Inside was a 1998 Donruss Signature Millennium Marks SAMPLE card signed by The Rocket, who was a member of the Toronto Blue Jays at the time.

The mailday blew my mind and I decided that this Clemens autograph card would never leave my collection as I figured it must be way rarer than the regular Millennium Mark card, which was numbered to 1,000 copies.

Flashforward to today and it is still here in all it’s glory, only it is now one of about 50 Clemens signatures I own. Also among the signed cards is the traditional 1998 Donruss Millennium Mark card numbered 0398 on the back.

While the signature cards still mesmerize me, it should be noted that I also remember my first Clemens relic. The first piece of Clemens game-worn memorabilia came to me in 2000 via eBay. Relic cards were still relatively new at the time, and I had owned a few, but never had I owned one of anyone I actually cared about.

I recall paying about $45 for this 2000 Upper Deck Legends relic, and when it arrived it did not disappoint, save for it’s condition. I immediately removed the card from the case in which it was shipped and placed my finger on the swatch. I remember what a big deal that was for me given that I had been following Clemens since I was about 8 years old. And then I looked closer at the card and realized it was creased.

I wondered: Why would someone crease such a card. And then the notion of card thickness in relation to base cards and it dawned on me the seller had likely searched the packs in a box that contained this card,

Nonetheless, crease or not, the card was not going to leave my collection. And like the autographs, this is now one of several I own — I’m over 100 Clemens relics at the moment.

eBay Bucks purchase arrives; cracked from slab after 16 years

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , , , on January 13, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Last week I chronicled here what I did with my eBay Bucks: I turned the bonus funds into a card I wanted for nearly two decades, the 1998 Upper Deck SP Authentic Chirography Roger Clemens autograph, limited to a reported 400 copies.

The card arrived Friday and I was anxious to see how bad the edges on this card were — the card was graded a 7.5 by Beckett Grading in October 2002, hammered significantly for edges.

When I opened the box I could see the issue, two finger nail digs near the top left border. I’m not sure how that happened. Maybe someone tried too hard to get it into a Card Saver II, or used their finger names to remove the card from a Top Loader? Either way, the grade was justified. But that, of course, didn’t mean I had to stare at that hideous 7.5 grade every time I wanted to look at the card.

And so I cracked it from it’s case. I broke off the top right corner of the BGS case with a pair of pliers, then slid a butter knife between the two parts of the slab and twisted the knife, to create separation. And then pried the top and bottom apart to free the card. This process is usually neater than what occurred here, but the card came out safe.

I often say Ultra Pro One-Touches are overrated — and I still feel that way, especially if you’re using them to secure cards during transport. I still believe top loader and penny sleeve are still the best for that.

But I do think One Touches serve as a nice case for display — they’re the new school version of my old favorite, the single-screw recessed screw down.

Thrift Treasures 114: Two Minute Minor

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on January 8, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I had a vision on Saturday night. I had a vision that after I dropped my kids with their mom, I would find a box, or multiple boxes, of baseball cards in one of the local thrift stores. It had been a while since I’d checked for cards in thrift stores, and truthfully, it’s been a while since I’ve seen cards at said stores – a bit uncharacteristic given my past success.

I digress. My vision included me locating boxes filled with low-level items that others deemed not worthy of purchase, but would fulfill my desire for the time being.

As it turned out, the vision was somewhat accurate.

I walked into a Goodwill and as I was walking past the linens I saw a familiar sight: a 500-count box sitting on the shelf – the sticker price was $3.15.  I opened the top and inside was a partial 1992 Stadium Club baseball set. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as I’ve been building Stadium Club sets recently and figured that somewhere I would uncover such a collection of seemingly worthless cards that I could start that set. And here it was.  The 1992 set is the sophomore Stadium Club release, which is somewhat disappointing, if not only for the fact that the clean 1991 design set the bar so damn high. Nonetheless, there are some fun images in the release. Including this classic Ruben Sierra, which oddly enough I featured almost 10 years ago to the day on this very blog. (Post)

I usually subscribe to theory that if there is one box sitting on the shelf, then there must be, or must have been at one point, at least one other. I checked another aisle and … jackpot.  There was a 5,000 box, a 4,000 count box, and multiple smaller 100- to 400-count boxes.  I quickly opened all of them and sadly it was all hockey, which I do not collect. BUT, I was in need of a 5,000 count box and the contents of the 5,000-count box sitting here seemed to be some higher-end brands from the mid to late 1990s, and I could see a small stack of Pacific bran releases.  I checked the lid for the price. When I saw $8.75 printed there, the purchase was a no-brainer as the box itself would be $5 at the LCS.

So, what’s in the box? Short answer: Nothing major.

But, I enjoy nuance, so here goes nothing:

There was a complete 1996-97 Leaf Limited 90-card set, and a ton of extras, enough to be close to a second set.

There were several Pacific branded cards as mentioned above.  A lot of these releases were sold as three-card packs, two standard size cards, and then one premium prism holographic card, gold, or lenticular style card. Of course there are the Crown Royale cards which are some of my favorites. Given that there were some two or three dozen here, I could see the value.

I was stunned by some of the quality of these releases. The Flair sets is akin to the baseball sets but these look far superior. And the Upper Deck McDonald’s release is very appealing.:

Of course there were classic hockey stars such as Gretzky, Lemieux, Hull, Roy, Fedorov, Yzerman, Jagr and more.

And parallels upon parallels.  There were more than 100 1997-98 Leaf “International Stars.”  The quality of these is pretty awesome. The car fronts feature a foil overlay map with the photo of the player emblazoned on top.

And whenever there are Pinnacle brands, you know we’re always looking for Dufex parallels (Rink Collection) and those pesky Artist Proofs which typically fell one every 36 packs, or one every 1.5 boxes.

The value of the items within these boxes will pale by comparison to some of my other finds, but this is hardly anything to scoff at. It was definitely better than finding a box chock full of say 1990 Donruss with stars, rookies and Hall of Famers stripped from the rows.

Total cost of the Thrift Treasures: $11.90.

You can read more Thrift Treasures posts Here.