Archive for Upper Deck

Thrift Treasures 86: 6 Hits and more for a buck

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , on May 17, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

For about a year, one of the thrift stores that I frequent has had thousands of cards sitting around for the price of 20/$1. Sadly, most of them were straight up commons from 1989 Fleer, 1989 Upper Deck and a few other sets from the same time frame. The boxes had been picked clean of anything worth owning.

Well, when I walked in this week, those boxes were gone and in its place was a single smaller box of cards, which had just arrived. Judging from the contents, I had to have been the first one to get a crack at them.

Most of the box consisted of Jacksonville Jaguar cards, mostly Mark Brunnel and Fred Taylor, but there were some other stragglers that made this a fun box to pillage. In all, I chose 20 cards and spent a whopping $1. And as the title of this post suggests, six of these 20 cards were hits — relics and or autographs. While they aren’t going to net me a fortune or anything, that’s still a huge win for being a thrift find.

And to the guy who walked in behind me and started rifling through the cards clearly in search of something worth owning, all I can say is: better luck next time.

Without further adieu, here is the haul:

Eight of the cards were relatively basic. But I figured I may as well fill out the 20-card order with whatever base cards or parallels seemed worthy of a nickel.

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Here’s a pair of 2000 Ultimate Victory Football Parallel rookie cards.  Deltha O’Neal is a local guy so it was a decent pick up.  Besides, the two top loaders were worth a nickel on their own.

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A few inserts and a Matt Holliday were a fun addition at this price

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In 1999, numbered parallels were still in demand by collectors.  Here’s a Dan Marino 1999 Encore F/X “Seize The Game” Gold parallel numbered 063/250

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And not the hits.  Like I said earlier, these aren’t going to break the bank, but consider that they cost a nickle each.

Speaking of nickels, here a 1998 Edge Ryan Leaf Draft Special featuring a swatch of Leaf’s jersey, which is the size of … a nickel.

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Remember Shaun King?  For a minute he was a legit NFL quarterback.  Here is a 2000 UD Ovation cards featuring a piece of his helmet.  This may be the first helmet swatch I have ever owned.

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Game-used cards were in full effect in 2000. Playoff, former known as Donruss.Leaf, Playoff 9DLP0 made some of the coolest ones.  Here is a Absolute Leather and Laces card featuring a swatch of ball used ont he Dec. 19, 1999 game between the Atlanta Falcons and Tennessee Titans.  Phenom Jevon Kearse is shown on this card, which is serial numbered to 250 copies.

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Playoff made lots of game-used items in the late 1990s. Among them were these weird team checklist cards which featured TWO swatches of jersey, neither of which were attributed to any particular player. Bad idea …

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After I went through the box and fished out what I thought was every decent cards, I did one more search and stick — literally — in the middle of a stack of 2000 Victory commons was this 1998 Skybox Autographics auto of Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala, former of the Uniiversity of Utah, Pittsburgh Steelers and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Say that name three times fast.

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And the last card if perhaps my favorite.  After the St. Louis Rams wont he Super Bowl in 1999, Upper Deck made championship relic cards and inserted them into packs of 2000 Ultimate Victory.  They were gorgeous cards then and even now, a decade and a half later, they’re still great-looking examples of relic cards done right.

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Total cost of these treasures: $1

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

Thrift Treasures 80: Jon Lester rookie, more for $2.99

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , on February 9, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

Quick Thrift Treasures post here.  Earlier in the week I stopped at one of the thrift stores in the city where I work and they had a baggie of cards — about 100 — priced at $2.99.  Itook a quick look and could see that there was a Jon Lester 2006 Upper Deck rookie card inside so i decided to take a shot.

IMG_9123Well, as it turned out, Lester was the best card in the bag, but that’s not to say there wasn’t anything else that interested me.  There were some rookie cards that I needed to go through to see if I own them yet.

IMG_9252IMG_9253And a handful of star cards, a parallel — JJ Hardy Ultra gold #’d/999 — and a few inserts.

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Not a huge win or anything, but they can’t all be full of bigtime steals.  The big plus here is that I did not have the 2006 UD Lester rookie yet.

Total cost of these treasures: $2.99

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

 

 

Icon-O-Clasm: 1989 Upper Deck Jim Abbott

Posted in Icon-O-Clasm with tags , , , , on August 30, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

“Triple Exposure”

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I recently paid $8 for a Barry Zito rookie card and it wasn’t autographed …

Posted in Rookie Card Showcase with tags , , , , , , , on August 18, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

I must be crazy, right?  Who pays $8 for a Barry Zito rookie card, especially one that doesn’t bear his signature?

Well, when the serial number on the card matches his jersey number, sometimes collectors do funny things.

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Barry Zito used to be a big deal.  He was a big-time pitcher for the Oakland A’s in the early part of the 2000s — even winning a Cy Young Award in 2002 — and then signed a massive contract with the San Francisco Giants who play just across the San Francisco Bay (or estuary for you science types) from the A’s.  He sucked for the most part, constantly ripped on sports talk radio and even relegated to a spectator in 2010 when the Giants won their first World Series.  And then he came back in 2011 and 2012, even becoming a key contributor for the Giants down the stretch as they won their second title in three years.

Alas Zito played again in 2013 and finished his mammoth contract with the Giants by posting the second-highest ERA of his career.  He hasn’t played in 2014 and it appears that his career may in fact be over.

Zito hasn’t been relevant in the hobby in almost a decade and prices on his cards plummeted over the years.  His key rookie is still the 200o SPX set, a card that features a serial number and autograph. His second best?  Quite possibly this 2000 SP Authentic, which is limited to 1,700 copies.  Believe me, this was a big deal in 2000. I located this one — in it’s glorious PRO graded case — at a local card shop in a bargain graded card bin.  Every card priced $8 each, all of them were graded by either PSA or BGS, except for this one.  This company — which has zero traction in the hobby — graded this card at 9.8 “N-Gem,” which I’ll have to believe means Near Gem Mint.  I’m not aware of any company who uses that lingo.  Go figure. I’ll leave it in here for now, but might send it eventually to BGS for continuity purposes.

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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

Recapping The National — from Cardboard Icons’ perspective

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , on August 7, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

I flew all the way across country for a four-day mini work-vacation and all I came back with was the shirt off someone else’s back and a piece of cardboard made in Japan.

OK, so I’m exaggerating a bit, but for the most part this is true.

Usually when someone travels so far to attend a collectors convention, they come home with a bunch of stuff.  Not me.  My luggage was actually 3 pounds lighter when I checked it Sunday night as I left Baltimore, home of the 33rd annual National Sports Collectors Convention.

So why did only come home with so little?

Because that’s all I needed to being home with me.

Don’t get me wrong, I did some spending.  I actually opened a box of cards each night that I was at the convention.

Thursday, Beckett Baseball Editor Chris Olds and I opened on camera a box of 1989 Upper Deck low numbers that I purchased from Baseball Card Exchange for the experience.  I wanted to pull a 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card for myself.

I’ve owned about a dozen of them over my 25 years of collecting, and even have one that is essentially gem mint except for the pesky hologram on the back.  As it turned out the box contained one alright … only I was not the one who pulled it.

On Friday, I purchased a box of 2012 Topps Mini, which was being sold exclusively through the Topps booth.  Along with the box, you got a five-card promotional set that includes Bryce Harper, Yu Darvish, Roy Halladay, Matt Kemp and Stephen Strasburg.  The sets were selling instantly on eBay for $25-$35.  I opened my box off camera because Beckett Football/Hockey editor Susan Lulgjuraj (@yanxchick) and Contributing Editor Dan Good (@Dgood73) were all ripping items they purchased with their own money from Blowout Cards.  My box was mediocre, but it was fun.  My hit was a Brandon Beachy relic.  But I did get five gold parallels (which are all serial numbered to 61 copies) and a Black/Platinum Scott Rolen, a parallel set that is limited to 5 copies each.

On Satuday, after I had an amazing experience meeting Earl Weaver – more on that in a bit – I decided to go buy another box of Topps Mini.  I figured I’d buy the box, throw the promo set on eBay and consider that a discount on the box price.  However, by the time I got to the booth, they were out of promo sets.  They said they’d get some more on Sunday.

But I did manage to find a box of cards to open that night … one dealer had random sports items priced relatively cheap.  Among his mound of treasures was a box of 1986 Donruss baseball.  It was $10.  I opened that on video as part of a Thrift Treasures post but truthfully, the box break was so long and uneventful I ended up scraping the video break.  You can all thank me now.  It’s called self editing, folks.

And of course on Sunday I woke up and walked over to The National early on to get another Topps Mini box since they promo sets were back in stock.  I bought box and proceeded to open it on video.  It was a damn good one, if I don’t say so myself.  No Harper or big autograph.  But my gold cards (remember, they are serial numbered to 61) were good – Stephen Strasburg, Alex Rodriguez, Freddie Freeman, Addison Reed and a Vladimir Guerrero checklist.  The Black/Platinum parallel serial numbered 5/5 was of one of the game’s biggest stars right now … Mark Trumbo.  That’s a big win considering that there are 661 cards in the set.

At this point you might be asking yourself: Now Ben … err, Cardboard Icons … how did you buy four boxes of cards this weekend and take so little home?

The Answer?  I stripped the 1989 Upper Deck and 1986 Donruss boxes of every star card and decent rookie card and left the commons in their prospective boxes for someone else to enjoy.

I then took said stars and rookies and added them to the contents of my two Topps Mini boxes and packed them into a 550-count box which I … submitted to Checkout My Cards.

Actually, that box was one of three that I submitted to COMC just before I left the Convention Center on Sunday.  I brought a 550-count box and a half of stuff to the show to submit to the consignment site (If you’re not using them, you should be …) and then managed to fill another box and a half with the contents of the aforementioned boxes and about 250 cards that I purchased as part of my Thrift Treasures series.

On that note, you should see the videos – all three of them: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3.   I could have done a fourth video showcasing some of the items that I purchased on the last day, but I was running out of time.  I actually bought about 40 good rookies and refractors for $25.  I could have bought more, but my COMC boxes were so tight that I actually removed cards from penny sleeves so that I could get the last few in.

This is getting quite lengthy, so let me touch on a few bullet points:

Earl Weaver

So in the lede to this piece I spoke of the shirt off someone else’s back.  Well, the item I was referring to was my game-used Earl Weaver jersey.  I brought the item from the Bay Area to Baltimore just to have Earl sign this thing.  That experience was amazing.  I wrote a piece for Beckett.com   detailing the meeting. It was unbelievable.  And to add to this craziness, Yahoo Sports Blog “Big League Stew” linked to the Beckett piece.

Freedom Card Board

Big thanks to Chris Gilmore for inviting myself, Olds, Susan and Dan to the meet up dinner.  It was a pleasure meeting you.  I’m hoping to be more active on the boards there.  I know I signed up and posted a few times, but not so much over the last two years.  I’m rarely in front of an actual computer … most of my online interaction is via Twitter because I have access to that via my telephone.  But … there is an FCB App … downloaded. Done.

Topps  Q &A

I attended the annual question and answer session held by Topps.  It was interesting mix of folks and attitudes toward the hobby and each other. But the one thing that really sticks in my mind has to do with the Bowman brand.  Topps continued to praise itself for the Bowman brand which in all of its types (Chrome, Platinum, etc) has been welcomed by collectors.

But what kind of rubbed me the wrong way was the answer (or lack there of) to my simple question as to whether or not Topps had considered some sort of buy-back program in which they could re-acquired vintage Bowman rookies from the 1940s and 1950s.I didn’t really get a straight answer.  The product manager, who has only been around for six months, said “You’d know better than I.”

What does this mean?!  Does he not know that Topps spokesman (even posthumously) Mickey Mantle’s REAL rookie card hails from Bowman, which was a brand that was NOT under the umbrella of Topps at the time the card was produced in 1951?

If I do know more than he, then let me continue to teach.  Bowman was also home of rookie cards for Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson (also has a 1949 Leaf), Bob Feller, Warren Spahn, Phil Rizzuto, Stan Musial, Yogi Berra, Satchel Paige and a bunch of other legendary players whose existence on cardboard essentially assisted the hobby grow to insane heights in the 1980s and early 1990s.

It was a simple question.  And if you ask me, the product touted as “Home Of The Rookie Card” would have a MASSIVE swell – as if the brand could get any bigger – if the company re-purchased some of these iconic cards and re-distributed them to collectors through redemption or other means.

Big Purchase

I’ll wrap this lengthy commentary with addressing the second point I touched on at the beginning – the Japanese piece of cardboard.

For years I’d been seeking a decent priced Sadaharu Oh rookie card from 1959.  I’ve seen a few of them on eBay already slabbed and priced in the range of $275-$400. But I still hadn’t seen  one that I considered the one for me.

Well, as I meandered through the showroom floor on Friday I located Prestige Collectibles, which specializes in Japanese cards.  I asked the dealer how he has acquired so much  — damn near everything in the booth was Japanese – and he stated that he goes to Japan quite often.  During the conversation he revealed to me that Japanese baseball collectors don’t dabble a whole lot in vintage cards.  This initially amazed me.  Maybe because I am fascinated with the way baseball is revered in that country.  But in reality, the attitude, at least according to this dealer, is on par with  the way things work here.  A lot of people are just not turned on by old cardboard.

Anyway, the reason I stopped at Prestige Collectible was because as I was walking by, I happened to glance down and recognize a card.  It was a 1959 Murakami  JCM 31c Menko Sadaharu Oh rookie.  The card was ungraded – it has some creases – but I knew it was authentic.  And it had a price tag of $175.

I surveyed the card, looked it over once, twice or maybe five times.  And then handed it back to him.  I did not have $175 cash on me.  He of course advised me that he accepted credit cards.

I walked away from the table.  I advised him that I’d consider the purchase.  About 30 minutes later I returned.  The Oh HAD to be mine.  It’s a good thing that I returned when I did.  Apparently someone else had looked at it moments before and also needed some time to think about it.

And after a swipe of a credit card – I had built in some wiggle room in my personal National budget for a purchase like this — I became the proud owner of an authentic Sadaharu Oh rookie card.  LOVE THIS.

Lastly, I’ll just say I had a blast.  The only thing I would change is building in more time to be social.  I spent the after hours time writing so I didn’t really hang out with the other collectors.