Thursday, June 30, 2011

2011 Topps Value Packs

I've been reading that a lot of people have had good luck redeeming the codes included in the value boxes for good cards (i.e. die-cut cards).  Until recently the supply in my area had dried up, but I noticed a few days ago while @ Walmart picking up some painting supplies for work.  I noticed hat the little loaded boxes had been restocked!

Well I didn't get much out of the Diamond Giveaway codes, but I did get a hit!

I'd like to trade the card from someone Braves oriented, otherwise I may pass this on to my brother-in-law for safe keeping for his son.  Kid's middle name is Fenway for crying out loud...I figured they get a kick out of it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Box Break - 1995 Sportflix UC3

Gimmicks have always been around.  As a toy collector gimmicks are nothing new.  A toy line can live or die by it's gimmick.  If it weren't for the Mech Tech weapons gimmick with the current movie line of Transformers toys, the figures would just be another movie tie-in line.  The same thinking can be applied to trading cards as well.  Since I bought my first pack of cards in 1990 I've seen a lot of card gimmicks come and go.  Some I like while others just didn't appeal to me.  One of my favorite gimmicks is the lenticular technology.  Some may not see it as a gimmick...doesn't really matter.  Some cards that feature this style can look awesome while others can look down right ugly.  1995 UC3 straddles the fence in my opinion.  When the set was first released I thought they were the coolest thing since sliced bread.  Fast forward 16 years and they look just ho-hum.  Somethings just don't age as well I guess.  That doesn't stop me from liking these cards.  I don't love them...there are better looking lenticular cards/sets, but I was able to score a sealed box several months ago for cheap so I thought why not.

1995 was the first and only year UC3 was released and I can say that I'm really not that surprised.  First of all the name of the product is rather goofy.  Secondly the base design isn't the best looking.  Let's take a look.

About the only thing on the regular base cards that even remotely looks 3-D is the baseball.  The player does appear to be lifted and "standing" in front of the glove.  The cards don't look horrible, but one look at these cards and most should be able to tell this was a 90's product.

Thankfully there is a subset called In-Depth that features a much better design that really lets the lenticular technology shine.  Look at this card of Ken Griffey Jr. for instance.  Doesn't it look head and shoulders better than the Piazza base card?

The rookies in the set also had their own design, but I forgot to scan one.  Trust me when I say they are pretty ugly.

Inserts are where things get a little better.  Just a bit.  Like a lot of Pinnacle products the parallel set Artist's Proof makes an appearance.  I think the odds were 1 per box or 1:36 packs.


Cyclone Squad were seeded 1:4 packs and the most common of the inserts.  Checklist features sluggers of the game (for it's time) with large circular fans (?) in the background that appeared to spin when you held the card just right.

Photobucket   Photobucket

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In Motion cards were seeded 1:18 packs and featured a morphing helmet to player deal.  These cards really don't scan very well.  Silly idea when I stop to think about to them, but at least my box yielded a Ripken.



Clear Shots were seeded 1:24 packs and my box was missing this hit.  Can we call these cards hits?  I believe these cards were partially translucent (hence the name) and featured young and up and coming talent.

I know there is a card of Chipper Jones in this set that I want to track down.  These are probably the best looking insert set of the bunch.

I ended up with all but 14 cards from the set.  Not bad out of one box.  I do have some doubles that I plan on listing on my trade pages if anyone out there cares.  I figured I'd also try and finish out the Cyclone Squad and In Motion insert sets since I already have a (small) start on them.  If anyone has any of these cards and wants to trade please let me know.  All in all it was a fun box of cards to open and isn't that what it's all about?  One day I'll go after building some of the other pseudo 3-D card sets like the base sets of Sportflix and Topps DIII.

Base set needs:
4, 14, 22, 35, 41, 48, 73, 92, 115, 125, 128, 142, 145, 146
Cyclone Squad
#CS01 Frank Thomas
#CS04 Cal Ripken
#CS05 Barry Bonds
#CS06 Mike Piazza
#CS07 Matt Williams
#CS09 Jose Canseco
#CS10 Will Clark
#CS13 Tony Gwynn
#CS14 Raul Mondesi
#CS15 Bobby Bonilla

In Motion
#IM02 Ken Griffey, Jr.
#IM03 Frank Thomas
#IM04 Mike Piazza
#IM06 Matt Williams
#IM07 Kirby Puckett
#IM08 Greg Maddux
#IM09 Don Mattingly
#IM10 Will Clark

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011 Topps A&G Checklists - Where have I been?

I can't believe 2011 A&G is only a few weeks away from releasing and I'm just now getting a good look at the sell sheet and checklist.  I love the base design and I wouldn't mind attempting to build the set, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.  A quick scan of the inserts and there are a few that I do want to take the time to chase:
#AGA-MM Mike Minor Framed Autograph
#AGR-BM Brian McCann Framed Relic
#AGR-TH Tim Hudson Framed Relic
North Carolina U.S. Relics

This year's assortment of Mini insert sets didn't appeal to me as much until I saw these two.  Uninvited Guests and Floating Fortresses.  The Amityville Haunting...seriously?  How cool is that!  I also love U.S. history so that set is an easy gimme.

Unless I win the lottery or pull an awesome card I can flip on eBay I don't see myself being able to afford as much A&G this year as I could last year...but I want to go after these 2 sets regardless.  That said if you plan on buying a box or two and don't care anything for these two sets let me know!  Hopefully we can work something out.  Otherwise I'll have to keep an eye on COMC.

Meet White Sox great Ron Kittle in Charlotte

I like it when the minor league affiliate teams bring in former big league talent to the ballparks for special events like these.  Ron Kittle of White Sox fame is coming to Charlotte tonight for a meet and greet as part of a special event.  After the first half of the day that I've had I wouldn't mind some baseball to cheer me up.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Verse

Deuteronomy 7:9 (NIV)

9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

'nuff said.  Have a great Sunday everyone!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

2011 Topps Marquee Break Update - $38 / 2 teams

I wanted to thank everyone that has expressed interest in my idea of a case break of Topps Marquee.  The only way it would work as I proposed it is if all 30 teams (29 teams since I'm claiming the Braves) were claimed.

I'm having a hard time seeing some teams claimed as it was pointed out to me that not every team is very well represented across the various checklists.  That said I wanted to propose another option that would cost a little less and might be more feasible to fill up and more fair to everyone who participates.

I personally don't like the idea as much of drafting at random the hits from the you'll get 1 team of your choice plus another at random.  That way it'll double your chance at getting a good card(s) and it should help fill up the break making it a reality.

The break would be done via video and posted to YouTube.  I've never done the whole UStream thing, but I may look into that as well.

What I'm asking you to do now is leave a comment with your team of choice.  There are only 14 slots available so don't delay.  If you already left a post yesterday/earlier I'm going to put you down for that team.  If you don't want to participate in this 3 box deal then please let me know ASAP so others have a shot.

3 boxes, $38.00 per slot shipped.  15 slots total - first team is of your choosing.  After all 15 slots are claimed then a 2nd team will be assigned to you at random.

You have 2 weeks to submit your payment.  The sooner the better.  PayPal gift payments can be sent to:  cardboardcollectionsATyahooDOTcom  Make sure you let me know your team of choice and your mailing address.

01) Colbey (Braves) (PAID)
02) IkesCards (Cardinals) (PAID)
03) hiflew (Rockies) (PAID)
04) Play at the Plate (Rangers) (PAYMENT SENT)
05) BA Benny (Mets) (PAID)
06) Matt Pederson (Yankees) (PAID)
07) Cardsplitter (Red Sox) (PAID)
08) Ryan G (Dodgers) (PAID)
09) daddyoho (Phillies) (PAID)
10) beady (Orioles) (PAID)
11) arpsmith (Giants) (PAID)
12) Ryan (Reds) (PAID)
13) Matt Pederson (Cubs) (PAID)
14) cynicalbuddha (Brewers) (PAID)
15) Jason (Indians) (PAID)

Friday, June 24, 2011

2011 Topps Marquee - Case Break?

Another new Topps product for 2011.  Hobby exclusive Marquee.  4 packs per box, 5 cards per pack with 1 #d autograph or 1 #d jumbo or multi-relic card in each pack.  Color me interested.

If you have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed click HERE for the sell sheet.

Checklist looks really good.  Is it just me or does this product remind you of Unique from a few years ago?  I got an e-mail this evening from Blowout Cards soliciting pre-orders for Marquee for it's August 24th release. I could get a case (6 boxes) and host a case break for about $40 a team.  The case would yield 24 hits total...potentially plenty to go around for everyone.  I've got a new baby coming probably in the next week so no July group break hosting duties for me...but if there was enough interest we could possibly do a case break of this in August.

I'm going to spread the word for this potential case break on both my Facebook and Twitter profiles.  If this is something you'd like to join in the please help spread the word on your blog/FB/Twitter.  I can't really offer any discounts for doing so, just my sincere thanks.  So if this sounds fun then leave me a comment letting me know what team you would want.  I'd give everyone 2 weeks to pay using a gift payment via PayPal or cash by mail.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Box Break - 2010 Topps Chrome

What was I just saying about wishing I could find different discounted product locally at retail?  I stopped by Walmart this evening to buy a bubble mailer for a book I sold online and I made the obligatory stop by the card aisle before hitting the checkout lane.  What?  2010 Topps Chrome blasters for 12 bucks?!  Sold.

I happy to report that the cards still come out curved just like they did when the product was new last year!  Seriously though 8 packs of Topps Chrome for 12 bucks ain't a bad deal in my book.  I didn't score a Jason Heyward RC or any autographs, but I did hit several Refractors and I always love pulling those.  Let's take a look at the shiny goodness that was hiding inside.


From top to bottom, left to right:

#217 Hisanori Takahashi RC Refractor
#131 Michael Bourn Refractor
#048 Justin Upton Refractor
#107 Edinson Volquez Xfractor
#088 Scott Kazmir Xfractor
#103 Jose Lopez Purple Refractor (235/599)
#CC15 Michael Young National Chicle Chrome (808/999)

The rest of the box had the run of the mill RCs and veterans.  If you're looking for any thing particular let me know.  Overall it was a fun box to open and I may go back for another as there were several this evening.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Twitter to the rescue!

I've only recently (past month) started to really use Twitter.  I still don't understand it completely, but I've found it handy many many times.  I posted a week or so ago about trouble I was having w/ Topps with a redemption card I got out of a past group break.  It was for a 2010 Topps Chrome Brandon Hicks autographed rookie refractor.  I redeemed the card November last year and well, forgot about it.  Later when I logged into my account to check the status of it I saw the card had been replaced w/ some Finest basketball card?!  My account stayed this way for several weeks before reverting back to the proper card.  Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I checked my account again (after forgetting about the card yet again) and I saw that it had been shipped in February.  It listed a tracking # as well so I copied and pasted it into USPS' website.  It said the card was delivered in December 2010 in Bridgeport, NJ.  Ok, now I was majorly confused.

I called the 1-800 number on several occasions, but never could get through to a live person.  I left messages as requested and no reply.  So I hit up Twitter and the Topps Support account.  I sent them a message and got the common response of "Please contact 1-800-489-9149".  So today I sent them another tweet letting them know that I've gotten ZERO response back.  Shortly thereafter I got a direct message asking me what the problem was.  After a few more exchanges I was told the card would be replaced and I should have it within 2 weeks.  I'm holding my joy in check until I hold the card in hand, but it appears Twitter did what the phone number couldn't.

Pack Break - 2009 Topps Heritage


You gotta love those $1.59 "Power Packs" at Target stores.  Recently I've found that several stores in my area have restocked these boxes with "new" packs.  One of which was 2009 Heritage.  I don't normally go crazy over Heritage, but there was 2 packs so I figured why not.


Oswalt and Votto...I could've done worse.


Lastings Milledge Clubhouse Collection bat relic

Could've done better, but anytime I get a hit out of a retail pack it's kinda cool.  I'm having some really good luck w/ these discounted packs from Target.  I hope the boxes continue to be restocked with different packs.  All of the cards are available if anyone is interested.

On a somewhat related note I saw some 2010 Topps Chrome blasters discounted to $10.99 @ Walmart this morning.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Still digging for diamonds...

Yesterday the postal lady brought me my very first die-cut Diamond card from Topps' current Diamond Giveaway program and let me just say WOW!  First of all I thought the cards were just simple die-cut cards of the red diamond inserts that can be found in packs.  I had no idea the cards were printed on thick cardstock or that the cards had a really nice shiny look to both the red in the background and the diamond at the top.  Now I want more!  Off to redeem another code and try my luck.

1965 - I think this is the first card from this year I've unlocked.

And my did revealed a duplicate virtual ring.  *Sigh* Off to list the ring for trade.  Why can't I dig up anything good?!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pack Break - 2011 Topps Rising Rookies


Stopped by Target yesterday to spend some of the birthday money that was burning a hole in my pocket and I was surprised to see that the new Rising Rookies football cards had been released.  I grabbed one pack to see what the cards looked like in hand and I gotta say I'm somewhat impressed.

#61 Austin Collie
I like the look of the base cards enough that I may buy another pack or two.  I'll at least look for a Carolina Panthers team set online.

#53 Matt Forte

#84 Ndamukng Suh
#97 Steve Johnson

#FIA-DW Damian Williams - Freshman Ink Auto

This I didn't see coming!  Not sure which group this player falls under, but the lowest odds listed for these are 1:99.

#168 Bilal Powell RC

#113 Kendall Hunter RC

#138 D.J. Williams RC

#128 Colin Kaepernick RC

#148 Marvin Austin RC

I don't care too much for the RCs which is a shame since the focus of the set are the RCs themselves.  For Topps' first effort after reclaiming their NFL license the cards aren't that bad.  Some collector's will hate the sticker autos and my guess is most will also not care for the large white logo spot on the RCs.  Getting an auto from a single retail pack though is always a nice treat.  All of these cards are available for trade if anyone is interested.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Verse - Father's Day Edition

Today is obviously a special day.  My birthday aside this is a day where we get to celebrate the father or fathers in our lives.  I want to take a few moments and share some things about both my (late) father and my heavenly father.

"I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.  When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.  Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life." -- Proverbs 4:11-13 (NIV)

What better wisdom can one receive?  I give all the credit to both of my fathers for the man that I am today.  If my dad didn't have the relationship w/ our heavenly father that he did then he would have not been able to pass along his wisdom and raise me to the be who am I now.

My dad passed away June 13, 1997 after a long fight with a rare form of cancer.  I lost my best friend that day.  I'll admit that I was angry w/ God.  After all I was a few days shy from turning 20 years old.  I had my whole life ahead of me and lots and lots of questions.  My dad wasn't going to be there when I got married.  He wasn't going to get the chance to become a grand parent.  I wasn't going to have my friend by my side as I took on life.  As hard as it was/is it was and still is comforting to know that above all else I know that I am still loved and that my heavenly father is always there for me.  He has brought me through so much and while things have been really tough at times He is right there beside me.

This is my dad.  Danny Hopper.  Some say I look like him.  At least in his later years he still had hair.  I lost mine in high school!  Everyone says it, but my dad was the best.  If you had the chance to know him that you would probably agree with me.  He put his family first and his wants and desires last.  He worked his entire career for Hoechst Celanese in Charlotte.  What he did there I never quite did understand.  I just knew growing up that by the time the Duck Tales cartoon was over my dad would be home.  My dad made sure that me and my brothers went to church every Sunday morning.  He sang in the choir and was part of an awesome southern gospel quartet called the Lighthouse.  I have a few of the quartet's songs on my computer hard drive and hearing his voice after all of these years is still very comforting.  I can close my eyes and see his standing on stage singing.  One of my favorite songs they sang was "Step Into the Water".

Growing up my dad would alternate between my older brother and myself taking us on Father Son trips after school let out for the summer.  He would take us wherever we wanted to go (within reason) and we'd spend the long weekend or week together...just dad and me.  I still have fond memories of going to Ghost Town or Tweetsie Railroad in the Maggie Valley, NC up in the mountains.  Or visiting the U.S.S. North Carolina in Wilmington, NC.  One of my favorite places to visit was the U.S.S. Yorktown air craft carrier in Patriot's Point located in Charleston, SC.  I remember marveling at the size of the ship, the old aircraft on display and touring the submarine nearby.  My dad was around 6'1" or 6'2" so watching him navigate through the tight corridors of the submarine was fun...especially for a little kid.  We would also visit Fort Sumter in Charleston and my dad would fill me in on all of the American history that took place in the area.  Those trips were the best and I cherish all of my memories.

Of course all of my memories of my dad don't revolve around special trips and such.  My dad was also my coach when I played ball.  My dad is the tall guy in the blue jacket.  I'm standing right in front of him.  I wouldn't say that my dad was a sports nut, but he did enjoy a variety of sports.  He coached me through tee ball and baseball.  When I got to the age where other kids would pitch I got cold feet and quite playing.  My dad didn't push me into doing something that I didn't want to.  In retrospect I wish he had pushed me a little as I loved playing baseball...but that was the kind of dad he was.  If his kids were happy then he was happy.  I have one vivid memory of playing for the Astros and our coach got in a huge dust kicking argument with the home plate umpire.  The coach was later ejected and my dad took his place.  The rest of the game was all the sudden fun because we didn't feel like we had the added pressure from our regular coach to win.  My dad wanted everyone to have fun playing while out on the field or standing in the batter's box.

On most weekend's you could find my dad outside.  It seemed his "deal" with my mom was that he would take care of everything outside of the house if she took care of the stuff inside.  He took pride in his vehicles and always kept them cleaning.  Just about every weekend he'd be in the drive way washing and waxing his truck.  My favorite was his 80's model Chevy Silverado two tone red/white pickup.  He was ever so careful of getting his truck dirty.  I can remember being somewhere in Charlotte with him driving down the road.  I'm not sure where we were going of where we came from, but I do remember playing with a  G1 Transformers Dinobot (Swoop) in the truck.  All of the sudden I felt sick and as if I was going to throw up.  He quickly hit the brakes and pulled into the parking lot of a Burger King so I could get out of this truck before I made a mess!  He did it in a very loving way.  When I became old enough to drive I of course wanted a truck like my dad.  We went to McKinney Chevrolet in Belmont, NC to look at a few different S-10s.  After a test drive I settled on a maroon S-10.  I didn't quite emulate my dad when it came to washing it every weekend!  He though was more than happy to help me work on the truck on the weekends.  When high school graduation came around my parents bought me new tires and rims for my truck.  I think the only reason I chose such a gift is because my dad had recently done the same for his truck at the time.  I look back and think how silly I was to spend so much money on something that.  As you can probably tell my dad had a lot of influence on me.

My older brother got off the hook pretty easy since I got to take over all of the lawn duties when I became old enough.  We lived on a fairly decent size of land that had lots of trees and a big yard to mow.  As I got older my dad entered a "business agreement" with me and we started a little lawn care business.  It never really went anywhere, but it was one more thing that I got to spend time with my dad.  Earlier I mentioned his "deal" with my mom to take care of everything outside.  This meant he really didn't do much to help out in the house outside of unloading the dishwasher from time to time.  One is his favorite things each evening was to sit in his blue recliner in the corner of the living room with a bowl of sugar free Eskimo Pie ice cream while watching something on the television.  I can remember my mom fussing at him for leaving the bowl on the little table by his chair the next morning!  I only say that because the memory is so vivid and I think its funny.

On vacations to the beach or wherever one of the things the whole family enjoyed doing was playing mini-golf.  We had a Putt Putt Golf & Games in town that we would play from time to time, but I loved the courses at the beach with all of the crazy landscaping and gimmicks.  My dad was always a fan of golf and he tried to share that with me.  At first it was by playing skins whenever we played mini-golf.  We would usually play for 10 cent a whole or something like that.  Of course with him being the superior player I would end up owing him a few bucks at the end of 18 holes.  Do you think I had to pay my own dad when it was all over?  You betcha I did!  He didn't mind at all taking money from his own son!  One summer vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC he took me to the driving range at Cane Patch.  I had fun hitting balls on the range so he asked if I'd like to try my hand at the par 3 course.  I really didn't know what to expect so I said sure.  I had been with him before when he played golf.  I remember driving the golf cart off a little bridge.  I remember looking all around in the woods for my dad's ball only to find and kick over a large fire ant mound and having my foot engulfed in ants and ant bites.  Looking back why I ever agreed to play par 3 with him now I have no idea!  He let me tee off first on each hole.  At first it was kinda fun...but over time I grew bored.  I was getting tired and so was my swing.  I eventually discovered it was much easier for me to pick up the ball and throw it when he wasn't looking.  Yeah, I'm a what?!  Needless to say he never really pushed the whole golf thing on me after that weekend.

You know sitting here just thinking of my dad and how awesome of a man and dad he was I could probably go on and on.  If you are still reading this however I'll give you a break and wrap it up.  My dad was my best friend.  I miss him so much.  I can't tell you how many times I wanted to wake up and think that he would still be down stairs as a kid...or that I'd see him sitting in his chair when I'd go to my mom's house.  I know that he is in a better place and that my heavenly father is taking good care of him...but that doesn't mean that I don't miss him every single day.

Now that I'm a father I hope to be able to share the same teachings and experiences with my children.  I am truly blessed to be married to my wife Katie and to have a beautiful daughter in Olivia.  We have one more little girl on the way in a matter of days? weeks?  They are the joy of my life and I only wish that my dad had the chance to meet and get to know both my wife and his granddaughters. I know that he is up above looking down on me even as I type this.  I love you dad.  I miss you dad.

I hope everyone out there has a great father's day!  I know that I'll enjoy the day spending time with my family and thanking God for all of the blessings in my life.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pack Break - 2011 Upper Deck Captain America, the First Avenger


Ah, the summer movie season is upon us with blockbuster and blockbuster hitting theaters or slated to release in the coming weeks.  I haven't been keeping tabs with the non-sports card scene much lately so when I came across these Captain America cards the other day at Target I was surprised.  I guess I shouldn't be too surprised since Upper Deck is relying on it's Marvel license to make some money.  Just as with the Thor movie trading cards these are based on the movie with bits of comic book goodies included.  5 cards per pack with a MSRP of $1.99.  I'd love to build this set as with the Thor, but it's a little pricey.  That said if you have bought or plan to buy any of these cards let me know and perhaps we can trade?


It appears that all of the cards featuring movie scenes are horizontal.  Here we see Peggy Carter leading the troops taking on Hydra.


Could it be?  The Red Skull?


Wow, I gotta say the Red Skull looks so much better than I thought he would.  If you're into action figures I'm working on a Red Skull review for my toy blog.


Another shot of Peggy Carter.


As with the Thor cards it appears you get one "insert" card per pack.  This is card #P-1.  On the back it reads "Failure is not an option for Captain America - onward to V-E Day!"

Say what you will about Upper Deck, but these cards are beautiful.  I will be picking up a few more of these when I get the chance.  According to the pack there are a few inserts to chase including autographs (1:2500) and insignia patch cards (1:96).  Might have to hit up eBay to see what these look like.